Sunday, January 01, 2012

Lobster Killers

I had a fun New Year's Eve with our good friends the Andas cooking Julia Child's Lobster Thermidor recipe. Aimee made the Reine De Saba (Chocolate and Almond Cake). It was awesome, even if it did turn out a bit flat.

"Lobsta Killers"! Yes I did feel bad putting the live lobsters in the boiling wine/water. Cooking with Julia Child is always an adventure. The lobster thermidor was delicious.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Julie Powell's recipe for success - LA Daily News

Julie Powell's recipe for success - LA Daily News

Grandpa Tell Me Bout The Good Old Days

Did lovers really fall in love to stay
And stand beside each other come what may?
Was a promise really something people kept
Not just something they would say?
Did families really bow their heads to pray?
Did daddies really never go away?
Oh, Grandpa, tell me 'bout the good old days

Saturday, October 08, 2011

The Way of Love

1 Corinthians 13 (From The Message Bible)

1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. 3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
8-10Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

11When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

12We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sonnet cxvi

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

O no! it is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

--- Shakespeare

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Memories from 1834

From Leigh Hunt's London Journal 1834

(From the Literary Pocket Book.) IT is now complete winter. The vapourish and cloudy atmosphere wraps us about with dimness and chilliness; the reptiles, and other creatures that sleep or hide during the cold weather, have all retired to their winter quarters; the farmer does little or nothing, out of doors; the fields are too damp and miry to pass, except in sudden frosts, which begin to occur at the end of the month; and the trees look like skeletons of what they were—

"are ruined choirs in which the sweet birds sing."

The evergreen trees, with their beautiful cones, such as firs and pines, are now particularly observed and valued. In the warmer countries, where shade is more particularly desirable, their worth and beauty: are more regularly appreciated. Virgil talks of the pine as being handsomest in gardens, and it is a great favourite with Theocritus, especially for the fine sound of the air under its kind of vaulted roof.

But December has one exercise in it which turns it into the merriest month of the year—Christmas. This is the holiday, which, for obvious reasons, may be said to have survived all others; but still it is not kept with anything like the vigour, perseverance, and elegance of our ancestors. They not only ran Christmas-day, New-year's-day, and Twelfth-night all into one, but kept the wassail-bowl floating the whole time, and earned their right to enjoy it by alt sorts of active pastimes.

The wassail-bowl, (as some of our readers may know by experience, for it has been a little revived of late) is a composition of spiced wine or ale, with roasted apples put into it, and sometimes eggs. They also adorned their houses with green boughs, which, it appears from Herrick, was a practice with many throughout the year,—box succeeding at Candlemas to the holly, bay, rosemary, and misletoe of Christmas,—yew at Easter to box,—birch "and flowers at Whitsuntide to yew,—and then bents "and oaken boughs.

The whole nation were in as happy a ferment at Christmas, with the warmth of exercise and their firesides, as they were in May with the new sunshine. The peasants nestled and sported on the town-green, and told tales of an evening; the gentry feasted them, or bad music and other elegant pastimes; the court had the poetical and princely entertainment of masques, and all sung, danced, revelled, and enjoyed themselves, and so welcomed the new year like happy and grateful subjects of nature.

This is the way to turn winter to summer, and make the world what Heaven has enabled it to be; but, as people in general manage 'it, they might as well turn summer itself into winter.

Nor is it only on holidays that nature tells us to enjoy ourselves. If we were wise we should earn a reasonable portion of pleasure and enjoyment day by day, instead of resolving to do it some day or other, and seldom doing it at all.

A warm carpet and curtains, a sparkling fire, a book, a little music, a happy sympathy of talk, or a kind discussion, may then call to mind with unenvying placidity the very rarest luxuries of the summer time; and instead of being eternally and foolishly told that pleasures produce pains, by those who really make them so, with their profligacy or bigotry, we shall learn the finer and manlier knowledge how to turn pain to the production of pleasure.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Little Sunlight

The Word
by Tony Hoagland

Down near the bottom
of the crossed-out list
of things you have to do today,

between “green thread”
and “broccoli” you find
that you have penciled “Sunlight”!

Resting on the page, the word
is as beautiful, it touches you
as if you had a friend

and sunlight were a present
he had sent you from some place distant
as this morning – to cheer you up,

and to remind you that
among your duties, pleasure
is a thing,

that also needs accomplishing.
Do you remember?
that time and light are kinds

of love, and love
is no less practical
than a coffee grinder

or a safe spare tire?
Tomorrow you may be utterly
without a clue

but today you get a telegram,
from the heart in exile
proclaiming that the kingdom

still exists,
the king alive
still speaking to his children

to any one among them
who can find the time,
to sit out in the sun and listen.

Monday, September 06, 2010

H’aitches, H’ays and Red Herrings

The Five Red Herrings by Dorothy Sayers is my least favorite of her Peter Wimsey detective stories. The story turns on detailed train schedules which, to my mind, get a little tedious. Since it is set in Scotland there is a fair amount of Scottish dialect to wade through.

But I found this passage which relates the Scottish police Inspector Macpherson's interview of the English butler of one of the six suspects in the murder of an artist to be hilarious. It was worth reading the book for this one exchange. The butler's name is Alcock:

The Inspector opened his notebook.

"Your name is Halcock, is't no?" he began.

The butler corrected him

"H'alcock," he said, reprovingly.

"H, a, double-l?" suggested the Inspector.

