Yes, I’ve actually taken some photos lately without a certain baby in them...
Productivity blogs. Um...
I don’t want to turn this into a baby blog, partly because I don’t want to end up like those newspaper columnists who have a kid and feel as if they’ve been handed the Keys to Wisdom, but also because I’ve always tried to respect the privacy of those around me when writing here, which puts a lot of stories off-limits. One day, after all, William may want to tell his own stories for himself. But when they’re about what’s going on in my own head it seems okay to tell them, and it would be a shame not to follow up the saga of his delivery.
The Wizard of Id’s co-creator Brant Parker has died at 86, a week after the strip’s writer Johnny Hart also died. I might not have been marking their passing if it weren’t for the fact that I grew up in a time and place owned by Parker and Hart: The Wizard of Id was the only daily strip carried by The Mercury, the daily newspaper of southern Tasmania, throughout the 1970s and 1980s; the only strip of any kind that it carried for most of that time, in fact. That and its editorial cartoonist Kev Bailey were the only regular exposure to newspaper cartooning we had. Not for us, the glory days of Peanuts or the early days of Calvin and Hobbes—let alone anything Australian. We didn’t even get those first few months of Garfield that were actually any good. It was just Rodney, the Wizard, Blanch, Bung, Spook, and the fink. No wonder I used to marvel at the luxurious comics supplements of the Sunday papers on visits to my grandparents in Sydney.
This enormous thread on car crashes at Making Light is like the proverbial car crash itself: you can’t look away, especially if you were born and raised in a country with compulsory seatbelt laws. I can think of only a few times in my life that I haven’t worn a seatbelt in a car, which always makes me feel uncomfortably exposed. After reading those horror stories, I’m wondering why buses and trains don’t have them too.
The horror story of the week is of course Virginia Tech. Crooked Timber has a thread on how the social web has underpinned reporting of the event. One comment: “Watching the [TV] news meant I was learning things slower and filtered through Stupid.”
The world of baby merchandise is vast and mysterious. Some of the more mysterious labels we’ve seen have been on items of clothing. Remember, these are intended for infants under three months old—basically eating, excreting and sleeping machines:
- DO NOT TUMBLE-DRY
- NOT INTENDED FOR SLEEP WEAR
The original William Ewins emigrated from Britain to New South Wales in the 1850s and ended up in the town of Armidale, where he lived for twenty years before moving to Fiji. When I was living in Canberra I did some genealogical research for my mother into my ancestor using microfilm at the National Library of Australia. Here’s some of what I found, to help show why I thought his name deserved reviving. All excerpts are from The Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser, a newspaper his subscription helped establish. Armidale at the time was a town of around 850 where a dozen eggs cost two shillings and a loaf of bread ninepence.
With this little fella arriving five days late it’s not as if we were taken by surprise, but he kept us guessing right up to the end. The last week of Jane’s pregnancy was a trial every time I had to head into work, wondering whether I would be called straight back again by her first contractions. On Friday afternoon I went to Boots on Princes Street to rent a tens machine, one of those things you’ll never have heard of if you haven’t been through this. Jane hadn’t been sure whether she wanted one, but one of my fellow first aid students recommended them, so we gave it a go. More on this later.
As if there weren’t enough going on around here right now, just before William arrived I put everything in place for a brand new feature of this site: the Know Your Elephants podcast. Over the next few months there will be a new audio poem every week for you to download, collect and/or discard, along the lines of the videos you may already have seen. Drawn from the extensive Speedysnail archive of silly animal poetry (with several you won’t have read or heard before), these were recorded by yours truly in April and November last year with production help from a friend. When I have enough I have bigger plans for them, but figure hey, why not share what’s there now? Plus it means there’ll be something new here every week even when blog posts are scarce. Hope you enjoy them.