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November 13, 2002

Carnival of the Vanities #8

Carnival of the Vanities #8

My daughter's new favorite book is a pocket dictionary she pulled off the bookshelf the other day and stuck into her pile of bedtime books. She picks the pile every night, and I read the books within to her before we turn out the light. I find it interesting to watch the ebb and flow of popularity among the books, to see Harold and the Purple Crayon make an initial entry, then zoom to the top of the pile, and finally disappear for a week or two before making a comeback. Between The Carrot Seed and Harold and the Purple Crayon, Crockett Johnson has done pretty well by her, and I still have my Barkis and Barnaby books to show her, one day.

She also likes the Peanuts aphorism books she pulled out of my collection, "Love is Walking Hand in Hand" and "I Need All the Friends I Can Get", which to my mind is a far worse book, but one that catches her eye just as often as the other. One of the very first memories I have is of my father reading Peanuts comic strips to me, so it's nice to see her drawn* to to Schultz and Johnson. It's the first proof that the comic strip appreciation gene I got from Dad might have legs. She certainly doesn't get it from her mother, who looked at me rather oddly when I told her that her two-year-old now had her own subscription bag at the comic book store.**

Her fascination with the dictionary has been kind of a surprise. I know why, I think. The first time she pulled it out and asked "Wat's dis, daddy?", I told her it was a dictionary, and that it had all the words from all the stories in it. What she heard was "It has all the stories in it." It was the last book she handed me that night.

"Read stories, daddy."

So I turned out the light, after gaining some time by telling her that this was a special story book, one that you had to read in the dark, and made up a story. In my humble opinion, it was one god-awful stinker of a story. I shan't be writing children's books anytime soon. It was about a little girl, who, surprise, had the same name as Ngnat, and lived in a house with three kitties and two parents just like Ngnat's kitties and parents, and who went to school every day just like Ngnat and played with her friends, just like Ngnat. My god, it was a piece of unimaginative crap.

And she's made me tell it every night since.

I know from experience that it's not the story that counts. It's lying back in a warm cocoon of blankets, feeling the chilly air on your face and your father's weight beside you, using his arm as a pillow and drifting off to sleep to the sound of his voice. If there is a Platonic ideal of contentment, that feeling is the closest I ever got to it. If I have to tell the same horrifyingly dull story to my daughter at the end of each night so that she can trace out her own contentment asymptote, so be it.

Besides, the story's bound to get better with practice.

Welcome to the Carnival. Take your time and browse around. We'll see you next week.

*Pun not only intended but chuckled over far more than absolutely necessary.
**She gets the PowerPuff Girls and all the Bongo Comics titles.

Bill Mauldin has a Posse
Blogatelle - On Veteran's Day - The V.A. had no thought towards repairing him, just shutting him up. They dispensed narcotics via U.S. Mail and upon request. Nothing is too good for our veterans.

South Knox Bubba - A WWII Veteran's Story - Well, we started digging our holes, and they told me to face my hole to the rear from behind to keep somebody from coming in at us from the rear. So I dug my hole in a way that I could be looking to the rear, and the other guys were looking to the front. Well about the time I got my hole about half done, there was a terrible explosion right behind me. It knocked me off my feet and blew the rifle out of my hands. I wiggled my feet to see if I still had legs.

Bloggers in the Mist
Norwegian Blogger - The Grandmother of All Mistings! - WALLY: Yes of course you have, placing yourself in dreadful danger of death by Norwegian mob, why don't you pull a Salman Rushdie?
BELLOWS: 'cause you Norwegians couldn't whip up a good lynch mob if your lived depended on it?

Dogs of War
The Road to Surfdom - The Latest Pitch From Hitch - Whispering Truth To Power - Excuse me, but wasn't it such suggestions--that there were "root causes"--that caused Hitchens to indulge in apoplectic rages against the vile left for even daring to suggest that there might be reasons why "they" hate "us" and fly planes into buildings?

skippy the bush kangaroo - a moment for those fallen in battle - please take a moment to think of those who had died fighting for this country. take a moment to think of those who, unless a miracle of miracle happens, will die on the sands of iraq at the politician's behest.
now, in honor of armistice day, we bring you some views on invading iraq by the men and women who have actually served in our armed forces

Silent Running - My New-Found Conservatism - They don't care about fossil-fuel depletion, the ozone layer, Third World debt or World Bank lending policies. They're not interested in you boosting foreign aid, voting Green, or visualising world peace. They want you do do one of two things.
1) Convert to Islam, or
2) Die.

