Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The Unproven Beliefs Of People Much Smarter Than You 

Q. What do you get when you ask 120 of the brightest, most creative scientific thinkers and futurists in the universe "What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?"

A. 60,000 of the most fascinating words ever written.

Kudos to "literary agent and online provocateur John Brockman" of The World Question Center for keeping us all on our toes since 1998. Don't miss the archives!

posted by boyhowdy | 9:51 PM | 1 comments


Media Milestone: Eisner Dead At 87 

Sad news today: comic legend Will Eisner died last night due to complications from heart surgery. He was 87, and had been publishing comics since 1936. Moment of silence follows:





Through sharp shadows of pen and ink and a vast array of finely etched characters, Eisner, whose revolutionary 1978 A Contract With God and Other Tenement Stories is generally acknowledged as the first true modern graphic novel, was a seminal player in bringing the realization of comics as a serious medium to the world of publishers and readers alike. And Eisner was still working; his final graphic novel, The Plot, is due to be released later this year.

posted by boyhowdy | 3:42 PM | 1 comments


What A Difference An "E" Makes 

Surely there's nothing funny about the growing Asian post-tsunami crisis. Happily, though our international population was home on break during the past few weeks, all students under our collective care are healthy and accounted for. Unhappily, their privilege and safety only underscores a growing death toll that is estimated to exceed 150,000.

Nonetheless, the pop culture mind can't help but snigger when the Boston Globe's top headline reads Ex-presidents to lead aid effort. Am I the only one picturing X-President Bush, Sr. swooping down from the skies to deliver bad puns and sandwiches to all? Doesn't anyone at the Globe watch Saturday Night Live? Damn one of us, anyway, for inadvertently trivializing the worst natural disaster in a lifetime. If nothing else, it's a good reminder that cultural context always counts.

[Update 2:23 pm: X-presidents pic removed out of respect. Those interested in seeing the possibly-Smigel-authorized comic cover image will find it here.]

posted by boyhowdy | 1:51 PM | 0 comments

Monday, January 03, 2005

Virtual Radio Show...Almost 

Rain in the middle of January, almost too slick for the busses fat with returning students, their new christmas sweaters held close to their soggy bodies as they sprinted the pathways to their homes away from home. On the bright side, that meant plenty of listeners for the first radio show of the year, and happily, I was ready.

Or so I thought.

Digital technology came to Tributary with a vengance since holiday break:

1. Weekly posted playlists will now include no less than two downloadable songs, in mp3 format wherever possible, and in m4a format when otherwise unavailable.
[The usual disclaimer applies, of course: music made available herein will remain up for one week or less, and is intended for preview purposes only. Buy music so that artists may simply live!]

2. I played the whole show off the iPod, which was so much more convenient than those dual CD decks.

3. Theoretically, the show was being simulcast live here. I even advertised, both blog-wise (see now-made-irrelevant blogpost immediately below) and on the school bulletin board. In reality, however, this was a total false alarm -- all that was broadcast was the autofeed from the school computer, which plays when no one is in the studio. Sorry for the premature notification, folks -- I'm told we have to have an all-DJ playlist discussion before going live with the stream, but hope to prod the student board of directors to get the thing up and running by next week or so.

But three new technologies, one glitch isn't such a bad ratio, really. Here's hoping we'll get a three-fer next week. Until then, it was just great to have the studio back to myself again, student callers streaming in like rain.

As always, playlist follows. Right click and save redlined links for iPod-flava files.

Tributary 1/3/05

Skavoovie and the Epitones -- Fat Soul
Cake -- Wheels
Guster -- I Spy
Badly Drawn Boy -- Once Around the Block
Sesame Street Monsters -- Ma Nah Ma Nah
Donna The Buffalo -- Front Porch
Los Lobos -- That Train Don't Stop Here Anymore
G. Love and Special Sauce w/ Jack Johnson -- Rodeo Clowns
Oysterhead -- Oz Is Ever Floating

Moxy Fruvous -- King Of Spain
Keller Williams -- Breathe
John Mayer -- No Such Thing
Peter Mulvey -- The Ocean
Nellie McKay -- David
Piero Umiliani -- Mah Na Mah Na

Phish -- Glide
Barenaked Ladies -- Jane
Ryan Adams -- Wonderwall
Shawn Colvin -- Every Little Thing He Does Is Magic
Rhonda Vincent -- Bananaphone
Eddie From Ohio -- If I Had A Boat (live)
Mark Erelli -- Troubadour Blues

Cake -- Mah Na Mah Na
Wilco -- Hummingbird
The Waifs -- London Still
Da Vinci's Notebook -- Traffic Jam
Tim O'Brien -- Man Gave Names To All The Animals
Juliana Hatfield -- Live On Tomorrow
Hayseed Dixie -- Highway To Hell
Nick Drake -- Pink Moon

Ah....what a difference a year makes. You've been listening to Tributary, your ten to midnight Monday night show here on WNMH 91.5 fm, serving three states, two campuses, and one school. Enjoy the downloads, folks. We'll try the stream again next week.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:54 PM | 6 comments


Quick! Ack! 

[Update 12:04 a.m. 1/4/05: My apologies if anyone tried to listen. Turns out we're not yet cleared for takeoff. The link below can (and should) be used to access the school auto-stream, but there remains some concern about student DJs and appropriate behavior which a quick group discussion (in re: expectations) should fix. Next week, perhaps...]

Click!

Turns out they're now streaming the radio station. My show is on Mondays from ten to midnight, so let's get the lead out, folks!

Playlist will, as always, be posted around midnight. In addition to live-streaming, I will also be posting an mp3 or two from each show, starting tonight. Enjoy the audioblogging!

posted by boyhowdy | 8:41 PM | 1 comments


Daddy Day 



Some days are just electrifying.


The spouse had some design work to do for the previously ranted-about Dwight Night semi-formal today, and the in-laws cancelled their trip north due to impending freezing rain, so we didn't need to dog-sit. Who better to spend the last day of vacation with than the two-year wonder?

Which is how, after a long discussion on why it wasn't okay to go out dressed only in one of my old tee-shirts, the two year old and I headed out for the nearby indoor butterfly gardens, a year-round oasis of warm humid foliage in the midst of an as-yet almost snowless winter...and our traditional father-daughter adventure spot. Highlights of the day included a momentary yellow butterfly clinging to the bright red apple on her sweatshirt front, huge burgers and softserve cones in the snack shop, and plenty of snuggles.

Best for both of us, though, was the fat six-inch walking stick, brown skin and tiny green spines, left clinging to my hands while the "flight attendant" wandered off, leaving me to play docent to a shimmering crowd of the short and small, each braver than the last.

