I subscribe to Smithsonian Magazine. I love it. I think it's one the best written mags I've come across, and the breadth of topics is wonderful.
This month's issue had a cover on it that was nothing more than an advertisement to buy a subscription of Smithsonian Magazine for a Christmas gift. If you bought a subscription, you would receive a gift yourself. Said gift is a bear that resembles the ones created in the early twentieth century that were named after President Teddy Roosevelt--thus the "Teddy" Bear.
The advert announced that you would receive an "authentic replica."
Asparagus is great
You know what you just ate
and for some terrific
Each time you micturate
I heard a great metaphor the other day.
I was at an event on Capitol Hill commemorating Vietnam veterans. One of the speakers said:
Back then, people didn’t like the song. They didn’t like the conductor, and they took it out on the musicians.
As I type it, it actually sounds a little cliché, but there is still something quite poetic about it, and I’m sticking it on here so I won’t forget it later.
oh how i love to write
more than i do to fight
but for a girl
and a chance to score
you know there's a chance that i might
Little Miss Muffet
Dairy she loved to eat
The spider he took a seat
She turned with a whirl
She screamed like a girl
And beat a hasty retreat
Romeo and Juliet
Divided by a name
A story of inordinate shame
with poison and knives
that wasted lives
Their deaths were all in vain
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Huck he made his slip
Down the Mississip
On a raft with Jim
And the Dauphin
They had an amazing trip
I’ve decided to give it a go, and here’s my first attempt:
The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner
A wedding guest was cross
To hear the sailor’s dross
A tale of thirst
A gunshot burst
And the death of an albatross
In order to appreciate what follows, I point you, my loyal readers, to this link.
I received the following message this morning:
If anyone in the office gets a call or question from any Florida Member (or otherwise) about a misspelled Endeavor Banner being hung at KSC, please forward or direct to me to work in tandem with the Public Communications group, which has developed standard material. Thanks -K
K immediately followed this email with this one:
Which it would help if I myself could spell it right in my own e-mails!!! -K
I responded thusly to her latter email:
Yea but you used the reflexive pronoun properly, which trumps typos anytime!
You know, that's what we get for naming an American space ship after an 18th century British Bark. The shuttle was American-made, it should have been American-named :)
I immediately followed this email with this one:
All joking aside, I don't get why it’s a big deal. There have been (and could have been) much worse typos, and everyone makes them. At least this was a British/American English mistake, what if the banner read " Godpeed Endeavour!" or "Good Lust, Endeavour!" I think that would be much worse.
I realize that I haven’t really posted in quite a while (well, to be honest, I’ve posted more recently than between other posts in the past). So, I’ve been hunting around for something to talk about. I recently completed Lynne Truss’s book, Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door. It was exactly what was to be expected. I find her writing engaging, inspiring, and refreshing. She writes (generally) how I strive to write: in a carefree, laid back, yet sometimes pedantic manner, but never losing sight of the fact that pop culture references are OK. Sadly, while I found myself at times laughing out loud and at others nodding my head emphatically in agreement, I found the book to be rather disappointing. Where Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation was educational and fun, Talk to the Hand was more of general ranting with little scholarship behind it (not that her intention was to be scholarly in any way—in fact she says in the beginning that it won’t be). In general, I find that comediennes tend to focus their humor on a) men/relationships, 2) being fat, and III) periods. While she didn’t really talk about any of these, there was still, at times, that feel of the safe fallback routines for women, if that makes any kind of sense.
Or, if I didn’t want to talk about that, I could discuss either or both of the other books I’m reading, Spunk & Bite, a book that I hope will help me to write in the aforementioned style, and Cursing in America: A Psycholinguistic Study of Dirty Language in the Courts, in the Movies, in the Schoolyards and on the Streets, which the title pretty much says it all. The former is really little more than bathroom reading at this point, and the latter is actually more engaging than I expected. The author’s not much of a writer, but the topic is interesting. I’m sure he picked it for no other reason than to be able to say such words as fuck, motherfucker, cocksucker, and cunt at academic conferences…but that’s just my guess. In case you are wondering, I just finished Bill Bryson’s book, Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States, and in there he mentioned Cursing in America as one of the only books on the history of cursing, so I thought I’d pick it up. (Also, in case you’re wondering, I really didn’t like Made in America. I found the title misleading; it was more a brief history of America than anything to do with language. True, he did mention at the end of each section or chapter that words came out of whatever specific moment in time he was discussing, but it really wasn’t about the words as much as it was about the history of the United States.)
Then I thought about the book I’ve been neglecting. I started reading Gabriel García Márquez’ semi-fictional Love in the Time of Cholera, but I have to be honest, it’s not terribly exciting, and I’ve been reading other stuff in between pages. The Little Sabra bought me One Hundred Years of Solitude for my birthday, but I haven’t started it yet. I will, though, I promise.
Speaking of the Little Sabra, I could talk about her, but we haven’t done anything too terribly exciting since we got back from Boston. I think the most interesting thing we've done recently was go to Baltimore to meet my folks for snow balls.
There’s stuff going on in the news, but it who really cares that Paris Hilton got out of jail?
LtL and I are embarking on a new website, so that’s sort of got me jazzed, but as neither of us know anything about Drupal, the site is rather slow going. I don’t think I want to talk about it here, though.
What else? I joined the Smithsonian Institution a few weeks ago and just got my first issue of thier magazine. I started reading that, and there are some very interesting articles about very interesting people.
Finally, I should wrap this up with a general bitch about how there are so many people out there doing amazing and interesting things, and here I am sitting on my ass fantasizing about doing amazing things. How do they do it? Some kid (well, 23—gee, I’m feeling old calling a 23-year old a kid) just flew around the world in a plane he built, someone else is feeding the hungry, and still another citizen of the world is building mud huts in the middle of Africa, and here I sit on the 9th floor of NASA HQ, cooled by the A/C, typing away at my computer with little actual work to do, fantasizing about articles I could write, TV shows I could produce, non-profits I could start, websites I could develop, and still I sit while others do.