Letters to Holly

Wednesday, February 16

Slow Progressions

Your Sister took the boy to the doctor yesterday to see about his runny nose. He's had a filthy nose for about two weeks now, and she was worried an infection might spread to his ears. He has been tugging on them for a few days. The doctors found no sign of a virus. He responded well to Orajel last night when he awoke, suggesting he's teething after all. He's also starting to pull upright in his crib, and we'll need to lower the mattress height so he can't climb out. He loves pulling himself to his feet now. It's all he wants to do when you approach him.

When will we remember that we installed cabinet locks so we won't tumble backward when we try to fetch a cutting board? 

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Very late in my workday yesterday, I heard from the newspaper about my letter. They said I had to whittle it down to 350 words before they'd run it. I appreciate the chance to edit it myself; I've seen enough of their handiwork to trust them with cropping my submission. I had to make a new ending, and went through about five snarky conclusions before finding one that seemed polite but confident. They don't run their letter criteria often. Had I known about the word limit, this letter might have been printed already. The most recent edition had a secondary response letter, and it was the usual "cold dead hand" rhetoric about gun ownership.

I'm not arguing the right to have a handgun for safety. I'm arguing that the ability to fire 30 bullets without reloading isn't a defensive strategy. When I took martial arts classes, both instructors advised that you do just enough to end the threat and leave the situation. That's the kind of defense a six- or nine-bullet capacity provides. Anything more, and you're escalating the situation and creating an arms race with everyone else packing a gun.

Again, I hope the letter shows that one can advocate gun-control laws while honoring the right to protect one's self and property.

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Picture of the Day
We're watching the Jeopardy! episodes pitting the two top all-time winners against IBM's Watson computer. It's astounding to behold this black, vertical screen standing behind the podium. 

He's good at treating each clue as a search listing, although he's not infallible. In a question regarding U.S. airports, he answered Toronto. He's competed strong, but I wonder if he has an increased advantage with a quicker clicker response. The human contestants, as always, run the risk of locking themselves out if they buzz in too early. Watson won't do that. 

Still, a computer is competing on Jeopardy! The mind boggles. 

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