Monthly Archives: February 2005


A portmanteau is a word created by blending the meaning and spelling of two or more other words. I came up with one tonight quite by accident. I have combined enthusiasm and orgasm to get enthusigasm.

Enthusigasm: an acute physical manifestation of enthusiasm such as hooting, hopping, gesticulation, or high-pitched speech.

Okay, a quick web search reveals that I am not the first to combine these words with this result. The thought that I had coined such a clever phrase made me overjoyed before I had rights to be. Let’s call it “premature ejac-elation.”

WWJD—What Would Jefferson Do?

Quotes from an article by Robert Kuttner.

What most differentiates America from the Islamist nations that we are trying to convert to Western-style democracy is that they are theocracies while we respect civil rights and religious pluralism. And if there is to be a clash of civilizations, let it be our pluralism versus their dogmatism, not a clash of dogmas. The last thing America needs, either in its domestic civic life or in its foreign policy, is a new Crusade.

“The state should be the beneficiary of prior moral convictions, not their benefactor or their origin.” (David Novak)

The treacly phrase “faith-based” diverts attention from the real debate about the proper nexus between government and religion, and evokes instead the faithful individual congregant.

But their’s an iron law of religious zealotry: Breach the church-state wall and a zealot whose beliefs are more dogmatic and dangerous than yours will seize the opening.

Little Trees

Cora’s making up a song as she looks out the window at all the snow falling today. I liked it enough to post, though I have no idea what it means. Cora’s three years old, BTW.

(In the cadence of the typical talk-rock heavy metal band…)

Little trees
Little trees
Falling down on me.

Little trees
Little trees
Falling down on me.

(Begin sing-along melody here…)

Everyone in the Hundred Acre Wood
Everyone said, “You go in style.”
Followed by a really big fish
Everypeople came.

Rad Dad

I’m a stay-at-home dad.

Even though I used it myself just now, I don’t like the term “stay-at-home” dad. It’s too many syllables and the stay-at-home part is not really accurate. Stay-at-home moms and dads are always dragging kids and cups and bottles and extra diapers into the van to visit the grocery store, doctors office, or gym. (When’s the last time you administered your toddler’s tetanus shot from the comfort of your own home? Do you know how many innoculations a kid gets by the time she’s 3 years old?)

A stay-at-home mom has the option of calling herself a housewife. If she does then everyone knows what she means. It’s also a crisp two syllables, though for some the term still carries too much baggage from the days when the words woman and housewife were almost synonymous.

The stay-at-home dad can try using the term househusband but it’s not so crisp as housewife due to the extra syllable and double exhale needed for the repeated ‘h’ sound.

So the term “stay-at-home” dad persists in colloquial usage and I persist in not liking the term. But when someone asks what I do for a living I have to tell them something, and so I had to settle on a moniker I’d use for my household-running, care-giving occupation. Which did I like best? Stay-at-home Dad, House Dad, House Husband? I decided that Rebel Dad has it right:

One of my early problems had to do with nomenclature. There is no good way to refer to a father who serves as primary caregiver.

So I decided to do what he did: make something up. The term rebel dad is much better than stay-at-home dad. It’s descriptive: a rebel is someone who isn’t doing something in the typical way, just like Rebel Dad isn’t fathering in the typical father role.

But I prefer the term radical over rebel to describe what I’m doing. Rebel makes me think of someone trying to overthrow the current system. Radical makes me think of someone doing their own thing, even pushing the bounds of tradition if necessary.

According to Merriam-Webster radical means:

something “marked by a considerable departure from the … traditional.”

That’s what I’m doing at home with my kids. Daddy doesn’t just come home after work to spank whoever has been bad that day: daddy potty trains the kids all day long and then makes dinner before tucking them into bed.

But for the sake of pith I take the abbreviating one step further and turn Radical Dad into Rad Dad.