Saturday, December 19, 2009

Avatar -- Minor Spoilers

So bright! So rippling! So shiny! So glowing! So... blue!

The thoughts of loveliness only fade when Cameron allows the motion to get too fast in an attempt to make this movie an action flick instead of what it is: a visually stunning sci-fi rendition of the old going-native story. We get Cherokee removal with sympathetic scientists instead of missionaries, unobtainium instead of gold, evil marines and corporations instead of Andrew Jackson and Georgia, and mother tree instead of mother earth. Since this isn't history, the good guys get away with going Zulu. It could have been great, but the relative lack of intelligent reflection leaves this movie about as deep as the recent Star Trek offering. Weepably poor dialogue, decent acting -- especially by the women in the cast -- and so very pretty.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Worldedit III: Run-Ons and Latins

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Curse you and your run-on sentence! It's the perfect marketing ploy. I keep checking back to see if a period materializes. Or at least a semi-colon.

Maratial Arts!

Now I'm left wondering whether calling the company on the postcard will result in self-defense classes or tips on boosting libido.

A die-hard purist might say 'censi' as the latin plural, but I've never heard it used

A "senior member" at typed this in response to the inquiry, "What is the plural of census?" And no one corrected him! Did his Latin dictionary break off at B? The Latin plural of census is census. Fourth declension. I'd advise using censuses, though.

Dumbass, its Latin the plural of penis is peni

Oh, how I love lurking in English forums! Aside from the adorable comma left waiting for a period (or two), and the unfortunate use of the wrong "its," I was glad to see someone corrected this unfortunate soul. The plural of penis is penises. If you want to get down with the Latin, it's penes. Third declension. An entirely readable answer to the penis question and of Latin in general can be found HERE.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Tormented Face

Our son struggles against his bonds: his swaddle, which I have re-fixed for the eighth time tonight. He struggles because he wants to scratch his face, where pinpricks of blood mingle with interstitial fluid in a haphazard brickwork of red upon red. The creams I have applied, the ointments with which I have slathered his face -- these do nothing to keep him from his suffering. There is an itch to scratch, and the more he scratches it, the worse it will become. Or he won’t scratch it -- by some miracle I will manage to stay awake through the night, holding his hands down in their swaths of cotton -- but it will begin again tomorrow.

His face looks better. It ought to be better. He only wears cotton, now, which has been laundered and double-rinsed. He gets soaking lukewarm baths every day, and facial washings several times a day. He only drinks my milk, from which I have removed every trace of dairy from my diet -- why must it take weeks to remove the traces from his body? Why must the almighty cow -- a benign-looking, silly beast -- attack his skin so terribly?

How am I supposed to sleep? A moment could have his hands free; a moment could have him dragging blood-glazed gloves across his cheeks. How am I supposed to sleep? His head rocks back and forth. We used to think he was fighting sleep: now we know he’s trying to scratch his cheeks by rubbing his head against the mattress. How am I supposed to sleep? My son suffers, and he does not have the capacity to reason through it.

His eyes are crinkled with tiny blisters and sleeplessness. He opens them, sometimes, and stares at me when I breathe cool air upon his broken face. Too tired to smile at the relief. He knows too early that life means suffering. Or maybe he doesn’t think he suffers: maybe he already considers this normal, as I did with my persistent allergies. A tissue in every pocket, every room. My allergies, which gave him his eczema.

