Archive for January 2009

Happy Birthday Robert Burns

January 26, 2009

Be careful what you share with others while reading the paper. One minute you are casually mentioning the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns‘ birthday to your partner, the next you’re dressed up like this:

Wearing the Stewart tartan

Wearing the Stewart tartan



Movie Review: Burn After Reading

January 24, 2009

Troy and I watched a movie together. Imagine! It was the Coen Brothers’ Burn After Reading, starring everyone. They were all somewhat amusing. I found it only mildly entertaining until the encounter in the closet … it was much better after that.

And, of course, there’s that “chair.” Also, the last scene is pure Coen comedy. Anyway, what prompted this post, more than anything, is that the movie manages to mock: Seattle, Princeton University, and pediatricians. What a trifecta!

For the record: no pediatrician acts like Tilda Swinton, and Princeton reunion dinners look nothing like the scene in which John Malkovich and his buddies massacre “Old Nassau.” (They even get the meter wrong … on purpose?)

Not that we’re bitter or anything … we can take a joke. Clearly. :-)


Google Reader stats

January 23, 2009

I’ve been setting up Google Reader today to see how it goes for a while. I figure it might help me keep up to date with some blogs I follow that don’t post every day.  I’ll be dropping Carpetbagger after the Oscars, of course. I found the subscription trends interesting. Below are the “most obscure.” It looks like I am the sole Google subscriber to two of them (you know who you are). And I don’t know what Lori’s secret is, but she is quite popular among the GoogReader set. Interesting that 538 has a slightly larger following than the White House blog (though not for long –it’s only been 3 days). 538 deserves it though. Since SIAJ got no 2009 Bloggie nominations, please consider voting here for 538 for best new blog, best weblog about politics, and weblog of the year.

Subscription trends (last 30 days)

Subscription Subscribers
Red Wine Rage 1 Unsubscribe
salt atlas 1 Unsubscribe
Two Boys and a Princess 4 Unsubscribe
The Sexton Seven 4 Unsubscribe
The Real Cruze Family 19 Unsubscribe
The Iceland Weather Report 120 Unsubscribe
Espresso News and Reviews – 135 Unsubscribe
Carpetbagger 163 Unsubscribe
White Blog Feed 8,273 Unsubscribe Politics Done Right 8,427 Unsubscribe

Restaurant Restrooms -guest editor

January 22, 2009

Brad was kind enough to send in this recently-seen bathroom scenery from the Acme Burger in Salt Lake City. It’s unclear if he used the chalk conveniently located on the urinal to leave his own mark on the facilities or not …


In other news, I bought a non-Sunday New York Times for the first time in a long while for my commute to work. It was mostly just to have the tactile experience of holding a newspaper filled with stories containing the words “President Obama” in them. Makes the whole thing feel a bit more real. Reading the news online, I sometimes get the feeling that it’s all just a weird second-life fantasy or something.

Inauguration fever

January 20, 2009

Felt like Christmas morning here in SF. We got up early to start watching history being made. Dan made breakfast and poured celebratory mimosas:

Ready to turn the page

Ready to turn the page

And up the street at Divisadero and Bush –well it’s now Divis and O:  (h/t to Jen)



We watched the swearing in on the net, which was OK, but a bit choppy. As soon as Chief Justice Roberts began to flub the oath, Dan jumped out of his seat in indignation –I was clueless until he showed me the text.  Likewise, when Obama referred to the “44 men who have taken this oath” –he jumped again. Trivia buffs: while Obama is in fact the 44th President, he is only the 43rd *person* to be president (Grover Cleveland being officially the 22nd and 24th). It was kind of like watching “The Last Samurai” with him. Details. Details.

Parade highlights of course included UT’s Pride of the Southland band and their rousing rendition of “Rocky Top,” which I picked out as soon as I heard the notes –it took Dan a few seconds to catch up this time, but he was able to lip-read Biden’s comment to Obama: “That’s a *big* band”).  It was great to see the Gay and Lesbian Band as well, followed appropriately by the Mobile (AL) Azalea Trail Maids. The high school band that followed, for some reason, chose to play “Over the Rainbow.” Go figure.


January 20, 2009


Where have all the Troys gone?

January 15, 2009

I recently read, for the first time, the ever popular Freakonomics, thanks to Ethan. The final chapter concerns baby names, and the cyclical popularity thereof. Among the footnotes, I spotted a five year-old NYT Magazine article, called “Where Have All the Lisas Gone?” by Peggy Orenstein, which links to a baby names site run from the Social Security Administration’s website, where you can track the popularity of names for the last 100+ years.

Of course, I had to check …

Daniel has crept slowly upwards since 1901, starting in the fifties. It was #25 the year my dad was born, and cracked the top twenty in 1952, which it’s never left. The highest rank it’s achieved has been #5, which it hit in 1985, 1990, and 2007.

Ethan wasn’t even in the top 1,000 names (except for 1901) until the early 1950s, but by the time “brother” was born, it was #331. The steady growth continued until 1989, when it rocketed from #262 to #87, and thereafter it’s been on a tear: the top fifty by 1997, the top twenty-five in 2000, and suddenly, since 2002, the top five. Last year it hit #3.

Troy on the other hand, spent the period from 1901-1959 in the mid 200’s. Suddenly, in 1960, it shot up to #162, and the next year to #100. From 1962 to 1967 it went from #67 to #40, where it stood when my favorite guy was born, in 1968. Since then, it’s done the same thing in reverse. #73 in our bicentennial year, it dropped to #106 by 1980, and by 1999, it had sunk into the 200’s, where it continues to reside. As far as “Troy” is concerned, it’s the Hoover administration again.

The last time I checked, we all liked our names. But they’re each slightly different, typologically. One of them has gone from “common” to “very common.” Another has only recently found celebrity, a generation after it was given. And the last one means: “You were born in the late sixties, too!”

So now I can kid Troy about his date stamped name. But don’t you think it’s interesting that his name sounds “grown-up” to kids, whereas Noe and Siobhan will almost certainly meet plenty of Ethans as they grow up?

In the end, the best thing about our names, as far as I’m concerned, is that our parents gave them to us.