Monday, September 22, 2008

When I Grow Up

Peaches has a long list of things she wants to be when she is grown up(astronaut, physicist,dancer,more recently, President, etc). Popcorn just used to say she wants to "kick a ball". That was fine untill the financial earthquake hit last week and we felt the need to impress upon the kids that they need to work hard and secure their future. So Popcorn was encouraged to ponder some more.Then she announced,"I will be a doctor and people will come to my office and I will give them "streps"." Before we could explain that doctors cured strep and not the other way round, she continued," And I will give shots, big ones." "But that will hurt us!" Peached objected. Back came the stony reply, "You have to be "bwave"." I think the bedside manner is going to need a lot of work.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Of Myths and Women

Joe Klein has an interesting article on the mythology of Sarah Palin. According to him, she represents a past that is gone but presents a more alluring vision than the grey reality of today. The power of myths is undeniable so the Democrats need something equally potent to cancel this out. Maybe today is an appropriate day (9/11) to point out that it is in rising to challenges that this country attained excellence not shutting out the daylight and living in fading memories.

Also, I should note the power of Patricia Cornwell to bring the myth of the freaky killer to life in her writing. Today, when the helpful repair person in his superhero T shirt turned up with a sunny smile to look at the dishwasher, I did catch myself wondering if there were any saws in his tool collection:-).

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Why this election is so important

This year is unlike any other year. Everyone seems to agree about that but not for the same reasons. For some it is about electing a woman as vice-president or an African-American as President and these are historic reasons for sure. But there are other, more grim realities which make this a crucial election. Tomorrow one of the most exciting scientific experiments in history will start in Geneva. While several U.S. scientists worked on it, our country is not the leader. We are grappling with crippling national debt and a financial situation so severe that the government had to takeover two financial institutions to prevent what was described as "financial Armageddon".At such a time, we need to reflect carefully and cast our vote in a thoughtful manner. A rancorous, divisive and narrow approach would spell doom for our future. As some candidates try to raise the level of heat and obscure the real issues, here is a timely view of what is at stake. Let us take a minute to think about it.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Look at me!

We had a quiet weekend catching up on things.Popcorn has developed a disconcerting doomsday-like syndrome where she feels she must transport all that is most precious to her with her everywhere. As a result, toys are missing and much fuss ensues and that took up a lot of my time. I also managed to read some of the Patricia Cornwell books I recently got from the library. Excellent writing and amazing insights into forensic detection.
So I was also able to tune into the sunday shows and get some political analysis. It seems to me they did not quite know what to make of Sarah Palin and were tip-toeing around her. When a candidate has nothing of substance to say, its hard to say anything critical without seeming personal. Near as I can make out her message is essentially the same as Peaches song of the week at school, "Look at me, marvellous me! See what I can do!" Look at what a wonder mom I am but you cannot wonder how my abstinence policy didnt work in my own household. See how I can field dress a moose! Obama's lack of experience has been cited against him and it should be acknowledged but when meagre experience is coupled with lack of vision and awareness, that is a worrisome combination.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sarah Palin???

We just got back from our full-fledged family vacation and it was a total blast. Peaches and Popcorn did wonderfully. Peaches is old enough to actually take in what is happening: she loved the guards at Buckingham Palace, the double-decker buses, the boat rides on the Seine, th Eiffel Tower. Popcorn is somewhat more detached. She traveled glued to her backpack and her favorite soft toy, condensed thousands of years of history into one narrative involving a princess with long hair and her castle and applied fake make-up lavishly to herself and her huggy bear.
So after two weeks in a fantasy world, reality really bit when we came back and heard the two words: Sarah Palin. It was like having a bucket of cold water thrown at me. With all the problems facing us today, this is the person John McCain thought most suitable for the job? A person who denies global warming, has no real policy experience, has hardly ever traveled outside the U.S., was barely even known to many of us before last week. Obama, correctly and honorably has asked the media to back of her daughter. It is the decent thing to do. However, when someone touts themselves as a "hockey-mom", their parenting record becomes fair game. Certainly, it is possible to be a good mother and good worker. But parents who remember walking the long, lonely stretches of the night with an inconsolable, or sick baby, who have spent days in a haze of sleep deprivation in what a dad I know memorably called "survival mode" are forced to wonder how alert and effective she will be should that 3 am call come through to her.
This election is unlike any other. Our next president will be faced with complex realities, difficult problems and sometimes, unpleasant decisions. In this endeavour, he needs a capable partner. Sarah Palin does not meet those requirements by any standard. And oh yes, the woman thing. Did John McCain seriously think that those women who were disaffected by Hillary Clinton's defeat in the primaries would simply jump at the chance to vote for another woman, no matter who? I know he is out of touch, but that much??