Monday, September 14, 2009


The baby is finally asleep, aided by the lullaby CD his godmother bought him, swaddling to keep him from striking his little face, and my presence beside him on the big bed, reading Lavinia by Le Guin. At one point, tired of looking at the colorful book spines on the wall, he turned to me. I showed him my book, the only color of which was ivory with rows of black letters. I read a sentence to him, pointing to each word. He grinned, and the pacifier fell out of his mouth. In his wordlessness, I imagine him to be cleverer than he is -- that he understands these words and is using his vast intellect to put them together. I know it is not true: my conceptions will collapse into his first words, so powerful is our written language. But it is always a mother’s belief that her child is a genius, is it not?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Our Beautiful Universe

The news is often, and understandably, full of horrors, tragedies, wars, and crimes. But, every now and then, you get something like this article in The Sun. Our universe is beautiful. A star's death fills the heavens with a lovely gaseous shape, and then the human mind, aided by the Hubble's technology, can give that shape a designation. There are wonders out there. Wonders beyond imagining. Wonders worth imagining. I cannot understand, and will never accept, the notion that we are bound to this Earth or should be. Our little planet, so lovely, so full of life, is a haven, to be sure. It shelters us against the harshest agonies of space. And yet, we must leave it. We must continue the journey. We must set sail. We have, with our telescope, seen the far horizon. Now we should work toward getting there. What good is human life if it doesn't dream and then pursue those dreams? Not for minerals, not for energy resources, not for technology, but because it is there and we can. No other reason should be necessary. This is what we do. This is what humanity does. Atmosphere and the Earth shouldn't be boundaries to this, but stepping stones, preparing us for taking on the stars.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Worldedit II

I was going to create a theme for the next worldedit entry, but so many amusing instances popped up that I had to include all of them.

On my son's charming fleece vest, there's a fox head surrounded with one phrase in triplicate:

Little Explorer * Little Explorer * Little Expolorer

(Perhaps this vest's manufacturer despises polo shirts.)

Driving to the airport, Sparrow and I noticed a road sign. It had two sides:

Autumn Dr * Autumm Dr

(It had been fixed by the time we returned from Florida.)

I couldn't help it. While alone in the nursery at my grandmother's church, I noticed a bulletin board with the modus operandi. It included:

Please us the door to the hallway and not the sanctuary.
Insure that the crib side is up when the crib is occupied.

(I couldn't see what was so pleasing about the hall door, and I've never heard of putting insurance on crib rails. In my ignorance, I corrected the bulletin with my trusty blue pen.)

Once in a while I read directions. So I took a look at an assignment meant to make its students into better writers:

Each class Dan will collect a nimber of reading journals for grading and comments.

(Unfortunately, there were no instructions on how to choose a "class Dan." Or what medieval unit of measurement a "nimber" is.)

Last but not least, here's an advertisement I saw while reading Paglia's latest article at the Salon. Which of the F-words is the most Foolish?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Summer wanes. Today I imagine that it is gone already. The weather here is cool, breezy. Our windows are open. Our central air disengaged. We lack only the taste of autumn: the minute chill carried on the drifting breeze, or the stray leaf, red or golden, signaling an end to the earth's fecundity. Persephone goes to Hades soon. Demeter mourns. But I get ahead of myself. Summer is resilient here. It is a season not easily dismissed. It has, in the past, lingered successfully into October, forcing a terribly abbreviated autumn that became winter far, far too quickly. Summer may do so again. Knowing this, I breathe deeply the dry, cool air. I exult in my open windows. I watch the thermometer with childish glee: 74° and dropping.

I taught an Intensive Latin course this summer. We used Moreland and Fleischer's honestly, if prosaically, named book-- Latin: An Intensive Course. It gets the job done. And, dear readers, the job is grueling. The equivalent of a year's worth of Latin vocabulary and grammar crammed into four five-day weeks in August. I've been instructor for this course twice now. If I do it again, I'll be making some adjustments. While I intend to follow the book structurally, I think I'll spend more time before class begins compiling a chapter by chapter workbook with a variety of exercises. Moreland and Fleischer's drills are wholly insufficient, and their sentences leave a lot to be desired. I'll keep their adapted Latin, and maybe, if I'm feeling particularly ambitious, I'll adapt some of my own. I'd like to see more Livy on the prose side of things, and more Catullus and Horace on the poetry. I adore Cicero and Martial, the two most common choices of the textbook, but exposing students to a broader collection of Latin authors is key.

