Wednesday, June 29, 2005

maybe they are not even "emeritus"

At the Alhambra, in Granada, Spain, there is a building--or perhaps a room--constructed of three--or perhaps four--intersecting arches, making it a hexagon--or perhaps an octagon. The face of each arch has a shallow concave angle carved into its length. The room is 40--perhaps 60--feet across. I don't know what height the ceiling rises to. A person could stand on one side of the room, face towards an arch, and speak. The sound would travel the length of the arch over the room to the other side where another person could hear it. It is spooky. My traveling companion whispered into the arch and I could hear it sixty feet away in a room full of tourists as if she were standing invisibly next to me. I have heard that there is a similar arch in the Union Station in St. Louis where mafiosos would have meetings by talking to each other while standing on opposite sides of the room from each other.

I have a theory that all of the benches on Mass. Street in Lawrence are somehow invisibly connected in some similarly mysterious way. It is the best explanation as to why there are so many people sitting around downtown talking to themselves.

Alternative theory #1) They are somehow audibly connected to my son, which is why he now babbles unintelligibly non-stop to no one in particular.

Alternate theory #2) They are Professors Emeritus from the University of Kansas.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

y'all should do this

Your Linguistic Profile:

70% General American English

15% Yankee

10% Dixie

5% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern

Saturday, June 25, 2005


Originally uploaded by jandjgilbert.

I've finally posted some photos from the Smoky Hill River Festival two weeks ago. It was a great time with Grandpa Brice even though torrential rain dampened things a bit on Friday and Sunday. Saturday was beautiful.

oop, David just woke up from his nap, so I have to go.


batman begins because

"'Because' is not an answer." I heard this quite a bit from my dad when I was a kid. I always figured that "because" was a good enough answer to bide some time until I could fabricate something more plausible. Dad's retort has had a long-lasting affect on me--specifically on my cinematic willing suspension of disbelief. Particularly with superhero movies. When it comes to plot-lines, "because" is not an answer.
"Why can Superman fly?"
"Because, he is from another planet."
"Why does that matter? Do gravitons work differently in the Delta Sector?"
"um, because. . . "
Not an answer.
There are a couple of ways to extend an audience's willing suspension of disbelief. One is to lay out detailed exposition as to why the superheroes can do what they do and why they wear the funny costumes. The other method is maintain the flashy comic book style and delight the audience so that they don't worry. "The Matrix" did the first, while Tim Burton's "Batman" did the second. Burton offered up a thin plot and lots of eye candy making it clear that physics and motivation simply worked differently his comic purple Gothom.

Jaime really wanted to see the new "Batman." I whined a bit, but she persisted, so we tethered David to the crib and went to the cinema.

It's good.

Unlike Burton's "Batman," this one has taken the task of laying out as realistic a story as possible with excrutiating exposition as to why and how things are as they are. It is more than an hour of careful development of Wayne's character--punctuated with lots of scary bat flash-backs--before he finally makes the decision to dress up like a giant bat. By this point the audience is either "ok, I'll buy that" or "fine, just get on with it." While the story contains nothing particularly original, it makes up for it with lots of great fisticuffs. Wayne's parents die--Wayne is bitter-- sets out to find himself--travels to the Far East--climbs to the top of the mountain--finds a teacher who can show him the path he must journey. There was actually a moment where I was positive that his master was going to call him "grasshopper" and tell him that he couldn't leave until he snatched away a pebble.

Then we have a "James Bond" presentation of great gadgets and we're off to fight bad guys. After some bad guys, the archvillan, and curtain. Gary Oldman shows up at the beginning as a cop, so I assumed he was the bad guy. Turns out not to be so, which was very confusing. Oldman+cop=bad cop, right? No, he is sergeant Gordon and does a pretty good job.

This Batman is scary. The baddies use a fairly terrifying drug-induced hallucinations that gave me bad dreams. Then, towards the end, "holy walking stiffs, Batman, we're in a Zombie movie."

Some of the plot-points intersect Burton's Batman and change things around (Joker doesn't kill his parents). Jaime is a huge fan of Burton's, so that really peeved her. For both of us, the main detracting was the writing. The script sounds like the writers dug around in the ashcans of every man-against-the-odds morality tale ever written, pulled out the pithy monologues, and strung them together. We begin with "Why do we fall? So we learn how to pick ourselves back up." From there the script keeps falling and can't get up. Wayne gets lectured on ethics, power, and the meaning of life by every single other character in the film. I would have dressed up like a giant Bat just to be rid of all of them. It really could have used some of the humor and insanity of Burton's tale.

Oh, and the Scientologist that now has to follow Katie Holmes' 24/7 kept getting in the shots. That was annoying.

Of course this is not the first movie I have seen this summer whose main character is a chronically conflicted guy who's mother's death leads him to dress up in a big black suit with a mask and a cape. Nope, I am looking forward to "Batman vs. Darth Vader" in 2007.


Morocans are a testy bunch. In their markets, if you touch something, be prepared to haggle to an acceptable price and buy it or get screamed at by the owner in a melodic mix of French and English. It is amazing what words foreigners learn first. A man with no grasp of whatsoever of an English sentence can nevertheless go head-to-head with your typical sailor in a cuss-fest over a carved wooden box.

