Saturday, January 31, 2015


It's really not hard to tell which forms were created by a designer, even one of marginal talent, and which were done by some guy with Photoshop or some basic graphics package.  Here's some free space, I'll just reduce the font size and cram it in there....


Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Next year, we're going to spend some time in France and in Italy. Not exactly sure how much in each, but certainly at least a week in Italy, and at least two or three weeks in France.  Therefore, I thought wouldn't it be a good idea if I could speak a little Italian?  Accent on the little.  So two nights ago, I took the very first DuoLingo Italian lesson.



Okay, this may take a while....


It is so weird to see photos of a Minuteman launch control facility and think Man, its so modern, and realize that the photos are quite old; its just that they look better than when I worked there.

Monday, January 26, 2015

And then there's...

I have a good friend whose family life is a bit -- strained.

The mother is having an affair, and only periodically lives at home.
The father is emotionally distant, and sometimes goes for days without talking.
The daughter (my friend) is having an affair of some type with a man three times her age. (No, not me).

And now, the daughter  tells me, they just learned that the new girlfriend of her brother, so happy to see her because the brother had been abruptly dumped by an earlier version, has an impediment of her own: two small children.

Ever want to just DO something, anything, to help someone?  Yeah.  Me.  Now. No idea what.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Why, Yes

Came across this quote on 8Tracks.Com:

I thank God I was raised Catholic, so sex will always be dirty. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015


Most people who turn their hands to writing a Sherlock Holmes story can't do it - it quickly becomes a farce, a travesty.  Those who can, cannot usually sustain it  - a miracle occurs, a trick appears. Then something amazing occured. Sherlock can do something he never could, before -- or can't do something that he could always do.  Watson turns out to be the smart one. Something like that. Gah.

But, very rarely,  one finds an author who can do it, can sustain it, and do so with flair and imagination.  Such an author is James Lovegrove, and Gods of War is such a book.

Holmes is retired, as is Watson. Both are aging, living quietly, Holmes alone, Watson with his second wife.  Watson has come to visit his old friend, a small reunion of two long-time companions. Nothing out of the ordinary.

And then something happens. The police are stymied. And a certain elderly man is contacted....

Friday, January 23, 2015

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Did You Hear?

This morning, our school district decided to close two hours early due to snow.  The principal made an announcement that all teachers should look at their emails.  The kids said Are we getting out early?  to which one teacher replied I don't know, and if I did, I would not be allowed to tell you.

Whereupon one kid came into the room and said Hey, we're getting out early, did you hear?

Organizational attempts to keep juicy secrets are almost always futile. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Why is it that for the life of me I cannot remember that Pourtant translates as Though, However, Yet?

Every night I look at my list of Terrible French Words and Phrases, and every night I get all the way to Pourtant... and I stop dead. Stumped.

There's a reason I have that motto from Henry Rollins up there.

Glasses Up, Yup

I have never seen a picture of people raising wine glasses, either to each other or to the camera, that looked authentic, as if they really are having a good time.  The gesture always looks posed to me, as if they're thinking Whelp, time to give the international symbol for I'm Having A Good Time, But In A Classy Way. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015


Getting a surprising amount of pleasure from setting the Star Trek Original Series intercom alert sound as the appointment alert sound on my Calendarscope entries.  Makes me smile each time.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Learning About It

I received an email from a friend the other day, telling me that she had recently learned that she has genital herpes.  This is of only theoretical interest to me, since she and I have never been sexually intimate, but it did spark a quick round of research - starting with What is Genital Herpes and moving on to How do you get it and How can it be treated.  

Only one site - WebMD - said Look, this is unhappy news but it isn't the end of the world, and it doesn't mean you're suddenly undesirable or ugly, and it doesn't mean that you can't be sexually active, or have children.  It does mean you'll probably have to take medication for the rest of your life, but LOTS of people take chronic-condition medication for the rest of their lives.  It won't stop you from living. YOU are not herpes; you HAVE herpes.  All of the rest of the sites treated it like a serious infection (which apparently it is) that will make major changes in your life (which apparently it can, but doesn't have to).  I pointed out the WebMD article to her, but she had already come to those conclusions based on things she'd found on local health sites.

