::what kind of shit is this?

18 11 2007

“Know your drugs, know your doses.”–jeffrey goines (brad pitt) 12 Monkeys

I realize that most of you non-parental types 1) won’t give a shit about child immunizations, and\or 2) don’t see what the big deal about immunizing your children is, but this completely blew me away when I read it last night.

Immunizing your child is required to one degree or another in all states. In some states, you can opt out of immunizations for your child if you don’t ever start them, but schools tend to purposely give out misinformation about how that works, and behave very judgmentally when it comes to not immunizing your child. And in California, if you start you child off with vaccinations, you can’t ever back out of doing them–state law requires you to keep your kids going with them. This forces many kids into a lifetime of risk from immunizations, as many brand new parents haven’t yet done the research by the time their pediatrician schedules their infants for their first round of shots. And if you ask a doctor about the arguments against immunization, you’ll learn about how these are the same people who see UFOs and believe the CIA hired Fidel Castro as the second gunman on the grassy knoll.

And if you have done your homework and decide not to immunize your child, then the medical community and school districts treat you as if you’re a neglectful parent or some kind of conspiracy theory hippie nutjob, or both. They assume you want your child to get sick.

Well, a school district in Maryland has gotten around this by getting a court order for all kids in the district to be immunized, or else. Or else what? 10 days in jail for the parents who would be so bad as to not vaccinate their child. The district sent out letters to several hundred parents whose kids didn’t have up to date immunization records stating that their kids would be expelled if they didn’t get their kids up to date or prove that they were up to date by yesterday. If expelled the kids would be subject to state truancy laws, which would make the parents subject to up to 10 days in jail.

Why am I chapped about this? There are a lot of vaccines that are ineffective in the long term, and tie your child down to getting periodic boosters throughout their life, even into adulthood. Chicken pox vaccinations are a good example. If the boosters aren’t updated as they should be, an adult male vaccinated against chicken pox as a child could get it as an adult. Chicken pox as an adult can be particularly dangerous, and in men can lead to sterility. Getting chicken pox as a kid, on the other hand, protects you from ever getting it again, and your body doesn’t need a booster 10 years later.

There’s also been a trend in recent years, largely for cost savings and convenience, to combine or bond multiple vaccines into one treatment. The most well known of these is the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, bonded into one series called MMR. There’s no conclusive proof, but a lot of good research, linking the uptick in autism in the general population to some of the bonding agents used in these bonded vaccines. And while it is entirely possible that there is no link between bonded vaccines and autism, why would you take the chance? This is an issue because, thanks to the bonded vaccines, non-bonded vaccines are getting harder to come by. When Christine told our doctor that she wanted to give Liam the separate measles, mumps, and rubella shots, she was strongly discouraged, told that their network didn’t have it available, and finally told she would have to locate it on her own and that it may not be covered by insurance. She jumped through all these hoops, but I don’t know how many parents would have the option of doing that.

This really isn’t just a parental issue. This is about forced mass medication, mandated without proper research and without consideration given to alternative treatments. How many times have medical treatments been handed out like candy, only to discover some detrimental consequence years or decades later?

I feel like I should mention again how I’m not some conspiracy theory hippie nutjob. But then, the chickens and our kids’ tie-die wardrobes are all strikes against that.






21 09 2007

We’re going camping this weekend–very likely to be the last opportunity to do so of the season.  Lookin’ forward to it.  We went two weeks ago and it was a blast.

Pictures from both trips will be up soon.

What are you doing this weekend?



::9/11 Remodeled

11 09 2007

I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to write for this September 11th for a week or so now. I’m sick to death of politics lately, though, and I really didn’t care to have an entry centered around the Surge or the Senate hearings with General Petraeus, or the latest stupid thing Dubya’s handlers are shaking their heads over.

You can’t talk about September 11th, 2001 without talking about Iraq, no matter how linked they aren’t, and I think anyone who’s read more than two entries is probably pretty clear on how I feel about George dubya.

And what if we disregard Iraq completely and force it out of the conversation like the redheaded stepchild that it is? Then we are left with talking about the new fascism: wiretaps, detainments, deportations, Gitmo, no-fly lists, and whether or not breast milk is a dangerous liquid that should be banned from flights.


