Friday, December 31, 2004

New Year's Eve at Disneyland: The Lights! The Trauma!

 borrowed from LaughingPlace.comFive years ago tonight, John and I had one of approximately three out-of-the-house, actually-doing-something New Year's Eve celebrations in our entire 27-year relationship.  It was about to be the fake Millennium as the year ticked over from 1999 to 2000.  Some people were buying generators and duct tape, in case of terrrorists and Y2K glitches.  (Yes, even before 9/11 there were terrorism concerns, particularly for that night in major party centers.)  As for us, we went to Disneyland.

John brought our then-new Mavica along.  He took lots of pictures from the Rocket Rods tower and inside it's a small world holiday.  He took pictures of Christmas decorations in Toontown and on Main Street USA.  Unfortunately, John doesn't know where any of those pictures are now, what file names to search for in hundreds of CDs of material. So all the pictures in this entry are "borrowed" without permission from John Frost's article of January 2000 on  If John (Blocher) comes up with our pictures later, I'll post those instead.

another oneGenerally speaking, we had a grand time that night until about 10:30 PM.  Cast members were handing out "wishing wands" and hats.  The park's PA played a CD of stars singing Disney songs.  (Is that alliterative enough for you?) The one that really amazed me was Tim Curry riffing on The Ballad of Davy Crockett. This became a little less special, though, as they played the same CD over and over.  Numbers and colors and shapes were projected onto the Matterhorn and the castle.

and anotherIt was all very pretty, but something less wonderful was happening, too, at least from our point of view.  The park was filling up with people.  Thousands of people sat on the ground in front of the castle--in the park under the trees, and in the street and on the sidewalk. I had staked out a spot on the side of the castle near the Matterhorn, where it was sort of possible to sit down and not be on the ground. John was getting antsy.  He HATES crowds and lines and waiting. So you can imagine my surprise when he decided to wade into the crowd to try for a straight-on picture of the castle.

I think he was gone for about half an hour.  Twenty minutes of that, he was absolutely trapped in the tightly-crammed humanity.  It would have been traumatic for almost anyone, but it was especially bad for John.  I couldn't see him at all, of course, and after a while I got worried.  I didn't go after him, though.  It wouldn't have helped.

Pretty, huh?He finally made it across the street, made his way back away from the heaviest concentration of people, and circled around to rejoin me near the Matterhorn.  From there we watched the midnight light show and fireworks.  It wasn't a perfect view, but it was better than being in the worst of the crowd again.

Then we went back to it's a small world holiday for a relatively peaceful, quiet boat ride past Mary Blair's animatronic dolls, tricked out for holiday fun. The Sherman Brothers' famous song was interwoven with Christmas songs, so well that I bought a CD of it. People like to complain that hearing It's a Small World After All over and over can drive a person crazy, but after the New Year's Eve crowd, it seemed downright peaceful and reassuring.

19 minutes and counting here.  Happy New Year, everyone!


Also 'borrowed' from LaughingPlace You can see why John wanted a picture!

But this is what he had to deal with:

At midnight, the castle looked like this:

Pictures and video (follow the links to get to the video) by John Frost, James Hensley and Dave Mastanich.

Holiday Trivia - A New Year's Eve Blowout!

Happy New Year!

Question Eighty-Six: When was the first formal New Year's Eve celebration at Times Square?
    a) December 31st, 1904
    b) December 31st, 1905
    c) December 31st, 1899
    d) December 31st,  1907

Question Eighty-Seven: The sixth night of Kwanzaa celebrates the principle of Kuumba, meaning creativity. Part of this principle is the idea of doing doing "as much as we can" to benefit the community.  This night is also celebrated with
    a) campfire songs
    b) a Kwanzaa Feast (Karamu)
    c) the lighting of all the candles of the kinara except one green one
    d) the painting of communal murals

Question Eighty-Eight: What year did Dick Clark first host Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve?
    a) 1971
    b) 1972
    c) 1973
    d) 1974

