Personal Sketch


Out of the mouths of babes:

This is a conversation I had with Miya on the way in to work March 6, 1995, when she was not quite 4 years old.

Mama, Mama (said in an urgent manner).
Guess? Umm, angel? Peanuts? March? Your birthday? The kite?
Umm, umm... You're going to have to give me a hint.
You're guessing all the wrong things.
No, you have to tell me what I'm supposed to be guessing about. Am I guessing about what you're going to do today? What am I guessing about?
Guessing about running.
Oh. You fell down and needed a bandaid?
Umm, I give up. What is it?
Well, you know when I had to go potty and Daddy came to help me? He ran and almost bonked into the counter, and he's not supposed to run. He's supposed to walk. Otherwise he might slip and bonk into the counter because the floor's slippery.

It would have taken me quite a while to guess that one!

This is a conversation John and I had with Henry in February or March 1997 when he was 3. He decided he wanted to "read" to us. I should explain that Henry's reading is of the creative sort. Oh yes, and I should add that Henry is crazy about dinosaurs. His favorite is the triceratops, but he likes them all. Finally, I'll spell the names of the dinosaurs the way Henry "read" them.

Do you want me to read to you?
Yes, that would be nice.
The protoceratops. The protoceratops looks like a triceratops but he isn't.
The stegosaurus. The stegosaurus gots spikes on his tail to protect himself from meat eaters. He died.

But you just said he had spikes on his tail to protect himself.
But he died in Fantasia.
Oh, of course.
The compsonathus. The compsonathus...
That's compsonaythus.
No, this one says compsonathus. The compsonathus is a meat eater. He has lots of teeth... Now here's another one that says compsonaythus. The compsonaythus has lots of teeth and a body like a hot dog.
(Parents laughing hysterically.)
The pachiocephalosaurus. The pachiocephalosaurus gots lots of teeth and a thing around his head that looks like a helmet.
That's "has," not "gots."
No, it says "gots" here.

Some good quotes:

  • "My country is the world, and my religion is to do good."--Thomas Paine, Rights of Man
  • "Spontaneity has its time and place."--from "The Sure Thing"
  • "Many people are desperately looking for some wise advice which will recommend that they do what they want to do."--unknown
  • "This is a one line proof if we start sufficiently far to the left."--From an electrical engineering lecture given at Cambridge University (lecturer unknown)
  • "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."--Arthur C. Clarke
  • "Problem solving is the art of figuring out what to do when you don't know what to do."--Polya(?)
  • "Work like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt, and dance like you do when nobody's watching."--From an email chain letter
  • "We all know that the real reason universities have students is in order to educate the professors."--John Archibald Wheeler, Physics Professor, 1976
  • "I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow."--Woodrow Wilson
  • '"I learned long ago," said Miss Ainslie, after a little, "that we may be happy or not, just as we choose. Happiness is not a circumstance, nor a set of circumstances; it's only a light, and we may keep it burning if we will. So many of us are like children, crying for the moon, instead of playing contentedly with the few toys we have. We're always hoping for something, and when it doesn't come, we fret and worry; when it does, why there's always something else we'd rather have. We deliberately make nearly all of our unhappiness, with our own unreasonable discontent, and nothing will ever make us happy, deary, except the spirit within."

    "But, Miss Ainslie," Ruth objected, "do you really think everybody can be happy?"

    "Of course--everybody who wishes to be. Some people are happier when they're miserable. I don't mean, deary, that it's easy for any of us, and it's harder for some than for others, all because we never grow up. We're always children--our playthings are a little different, that's all."'--from Lavender and Old Lace by Myrtle Reed, 1902.

  • "Who of us is a Lord Rayleigh?"--Prof. Akira Ishimaru

  • 'Have adventures. Whenever possible, we must opt for the unknown. We do not necessarily have to hightail it over to a struggling South American country and offer our services to guerrillas hiding in the hills, but we should never turn down a trip to Madagascar just because we don't have the right outfit.

    Think how it will look, fifty years from now, when our grandchildren are clamoring on our knees demanding stories of our girlhoods, if all we have to tell them is what a great moment it was when Elizabeth Taylor made a guest appearance on 'General Hospital.'

    It will be much more gripping if we all have things to say like "Well, yes, I suppose wrestling alligators for a living was somewhat exciting, but I always preferred being a nightclub proprietor in Morocco. Of course, I perpetually had to watch out for drug smugglers hiding under the bed, not to mention the time when my machine gun went off by accident, but..."'--from Sex Tips for Girls by Cynthia Heimel

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