Now, however, my attention must turn toward children and their childhoods. My fall course concerns the lives of children in antiquity. I've been building this class piece by piece. A few harsh reviews, an unfortunate showing at my first conference, and the encouragement of my wife and closest colleagues have solidified my intentions and goals. Class begins tomorrow. I am ready. I have made the final arrangements. I even know, finally, where I'll be teaching. All that remains to be done is a large amount of photocopying. Oh, afternoon classes, thank you for giving us long mornings.

September is here, miloves.

Departing summer hath assumed
An aspect tenderly illumed,
The gentlest look of spring;
That calls from yonder leafy shade
Unfaded, yet prepared to fade,
A timely carolling.
             William Wordsworth, September

Bottle Questions

There are newborn-flow, slow-flow, medium-flow, and fast-flow nipples. The medium-flow nipples say 3+ months on the package. Should I switch my baby to medium-flow nipples at three months?

If you're breastfeeding in addition to pumping, it's important to stay with a slow-flow nipple as long as your baby isn't fussing about the slowness of the milk. Getting milk out of a breast takes work, and your baby may begin to prefer the ease of the bottle's nipple to your own.

If you're an exclusive pumper, I'd still stick with a slow-flow nipple until your baby starts to fuss, though there are less consequences.

The moral of the story? Don't take advice from manufacturing labels.

How much breastmilk should I put in the bottle?

Slightly more than your baby generally eats, in case of extra hunger (usually just before bedtime). Your baby's stomach is about the size of his or her fist -- that's about the size of a walnut between six weeks to six months. Most babies eat about 700 to 800 mL (23-28 oz) per day, but may eat more, especially when on a growth spurt. Let your baby's hunger be your guide. If he or she isn't spitting up excessively, is producing at least six wet diapers a day, and is growing, you're giving the baby enough milk.

How much should my baby be eating? Does it change over time?

From about twelve weeks to six months, a baby's eating habits tend to be fairly constant. Not all babies are the same, of course, so it's good to keep track of what your baby is eating (and how much you're producing). A milk consumption calculator can help. Remember, don't compare the amount a formula-fed infant gets with that of a breastfed infant -- formula-feeders eat a lot more. Chances are you'll never need to buy eight-ounce bottles.

Do bottles damage teeth?

Here's the Mayo Clinic's answer. Essentially, no -- but the sugars you put in the bottle can damage baby's teeth, particularly if your child goes to bed with the bottle (or sippy cup). Babies shouldn't have anything other than breastmilk, formula, or water for the first six months. Fruit juice isn't as good for a baby as the fruit itself, and cow's milk is too difficult to digest at an early age.

Should I put cereal in the bottle?

I've had everyone from government representatives to well-meaning moms ask me if I put cereal in my baby's bottle. The answer? Heck no! A baby's main source of food is milk until at least the nine month mark. Food earlier than this is for supplementation and eating practice. If you feed your baby cereal in a bottle, he won't be able to practice eating from a spoon, and that's the point of adding cereal to his diet.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Foot Empowerment

The difference between pregnant, swollen feet and the feet of a mother? The first are slightly moist, featureless dough dumplings; the second are fox-thin, veined and calloused and spread-toed. The first are for resting on dainty cushions, or propped helplessly into stirrups. The second, for standing on tile or wood or pavement – they are as impervious as shoes, even though they can finally wear them. The pregnant foot is sufferingly elegant as it is rubbed, oiled, manicured. The mother foot is superhuman, slender, beautiful in its efficiency. No colors are needed on its nails: it sneers at the pampered feet of the waddling masses. Mom feet are ruthless. Mom feet are sexy. Mom feet kick the asses of pigeon-toed misogynists. Mom feet have power.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Doc Rendezvous

Yes, that's Buzz Aldrin rapping about going into outer space. I'm hip with that hop.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Super Scooter

The super scooter has arrived.