Question Eighty-Nine: What year did the ball first drop in Times Square?
    a) 1905
    b) 1906
    c) 1907
    d) 1908

Question Ninety: What did the city of Indianapolis introduce on 12/31/38 to combat drunk driving?
    a) walking a straight line
    b) the drunk tank
    c) the "drunkometer"
    d) the designated driver

Question Ninety-One: Who was most associated with New Year's Eve before Dick Clark's annual gig got started?
    a) The Queen of Roses
    b) Captain Kangaroo
    c) Guy Lombardo
    d) Robert Burns

Question Ninety-Two: Who helped to develop the song Auld Lang Syne as we know it?
    a) William Shakespeare
    b) Elizabeth Barrett Browning
    c) Robert Browning
    d) Robert Burns


Holiday Trivia #84-85

 Sorry this is a little late!  I've been having phone line problems, and several other distractions. Please note that I just renumbered the entries from 80 on, bevcause I had two #80s! 

Question Eighty-Four: Aside from being the Sixth Day of Christmas and the Fifth Night of Kwanzaa, December 30th is
    a) the day before Yule in the Shire calendar
    b) Rizal Day in the Philippines
    c) the official birthday of the blues
    d) the feast day of St. Lazare

Question Eighty-Five: The fifth night of Kwanzaa celebrates the principle of Nia, meaning
    a) cooperative economics
    b) having a goal or purpose
    c) collective work and responsibility
    d) self-determination



Thursday, December 30, 2004

Tuffy's Resolutions for 2005 - in Haiku!

Even the dog biscuits don't always appeal.

Weekend Assignment #41: Make a new year's resolution... for your pet. If you have more than one pet, of course, feel free to make resolutions for any or all of them.

Extra Credit: Imagine what your pet would make as a resolution for you.

My resolution
For Tuffy: stop barking at
Our few visitors.

An alternative:
Tuffy, eat your dry dog food.
Don't hold out for meat!

One more for Tuffy:
Convince us that you love us
Rather than just mooch!

Doesn't like it. Or Kibbles & Bits.  Or anything.*********

Tuffy thinks we should
Resolve to pitch the dry food
And feed her chicken.

Beef would be okay.
As long as it's gobs of meat,
She'll be satisfied.

That's her doggy claim,
But I know that she'd get bored,
Even with meat gobs!


"I resolve to be
More affectionate and eat
The food in my dish."

"I resolve to feed
Tuffy the best food there is:
Varied and tasty!"

She'll usually eat the biscuits, but usually not the Beggin' Strips.Even the dog biscuits don't always appeal.

Tags: ,

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Retro Christmas Redux

After the presents have been opened, mess abounds.
This entry is mostly an excuse to post a few pictures around a vague theme.

Okay, so you already know about the aluminum tree and the mid-century modern furniture and the pink and turquoise pinecones.  The retro aspects of Christmas at the Blocher house don't end there, though. A lot of the gifts this year were also based on 1950s-1960s  sensibilities.

The picture on the right was taken immediately after I bagged up the trash (wrapping paper, mostly) once all the gifts were opened.  On the red-orange couch are a bunch of books about that era when babies were booming, colors were bright, plastics were fun, and designs were simple but innovative.  I gave John one of these books, It's a Wonderful Christmas, plus the book version of A Christmas Story, which collects stories by Jean Shepherd on which John's favorite Christmas movie is based.  this photo is actually turned sideways.That film feeds into the whole midcentury nostalgia, too, but really it's supposed to take place in the late 1930s to early 1940s.  But my book purchases were minimal compared to John's. He bought a bunch of books for me on Amazon, following recommendations and "also bought" cross-promotions from one title to the next.  He got me books called Tiki Road Trip, Krazy Kids' Food!, Atomic Home, Going Home to the Fifties, and Southern California in the '50s.  They're all full of neat pictures and stuff, but somebody should remind John sometime that I was born in 1957.  Aside from one highly dubious personal memory, I don't remember a darn thing before 1960 or so.  1960s books, John!  Not 1950s!