Funny how you can go to bed one night sure that your career is on the right path, and find yourself up too late the next night, wondering why you ever left that Fellowship at the Museum of Science in Boston.

Funny how much I miss being the center of attention, the lab-coated expert, the autograph-signing "lightning guy" with all the cool toys -- yes, that's me in the cage, circa 1995 -- prized for my verbosity and eagerness instead of reviled for it as I have been much of the time here.

And wasn't it nice to have a place to go every day where you could, say, decide to spend the morning walk around with a Madagascan Hissing Cockroach on my lapel all day and show it off, and that was the point? Or putting vaseline-coated skewers through balloons without popping them just so people would demand an explanation? Or smashing frozen tennis balls with a sledgehammer in front of a hundred scouts?

I know I promised no real resolutions, but maybe it would be worth keeping museum education on the possibility plate when reentering the world of the workplace over the next few months. Sure would beat the drudgery I'm looking at for the week ahead, that's for sure.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:39 AM | 3 comments

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Resolved...Sort Of 

Let's face it: it's going to be a big, big year for me, what with the impending kid, forced job loss, and subsequent need for relocation. Given that, I'm setting the bar low for resolutions this year. Here's some realistic, realizable self-commitments for the coming months.
  1. I will smoke slightly less, make several halfhearted attempts to quit, and feel guilty about it.

  2. I will try to put Willow to bed one night a week, as requested. However, I will put her in charge of reminding me.

  3. I will return library books on time, or at least take that crucial first step of putting them in the car when they are due.

  4. I will eat at least one marginally healthy food item per day.

  5. I will not get addicted to more than 5 new technologies. On second thought, better call it ten, just in case.

  6. I will blog a minimum of seven times a week, though it may mean overblogging on Fridays to catch up.

  7. Similarly, I will not update my blog so many times a day that the better entries remain predominantly unread, unless I am really, really bored.

  8. When the new baby is born in April, I will remain in hospital with my wife for at least half of every day.

  9. I will arrive on time for work for at least the first month of my new job, when I get one.

  10. I will make shorter lists wherever possible.

There. I don't see what the big deal is about these -- never have. Incidentally, if you, too, want to feel pressured to make real resolutions this year, start with the 100+ list of other blogger resolutions up at technorati. (Thanks to daddyblogger The Zero Boss for the link!)

posted by boyhowdy | 10:12 PM | 39 comments


More Willowisms 

Me: Anybody seen my shoes?
Her: No thanks, Daddy. I don't want to see your shoes.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:29 PM | 0 comments


Parents, Bookmark This! 



Now playing...


In implementing 2005 project Kiddie Records Weekly, the folks at Basic Hip Digital Oddio will digitize-for-download one classic children’s record every week this year, with the entire project taken from "…the golden age of children’s records," defined here as "a period which ran from the mid 1940s into the early 1950s."

Thanks to Mp3blogger cb of the of mirror eye for the reportage, plus a reminder that only the dedicated will have eventual access to the full set of 52 mp3s:

You’ll be able to access a low quality audio stream throughout the whole process, but you’ll only be able to d/l a high quality mp3 during the week that the record is featured. Awesome!

Indeed. Those (like myself) who tend to keep a kiddie playlist on the iPod would be well advised to bookmark Basic Hip project Kiddie Records Weekly, and add upcoming downloads to their calendars. Similarly, those (like myself) enamored of kiddie kitsch from years past would be well advised to do the same. To help in your planning, the site lists three months worth of future weekly features.

posted by boyhowdy | 8:30 PM | 0 comments


2005, So Far 

Our second child will be born this year. Soon afterwards, I'll find a new job, a new home, a new community for my newly embiggened family. And maybe, finally, this will be the year I'll be able to afford a haircut, and a shave, on a regular basis.

God willing, of course.

Much on my mind last night, celebrating the passage of time writ large up in Newfane for the third time in four years. Good company and surroundings in which to ponder, too: old friends and new warm by the fire, shrimp and other high-class munchies, an open bar and a keg of Long Trail, a sugarhouse bed to crash in when the long day was finally done. The night (and wee hours) in review, and in order:
  • First Drink of 2005: Champagne. The good stuff.

  • First TV Program of 2005: South Park marathon on Comedy Central.

  • First Sandwich of 2005: Black Forest ham, sandwich pickle, brie on white.

  • Second Drink of 2005: Beer.

  • First house pool champion of 2005: Me.

  • Best New Years post-midnight one-liner of 2005: "Hey, lets get out our checks and start practicing!"

  • First late-night, just-before-bed dog walk of 2005: 2:48 a.m.

  • Best moment of the first wee-hours of 2005: That bright, solitary shooting star shimmering through the fog just before bed.


Also, what morning would be complete without the first hangover of 2005, nipped in the bud by eggs, sausage patties, thick-sliced bacon, coffee and mimosas? I'm cautious, but tempted, to take this all as a positive sign.

posted by boyhowdy | 7:34 PM | 0 comments

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Miscellanous Thursday 

Been pocketblogging all day on walletscraps, mostly old ATM receipts. Here's the good stuff.

Ultrasound again today -- no concerns, just another look at doctor's request. Now we know, and we're not telling. 13 weeks to go as of tomorrow; if the baby's continued pelvis-kicking under the ultrasound is any indication, it can't wait to join the family.

Spent an hour before supper with big-sis-to-be Willow teaching stuffed bear Wose to play a toy piano, another quietly frustrating hour afterwards stomping on bubble wrap. How wonderfully the ravages of ADD hyperfocus match the fickle hours of toddler-task dedication.

In more bloggish news, the blog redesign continues. Most notably, in the next few days the now barely-beta about boyhowdy section is destined to become a major work, almost a companion reference to the blog itself. Main page may include paragraphs on schooling, vocation, work, personal philosophies and beliefs, a personal chronology a la kottke, and a cast of characters cheatsheet; sidebar will likely include currently reading/watching/listening to, links to past blogentries which explore selfhood, and a clean way back to the blog. Pix may be included where relevant. Come see about me!

Other blogtweaks include plans ahead for some regular features.
  • As a payback for the gifts and gab of the growing universe of Mp3blogs, have tentatively decided to begin posting an otherwise unavailable mp3 each week as part of the Monday night Tributary radio show post. Tune in Monday at midnight for the first of these. Requests gladly considered from past playlists.

  • Also considering a separate Monday Mosh blog -- seems a shame to waste the jammin' Willow masthead.

