Friday, March 25, 2016


Haven't heard from my friend in Paris in about a week. Didn't think she was going anywhere, and if she does, even a short trip to another part of France, she usually tells me.  So I'm wondering.... and not liking the direction of my thoughts.


My friend's okay. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Mycroft and Kareem

It would never have occurred to me that Kareen Abdul-Jabbar could write.  No reason not to think so, just -- never occurred to me. Until I picked up a copy of Mycroft Holmes, by Abdul-Jabbar, with a co-writer / dialogue coach of Anna Waterhouse.

Even then, I would have thought well, this will be trivial reading.  And certainly, it's not your standard Holmes novel.  For one thing, Mycroft is young, athletic, and resident at Cambridge College.  Foe another, other than a passing reference, Sherlock has not made an appearance - but he is not missed. Three chapters into it, and I'm still asking And then what happened?

This book is good.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Seating and Dreams

For some reason, I woke up this morning thinking of two things: Ayant and chairs.

AYANT is the present participle for the French verb AVOIR, or TO HAVE.  It means HAVING.  I have no idea why I was thinking of that, or why it was driving me crazy that I could not remember.  I looked it up as soon as I awoke, today, and now I've got it. HAVING. 

The other thing had to do with an experience when I was a junior manager.

One day my boss told me that he had ordered new chairs for my group.  He said that I would be notified when they arrived.  In due course, I got the message, and trundled down to the shipping department.  Chairs? they said.  We don't have any chairs for you.  We did get some chairs, but they were for Ed.

Ed was another manager, been one for years.  This is the kind of manager he was: the data center would bill him (and everyone else) once a month for the storage that they were using on that day.  They'd assume that the usage didn't vary too much during the month, which was right.

On tthe day before that day, Ed would back up all of his storage to tape (which was much cheaper).  The next day, he'd restore it all to disk. This meant that he paid the data center much less than he should have.  It was legal.  Unethical, but legal.  And since Ed had been a manager for years, everyone  knew him. Oh, that's just Ed, they would say. They'd laugh about it.  So would he. He laughed a lot, as I recall.

So I went to Ed and said Hey, I understand that you may have my new chairs.  He didn't even look up. Go talk to your boss, he said. So I did. My boss was a friend of Ed's.  And what he basically said was Oh, that's just Ed.  Too bad.  We'll order some more. 

My group never did get the new chairs.  I considered going to Ed's area one night and stealing them, but this was at a time when I took the principles of ethical behavior seriously.  Ethical people don't steal.  This, despite the fact that I'd just gotten an object lesson in how deeply people in management believed in ethics.

For some reason, Trump reminds me of Ed.

Still don't understand where AYANT figures into it, though. 


Saturday, March 19, 2016


Okay, here is an indicator of how weird I am.

I bought a book from the remainders table at a bookstore in Illinois (I think, smiling, of that bookstore, from time to time; my bank account is lucky that it isn't closer).  The title was 52 Loaves (still is, in fact); the story of a man who had a simple desire: to bake a perfect loaf of bread.

I haven't been reading consistantly, but this morning I dipped back into it, at a section where he talks about planning to visit a French abbey where he will have some quiet time, and be able to bake bread the way they used to do it, and, by the way, teach one of the brothers how to bake, too.  Oh, and speak French, all of the time.

And I sighed.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Doing Languages

This summer, if all goes well, we are going back to France.   We will stay in three private homes and two hotels,  we will take the TGV three times, and we will rent and return a car.  Each of those events will to a certain extent involve talking in French to French people.  I'm terrified.

Its not that I don't think I can do it.  Its that I don't think that I can do it easily, effectively, without sounding like someone who just got out of French 101.  I remember when I was checking into a hotel, the last time, and I was speaking in French with the desk clerk.  It was going well until she rattled something off that I did not understand.  I said Sorry, I do not understand in French, and she replied in English Oh, you're fine with French until I talk about payment, huh?

I hate looking stupid. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016


I just saw an article wherein a writer said that the best candidate that the Democrats could offer is the one who's currently in the White House, because his ratings are up, and how it's stupid to kick someone out just due to an arbitrary time limit.

To me, the stupid thing is to let someone continue to run as long as they have breath, and a machine that makes it easier for them to run than for a contender.  Even worse, to let them stay in office forever, without review or evaluation.

I do like Obama, and I would like to keep him in power, but saying yes to that would have meant saying yes to keeping Bush -- so no.  I'll take my chances.

Hoping for Bernie, resigned to Clinton, afraid of Cruz, and terrified by Trump.