That's all right.  They're cool anyway.  They go up on the shelf wih other neat gift books of Christmases past, mostly featuring pictures of toys from our respective childhoods.

After the presents have been opened, mess abounds.Meanwhile, I indulged John's penchant for modern designs with a craft project.  No, I didn't do any craft work myself.  All I did was buy some Styrofoam cones and shiny solid color wrapping paper from Michael's.  The rest is up to him.  See, all through the Christmas shopping season, John's been looking longingly at the cardboard cones representing stylized trees, displayed as in-store holiday decor at Sears and the Discovery Channel Store and probably Target.   Now John gets to make little cone trees of his very own.

And on top of all that, my stepmother, Ruth, DID do some craft work with real vintage materials.  She got Dad to weed through his 40-year collection of ties, and then used her quilting skills to make some of them into cushions.  They now rest proudly on the red-orange couch, too.


Holiday Trivia #81-83

 You guessed it - more Kwanzaa and 12 Days of Christmas.

Question Eighty-One: The fourth night of Kwanzaa celebrates the principle of Ujamaa, meaning
    a) self-determination
    b) cooperative economics
    c) collective work and responsibility
    d) creativity

Question Eighty-Two: In different versions of the secret catechism theory, the five golden rings (or gold rings) for the Fifth Day of Christmas have been wrongly reported to refer to all of the following except
    a) the Pentateuch
    b) five decades of the rosary
    c) five obligatory sacraments of the Church
    d) five ring-necked golden pheasants

  Question Eighty-Three: The Twelve Days of Christmas end with
    a) Christmas Day
    b) the Feast of Stephen
    c) Epiphany
    d) Candlemas


Holiday Trivia #79-80

I'm skipping the Kwanzaa tonight, but I'll try to have a good question about it for tomorrow.

Question Seventy-Nine: On the fourth day of Christmas, what did my true love give to me, according to older versions of the song?
    a) four cooly birds
    b) four colly birds
    c) four collie birds
    d) four collared birds

Question Eighty: What is represented by the four calling birds (or whatever), according to a discredited legend about The 12 Days of Christmas being a secret Catholic catechism?
    a) four girlfriends
    b) four gospels
    c) four blackbirds
    d) four outlawed sacraments


Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Falling Tree and Other Stories

the tree in the car I haven't had a chance to mention it until now, what with all the Christmasing and the JW entry and the trivia, but I did ultimately buy a real tree this year.  A friend and I were at Target picking out her tree, when this really nice, medium-sized, old fashioned, German-style, short-needled one introduced itself to me and demanded to be taken home.  The Target people weren't allowed to hold trees for customers, but one of them did anyway when I promised to be back in half an hour. I gave my friend and her tree the bum's rush home, dashed back, and got my tree put into my car by one of the Target guys just as the sun was going down.

John was a little annoyed about this, because a) I hadn't consulted him, b) the expense, and c) it meant getting a bunch more Christmas boxes down from the shelves in the laundry room.  I pointed out that I hadn't had a real tree in several years, and really really wanted one.  Besides, I was willing to clean up more of the junk in the front room to make room for it.

Can you tell it's leaning?So we did that.  I cleaned up a bunch of Mom's old stuff, and John moved furniture and put the tree up.  I got to hang my favorite ornaments, all the Peanuts characters and Shrinky-Dink Beatles, Santas and scrimshaw reindeer, bunny in a bag, homemade ones from co-workers and relatives, the goldfinch and other birds and the cardboard Kliban cats. They were all in one box, so I skipped over everything else, the ugly Harry Potter ones and ordinary glass balls and so on.  I missed the wooden block and Quasimodo, but the other good ones all got up, along with two strings of bubble lights (one bubbler of which I broke by stepping on it) and a couple of  garlands.  It came out pretty well, not overdone or overloaded.  It even seemed worth staying up until 4 AM Christmas morning to get it done, along with the wrapping of John's presents.

