Dec 312008

Well, it seems I’m sending 2008 out much the same way I sent 2007 out.  In fact, I think pretty much everything on December 31, 2008 that I thought on December 31, 2007.  Here’s that post.  Heh.

I’m taking in the Peach Bowl in glorious HD, and enjoying a pleasantly subtle Harpoon IPA haze.  I hope this evening finds you doing something similarly relaxing, and I wish you all the best in the new year.

 Posted by at 7:26 pm
Dec 302008

OK, I don’t beg for money much.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever done it before.  I also don’t make many 100% serious posts.  Please forgive me this one.

No, I’m not begging for myself.  But if you don’t have a cause or two, why not?  It’s not too late to grab yourself a 2008 tax deduction, as well as make a difference in someone’s life.

This year, about two-thirds of our charitable giving went to our church’s various ministries.  Our church does the usual things (feed folks, help out with home construction and repair, prison programs, and the like), but we also fund and staff educational and agricultural missions in Bolivia and Honduras.  I’m also proud of the fact that we’re a front-line evacuation facility in the area for large emergencies, like floods and hurricanes.

Do give to your place of worship, or another organization that works on the ground in your neighborhood.  That’s important.  Beyond that, here are some other good causes we supported this year.  I invite you to do the same:

  • St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  It’s hard for me to imagine a rawer deal than childhood cancer.  Click here to make a donation.
  • Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  Usually we donate this portion to the Red Cross, but my Uncle Ed died this year, and his family asked for donations to the CFF in lieu of flowers.  (He did not have the disease, but he lost his daughter Jean to it.)  Click here to make a donation.
  • Family Violence Prevention Fund.  In my view, there is no greater single societal travesty than women and children who are not safe in their own homes.  Click here to make a donation.

Thank you for your consideration, dear readers.

 Posted by at 5:40 pm
Dec 292008

Well, I guess today contained our last scheduled Christmas break activities.  It was fun having lunch with Uncle Bill today.  He’s doing well.  I’ll tell you, though, I wish that whole “urban renewal” concept would hit Birmingham.  In Hoover (where Bill lives) and a few other suburbs, there are earth-movers and cranes everywhere, even now—while Birmingham itself seems to get a little dirtier, emptier, and scarier each year.

After we got back, we picked up my dear mother-in-law and went to the Galaxy of Lights at the Huntsville Botanical Garden, and closed out the evening with a steak at Lone Star.

Tomorrow morning, I have to fix the washer.  I think there’s a 90+% chance it needs the same motor coupling I replaced three years ago.

Tonight, it’s a bit more Gears of War 2 before bed.

 Posted by at 10:34 pm
Dec 282008

I’ve never been particularly tempted to try turning a leisure pursuit into a living, and part of the reason is that I’ve never known a cheerful hobby shop owner.

I think the guys who were cheerful in their pre-hobby shop lives must be the ones who bottom out at a sort of deliberate numbness.  Our local R/C shop guy will get there, and one moment sir, and I’ll probably have to order that, and you’ll get what you’re after eventually.  Don’t look for a smile, though.

On the other hand, I think the guys who already had anything of a tendency toward grouchiness can become openly hostile.  We’ve got a local model railroading guy who gets irritated when he knows more than you do about what you’re looking for.  He’s a mutterer, too.  My supplier this.  My delivery guy that.

Certainly the business side strips a lot of the romance from it, and I figure it’s resentment of the lost pleasure manifesting itself.  It must be a strong force, too.  In the age of the Internet, customer service is a primary distinguisher.

It really doesn’t bother me much, but it definitely makes me not want a hobby shop.

 Posted by at 7:59 pm
Dec 262008
  • We’re having a wonderful holiday.  Hope you are too.  I postponed the usual Thursday miscellanea post for Christmas Day, so here it is.  I spent way too much time thinking about whether to call it “Thursday miscellanea,” “Thursday miscellanea on Friday,” or “Friday miscellanea.”
  • Eartha Kitt died yesterday at 81.  Among many other things, she recorded the canonical “Santa Baby,” which went gold just last week.  How’s that for poetry?  RIP.
  • I noticed the other day that I neglected to set the toaster oven clock back when we reverted to standard time.  I’m trying to leave it alone as a constructive exercise in the things that should not consume my mental bandwidth.  (I almost absently reset it a minute ago before remembering that.)  I despise Daylight Saving Time.  I also despise the widespread practice of including time-of-day clocks on devices that don’t need them.
  • Ruben Navarrette Jr., who is certainly no GOP apologist, has an interesting column today aimed at those who don’t understand Sarah Palin’s appeal.  If that’s you, go read it.  Or, don’t.  Continue to demonize her without understanding why she resonates with people, and then ask yourself whether that’s worked with Rush Limbaugh.
  • Aaron got the airport for his GeoTrax train set for Christmas.  I put it together for him this afternoon.  He played with it for about five minutes in the intended manner.  Then, he figured out that if he didn’t fasten the airplane hatch tightly, it would come loose at the top of the loop and the pilot would hilariously plummet to his death.  Yup, that’s my kid.
  • Down go the gas prices, and immediately up go the truck and SUV sales.  Incredible.
  • Yes, there are the usual necessary lifestyle corrections (diet and exercise; still on the smoking wagon at two and a half months!).  In addition to those, I am resolving for 2009 to never make another “that’s what she said” joke.  I understand its longevity—it’s widely applicable and often funny—but it’s in way too many repertoires anymore.
  • Octopus eats shark.  Damn.
 Posted by at 6:19 pm
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