Friday Four

Friday, May 31, 2013

1. I enjoy thinking about philosophical issues, but my wife does not. That said, I was naturally intrigued to learn that Leonard Peikoff fielded the following question not too long ago: "If you are an intellectual, is it immoral to be in a relationship with someone who is not an intellectual?"

I found not only that his answer indirectly reminded me of the many reasons I love Mrs. Van Horn, but also that his initial reaction to learning that someone is an intellectual is quite similar to mine.

2. If you find yourself stuck when trying to solve a problem, it could be because you're trying to do more than you need to solve it. In such cases, statistician John Cook asks himself, "whether I really need to do what I assume I need to do."

3. One of the things that mosts reliably amazes me as a father of a toddler is how much my daughter can remember, and sometimes, what, and in what detail. Here are a couple of examples.

Some time ago, we went to a family gathering out of town and we raised our glasses at the beginning of a meal at a restaurant. Pumpkin wanted to join in, so we repeated the ritual. Naturally, she was raising her cup or bottle for the next day or so, and saying "Cheers!" until the novelty wore off. A few weeks later, after I'd poured her a milk and myself a beer one evening, she was holding her cup up, smiling, and saying ... something. After a couple of repetitions, I realized she was saying, "Cheers!" 

Pumpkin loves penguins, and one of her Christmas gifts last year was a Russian doll-like set of nested penguins. There are five, but the smallest one, a choking hazard, currently is nesting in one of my dresser drawers. So she was playing with four of the dolls one morning before daycare, and I thought it would be cute to liken them to our family. Pointing to them in descending size order, I called them, "Daddy", "Momma", "Pumpkin", and "Little Alphonse." (No. We won't be naming the baby Alphonse: I never use real names for family here. Also, I can have no idea what I will want to nickname him until he arrives.) I then corrected myself by opening up the Momma penguin and placing "Alphonse" inside, and saying, "But Alphonse is inside Momma right now." That evening, she was playing with her penguins again. I'd forgotten all about this -- We've been trying to prepare Pumpkin for Alphonse for some time. -- but I saw her open up Momma Penguin, place the smallest one inside, and say "Alphonse inside Momma."

4. We planted flowers and got robins. A few week ago, Momma Van Horn planted three yellow tin pots with flower seeds so we could entertain Pumpkin with how plants grow. One day, I saw that a couple of the pots had fallen down. I assumed that this was due to wind from a storm the previous night and placed them back. Later that day, two more pots were on the deck again, but upright. The remaining pot looked to have been tampered with. I figured that some kid was getting onto our porch and goofing around when we were gone. Being in a hurry at the moment, I left things as they were. Upon my return, I looked out and saw a robin sitting in the remaining pot, and what looked like the beginnings of a nest.

As you can see from the image, Mrs. Van Horn isn't the only one around here expecting. I think the chicks will provide much more bang for the buck than plants, especially at her age and with how much she likes birds.

As a bonus, although I think it exceedingly unlikely, I like to imagine that the mother bird is one that I found stunned on our doorstep one frigid day a few months ago. I let that bird rest in a box in our relatively warm basement. The bird was fine a few hours later and flew off after I took the box outside and reopened it.

-- CAV


Glenn said...

CAV, just have to say that I look forward to your posts every day. Surprised at the few comments, but think maybe it's just that little can be added to such wonderful insights. Thank you,,,,,every day.

Gus Van Horn said...


Thanks for stopping by and for the comment.

Comments have dropped off quite a bit ever since the arrival of my daughter. I have far less time than I used to for blogging (or anything else) and sometimes end up not even getting to check for comments but once a day. This has hurt the give-and-take aspect of commenting and, I think is probably why comments are often sparse.


Snedcat said...

have gsbbecomYo, Gus, you write, "I found...also that his initial reaction to learning that someone is an intellectual is quite similar to mine." Never mind intellectuals, most academics are even worse! Seriously, and speaking as someone who can pass for an intellectual on occasion, I fully agree. It's one place where I think Kipling described things well.