That is, it all seemed worthwhile until the tree fell over on the 26th, causing much friction and consternation.  In the end we had to lean it against the curtains and leave the lights off. I only turned them on just long enough to take this picture.


the chair boxNo gifts of the Magi for us; we both got stuff we wanted and needed: a new office chair for me, a new DVD burner for John to replace the one that died after eight months of use. Under the terms of the Blocher Holiday Meal Agreement, we didn't mess with cooking, but went to Golden Corral.  It wasn't fancy, but it was better than Boston Market.


As I mentioned over on my LiveJournal blog, I recently signed up with a weird website called BlogShares. It's partly a way to link to and promote blogs, but mostly it's a game in which blogs are traded like shares of stock.  I haven't figured it out very well, but I bought shares in my blogs and the St. Michael's ones, and in Jeff's blog.  I'll probably "invest" in a couple of Shelly's blogs later.  The site doesn't seem to handle AOL-J well--Musings STILL hasn't been indexed--but it's still kinda neat, albeit bewildering.  Someone I don't know gave me shares of a library blog in some unknown language (Swedish? Dutch?) right after Christmas, ostensibly as a holiday gift. Today there was a leveraged buy-out by that same person, which left me $23,000 and change richer in BlogShares play money.  I assume that the blog's owner also made a killing from such machinations, but this accounting major has no idea how.  Still, it was rather exciting, and I blew a bunch of the B$ on more shares of my own blogs.

Tuffy didn't like this one bit.****

I talked to my dad at some length tonight.  It turns out that he's perfectly willing to answer all my questions about his WW II experiences, including his time as a POW.  He also mentioned that his generation wouldn't generally put their intimate details online as I do. (Dad, meet Chuck F!)  John, who also wouldn't post about himself if he had a blog, almost bought me a T-shirt for Christmas that says, "I'm blogging this."

Time to get on with the holiday trivia.  Only two questions tonight, I think.


Just posted on Mâvarin and Other Inspirations: "Did anybody order a college graduate?"

Monday, December 27, 2004

Holiday Trivia #76-78

One of these is a little sacrilegious. Please forgive me. - Karen.

Question Seventy-Six: On the first three days of Christmas, what did my true love give to me, according to Bob and Doug McKenzie?
    a) three french fries, two turtlenecks, and a bear in a tree
    b) three french fries, two turtlenecks, and a beer in a tree
    c) three french toast, two pounds of back bacon, and a beer in a tree
    d) three french toast, two turtlenecks, and a beer in a tree

Question Seventy-Seven: Which candle in the Kinara is lit first on the second night of Kwanzaa?
    a) the first red candle, representing self-determination
    b) the black candle, representing unity
    c) the first green candle, representing collective work and responsibility
    d) different candles are chosen in different years

Question Seventy-Eight: Who were the Holy Innocents?
    a) the children slaughtered by King Herod in his failed attempt to kill Jesus
    b) the Little Drummer Boy, Amahl  and Baboushka
    c)  the first people to see baby Jesus
    d) Cubby and Karen

Holiday Trivia Answers, #41-75

 Since my regular players have now caught up through last night's questions, I'll give answers through last night, along with your updated scores.

Question Forty-One:  When was the first Miracle on 34th Street film released?
     b) May, 1947
    It's true!  One of the quintessential Christmas movies originally came out in May.  What were they thinking?  Blame Darryl F. Zanuck.

Question Forty-Two: Who narrates the Frosty the Snowman TV special?
     c) Jimmy Durante
     He sings about it too--sort of!

Question Forty-Three: The Druids believed that a syrup made from the holly plant would
     c) cure a cough
     A couple of the other things on the list (e.g. fertility) were holly-related, but the syrup was cough syrup.

Question Forty-Four: According to the song, how does one get to Grandmother’s house?
    a. over the river and through the woods
    How times have changed!