Exorcising Chad
Jimspot - Politics - That is a right that has been won through bloodshed on battlefields and secured through the hard work of many non-warring patriots. Time and again, people have given their all to secure and reaffirm the rights and freedoms of this republic of ours. So, people have worked hard and shed blood, sweat and tears for you to be able to get off your lazy ass and go to a polling place and cast a ballot. If you don't vote, aren't you spitting in their faces and pissing on their graves?

Whigging Out - More Fallout Analysis - If the good people of America wake up on November 7th of 2003 to a world mostly rid of the Islamic menace, and the Middle East is strewn with the corpses of Al Qaeda and Hezbollah loonies, Saddam is in his grave, the Iranian theocrats are scouting out digs in Aix-en-Provence and the Sauds are begging us to take their oil; if there are lots of judges seated on benches who will keep true law and order and send the most violent offenders to their doom; and if a legitimate tax cut is passed, THEN will this election mean anything.

Clubbeaux - Maybe I Should've Gotten Sports Illustrated Instead - And is it Republican's fault if Democrats insist on pouring their money in unwinnable races in Florida and Texas just to tweak George Bush's nose? Take the millions and millions of dollars Democrats wasted on Sisyphean quests in Florida and Texas, spread it around to where it could have actually affected close races and the electoral results might have looked a lot different.

Have 20-sider, Will Travel
Kaylr.com - A Real-life Dungeon? - This Daily Torygraph story about the Belgian pensioner killed by his own booby-trap sounds too much like an RPG scenario to be true. Was he a fan of Gary Gygax's "Tomb of Horrors"?

Hello from Walden!
Fragments ~ from Floyd - Good Life, Fertile Soil - I remember a cool November morning like this one, watching the steam rise up through the slanting sun as it lifted from the mound of hot compost: the heat of decay turning water into vapor. I had read an article in our worn how-to magazines that said you could actually slow-cook a chicken in your compost pile if you tended the pile just right and you coaxed the bacteria to produce enough heat.

Jack Handey has a Posse
Heretical Ideas - Philosophic Foundations For Libertarianism - In fact, it could be argued that mind-body integration can, in fact, undermine capitalism. One of the failings of materialist philosophy is that it does not provide a satisfactory answer to the existence of free will. If the universe is completely materialistic, then free will, by definition, does not exist.

Ipse Dixit - Not The Right Course - The focus on "freedom to" rather than "freedom from" is, I believe, the most essential error of modern liberalism. The Founders established our country to be one based on negative rights - rights the government could not abridge ("freedom from"). Taking its cue from the pre-WWII Progressive movement, modern liberalism has tended to focus on positive rights ("freedom to").

Philosoblog - Common Sense, National Review, and God - National Review is a great source of wisdom. But it likes to assure us that morality requires God, and this is as false as can be.

Media Bash
Sine Qua Non Pundit - The Scourge of Richard Cohen, Vol. LXIII - If Eminem is the new Elvis, I guess I could be the new Barry Mann and start putting the bomp bomp bomp bomp bomp on little Richard.

The Paper Chase
The Kitchen Cabinet - Who Needs Logic?

Pop Goes the Culture, cuz the Culture goes Pop!
Ipse Dixit - Much Improved - First and foremost, I am pleased to report that they corrected the first movie's biggest problem: slavish adherence to the book. Sorcerer's Stone was a disappointment mainly because the producers were obviously terrified of how the fans would react if they left anything out.

Prom Night Recollections
Silflay Hraka - Jitterbug Perfume - Today a sour reek emanated from her, so that I had the choice of either not breathing, or sending her to day-care half naked.
"Jesus, honey. You smell like poor people. " I told her

See You on the Funny Pages
The Eleven Day Empire - A Real Concession Speech - Ladies and gentlemen, the returns are in, and all hope is lost. My opponent has won this election. I have not called him to congratulate him; I would sooner tear out my own intestines with a fork than speak man to man to the lying bag of filth that the ignorant fools of this state have elected to the Congress.

Blogatron - How To Respond To A Centipede Infestation - The above studies can easily be conducted while standing on a chair or other raised surface, shrieking incoherently and gesticulating wildly, or while running down the hallway flapping one's arms and shouting, "Help! Help! Centipede! Centipede sighted in the bathroom! Request backup!"

MadKane - Tommy's Tune - (To be sung to "Alfie" by Hal David & Burt Bacharach.)
What's it all about, Tommy?
Why did Dems get such paltry few wins?
What's it all about,
When you sort it out, Tommy?
Are Dems meant to leak seats like a sieve?
Oh how did we fall behind?

Imao - Posted by Bigwig at November 13, 2002 12:00 AM | TrackBack

Postscript:
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
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