Insomniac’s Internet Report

Welcome back, Dave. Hal has upgraded to wifi and is waiting to show you some new tricks...

I couldn’t sleep last night, a fact you might have guessed given the blog’s suddenly new appearance (Side Note: can I help it if WordPress finally produced a free theme almost exactly like I’ve been wanting? I saw this last night and got giddy). To pass the time, and to prevent my insomnia from infecting my beloved wife, I opted to hit the couch with the old laptop and see what the internet has to offer once the midnight oil is lit.

The quick summation: Jack Squat.

In a world of supposedly 24-hour information, I just so happened to pick the world’s most boring 24-hours in which to be wide awake. Baseball is on a break until the All-Star sham starts, the NFL and NBA are both locked out and moving at pace that makes glaciers seem impatient, and Facebook offers no one with whom to banter once the clock strikes one in the morning. CNN’s lead story was about Prince William and Duchess Kate wearing cowboy gear to commemorate their historic opening of the Calgary Stampeded (Brits in boots and bolos – there’s some stunning reading!), and the folks at Fox weren’t much better (I think it was all about nine ways to bring Casey Anthony to justice, “Old West” style).

Even TMZ was DOA, and I couldn’t even bring myself to Google the words “Perez Hilton”, just out of fear that my computer would catch a digital STD. I tried reading some online books, but without the tactile sensation of a page to turn, Wuthering Heights is even more dreadful than previously imagined. I tried to keep up with Twitter, but even their feed was pathetically slow – two tweets in twenty minutes…it’s like all of the smart alecks in the world fell into a coma at the exact same time.

Hulu was hopeless (I just can’t bring myself to watch anything other than Law & Order from NBC) and YouTube gets boring after the 254,302 video of some poor father being “accidentally” hit in the groin. I tried reading some of the classier content aggregators but all I got was aggravation.

So in the end I turned on a small lamp, grabbed a Raymond Chandler story collection, and read some tales about my favorite fictional detective of all time, Philip Marlowe. My brain slowed down, I got to read some great writing, and eventually I was able to close my eyes and drift off to sleep…for ten minutes. I woke up to the sounds of my wife making coffee and my daughter flitting around the house, upset because daddy was taking up the whole couch and she wanted her seat.

Now, I’m too tired to really post anything insightful or truly hilarious, my head kind of hurts, and I have the vague sensation of needing to keel over at any moment. I can already hear my bed calling my name.

Unless aliens land or Casey Anthony suddenly elopes with OJ, I doubt there’ll be anything happening online tonight that I’ll really want to be part of. And even if aliens land, that can wait til morning.

OJ and Casey…well, who cares?

Princess Jones (Why I’m Glad My Daughter Watched The Royal Wedding)

Photo courtesy of Yahoo! and the fine print just beneath it.

This is Kate Middleton. Or, as she should now be properly referred to, this is Her Royal Highness, Princess Kate. She’s the prettiest British Royal bride I’ve ever seen (sorry to those who still fawn over Lady Di). In case you are the least connected person on earth (and if so, how’d you end up here???), Kate got married this morning to the heir to the British throne, Prince William.

Apparently, it was a big deal.

So big, in fact, that we here in America, who fought over 225 years ago to throw off the oppressive bonds of monarchy and establish a country devoted to the equality of every man (just men, and really, only white men) got up early to watch the proceedings.

My family slept through most of it. And we didn’t DVR it either. But we did wake up in time to see the commoners parade through Trafalgar Square and stand beneath the famous balcony at Buckingham Palace in breathless anticipation of The Kiss. My daughter, who normally watches Curious George or Jake and the Neverland Pirates at this time, was an engaged onlooker. Will and Kate came out to the cheers of their subjects, waved, and smooched – not once, but twice (and both times were far more convincing than the ill-fated smooch between Will’s parents some thirty years ago). Ella was enraptured.

“Is that a REAL princess?” she asked. We informed her that, yes, it was.


For a verbose child such as my daughter, understatement tends to catch one off guard. The incredulity in her voice – over the real-life version of a Disney moment – was both frightening and sweet. Yes, we have a Disney daughter, one who’s been stuffed full of corn-fed romantic ideals, and I’m actually kind of glad that she got to see this royal affair, despite the impact it might have on my future outlay for Ella’s wedding (I’m imagining she’ll remember this and want something similar; if so, you’ll definitely want to be invited – it’s not everyday you get to see a Royal Redneck Wedding).

I’m glad, because I want my daughter to believe that, sometimes, fairy tales do come true. I find of late a wave of cynicism (a wave which I all-too-often gleefully ride like Bhodie from Point Break) that washes away the notion of dreams coming true. Granted, dreams don’t often come true for a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean that we should stop dreaming, which cynicism most definitely suggests. I don’t want my daughter to grow up in a world like that.

I want Ella to believe that she can marry a prince and be an astronaut and paint pictures and be famous and cure cancer and have two kids and be a great mommy and have a wonderful marriage and love Jesus too. I want her to think that, somewhere out there, there is a man who will give his life for hers and dedicate himself to loving her above all other human beings. I want that for her, because it preserves a sense of goodness for the world – not to get corny, but our dreams are the harbingers of possibilities, and when we cease to really dream (or when we fail to dream BIG) then the possibilities we have become smaller and meaner and ultimately more disappointing that chasing a big dream and failing to see it come true.

This morning, my daughter looked at a once-in-a-lifetime thing (or, if Harry gets married, twice-in-a-lifetime thing) and saw something magical that commended the world to her. I know her wanting to be a princess won’t last (at least, I hope it won’t last), but for now I see more good than harm in the dreaming of that dream and I won’t let my cynicism get in her way.

Which is why I’m glad she can’t read my Facebook status updates…