Question Forty-Five: The eight year-old who asked if there really was a Santa Claus was
    b) Virginia O’Hanlon

Question Forty-Six: What, according to A. A. Milne, did King John want most for Christmas?    
     b) a big red India rubber ball
    As one of you pointed out, he wanted the oranges and chocolate and pocket knife too, but the ball was the top wish.  He got it, too.

Question Forty-Seven: In the first verse of Carol of the Bells, what do the bells all seem to say?    
    d) “Throw cares away”

Question Forty-Eight: The first commercially manufactured Christmas cards in the U.S. were made by
   b. Richard Pease, of New York, in 1851
    Sources vary on this one, but a page about Louis Prang, who did it in 1875 and usually gets the credit, mentions printer Pease's earlier achievement


Question Forty-Nine:  “Christmas Afternoon”, a Robert Benchley parody of Charles Dickens, closes with
     d) “God help us, every one.”

Question Fifty: What Christmas gift did General Sherman give to President Lincoln in 1864?
    b) Savannah
    as characterized by Sherman in his post-battle telegram, delivered December 22, 1864.

Question Fifty-One: What seasonal breakfast cereal first appeared on supermarket shelves in the mid 1980s?
    b) Cap’n Crunch’s Christmas Crunch
    and it still exists (seasonally) in 2004.

Question Fifty-Two: Which of these is not a genuine record?
    b) We Wish You A Deadly Christmas


Question Fifty-Three: How is Santa dressed in A Visit From St. Nicholas?
    b) in fur
    "all in fur from his head to his foot"

Question Fifty-Four: In what body of water can you find Christmas Island?
    d) a and c
    There are two islands with this name, one in the Pacific Ocean and one in the Indian Ocean

Question Fifty-Five:Which of the following was not a real Christmas TV special?
    b) Miss Piggy’s Christmas Cookery

Question Fifty-Six: In the song I’ll Be Home For Christmas, how is the singer planning to get there?
    d) by dreaming

Question Fifty-Seven:  The ancient Roman holiday Saturnalia took place
    a)  originally December 17 & December 19th; eventually December 17th through 23rd
    Exactly who and what was celebrated also changed as the empire rose.

Question Fifty-Eight: What is the relationship between Stonehenge and the winter solstice?
     d) b and c
    The stones do align with astronomic events, AND some groups associate it with ancient spirituality.  However, Stonehenge predates the Druids by many hundreds of years.

Question Fifty-Nine: Which of the following observances, ancient and modern, is not associated with the winter solstice?
    c)  Ramadan
    Ramadan sometimes misses winter solstice by about a month, as it did this year.

Question Sixty: Saturnalia was associated with all of the following except  
    c) Druids
   Saturnalia comes from the Romans.  Associating it with Druidism is a modern confabulation.

Question Sixty-One:  In A Christmas Carol, who comes to Scrooge’s office and asks him to give to the poor?
    d) two portly gentlemen

Question Sixty-Two: “We won’t go until we get some” what?
    b) figgy pudding

Question Sixty-Three: In O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi”, what does Jim sell to raise money at Christmas?
     b) his watch
     I hate that story.  The young couple behave selflessly and get totally screwed over for it.  How is this uplifting?

Question Sixty-Four: What famous American writer almost certainly influenced Clement Moore’s description of St. Nicholas?
    b) Washington Irving
   As described in Diedrich Knickerbocker's History of New York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty (1808)

Question Sixty-Five: Which are the correct names of the final pair of reindeer as named in A Visit From St. Nicholas, Clement Moore’s classic poem?
    b) Donder and Blitzen
    although some sources make it Donder and Blixen

Question Sixty-Six: In the movie A Christmas Story, what does little Ralphie want for Christmas?
    a) a Red Ryder air rifle with…
    a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time.  Incidentally, Daisy says there never was a configuration exactly like that.

Question Sixty-Seven: Who did not record The Little Drummer Boy?
   c) The Hong Kong Cavaliers
    They were too busy fighting Hanoi Xan and Red Lectroids with Buckaroo Banzai!

