Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Q. What do pirates need after a long sail? A. Arr and Arr!

The greatest blessings of this vacation can be summed up in two things: Minesweeper and the leg lamp. I played the first on my computer during my flight home last Saturday, and it felt like the first time I'd engaged in unscheduled, mindless, pointless fun in weeks -- fun which has continued with Sudoku and knitting and morning TV. And my father received the 20-inch version of the second as a present from my genius sister and brother-in-law, and it exactly captures the warmth and humor of my wonderful family ("It's a Major Award!"). It's marvelous just to be home and hanging out after a rather demented December.

Oh, and we played croquet with the Iowa Kleins yesterday, so for those of you following at home, possession of the Frog has passed from my sister Melissa to brother-in-law Joe. However, when Joe protested Lissa's attempt to hit him out of bounds, she won the award for Best Line of the Game, not to mention all-time greatest use of a Michael Bolton song lyric in the service of croquet: "I said I loved you, but I lied."

Also, a stupid joke that made me laugh today: Q. What do you call cheese that belongs to someone else? A. Nacho cheese!

This is likely my last post of the year, thanks to my friend Katy's wedding on Saturday, so here's wishing you all a brilliant New Year's, with an equally excellent 2007 to follow.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Healthy Owl Lads

In case you haven't heard . . .


I love big Harry Potter announcements because they turn all of us into crazed English teachers. "Hallows": Verb? Noun? What's the significance of the article "the"? If we diagram this title -- or better yet, anagram it -- what will it reveal? (Anagrams for the last two words of this title include "yellow dahl hats," "hallway shed lot," and "lewdly oath lash.") Much fun.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Chili When It's Chilly

Surfacing briefly from work and a weekend away to ask: Does anyone have a really good chili recipe? Or rather, two -- one vegetarian, one meat?

Thanks for any and all recommendations!

Friday, December 08, 2006

An Open Letter to My Friends and Family

(Just can't stay away now, can I?)

Dear Dear Ones,

At the end of this month, my best friend Katy will marry her charming anarchist fiancee Josh. Josh is an anarchist not in the popular sense -- that he likes to blow things up -- but rather in the sense that he doesn't believe in received authority, including the tyranny of tradition. He says that if he wants to give his loved ones presents, he shouldn't have to wait for Christmas; if he wants to give Katy flowers and chocolates, he can do it any time, not just Valentine's Day; and if he doesn't want to have groomsmen at his wedding, by God, why should he?

In this spirit, I have decided I'm not sending Christmas cards this month. I love Christmas cards and everything involved with them -- choosing the cards and writing them out and hearing from friends and even the stamps; but why must we choose this one month, when we're all madly busy anyway, to try to make up for an entire year's worth of correspondence? It's exhausting, it's more obligatory than pleasurable, and the inevitable assembly-line nature of the enterprise doesn't contribute to true communication.

No, I'm doing Christmas cards anarchist-style this year. If you're one of the forty-odd people on my list, you'll be getting a card sometime in July or February, May or September -- sometime, hopefully, when you least expect it. It will have a nice chatty note and a recipe for Christmas cookies or something, and perhaps it will blow a little December magic into the steam of August or green of April. At the very least, it will be one last Christmas surprise when this hectic holiday season is over.

So yeah. Mikhail Bakunin, Emma Goldman, Joshua Hatton, and now me. Down with the Man! Fight the Power!

And God bless us, every one.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas . . .

. . . but because my vacation isn't until the 23rd and I have masses of work, shopping, and socializing to do before then, I am going to recuse myself from the temptation of blogging and take a postbreak for most of this month. In the meantime, if you're in New York, I highly recommend the new production of "Company" on Broadway; if you like books and romantic comedies, I highly recommend "Stranger than Fiction"; if you're looking for great books to give as Christmas presents, I highly recommend the Fall 2007 Arthur A. Levine Books list; and if you're looking to waste time in a violent and/or holiday spirit, shake this snowglobe and listen to the screams.

Happy December!