symbolic dominance, culture and religion

When the war of the yard signs was at its peak several years ago, I wanted to put three popular signs in my yard, all together:
Let Your Light Shine: Fight Racism
We Support Gays and Lesbians
Keep Christ in Christmas
My state celebrates the winter season with the war of the symbols.  Nativity scenes on public property justly spark lawsuits by those who are not Christian.  Menorahs and “separate church and state” banners flank the decorated evergreen tree whose very name is subject of debate in the legislature.  Proposals to include Wiccan pentacles and Festivus poles add to the fun.  Some Christians have decided that “their” holiday has been ruined by any acknowledgment of others, Continue reading “symbolic dominance, culture and religion”

ode to fruitcake

I’m not creative enough to write an ode. But I will say this, I love fruitcake. What’s not ot like? Fruit, booze, and cake? I’m making one this afternoon. The fruit has been soaking for six days (I even brought it, soaking in a bowl, on the Amtrak from NYC to Maine). It’s going to be great. I think I’ll start making Holiday fruit cakes and sending them to folks next year. It will be my version of conversion work.

This is the first time in a while that Eid and Christmas have been so close – so a week of celebrations in the O’Malley (mom)/Khan (dad) household! Happy holiday all.

update to the greatest christmas counterfactual ever

Is here. I will admit, I’ve wondered many times what my life would be like if the Internet had never been invented. My main conclusions are that I would have read more books, be less well apprised of current events, and have less geographically dispersed and less interesting friends. I’ve also wondered many times how growing up in rural Iowa would have been different had there been e-mail and the Web back then. There, presumably, I would have grown up feeling much less–shall we say–unusual, probably with both good and bad consequences.

The most farfetched part of It’s a Wonderful Life is the idea that Donna Reed would have ended up a spinster librarian if not for George Bailey.

the problem with optimism.

My parents called this morning to let us know they were leaving for the airport and to talk to B one more time (knowing my mother, this is because she’s always afraid she’s going to crash without saying goodbye to those she loves). At any rate, apparently my mom told B that she’d be in South Bend about 8:30pm. Because I realize the inadequacies of Chicago-O’Hare International Airport and am well aware of the weather-related problems occurring in Chicago, South Bend, and the toll-road between them, I told B that she was being an optimist. B said, “Well, Mom, I prefer to think of it as being positive.”

I take this as a clear indication that my child has only heard me use the word optimist in a negative light and thinks it’s a put-down. I guess I’ve got my first new year’s resolution – work on being optimistic about optimism.

the glamorous life

I am working on a revise-and-resubmit for a comment on a paper published in a prominent journal. Believe me, I am by this point so over being surprised by incompetent work appearing in prestigious places, and yet this paper was beyond the beyonds. The paper has three sections that claim to offer separate scientific contributions. Regarding one of them, here is a sentence I just drafted:

In sum, [author]’s analysis of [thing] treats arbitrary survey categories as natural distinctions, presents overall results that are logically necessary as though they were empirical findings, and characterizes specific results in ways that contradict simple cross-tabulation of the pertinent variables.

The kicker? Continue reading “the glamorous life”