  Question Sixty-Eight: In France, children leave their shoes by the chimney on Christmas Eve.  In the morning they find them
    c) filled with presents

 Question Sixty-Nine:  On the first day of Christmas, what did my true love give to me?
    c) a partridge in a pear tree
    I didn't mean John, y'know!

Question Seventy: How did George Washington spend Christmas in 1776?
    a) crossing the Delaware by night for a sneak attack on the Hessians

Question Seventy-One: Which of the following is the most likely estimate of the actual birth date of Jesus?
    a) Sometime in the spring, circa 6 - 4 BC
    Okay, or maybe the fall, but probably not December.  There are problems with any date you can name, because the first census we know about took place after that particular King Herod died in 4 BC.  And by the way, there's no such year as 0. But what difference does it make, really, exactly when it happened?

Question Seventy-Two: Roasted boar's head was once a traditional part of Christmas dinner in England. One story about this practice tells of an Oxford student who killed a wild boar with
   c)  a book of Aristotle
    No, really!  The student shoved the book down the boar's throat, choking him!  Is that a bizarre story, or what?!

Question Seventy-Three:  Every year, December 26th is all of the following except
   c) The Feast of St. Wenceslaus
   King Wenceslas is honored as St. Wenceslas our Wenceslaus, but not on that date.

Question Seventy-Four: Which candle in the Kinara is first lit on the first night of Kwanzaa?
     b) the black candle, representing unity

Question Seventy-Five: Who was the real Good King Wenceslas?
     a) a ruler of Bohemia, legendary for his generosity to the poor

Leaders, Questions 1-75:
Becky Y: 65 of 75, for 86.67%
Sarah K:   42 (!) of  75, for 56%
Jeff: 22 of 75, for  29.33%


Holiday Trivia #73-75

Now that the "first day of Christmas" is over, the number of questions per day diminishes. Less work for me, less boredom for you!

Question Seventy-Three:  Every year, December 26th is all of the following except
    a) The first day of Kwanzaa
    b) The Feast of Stephen
    c) The Feast of St. Wenceslaus
    d)  Boxing Day

Question Seventy-Four: Which candle in the Kinara is first lit on the first night of Kwanzaa?
    a) the first red candle, representing self-determination
    b) the black candle, representing unity
    c) the first green candle, representing collective work and responsibility
    d) different candles are chosen in different years

Question Seventy-Five: Who was the real Good King Wenceslas?
    a) a ruler of Bohemia, legendary for his generosity to the poor
    b) one of the three Magi to visit the baby Jesus
    c) the first ruler to declare the Feast of St. Stephen a legal holiday
    d) the first Christian king of the Saxons

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Fiction Entry: Meet Joshua Wander, Part Eight

Art by Sherlock, adapted from an early draft of Rani's portrait.
Joshua Wander's story is now too long to summarize here.  Please see last week's entry for the story so far. Links to earlier installments are at the bottom of this week's entry.

Last week: Joshua (a.k.a. Chris Stein) introduces Harry (a.k.a. the wizard Onclemac) to his friend Jerry, another Syracuse University student, and explains his current predicament.  Jerry informs him that Professor Grayson has accused Chris of killing Rachel before disappearing into thin air.  Unable to touch anything in the world of his birth, Josh asks Harry and Jerry to collect some of this clothes from his dorm room.  First, however, Josh must distract the police who have been searching his room--and who currently are pointing guns at Joshua/Chris's head.

Part Eight: Ghosts

“Listen,” I said.  “You can shoot me if you want to, but it won’t do anyone any good.  “You can’t hurt me.  You’ll only damage the wall behind me, and cost the University some money.”

“We have no intention of shooting you if you cooperate,” the female cop said.  “Are you Christopher Joel Stein?”

