Monday, 17 January 2011

A Good Day

I was chastised today for not writing on this thing frequently enough, so here’s what today was like.

Bram woke up and crawled into bed with me around 7:15 AM and then I got a call from my mom with a computer issue around 7:30. Washed, breakfasted and bored by 10, we headed to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and heard the following jokes while on the heated tram between Northern Trek & the Cathouse:

  • Q: Where does a kangaroo go for breakfast?
    A: IHOP.
  • Q: Where does a kangaroo go for dinner?
    A: Outback.
  • Q: Why don’t seagulls fly over the bay?
    A: Then they’d be bagels.
  • Q: When an elephant goes on a trip where does he pack his clothes?
    A: In his trunk.
  • Q: How do you stop an elephant from charging?
    A: Take away his credit cards.

Incidentally, the zoo is half price admission when the temperature is below freezing, so we both got in for $6 total. We saw a gorilla eating its own feces in the same manner that a oenophile enjoys a nice glass. I told Abraham not to get any ideas. I also ran into my friend Alice, which is always a nice surprise.

Had lunch and sat with Bram until he fell asleep for a long nap, during which time I goofed around on the internet. After naptime we went sledding at Clark Fields, which is perfect for toddlers but exhausting for dads carrying toddlers & sleds back up snowy hills. Since I carried him throughout the zoo as well, I got a pretty good workout today. After dinner we watched the Sylvester Stallone episode of the Muppet Show & put together a big Thomas the Tank Engine puzzle (he’s getting really good with puzzles).

UPDATE: I also programmed two macros into my remote (something I should have done ages ago) and listened to my vinyl of Baroness’ Blue Record which made me fully appreciate the money I shelled out for nice speakers.

Once he conks out I’m either going to have some hot chocolate with Bailey’s or a bourbon & Dr. Pepper.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Varieties of Empathy

There has been a lot swirling around my head lately; some general themes include: foresight & hindsight, the evolution of the human capacity for change, aging, empathy, the very different implications & responsibilities inherent in dating as a father, and why my dog farts uncontrollably when my son plays with his toy helicopter (pronounced, and this is very important: “hellapocker”).

So I’ve been thinking too much to write, much less coherently. So I’m going to try and catch up a bit, right now.

Foresight & Hindsight

When I was really little, I had a book about Thomas Jefferson and the value of foresight. Although I’m not sure I fully grasped the concept at the time, it stuck with me. It’s something I consider to be a relative strength of mine. I can look ahead long-term and see what the path I want to follow entails and act accordingly. I figure that the better and more practiced your foresight, the less it will differ from the 20/20 of hindsight. I also figure that not very many people understand the value of foresight or are capable of it. Or, I’m an arrogant dick.

Capacity Changes & Aging

In terms of interest, life seems to be a progression from the general to the specific. A child is interested in everything (except a varied diet), an adolescent is interested mostly in the things they like, and in trying things they haven’t yet been able to do. An adult tends toward the enjoyment of things they have established as life-long passions, and loses interest in trying new things. I’m speaking in grand generalities, here. Wrapping it all together with the following…


I think empathy can encompass more than just sharing in another’s feelings; including aspects of foresight & reflection upon the capacity changes that aging brings about. As aggravating as it is to be an adolescent who feels patronized by “you’ll understand when you’re older”, what is seen as condescension is actually nostalgia for (and therefore empathy with) the feelings & capacities of adolescence & childhood. Foresight is a kind of preparational empathy or an empathy with a future self; I look ahead and in the act of judging possible outcomes, place myself in a certain positions and reverse engineer the best path to reach the place I want to end up.

Glad I’ve cleared that up for myself.