Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Surprise, surprise, surprise

I'm back. Where have I been? Just never you mind. I notice nothing gets done around here without me, though. In order to keep you occupied while I straighten up, I'm posting a meme. This list is from the book most often not read by users at the Library Thing. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Anna Karenina Crime and punishment Catch-22* One hundred years of solitude Wuthering Heights The Silmarillion Life of Pi The name of the rose Don Quixote Moby Dick Ulysses Madame Bovary The Odyssey Pride and Prejudice* Jane Eyre A Tale of Two Cities The Brothers Karamazov Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies War and Peace Vanity Fair The Time Traveller’s Wife The Iliad Emma The Blind Assassin The Kite Runner Mrs Dalloway Great Expectations American Gods A heartbreaking work of staggering genius Atlas shrugged Reading Lolita in Tehran: a memoir in books Memoirs of a Geisha Middlesex Quicksilver Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West The Canterbury tales The Historian : a novel A portrait of the artist as a young man Love in the time of cholera Brave New World The Fountainhead Foucault’s pendulum Middlemarch Frankenstein The Count of Monte Cristo Dracula A clockwork orange Anansi boys The once and future king The grapes of wrath* The Poisonwood Bible 1984 Angels & demons The inferno The Satanic Verses Sense and Sensibility* The picture of Dorian Gray Mansfield Park One flew over the cuckoo’s nest* To the lighthouse Tess of the D’Urbervilles Oliver Twist Gulliver’s travels Les misérables The corrections The amazing adventures of Kavalier and Clay The curious incident of the dog in the night-time Dune The prince The sound and the fury Angela’s ashes The god of small things A people’s history of the United States : 1492-present Cryptonomicon Neverwhere A confederacy of dunces* A short history of nearly everything Dubliners The unbearable lightness of being Beloved Slaughterhouse-five The Scarlet Letter Eats, Shoots & Leaves The Mists of Avalon Oryx and Crake Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed Cloud Atlas The Confusion Lolita Persuasion* Northanger Abbey The Catcher in the Rye* On the Road The Hunchback of Notre Dame Freakonomics : a Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance The Aeneid Watership Down Gravity’s Rainbow The Hobbit* In cold blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences* White teeth Treasure Island David Copperfield The Three Musketeers The usual plan is that you: Bold the ones you've read, italicize the ones you started but couldn't finish, strike through the ones you really sort of hated, put an asterisk next to the ones you've read more than once, and underline the ones on your own personal To Be Read list. Then you would post the results on your own blog. I think I've read 36 books on that list and I've put an asterick next to those I've read multiple times. There are two books that I just didn't care for even though I trudged through last page. A few others I may have read but it was so long ago, I can't be sure. Use this to make your own self-improvement reading list (Movies don't count, Katie). Or post in the comments which books you found unbearable.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Best in Show

Thursday's Wall Street Journal featured a picture of David Frei posing with his Brittany, Bella. What a good name for a brittany!

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Ready, Set...

You will be glad to know that every landmark downtown has been hatted, helmeted, jersey-ed and bannered. The maintenace staff at City Hall are wearing team caps. The Food Network scheduled a day-long homage to "Game Day" food. All of the stores - from the Marts to the sports - are well-supplied with team attire. Every player has been interviewed. Every strategy analyzed. Greetings have switched from "will you watch" to "where will you watch". Now all there is to do is wait.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Why I hate when there's no football on Sunday

Because all the husbands and boyfriends to go shopping at Target with the womenfolk!

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Saturday, January 20, 2007


Didn't expect to find anything here, did you? Maybe I've been delinquent, but other people could post here too, you know. And it might be more motivating to get some feedback once in a while.

Nevertheless, some catch up is in order. Good to see the Fourth Family at Christmas. Funniest moment no one saw? J3 was looking at the Weird Minnesota book and pleaded "Dad, can we move?"

Congratulations to the Second Family on their new addition. I know Second has always been interested in a CBR and he's finally taken the plunge (little pun). Zara? Or is it something different now? Can't wait to meet her.

Looking forward to some tasty recipes from the Sixth Kitchen as he cooks his way througth his new old cookbook. Maybe some "Little Ears" for a Superbowl party?

