1. says

    Beethoven’s gone, but his music lives on,
    And Mozart don’t go shopping no more.
    You’ll never meet Liszt or Brahms again,
    And Elgar doesn’t answer the door.
    Schubert and Chopin used to chuckle and laugh,
    Whilst composing a long symphony,
    But one hundred and fifty years later,
    There’s very little of them left to see.

    They’re decomposing composers.
    There’s nothing much anyone can do.
    You can still hear Beethoven,
    But Beethoven cannot hear you.

  2. Collin Tierney says

    PZ, the thought that I could have a professor who reads his daughter’s blog on a regular basis is creepy. Stop it, please.

  3. KalleOscar says

    You’ve a very bright daughter who has a great sense of humor and style. She’s your kid, you’re proud and I don’t blame you. I read my kid’s blog on a regular basis because I’m proud of him. Parents do this. We’re not all spying on our kids, we just want to know about their lives and thoughts.

  4. quork says

    I think Skatje is smart enough to put the stuff she doesn’t want her father reading on her other blog, under a pseudonym.

  5. says

    Actually, she puts the stuff we parents aren’t allowed to know in password-protected entries, and we don’t have the password, and we haven’t even asked for it.

  6. says

    It took me years to realize that my wife (now a Physics professor) was smarter than me. It took us both years to realize that our son was smarter than either of us. There is a definite presence of noise in evaluating our own offspring. It presumably is there for evolutionary reasons. For example, if parents learned from children faster than children learned from parents, could the propogation of civilization itself be possible?

    Oh, at least I am not at the bottom rung of the intelligence ladder in my household. We have a dog. I know I’m smarter than the dog. I beat her two out of three at Chess.

  7. says

    Dogs like their people. She’s letting you win to make you happy.

    Don’t ever get a cat — they show no mercy at the chessboard, and enjoy expressing their disdain after they crush you.

  8. says

    Skatje wrote:

    “but life can still be meaningful. I can love, I can laugh, I can sing, I can learn, I can watch a thunderstorm, I can read a book, I can dance in my pajamas, I can tell you a story, I can split a milkshake with you, I can make you happy, I can make you proud, I can share my life. I can do what Mozart, Darwin, Shakespeare, Franklin, and Aristotle can’t do now. Why waste that?”

    Observe Skatje finding her self, her place in the universe, her spirituality, her soul.

    I rest my case.

    “Mother is putting my new secondhand clothes in order. She prays now, she says, that I may learn in my own life and away from home and friends what the heart is and what it feels. Amen. So be it. Welcome, O life, I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.” James Joyce

  9. says

    So the fact that she enjoys life means that she has an immaterial and eternal essence? That’s some powerful, sophisticated logic you’ve got going on there! Or else I’ve entirely missed your point.

  10. Nicholas Lawrence says

    Thank you, Sugarbear, for expounding so clearly the utter emptiness of guff like “place in the universe”, “spirituality” and “soul”, in contrast to intelligible statements such as “I can read a book”.

  11. says

    Hasn’t everybody figured it out by now? It’s the soul that makes us evil. Our species is causing a mass extinction, the sort of disaster you normally need an asteroid to provoke, and it’s all because we were touched by a very vengeful God. Ensoulment was our curse, spirituality the means of our undoing. Had we been merely clever apes, had our brains been merely physical, we’d have stood a chance of survival. Instead, soul and spirit were granted us, like a virus from outer space, and we shall never be free.

    . . . What?

  12. says

    “I rest my case”

    Sugarbear, you are a regular Perry Mason, and you’ve utterly convinced me of whatever the hell it is you’re trying to say.

  13. Azkyroth says

    My daughter seems to be more intelligent than me, too, aside from the substantial verbal delays; on some cognitive tasks she performs as well as a kid more than twice her age. My wife’s kind of stupid, though, in that she has a wonderful mind but has not merely allowed herself to be convinced the opposite is true by an unforgivably negligent family and the miserable public school system’s failure to address her minor learning disability but has cultivated a genuinely delusional belief in her own intellectual incapacity. I’m trying to fix it…any suggestions? x.x

  14. Azkyroth says

    Oh, and sugarbear:

    I agree. I too have found myself; in fact, I’m touching it right now.