So yeah, trying to think of something to say about 9/11 without talking about all that bullshit. Hadn’t really thought of anything.

I thought also about writing about how September 11th really effected me more than I thought it would in the months after that day. Like how every time I happen to look at the clock and see 9:11, I tense up and I feel a lump in my stomach. I don’t know the story behind that one.

I watched Flight 93 on cable the other night. I haven’t cried during a movie in years. Years, I tell you. And not because I try to be some tough guy jagoff who claims to not cry in movies, either. Wanna know something? I cry during TV weddings. Real weddings, too. Even if I don’t like one or more of the people doing the deed. But TV weddings get me too, every time. I don’t have to like them either.

Anyway, Flight 93. I cried, and I really, really didn’t expect to. I didn’t expect there to be such a portrayal of the fear and bravery and simple humanity of those people. I didn’t expect the terrorists to be somewhat human, and they were. To see their own fear of what they were doing was as painful as it was to see everyone else’s fear of what was being done.

I’ve rambled this far and all I’ve really said is that I can’t think of what to say and terrorism is bad.

So anyway.

I got home from work, and went out into the front yard with the two little boys to give The Missus a break for a little while, and all of a sudden Liam decided he wanted to ride his bike. We got him a bike back in March for his 4th birthday, and he’s been a little intimidated by it. He’s only ridden it 2 or 3 times. I don’t want to force the issue and make him learn to ride it. There’s no fun in that. And learning to ride your bike should be fun, so he’ll do it as his own pace.

But today he wanted to ride his bike. So we got it out and washed off the dust and cobwebs, cleaned the helmet and pumped up the tires. Off we went down the street and around the block.

He was very tentative at first, not wanting me to take my hands off the handlebars, and letting out a little whimper with each teeter onto the training wheels. I convinced him he needed to take his eyes off his feet and look where he was going shortly before we got to the corner. Which, being able to see it, he rounded like a pro.

He got a little further, sped up to the point where I let go but stuck close, and then suddenly shouted out, “Yeah for me! I’m doing it! I’m steering!”

I gave him some encouragement of some kind, and then, he said it.

What did he say, you ask?

Almost shaking on the bike with excitement and frothing at the mouth, Liam said:


And I’ll be damned if he’s wrong.

We continue loops around the block for over an hour, with him sometimes having as much as half a block lead on me on looking back.

So fuck September 11th, 2001 and all of it’s tragedy and fascism and machismo and death.

September 11, 2007 is the day my kid decided to learn how to ride his bike.


the best day ever.




30 12 2006

my 11 year-old is reading my blog.



::why i love Pixar

8 12 2006

Liam’s current favorite movie is Toy Story.  He’s all about Woody and Buzz, and often flings himself from the couch telling me he is making a valiant attempt to fall with style.

The other night he runs up to me, grabs my waist and tells me with authority:

“For Christmas I need a good, stiff Woody and a strong, hard Buzz.”

you and me both, kiddo. 




::the center of the universe

20 11 2006

For probably a month or so now, my son Liam has been getting up in the middle of the night and getting into bed with us.  He comes to my side of the bed and gently wakes me up and climbs up on top of me.  It makes for quite a crowd and sometimes I try to convince him to go back to his own bed, but it is very sweet and I have a hard time not really liking it.

This morning he followed this routine and came to me about 1:30.  “Daddy,” he said as he put his hand on my chest, “I want to cuddle with you.”

I lowered the covers and pulled him into bed with one hand, and he nuzzled down into my neck as I covered him up, and was almost immediatly asleep on top of me.  This is probably one of my favorite parts of the day. 

A few hours later the alarm went off and reminded me that, being Monday, this is one of the two days per week that I drive 100 miles to San Jose.  I got out of bed and decided to snooze the alarm instead of getting up right away, and Liam lifted himself up and snuggled against me as I got back into bed.  He whispered “I love my daddy,” as he wrapped his arm around my neck in, frankly, a really uncomfortable way and gave me a kiss.  I rubbed his back and gave him a squeeze.