Most of all, Seventh Spouse came through his surgery very successfully (yaaay!)but still has to do "the treatment" (boooo). In honor of Seventh Spouse, here's a little something that will make you smile.


Friday, December 08, 2006

Now Appearing On Lists Everywhere

So this is the time of year that quantity takes precedence over quality. Or so it seems. For several years Eighth Spouse has taken it upon himself to maintain the compilation of everybody's wants. You know, as in Jaxon wants a pair of skates, Sarah wants a pony. Jake-ster wants his own game show, Katie wants a Tony.. The list is maintained very diligently, but yesterday Seventh commented on the increasing appearance of "gift card" on the list.

At first, gift cards seemed like a terrific idea. That was back in the day when you actually had to go to the store of choice in order to purchase the gift card. It said "I know you would love something from here, but I just can't decide what." Gift cards were more personal than cash. They involved some thought and effort. But as they tend to do, times have changed.

Now, you can stock up on gift cards from anywhere right along with your weekly grocery shopping. Looking at the growing log of gimmes:

  • Target gift card
  • GameStop gift card
  • Borders gift card
  • Lowe's gift card
and so's hard not to feel disappointed. Is this all you think of a provider of gift cards? Conflicted between the sheer surprise of "what will I get" and the satisfaction of getting "what I want", we opt for the sure thing.

It's like Christmas, dumbed-down.

Use the gift card from the office to buy a pre-decorated, boxed tree and a boxed holiday feast from the chain grocery, invite your friends over and get more gift cards.

To tell you the truth, the last thing I want to do after Christmas is set foot in another store. "If I get a gift card, I don't use it on myself anyway" said Eighth referring to the ultimate in re-gifting. By the time you use it, do you even remember who it's from?

So, this is Christmas, sings Paul

This post started out to be a rant about Christmas and giving until I took a look at the history of holiday gifting. Christmas, it turns out,is one of the most plastic (ha, a little pun) of all festivals. No one has taken a sacred, religious holiday and corrupted it with commercialism. The leaders of the Christian world themselves intentionally morphed Christmas into something that could accommodate pagans and all others.

The custom of giving gifts at Christmas goes back to two Roman festivals, Saturnalia and Kalends, which were sacred to Saturn and Janus respectively. December 25, which is three days after the shortest day of the year, celebrates the Return of the Sun. The very first gifts were simple items such as twigs from a sacred grove (as good luck emblems), figs, honey, and pastry. Soon that escalated to small items of jewellery, candles, and statues of various gods.

Hear that? The gift-giving, the eating and drinking and entertainment, were already in place.

At first, the early Christian Church saw gift giving at the winter solstice as a residue of paganism and, therefore, severely frowned upon it. The people, however, would not part with the tradition, so the church exercised its old strategy of absorbing the practice. The Council of Tours, in 567 AD, declared that the twelve days between the Nativity and the Epiphany formed one, festal cycle. Since every country had some sort of solstice celebration, this made sure the church could capitalize on a piece of whatever festival the people were celebrating.

Throughout the English medieval and early modern period, the traditional day for the exchange of gifts was January 1st -- known as New Year’s Day. The giving of ‘boxes’ at the solstice season is first recorded in the 17th Century, when it had become the custom to give cash gifts -- euphemistically known as ‘boxes’ -- to tradesmen whose services a customer valued during the year. In other words, the percursor of the gift card! This practice eventually became fixed as ‘Boxing Day’, the 26th of December or St. Stephen’s Day, during the reign of Queen Victoria.

So,in summary,it was not the godless who corrupted a serious religious commemoration with a lot of fol-de-rol. The religious right of the 6th century elbowed in on the good times of Saturnalia, exercised a little wordplay, and made it all about them.

Since everyone was off work anyway, they might as well spend the time in church, eh?

Interested in more? Go here.

Let's dumb it all down.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Free Association

  1. Rhyme :: time
  2. Substantial :: portion
  3. Instant :: pudding
  4. Greed :: wealth
  5. Brad :: tack
  6. Season :: changes
  7. Accomplished :: musician
  8. Invite :: black tie
  9. Sparkle :: glitter
  10. Rainbow :: colors
Here is a link to go play this game each week. Unconscious Mutterings