Manipulating variables in “Little Bunny Foo Foo”


Don’t worry, “Little Bunny Foo Foo” is not the Song of the Week. Like many children’s songs, it goes through a set number of repetitions1 based on the dubious theory that repetition both appeals to kids AND is good for them.

My daughter, The Frogger, has discovered that, while the number of repetitions (N) has a traditional value (N=3), it is a manipulable variable which can be set at multiple values with effects on the enjoyment of the singers. Continue reading “Manipulating variables in “Little Bunny Foo Foo””

Just One Baby – Why We Vaccinate

For me, 5 February is Dana McCaffery Day. I originally wrote this in 2010 to explain how much her brief time in this world meant to me, even though I had never met her. I stand by every word, and even more so by every feeling, still today. I also choose to remember Dana’s birthday – the remembrance of her coming into her own being – as a celebration of a meaningful life, though I so desperately wish her life could have been as mundane as the rest of us.

Just One Baby

from Bad Astronomy
Today is the first anniversary of Dana Elizabeth McCaffery‘s birth. Unfortunately, Dana cannot join us in celebrating her birthday. Dana was killed by pertussis, or whooping cough. At under a month of age, Dana could not be vaccinated against pertussis and had to rely on herd immunity. Unfortunately, thanks in large part to the efforts of the anti-vaccination movement, immunity levels in Dana’s region of Australia were far below the herd immunity level necessary to protect those who cannot be vaccinated, like newborn children. Continue reading “Just One Baby – Why We Vaccinate”

Fish cognition

My daughter really enjoys playing the iPad game Flick Fishing HD. Don’t worry folks. It’s all catch and release. Also, The Frogger can now identify about 30 different species of fish. We also use it for spelling practice:

Can you spell “barracuda”?

It also got me to wondering why different fish react differently to being caught on a line as this is a threat that is completely different from any natural predators. Are the fish aware they are in danger or just trying to get away from an annoyance? Is the behavior panic or some version of a standard predator avoidance? Or, is the fish evaluating the threat and then putting together the best strategy it can to counter the specific threat? That sounds pretty advanced, but we already know that some fish can use tools*.

*Depending on how you choose to define “tool”.

Bruce the Shark

In the spirit of Whose Line is It Anyway?, these lyrics were composed on the fly in response to The Frogger requesting, “Daddy, sing a song about a shark.” Not knowing any songs about sharks, I found myself inspired by the opening scene of Jaws.


*Sung to the tune of “Lily the Pink” as arranged and performed by Dirty Dishes.

Here’s a story, a little bit gory,
A little bit happy, a little bit sad,
About Bru-uce the-e Shar-ark
And how he bit my leg in HALF!

And we’ll drink, we’ll drink, we’ll drink
To Bruce the Shark, the Shark, the Shark
The greatest hunter in the sea-ea-ea
He used his pointy tee-eeth
To bi-ite into me. Continue reading “Bruce the Shark”

Job description

Job: Scientist


Daddy: What does Daddy do at work?
Daughter: Solves the Mysteries of the Universe.

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