Archive for December, 2008

Back on the wagon

So, looking at the books I received for Christmas and recalling those I’ve bought for myself, I’ve decided it’s time to reinstate my Ten Book Rule: I shall buy no more books, no matter how tempting, until I’ve read ten I already have. Let Congress feel shame at my shining example of austerity!

Of course, that doesn’t mean I can’t buy music…. 😉


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So, it’s New Year’s Eve. Unlike most of the world, I’m unable to get excited about the turning of the calendar. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, Arbor Day — now those are holidays with something behind them. New Year’s is just an arbitrary date on the the calendar, about as special as your car’s odometer rolling over from 999 to 1,000. And all the obnoxious people at parties and the drunks on the road? Oh, yeah. Good times.

So, forgive me if I don’t get into the spirit of clichéd expressions of gratitude that 2008 is over, banal resolutions for 2009 that we’ll never keep, anyway, and the "thrill" of watching an electronic ball drop over the crowd in Times Square. You have my good wishes, but I’ll probably just go to bed early.

Tomorrow will be just like today.


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Now what am I going to do tonight?


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I have to give in to my Inner Little Kid for a moment and share what I got for Christmas. This is some neat stuff:


Doris Kearns-Goodwin’s A Team of Rivals. Abe Lincoln is a deeply-felt hero to me, so I’m looking forward to reading this.

Rick Atkinson’s The Day of Battle. Part two of his Liberation Trilogy, this one covers the Allied campaign in Italy from 1943-44. His first book, An Army at Dawn, was brilliant; I have high expectations for this.

Jon Meacham’s American Lion, a biography of Andrew Jackson. I have ambivalent feelings about President Jackson: On the one hand, he was unstinting in his pursuit of a strong American nation and faced down early moves toward secession. On the other, he was a prime mover behind the Cherokee removal from Georgia, which can only be described as a crime of ethnic cleansing. I’ll be interested to see how Meacham weighs all these and other factors.


Seasons three and eight of Stargate SG-1. One of my favorite shows, it’s a model for what an adventure series should be, science-fiction or not.

Star Wars Episode Four: A New Hope, containing both the wonderful original version and the bowdlerized revision. Han shot first!

The Alvin and the Chipmunks movie. A deep-inside joke from my sister, I had to laugh when I opened the package. I will have revenge.


A new and very needed wallet, a pen so heavy I could hurt someone with it, magnetic bookmarks, cards from friends and family, a Borders gift card, and some always welcome cash.

A nice haul indeed.

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Silent night

A Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night. Big Hug

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Why do people need to play the bass track of their music so loudly that it thumps the walls? I grew out of that some time in high school.

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No magic moments for me

In case you were wondering what happened with that $10 lottery ticket I found, it was not a “movie moment.” There were ten picks out a total of 60 numbers on that ticket, and I hit …drum roll… four numbers. Le sigh.

At least I wasn’t the one who blew ten bucks on the ticket, however.

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Beware cuteness unleashed!

Baby animals at Zooborns.

All together now: Awwww!

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Tonight I stopped by the market to buy some celery and my usual weekly Lottery tickets: one dollar for Tuesday night’s drawing and one for Wednesday’s. While waiting for my tickets to print, I saw a piece of paper in the dispenser: it was another ticket. Someone had bought ten dollars worth of picks for Tuesday and then forgot to take the ticket! There was no name on it and thus no way to determine who had paid for it, so…

Wouldn’t it be a kick if this turned out to be one of those movie moments?  Money Eyes

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The atlas of true names

Ever wonder what the name of a place meant? Sometimes it’s easy, as in “San Francisco” being the name of a city named after St. Francis. Other times, however, it’s almost impossible to tell at a glance because the place-name is in an obscure or even dead language.

Enter the Atlas of True Names, featured in today’s entry at Strange Maps. As the post’s author explains:

Travellers, discoverers and cartographers have named the world around us so that we might find our way in it. The purpose of a place name, therefore, is to be as distinguishing as possible. But there is another, opposite force at work in toponymy: geographical and other similarities often lead to different places receiving similar names — even if these names are then modified by differences in language.The English city of Oxford and the Dutch city of Coevoorden (*) were named after river segments shallow enough to facilitate bovine transport.

This phenomenon becomes apparent when one digs up the ‘deep etymology’ of place names, as is done in The Atlas of True Names. The Atlas substitutes the original meanings of the world’s place names for the better-known, ossified toponyms.

Neat! I want a copy of this for myself. I love stuff like this.

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Plaxico Burress on gun safety. He’s doing it for the children.

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Today was a cranky-making day.

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