Unless you’re Elizabeth Hodges of Sylacauga, Alabama – in which case, you were. November 30, 1954: Elizabeth Hodges was sleeping on a couch in her Alabama home when an 8.5-pound sulfide meteorite crashed through her roof, bounced off a radio, and smacked her on the hip. Fortunately, Ms. Hodges escaped with only bruises. The seven-inch meteorite represented the first interstellar assault on a human being in the “modern era” – though ancient Chinese records apparently mention several injuries (and some deaths) due to meteors. All of which reminds me of the following (courtesy of Despair.com): And on that pleasant thought,Read more
Month: November 2010
Lessons From a Five-Foot Snowman
I spent most of last week in Squaw Valley with my extended family, enjoying a much-needed vacation and holiday. Wednesday morning, my son and I decided to snowshoe out into the new-fallen snow (read: three feet of base and another three feet of fresh powder dumped by Tuesday’s blizzard) and make a snowman. As we headed into the meadow we passed the resort’s cross-country trail groomer, who was just heading in for a break. When we mentioned our plans he said, “Great idea! But you’ve got your work cut out for you in this dry snow.” (For the uninitiated: “wet”Read more
But Why is it Called Black Friday?
Now that I’m back in town* I thought I’d resolve a question that’s bothered me for some time. Why is the Friday after Thanksgiving called “Black Friday”? According to Wikipedia (aka, “the most reliable source of true reliable potentially made up but usually persuasive information in the known universe”): The term “Black Friday” originated in Philadelphia in the mid-1960s as a description of the extra-heavy traffic that choked the streets. (Note: I’m not sure whether the “black” bit refers to vehicle exhaust, the color of trampled snow, the state of residents’ tempers after dealing with out-of-town shoppers, or something elseRead more
Today We Are Teaching Toddlers How to Fly!
Rather than post a dull series of Thanksgiving thank-yous to the many, many people who miraculously put up with me all these years love me for who I am, I thought I’d share a few memories instead. First up, Big Little Brother. (I’m older by several years, but surrendered the growth curve the year he turned nine. At last count, he’s more than a foot taller.) I’m not sure what I thought of Big Little Brother when they brought him home from the hospital. My dad was laid up with a broken leg (teach him to show off on theRead more
Friday Reads: All I Can Handle: I’m No Mother Teresa
Today’s review: All I Can Handle: I’m No Mother Teresa, by Kim Stagliano (“Kimoir,” Skyhorse Publishing, 2010) From Amazon’s product description: “How one woman raises three daughters with autism, loses one at Disney World, stays married, has sex, bakes gluten-free, goes broke, and keeps her sense of humor.” Short review: Highly, highly recommended. In fact, recommended above everything else I’ve reviewed here so far, and everything I’ve read this year. If I could make you read this book, I would, and I think everyone can and will get something from it, if only the realization that no matter how difficultRead more
Who’s DMB now?
Google has recently started correcting my searches. Not content merely to suggest alternative options when it thinks I’ve misspelled or mistyped my request, the World’s Smartest Pigeons have now started replacing my search with Folgers Crystals auto-corrected terms…and yes, I do notice. I find this irritating on several levels. Among them: 1. I am, by nature, a good speller. It’s rare for me to mistype a word, especially in a search, and although I appreciate the “Did you mean” feature I don’t want pigeon logic thrust upon me from the get-go. I am smarter than a fifth grader and alsoRead more
And There Was Great Rejoicing Throughout the Land
Tuesday, November 16, 2010. My husband’s birthday. In honor of the occasion, permit me to share a few things I’ve learned in the past decade-and-then-some since I said I Would: 1. Men’s socks are migratory and prone to basking in open areas. (Particularly on carpets.) 2. Real men aren’t afraid to own white persian cats. (Naming them after much-beloved Star-Trek episodes seems to counter any feminizing impulse.) 3. Oreos come in one-serving packages, no matter how many cookies the wrapper contains. 4. Bobby Boucher ain’t the only one likes watching de foosball. (And denigrate the Seahawks at your own risk.Read more
Let Them Write (About) Cake!
November 15, 2010 is official “I Love to Write Day.” In honor of the occasion, I’m going to spend the day writing. (Granted, I do that most days, but I’ll pretend today is special.) In fact, I intend to try and write in at least three different disciplines: business, fiction, and blogging. One down, two to go. Do you have something to write today? If not, make something up! It’s always good to get some new words on a page. If you do (or if you think quickly) tell me what you’re writing in the comments! For those of youRead more
Friday Reads: Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder
Today’s review: Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder: Pronged Ants, Horned Humans, Mice on Toast and other Marvels of Jurassic Technology, by Lawrence Weschler (1996, still available in paperback). From the Amazon.com review (because they said it well and I’m too lazy to write my own summary): “In the non-Aristotelian, non-Euclidean, non-Newtonian space between the walls of the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles exist bats that can fly through lead barriers, spore-ingesting pronged ants, elaborate theories of memory, and a host of other off-kilter scientific oddities that challenge the traditional notions of truth and fiction. Lawrence Weschler’s book, expanded fromRead more
A Few Words on Veterans’ Day
First and foremost, heartfelt thanks to all the veterans who put their lives on the line for our country. We owe you a debt of gratitude that we can never repay. You risked everything you had in return for far less than you deserved, and I am grateful. Special thanks to my father-in-law, a retired Marine Master Sergeant. We are proud to be the family of a Marine. For the rest, here are a few shiny dinglehoppers about Veterans’ Day: – The holiday takes place on November 11 because the Armistice that concluded hostilities between the Allies and Germany atRead more