I receive, from time to time, missives from King Arthur Flour, a delightful little company in Vermont. They first attracted me with their tasty bread machine mixes, and they have kept me by feeding my foodie needs. Today, however, they have made me happier than ever before. Today, my friends, they published a recipe on how to make real NYC black and white cookies. My favorite cookie. My most favorite cookie. I cannot extol its virtues sufficiently. Think on it: a soft, lemon cookie, half of it coated with just the right amount of sweet, sugary vanilla icing, the other half lovingly draped in a more robust chocolate icing. Is there anything more wonderful in the cookie world? No, I say. Assuredly no. So-- time to start baking.

Here, for the curious, is the recipe.

And here is a picture of how they'll (I hope) turn out:


I used to be one of those annoying little children who corrected people when they put prepositions at the ends of sentences. Or used adjectives in place of adverbs. As a matter of fact, I still correct people, though I get paid to do it. The big difference between being a prick of a youth and an editor is that editing makes a person very much aware of how much we all mangle English. It isn't hard to do!

That said, I refuse to join the Ben Franklins of the world who love painfully phonetic spelling and have moved "beyond" punctuation. This is partly self-preservation: if I refuse to see what professionals consider errors, I'm out of the job. So, too, I love good communication. English, when written well, is a beautiful thing to behold.

Thus, while I now avoid correcting people in public (unless asked), I still take pains to notice English... shall we say "deviations"? That brings me to this blog. I've found that while most people hate being corrected, they like to titter over the mistakes of others; I'm no different. So here is the glorious new label, "worldedit," wherein I make fun of the English of my fellow nameless humans. Click the label on the right side of the screen for grammar, syntax, and spelling joy.

First batch of botched English!

Typed on a bright orange sticker on the front of Adobe Photoshop Elements 7:

US $20 Mail-in Upgade Rebate

(I've always wanted an upgade. It's the fabled fruit which produces the key ingredient of Gatorade beverages. Harvested before it becomes a downgade.)

Typed as a question on the final test in a game design class:

"You are part of a team to develop a game, what does the terminology need to be used to communicate to others within the team in developing the initial screens and menus the player encounters when first starting the game?"

(This question is about communication. If that's irony, it isn't Socratic.)

The second example was provided by a vulpine friend of mine. If you see anything I ought to include in a worldedit entry, feel free to email me at

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Now that I've broken the ice with a thoroughly businesslike entry, I'll brave the introduction. I admit it's more like a sequel, both to my first post, and to Sparrow's first post (in which he gloriously outlined his intentions for the future). Naturally, since Sparrow did things one way, I'll have to do them in another way. Time for displaying my foresight in answering non-frequently-asked-questions!

What's the difference between Fox and Sparrow, the persons?
Sparrow tends to be florid in his writing; Fox can be painfully precise. Sparrow muses; Fox pontificates. Subjects will vary widely, but Fox will tend toward specific issues like the colonization of Mars, EPing, or grammar.

What do you two DO all day?
Write! And it's not a joke. Sparrow does a lot of writing (and teaching) in his line of work; Fox edits for money and writes for sanity. Nurturing Thorn is also a big part of life, since we do not put him in childcare. That is a responsibility we share utterly.

Who is Thorn?
Thorn is our son. We've decided to refrain from using his name here to protect his privacy.

Who is Rose?
Rose is Sparrow's name for Fox. Sorry for the confusion, but the name pre-existed the blog.

What are your political views?
If you have to ask, lest your eyes melt from our horribly American liberalism or conservatism, this isn't the blog for you. We don't agree anyway.

Who painted the winged fox image on your blog?
Click on the image to find out.

Did you know there's a bird named a "fox sparrow?"
We sure do. Found out while making this blog, in fact. But we are stalwartly dual-animal here.

Exclusively Pumping

I meant to begin this blog with an introduction and mission statement. But since I've been asked by several people how best to go about exclusively pumping breastmilk (EPing), I decided to post my information here so I can link it rather than type the same thing over and over.