    I have found my place in the universe; who let the bookmark fall out, anyway?

    I’m not sure about spirituality. Perhaps I’ll go find the spirits instead.

    …yeesh. :P

  15. David Marjanović says

    First I thought someone was making fun of Sugarbear, found that the parody worked quite well, and wanted to congratulate the author.

    Then I read the signature.

  16. David Marjanović says

    First I thought someone was making fun of Sugarbear, found that the parody worked quite well, and wanted to congratulate the author.

    Then I read the signature.

  17. Nick T says

    You might want to consider that Sugarbear is only guilty of poor choice of words, that by “spiritual” and “soul” he means “those aspects of life that are most fulfilling and worthwhile, and that (while like everything else ultimately reducible to material processes) are very hard to rationally analyze.”

    Well… it may not be likely. But if you do read it that way, I think it’s right.

  18. Martin Christensen says

    Azkyroth, regarding boosting your wife’s ‘intellectual self-esteem’ or whatever we should call it, I think the best way is simply to treat her as an equal in that respect. A dash of pocket psychology informs me that the block she has that prevents her from seeing herself as smart is in no way rational, so you probably can’t do anything to persuade her by normal means. She thinks she’s less intelligent than she is because people around her have taken it for granted that she is, so probably the best way to undo it is to take for granted that she’s smart.

    Cue Caledonian… :-)


  19. DMC says

    PZ says “trust me”.

    Why? I am suspicious of anyone who vents such hateful remarks as are found on this site.

  20. Jud says

    DMC said: “I am suspicious of anyone [PZ] who vents such hateful remarks as are found on this site.”

    You must have really needed to get that one out, to post it in a thread where PZ is expressing his love and admiration for his daughter.

  21. speedwell says

    Azkyroth, Martin is right. I have had the same problem as your wife in the past. To put what he said a little more concretely, you should rely on her for things that take brains, and show her that you are doing so. If she has a confidence crisis, tell her just to do her best at it in her own way, and she’ll probably find it easier than she told herself at first. Then afterwards, make sure you show her that you do trust her and you are relying on her good judgment and ideas. After you’ve been doing this for a while, it will be easy to show her that you rely on her to identify places where thought and action are needed, and that you trust her to use her good mind to get the job done.

    As an example of how to do the job right…. I have a terrific (if egotistical) boss who respects my intellectual gifts almost as much as he respects his own, haha. He doesn’t assign me tasks so much as he tells me a goal we need to accomplish and lets me get there using my own approach. He doesn’t praise me or encourage me or hover over me. He just leaves a task in my hands, is available if I need him (but he works overseas so I try to work things out on my own), accepts the product of my efforts, and uses it in key decisions. He’ll sometimes tell the team during our weekly conference call that he relied on something I did to decide our next step forward. This is all the more remarkable when I remember that he initially hired me with some reservations about my ability to do the work. He saved all his praise and compliments for my annual peformance review and I had a hard time keeping the tears back. I knew I was doing a good job, but I didn’t realize how far he had brought me just by giving me the tools and the room and the support to be productive.

    This sort of approach also works if, for example, your wife is down on herself about her weight or her appearance. Give her situations in which appearance is important and trust her and enable her to rise to the occasion. Then she’ll believe that you, whose opinion is the most important, really do believe she’s beautiful and sexy, and she’ll begin to believe it and act like it on her own.

  22. speedwell says

    To bring this back on topic, I know that one reason Skatje is such a natural, powerful, and confident young woman is because she has been treated as worthy and intelligent her whole life. Hooray for that a hundred times. If only every young man and woman were treated the same, it would be amazing what humanity could accomplish.