Monday, August 31, 2009

The Originals

Stephen's family likes to take photos. It's a given at every family event that there will be a session of sitting in various combinations and cheesing for multiple cameras. It is something I have come to expect and even enjoy, which is surprising given my lineage in an extremely photo-phobic family.

One photo that is always taken is "the originals."
This is the original Weir seven. Mimi and Poppi, David, Paul, Janet, Sandra, and Richard.

This weekend, we were lucky enough to have the entire Shaw family visiting from their far away locations and took the obligatory Original Five picture, both formal and....

....not so formal.

What amazes me when looking at these pictures is that one day, Stephen and I will be taking a picture of our own original nuclear family, all grown up. How many will there be? What type of men and women will they become? Will Stephen be able to make the same great pirate face as his father does?

For now, here's our start. Introducing, The Little Shaw Original Three:

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Headed Topside

Last weekend, we buried my grandfather, Alexander Frank Weir MD. Strangers and patients knew him as Dr. Weir, and his friends called him Frank, but the grandkids (11 of us) all called him Poppi. Actually, for a period of time beset by frequent boating incidents during the 70's, his kids mainly called him Captain Stuck-in-the-Mud. I think that might have also been a subtle reference to his Indian heritage.

Of course it is hard to lose a family member, and so much of our death rituals are built around giving reassurance to those that remain behind. Even for a grandchild, you feel the impact of death in seeing your seniors grieve. But I think given his quality of life towads the end, everyone agreed that he's in a better place.

During the funeral service, Rev. Bill Arthur used a turn of phrase that I had never considered in that context. As he was talking about Poppi's life, and about death as a large (but not terminal) step, he said that Frank was "headed topside." He didn't elaborate on this nautical reference, and continued with his homily, but I was overcome by the imagery that this little phrase evoked. You can just imagine spending your entire lifa aboard a ship-at-sea, getting just a now-and-then glimpse of the world through a cloudy porthole, and even your access to the setting and rising of the sun at the mercy of the vessel's heading. And then, suddenly, to emerge from the depths of the galley onto the open deck, surrounded by endless miles of majesty and sky and sea, clouds and wind and the very sun at your fingertips. What a feeling that must be...

Poppi was a strong, loud, fun-loving and hard-living man. He was a compassionate and respected doctor, a loving husband for 59 years, and he presided proudly over a very large and loving family. We will all miss him greatly.

Fair winds and following seas, Captain Stuck-in-the-Mud.

In memoriam: Doctor A. Frank Weir, Jr. (1928-2009)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Of horse-theivin' and child-rearin'

The first rule of parenting and horse-stealing is: "Keep your mouth shut 'till you make it back to the barn."

We had the best luck with Jack driving to Spartanburg and back last weekend. On the way down, in the middle of the day, he slept the entire way except for a few minutes of happy cooing around Kannapolis. Not bad for an-almost-3-hour car trip at 6 months. Then, on the ride back we left right at bedtime and he slept all the way to Greensboro, until I opened my big mouth about a mile from the house. No sooner than I had said "What an amazing kid, I can't believe we made it all the way home without him crying," a shrieking wail bereft of all hope and peace erupted from the back seat.

Needless to say, I drove that last mile with my head hung sheepishly and a finger in my ear. And I learned my lesson.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bottoms Up!

My unemployed uber-triathlete college roomie friend sends this bit along. Not only does drinking beer promote a strong heart and stave off Alzheimer's, but now it looks like a good way to prevent osteoporosis:

It is thought that the high level of silicon in beer slows down the thinning that leads to fractures and boosts the formation of new bone, the journal Nutrition reports.

Beer is also rich in phytoestrogens, plant versions of oestrogen, which keep bones healthy. Bones are made up of a mesh of fibres, minerals, blood vessels and marrow, and healthy ones are denser with smaller spaces between the different parts.

The researchers asked almost 1,700 healthy women with an average age of 48 about their drinking habits. They then underwent ultrasound scans of their hands, which showed the bones belonging to beer drinkers to be denser


h/t Adam (p.s. if anyone knows of job openings in Charleston for an accomplished MBA grad, let me know.)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

Make Peace or Die, redux

LtCol McCollough, CO of 1/5, and some talking points:

And much like Paul Harvey, Capt. Brian Huysman gives you "the rest of the story:"

"For now, the Marines are concentrating their efforts on helping the newly appointed district governor get to work and encouraging police chief Nafaz Khan to deploy his men, who typically loiter at the station, on key roads leading into town. The chief grudgingly agreed, but not before hectoring one of McCollough's officers for more uniforms and guns.