Still on holiday 'till Tuesday. Expect blogging to continue in the parenting-and-blogdesign vein until the boarding students return on Monday night, just in time for the all-new, partially downloadable Tributary.

posted by boyhowdy | 6:33 PM | 1 comments

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Little Wanderer 

The kid likes to wander, too. With impunity, with purpose, so far mostly by our sides. She's been chased bareassed into stagefront crowds, lost boots in snowbanks. Sometimes, she's hard to catch, slippery, like any toddler. Makes me proud.

She walks plenty, of course. But her little girl legs are short and tire easily; she still accepts the indignity of the walkabout stroller for mallwalks and sidewalk window-wanders. In warmer, longer days my mother comes on Tuesdays to push Willow past the Easter Egg tree to the little beachfront along the pond. Frogs serenade her there. Tiny fish nibble her toes.

The stroller was no match for our yearly round of folk festivals; camped in pathless fields all summer, the wagon was our saving grace. But not just any wagon -- a hayride for one and a friend, fat tires beneath, red wooden slats three high all around. On Halloween we stuffed it full of hay and pumpkins, dog and orange-suited child, made the rounds as a pumpkin patch.

Now, winter brings in the old fashioned sled bought secondhand, wood runners on thin rusty trailing rods. Last year it was the only way to Christmas Vespers in the snowstorm; this year the snow has been light, burns off in after-midnight fog. But there was enough left in the meadow today for a pull and slide, the dog dashing alongside, all of us, laughing all the way.

Too soon, I know, everything will change: new job, new community, new home. In days, the outplacement workshops begin, a new lame-duck worklife punctuated by resumes and hail mary curricular handoffs. For now, as the year turns around again, I am blessed by the present, our long holiday together unbroken by commitments outside the home. And in the long run, it's good to know she'll be there, a happy wanderer, by my side.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:20 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Beta Testing 



Yep. Seems okay.


Welcome to the newly redesigned Not All Who Wander Are Lost. What do you think?

Late lunch down at semi-fancy Chandlers this afternoon, since Mom was buying -- she's usually up Tuesday afternoons for toddlercare, and we figured it would be nice to have a few hours to ourselves after a full week solo-kidding it in Florida and, subsequently, through the holidays themselves.

Mom even brought sister Sarah, on the eve of her return to dog dissection -- she's a Vet student; next term they get to dissect a horse. The two of us wandered the Yankee Candle flaship store together, marveling at kitsch and on-sale Christmas while the others waited for the table.

Back home postprandial, Mom and Sarah watched the cutiepie while the wife and I went off to our respective offices. Reportedly, Darcie got caught up with email.

And I published this, the beta version of the redesign. And, since then, I've republished it at least a dozen times more. Damn fidgety ADD.

I'd write more, but my brain hurts from two straight days of blog overhaul, and the wine at lunch didn't help. Back to my usual scintillating self soon, surely. Until then, enjoy critiquing the eye-candy. There's better stuff below, I promise.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:59 PM | 4 comments


Blogging Service 

Yet another nifty idea out of BloggerCon3, this one a clear demonstration of how blogging has taken in the cyberthink potlatch mentality originally attributed to the communards of the WELL way back when the web was new. And so simple, it speaks for itself:
Bloggercorps is a blog. No office. No admin. No fund-raising. No funds. No staff. No meetings. It will evolve organically based on the needs of the people who wind up using it:

- The authors (a wide-ranging group comprised mainly of bloggers, activists, and tech organizations who work with non-profits) will post announcements on behalf of organizations who need help starting blogs or building blogging communities.

- The posts will be categorized according to the organization's geographical location, and in some cases its main focus issue.

- Bloggers interested in helping that particular organization can express their interest in the comments section attached to that post.

- The organization will then decide which of the volunteers it wants to follow up with.

- All arrangements will be made directly between organizations and bloggers. Bloggercorps will not mediate.

Back in 1993, I was saved from being just another college dropout sullenly inhabiting my parents' basement by City Year, the pre-Americorps "Urban Peace Corps" out of Boston. Since then, I've taught, tutored, and invested in community service -- first via local elementary schools, later through my advisees, dorm, and assigned house here at the prep school.

For me, the comradeship and peer learning of these situations has always been an essential aspect of their success -- and, more, of my ability as service-giver to commit to their success. Yeah, I know it's not all about me; what I mean is, I'm a people person. My talent is in teaching. My own recent two day hairtearing redesign session tells me I'm not the best person to make blogs for other people.

On the plus side, I love the idea. I love, especially, that Bloggercorps is nonpartisan -- which provides the opportunity for people to commit to service for their own resons, and to look for a good match of ideals between volunteer and org-in-need.

And maybe it's time I started volunteering again.

So I'm bookmarking Bloggercorps. I may not the best or brightest, but I'm willing to look regularly, keep an eye out for someone I can really help. Why not join me? I mean, heck: it's the blogger way.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:09 PM | 0 comments

Monday, December 27, 2004

Impending... 

Spent the day OCD-ing in Photoshop. Result: new blogdesign. Comments welcome.

To be fair, the navigation bar featuring a jamming Willow was much cooler, albeit not as thematic. Pity.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:49 PM | 5 comments

Sunday, December 26, 2004

No "L" 

Remember how at the end of A Christmas Story, the family has to go out for Chinese -- because the neighbor's dogs stole the turkey, a hilarious slapstick montage -- and the waiters all sing around the table: fa wa wra wra wra, wra wra wra wra?

My daughter sounds like that at Christmas. She's so merry and bright, it's hard not to giggle everytime she opened a present and cried "WOOK, daddy!"

She got some neat and WOOKworthy stuff, to be sure. As the sole member of her generation, Willow was pampered in style for (knock wood) her final Christmas: dolls with full wardrobes and a trunk to keep 'em in; books galore; a fluffy flamingo marionette which, once used, becomes impossible to untangle; the dolly crib Papa Neil gave Aunt Ginny when she was little.

Also cool, right off my own amazon.com wishlist, Songs From The Street, a 3-disk set of great musical moments throughout Sesame Street History which really is "the ultimate Sesame Street music collection" -- one surely appearing on an iPod near me sometime soon.

Other good gots this year:
Matt (the wife's sister's husband, for those keeping track) got an mp3 player from Patty and Neil (wife's parents) -- nominally for law school lecture-taping, but the prevalence of iPods was too tempting, so we ended up in a mad music-pirating three-way with Darcie's brother, Josh for most of the afternoon.

Except I'm an idiot and forgot to bump the 2 gigs of stored data from iPod to home hard drive before adding them to the library and updating the iPod, so I just spent the last hour deleting, adding, retagging, and updating to avoid having 2 gigs worth of redundancy on this just-half-full audiopill.

