Sunday, December 31, 2006

The family

Really there isn't much new here. The Mugwump is nearly potty trained, which is a wonderful thing. He consistently asks to go to the bathroom and insists on doing it himself.... I just wish I knew a little more specifically what he was doing in the bathroom because I know that he doesn't know how to wipe by himself. We're moving right along though. It's often surprising what this kid hears. I swear that whenever I talk he ignores me, but today at church the guy speaking mentioned the city of Moab and the Mugwump starts yelling, "hey, I've been to Moab, Moab was fun, can we go to Moab again." Trust me, he hadn't been sitting listening to the talk, he was playing and just happened to pick that up... I wonder what else that kid hears. Oh, and the Mugwump can spell. Today during church he wrote his name on the magnadoodle that was keeping him busy and it looked like his name. Then after church he wrote his brother's name on a chalk board... he missed a couple of letters, but 5/7 isn't bad... and they were in the right order. After church we watched the birds eating from the new bird feeder that the Mugwump got for Christmas and then painted.

Six-pence is walking well. His favorite thing to do is to get on the bottom stair and make lots of noise. As soon as he knows that he has your attention, he's off to the races climbing the stairs. He knows that he's not supposed to, and therefore he knows that you will chase him up the stairs and it's a really fun game.

(Parenthetical comments are my thoughts added to Icky's story)
Icky went on a date the other day... I love how oblivious girls can be. OK, so I set her up with a guy from school so that it would be a blind date. They played phone tag for awhile and then talked on Saturday morning. The guy wanted to do a double date with his guy friend and Icky and one of her friends. Saturday Icky already had plans with a girlfriend who already had a date, so they only needed one more guy. The guy said he would get back to her (that's an odd thing to say). That was OK because Icky told him that she was late for work and told him where she worked. So apparently later that day the above mentioned guy gives Icky a call and says I think I almost ran into you at your work. Icky is surprised (come on, given the opportunity you don't think this guy would come check you out?). The guy asks, were you the one with the dark hair in the white shirt with a blue thing in your hair? Icky, again seems surprised (So, Icky, you "ran into" this guy and you haven't got the foggiest idea who he is or what he looks like, but he remembers the color of the thing in your hair? and you think it was an accident?) Anyway, the guy says that he was free that night and something "suddenly came up" with his friend who no longer was going to be in attendance. (This is a good sign Icky, this means that you passed the "check out" test. Evidently you aren't ugly or have any overly obvious personality defects because the guy will go on a "blind" date with you and will do it without his friend). Anyway they had a fun evening and Icky remains clueless about being checked out. Actually I thought it was a creative and good idea for a "check out" Since I did the setting up, this poor sap didn't have any idea how freaky or weird my sister-in-law could be. Boy I wish I had a little sister to tease mercilessly.

My wife and I are doing great... I sort of have a little time off work and have enjoyed it with the family. My wife is amazing. She teaches those boys at every opportunity and has the patients to walk a 3 year old through complex processes that I try to avoid like baking bread and cleaning up after himself. She's a saint and I don't have any idea how she ended up with a slacker like myself.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Snowball fight

I got in a snowball fight with the Mugwump today, it was great. Although most of the snow was melted, there were still a few patches left at the park. I never picked up a snowball, but I still won in a 1-0 victory. The Mugwump threw four snowballs at me. I dodged right to avoid the first, I dodged left to avoid the second. On the third he approached to point blank range (for a 3 year old that meant the snowball wouldn't leave his hand before hitting me) and I had to jump over his head to avoid the hit. Ok, so I didn't quite make it over his head, I sort of landed on his head on the way down and he fell to the ground laughing. He got up and resumed his pursuit. He was still laughing and he threw the snow ball way up in the air and it came down and hit him right on the top of the head. I declared victory, and we ran home.

Friday, December 29, 2006

My last day in stats class, we discussed decision making. In the stats class it was focused on research and conducting ethical research and reporting your results accordingly. I'm going to leave out the statistics that would bore people to death (which is why it will be relatively short), and I'm going to make some adaptations so I can say what I want to, but essentially, this is a college statistics lecture... Enjoy.

Decision making comes on three levels: legal, moral and ethical. Making decisions based only on the law is simple. Most people know the law or at least most of the really important laws. Legal decision making will generally keep you out of big trouble, but there are a lot of really bad ideas that aren't illegal. Moral decision making means that you follow the rules of the community you are in. Of course, we are all in many communities. We have a neighborhood, church, work, family and friend communities. Rules exist in these communities whether they are written or not. The rules in the different communities are also different, while it is well known that a fart is not welcome in church, it may be right at home watching the game with the guys. These rules are generally more strict than the laws of the land. I always considered ethical and moral to be synonyms, but I learned otherwise in stats class. Ethical decisions are those that follow the rules of your conscience... Those things that you "ought" to do. Ethical decisions will do the most good for the most people. Although not discussed in stats class, I would like to add that ethical decision should also do the most good for the environment because in the end what you do for the environment will be hugely beneficial to my kids and grand kids.

We discussed some interesting historical decisions in class. One that we spent some time on was Hitler. He made some decisions that affected a lot of people. Lets start by examining Hitler's perspective (however warped it may be). Hitler wrote, "I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.." He was trying to be the ultimate Christian (in his view). The Jews killed Christ, so Hitler was going to kill the Jews (and anyone else who wasn't "perfect"). This decision was not legal, moral or ethical.

My professor shared a story about visiting a hospital in Samoa. It was run down and barely had the room to serve those who needed it. And those who were receiving services were not receiving the highest quality available due to the condition of the facilities. As he looked out the window of this run-down building he saw a huge, beautiful building next door and he asked about it. Evidently the French had seen an opportunity to serve, so they put in a multi-million dollar orthopedic center in Samoa. This decision was certainly legal, and moral based on the service it rendered. Unfortunately this decision wasn't ethical (or at least not the most ethical) because in the entire country of Samoa there was not a single orthopedist. So this multi-million dollar building that was built off of legal and moral ideals, was sitting empty next door to a facility that needed to be updated. The French did not do the most good for the most people in their decision. Is building an orthopedic center a bad thing? No, but so much more good could have been done instead to serve more people.

As I make decisions I try to remember this. For example, when I get cut off or run off the road by a car, what action will do the most good for the most people? Yelling or vulgar gestures will certainly only make the driver mad and more aggressive toward other cyclists. Although legal, that's not the best action. I'm not sure what the best action is to deal with aggressive drivers, but I'm looking for ideas.