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Nature vs. Nurture

My daughter is a Slytherin.

For those of you who don’t live and breathe Harry Potter, Slytherin is one of the four houses of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  A few of the less savory characters in this series hailed from Slytherin – including the main villain, Lord Voldemort.  In other words, if Hitler had attended Hogwarts, it’s a pretty good bet that he would have been in Slytherin.

Dimples joined the virtual world of Harry Potter at last week, and worked her way through buying important school supplies like cauldrons and glass vials (Hogwarts does not have Trapper Keepers on their school supply list, either), getting a wand assigned to her, and, after much suspense, getting sorted into a House.

She eagerly called me into the room, so I could watch her carefully answer the questions that would lead to her final sorting.

When she got assigned to Slytherin, I got a hint of the disappointment to come if she ever gets hate mail from Harvard.

“It’s okay,” I said.  “Remember? We talked about how there were some good characters in Slytherin, and this is your opportunity to prove that not all Slytherins are out to destroy the world.”

She glared at me, a glimmer of tears in her eyes.  It was clear to both of us that this was all my fault.

The obvious solution to this problem was for me to get sorted too.

So, I logged in to the site, went through my school supply purchases, earned my unicorn wand, and made my way to the sorting.  Dimples raced to the computer when I announced that the moment was at hand.

The first question appeared, and Dimples almost dissolved.  “The questions aren’t the same,” she said, obviously having expected me to get the exact same set of questions – and to answer them the same.

I told her that I was going to answer them honestly anyway.  A few of the questions were identical to hers, and I answered 2 of them the same way she had.  As I answered each question, I tried to go with my first instinct, instead of trying to second-guess what House it would lead to.

At what I imagined to be the final question, I hesitated before sending my answer to cyberspace.

What would it mean to Dimples if I got sorted into Gryffindor, the House of Heroes?  What would it mean to me?

I finally clicked the mouse, and we both waited for the Determination of my Destiny.


Which makes perfect sense, given my snake-handling skills (Slytherin’s mascot is a serpent) and my unabashed attempts to become a legend in my own mind. (“Slytherin will help you on your way to greatness” is the house motto.)

After consulting the Slytherin Psychology tumblr, I realized that the Sorting Hat probably knew exactly what it was doing.

That explains a lot.

But, hey, at least I made it into Hogwarts, unlike poor Stephen Colbert (commiserating with a student who claims she was refused entrance to the University of Texas based on the fact that she is not a minority):


You Don’t Know Who You’re Dealing With

Just put my face in there. Oh, right. You don't know what I look like.

This is my 84th post, and I still have not been invited to spend a week with the writers of The Daily Show or The Colbert Report.  I think I’ve figured out the problem, though.  I haven’t really been hitting the politics too hard on this blog.  Partly because I don’t want to offend any of my readers.  And partly because I don’t really know anything.  But I’m going to take a risk today, and pretend that really doesn’t matter.

All of the bipartisan bickering lately (for the last 8 years, interestingly enough – since that is how old my daughter is) is driving me crazy.  So I would like to propose a new solution.  This may involve a complete overhaul of one of the Schoolhouse Rock Videos, but I’m pretty sure you will agree that it’s worth it.

How a Bill Becomes a Law the Whatimeant2say Way:

  1. Use a random name generator, such as the Secret Agent or Lady Gaga ones, to give all of the politicians code names.  Only the President will have a complete list, and it will be kept in the White House in a safe that requires two people to open it at the same time.  I would suggest that the keys be given to Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno, as they would cooperate with each other only under the direst of circumstances.
  2. Politicians will consult the Siri goddess on their iPhones, and then submit any proposals for law changes to a shared Google Doc, using their newly selected random names as their Gmail addresses.  Their political parties will not be revealed.
  3. An objective citizen, such as Ryan Seacrest, will categorize the possible laws and blog about them anonymously, grouping similar but opposing views in the same posts – still without identifying the sponsoring political parties.
  4. Citizens and non-citizens will be invited to read and comment.  Vile words and incomprehensible texting abbreviations will be thrown out by the moderator (Seacrest again).  WTF will be allowed, as it is the only way to express complete astonishment at the idiocy of the Common Man.
  5. After an appropriate length of time for discussion on each topic, a survey from PollDaddy will be placed on the blog.
  6. Any politician who leaks their code name or a law they proposed will have to appear on a reality show produced by Mark Burnet and their proposal will immediately be disqualified and sold on eBay.
  7. The proposal with the most votes on Poll Daddy (with which no political party has been affiliated) will become a law.
  8. Simon Cowell (after he applies for, pays a lot of money for,  and is granted U.S. citizenship) will be the tie-breaker judge.
  9. Charlie Sheen will announce the “winner” late at night on his webcam, and Ashton Kutcher will tweet it to everyone to make sure the maximum number of people know what the new law is.
  10. There is no number 10, but stopping at number nine looked wrong for some reason.