For those who know nothing about this practice, EPing is the art of maintaining a breastmilk supply without actually breastfeeding a baby. There are many reasons a woman may choose to EP -- inverted nipples, a baby's extended stay in the NICU, latching problems, etc. -- but one thing these women have in common is that they are convinced that breastmilk is best for their children. When most mothers would get discouraged and switch to formula, these moms take on the full-time task of pumping their milk for the benefit of their babies.

I had a difficult time breastfeeding the Thorn as a newborn: he had strong suction from the beginning, but tended to suck only on the tip of the nipple, which resulted in -- there's no way to put this delicately -- a lot of blood. As I am a large-breasted woman and both nipples are very inverted, the task was even more difficult. Despite lactation consultations and diligent attempts at feeding, my baby lost weight and I lost confidence. That's when Sparrow found out about EPing on a websearch late at night. Faced with the dilemma of failing at the breast or switching to formula, I decided to EP.

At three months, I now produce 50 ounces of milk a day. Some people raise their figurative brows at the number, but based on forum seatches, getting at least 30 ounces isn't all that uncommon with diligence.

Things I've learned about maximizing my milk output while exclusively pumping (EPing):

1) Make sure your flanges fit your nipples -- there is no one-size-fits-all! In order to easily measure your nipple width, try the coin method: hold a dime, a nickel, and a quarter to your nipple. Which is about the right size? Then put the coin in your flange. Does it fit? Another key to knowing your flange is too small is if your nipples look pinched and rub up against the sides.

2) In general, dual electric pumps are best, but some have more success with manuals, so experiment (it never hurts to have a backup manual anyway). Insurance may help pay for the cost of a pump, but even if you have to foot the entire bill, remember that formula feeding is far more expensive in the long run.

3) Drink at least 100oz a day and get at least 300 calories in addition to what you'd normally eat;

4) Pump every two to three hours for at least twenty minutes for the first three months (generally, every time baby would feed) -- make sure that each time you keep pumping for five minutes after the milk flow stops;

5) Make sure at least one of your pumpings happens between midnight and five in the morning to take advantage of higher prolactin levels;

6) Keep as rested and de-stressed as possible;

7) Put hot compresses on your breasts to stimulate milk during pumping and help relax you (I find that putting hot water in my breast pads makes the heat last longer than using a washcloth);

8) Have your partner feed and change the baby while you pump at night (good for companionship and helps you get more rest -- Sparrow was brilliant at it);

9) When you drop a pump time, wait a week to make sure your production isn't suffering before dropping another pump;

10) Try to hold, touch, or look at a picture of the baby before you pump -- sometimes a recording of the baby's cry also works;

11) Gently stroke your breasts from outer edges toward the nipple to stimulate milk flow and help unclog any clots;

12) Put the pump on low suction/fast repetition for the first minute or three (until you get letdown); follow up with seven to ten minutes of high suction/slow repetition (until your breastmilk stops squirting and/or you get only a drop every few reps); end with low suction/fast repetition for the rest of the session;

13) Add a touch of olive oil to the flanges if you're getting pump-burn; use Lansinoh to moisturize your nipples after pumping (not before -- it is sticky and can make the friction worse); if you've really got a pump-burn or backache problem, consider these sorts of flanges;

14) Cardinal rule: if you're looking to increase your milk production, frequent pumping at 15-20 minutes is better than infrequent pumping for longer. With the latter, it may seem like you're getting more with each pump, but the overall number of ounces per day will be lower.

15) Keep a record of the number of pumps you do per day, the number of ounces you're getting, and the number of ounces you're drinking.

16) Don't watch the pumps! You'll only stress about it. Find something to read or listen to.

17) Many women believe they need galactagogues to increase supply. Often their supplies are fine, or would benefit from more time, calories, or liquid intake. Make sure you do research before using a galactagogue. Oatmeal, for instance, hasn't actually been proven to assist with supply -- any help is likely the increase in calories when a mother makes sure to eat regularly. Blessed thistle has been praised, as has fennel: these are in Mother's Milk tea. Again, it is likely that any increase seen is due to the liquid intake. Fenugreek is the only galactagogue I'd trust -- but be aware of potential side effects.

