Happy New Year, friends, cowgirls, and countrymen. In a few hours, Historiann et famille are off on another jaunt to a nearby ski town–as you may remember, I don’t ski, so it’s a reading weekend for me. I’m going to nix the digital communication and go all codex for the remainder of the weekend. I’m deep into some good books (thanks, Homostorian Americanist and Monocle Man!) and want to enjoy some fiction before going back to my usual diet of extremely serious and self-important non-fiction. So, I’ll direct you to some interesting bons mots and bibelots I found on the world-wide non peer-reviewed internets:
- 2009 ended with some sad news in Roxie’s World: Roxie, the world’s longest-lived terminal veternary patient, died on Wednesday, December 30. Fortunately, Mark Twain showed up for the wake to give her a proper sendoff–go read, if your computer keyboard is tearproof. We are glad her final days were so prolonged and that her final exit was mercifully quick. Much love as always to Moose and Goose, Roxie’s human companions and typists. We’ll have a cup of kindness tonight in honor of Roxie’s happy life and good death thanks to their loving care (and that of their good friend, Geoffrey.)
- Tom at Romantoes was at the Modern Language Association’s annual meeting in Philadelphia this week, and he tells a story about his encounter with the real Philadelphia, one that brings me back to my grad school days there–not the Convention Center/Tourist Bureau/Chamber of Commerce-buffed version of Philly. (By the way, Tom–are you sure that was a “mouse?”) When Dr. Mister and I were on a trip to Florence way back in the previous decade, we saw extremely large rodents swimming in the Arno River every time we crossed the bridges (about 6 times a day, at least). We finally asked of a passerby–in rather improvised Italian, what was that animal we saw in the river? The answer we got was “topi.” Ahhh, yes, of course: topi, we said to each other. (Until I remembered that my parents used to talk about “Topo Gigio” on the Ed Sullivan Show, who as I recalled, was a mouse.) A guide for a bike tour set us straight: the rodents were nutria, large South American rats that made their way over to Italy in bilgewater holds on ships. (Topi, “mice,” is much more picturesque.)
- Want more on the MLA? See Dr. Crazy’s blow-by-blow account. Frenemies! Drunk dialing! A regrettable book review! She met up with Sisyphus and drank whiskey! Best line (about that regrettable book review): “I kind of feel like somebody else needs to write the book that the reviewer wishes I would have written. Maybe, in fact, the reviewer should do it, as the reviewer has not published a book.” Oh, snnnnap! Oh, no she di’int! Oh yes she did!
- Blake at Down & Out in Denver writes about how HGTV cultivates “sameness” in both its renovation and house hunting shows. How is it, he asks, that everyone wants a house with “character,” but they all also want the same damn things (open floor plans, granite counters, stainless steel appliances, huge “sanctuary” master bedrooms with double-sinked bathrooms en suite), all of which make a house rather character-free precisely because of their ubiquity? In the comments, there ensues a discussion of the virtues of dining rooms with actual walls. (I had one, once upon a time: it had a swinging door to the kitchen, a fireplace, and giant paneled pocket doors to the living room. Best dining room ever– because we could keep the servants out when we wanted to gossip, and use it as a pretty grand home office when necessary.)
Let’s all hope we’re lurching into a decade of positive changes as we ring-a-ding-ding in a new year and a new decade. The time is swift, and will be gone, friends–let’s try to be excellent to each other with the time we have left.