Another Reason Bush Keeps Winning

It occurred to me the other night that one thing that the Bush people have done really well is to appeal to the lowest common denominator by working Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs from the bottom up. See, it’s like a pyramid with a broad base and a narrow top, that leads from the most basic physiological needs like food, shelter and clothing, up through safety and security issues, feelings of belonging, etc., until you ultimately reach self-actualization or even trancendence.

It really seems like the Repubican Party does a good job of answering “what’s in it for me?” and the Democrats lose a lot of people with all the talk of saving the environment from global warming, providing safety through strategic disarmament, and raising taxes to balance the budget and provide better services.

I suppose all politicians have tried to make people feel like they’re going to have more money, and the economy is going to get better, and they’ll protect us from terrorists, and keep the criminals off the street, and we’re the best rah-rah-rah, and God Bless Us All. But gosh he’s good at it. Or Karl Rove is.

And gosh darn it, “a chicken in every pot,” just isn’t good enough.

Daddy’s Little Philosopher, Part II

The Hand of Animation by Alan Dixon
Earlier this week, Emily caught a glimpse of the infinite. She was playing in the bathtub with a paint brush of the watercolor variety, and the paint was flaking off the wooden handle.

“What are those black flakes in your bathwater,” I asked.

“That’s just some paint off my paint brush. We’d have to use another paint brush to fix it. I guess they used another paint brush to paint it when they made it.

(Light dawns over blonde pigtails.)

And they had to use another paint brush to paint that paint brush, and another paint brush to paint that one, and another paint brush, and another and another and another and another, and it just keeps going like that forever!”

Who is this Paul Graham?

Just spent some time over on Paul Graham‘s website, and I’m going to spend some more. It’s some of the best stuff I’ve ever read on the topic of design, like this passage under “Good Design is Strange” in the essay about Taste:

I’m not sure why. It may just be my own stupidity. A can-opener must seem uncanny to a dog. Maybe if I were smart enough it would seem the most natural thing in the world that e^i*pi=-1. It is after all necessarily true.

Why We Have Kids

The Lady Janet went to San Francisco today, so I got to spend the whole day with Emily. We had so much fun, and it was really cool.

Because her kindergarten class did a whole thing on the original Thanksgiving feast this week, we got to play “Indians.” She made me pick out an Indian name, and I chose “Runs-with-Cats,” but “Princess Clearwater” insisted that I make it “Chief Runs-with-Cats,” and I hate to admit it, but that kinda works for me.

Then we did all kinds of things, like painting each others faces (to look like cats), making a placemat for me to use at the feast exactly like the one she brought home from school, and having a “campfire” around a candle.

But it got really cool when we went to have the “feast,” which was a grilled cheese sandwich, and the dialogue went like this:

Chris: Does our tribe like our sandwiches cut into triangles or straight across?

Emily: In half.

Chris (demonstrating): Diagonally like this? (lays knife from corner to corner) or straight like this? (lays knife straight across the center)

Emily: Straight. Our tribe doesn’t use any diagonals. They don’t even have a word for “diagonal.” When you say “diagonal” to them, they just hear “blah-bla-blah-bla-blah.”

That’s my girl! (Benjamin Lee Whorf would be so proud.)