18) Yes, doctors used to suggest drinking beer, though they've ceased doing so. It's the extra hydration and calories that help, not the beer itself. In fact, alcohol can have adverse effects on breastfeeding. It isn't forbidden for a breastfeeding mom to drink beer, though. The alcohol content in breastmilk mimics the content in the bloodstream: wait an hour for a pint of 5% beer to metabolize, and you won't need to "pump-and-dump." However, plain old water is by far a better choice, if you're going to drink anything.

19) If your production is starting to suffer in later months, have a Pump-a-thon! That's two hours for twenty minutes each, all day.

Saving Money & Time
* Glad freezer bags are just as good at storing milk, for a fraction of the cost of milk-specific bags. Put one milk expression's worth in each sandwich-sized bag, "burp" the extra air out, and lay it flat in your freezer. When you've enough, double-bag the lot in a gallon-sized bag. Or freeze milk in ice cube trays and put the frozen cubes in freezer bags. Each milk cube is about 1 ounce.
* Instead of spending money to buy an expensive hands-free bra for pumping, try buying a sports bra and cutting small slits in the front, or looping rubber bands around the flanges and your nursing bra hooks.
* Rinse used pump parts and put them in the fridge between pumpings -- that way you'll save on dishes. You'll want to wash them eventually, but doing two pumpings with the same parts, properly chilled, is fine.

Built up a large freezer stash? Save a NICU baby! Donate your milk to an approved Milk Bank.

What Do You Use?
* Ameda Purely Yours (backpack version features a dual electric pump with manual option; you can also buy additional custom flanges and inserts to make sure your nipples get a good fit)
* Sassy MAM Anti-Colic 5oz (silicon nipples, BPA-free plastic, unscrewable bottoms)
* Itzbeen Timer (though you could just as easily use a free online stopwatch)
I use Ameda pump bottles when pumping and transfer the milk to the MAM bottles for fridge storage (or Glad bags, if I'm freezing milk). When in a true hurry, I can fit the ends of my flanges into the MAM bottles, though I have to hold onto both, since it isn't a screw-tight match. All products are available on

Exclusively Pumping :: Links: Exclusive Pumping
Exclusively Pumping Rules

Monday, August 24, 2009


I haven't had much time lately to sit calmly and observe the world around me. Dashing back and forth between my teaching obligations and my errands, I have failed to spend even a moment looking at beautiful things. I grant, too, that it is summer. Heat and humidity fail to interest me. The best flowers have faded into a verdant thickness. The trees can be lovely, but I prefer them in autumn, when their colors shift like a sunset's.

Today, however, is different. As you might have guessed from my coy introduction, I have found time this afternoon to sit. To look around. To enjoy beauty. Beauty has taken a particular form, too, this afternoon. Gilman Hall, the centerpiece of John Hopkins' Homewood campus, is being renovated. This lengthy process will come to an end, barring financial difficulties, in September of 2010. Meanwhile, a hideous scaffold sieges Gilman's historic exterior.

I'm currently sitting at a table on Q (quad) level of the MSE library on Hopkins' campus. I've sat here before. Many times recently. I have myself a little iced tea, or some water, and whatever lunch I've managed to scramble together. Sunflower seed butter and strawberry jelly sandwiches today. But, I've never looked out the window. Until today. I don't really know why. My curiosity has simply never directed me to turn my attention away from my work, from the people who bustle here, or from my own thoughts. I don't know what turned my head, but I'm glad for that little numen. For there, rising above everything else, is Gilman's clock tower. It is evidently finished. Sparkling white and copper. The time is wrong on the clock, as though trapped in a perpetual midnight, but the building is lovely.

