Friday, October 28, 2005

Mars Attacks? 

According to one of the few lead stories on Politiken's website that doesn't deal with the terror arrests, an Indian astrologer is warning that Mars and the earth will be "too close" on Saturday, and that this will lead to "earthquakes, hurricanes, and volcanoes."

But don't start loading up on canned goods just yet. Consider this paragraph:

På lørdag befinder Mars sig nærmere Jorden end nogen gang siden 2003, og det betyder problemer, hvis man ellers skal tro astrologen Ashok Kumar Joshi i New Delhi.

EN: On Saturday Mars will find itself closer to the earth than at any time since 2003, and that means problems, at least if you're going to believe the astrologer Ashok Kumar Joshi of New Delhi.

Are you going to believe the astrologer Ashok Kumar Joshi of New Delhi? I'm not. Kunjilal Malviya's my guy. Anyone who can predict his own death and live with the disappointment of being wrong is obviously an astrologer suited to the moronic temperament.

"Quiet, Introverted" Danish Teens of Middle-Eastern Background Arrested for Planning Terror Attack 

Last night Danish police arrested four Danish teens (English) of Middle-Eastern background for planning a terror attack. The details of the attack don't appear to be known: Denmark can't be ruled out as their target, but all that's known for certain (according to police) is that they were in the process of planning an attack "somewhere in Europe." They believe it was to have been a suicide terror attack.

All of the suspects were 16-20 years old.

The trail of clues that led to the arrests apparently began with the arrest in Sarajevo, just over a week ago, of a Turk, a Swede, and a Bosnian preparing a terror attack in that city. One of the three was apparently planning a suicide attack against an embassy in Sarajevo. BT reports that Swedish newspapers identify the targeted embassy as America's or Britain's, but Politiken refers to it only as that of "an EU country" (which would seem to rule out the US).

According to BT, the police described the suspects as "very quiet, introverted young men, who are consumed by their religious faith."

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Lighter Fare 

That previous post was too depressing. I can't walk away from my blog like that. So, on a much happier note and with an available link in English: Part-Danish Rocket Launched!

It's just a charming story with nothing to feel bad about. My favorite detail:

Nielsen concluded that the students had planned to celebrate the launch with a beer bash, but that they were so excited, that they decided to continue working on the satellite instead.

It's all good!

There's Honor in Killing Your Daughter? 

I spent a rough evening alone with Molli tonight. She's been a little cranky since she got her MMR vaccination. I'm assuming it's because of the poisons or pathogens or whatever the hell it is that were injected into her bloodstream, and not from some sense of betrayal at my having condoned the needle. She was fussy and hard to please and extremely fickle about what she wanted to make of our time together. (Great googly moogly—I just described half my ex-girlfriends!)

I tried to give her a bath, but for the first time ever she refused to let me lower her into it. She flailed like a cat. We abandoned the bath and she ran screaming naked around the apartment. It took fifteen minutes for me to calm her enough to get her into a new diaper, and then she ran me ragged for another half hour. She cried and screamed. Finally I calmed her down by letting her take my glasses off and try to put them back on me again. This cheered her enormously and I managed to get through the game without losing both eyes.

She was then absolutely charming for half an hour and ended up falling asleep in my lap as I read to her. (Er... I meant to read to her, but just played herself to sleep with an old cloth while I watched Frasier.)

Then I cleaned up the havoc she'd left in her wake and had a glass of wine (we're out of bourbon). At last I sat down to read the Danish news with the full intent of blogging something.

Then I have to go and read that the suspect jailed in the recent "honor killing" of a 19-year-old girl (the day after her secret wedding to a young man the family didn't approve of) is... her father.

Here's a thought. Maybe she disgraced the family by making such an unwise choice because her father was a murderous scumbag. If the shame is really so deep, maybe the father ought to have blown his own brains out for having failed to raise his daughter in a way that might have prevented all that shame. Maybe he still will. If he can live with himself after killing his own daughter, then he's certainly no father. If he does manage to off himself, at least it's conceivable that a father's heart was beating somewhere in that murderous breast.