“I was,” I said.  It wasn’t a terribly honest or helpful thing to say, but it was partly true. The name belonged to another life, the one in which I studied physics and didn’t walk through walls or start fires with my fingertips.  Syracuse didn’t seem real to me any more. It was a place to be observed and manipulated, like the mental playground of a lucid dream.  Part of the game I meant to play involved keeping the cops off balance, and getting them out of the room so that Harry and Jerry could get into it.

The male cop stared at me, probably noticing, as Jerry had earlier, that I was more translucent than solid. “What do you mean, you were?” he asked. “You’re not a ghost or something, are you?”  The female cop looked startled by her partner’s question.  Then she, too, stared at me.

“Not exactly,” I told them, “but close enough. I’ll tell you what you want to know, but there are things I want in return.”

“You’re in no position to make demands,” the female cop said.  “I think you need to come with us downtown.”

I shook my head.  “Can’t,” I said. “Not unless we go on foot.  The physics of my situation won’t allow me to ride in a police car.”  It occurred to me that I hadn't made adequate arrangements to meet my friends later, in case my interaction with the police proved to be more than a brief diversion.  Oh, well.

“Why can't you ride in a police car?” the male cop asked.

“It can’t carry what it can’t touch,” I explained.  “Besides, I’d rather go to the lab.  Are you coming?”  With that, I walked right past the dumbfounded police officers and out the door, into the 11th floor corridor of  Brewster Hall.  Not knowing what else to do, they followed me. As I'd hoped, they didn't take the time to lock the door behind them.

Oh, yeah, that was fun. It didn’t occur to me until later that I’d come down with a slight case of insanity.

Jerry and Harry were just coming up the hall.  “You know what I’m going to miss about this place?” I said loudly, ostensibly to the cops. “Rock and roll. I can live without the Stones if I have too, and even the early Beatles and ex-Beatles. But I’d hate to think that I’ll never hear Revolver or Abbey Road again.”

Harry shook his head and rolled his eyes at me as I walked past him.

“This is absurd,” the female cop said ruefully, as she and her partner hurried after me.  “Nothing about this guy makes sense!”

“Well, it makes a kind of sense, but only in context,” I told her, “and you don’t know the context yet.”

“There is no context that could explain all this,” the male cop said.

“Maybe not to you,” I said, “but it makes sense to me.”  We had reached the end of the hall.  Fire doors stood between me and the stairs.  “Listen, I can’t use elevators, either. But you can follow me down the stairs if you like.  Or you can take the elevator, and I’ll meet you in the first floor student lounge.  Your choice.”  Not waiting for an answer, I walked through the metal door, which clanged open behind me. Good. I set myself at a downward angle and started walking again. My trajectory mostly had me walking on empty air over each step.

“How are you doing that?” the female cop asked.  I paused and looked back. She was perhaps eight steps behind me.  The male cop was two steps ahead of her.

“I’m not sure, but it works.  Don’t worry about it.  Look, I don’t know how long I’ll be here before I disappear again, and I have things to do in the meantime.  You  want to know what happened to Rachel, and an explanation about what happened to me that doesn’t sound completely insane.  Am I right?”

“For starters, yes,” the female cop said.

“And I want to tell you these things. I’d like to hold a press conference, or at least issue a statement.  Do you think you can arrange that?”

“We want a police statement,” the male cop said.  “We are not your publicists.”

“Fine.  I’ll do it without you.  Where’s Grayson?” I said.

“What do you want with Grayson?” the male cop asked suspiciously.

“Are you planning to kill him, the way you killed his wife?” the female cop asked.

An angry voice replied.  “What is wrong with you people?  Haven’t you ever heard of epilepsy?  Or waiting for autopsy results?”

I heard those three questions, the same as those cops evidently did.  I thought they were great questions, but I didn’t say them. Nevertheless, the words come out of my mouth.

The voice that said them was Rachel’s.