I know.  I should run for President.

Oh, the Inanity!

I hate this. I had every intention of typing a typically inane blog full of sarcastic comments, and all that wants to come out on my keyboard are silly sentiments about courage and civil rights.

I just watched the movie, The Help, and now I’m watching Stephen Colbert (need to stop doing that while I’m actually trying to write) and he’s interviewing Gloria Steinem. I feel very small.

This internal conflict is putting me in a funk as I consider my non-heroic life, so I have switched to David Letterman, on which he is showing stupid human tricks, which makes me think about stupid pet tricks, leading me to wonder if my bulldog’s Stevie Wonder routine would qualify.

Before I could embark on this hopeful digression, though, my Help/Steinem inspired conscience kicks out the question of the political correctness of comparing my bulldog’s odd behavior to a blind, African-American singer.

I like to think I’m not racist or biased against people with special abilities, but what if I’m one of those people who has absolutely no self-awareness?

So I am watching my bulldog like a hawk, hoping that he will do something less fraught with controversy that I can post to prove that I am a very tolerant person. Being a bulldog, he is stubbornly refusing to perform a Lady Gaga routine, choosing instead to snore on the couch.

The golden retriever is no help either. She is much too mature to perform any stupid pet tricks, and barely tolerates the ones that the bulldog displays.

Apparently I am going about this whole blogging thing wrong, trying to watch T.V. as I write, and attempting to compose something meaningless right on the heels of watching something with meaning. I need to watch a Seinfeld episode and start over again.

What Stevie Wonder and Stephen Colbert have in Common

I got scooped by Stephen Colbert.

Pondering my recent blog post regarding terrorists poisoning our food so that we would lose our memory, I thought I should try to come up with at least one other alternative explanation.

In the meantime, our bulldog was channelling Stevie Wonder

which made me wonder (no pun intended) if the famous singer was still alive.  I honestly can’t keep track of the lives of celebrities, much less their deaths, so I decided to Google it.  And then it hit me – our brains are shrinking because of Google.  (BTW, in case you are worried and haven’t left this post already to satisfy your own curiosity, Stevie Wonder is apparently still alive, according to Wikipedia.)

“Of course!” I thought, “Our brains have stopped retaining information because they know that all we need to do is hit a few keystrokes, and there it is.”  This led me to wonder (there’s that word again!) if, in the near future, our brains will have search boxes inside – a perfectly Darwinian result of our technological evolution.

All prepared to blog about this great discovery and what I thought to be a quite astute prediction, I settled down to watch an episode of The Colbert Report on The Comedy Channel (the only place I like to get my news), and there was Stephen doing “The Word”.  It was “Head in the Cloud” (more than one word, but so what?).  And he proceeded to cite research that supported my hypothesis of memory loss due to Google.  Furthermore, he surmised that all of our memory, including personal, will eventually be stored in that virtual cloud that we hear so much about.  He then showed how beneficial this would be to all of us – as long as we have wi-fi access, that is.  I highly recommend you watch it.  It’s quite realistically horrifying when you think about it.

So, within the span of a few moments, I was able to connect my bulldog, Stevie Wonder, Stephen Colbert, and Darwin. Memory, Schmemory.  Who needs it?  Like a Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon game, I can pretty much find a connection between anything and anyone (as long as I have wi-fi or 3G). And, here’s the kicker:  I Googled “Stevie Wonder and Stephen Colbert” so I could try to find a nice little way to tie this whole post together.

They have the same birthday.

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