We're also having a blue day here on campus. No clouds dot the sky, and so Gilman's bright, white form rises without competitor, a striking, handsome figure against the firmament. I've included a picture of old Gilman. It was lovely then, too. When the new building is finished, or as soon as I remember to bring my good camera, I'll take a few pictures. This process-- this beautification-- should be recorded. It should be noticed. I'm sorry that I haven't before now, but being sufficiently chagrined, I'll made a habit of looking up, taking a pause, and seeing the beauty around me.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Mystical stones

Rose and I are going shopping for mystical stones. We're again inspired by the novel: Rumor of Gems.

Update:  We didn't make it out today, but we'll be sure to get there next week. The shop in question is called Earthly Rocks, and I purchased a lovely amethyst there some weeks ago. I hope to get a picture of that stone, and whatever others we buy, up here soon.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

4:59 am

I have a new appreciation for five o'clock in the morning. Once, and not so long ago, I considered it a benighted part of the day. If awoken anywhere even remotely near five, I would grumble bitterly, cursing my ill fortune. Since Thorn's birth, however, five o'clock has become a glorious time. I am effusive at five. Ecstatic. I sometimes even do a little dance.

Why so joyous?

My waking at five these past two weeks has been a direct result of Thorn sleeping "through" the night. Sometimes we get five straight hours of sleep now, but most of the time it is closer to seven. How delightful. How marvelous.
I never thought I could appreciate seven hours of sleep as much as I do. I don't think you can unless your sleep is interrupted every hour or every two hours for a few months (or, if you happen to be a chronic insomniac). My earlier sleep patterns (eight to ten hours at a stretch) were, I now realize, tantamount to receiving one of Hera's golden apples.* Utterly priceless.

But, aside from all of my frivolity, this is also a milestone for Thorn. He's growing up. Quickly. He's beginning to "talk," and smile, and hold his head up without support. Every day something new, and now that the days begin so much earlier, I have more time to enjoy it all.

* We moderns don't use mythological references enough. Time for that to change.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


My son, Thorn (3 months old), is sitting on my lap. And since he chooses to remain relatively quiescent, I am permitted to write this entry.

Rose and I have decided to begin a new blog. We've had blogs in the past. We use Livejournal, though I haven't posted anything significant there in ages. I've used Blogger before, but the blog I made didn't make it past seventeen entries. Recently, however, we had the lovely idea to write a blog together. Our individual writing lives have condensed, apart from work-related scribblings, to the flashes of Facebook and the tweets of Twitter, neither of which satisfies the craving to write. Independently we have failed to craft a stable outlet for our thoughts and musings, but we imagine that collectively we'll have more success.

The blog's title comes from a long series of discussions concerning totem animals. Rose's (called Fox here) animal is a fox. Mine is a sparrow. We'll sign our entries Fox or Sparrow. While many of our readers will come from Facebook, and thus will know exactly who we are and what we do, we've decided to use pseudonyms, maintaining, we hope, some anonymity. To this end I will refer to my wife as Rose or Fox, and to my son as Thorn whenever I write about them here. I don't know yet how Rose will talk about me, but I'll leave that in her hands.

I intend to use this blog to talk about books, the Classics, Roman and Greek history, Latin, anthropology, 19th century romantic literature, science fiction, fantasy fiction, the trials and triumphs of fatherhood, being a husband, the life of a graduate student in the humanities, poetry, and whatever other trifling amusements I happen to fancy. I will rarely, if ever, speak about politics, though World Events might make an appearance from time to time. I shall leave political discussions to Rose and others. My motto is the same as the musically inclined Benjamin Franklin's of 1776, who sang "I won't put politics on paper; it's a mania. So I refuse to use the pen in Pennsylvania." I agree, but I'll extend Mr. Franklin's verse to cover Maryland, New York, or any other state that I call home.

Now and then I'll include a bit of fiction, or poetry, or neo-Latin that I've written. We mean this blog, after all, to be a creative outlet as well as an informative one.

I always accept comments, and I'm looking forward to yours.

I think that's enough of an introduction. Time to get things rolling.