Blogspot page (the easiest way to read the story; scroll down for part one):

The Real Joshua Wander
Joshua Wander: Two Fragments
Joshua Wander Lives (the history of the character)
Meet Joshua Wander, Part One
Meet Joshua Wander, Part Two
Meet Joshua Wander, Part Three
Meet Joshua Wander, Part Four
Meet Joshua Wander, Part Five
Meet Joshua Wander, Part Six
Meet Joshua Wander, Part Seven

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Holiday Trivia #69-72

Here's the Christmas Day trivia. I'm not ready to write about my Christmas, yet. (It was fine.)  However, I should be able to get this week's JW posting done shortly.

Question Sixty-Nine:  On the first day of Christmas, what did my true love give to me?
    a)  a Partry Ginna Pear Tree
    b) The Partridge Family’s Greatest Hits
    c) a partridge in a pear tree
    d) an owl in an old oak tree

Question Seventy: How did George Washington spend Christmas in 1776?
    a) crossing the Delaware by night for a sneak attack on the Hessians
    b) distributing donated supplies from farmers at Valley Forge
    c) washing his socks
    d) sending a dispatch to Philadelphia and writing a letter to his wife Martha

Question Seventy-One: Which of the following is the most likely estimate of the actual birth date of Jesus?
    a) Sometime in the spring, circa 6 - 4 BC
    b) December 25th, 0 AD
    c) December 25th, 1 AD
    d) March 25th, 4 AD

Question Seventy-Two: Roasted boar's head was once a traditional part of Christmas dinner in England. One story about this practice tells of an Oxford student who killed a wild boar with
    a)  Excalibur
    b)  a lecture in Latin
    c)  a book of Aristotle
    d)  a Yule log

I hope you all had a great Christmas, and that your tree didn't fall over.


Holiday Trivia #65-68

Happy Christmas to All, and to All a Good Night!

Question Sixty-Five: Which are the correct names of the final pair of reindeer as named in A Visit From St. Nicholas, Clement Moore’s classic poem?
    a) Donner and Blitzen
    b) Donder and Blitzen
    c) Donny and Marie
    d) Cubby and Karen

Question Sixty-Six: In the movie A Christmas Story, what does little Ralphie want for Christmas?
    a) a Red Ryder air rifle with…
    b) a subscription to Playboy
    c) a football
    d) a little brother

Question Sixty-Seven: Who did not record The Little Drummer Boy?
    a) The Harry Simeone Chorale
    b) The Vienna Boys’ Choir
    c) The Hong Kong Cavaliers
    d) Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops

Question Sixty-Eight: In France, children leave their shoes by the chimney on Christmas Eve.  In the morning they find them
    a) shined
    b) transformed into boots
    c) filled with presents
    d) hidden about the room



Friday, December 24, 2004

My Low-Tech, Postage-Free Holiday Card to You All

I don't feel like picking out an e-card this time, I lost the cards I bought at Barnes & Noble, and I don't know Java.  So please accept this as my Christmas card to you all.  It's not fancy.  There's no animation or beautiful art or photos.  But it's sincere, and it frees me to get on with all the other stuff I need to get on with.  Merry Christmas, everyone!

The wreath on our door is about 40 years old.  The bells are newer than that.If you celebrate Solstice, I'm just a bit late;
If you had a good Hanukkah, I think that's great!
Ramadan's over, Rohatsu too,
But still I wish Happy Holidays to you!

Christmas Eve's here, and the Internet's quiet.
If a present's forgotten, it's too late to buy it.
Web and journal addictions don't need to be fed
As we turn our attention to families instead.

It's just John and me here, with a tree yet to trim,
And I still have to wrap all the presents for him.
My brother's in Cleveland, my dad with the steps;
They've got lots of snow; we have no such effects.

Two hours from now, I'll be in the sacristy,
Preparing to help with our High Mass majesty.
Our "Midnight Mass" starts with 10 PM music.
I've a small cross to bear, and I'd never refuse it.

So whether a boisterous family surrounds you,
Or your Christmas is quiet, I'm glad these words found you.
I send you my blessings. May Heaven above
Bless you this Christmas with peace, joy and love.

KFB, 12/24/04

Celebrations of the Season: info from