I was a little surprised that she told me.   We're close friends, and I've told her repeatedly that she can talk to me about anything (she's not very close to her parents, and sometimes she needs to talk), but this - this is pretty intimate stuff.  I'm honored that she trusts me so much.


If my religion says that you cannot do something, and you do not share my religion, I cannot expect that you will not do that thing. My religion guides me, not you. 

A point which seems to elude fanatics.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Freedom of the press generally means that you can print whatever you want.

It doesn't mean that people who are offended by what you have printed  won't feel free to respond  with whatever weapons come to their minds or hands, from vitriolic encounters on the streets to lawsuits in the courts, or, as Charlie Hebdo has shown, worse.  The intensity of the response is proportional to their intensity and fanaticism. At the far end of the spectrum, people are not rational.

Poke the hornet's nest if you insist, but understand that you may get stung in the process. 

Or worse.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Monday, January 12, 2015


My wife said "You're the best thing that ever hsppened to me."

"Possibly" I replied.  "Certainly the wierdest."

She didn't disagree.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

God is...

...mocked again by maniacs calling themselves Muslims. 



In my limited experience, I find that while you have to have vocabulary in order to be able to read a language, and you have to have heard it in order to be able to comprehend it when people speak, let alone be able to speak it yourself, you have to ignore the individual words when they speak quickly, and just let the flow of the words wash over you.  For sure, many, and initially most, of the words will be completely lost, but over time they will become recognized.  You will not be able to translate -- certainly not, quickly -- but you will be able to recognize.  And with that recognition comes comprehension.

Forgive me if I've just discovered that the sun rises in the east.

Magic Food

A long time ago, when we were still relatively newly married, my wife compiled a list of the characteristics that she thought I would want a restaurant to have in order to be a place that I'd like -

- a quiet, calm atmosphere
- china plates, heavy silver utensils, cut-crystal glasses
- flowers
- quiet music
- crisp linen napkins and tablecloths
- deferential, knowledgeable waiters
- meatloaf.  Good meatloaf.

That's the kind of person I am (or at least, like to think that I am).  I like elegance and grace, and I like meatloaf.

For years I would make meatloaf right out of the Betty Crocker cookbook.  It was good, but nothing remarkable.  And then one day I discovered a recipe for meatloaf that combined ground beef and sausage.  It was better, though not amazingly so, but it incorporated brown sugar in the mix of ingredients, and it was coated with a glaze of brown sugar and catsup.  It was excellent.

Yesterday I said to my daughter I'm going to be making meatloaf tonight, to which her laconic reply was Okay.  When I was done mixing the ingredients, I asked her would you rather I leave off the glaze? And she replied It doesn't matter, because I won't be having any.  I don't like meatloaf, You know that.

Well, number one, I don't know that.  She used to not care for it, but over time she began to eat it.  And second, did I not warn her in advance?  Yeah, but I meant I will just make my own dinner. Ah.  Okay.  So I ended up with the mixture, to which I added the brown sugar and some of the other extra ingredients - pepper, garlic powder, things like that -- and to which, once it had cooked, I added the glaze.  I wasn't sure how good it would be -- it didn't have the sausage, after all -- but what the heck, it was meatloaf.

It was terrific.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Role Play

My wife just fixed a toilet, while I am cooking dinner.

We do believe in traditional roles.

Our traditional roles.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Lois and....


Received a note from a friend.  Her husband is elderly - perhaps 85 or so - and in declining health.  We had invited them to visit, but she says that he 'isn't traveling any more'.

Which is exactly the reason I try to convince myself that now -- the next ten years - is the time for me to travel.