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Archive: December 2000

Tuesday, 26 December 2000

Ever tried to count your blessings and then realized you didn’t have the energy to bother?  Just wondering.

Christmas at the folks’ house was nice as always, and this year we had the super-special added bonus of clear skies over north central Ohio.  That meant that we could enjoy the sunlight glinting off of (and refracting through) the hoarfrost and the snow, both of which dazzled throughout the morning.  It also meant that we could observe the partial solar eclipse around noontime, using a pinhole camera I constructed out of some gift boxes that happened to be lying around.  Pretty nifty.

Wednesday, 20 December 2000

Thanks to the addition of another negative review on Amazon.com, my book’s approval rating effectively dropped to 90%.  If I were a politician, I’d no doubt be wetting myself, but as it is I’m feeling downcast.  This morning’s radio show, which was plagued by technical problems and good-old-fashioned boneheaded mistakes on my part, didn’t much help.  In the grand tradition of my countrymen, I’m going to assign blame for my glum mood on external factors:  the approaching holiday, which almost never fails to depress me; and last week’s long-awaited resolution to the electoral situation.  It’s not for me to judge to the outcome, but my reaction to the players and tactics used in the whole long process were almost uniformly negative (I grumbled about this at the beginning, and things only went downhill from there).  Lord knows, I wanted to find someone to respect in the whole thing.  Only at the end did I get it, and that was while watching Gore’s concession speech.  So in other words, the only thing which gave me any hope was the loser’s exit speech.  Oh, that’s just great.

Monday, 11 December 2000

Not much has been going on in life recently.  I mean, sure, we got a Christmas tree and decorated it, and we put up lights all over our front porch and got light-sensitive electric candles to put in our windows, and we’ve been having friends over for impromptu (and not-so-impromptu) gatherings in front of our fireplace.  But beyond that, nothing.  Except for the hilariously flaming play we went to see over the weekend, which was not only thoroughly enjoyable, but filled with killer outfits to boot.  So except for that, really, nothing.  Wait, did I mention the emergency plane landing on our street?  Just kidding.

Actually, I wanted to draw your attention to two things.  The first is a Web site which will allow you to get more closely in touch with the realm just beyond this world: Heavens-Above.  It’s not a cult, it’s a way cool predictor program.  Trust me, give it a whirl, because it’s too cool for words.  The second thing is the conclusion to a review of a video game, if you can believe that.  I’d played the demo, and I fully identify with the reviewer’s emotional reactions to the game.  While clicking a mouse and staring at little colored dots on a monitor, I was suddenly given insight—sharp, deep, and painful—into what fighting a war demands of the men who must do so, and of what it means to be a soldier.  Just playing this game brought that home to me in a way nothing ever could—and yes, I’ve seen Saving Private Ryan.

Monday, 4 December 2000

Well, I’ve learned something today.  What I learned was this:  when your ham-and-provolone-on-white-bread sandwich suddenly begins to taste like a banana, it’s time to throw it out.  Now I share this lesson with you.  No, don’t thank me—that’s just the kind of guy I am.  I basically can’t help myself.  (Neither can anyone else, I suspect.)

I’m starting to get back into the swing of article-writing, with two new articles in front of editors as I type this, and another two or three pieces brewing on my hard drive at home.  Whether or not those simmering pools of language ever see the light of day is another question, of course; sometimes a piece which starts out full of tasty promise ends up being the fallen soufflé of writing, if you follow me.  All the ingedients seem correct, and the cooking process is roughly the same as all the other dishes I make, but nevertheless I occasionally end up with something that, if writing results may be equated with food taste, closely approximates a cigarette-and-coffee omelette.  Or worse.

At any rate, I keep getting Election 2000 stuff in my mailbox, but recently it’s swung from being solidly anti-Democrat to become sort of a turgid bipartisan mix of shrill laughter masking pessimism, vitriol, and bleak resignation.  It’s kind of like hearing the body politic whistling past the graveyard, and the tune is just as fractured as you might expect.  So if you’ve come across any particularly funny election-related humor in e-mail, do me a favor—delete it, will you?  You’ll feel much better.

December 2000
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