The Sun, to turn a phrase my wife uses, shines out of my kids’ asses.  This can be kind of awkward when changing an early morning diaper, but is generally pretty cool.  I worship my kids, all three of them, and try to let that fact be known with frequent affirmations and the occassional ritual sacrifice.  I constantly tell each of them that they are the best ever.  Liam is the best Liam ever, Zachary is the best Zachary ever, and Elliot is the best Elliot ever.  I even have stupid little songs that I make up for them as I go along.  Though Zachary has long since moved on from this sort of thing, and recently rebutted with “Jim is the dorkiest Jim ever.”

So this morning as Liam was falling back to sleep he whispered, “Daddy is the best daddy ever,” and I just about cried. 

When I finally surrendured to the alarm and got out of bed, he was fast asleep and stayed that way as I padded through the house and got ready to go.  I was about to leave and I heard him stirring and talking.  I went back to the bed to comfort him so he wouldn’t wake up the baby.  He immediately clutched my arm and told me I couldn’t go to work.

“I have to go to work today, but I’ll be back soon.” I reassured him. 

“It’s not working time yet.  It is still sleeping time, and you have to get back into bed with me.”  He firmly told me. 

“Close your eyes, and I’ll hold you until you fall asleep,” I told him.

He rolled over, holding onto me firmly, and closed his eyes.  “If you got lost I would be sad,” he said, and I could tell he was on the verge of tears. 

When I get home from work every day, Liam, and recently Elliot, come running.  Liam throws his arms around me and gives me a bear hug and a rough kiss, and usually tries to pull me down and pounce on me.  He’s totally over the top with excitement.  Elliot squeals and practically stretches his face grinning.  In the last week or so, he’s started chanting “Da, Da, Da,” as I pick him up.  I have to hold him for at least 5 minutes, otherwise he follows me around crying until I pick him up.  Sometimes I even get lucky and Zac enthusiastically throws me a hug, overacting it like he hasn’t seen me in months. 

I don’t remember what it was like to be overcome with love for my dad.  To think he was the coolest thing since sliced bread and to want to include him in every moment of his day.  I do remember still being very young and already feeling the distance between us.  I remember going to Science Camp and telling my mom that I knew he would be happy to have me gone for a week.  I remember dreading his arrival at home from work, knowing he would be in a bad mood because he hated his job.  I remember–or think I remember–wondering if he hated me too, because without me he wouldn’t necessarily need to do what he hated day after day.  This seems like a very big concept for a child to grasp, so I very well could be wrong about it.  Maybe I’m just projecting back a little too much.

I remember so desperately wanting to be loved by him, wanting to feel the love coming from him, and so desperately not wanting to be the disappointment that I was (and am?) to him.

I want my kids to know, despite the fact that I am sometimes one of the worst parents ever! and sometimes inspire so much frustration and rage that they really have no alternative than to throw themselves to the floor and flail about, that the sun shines out of their asses each and every day. 

So I climbed into bed next to him and spooned him, despite being late already and having a huge chunk of work to do this morning before 8AM arrived and the barrage of meetings started.  “If I am lost,” I told him, “I will always find you.  You’re the best Liam ever, and you’ll never lose me.”  

And when I could tell by his breathing that he’d drifted back to sleep, I kissed his cheek and wiped away the saltiness of his tear. 

I love my boys.  They are the best boys ever. 



::here i go again

31 10 2006

So Monday I got home just seconds before Zachary got home from school, and he comes walking up to me wearing his headphones and listening to the radio. I have a portable mp3 player for him, but I just haven’t gotten around to putting anything on it.

Anyway, he took off the headphones as he approached me and held them out. “Jim, do you know this song?” He asks with his hand outstretched.

I took the headphones and listened for a few seconds.




Guitar solos.

Big hair.

“…and here i go again on my own

goin’ down the only road i’ve ever known

like a drifter i was born to walk alone, wooah.

“That’s a really good song, jim. Do you know what it is?”

“Yeah, man. I know who it is.” I say.

He looks at me expectantly.

“The song is called Here I Go Again, and it is by a band called Whitesnake.” He perks his eyes up a little. He knows there’s more on my lips, just waiting to come out. “That song,” I say in a last ditch effort, “is pretty old. Probably from about 1987 or ’88. I used to have the cassette of this album.”

“Cassette?” Zachary said to me, a little confused.  I could tell that he had only a hazy recollection of what a cassette really is. 

I nod.

“hmmm.  I guess great music is timeless.  That was Whitesnake, you say?”