Sunday, July 27, 2008

Andrew Story and Recent Photos [Bryan]

When Andrew gets a time out, he has learned to quickly become very penitent. We explain to him what he did wrong, of the need to make good choices, and that he needs to be a nice boy. He always claims: "I be nice boy, I be nice boy." The last time he got a time out, though, he added a new layer of promises. "I be nice boy, I be nice boy," he claimed. And then he added, "I make cute choices!" Ellie and I burst out laughing. Cute choices indeed!

Here is Andrew, making a cute choice.

Nora's sidewalk art. Very Picasso-esque!

In the early summer, we were off to Mesa, Arizona, to see Sam (Ellie's brother) get married. Here we are, all coordinated and everything.

We had a good 4th. We went to the Hillard city parade, attended a party with friends, lit sparklers in our back yard, and took Nora to see the big fireworks in the park.

Also on the 4th, we showed our patriotic fervor by eating a flag cake.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I am a Jelly Doughnut [Bryan]

Say what you will about Europe and the political wisdom of Obama's trip overseas, you have to admit that it was awesome to see 200,000 foreigners excited about America again. 200,000! Look closely at the picture and you can see American flags everywhere. How cool is that?

Meanwhile, McCain was eating lunch in a German restaurant just down the street from me. I should have gone and shared a sausage with him. Guten Appetit!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

McCain's Health Care Plan [Bryan]

Ellie and I have both been interested in health care policy lately, especially with the elections coming up. It is not so much that we ourselves need health care. Our own benefits with OSU are excellent. It is just that we've seen people we love struggling with health care cost, and we think that it is a moral imperative that something be done. We've looked into both health care plans. No surprise: While neither plan is perfect, we like Obama's plan much better than McCain's.

Here is the core of McCain's plan, as I understand it: He will give each family a $5,000 tax credit ($2,500 to individuals), while at the same time phasing out the employer tax exemption for health insurance. Whatever money people don't use out of their credit, they can put into an individual health savings account. McCain seems to think that the problem with health care costs is that people use too much health care. If we arrange the financial incentives so that people pay for their own health care, he thinks, people will be more careful about going to the doctor. Less demand for health care = greater competition = lower health care costs for everybody.

The goal of the policy is that employers stop supplying health insurance and that people purchase their own policies. Getting rid of employer-based health care may actually be a very good thing if, of course, there is something to take its place. But there isn't. The average family policy costs over $12,000 a year, so the $5,000 tax credit McCain offers would not even come close to covering this. More importantly, perhaps, it does nothing for people who have pre-existing conditions who cannot purchase insurance in the marketplace. McCain merely does a little hand waving about a "Guaranteed Access Plan" and promises that something will be done.

Here is what this all means in personal terms: If Andrew has a high fever at 3:00 AM, I personally don't want to calculate the costs of taking him to the emergency room.

Health care isn't like buying new cars or plasma TVs. If a child is sick, he should get treatment. The same moral claim does not exist for people who merely desire cars or TVs. Plus, I don't know enough about medicine to make a fully informed decision about health care purchases -- that is why we send people to four years of medical school. Thus, market forces cannot rule health care like they can (and should) rule in many other areas. The moral structure is different in health care, and the expertise necessary for informed consumers is nonexistent.

Compared with the detail and comprehensiveness of the Obama plan, McCain's plan is almost childlike. Obama's plan is more expensive, to be sure, but he has serious ways of paying for it (repealing Bush tax cuts, employer "pay or play" provisions, etc.) Once again, McCain treats us like children, Obama like grown-ups.

Here are the most detailed version of the plans I could find on the respective websites. See for yourself:

McCain's plan

Obama's plan (pdf)

Friday, July 18, 2008

On getting comments [Bryan]

I figured out what I need to do to get comments on my blog.

Surprising/exciting/juicy information about personal and family life = lots of comments.

Meanderings about politics/bow ties/or anything else = no comments.

Guess I should have known.

Walkability [Bryan}

Here is a cool website: Walkscore. It tells you how "walkable" your neighborhood is. It pretty much captured what I dislike about the location where we live -- you can't walk anywhere! Being able to walk/bike places, I'm finding, captures nearly everything about what is important about a place to live. If you ain't got that, then your neighborhood sucks.