But it's too depressing. I'm going to look in on my own daughter one more time, kiss her little forehead, watch her breathe, marvel at her sheer amazingness, then trip over some damn toy lying in the periphery of her crib and sprain three muscles trying to fall as quietly as possible.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Up and Down 

About two weeks ago Molli began climbing things. She's a very persistent climber. She needs to be, because she's not a very good one. It takes her enormous effort to get onto most couches and chairs. We do, however, have one of the ubiquitous Danish Tripp-Trapp chairs, which makes for easy climbing.

All too often in the early going, Molli would quickly hoist herself up to a standing position on top of this chair and suddenly be wobbling uncertainly three full feet above the ground. We reacted instinctively, commanding "Down!" ("Ned!" in Danish) and rushing over to guide her down.

Over time she got more reliable, and we felt we ought to let her climb the chair as long as she wasn't reckless on it. We would only holler "down" at her when she did something up there to endanger herself, which almost always came in the form of standing perfectly upright on the very top of the chair and letting go with her hands.

Now, Molli is a pretty good learner. Most kids are. They're easy to condition at this age. By very easy repetition we've taught her the meaning of "hot" and "yuck" and "gentle," to the point where she can be warned away from various dangerous behaviors (pressing her face against the oven door, say, or seizing an unfamiliar dog by the tail) with a word.

Late last week Molli demonstrated to us that you can condition a child without realizing it. In fact, I'm guessing that's what parenting consists of: teaching your child in spite of yourself.

Molli has taken the logical leap and determined that "down" is the word for being up on top of things. And when I spent time with her on Friday trying to teach her the real meaning of up and down, I somehow only reinforced her confusion. She now says "down" and "up" fairly clearly (although only in English), but she has them backwards. She will scramble up her chair and proclaim herself "down!" — yelling it fiercely, as we once must have yelled it at her— and will then squat down and declare herself "up."

It doesn't seem fixable. The more we try to correct her, the more adamant she becomes in her convictions.

On a happier note, though, she called me "daddy" several times over the weekend. She's not consistent about it: sometimes I'm just "dah," sometimes I'm "da-dah," and only rarely am I actually "da-dee," but it's a start. She certainly knows that I am daddy, and will indicate me one way or another when asked "where's daddy?" or "who's daddy?" She also recognizes Trine as both "mor" and "mommy." And, most adorably of all, if she's paying attention to you and you ask her, "Who's Molli Malou?" or "Where's Molli Malou?", in English or in Danish, she'll beam back at you and thump her chest proudly.

* * *

I had to hold her in my lap this morning while a doctor gave her the 15-month MMR vaccination. She was adorably well-behaved right up until the moment the needle punctured the skin of her thigh, at which point she gave me a look of pain and betrayal like I've never seen—and it only got worse as the needle sank deeper into her flesh. If I could carve a marble statue of her expression, it would turn its viewers' hearts to dust and ash. I could hardly live with myself for the forty-five seconds it took for her to forget all about it. And forty-five seconds after that, I too forgot the whole thing.

What was I talking about?

* * *

The JustMorons site appears to be down. I'm not sure why, but I'm sure it'll come back up soon. Its temporary outage reminds me, by means of a dozens of tell-tale red X's popping up on this site, that all my graphics are stored on that server and I'm going to have to do something about that before it expires for real on December 2. If anyone knows of any good free file storage sites, please let me know in a comment. Or email me—not at the JustMorons address, obviously, but by using the first letter of my first name and my full last name @gmail.com.

* * *

Eurovision had a special 50th Anniversary event in Copenhagen on Saturday night, at which the annual European pop-music award crowned the greatest songs of its 50-year career. The winner was Abba's "Waterloo."

The recent Danish winner "Fly on the Wings of Love" came in sixth.

As Yogi Berra used to say, "Res ipsa loquitur, baby..."

Speaking of music, though, have you tried Pandora yet? I'm still in the 10-hour trial but have every intention of subscribing once it's expired. I love it. I love it the way I love Skype: I no sooner started using it than I found myself suddenly dependent on it. But after approving of the first few songs the service offered me, it suddenly threw a Regis Philbin number at me. Regis Philbin. When I expressed my disapproval, the service immediately apologized and promised never to play that particular cut, or anything like it, ever again.

And it didn't even ask if that was my final answer.

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