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Fifty-first state:
Thursday, June 3, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

Another one of those long memories has come upon me.

Sometime in my childhood or youth, there was this word that came from somewhere and made itself part of me. Not a word that meant anything, but a word that sounded in my head, loudly, a claxon, a piece of the Song of Identity.

I don't remember if it came from some dice-game, or a computer program putting together random morphemes or phonemes, or just something that popped into my head. But there it was, and there after all these years it for some reason still is.

The word was, and is:


Although I'm not entirely sure of the spelling.

Wednesday, June 2, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

Reaching somewhat back into the Wayback Machine of reader input, we find four charming origin stories filed under "In the beginning":

God created heaven and earth; and he saw that it was quite good. Then he went on to other projects, and it sat in a jar on a shelf in someone's garage for years, until God became a big name. Then his earlier works were sought out, and our universe was sold for big bucks and is now in a vast tract of metaspace in the lobby of some insanely profitable and highly unpleasant corporation somewhere.

public static void main(String[] args) { bang(); }

There was darkness. And it was flavorful.


From the sublime to the succinct.

More recently, a reader takes us to task:

Here's a protest: Your not updating these pages in a timely manner has a negative impact on my quality of life.

Yeah, well, you know how it is, so many other demands on one's time, so many anacondas, dingbats, statues of Annette Funicello, ISO layers, audio interviews with porn clowns, Temples of the Stolen Fayth, martians, self-help books, stacks of freshly-pressed and still-steaming artichokes, corn, flamingo dolls, states of the union, memorization traumas, scale, rails, tails, pails, trials, files, miles, ceramic tiles, circular files, your Auntie Griselda, and so on.

On the traditional walk after lunch dwl relates a story of visiting Disney World (or Land or something) and playing with the Pal Mickey, a rentable and buyable talking stuffed toy all your own, that delivers silly jokes, stories about Park attractions, advice about which ride lines might be really short right now, and giggly enthusiasm about the fireworks (all, one presumes, in that eternally copyrighted Mickey Mouse Voice).

Fascinating technology (why do I not find it weblogged or discussed to death on Disney fansites?). In the future these will be issued to all citizens at birth.

Some more nice spam subject lines from that generator we noticed the other day:

Subject: Job Raise With Your New Degree tripod bodice rippers living with 4
Subject: Get Your Diploma Today tornado debutantes of 7703
Subject: Pkubitz mating ritual 172 clocks

I could really go for "Tornado Debutantes of 7703" as a far-future SF novel, say.

These were recently replaced by a really enormous deluge of ones like this:

Subject: y stupidly working for low salary? yet bicycle

They were too many to pay any individual attention to, but a few sampled at random revealed anti-Bayesian text with a bit of poetic potential. Here (line-breaks mine) is one sample:

bird by promised long hot
carrying building jealous,
chance tie twenty promise white
turning turning leader
mistress taste,
clean brilliant joy!

Mistress! Taste, listen! Health! Clean brilliant joy!

A reader points us to a picture which is not (not) of us. (We do have that vest and the T-shirt, maybe, but not that face or motorcycle, and our daughter doesn't have that dress, and we don't recall ever being in that room.)

Speaking of Vermont, Medley points us to the 251 Club, which sounds like lots of fun, if one had lots of time.

Several of the towns, one of the gores and the grant are rather hard to visit because they have no roads and are completely unpopulated.


Nice that Medley is still posting prolifically, given that various other weblogs in our usual reading circle have been Very Quiet lately. Not to mention us ourself.

Monday, May 31, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

Here comes Sally,
  struttin' down the alley
Here comes Sally,
  all night long.

Here comes another one
  just like the other one
Here comes another one
  all night long.

So once again the little daughter and I were up north at Spring Work Weekend, having fun and doing chores and marvelling at Vermont; the little boy came also this year.

No epiphantic nude-swimming experiences this time. Rather the opposite, in fact: I went in more or less fully clothed, because the little boy wanted to go in, and it was the public swimming-place (clothing required at least this weekend), in Woodward Reservoir (in sight of Route 100), and I had nothing more appropriate than a T-shirt and underdrawers and rolled-up cargo pants.

It was cold. Cold! But not as cold as Lake Nineveh last year, I don't think. We were in sometimes and out sometimes, but mostly in, for about an hour; I don't think I could have done that in Nineveh. The hot shower afterward felt really good.

The air was pretty cold, too; down in the thirties at night. The kids slept up in one of the lodges the second and third nights; not heated except by the cooling embers in the fireplace, but at least enclosed. We adults mostly stuck it out in the cabins (unheated and not completely walled and utterly doorless). Very, very good sleeping weather, really.

And the days were unspeakable lovely: essentially bugless because of the cold nights, sun-drenched and green and crisp, clear as a bell, as glass, as perfection.

(I talked to three of the admirable young people there who've wintered in the place. You can get used to twenty-nine below if you can stay inside, one of them said, but when you have to go out and work in it, then you know it's cold. But they all agreed it was well worth it.)

So just a few snapshots this time: picking rocks out of a newly-dug garden field on a gorgeous hillside, spreading our arms wide and tromping about to herd the chickens into their chicken-house for the night, gathering eggs from under some of those same chickens (chicken-pecks don't really hurt, but work gloves make it much easier), playing Frisbee Golf along the roads with inquisitive lambs and piglets looking on, dancing "Here We Go Zodiac" in two long lines in the lodge Saturday night, sitting silent Meeting for an hour on Sunday morning, singing "Charlie and the M.T.A." and "We Belong Together" before leaving time on Monday morning, eating at the tiny pizza place in Berlin on the way up and at Jensen's on the way down, and a line of little (well, not so little) girls sitting with their guitars on the porch and earnestly learning a new chord from a patient woman.

Very good stuff.


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