I was going to write more -- breakfast this morning with Alicia, Matt, in-laws and co. at the good diner in Brattleboro, backblogs (and photos!) from Florida, progress on the impending Not All Who Wander Are Lost design overhaul coming this New Years to a blog near you. But it's snowing perfect packed powder out there, and I want to be able to get the car through it; better to leave the warm deserted library lab now, and avoid having to crash in the stacks for the night.

In honor of the snow, here's a link to Womenfolk, where today you can download a free mp3 of Fiona Apple singing Frosty the Snowman. Really. Enjoy, folks. Happy Howidays.

posted by boyhowdy | 8:37 PM | 1 comments

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas, Bloggiverse! 



Not All Who Wander Are Lost is closed for Christmas with the family-in-law. Hope your holiday weekend is equally merry. Tune in tomorrow for this year's giftlist-slash-report.

Drive safe if you're driving, party hard if you're not, but above all, bundle up -- it's a cold one this year!

Comprehensive blog redesign ETA: 6 days and counting...

posted by boyhowdy | 11:21 PM | 23 comments

Friday, December 24, 2004

The iPod Meme 

I've put the last of the CDs on, added those digital files I've been dragging around on various network harddrives, hit the best of the mp3blogs. (Also bought one song off the iTunes online Music Store 'cause it was stuck in my head -- damn you, John Mayer!) Total storage is up to 8.99 gigs, which works out to around 2389 songs, give or take a few long-play readalouds and a couple of hour long episodes of etown.

So I guess we're ready to meme.

The challenge: hit shuffle, and report the first ten songs that pop up. No cheating, by which I assume we mean hiding songs that mark you as audiolame. Here's the results:
  1. Theme from the Black Hole -- George Clinton (funk)

  2. Sweetest Song -- Salamander Crossing (bluegrass)

  3. River Road -- Mark Erelli (folk)

  4. Mother Nature's Son -- Jason Falkner (children's music / alternative)

  5. One Little Song -- Gillian Welch (neo-americana)

  6. Cassidy -- Grateful Dead (jam)

  7. More Love -- Dixie Chicks (country)

  8. Sally Ann -- Natalie Merchant (neo-americana)

  9. Horses -- The Be Good Tanyas (canadian folk)

  10. Last Fair Deal Gone Down -- Crooked Still (bluegrass / neo-americana)

  11. Hey Rose -- Girlyman (queerfolk)
Immediately followed by Dave Carter, Barenaked Ladies, Phish, Chris Smither, Sarah Harmer, Guster, and Los Lobos, in that order.


Not bad, if I do say so myself, though I guess I expected more alternapop in the mix -- maybe a little less bluegrass, more De La Soul, TMBG, Ani Difranco, that kind of stuff. And it's just dumb luck that Willow's car-ride kiddie albums didn't crop up.

And speaking of the not-for-shuffle genres: does the holiday playlist stay or go post-Christmas?

posted by boyhowdy | 11:46 PM | 3 comments


Happy Happy, Joy Joy 

A long day of present-wrapping in anticipation of tomorrow's umpteenth annual tree-side congegation at the in-laws. Though the population in attendance has grown over the years, the occasion will likely remain the same. Expect reports of a silly present-passing game, two hours of ceremonious presentation and all-eyes-upon-me gift-opening, copious brown supermarket bags of folded wrapping paper, some sort of ham, waffles.

Tonight, though, a nice supper: candles, wine glasses, red tablecloth and all. Christmas carols played softly, from iPod to radio, as we said the shabbat blessings; the wine was really grape juice, more palatable for the pregnant and the toddler both.

But the true meaning of Christmas Eve, for us, is personal, not religious.

Nine years ago tonight, sans reservation, I went out with this girl I'd been living with since long before we dropped out of college together. After a cold half hour in a half-broken car we stumbled into Keene, and a now-defunct dark-lit fancy restaurant. It was the only place we could find on Christmas Eve.

We shared a plate of warm gingerbread and a glass of red wine; I asked for her hand in marriage.

She said yes.

Back home, her parents reception was lukewarm, obligatory, tired, intent as they were on finishing their present-wrapping and getting the heck to bed. We kissed goodnight, snuggled for a while by the soapstone stove, eventually

Eventually, she went up to her bedroom, where I wasn't allowed. As I had in the past, I played solitaire 'til two and crashed in the sewing room on the pull-out bed.

Next morning, while pancakes burned and Darcie's siblings waited under the tree, I soiled the sheets, sick from the gingerbread. My first Christmas, and hardly an auspicious beginning.

Since then, a whirlwind of years have passed. I've gone from being the newbie to the old pro, as we welcomed first Josh's partner Clay, oft joined at table and hearth by Father Fred and Brother Justin, and then Matt, now in his first year as Husband to ex-Winter Carnival Queen Alicia. In the past two years we've taken on new roles, moving from daughter to Mommy, from Patty to Grandma, as Willow stretches the comfort zone, making tighter relations of us all.

As the family grows, we grow together. The tree still towers over the widening girth of the family giving circle, but the ornaments have grown familiar, the faces comfortable. I'm a Jew at his family Christmas, and I love it.

But no gingerbread for me, thanks.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:45 PM | 0 comments

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Poor Sick Baby 

She's been a healthy kid, almost superhumanly so; when the doctor asks if she's been sick much, we laugh heartily, though it makes us feel guilty somehow -- how did we get so lucky? More, she recovers quickly from trauma, proudly showing off her catscratches to supermarket strangers, admiring her bruises under the bathbubbles.

So I'm unprepared to come home from the LAN to find her happily ogling a slightly over-religious holiday concert special -- the type they'd only show at 2 a.m., but then again, it is 2 a.m. She's thrown up several times, each slightly more expected than the last. She seems otherwise her usual, robust highness, but lies awake waiting to be sick again

It's tempting to find cause in the taxation of a perfectly gleeful evening. Pickles and chocolate-covered pretzels and a man she made out of cheese for supper; a long bath in a cold bathroom that smells strongly of catbox; snow angels in the dry, frigid moonlight wearing nothing but footed pajamas under snowsuit and linerless boots.

Her mother lies by her side, exhausted as only the pregnant can be. The room smells like vomit. Their sleep schedules will be off for days.

I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

She'll toughen. You can never have enough glee.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:33 PM | 1 comments

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Vacate 

We're back...

Florida was cold and mostly rainy. The remnants of four hurricanes have left the place a blue tarp covered shambles; busted signage made visual ghettos of even the most tony neighborhoods. A commuter train seems to have moved into what, last year, was a quietly reconstructed 1920s cubanesque suburban neighborhood.

