Tag Archives: Thoughts

On Hating One’s Toenails, and Shick Brithouses


Earlier tonight, I saw a bumper sticker that proudly stated “Toenails are for Sissies.” Huh? I’ve never been one to go around advertising my hatred for toenails. I guess it takes a village. He was driving a Hummer, it also seems to take hundreds of gallons in gasoline. Continue reading On Hating One’s Toenails, and Shick Brithouses

Beam us Up, Mrs. Caldwell


Mrs. Caldwell phones our office every time she hears about an earthquake.  She has a theory, you see, about the end of the world and the return of the Lord (so I understand–I’ve never spoken with her) and for the last ten years whenever the news reports a quake, she has called our office, double-checks the magnitude with us, plots it on her map, and goes back to whatever she does when she doesn’t record earthquakes.

She specifically calls Bob, in our office, and we’ve spent plenty of time picking on him with the “Bob’s girlfriend’s on the line” jokes. Mrs. Caldwell is from South Carolina and is probably as insane as bat crap.  She is always polite, however, despite her attempts to recruit Bob to her cause, before the guy casts off his heritage and jumps aboard the Mayan Spaceship of Cataclysmic Doom.

I often  think of Mrs. Caldwell. She’s a nice person–in fact, she stopped calling for several months (we thought she’d died or been taken away by the mothership), because she didn’t want to be bothering us with everything. She talks on one of those old-timey phones you have to crank; the mouthpiece is bolted to the wall. I bet she makes cookies, and thanksgiving at her place is quite a spread. Since Mr. Caldwell died, and the kids moved away to the city, things just haven’t been the same. Her kitchen is filled with chrome yellow Formica furniture, and her study is a dark room piled with magazines and years of dust.  This is where she does her meditation and studying.  She has a leather-bound book where she logs each earthquake for the future.  December 31, 2012, she will prove to us all that she was right; by then, of course, it’ll be too late.

How many Mrs. Caldwells do you have in your life? They don’t look any different from you or me, unless you can spot the people who weaned on dinosaur milk (another interesting person from my reference desk). You may go to church with one, or smiled as you helped her reach a bag of cat food, high up on the shelf at the supermarket. I have a feeling that, we all wish we knew our future with 100% certainty. Maybe we are all Mrs. Caldwell, just a little bit; we just don’t like to admit it because the people in the library will laugh at us when we hang up the phone.

A Big Deal


I love Small Things.

A box turtle! I was told by the resident herpetologist (which has nothing to do with herpes, mind you) on staff at USGS that this colorful pal o' mine is a male.

I was mentioning it to my sons last night, as I recalled a blog I wrote several years ago (now lost. “Thanks so much, Yahoo 360°,” he said, rolling his eyes…) about a squirrel. The  critter, in a battle with a couple blue jays high up in an oak tree, managed to drop a nut on my head. How unpredictable the universe is. Of all the random moments, in all the world, that something could drop from the sky; in all the desperate extra-species battles ever conducted in a tree, it’s amazing–a blessing of uniqueness, even, that at that every moment, I would be collateral damage in a nut bombing. The universe is capricious. Even fun. My children’s original question was if a squirrel had ever shit on my head. My answer was no. I think that, to my boys, it was a bit disappointin’ that I would miss the annointin’. I guess I should thank heaven that squirrels and jays don’t fight with grand pianos and Acme safes. Continue reading A Big Deal

The City & the City [book review]


This morning I completed the book called The City & The City, by China Miéville. As my regular blog readers may know, I generally read science fiction and fantasy novels. Miéville’s work is no exception. It was published in 2009, and captured my attention immediately. It is no slouch in the field, having won the following awards:

The Book Cover
  • Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel
  • Arthur C. Clarke Award
  • World Fantasy Award
  • BSFA Award
  • Hugo Award for Best Novel (tied)

It was also nominated for the Nebula Award the  John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. This post will be unlike many of my book reviews, because I would like to indulge my recent reading, and think through some of the ramifications of the work itself. Even if you generally skip my book reviews, I’d be curious to have you read this one over, and tell me what you think of Miéville’s ideas.

Continue reading The City & the City [book review]

Dealbreakers


We all have dealbreakers.  We have probably all unfriended someone in social media, if we’ve found them disagreeable, or annoying, or offensive. More often, we tend to prune our social media rosters.  The Internet now has a smattering of places you can add and delete people, then hurt their feelings, without ever once looking in their eyes! I for one am proud to announce that I no longer have 666 Facebook friends. I have 668. I can’t be going around with the number of the antichrist attached to my friends list. I was gonna delete a few friends just to unnerve a few of my more conservative pals, or just for a laugh, and this got me thinking. Why? Who do I delete? and why do I remove them.

Continue reading Dealbreakers

Conscience of the Community


Howdy people!

I’ve been sick. About two hours before the beginnings of Hurricane Irene touched our area on Saturday, my body decided I needed a fever. There were no other symptoms; just a nasty fever that seemed to spike when and where it liked. I spent the day popping Tylenol and (after we ran out) Ibuprofen to take the symptoms away. I hate taking pills of any kind. I constantly tested the edges of my fever, not liking to take a tablet to control the thing until I was sure I had a high temperature—”Maybe it is gone now,” I kept thinking to myself. Myself kept being incorrect.

I stayed home on Monday, the last Ibuprofen swallowed around 3 PM that day. The fever seems to be a distant memory now. As a result, I was unable to blog that day, nor on Tuesday. I just didn’t have the energy. I sat at my desk like a paperweight yesterday, only a paperweight is more high-performing than I managed.

So today, I blog.

Continue reading Conscience of the Community

Earthquakes, here and there


Remember on Monday, when I said this would be a good, good week? Well, I’ve been right so far!

Post-quake Tsunami, Japan, 2011.
Earthquake. China, 2010.

Despite a small earthquake interrupting the latter part of the day yesterday, we spent a lot of family time at the orthodontist, then out to dinner with the boys (I had an excellent walnut-crusted chicken, surprisingly, at a sp0rts bar). I watched my kids eat. Then we went shopping for Daniel’s birthday, and came home, where I relaxed and read. A point of fact: a couple different earthquakes have happened in my life this week. As Ted “Theodore” Logan once said in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, “Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.” (this is possibly the best line Keanu Reeves has ever delivered in a film.)

Continue reading Earthquakes, here and there