Friday, December 27, 2002

The personals
Thursday Threesome:
Onesome: Merry: Merry times? Hey, did you have a Merry Christmas? How did things turn out for you and yours after all the work and time you put in preparing for the big day?

Everything worked pretty well, with the big exception that my father is in the hospital (the same one I was in) with undetermined heart trouble.

Twosome: Christmas: Christmas presents? Did you get what you wanted from Santa? ...or are you headed back to the stores with the rejects on 'Reverse Shopping Day'?

I'm content.

Threesome: Everyone! Is everyone back to the normal routine today, like work and homemaking and such. ...or are you still entertaining? ...or maybe just taking a well deserved break from it all?

Back to normal. I envy those who can take a week or two break for Christmas. I've never been in a position to do that.

The Friday Five is back.
1. What was your biggest accomplishment this year?

I lived through it.

2. What was your biggest disappointment?

A very good friend did not.

3. Will you be making any New Year's resolutions?

No. I never do.

4. Where will you be at midnight? Do you wish you could be somewhere else?

A friend usually hosts a New Year's Eve party to which I usually go. I am considering foregoing it this year and spending the evening at home with my wife. (UPDATE: I stayed home. Both of us were ill.)

5. Aside from (possibly) staying up late, do you have any other New Year's traditions?


Thursday, December 26, 2002

Bored on the holidays? Among the attractions at is this examination of intriguing yet unsettling pin-ups by Art Frahm. Certainly, if there were an artist who specializes in cheesecake poses of women whose underwear has unexpectedly fallen to their ankles, there should by gum be a tribute / gallery site. If "tribute" is the right word.

This borderline-tasteless yet non-explicit collection seems typical of post-war Girl Art. The point is to show off a girl's legs by any means necessary. Hey, I can appreciate that as much as the next red-blooded American male.

But, as Lileks points out, panties simply do not do that. The odd combination of hands full, skirts up and pants down is so unlikely that my suspension of disbelief cannot grasp it, unless there was a mysterious elastic failure in 1948 coupled with an epidemic of women wearing oversized underwear.

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Domestic bliss
That's pretty much what we've been having today, although parts of it didn't seem very blissful at the time.

As my lovely wife pointed out, there is a lot of pleasure to be had in hitting the stores and selecting just the right gift for those you love. There would have been even more pleasure in it, I think, had we completed the task a week or so sooner. On Christmas Eve, in my opinion, gift shopping should be through, and grocery shopping should be your main focus, as if you expected to be socked into your own home with an indeterminate quantity of relations who need to be fed. Which is, in fact, the case with us.

But, in truth, the biggest part of the shopping burden is complete (largely because, due to my medical problems, there isn't a lot of money to spare for it: shop intelligently, not extravagantly). It is the luck of the draw that a gift requiring personalization wasn't ready until Christmas Eve afternoon.

When I looked at those around me in the mall, I did not see growing desperation. I did not see cranky children. I did not see hollow eyes and aching feet. I saw smiles, I saw purpose... I saw Christmas. I saw a little Cindy Lou Who in the food court, spinning in place because she could, mother seated nearby allowing her child to burn off her energy in her own way. I saw passersby almost unconsciously veer to one side or the other to make room for her. So far as I could tell, I was the only person who actually stopped to watch -- but nobody was upset, disgruntled or inconvenienced. It's what very little kids do. I had an irrational, unconfirmable feeling that James Lileks' daughter, the Gnat, was also spinning, in the other direction, maintaining the fragile balance of the planet.

I saw a mall full of people who, by and large, wanted to be there. (Well, except, possibly, for the guy who was taking too long to engrave that bracelet we'd come for. I'm not sure about him. But the employee of another store in that same chain, who had come by to pick up a gift herself and took a moment to advise us as to the suitability of font, she wanted to be there. She made up for him.)

For what we are about to receive, let us be truly thankful. Even if it's the simple gift of one more day.

Monday, December 23, 2002

But wait, there's more
In the process of teaching myself CityDesk, I've expanded the home purple page: I've added a handful of essays written for Myriad, plus I've rebuilt my Julia Sawalha and Remember WENN pages that got deleted earlier this year when AOL thought I'd died.
Christmas memories
Brad Strickland has posted some photos of ARTC's Stone Mountain Christmas show here, at the Pirate Hunter site. The young lady second from the right in the first photo, and at far right in the second, is my lovely daughter Sarah. That's me in the fourth photo.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

The personals
Thursday Threesome:
Google's: Did the net help you find gifts this Christmas? ...not just buying things over the net, but actually finding gifts for people.
Sure it did. Amazon's wish list is a spectacularly good idea.

Christmas: Got your two front teeth? What is your "wish gift" this Christmas? No, not the one you're hoping to get, but the one you'd love to wish for!
There's really not much I want. I'm beginning to get intrigued by these PDA gadgets, but I still haven't convinced myself I need one. I'd like to have a good digital camera, but I'm not really photographer enough to take advantage of it.

