If you ever have a couple of hours to spend in the kitchen, make some chocolate eclairs. They are a lot of fun, and worth making from scratch.

#2 son was impressed, as I always am, with how the same simple ingredients — butter, eggs, cream, sugar, flour — can be transformed into so many entirely different things. “It’s chemistry!” he said, and of course he was right.

I am still reading The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman. I read the section on education, thinking that it might be more interesting — I can get pretty emotional on the subject of education, after all, so my own concern about the topic could have infused Friedman’s words with excitement. Well, Friedman’s views on education are as follows: we in the U.S. are poorly educated slackers with bad parenting skills. Yawn.

Friedman continues to claim that there will be new and unforeseeable jobs in the computer world. I read about a new one in The Wall Street Journal. Now, if you cannot get a union job in a factory or a minimum-wage job with no benefits at Wal-mart, you can work for Photobucket, scanning for offensive photos. This job involves scanning 200 images per minute in search of offensive stuff. Computers can’t do this, and it could be hard to outsource this job, what with cultural differences. One worker was quoted as saying that he wished he could rinse his eyes out with bleach at the end of the day, but I would think that the sheer dullness would also be a problem.

The Journal has been reporting a lot lately on internet pornography, and I have noticed it because this issue has also been coming up at Xanga. I used to be in the “You can always close the page — just keep it away from the children” camp. But the other morning, while drinking my tea, I was googling for paisley fabric.

#2 daughter says that I cannot have paisley fabric. However, I think she is wrong, because a) while I am not fashionable, I am surprisingly good at predicting fashion trends and I believe that paisley Will Be Worn this fall, and 2) since I am not fashionable, I can wear what I want.

Anyway, about the third item was “Paisley Hunter,” which I naturally took to be a hunter green paisley fabric. I had the word “fabric” in my search. I clicked on the link and found myself face to — umm — face with a whole passel of pornographic pictures. Now, if you go search for “paisley fabric” and find this link and click on it intentionally, you should not be shocked, because I have warned you. But this is not something you want shoved in your face with your pre-dawn cuppa.

One of the proposals The Journal wrote about was a suggestion to corral all pornography in .XXX places. Sort of like having a red-light district in your town. Many people — notably the politically powerful Focus on the Family group — feel that having such a section of the internet would suggest that the government or the community or someone approves of the stuff. It seems to me that it could be helpful. But I think all the offensive stuff should have to be sequestered there. The proposal as it stands doesn’t require pornographers to use these endings. That is because the proposal as it stands is just about making money.

This is one of the few interesting things about Friedman’s book, to me. He seems to be a nice guy, and yet his concerns and interests in economic matters seem to be entirely amoral. Even when he is discussing what I would call moral issues, he is amoral about it. His suggestion that we as consumers like Wal-mart’s immoral business practices while we as workers and citizens do not is a claim that we are concerned about our personal convenience and inconvenience, but not about any abstract or altruistic matters.

I must go help put the finishing touches on the eclairs now, so I will leave you with that thought.