But we're not beach people (though we did go -- once just me and the kid, laughing into the waves as they lapped up our knees, and then all three of us the following morning). We're used to sleeping through coyote howls, mournful in the moonlight. We go to Florida for the attractions and the family, both of which were still standing -- happily, they seem to have rounded up the escaped zoo animals, or at least gotten replacements.

We did manage to make it in short sleeves most days. But, really, it could have snowed there and I'd still have been blessed. A movie in an actual theater? Five days without thinking about the impending job search? Heaven, worth even a day's indirect flight with a toddler.

Plenty of photos and scrawls await transcription for future viewing pleasure. For now, it's enough to have been there.

posted by boyhowdy | 8:24 PM | 1 comments

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Let's Get Out Of Here 

A day of furtive looks and a surprisingly large number of caring encounters made for a pretty weary day at work, a penultimate pre-holiday break here at the ol' prep school. Numerous heartfelt expressions of sympathy from those who themselves avaoided the cuts for yet another year were greatly appreciated, but there comes a point when you just want to get back to work and forget it all. Mid-April paternity leave notwithstanding, I do have to keep plugging away until the kids graduate in June.

But not for the next few, anyway. We're off early tomorrow for Palm Beach sand and surf. Back before Christmas, of course, but expect blogsilence until Tuesday at the earliest.

Brought chocolate-dipped strawberries and clementine wedges in small baskets to the coworkers today, plus a large tub o' also-rans for tomorrow's department meeting. I won't be there, of course -- we'll be on the flight to Florida by midafternoon -- but it felt right to be doing something normal in the midst of the surreal aftershock of position loss.

posted by boyhowdy | 12:01 AM | 10 comments

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

iPod, iSurfed, iLeft 

I washed the dishes tonight to a dozen Jeffrey Foucault outtakes, volume adjustment accomplished through the apron with a mere turn of the finger. It took me less than three minutes to explain all the controls to Darcie, who then spent the next half hour with the earbuds at her belly, playing bootlegged Bela Fleck for the fetus. "My students refuse to leave their iPods home when they go on their language exchange program" said a frustrated teaching peer at supper the other night.

I may be late to the table, but hot damn, this iPod thing is just what the noetic theorists promised us. Compact enough for pockets, vast enough to legitimately contain an aurophile's entire collection, the minimalist, intuitive interface: all underscore the proliferation, the cultural potency of this new little beast...but nothing prepared me for true love.

Coupled with the iTrip, it's a portable device that blurs the line between media, allowing content to transcend the limitations of individual technologies. I can listen through the car radio on the way to work, hit pause upon arriving, and, if I get the timing right, pick up the same song exactly where I left it the moment I walk into the office. I left the home radio on this morning, and Darcie said she knew I was pulling into the driveway because she heard my music.

Been importing tunes all day and yesterday (what are they going to do, fire me?), mostly from artist web sites. I've got a thing for covers, remixes, live tracks and unreleased rarities, so the legal side of the mp3web and I seem made for each other.

Along the way, I've discovered cheat sites full of pests and mp3 blogs fat with rescued obscurity -- a whole new world of digital audio. Even had a few happy accidents, most notably when a search for Barenaked Ladies bootlegs led me to the Banjo Newsletter, a vast repository of sparse banjo solos like this christmas classic. And how could you not love the Nintendo-esque, Mario Bros. charm of this 8-bit carol? Heck, at this rate, I'll be ready to take on the "first ten songs that come up on your iPod" meme by Christmas.

As I write this, I'm importing CDs like a madman, songs for five days in Florida plus the to-and-fro of air travel with a two-year-old. We'll be able to play tunes on the rental car radio, and I'll be able to space out to my favorite folk artists with a book on the porch each night after the girls go to bed, reading new books in the warm night air, far away from the perils of work, and the coming storms of a New England winter. And when I return, it'll be nice to try running to the weekly radio show without 80 pounds of CDs on my herniated back. Ain't technology grand?

posted by boyhowdy | 10:19 PM | 1 comments

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Email To My Brother 

Because I just didn't have the heart to write this out twice today.

Dear Jesse:

Thanks for the concern.

My entire department was cut today. Not surprising, I guess -- we're the only ones who have been trained to see our own delivery model as the best way to do something vital. Sucks for the school, but, as the head of school said in our one-on-one notification meeting today, "we'll bump along for a while."

I think you should put objects in the button-maker: matches, paper clips, etc. Also cut-outs of odd anachronistic images, like on those xeroxes you used to make and plaster all over your wall. Also single words which seem to have no context on a button: fish, startle, beep, the, button. Minimalism is best (but you knew that).

The iPod rocks. In 48 hours I've moved 149 songs onto it -- only 3 CDs, but lots of live jamband and folk stuff on artist websites on the web. Great to be able to play it in the car, and then continue the same song when I get into the office.

Wait, I am at the office. Am I supposed to be working?

Well, hell. What are they going to do -- fire me?

We're off to Florida midmorning Thursday, so I probably won't be writing much until Christmas. Need some time to clear my head, y'know? We'll say hi to Hy for you.

Love,

posted by boyhowdy | 1:49 PM | 5 comments

Monday, December 13, 2004

Red Herrings On Aisle 5 

Is internal, institutional-scale consistency of knowledge a reasonable expectation in the modern over-departmentalized megacorporate model? A suit against Wal-Mart says yes:
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which promotes itself as a seller of clean music, deceived customers by stocking compact discs by the rock group Evanescence that contain the f-word, a lawsuit claims. The hit group's latest CD and DVD, "Anywhere But Home," don't carry parental advisory labels alerting potential buyers to the obscenity. If they did, Wal-Mart wouldn't carry them, according to the retailer's policy.

But the lawsuit claims Wal-Mart knew about the explicit lyrics in the song, "Thoughtless," because it censored the word in a free sample available on its Web site and in its stores. The complaint, filed Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court, seeks an order requiring Wal-Mart to either censor or remove the music from its Maryland stores. It also seeks damages of up to $74,500 for each of the thousands of people who bought the music at Wal-Marts in Maryland.
It seems reasonable to assume that all departments of any corporation should be aware of, and adhere to, corporate policy. But companies like Wal-Mart are huge and fragmented. Without a warning label, I can't imagine it realistic to expect the sales-floor arm to be aware of how the promotional arm of a large corporation made a call on the relative appropriateness of one individual product among millions.

The law, of course, doesn't need to worry about realism in the face of a status quo. If Wal-Mart insists on making content-level promises its corporate mechanism cannot ensure, a judge could, theoretically, choose instead to mandate change in the corporate infrastructure. This should be an interesting one to follow for those of us interested in the study of sociology.

