I’m sorry for yesterday’s absence. I had one of those very long days on little sleep, and still managed to drag my flabby ass to the gym, and re-watch “Mad Men” just for the hell of it, and by the time I realized it was 10:30 and I hadn’t written a word, my head was nodding. But I did squeeze out a few! They were these
Brian Stouder, this is for you.
Also, this. Dorothy Rabinowitz, ack ack ack. I’ll be in later, because for now I’m simply too pooped.
And then, evidently, I forgot to hit Publish. Well, that’s how it goes.
But now it’s Tuesday evening, I’m better-rested, and besides the links above, a few notes:
We leave Friday to take Kate to camp, where she’ll rehearse for a week and then jet off to the Continent. We are celebrating by taking our first just-us vacation in a decade, and we’ll be far from wi-fi and the rest of the internet. I COULDN’T BE HAPPIER, she said, right before her eye started to twitch.
How will the week go? Not sure. I still have a bunch of old newspaper columns (thanks, Mark P.!) I might dust off and rerun. As I recall, it took me forever to find five that I could stand to re-read the last time I did this two years ago. But I just scanned a couple, and find they don’t suck as much as I remember. We’ll see. But you’ll be on your own otherwise. If your comment gets stuck in the spam filter — Prospero, I am looking at YOU — it’ll stay there for days.
It sorta hurts — in a non-painful way — to write this. Just returned from my one-month post-op check at the eye doctor’s, and was reminded anew how much I’m not looking forward to this stage of my life. The appointment was screwed up, and they tried to hit me for a $50 co-pay I contend I didn’t owe. I won easily, which should give you an idea of medical-office economics. That colonoscopy piece in the NYT should have been horrifying to anyone still trying to defend the American health-care system in its current form.
Anyway, my eye is healing, but the cataract — which I was told was a possible complication, years down the road — is already starting to form. Fuckety-fuck.
So since we’ve already started with a jab at American health care, let’s start the bloggage with a charming BBC story about the fascinating miracle known as the Finnish baby box. Every expectant mother in Finland gets one:
The maternity package – a gift from the government – is available to all expectant mothers.
It contains bodysuits, a sleeping bag, outdoor gear, bathing products for the baby, as well as nappies, bedding and a small mattress.
With the mattress in the bottom, the box becomes a baby’s first bed. Many children, from all social backgrounds, have their first naps within the safety of the box’s four cardboard walls.
The box, with a shower’s worth of useful products to take care of the new critter, is only part of the miracle. To get it, women have to see a doctor before their fourth month of pregnancy. So it’s win-win — mothers get prenatal care, and the government sees fewer babies in NICU units, leading to Finland having a tiny infant-mortality rate. A good investment, I’d say. A great read, especially if you’re a mother.
Two stories about rich people:
A few days ago, Detroit’s Masonic Temple — a wonderful Gothic pile sadly fallen on hard times — was at the risk of foreclosure due to unpaid taxes. In the nick of time, an anonymous check for $142,000 arrived to save it from becoming yet another empty building in a city full of them. Today, the anonymous donor was revealed: Jack White. Who really wanted to remain anonymous, but the Masonic owners insisted on naming the central theater after him.
Meanwhile, in California, the damage to the Big Sur redwood forest done by Sean Parker’s (Napster/Facebook Silicon Valley shithead) wedding was tallied, and this Atlantic explication of it is such a delicious read, I don’t want to spoil it for you. But this is some shameful shit here, the sort of willful, stupid behavior for which the term “rich douchebag” was invented.
Finally, I see the Chicago Sun-Times, in its nonstop effort to strip the paper of every possible reason to buy it, has cut off Neil Steinberg to spite its face. I am a late-coming fan of his column, but I find this amazing — he’s a consistently good read, and this is an invitation to find the exit. I hope someone reconsiders, or snaps him up elsewhere.
And with that, I leave you to a good Wednesday, I hope.