May 17th, 2014

commenting on _Austerity: the history of a dangerous idea_

It's interesting to read after _The Alchemists_. The focus on personalities that made me so suspicious of Irwin initially (until I understood what he was doing, at which point I was really impressed) contrasts sharply with the history-of-ideas approach of Mark Blyth. Blyth's work is much more uneven than Irwin's, but overall I am finding it worth reading and enjoyable.

Reading Blyth's summary of Locke's _Second Treatise of Government_ I suddenly understood the structure and rhetoric of the homestead acts (you know, how the Ingalls' family in the Little House books got their land). It is the detailed working out in policy of Locke's theory of private property (the land becomes yours when you labor on it, there's more than enough to go around so it's not like you taking some means someone else doesn't get any, and God doesn't approve of people holding onto land that they aren't laboring on appropriately). I had no idea. I mean, literally, I had no idea. I remember reading Locke's On Toleration/A Letter Concerning Toleration and being _very_ surprised about what was in it and I still remember the details vividly decades later. Clearly, as distasteful as I find Locke, I really should read more of what he had to say, because those words have had so much power over our world.

ETA: Over lunch, R. and I were discussing Blyth's summary and he noted that adverse possession fit into this as well.

Looks like adverse possession has some real legs to it; Locke probably wasn't really innovating on any level at all in describing how private ownership of land came to be/worked.

I also realized that "highest/best use" in eminent domain and zoning fits in well with Blyth's summary of Locke, also.

Today's Activities Include: open gym, babysitter, mulch

Today, I went around the block walking while T. was on the scooter. Once again, he was completely careful about all the cars. It is so wonderful to see.

We took the kids to open gym. The babysitter met us there. They had a good time going to the bridge in Concord and seeing someone shoot a musket. Also, they saw people canoe.

While we were kid-free, we had lunch at Red Raven. Then R. distributed the bark mulch that had been sitting in a pile in the driveway since it was delivered. I was gloriously lazy and watched TV, notably some Later with Jools Holland (the 30 April episode). I was somewhat bored listening to a Macklemore concert from Palladia and saw the teaser: Coldplay, Sharon and the Dap Kings, The Black Keys, Damon Albard. Aziza Brahim and Tom Hickox were the only ones I didn't know and it turned out that there wasn't a clunker in the entire show. I loved the whole thing. I am Not Cool when it comes to music, so it is a weird moment in time when an entire show is mostly familiar to me AND I like all of it.

I'm still working my way through _Austerity_. My birthday present came early and the card clearly absolved me of opening it so I did: Deborah Stone's _Policy Paradox_. *happily jumping up and down* Wheee! (Okay, I _get_ that I shouldn't be this excited. Just roll your eyes and go with it.)

We're basically caught up on Phineas and Ferb (binge watching 6 years of a show -- it's like kids get to be Just Like Adults!), so we're mostly re-watching the ones that A. likes best. She really likes Norm -- I'm not sure why _she_ likes Norm, but I like him because he's so humorously tragic. When A. went up to wind down in bed, T. asked to read Green Eggs and Ham. He tried to get me to read it, but I said he should read it to me, and he did -- about 3/4s of it at which point I gave in and finished reading it to him because he was clearly fatigued. But I was really excited -- while it was mostly sight reading, there were a couple things he was unsure about and he actually sounded them out partway to figure out what they were.

Oh, and when I went to order conditioner over on Amazon (Earth Science Fragrance Free -- not reliably found in any store I've ever been in), I was horribly confused when it said I had most recently ordered in on May 17. Had I already placed an order and forgotten? Nope. 2013. Ah. Turns out that the "most common" subscription option for the 3 pack is every four months, but I apparently need to replenish every 12 months. So that's kind of weird.