Easier to dismiss: In pointing readers to the story, BoingBoing pal John Parres swears this is a free speech issue. But even if this suit were about free speech (it isn't), the left-handed expectation for corporate "freedoms" is hardly a war cry. As long as there are copious places to access non-censored versions of this or any media, and as long as Wal-Mart policy is clear for consumers, it is enough to note that the suit in question doesn't address the speech issue, and assume from there.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:45 AM | 2 comments

Friday, December 10, 2004

RIF: The End Is Near 

We've been told that teachers whose positions will not be continuing will be meeting with the Head of School on Tuesday. Also that folks who get asked to stay may discover themselves doing more than they used to.

Not clear which is better. We've been complaining about a gradual creep in expectations for years; by now, many keep a 60 hour workweek. The fear of even more, coupled with administrative promise of a "very nice" severance package, seems to be keeping the scales pretty balanced, pro and con.

They're "only" cutting 25 positions out of 100. Everyone I talk to seems sure they'll be the first to go. I'd feel more confident if someone -- anyone -- had asked me what I actually do around here, but c'est la vie, eh?

Either way, I'm keeping the resume up to date. Couldn't hurt to practice those interviewing skills, either. More Tuesday.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:38 PM | 19 comments

Thursday, December 09, 2004

A Dubious Honor 

After a casual mention of this googleprompted poem in the reinvigorate chatbox, the kind folks at Asinine Poetry have pursued and, subsequently, republished my Bologna Sonnet on their own site.

I'm especially proud of my overly-caffeinated bio. It's all true, I swear.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:08 PM | 2 comments


No Peeking! 

Took a long overdue morning off and went holiday shopping in Brattleboro (VT) with the wife and wee one. Nice to be downtown without half the place blocked off by smoke and ladder trucks. Can't say much more about it, though, as some recipients-to-be, including Dad and Brother Jesse, are regular readers.

We'll be gone from tomorrow noon Saturday 'til Sunday, at my parents house for the annual family Hannukah get-together. While we're gone, feel free to peruse the "best of" archives over there to the right...or perhaps jump right to this week's rant, a plum addressing the use of the word fuck in the virtual faculty lounge -- cause everybody likes obscenity, right? Alternately, newcomers and/or those looking for some 'about me" type stuff would be well-served by starting with 30 things, 100 demons, or If I Had $10,000,000). Don't forget to leave comments!

Speaking of that old home religion -- Seth Mnookin, an old holier-than-thou enemy from Sunday School and author of a new look on just how that guy (you remember, that guy) managed to last so long at the New York Times despite such clear and present screwups (for those that don't want to read the book: it was the editor, stupid), was last night's guest on the Daily Show. Hard to know if it's just me, residual post-pubescent bias and all, but I wasn't impressed with the tired and shallow sound-bytes Mnookin managed to sneak by an otherwise bored Jon Stewart.

To be fair, though, Mnookin's a writer, not a public speaker, and some seriously impressive folks seem to like the book; I'm looking forward to reading what Stewart described as a strong analysis and an engrossing narrative. And even I gotta admit ol' Seth looks much better without the bleached tips he used to sport, back when he was 16 and sniffing glue.

posted by boyhowdy | 7:39 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Lost Writings In Old Wallets 

Cleaned out my wallet last week. In among the business cards, faded cookie fortunes and ATM reciepts a pair of paper scraps, covered in tiny blue-pen writing, stood out. Turned out to be blogfodder, written almost exactly a year ago, on holiday break in Florida.

A year ago.

My mother's father Jerry and my father's mother Florence were still alive, though both sick in their own ways. Willow could barely string two words together. My back wasn't herniated. My hair was three feet long. My job seemed safe; I was still teaching morning classes, and excited about them.

It was our second visit to Florida since Martha, the first of my grandparents, had passed; the first since I'd been to her gravesite.

And one warm night on the wicker and iron porch of our rented spanish villa, deep in the heart of the authentic 1920 neighborhood of Flamingo Park, I wrote this:
There are moments, here in Florida, when I miss her terribly -- both of them, really, but mostly her. Technically, of course, he isn't gone -- the body remains, and maybe the mind (i hope, and then sometimes, for his sake, hope to God it's not). But he's so far gone from the laughing bristle-cheeked pancakemaker he was when we were small, "he" is gone, after all.

But oh, Martha. Whose funeral we missed, in fear of having the baby that far from home.

Tonight at dinner, looking down at her great granddaughter, surely thinking of her own long-lost daughter Marion, my father's sister who passed away before his own birth, as in all such families the unattainable perfect sibling whose ghost looked and lurked over everything after her -- tonight Florence looked down at my babbling daughter, my precious Willow Myla-for-Martha, fidling with her great grandfather's shoes, and said "Have you taken her to see Martha?"

It was okay, after that tiny stoptime moment -- okay, and I said so, despite Florence's apology. We moved on quickly, and it was okay.

But it isn't, always.

Let's be tough but fair: Martha, of all my parent's parents, was the one who would have most loved, and been most loved, as she was for us. Would have been -- but she missed it, technically by two days, though if you count the time in the coma, by a month or more. For lying still and skin-stretched in that hospice bed she could not have been, would not have been to Willow the woman I loved, admired, feared.

Tomorrow, maybe, I'll leave Willow and Darcie home, and drive to Delray, and sit in the car outside someone else's home, and cry a little. God, I miss her, and the idea of having Willow see her -- presenting Willow to her, and her to Willow -- connecting the generations, proving us all through proving myself.

As I never knew I needed to do.

Until now.
What a difference a year makes.

We're off again for Florida -- same house; a different, smaller family to visit -- next Friday, bright and early. We'll stop in on my father's father, now the last of his generation; visit, too, Martha's sister Lil, still young at heart, still working at the local community college. We'll play on the beach, weather willing, and swim in the surf, and chase seagulls. I'll read on the porch again, a book a night, and breath the humid air, and try not to think too hard.

And maybe, this time, I really will drive by old houses in the night, and cry. For my own lost youth. For the three of them -- Martha, Jerry, Florence. For the surety that, as I know my own great-grands through pictures only -- Willow will be the first of a world who will not remember them, though she benefits from their love, a trickle-down theory.

We used to go for long days on grandparent porches. It's a funny mix of relaxation and reclamation that drives us to Florida now. But regeneration never comes without the bittersweet, I guess. So here's hoping this year's as sweet and summery, as cathartic and calm as the last.

'Cause this time, I really need it.

posted by boyhowdy | 5:57 PM | 1 comments

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

How To Be Depressed 

  • Ask daughter for kiss. Ask again. Say "I really have to go now, Willow." Say "I wish I had a kiss right now." Say "Please, just one little kiss?" Leave without kiss.


  • Drive 5 miles in dangerously icy conditions to sit in a library information commons to which no one comes.