On the train from Tangiers to Marrakech, while making my way to the bathroom, I accidentally kicked a woman's chicken. I heard her mutter under her breath, "une varicelle sur votre aîné"--a pox on your first-born. Yesterday afternoon, David developed a rash of red bumps from head to toe. They persisted, and worsened overnight. coincidencece? You decide.

Jaime called the Doctor who asked us to bring him in. After thorough examination that consisted of asking me a bunch of questions that the nurse asked me, the doctor concluded that it is a delayed allergic reaction to the antibiotic we've had him on since his last ear infection and bronchitis.

I could have kicked that chicken out the window.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


A few days ago I took David out of his crib after his nap. As usual he still had a binky in his mouth and one in his hand, in addition to a "Little People" girl. I set David on the floor and popped the bink out of his mouth and turned to toss it in the crib. As I turned back I saw he had put the other bink in his mouth. Again I popped the bink out of his mouth and turned to toss it in the crib. As I turned to face him again I saw the legs of the girl figure sticking out of his mouth.

Too smart for me

Grandpa Alex is notorious for teaching David tricks. My favorite is when he tells David to scream like a girl and David lets out a high pitch squeal and throws his arms up in the air.

Tonight David beat Alex to the punch. As Alex, Carla, and I stood around David Alex asked David "who's the man?" and David replied "me". Carla and I looked at Alex and asked if he had taught David that and Alex said no.

"Was that really the first time you've done that with him?"

"David, who's the man?"

This went on for a few minuets while we laughed. After Carla and Alex left I continued to ask David "who's the man?". All the while he still answered "me!".

Finally I asked David to say "man". No response.
"David, say 'me' ".

Until tonight this word was not part of his vocabulary.

We'll be holding auditions for super smart partents later next month.

Friday, June 10, 2005

we're off

we're off
Originally uploaded by jandjgilbert.

We are getting ready for our annual trek to the Smokey Hill River

Festival in Salina, where we join Grandpa Brice for a weekend of art

and music. Normally Aunt Skylar is with us and already I miss her

sorely. But I promise to take pictures. Towards that end, I am

clearing the memory card and just had to post this one that Jaime shot

a couple of days ago.

later Smokey Hill fans (you know who you are)

Thursday, June 09, 2005

My favorate light bulb joke:

"How many babies does it take to change a lightbulb?"
"None, babies have neither the strength nor the coordination to change a lightbulb."

My favorate lightbulb joke, translated online through Spanish, to French, to Italian, and back to English:

"how much you drink taken in order to change one lamp"
"nobody, you drink have neither the force neither the coordination in order to change one lamp."

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


I see at Wired News that scientists at the University of Arizona have discovered how to use quantum mechanics to turn molecules into working transistors in the lab.

I suppose this is good news, getting David a step closer to being able to store the collected knowledge of all the history of humanity on his iPod.

On the down side, he will be unable to assess the data's exact location and his processing speed at the same time.


We officially have to spell out c-o-o-k-i-e, a concept that covers teething biscuits, animal crackers (the only actual "cookie" he gets), Cheerios, "wheels" (toddler food), and any other small crunchy carbs that he will eat until he pops like a tick.

He knows certain things only as "no." The fake plant in the foyer is "no" and he will identify it as such as he grabs it and pulls it to the ground for the 153,377th time. Which is interesting, because he is generally pretty good about keeping his hands off of things. The plant and my night stand are the major exceptions.

Jaime taught him "Hi, daddy." Melted me.

His facial expressions have become much more subtle and you can see him being distressed or perplexed by things on a much more troubling level (before he just starts crying). He can officially express a greater emotional range than Keanu Reeves ("Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure").

I guess the next step is either learning how to put words together voluntarily, or realizing that everything in the world has a word and seeking to learn them.

In a way, he is already voluntarily putting words together. He signs "please" by rubbing his chest. So, he will ask for something, I will say "no," and he will repeat the word while also signing please. This evening, in church, he wanted something out in the narthex that had been take away from him. As he headed off to try and retrieve it he signed "please" over and over rubbing his hand spastically up and down his chest. He looked "special" let me tell you.

His understanding of what you want is great. The other day I asked him to pick up his bink and put it in his crib and he did. Putting toys away is still a fun game, too. I had to bring fast food to Jaime at church this evening. David and I went into the parish hall, where Jaime was. I handed David the bag of food and said, "take this to mommy." The bag was closed and he doesn't ever eat fast food, so I figured he would be clueless as to the contents and simply take the package to his mom. He set the bag on the floor, squatted over it, opened it, reached in, pulled out some french fries, and ate them. But USUALLY, he will execute such a command.

later, special fans

Monday, June 06, 2005

what does a lion say

what does a lion say
Originally uploaded by jandjgilbert.


this is how i feel, too

this is how i feel, too
Originally uploaded by jandjgilbert.

So, y'all can just stop harrassing me about not blogging.

I tell you what, if I go for long periods of time without blogging,

this is what you need to do:

Go find the most special cute warm fuzzy thing you can find--anything

will do--like a kitten hanging by one paw from a branch, or a baby

panda being cleaned by its mother, or the sunset over snuggling


Multiply that by the speed of light, squared.

There, now you have just how cute David is when he is not even trying.


David=mc squared where m=the measure of cuteness of the most

wonderfully cutest thing ever ever.

"So, Jason," you are saying to yourself as you sit, dazed, in front of

the computer waiting for me to update, "what is he doing that is just

so cute?" Well, you'll just have to wait. I'll give you a

hint--words, lots of them.

llater, llama fans