Friday, December 25, 2009

Globe-Trotting Philosophers

You know the TV show, the Amazing Race?
You know what's been missing from it?
Not enough teams with wisdom and razor-sharp wit to match.
People who read my blog and the blog of my good friend and fellow philosopher, Dr. J., know that we both have both qualities in spades.
So what do you think?  Should we apply to be on the show or what?  If we do, we'll blog the whole process.

Oh, Happy Baby Jesus Day!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Winter Solstice, wherein the Ideas Family Holds a Constitutional Convention

Recently, I had the idea of using the game nomic to help manage our precocious little 5-year old philosopher/lawyer.  Here's a fragment of how that's gone.

Ideas Woman:  Turns will be suspended for constitutional convention where Ideas Girl and Ideas Man will make new rules, called Constitutional Rules of the Family.  Later there will be a review and amendment process during which the final form of the document will be decided upon, line by line.  At this point Ideas Woman and Ideas Boy can propose any changes also.  The Constitutional Rule of the Family  which will be voted on as a whole and accepted or rejected as a whole.  Ideas Girl must call consitutional convention to order.  Passed Unanimously.

Constitutional Convention

I. Ideas Girl:  This Constitutional Convention is called to order.  Ideas Man will preside.

II.  Ideas Man:  I propose we start with family goals.  Instead of winning or losing, these will be goals that will help whole family win.  Ideas Girl and Ideas Man will discuss first set of goals, but when we ratify constitution, Ideas Boy and Ideas Woman can add new goals.

III.  Goals:

1. 
Talk with one another peacefully and respectfully.
2.  Take turns making new rules.
3.  Work to solve problems together.  If someone has a problem, everyone helps solve it.
4.  Have as much time to play; avoid time-outs.
5.  Resolve conflicts peacefully.
6.  Tell Mom or Dad if you wanna go in the snow by yourself.
7.  Help everyone succeed at school and work and home.
8.  Girl goal [proposed by Ideas Boy]
9.  Boy goal [proposed by Ideas Girl]
10.  Everyone can have their own goals.  If their goals fit in with the family goals, the whole family will help them achieve their goals.
11.  Daddy goal
12.  We take everyone's voice into consideration when making rules.

IV.  Ammon:  I propose we have family values.  Values are qualities that we all try to use to help one another out.  We try to promote these values.