  • Get coffee. Log into school network. Stare into space.


  • Stare at coffee cup -- the third cup of the day, at a buck fifty per. Try to figure out how much you spend on coffee per year. Now try to figure out how many iPods that is.


  • Realize that you spend twice that much on cigarettes. Multiply number of imaginary iPods by three.


  • Wish you had the money for just one iPod. Wish you had the money for a decent Christmas present for your wife. Wish addiction didn't cost so much. Wish you didn't have such an addictive personality. Wish wishes were horses, or, better, cash. Wish you didn't want another cup of coffee right now.


  • Leave "Be Right Back!" sign on service desk. Go to snack bar. Buy another cup of coffee. Return to deserted information commons.


  • Wonder why the library seems so quiet. Realize that the reason your typing isn't making that funny clicking noise today is that you left the pipe-cleaner-and-bead bracelet your daughter made you on the bathroom counter. Miss daughter.


  • Blog about it.

posted by boyhowdy | 3:30 PM | 4 comments


On The Use Of F*** In The Faculty Lounge 

...and other issues of appropriate speech in institutional virtual settings.

The piece appeared in our community via the Humor folder, a faculty-only space much like a virtual teacher's lounge.
Dear Faculty and Students;

God bless you for the beautiful radio I won at your recent senior citizens luncheon. I am 84 years old and live at an Assisted Home for the Aged. All of my family has passed away. I am all alone now and it's nice to know someone is thinking of me. God bless you for your kindness to an old forgotten lady. My roommate is 95 and always had her own radio. Before I received this one, she would never let me listen to hers,even when she was napping. The other day, her radio fell off the night stand and broke into a lot of little pieces. It was awful and she was in tears. She asked if she could listen to mine, and I said fuck you. Thank you for that opportunity.

Almost three weeks later I recieved this query from another teacher:
Do you think it is okay to see this kind of language on swis, in the faculty and staff humor folder?

Perhaps you can tell from my question that I find it inappropriate. F*** would have been less offensive in my mind.

With her permission, I'm cross-posting my response here.

The F Word: On Semi-Public Community Language As Media

Interestingly, I read a version of this short piece when it was first published over 10 years ago in The Quarterly, a now-defunct literary magazine of some repute. As fictional literature, the language seemed fine (and funny), because it gave a very specific voice to the older woman narrator. Worth noting, here -- some of the literature read by our students in the classroom has similar language, for similar reasons, and is similarly acceptable.

Professionally speaking, though, the field of media (which, here, would include culture studies, semiotics, etc.) is primarily interested in symbols and their arrangement in order to discuss how meaning happens, and what function it serves in the community.

Context DOES matter -- if the person who sent this joke in had given credit to the original author, that would have made a tiny bit of difference in how it might have been recieved. But, more directly, media tells us:
  • The asterix solution suggested is semiotically indistinguishable from the original. One hears the same word in one's head, and knows what it says, either way. I continue to be frustrated by the school's willingness to treat students who use this "work-around" less severely than students who might go ahead and use the actual word. The symbol is NOT the thing, nor does mere linguistic substitute of one symbol (with asterix) for another (without asterix) make a real difference in how the word is heard and experienced.


  • There is a big difference between explicit language and explicit images called up BY language. The MPAA ratings board, for better or worse, is a vehicle of this school of thought -- you'll note, for example, that graphic scenes cause R ratings, while use of this particular word does not. I have seen many "jokes" in our on-line faculty-only humor folder which bother me MUCH more than this, and many of those use perfectly legitimate WORDS to describe explicit scenes, sex, etc. In the case cited here, the word is used only to break through our stereotype of older people, and provide a broader sense of "real persona" by coupling that with the otherwise polite language of the author to the imagined correspondent -- which is where the joke gets its humor.


  • "Voice," though often misread in virtual spaces, is nonetheless key in media and meaning issues. If a teacher used this word in their OWN voice in a discussion folder or personal email, I'd be horrified. But this example is clearly not written by the person who passed it along, and it is, further, the convention of the humor folder to assume that folks who post are not doing so in their own voice. This "twice-removed" lessens my concern for this language even further.


  • The existence of a humor folder, nestled inside another faculty-only folder called "Community Circle," begs the inclusion in that folder of otherwise-inappropriate ideas, language, posts, etc. As a medium, humor is by defintion risky -- it must run counter to societal norms, or it just ain't funny. Examining the humor folder, I find potentially offensive sexism and gender-ism, subtle classism, age-ism, regional-ism, and other "ain't they funnier than us" as the norm in the folder, not the exception. And, as I suggest above, such ISMS are, by any modern social science perspective, more detrimental to the kinds of things that our school holds sacred -- celebration of difference, diversity, mediation, kindness -- than any single word could be (EXCEPT in the case of words which are by definition anti-group and thus exclusive to the point of comunity offense...which this word is not).


  • It is also true in the study of cultures and communication that every culture in the world has, and NEEDS, some outlet to "play" with their own societal taboos -- some safe place or places to explore these taboos by walking up to the line and testing the limits of aceptability. Societies which do NOT allow this are grey (think soviet communism) and die out quickly.


So. On both professional and personal levels, then, I am more bothered by explicit content than language -- as imagery has been proven, over and over, to be a greater breach of taboo, and thus a greater threat to societal norms. This example brought up here has no explicit content, merely symbols which in OTHER contexts are merely more likely than other symbols to have offensive meaning. This is, in other words, a tame example by virtual faculty lounge humor folder standards.

More, because of how humor is defined in culture, either there is no place on such virtual lounges for the underculture or we must allow that by definition anything that goes in the humor folder will be offensive to somebody, even if that somebody is not a member of our particular group. The former is certainly a possible conclusion, but to choose it seems to me a crying shame -- because it would only cause more demand for such an outlet away from each other, which creates tension in the community itself by driving us away from each other.

If we think the folder itself has value -- if we wish it to continue to exist at all -- it might be necessary to accept that this value is slightly different for everyone. I don't think we can have it both ways.

Some posts do cross lines. But, as there seems to be a real, determinant societal need -- in any society -- for exactly this release valve, I would humbly suggest that, while it would be surely appropriate for someone who felt that a given post had "crossed the line" to write, privately, to the original poster of that message and suggest that they, personally, were uncomfortable, no one offended individual should be able to determine taboo lines in a given culture or institution. It would still be important for that person to both a) be willing to accept disagreement from that poster, and live with it, and b) choose, as I know others have, to discontinue reading the folder if the trend continues, and continues to bothers them.

