Thursday, August 30, 2007

He works hard for his money

Henry's days are very full right now. When I'm not making him sweep the floor, he's busy fixing dinner. He can't be bothered to put on pants or comb his hair. He was going to post these pictures himself, but he's too busy cleaning the bathroom.

Monday, August 27, 2007

My 2 cents

You may find Kevin Federline an unlikely spokesman for the "Save the Penny" campaign. I too experienced feelings of doubt when I heard the news. Couldn't the organization have found a more credible advocate to champion its cause? But when K-Fed justified the penny's continued existence by stating "I feel good about the penny", I knew the campaign had found their guy.

Could it be that K-Fed is the penny incarnate: obnoxiously ubiquitous, nearly valueless, and frustratingly unavoidable?

Perhaps. Kevin Federline joins the growing ranks of celebrities who are famous for being famous. This was made painfully aware to me when I saw him promoting his new rap album on Ellen. Watching him perform gave me the same sense of vicarious embarrassment you sometimes experience in a Fast and Testimony meeting when the member chooses to express her sentiments in song. Unaccompanied. Sadly, those performances are at least as good, if not better, than K-Fed's attempt to break into the music biz.

Paris Hilton leads the growing number of vacuously talentless celebrites. Sure, she's starred in movies, advertisements, and even released an album, but the theatre she most frequently performs in, and is best known for, is real life. I don't care to follow the chronicles of Paris, but their details are almost unavoidable. During the height of her imprisonment debacle, I was relieved to find at least one tabloid promoting itself as "Paris-free", but crestfallen when I found the subject of their headline story to be... Nicole Richie.

I encountered an irritatingly striking example of the 'famous for being famous' phenomenon while living in London. Her name was Chantelle Houghton, a reality t.v. star who had garnered attention because of her uncanny resemblance to Paris Hilton. Looking at her gave me the sense of being in a living room, with a picture on the wall depicting that living room, with a picture on the wall depicting the picture of the picture of the living room, ad infinitum. Or ad nauseum.

This multiplication of identities, this replication of resemblances, was also made manifest in England in another, more pecuniary form: the two pence. If you think the penny is annoying, try two stuck together. It seemed I was always receiving the dreaded coin as change for a transaction, but was never able to reciprocate and actually spend it. Even now they turn up every once in awhile, in the bottom of a book bag or the pocket of a seldom worn jacket, daring me to find any utility in their existence.

If England ever launches a 'Save the Two Pence' campaign, I think Chantelle Houghton would make a great spokeswoman. There's a certain poetry in one irrelevant duplication defending another.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Here are some pictures of Henry. Clothing courtesy of our friends Jaime and Chris.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Identity Crisis

Have you ever introduced yourself to someone and been asked, after stating your name, "Is that your given name?" Most of us have never been on the receiving end of such a query. However, when you go by Bubba, the question is not uncommon. The inquiry does two things: 1) implies that your name is unusual, bizarre, or unfit and 2) calls into question the sanity of your parents, who may or may not have bestowed such a name upon you.

In Bubba's case, he can luckily reply "no" to the question. Born Michael Dan, he is neither the recipient of an unsound name or unsound parents. His current moniker, however, was no less Bubba's choice appellation than yours or mine. And, unfortunately, it's giver did not have the wisdom or life experience that many parents possess when choosing a name for their child.

It could have been worse. In many ways, Bubba got off easy. I went to high school with kids nicknamed Cheese, Sleaze, and Fruity. Or, he could have followed in the misguided steps of those who choose self-imposed nicknames: Corndog (chosen by the individual because of his love for the delectable treat) or Fritz (I don't know why this person chose this name).

Regardless of the quality of his nickname, Bubba has, in the words of Alexander Pope, "first endured, then pitied, then embraced" it. Which brings him to his current dilemma. Until now, Bubba has been, well, Bubba. But our recent move to Munster has been accompanied by a life change, i.e. a job. Bubba is, in some sense, a professional. And is it fitting for a professional to go by the name of Bubba? We don't know the answer to this question yet. But ask yourself, seriously, would you hire a lawyer named Bubba?

For the time being, Bubba is using the alias Michael at work. The members of our ward have been less receptive to calling him Bubba than other congregations have been in the past. Some members have flat out said they would prefer to call him Michael. Michael? Who is this man? Surely I haven't been introduced to him.

The term "given name" implies that it is, in some sense, a gift. For people with given names of Thomas or Sarah, this concept seems plausible. Less so for those with the given name of Jazz or, as I recently encountered, Prima Donna. In these situations, it is reasonable to ask if a given name is indeed a gift, or rather a curse.

The implications of the term "nickname" are less certain. How does one, exactly "nick" a name? Is a nickname merely a substitution of one name for another? A replacement? I fear in Bubba's case it may be not a substitution of one identity for another, but a multiplication of identities. Will Michael bring about the demise of Bubba? Or can the two exist simultaneously?

Only time will tell.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Ode to Blogging

When I told Bubba I had started a blog, his reaction was "You mean just for family to look at, right?" No, Bubba, I was hoping my blog would rival The Drudge Report. You see, Bubba is suspicious of bloggers. Why do they blog? he asks. Why do they think that what they have to say is so interesting? Why does anyone care?

It reminds me of the Dharma & Greg episode when Dharma's dad sets up some old radio broadcast equipment in their living room. Greg stays home from work and spends the day playing DJ. For those of you fortunate enough to have seen the episode, you'll remember Greg's utter dismay when at the end of the day he realizes the broadcast equipment was not plugged in. He compares his wasted day to being ten years old again and playing make-believe by talking into a hairbrush.

But the thing is, Greg had a great day even if no one was listening. And I guess that's why I wanted to start blogging. Motherhood is great, but it can be isolating. At the moment, Henry's not the best conversationalist. There are lots of times during the day when something happens and I want to tell someone, anyone. Blogging may become the next symptom of depression. "Doctor, I'm experiencing lack of appetite, decrease in energy, and the urge to blog." On second thought, perhaps, it's the exact opposite. Communication, or at least the impulse to communicate, is not destructive. It's creative. So I guess Al Gore did me a favor when he invented the internet: he gave me a hairbrush to talk into. And pretend it's a microphone. And hope someone's listening.

And that's a truth that's not so inconvenient.