Snow fell tonight in Washington, a rare delight in the nation’s capital, made more delightful by the timing. In about 20 years of living here, I can’t recall Thanksgiving snow. Still, I managed to turn […]
Ladies, please substitute woman where appropriate.
I’m sure Rudyard wouldn’t mind.
My daughter and I just got back from Tower Records (while my wife stayed home to review home school materials). I was so stunned by the posted holiday hours, I just had to ask at the counter about them. My local Tower Records will be open 10 to 10 on Thanksgiving. Oh, did I mention Tower has Christmas hours, too?
I pretty much had accepted McDonalds’ half-day Thanksgiving hours, but 10 to 10 over at Tower Records? Geez. Get a life! I’m tempted to drop in and see just how is business, considering not only the holiday but day before Black Friday.
Some songs just don’t wear time well. I wrote this one in 1977. Lyric follows.
For no particular reason, I looked at the Weddings page in today’s New York Times and all the happy faces there. Then I wondered how many of these marriages, sadly, would eventually end in bitter divorce. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the divorce rate is about half the marriage rate per 1,000 people.
As a teen, I read the humorous, sci-fi parody, Where Were You Last Pluterday?, by Paul Van Herck. For the main character, marriage was easy. But divorce was a complicated and expensive affair—and he had good reason!
I am increasingly troubled by the implications of the Sony rootkit DRM, uncovered on Halloween by renown Windows expert Mark Russinovich. Essentially, Sony used a cloaking mechanism, typically the tool of malicious hackers, to hide digital rights management software installed on PCs from copy-protected music CDs. Like malware, the rootkit occasionally sends out information (to Sony), is nearly impossible to remove and when removed usually damages Windows.
I’ll skip over all the ways that Sony has turned its copy-protection mechanism into the worst kind of public relations disaster. I couldn’t imagine how any company could create more negative perception about DRM, but I’ll skip that, too.
Unseasonably warm weather ended today, but not before the thermometer reached 23 degrees Celsius. On Sunday, with temperature about as high, my daughter took Little Bun (not the rabbit’s real name) out into the backyard.
Bun Bun (also a rabbit pseudonym) shares my basement office and gets frequent runs `round the backyard. She can hop—supervised, of course—out the open sliding glass door. Little Bun lives in my daughter’s bedroom, without access to the outside.
I am in a storytelling mood, and so here comes another one. I swear, by all people precious to me, that this is a true story and not a tall tale. I have to say it, because you, the reader, might not believe the account or the accuracy of my memory.
My dad first took me camping when I was seven years old. Where I’m from, camping had nothing to do with RVs or tidy, civilized campgrounds, or at least when I was a kid. My dad, uncle and their crew—about 10 men—headed deep into the woods along the Crown of Maine, or Aroostook, west of an area better known as the St. John Valley.
I spent a good chunk of my twenties traveling, for reasons better explained some other time. One day—oh, winter 1985—I walked into a west Texas fast food place looking for cheap Mexican eats.
I’ve got to digress and talk about Texas towns and food, or what they were then. Pretty much any Texas town big enough to have a gas station has a Diary Queen. Rule goes: Every town in the Longhorn state has a Dairy Queen (It’s not true, I found one in southern Texas near the New Mexico border without a DQ. Of course, my last visit was years ago, and there might be one now). Restaurants are a good measure of just how many people live in a Texas town. First there’s the DQ (about 25 to 3,000-4,000 people) and next up is the Sonic (4,000-5,000 range or so). Pizza place means more people, etc. etc.
Today’s New York Times story, “They’re Soft and Cuddly, So Why Lash Them to the Front of a Truck“, is a delightful sociological study of why stuffed animals adorn some trucks. Reporter Andy Newman asks, “Why do a small percentage of trucks and vans have filthy plush toys lashed to their fronts, like prisoners at the mast?”
He describes the bunnies and other stuffed critters as “soldiers in the tattered, scattered army of the stuffed: mostly discarded toys plucked from the trash and given new if punishing lives on the prows of large motor vehicles, their fluffy white guts flapping from burst seams and going gray in the soot-stream of a thousand exhaust pipes”.
This afternoon, on what turned out to be an uncharacteristically summer-like day, I walked toward the veterinarian’s office to see if Mittens the stray survived her fender bender. Turns out the real bender—chug-alug-lug—was the man who first came to our door about the car-struck cat. He walked back from the direction of the vet’s, in socks. No shoes! Sure the day was warm, but not for going down the street in socks.
Turns out he drank up overnight and someone stole his shoes and jacket, or so he claimed, during a blackout. “Could you help me out?” he pleaded. I felt somewhat entangled because of yesterday’s goodwill with the cat. The guy said he couldn’t go back to his “woman” without shoes. I decided to be generous, and gave him a good pair that I don’t wear anymore. He took the shoes and disappeared. I had my misgivings, because sometimes some people take advantage of generosity.
Some days, people give me hope. About an hour ago, my wife rapped on my office door—sliding glass that goes from the basement into the backyard—and said, “Come here. There’s something I’ve got to show you”. Her body language suggested more, so I responded to the urgency.
A car had hit one of several feral cats that maraud the neighborhood. I had chased this animal, grey with white paws (mittens), out of the backyard whenever it stalked the wild squirrels. Now, the animal lay prone in the street, panting and meowing.