If it helps, in my own case, I have stopped reading several folders -- most recently, I stopped reading the faculty & staff conference folder right before the election, as things were getting politically insensitive and viewpoint-ist in there for a while -- when it became necessary.

Because if there's anything I've learned in my study of institutional communication, especially in educational institutions it is this: Ultimately, the only speech which will offend NO one is no speech at all.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:31 AM | 27 comments

Monday, December 06, 2004

Static On The Radio 

1. Used to generate truly random numbers, as reported in this week's Science News.

2. What the snow outside looked like in my headlights as I drove in to the radio station this evening. (Yes, I know you can't see radio. But if static looked like anything...)

3. A Jim White / Aimee Mann song often played on Tributary, your favorite local 10 to midnight Monday night show on WNMH 91.5.

4. An indicator that you should retune your radio to WNMH 91.5, and move to Brattleboro (VT), Keene (NH), or Greenfield (MA).


As always, here's this week's playlist, in half-hour increments -- no motifs or clusters tonight, just some plumb fine music (with a bit of pre-Christmas cheer mixed in to celebrate the first snowfall of the season).

Tributary 12/6/04

Skavoovie and the Epitones -- Fat Soul
They Might Be Giants -- Birdhouse In Your Soul
Oysterhead -- Oz Is Ever Floating
Sarah Harmer -- Almost
Manu Chao -- Me Gustas Tu
Biscuit Boys -- Me And My Uncle
Spin Doctors -- Jimmy Olsen's Blues

Jim White w/ Aimee Mann -- Static On The Radio
Pete Nelson -- You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch
Lisa Loeb -- I Do
Ware River Club -- I Love Her, She Loves Me
Erin McKeown -- Born To Hum
Mark Erelli -- This Ain't No Time Of Year To Be Alone
Great Big Sea -- Ordinary Day

Erica Wheeler -- Song For A Winter Night
Acoustic Syndicate -- Pumpkin And Daisy
Los Lobos -- That Train Don't Stop Here Anymore
Peter Case -- Let Me Fall
Barenaked Ladies w/ Sarah McLachlan -- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Crooked Still -- Orphan Girl
Peter Gabriel -- Love To Be Loved

Shawn Colvin -- Say A Little Prayer
Brooks Williams -- She Loves Me (When I Try)
Louise Taylor -- Let's Make A Baby King
David Wilcox -- It's The Same Old Song
Patty Griffin -- Mary
Nick Drake -- One Of These Things First

Tributary: It'll make you glad your radio works. If you lived here, you'd be hip by now.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:59 PM | 1 comments


Posts Pending 

Two entirely different posts coming through later today* tomorrow:

1. A response to a peer query about the appropriate use, if any, of the word "fuck" in the virtual faculty lounge. Originally written as a person-to-person email; just needs to be cleaned up a bit for the blog.

2. A short "lost" piece, nominally about my recently-deceaced paternal grandmother, written in Florida almost exactly a year ago and discovered in my wallet this morning.

Stay tuned...

*sorry, folks -- it's been a long one. I will have some time tomorrow to polish-and-post.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:58 AM | 1 comments

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Teens Less Likely To Think First 

Not really news: Scientists discover that "teenagers fail to see the consequences" of their actions. "Teenagers take more risks, because they do not foresee the consequences as adults do," says cognitive scientist Abigail Baird.

Not at all news: Not everyone is an educator. On the whole, society tends to forget that teen brains are just as gawky as their bodies.

Much more interesting: Using this info, reports this week's New Scientist, "several bodies, including the American Medical Association and American Psychiatric Association, have submitted evidence in a test case before the US Supreme Court arguing against the death penalty for juveniles."

Totally unsurprising: Mention of this article in fark ignores the test case, instead focuses on ridiculing New Scientist for "reporting" the adolescent development no-brainer...which, in turn, only confirms the mental age of fark community members (self included) as totally adolescent.

Serendipitous coincidence: Minutes after starting this post, blogexplosion brought me Flaming Teenaged, which brings us "the red hottest news on rampaging teens."

Internal query of the day: "Red hottest" couldn't possibly be grammatically correct, could it?

posted by boyhowdy | 6:15 PM | 2 comments


Christmas Bizarre  


Eight years ago we danced the hora in this very courtyard...
House of multifaith worship (on alternate days)


Up early on Saturday for a day of rural authenticity in Brattleboro, VT, nominally prompted by this year's one-room Christmas Bazaar at old haunt West Village Meeting House.

Nice to be back in the interfaith rural post-and-beam in which -- because it houses both bazaar-hosts All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church and local Jewish congregation Shir He-harim -- we got married.

And today, as always, it was fully comfortable to be a Jew among the U. Met up with Darcie's parents (also UU congregation members), took turns helping two-year-old Willow make bead ornaments in the otherwise-empty kids craft area, bought some small raw-wood-and-lichen mantelpiece ornaments despite the lack of a mantel to put them on.

Afterwards , the five of us -- in three generations and two cars -- had plans to head over the river and through the woods* to the high-commercial end of the rural shopping spectrum. But to no avail: we were stymied in our Wal-mart attempt by a thick plume of smoke coming from downtown Brattleboro, where -- it later turned out -- four townships worth of ladder trucks were dealing with a major block fire. Bridge unavailable, we headed to the local backwoods diner instead for homestyle steak and eggs.

Later, Darcie and I left Willow with the 'Grands for a trip up to the Basketville outlet -- wicker, wicker everywhere, and the smell of woodshavings. Spent almost an hour digging wooden eggs and candlesticks out of the rejects bin; at 5 cents apiece, we managed to gather in quite a collection (136 pieces!), and hope to get both present-fodder and creative play opportunities out of the lot.

Back home the roads through town were still closed, but we managed to pack in the downtown lot and walk in to see a gutted brick and a still-blocked bridge heading home, a sleepy Willow singing carols in the backseat.

Guess someone's God wanted us to stick with the authentic for the day. I missed the kitsch of the cart-and-greeter, but we'll surely make it to the mall sometime this week.

*Yes, it really is over the river and through the woods to get to Grandmother's house. It's a bit much, but what can you do?

posted by boyhowdy | 1:03 AM | 2 comments


Top 5 Christmas Carols For The Psychiatrically Challenged 

Schizophrenia: Do You Hear What I Hear?

Multiple Personality Disorder: We Three Kings Disoriented Are

Manic: Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Busses and Trucks and Trees and Fire Hydrants and...

Paranoid: Santa Claus Is Coming To Get Me

Personality Disorder: You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why

A little holiday cheer blatantly stolen from Michael the Archangel's even longer original list. Funniest thing I've read in ages.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:02 AM | 1 comments
coming soon
now listening
tinyblog
archives
about
links
blogs
quotes