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Showing posts from October, 2015

There was an old lady who swallowed a pool...

Warning: Transportation geek-ery ahead! This post is the tale of a pool & a parking garage. Boring stuff, probably...unless you live in Oak Park. 

Only in Oak Park. 
Let me preface my comments about Monday night's Transportation Commission meeting by saying that I lived next to a school in another state for about 5 years while I was in law school and the immediate few years after. The lights from the junior high sports field shined directly into our living room several nights a week. The cars for soccer and baseball games would park near the entrance to our apartment complex--along the side of the road leading to the school building. Crowds of students coming to school and leaving school each day. And an amazing thing happened...nobody cared. Now, don't get me wrong, that particular city had its own particular set of peculiar goings-on. Each town does. It's just hard for me, as a relative outsider, to get worked up in the same way that my fellow villagers do about...we…

Fighting the food shortage myth

This Friday is World Food Day. Which is a great program to highlight global hunger and efforts to eliminate poverty around the world. Many Americans would be surprised that the face of poverty in the US isn't urban. It leans slightly rural. It's also regional with the South making up a pocket of persistent rural poverty. But hunger isn't a food problem. That would also surprise people. It's a systemic distribution problem. Which is why I get a little edgy when anybody involved with food tries to jump on the "growing population" bandwagon. We inevitably--in their eyes--need industrial agriculture, new technology, GMOs, or improved yields to supposedly feed the increasing billions.

It's all false narrative.

We currently grow enough food to feed more than all of humanity. We grow so much food we waste it. We grow enough to feed a billion more than the 9 billion that is thrown around as a target number to feed. No, hunger is not a yield, technology, or even f…

Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings review

As I promised last week, I've been reading a rare-for-me "parenting expert" book (not something I normally buy into) and I wanted to offer my two cents on it. I grabbed it off the library shelf and it ended up having a few nuggets of wisdom in it. Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life is a 2015 book by Columbia-educated Dr. Laura Markham geared towards the "new baby or toddler for older sibling" crowd, but has quite a bit for the equally-aged school age crowd, too. It will come across as permissive to quite a few old school authoritarian types, but Dr. Markham does a decent job explaining how both punishment and real permissiveness actually fuel more hostility and behavior problems. She's encouraging parents to rethink discipline via coaching, modeling, and facilitating responsible choices. Which sounds psycho-babble until you get deeper into specific examples of how it plays out in real life...like kids fighti…

The Contrarian

My son gets it honestly. He comes from a long line of contrarians. I'm a contrarian. His grandfathers are contrarians. Their fathers before them were grumpy, opinionated men known to swear oaths against feel-good holidays, policy matters, or even just generally out the window at other drivers. It's in his blood.

I'm trying to cut him some slack. Every day he comes home from school exhausted, hungry, and wanting to relax. Inevitably, there is conflict with his sister. Over toys. Over the tv. Over sharing time with me. Which is understandable because I barely get to see him. He's on the bus within an hour of waking up and is often back in bed within 3 hours of arriving home. Being a kindergartener is a full-time job.

The shift in parenting situation is altering my views though--which doesn't necessarily make me happy. It's altering my opinion about the duties the school system owes in taking care of our children. It's altering my opinions about the quality ti…

Protecting non-traditional family structures

Yesterday's rant here on the blog really got started several days ago when a prominent Catholic website I casually follow posted a piece on why the Church shouldn't take an accommodating approach to alternative lifestyles. (I enjoy reading opinions that differ from my own to see what others are thinking, even if I wholeheartedly disagree.) I'm not going to give them more web traffic by linking, but the summary is that disagreements within the Church family are different than disagreements outside the Church family. Never mind that the Church has taken a more robust interfaith approach to Muslims, Jews, etc. over the years. These are conservative Catholics trying to defend "traditional marriage." Anyway, what got my full attention was that this was one of the rare occasions in contemporary culture where cohabiting couples got lumped in with other "sinners" in the mix of how the culture is undermining traditional marriage.

I have occasionally spoken up as…