Archive for December, 2004

Year in Review

Friday, December 31st, 2004

Lots of people write newsletters at the holiday season, and in that tradition I thought I would take some time to reflect on the things that happened to Xy and me in 2004. The year seemed to begin and end with tooth problems. In January I had most of my lower right wisdom tooth removed. […]


Thursday, December 30th, 2004

Sand dollars are of the phylum Echinodermata, class Echinoidea. Xy found this one on the beach in South Carolina. Back when I was working on Interactive Taxonomic Zoology, I knew the phylum and class for lots of creatures. But while walking on the beach, I found I’d forgotten. I couldn’t even remember the three classes […]

Xy = Thirtysomething

Wednesday, December 29th, 2004

Today is Xy’s birthday. She thought she was turning 37 for a while, and was relieved to discover she’s only 36. Yup, she’s old enough that she forgot how old she was. I reached that point a few years ago. I have to stop and do the math. Last night we celebrated with dinner at […]


Wednesday, December 29th, 2004

I walked to work this morning because my bike had a flat; the tube ripped at the place where you attach the pump (what do you call that thing?) and the bike shop doesn’t open until 10:00 AM. So I walked, which was pleasant, because it’s a beautiful day. And I saw some things, like […]

The Act of Coming Together Again

Tuesday, December 28th, 2004

Getting there was hellacious. We faced two major traffic blockages and two major downpours. We were rear-ended — just a tap, no damage. We ran over a large mysterious object. Our windshield wipers stopped working midway through the second downpour. And, quite frankly, Xy is not a great traveling companion. We had a number of […]

Reunion 9

Monday, December 20th, 2004

On New Year’s Eve, 1963, my grandparents’ house burned down. They rebuilt. Their three daughters (and their husbands) came from around the country to join them in Fort Wayne, Indiana for Christmas, 1964, in their new, three-story farmhouse. I hadn’t been born yet, but I think one or two of my older cousins may have […]


Sunday, December 19th, 2004

For about the past month or so the local NPR affiliate has been saying that “many of our listeners have told us that NPR is more important to them now than ever,” followed by a plug to support the station financially. Could there be any doubt that “now more than ever” is a coded reference […]

Whitewashed Earthsea

Saturday, December 18th, 2004

I’m sure by now, anyone who cares has seen this article: “A Whitewashed Earthsea – How the Sci Fi Channel wrecked my books” by Ursula K. Le Guin. But there’s the link in case you missed it. I read A Wizard of Earthsea to Xy this summer, in anticipation of the miniseries. Yet somehow I […]

Xmas: Meaning and Origins

Thursday, December 16th, 2004

MAD’s posted a great rant about the True Meaning of Christmas. I’ve long subscribed to the notion that the particular date for the celebration of Christmas was chosen because of pre-existing solstice festivals, but Wikipedia suggests a number of other theories. (Thanks to Anne for recommending the article. I turned her on to Wikipedia in […]


Wednesday, December 15th, 2004

A co-worker just informed me that there was a murder last night, just four blocks from our house.


Tuesday, December 14th, 2004

Today we’ve got the first really cold weather of the season. This morning as I rode to work it was in the 40s. I wore five layers on my upper body: undershirt, tee shirt, long-sleeved shirt, sweater, sweatshirt. And of course I wore a cap. Two, actually. No long underwear, though, and no coat. I […]


Monday, December 13th, 2004

There were not too many films starting with “G” on my to-watch list. I’ve already seen Giant and Gandhi years ago, not to mention many lesser films. I liked these pretty much: Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns) — documentary about They Might Be Giants Going in Style — George Burns pisses his pants! Then […]


Sunday, December 12th, 2004

Yestereen Xy and I rode our bikes down Canal Street and took the ferry across the Mississippi to Algiers Point for the annual Christmas bonfire. This is without a doubt the biggest fire that most people will ever see in their lives. It is quite impressive. Imagine a large wooden house on the bank of […]

Urban Warfare

Saturday, December 11th, 2004

I finally found out why there have been so many jets and helicopters flying around this past week. Apparently I missed this story in the paper last week: Marines train for urban warfare. Thursday night, in particular, was just crazy. These things are so loud you’d think they were flying a few feet over the […]

Out of Sorts

Friday, December 10th, 2004

For the last several days I’ve been feeling tired, listless, depressed, irritable and grumpy. Not to mention a little morose. I wonder why? Maybe I haven’t been getting enough sleep. Or maybe I haven’t been getting enough exercise. Or maybe I haven’t been eating right. Or maybe I’ve been drinking too much coffee. Or maybe […]

Virgin Birth

Thursday, December 9th, 2004

I’m astonished to read a Newsweek poll that says 79% of Americans believe in the miracle of the virgin birth. That means you get five Americans together, and four will believe Jesus was born of a virgin. That just seems incredible. And to think I just ordered my solstice cards. According to the same poll, […]

No Quiet

Thursday, December 9th, 2004

Yesterday was the last day of classes here at the university, and today is the first day of finals. Usually there’s a quiet day in between, but not this semester. I guess it was another casualty of Hurricane Ivan. I recall one particular finals week when I was a college student, back in the late […]

Knee Update

Tuesday, December 7th, 2004

My knee two weeks ago: My knee one week ago (note tertiary scab): My knee today: I would say it’s now fully healed. So that took eight weeks.

F is for Film

Sunday, December 5th, 2004

I love the letter F. Many of my favorite words seem to start with this letter: fuck, fornicate, freedom, flesh, fez, fiorde, fiacre, fleer, frusturbate. And it turns out the F films we watched were pretty good too. Top billing: Fail-Safe — This was made at the same time as Dr. Strangelove?!? Fitzcarraldo — Damn, […]


Friday, December 3rd, 2004

Our friend Scott Brown, a teacher at Xy’s school, had his apartment burglarized today. The thief took his computer and all his CDs and a few other things. Not a great loss financially, but he felt really violated and freaked out and scared. He’s already gotten out of his lease and will start looking for […]