Sunday, May 17, 2009

Random recognitions

I need to catch a plane in a few minutes (gotta love those business trips that begin on Sunday afternoons!), but I had a few random acknolwedgements that I wanted to throw out:
  • For anybody who might have been wondering how he's doing, my brother Dave is gainfully employed once again. His stint among the unemployed was thankfully short, and (much to my mother's disappointment) he did not need to entertain thoughts about giving up on the Denver employment scene and returning to Houston. He's actually been at his new job at a medical software company in Denver for over a month now; apparently, long enough for him to ponder the symbolism of the Caduceus and the Rod of Ascleipias as they relate to the modern medical industry.
  • Congrats are in order for M1EK and his wife Jeanne on the birth of their child, Sophia Frances. It appears that Sophia will have to spend some time at the hospital before she gets to go home, so here's hoping that all goes well for everyone involved and that M1EK will soon be able to resume bashing Cap Metro on his blog.
  • Last week, Andrew at neoHOUSTON wrote an article about something in Rice professor Stephen Klineberg's latest Houston Area Survey that bothered him: the suggestion that "living in the suburbs" was evidence of socio-economic advancement:
    I’m fuming mad about this, and I’m sick of this kind of stuff. My wife and I often receive pressure from the older generation of our families on this issue. Whether it’s subtle hints or plain statements, the question they ask is the same: When are you going to grow up and live in the suburbs like a responsible adult?
  • My answer? Never. I refuse to deal with the traffic, the bland environment, and the auto-dependency. When I buy a house it will be in the Heights, or Neartown, not Katy. If I have to save up longer, or buy something smaller to make that happen, so be it.
    This bias against cities is a holdover from another era, and it no longer reflects the reality of life. For the average Joe to express this is frustrating, but for a supposedly open-minded, scholarly academic - it’s embarrassing.
    While I've obviously never received any pressure from my family to live in the suburbs - my parents live two blocks away from me in the same house where I grew up, after all - there is most definitely a lingering attitude among an awful lot of people that the suburbs are the "proper" place for the middle class to raise their families, and that affluent families in the inner city are somehow eccentric, anomalous or foolhardy. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten a weird look when I tell people that my wife and child live in a neighborhood adjacent to the University of Houston. "But... isn't that right in the middle of a bad area?" ("Bad area," of course, being code for "place where poor minorities live.") "But... what do you do about schools?" (To be sure, that is an issue.) "But... what about the crime?" (What crime?) The very concept that a white, middle class family could live in the inner city is simply foreign to so many people, young as well as old, who have grown up in the suburbs and who have been conditioned to believe that the inner city is a uniformly poor, dangerous and undesirable place to live. It's a bigoted and uninformed attitude, to be sure, but it exists. As if on cue, a commenter from The Woodlands came along Andrew's blog to prove the point.

    Klineberg, to his credit, acknowledged Andrew's critique and provided a cogent response.
  • Say it ain't so! My friend Stephen is getting rid of his Mustang. I guess after 10 years and 147,000 miles, it was just time for it to go, but I still remember when he got that thing and how proud of it he was. Time flies, I guess.

    I myself have been considering how much longer I want to keep my 1997 Nissan Sentra. It doesn't even have 120 thousand miles on it yet (see, there are advantages to living in the inner city), and it still runs just fine, so I'm not sure I need to replace it just yet.
  • In the local blogosphere, as in life, it's always good to put a face with a name. I'm glad that I finally got to meet Charles Kuffner in person last Friday. It turns out that he and his wife are friends with our neighbors, as their daughters attend the same preschool; a preschool that Kirby could end up attending as well, now that his current school is closing.
And with that, I'm off.

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