"I'm in the same clothes I've been wearing for the last 15 days," Capt. Brian Huysman replied.

"Shall we kill the Taliban with our arms?" Khan retorted.

"We'll take weapons from the Taliban and give them to you," Huysman said.

"You've only given us one gun," Khan said.

"We have to kill more Taliban," Huysman said.

Thirty minutes later, a loud boom almost knocked Huysman off his feet. When he went outside to investigate, he saw Khan's men lowering a Soviet-era antiaircraft gun from the roof of the schoolhouse, where they had been living. The chief ordered that the massive gun, which spits out bullets the size of Magic Markers, be taken to one of the checkpoints.
"This is crazy, but what can we do?" Huysman said. "He's the chief."

Fire it up, Meat. The complete story is here.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Our friends,The Piners

Dear James Evett,

We love you and have adored seeing you grow in all your pictures. We think you might have a future in modeling. Consider forwarding this picture on to the nice folks at White Rain.

The little Shaws

Friday, August 7, 2009


Apparently, the one place where Dinosaurs and Creation Science could live happily together is now kaput. After ruling in 2006 that Kent "Dr. Dino" Hovind does not actually work for God and owes the U.S. Government $500,000 in unpaid taxes, a district court judge ordered earlier this week that DinosaurAdventureLand be sold off to pay the bill.

Kent Hovind ... has been sparring with the IRS for at least 17 years on his claims that he is employed by God, receives no income, has no expenses and owns no property. "The debtor apparently maintains that as a minister of God, everything he owns belongs to God and he is not subject to paying taxes to the United States on money he receives for doing God's work," U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Lewis Killian Jr. wrote when he dismissed a claim from Hovind in 1996.

Hovind, an avowed creationist, has widely publicized his "standing offer" to pay $250,000 to anyone who can provide scientific evidence of evolution....

In the indictment unsealed [in 2006], a grand jury alleges that Kent Hovind failed to pay $473,818 in federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes on employees at his Creation Science Evangelism/Ministry between March 31, 2001, and Jan. 31, 2004. The indictment alleges Kent Hovind paid his employees in cash and labeled them "missionaries" to avoid payroll tax and FICA requirements....

Of the 58 charges, 44 were filed against Kent Hovind and his wife, Jo, for evading bank reporting requirements as they withdrew $430,500 from AmSouth Bank ...The indictment also says the Hovinds' made cash withdrawals from AmSouth Bank in a manner that evaded federal requirements for reporting cash transactions. The withdrawals were for $9,500 or $9,600, just below the $10,000 starting point for reporting cash transactions....

In April [of 2006,] Circuit Judge Michael Allen ordered the buildings at Dinosaur Adventure Land closed because Hovind failed to obtain a building permit during the 2002 construction. The outdoor theme park was allowed to stay open. Members of Creation Science Evangelism said at the time that building permits violated their "deeply held" religious beliefs.

Dammit. I was really looking forward to getting to see how "physics shows that 6-day creation is possible" and why"fossils do not prove evolution". This is really the just deserts for someone who sees "the tremendous need for exposing evolution as a dangerous, religious world-view, and for arming Christians with scientific evidence that there are no contradictions between true science and the Bible."

h/t TaxProfBlog (even if it is 3 year old news, this is too good to pass up).

Thursday, August 6, 2009

"We thought you was a toad!"

The funniest thing happened today while I was taking a piss...

(haven't you always wanted to start a story off with that gem?)

I looked down at the toilet and a little froggy frog frog was staring up at me as if to say, "you know, I thought I just crawled to freedom through 500 yards of stink-smelling foulness* and now I'm in your bathroom."

Needless to say, Doc was none too impressed (apoplectic would be a more accurate descriptor) with this minor amphipian infiltration, but I thought it was quite the hilarious stunt. I also walked around spouting off my favorite O Brother Where Art Thou quote for almost an hour and laughing at my own brilliant sense of humor.

*yes, you might recognize this as a butchered plagiarism of the famous Shawshank Redemption quote. So sue me.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Six months

Playing on the floor is one of our favorite past times these days. Jackson still isn't crawling yet but he's almost mastered sitting up on his own. It doesn't take much to entertain him. Anything made of cloth or paper will do.