Respect
Tolerance

Love
Family-Centeredness
Daddy
Mommy
Patience
Fun
Friendship

V.  Family Rules

1.  Boogy
2.  Everybody has to love each other.
3.  When we get home, we put our coats and shoes and backpacks and scarfs and anything else we brought in from the car away where it goes, and throw the garbage in the garbage.
4.  Zazee Gagee.
5.  At meal-time, we all help to prepare the meal in a way appropriate for our age.
6.  Lovey.
7.  We make our best effort to get to school and work pronto, which means on time.
8.  Eat all your meal.
9.  The family will have meals together.  Everyone will try the main food, unless it conflicts with one of their values.  If they don't like it they can say "Je n'aimes pas," which in French means I do not like it, in which case they do not have to have anymore and they
can propose something else simple to prepare.
10.  Every favorite food has to be vegetarian.
11.  Everyone can choose their own favorite food.
12.  You have to goo-goo gaga if you're a baby.
13.  We respect one another's bodies.  We do not physically hurt them, including by accident.
14.  A goo-goo gaga is a silly zoo-zoo.
15.  We control our own bodies, using appropriate actions and remaining calm.
16.  If I goo-goo ga ga you suck your finger.  Ha ha
17.  Put your clothes away:  put clean clothes in their drawers or closets.  Put dirty clothes in the hamper.
18.  We don't eesza.  Kiki sasa.
19.  We like rules.
20.  Twenty-two is your favorite number because roaring dinousar walk down the street.  When they were silly gillies.  If they walk down the street, they do it again and again and again.  What do they do when they do it again and again and again.  They should be nice to other dinosaurs like we should do.  Mine is good.
21.  If you toot, just say "excuse me" because everybody toots.
22.  We wake up in the morning, neither too late nor too early (which means on school-days between 6:30-7:00).  Otherwise Daddy or Mommy will have to wake you up by saying "Wake-up" --- if it's too early, you stay quietly in your own room.
23.  If goo-goo gaga comes in to dinosaurs should be nice to each other.  If they don't be nice to each other, they are in trouble from Mommy or Daddy and if he sits there or she sits there and moves around they shouldn't do that then they should quietly sing on that log or tree.  If your Mom or Dad calls you back you should just come back or just sitting there if you want to but you have have to tell your mom you want to stay there quietly.
24.  If you are under 4 you need to take a nap.  You should lie in your bed or crib and rest until you're ready to wake up.
25.  Don't run away from your Mom and Dad.
26.  Mommy and Daddy might have to use physical restraint to protect the children, but they will only do so for the benefit of the children and to the minimum degree required.
27.  You can't unbuckle yourself in the car if Mommy or Daddy is still driving because it's very dangerous.  It might be like an airplane flight or you might be in a model car with no buckles, and if you're a kid you might be able to sit in the front but only if you're still like Elena is.
28.  We clean up after ourselves --- including putting away toys, books, dishes, work.  If we are working on something together, we will clean it up together.  If someone wants to help they may, but they have to ask and it is the responsibility of the initial person to make sure everything is put away orderly.
29.  Ideas Girl must put her head on Daddy's head.         
30.  If you are sillly, you have to go to the bathtub.
31.  Everyone must bathe at least every other day.  If Mommy or Daddy decides that someone is dirty, they have to take a bath even if they did the day before.  And if you poop your pants you have to take a bath even during the day (since we usually do it [baths] at night.  If you're a goose you have to go to the bath, too.
32.  Go potty-poopy when a goose is on the potty because it's silly.
33.  Once a week, we make sure the whole house has been cleaned.  Mommy and Daddy are responsible for making sure the public areas are cleaned but Ideas Girl and Ideas Boy can help (and can be required to help) in age-appropriate ways.  Everyone is responsible for making sure their own room is cleaned.

Whereupon the convention was called to recess.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Walking on the Ground of the Earth (A Fragment from the Book of Prometheus)

Memphis will continue, but when I was writing it by hand, Ideas Girl asked me if I'd write a Zeus story. Here one is.


Walking on the ground of the Earth

Patroclus and Briseis, Eight Years Later

My dear, sweet love. What are we doing here? Why do we wander amidst these rocks, this stony landscape. Why were we in the heat of the sands? What wind blasted us here?

You don’t remember walking then?

Walking, yes, after falling.

Nothing moves for us, my dear. We are walking over the stones and the snow and the sand, our feet crunch the timeless earth.

It changes beneath us.

It is timeless. Let us go, therefore you and I, down to the river banks, to the Tigris, to the Tiber, down the banks of the Hudson, where a silver eagle splashes in the icy, dirty water, though we were not there. Let us go. And here, on the snowy rocks, let us walk against time. The earth is bloodied, but what of it? We walk against time, we walk in such a way that blood is not spilled. It blooms like a flower shooting from the snowy stones, it grows and makes the neck of the child whole.

You steal everything. You stole that, my dear, from Homer.

No, my dear, I stole it from Achilles. I stole it from his wrath.

Why was he angry, my dear?

Because Patroclus, his beloved, had been killed. And so he killed Hector.

But it’s so absurd. You are Patroclus. I am Briseis. And we are together now.

But where were we? I feel that we were in two places at once. A steel city, a cage high above the earth, we paced its ladders. We were impatient to be with one another. But you were with Agamemnon, I was with Achilles. They hated one another and there was nothing we could do.

It’s not as though we were Romeo and Juliet, you know.

That’s true. We are together. We were also together, in red canyons where the water lapped against the steep sides of the red walls. Slender green shoots clung from the sides of the rocks where the water slapped the walls. Tender young vines crept up the slick wet walls, heading up towards heaven. Up there, there was another city, of marble and sand. A great, dusky horizon. Kallipolis, the slender jewel of a kingdom that never was.

But we were there.

And it was burning.

True.

What lay between them?

Silly love, you know what lay between them. Prometheus told you.