(LATER: Oh, I'm not thinking big enough? Sure, I'd love to have one of those big-screen plasma TVs... Heck, I'd like a house in the country. After 25 years of being ten feet from my neighbors on either side, I could do with some elbow room.)

Cache: Hiding the gifts again? Where are your favorite spots? Shh... Don't tell us the one they haven't found yet! Maybe you'd be better off telling us of "great hiding places from the past"...
I "hide" things in plain sight. One of my son's presents has been sitting on the bookshelf in my office, in the open, for six months and nobody has noticed it. (It's wrapped and under the tree now.) I don't know if this family is extremely respectful or just utterly incurious.

Note to the people on the Back Porch who create the Thursday Threesome: Your site redesign is really spiffy-looking, but I can no longer cut and paste the text of your questions, forcing me (in this electronic age) to retype them. How quaint.

The Friday Five is still on vacation.

Monday, December 16, 2002

Public disclosure
I can still remember how chilling it was to go to a web site and be presented with a map to my own house. I mean, I'm not quite so feeble that I need one... but I hadn't given 'em my address.

I've gradually gotten used to being able to type street addresses and get driving directions, and I know that home ownership is public information -- but the ease of connecting the dots should be paralleled by increased penalties for the misuse of such information, and so far it hasn't been.

Which is why I'm so pleased to see this article, in which Paul Boutin, writing for Wired magazine, traces the consequences of Matt Smith's decision to reveal John Poindexter's (head of the Total Information Awareness project) home address and phone number in an article for SF Weekly. I mean, I wouldn't wish this on anybody, but as an anonymous voter says at the end of the article:

"If they're making him as uncomfortable as we are, good."

(Heard it from Instapundit.)

By the way: No, the Information Awareness Office logo doesn't make me uneasy. At least, not for the same reasons it does so many other bloggers. The "spooky" pyramid with the eye, odd as it may seem, is on our money (check your wallet -- or do the rest of you not carry one-dollar bills any more?). It's the globe on the right, conspicuously centered on the Middle East, that bothers me. Is that meant to be reassuring?

Friday, December 13, 2002

No "Holy this or that" joke
Just a fine overview of Batman's career, with a fistful of links to other fascinating Batman sites, from (of all people) NPR. (Heard it from Mark Evanier.)
Blatant plug
If any of you are in the Atlanta area this weekend and have some time to spare, consider dropping by Stone Mountain Park. Why? Well, because I'll be there. I'll be easy to find: I'll be on stage at Memorial Hall.

No, really. The Atlanta Radio Theatre Company will be performing portions of "An Atlanta Christmas" at 1:00, 3:00, and 5:00 Saturday, and 2:00 and 4:00 Sunday. Mostly written by Thomas E Fuller, adapted for audio by me, with a segment written by me, and featuring me as the host...

Oh, yeah, and my daughter plays several prominent roles as well. It's radio theater, we can double-cast.

I mean, it's no visit from Al Roker, but it's a dreaded purple personal appearance, that's gotta be worth something.
The personals
Thursday Threesome:
Faith: Are you faithful in keeping your New Year's Resolutions?
I don't make New Year's Resolutions.

Hope: ...and what are your hopes for the New Year?
Fewer funerals and near-misses.

and Charity: Do you support any causes or charities? Any special projects this time of year?
We support Food for the Poor, but we do that year round. Other projects will have to wait until I have a full-time income again.

The Friday Five is still on vacation.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

The WeatherPixie put up a Christmas tree!

And so did we.

Every year, I complain about having to do this, and this year I was no help at all... and I missed it. Go figure.

I've let Thanksgiving come and go without comment, mostly because I hate being the center of attention. "Boy, you think it's all about you, don't you?" No, I don't, and I wish it weren't... No, wait, that didn't come out right.

What I mean is this: My wife's family insists on having everyone speak in turn to list the things they're thankful for... And when you have a guy in the room who recently survived two heart attacks and two strokes, you sort of have to include "I'm glad Daniel lived." (I'm not quite rude enough to point out that if I hadn't, I'd still have been the center of attention, I just wouldn't have been bothered by it.)

Thursday, December 05, 2002

I must share this
You have heard the voice of Paul Frees, although you may not be aware that you have. Boris Badenov. The cat in "The Last Unicorn." Burgermeister Meisterburger in "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." The narrator in the original "George of the Jungle." Squiddly Diddly, Morocco Mole, and Ludwig von Drake...

Well, I had no idea he had recorded an album, but here's a review of Paul Frees and the Poster People, in which Frees sang "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" in the voice of Humphrey Bogart. How can you not go listen to the sound samples?

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Journalism cliche #83: Collect them all
It's "searching for answers". When there is no more to say about some horrific event, murder, fire, act of war or what have you, the reporter tells us that the community is Searching for Answers. Funny, I always thought the reporter was supposed to search for answers. Oh, not those answers?

Tony Woodlief knows what they really mean. (You're already reading his "Sand in the Gears", right?)