Our score was a pathetic 18/100 and even that is overestimating. The schools and markets that the program finds aren't really what they seem to be. And, even if they were, there are absolutely no sidewalks. Walking or biking is a risky endeavor in outer Columbus. I will never buy a house in such a neighborhood again!

What was your score? Does it seem accurate?

Monday, July 14, 2008

On bow ties [Bryan]

A great article about bow ties. Here are some highlights (and remember, no one ever asked you to read this blog!):

"A bow tie is like a wrapped gift. If I wore one every day, it wouldn't be a treat."

"Never wear a clip-on bow tie. Never admit you even know anyone who does."

"Tying a bow tie is like tying your shoes in the dark while drunk."

"A bow tie is like the ideal life: You have to play with it, tweak it, to get it right. Even then, of course, it's always a bit askew. But it should be."

How to read the bow tie: "The little-polka-dot people are generally lawyers, professors, or doctors. Stripes are what these same lawyers, professors, or doctors wear on weekends--more informal. A tie with a single stripe and little figures like animals represents a club--golfing, social, or professional--to which the wearer belongs. You will be expected to know this and not to inquire as to what these little figures mean."

"Men who wear bow ties care more about themselves than they do about you."

"Do not wear bows all the time. Keep the viewer off balance. Wear them once in a while, the way you might eat liver."

Overheard to a bow tie wearer: "Which are you?A waiter or a clown?"

Friday, July 11, 2008

We are expecting!

Well, there is another little Warnick kid on the way. Although we sometimes get tired just thinking about going through this parenting process again, we are still really excited. The due date in February 9th.

We told Nora and Andrew a few days ago. When we told Nora, she looked kind of bored and said mysteriously, "I already kind of knew that." Since that time, though, we've been getting many persistent questions about where babies come from, which leads to a lot of blushing and awkward mumbling.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Free Stuff [Bryan]

Last week, there was a community garage sale in our subdivision. Ellie and I had a bunch of stuff to get rid of, but we didn't want to sit there all day and haggle with people. So, we decided to put it all out on our lawn with a sign that said "free stuff." This free stuff included: two damaged lamps, a broken lawnmower, and a freezer that may or may have worked. Best of all, there were three dirty, rusty, orange and green, 1970's-era kitchen chairs. I put signs on the stuff detailing its condition and then went inside.

Ellie was skeptical that anyone would want all this broken, rusty, damaged stuff, especially the kitchen chairs. She mocked me saying, "If anybody takes that stuff, I'll eat my hat."

Twenty minutes later, we looked out the window and what did we see? Our lawn was empty. Nothing was left. Zip. Nada. Everything had been taken before 9:00 -- even the old kitchen chairs! It made me feel like we will never have to haul away anything again. We could put out a sack of dirty diapers with a sign that says "free" and people will come take it.

Getting people to haul away your junk? $100.
More storage space in our shed? $200.
Being right while your wife was wrong? Priceless.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Movie review: WALL-E [Bryan]

So, it is movie review week on the blog.

WALL-E was okay, I thought, for a Pixar movie. It was visually fascinating and, at times, touching and beautiful (I loved the scene where the robots dance in outer space). It lacked some of the wit and humor, though, of the earlier Pixar movies. This is probably because the movie contains little verbal dialogue. Most of the humor is physical in nature and involves WALL-E falling down or something similar. I can only laugh at that so many times. There are subtle bits of humor, though, which are buried in the rich visual world, and it will doubtless take more viewings to appreciate all of these visual jokes. So perhaps I shouldn't judge it so quickly.

As far as themes go, there are obvious points being made about environmental degradation and consumerism (which is odd given that Pixar itself thrives on mass-consumerism). This all seemed kind of obvious to me and maybe a bit heavy-handed, even though I largely agree with the underlying message. More interesting was the subtler theme of duty versus love. When should we let relationships trump our our duty? And when is duty more important than love? The film seems to suggest that duty and love need not be opposed. Love and duty can coexist and inform one another. WALL-E takes on EVE's quest to do her duty (which, in eventually cleaning up Earth, connects to his duty) and this is what builds their relationship. A fascinating point.

Another point: The film also shows future humanity in an infantilized state -- fat, dependent on machines, barely able to walk. They exist on a spaceship, a virtual artificial bubble, doing trivial things and living lives without a larger point or purpose. There is no striving or risk or reaching for something better. By becoming dependent on machines, human lose their humanity. And then the robots become human. I suspect there is more truth in this point than I am comfortable with.