"There is no h'aitch in the name, young man. H'ay is the first letter, and there is h'only one h'ell."

"I beg your pardon," said the Inspector.

"Granted," said Mr. Alcock.

"Weel, noo, Mr. Alcock, juist a pure formality, ye understand, whit time did Mr. Gowan leave Kirkcudbright on Monday nicht?"

"It would be shortly after h'eight."

"Whae drove him?"

"Hammond, the chauffeur."

"Ammond?" said the Inspector.

"Hammond," said the butler, with dignity. "H'albert Hammond is his name – with a h'aitch."

"I beg your pardon," said the Inspector.

Friday, August 27, 2010

National Dog Day: “A Famous Dog”

In honor of National Dog day which took place on August 26, I thought I'd post about Thomas Hardy's dog, Wessex. Wessex was a very spoiled but much- loved fox terrier who kept Hardy company in his old age.

Wessex was notorious for his bad behavior towards visitors to the Hardy home, as one dinner guest recorded in a letter:

Wessex was especially uninhibited at dinner time, most of which he spent not under, but on, the table, walking about unchecked, and contesting every single forkful of food on its way from my plate to my mouth.

Thomas Hardy's notebook recorded the dog's passing in 1926 thusly:

"Wx buried" and "Wx sleeps outside the house for the first time for 13 years".

Wessex's Headstone reads:

August 1913 – 27 Dec 1926

Faithful. Unflinching

Hardy's wife Florence also recorded her affection for Wessex in a letter to a friend:

Of course he was merely a dog, and not a good dog always, but thousands (actually thousands) of afternoons and evenings I would have been alone but for him, and had always him to speak to. But I mustn't write about him and I hope no one will ask me about him or mention his name.

Hardy wrote this poem about Wessex in 1924:

A Popular Personage at Home

"I LIVE here : 'Wessex' is my name:

I am a dog known rather well:

I guard the house but how that came

To be my whim I cannot tell.

"With a leap and a heart elate I go

At the end of an hour's expectancy

To take a walk of a mile or so

With the folk I let live here with me.

" Along the path, amid the grass

I sniff, and find out rarest smells

For rolling over as I pass

The open fields toward the dells.

" No doubt I shall always cross this sill,

And turn the corner, and stand steady,

Gazing back for my Mistress till

She reaches where I have run already,

" And that this meadow with its brook,

And bulrush, even as it appears

As I plunge by with hasty look,

Will stay the same a thousand years."

Thus "Wessex." But a dubious ray

At times informs his steadfast eye,

Just for a trice, as though to say,

" Yet, will this pass, and pass shall I?"

You can read more about Thomas Hardy and his famous dog Wessex at:

Forever Foxed
The London Dog Forum

Monday, August 23, 2010

It Pleases! (Placet)

This summer I am steadily making my way through all of the Lord Peter Wimsey detective novels written by Dorothy Sayers. (Thanks to the great L.A. county library which seems to have none of them available at the local branch but easily, freely and quickly orders them from other branch libraries in the system. But that's a subject for another blog post.)

My favorite of the Dorothy Sayer's novels so far is Gaudy Night which takes place on the campus of Oxford University. It is here that Lord Peter's proposes to his true love Harriet Vane for the last time. I wrote about this romantic proposal in a previous post.

Lord Peter says:

". . . But I will ask you now, and if you say No, I promise you that this time I will accept your answer. Harriet; you know that I love you: will you marry me?"

. . .

They passed beneath the arch of the bridge and out into the pale light once more.


She stood still; and he stopped perforce and turned towards her. She laid both hands upon the fronts of his gown, looking into his face while she searched for the word that should carry her over the last difficult breach.

It was he who found it for her. With a gesture of submission he bared his head and stood gravely, the square cap dangling in his hand.

"Placetne, magistra"



Note: (Placetne – Does it please?/Is it agreed?)

(Placet – It pleases./ It is agreed)


I am also reading a collection of Dorothy Sayer's letters, The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers 1899 to 1936 edited by Barbara Reynolds.

The letters are fun and interesting to read alongside of the novels because the source of so many incidents and details in the novels are recognizable in Sayer's real life experiences related in the letters. She also discusses her thought processes with her friends and family members as she works out the plots of her books.

I was especially thrilled to come across her 1913 letter to Catherine Godfrey when she was a student at Oxford. She recounts to her friend Catherine her experience at a graduation ceremony at the University. The events of the ceremony illuminate the details and language of the proposal.

From Dorothy Sayer's Letter to Catherine Godfrey of 29 July 1913

About the Encaenia (The name of the degree ceremony at Oxford, from the Latin, meaning consecration, dedication.)

…Then Dr. Heberden, with his proctors one on each side of him, started off in Latin, to open Convocation and propose the conferring of degrees. When he had finished, the Public Orator – namely Godley, the man who writes such screaming poetry you know, -- started off to 'present' the Honorary doctors, which meant a terrific long Latin eulogy on each. I could follow a good deal of it, but not all. Godley is a rather dried-up looking individual with grey hair – not suggestive of verses, but people never do look suitable to their talents. When he'd finished the Vigger-Chagger addressed all the assembled doctors in a sing-song little speech, beginning something about 'Does it please you doctors of the University that so-and-so should be admitted to such and such a degree – "Placet ne?" and then he took off his cap; then said 'Placet' without leaving time for anyone to make an objection if he wanted to, and put it on again. And when he took his cap off the proctors took theirs off too, and when he put on his, they put on theirs, only generally they weren't paying attention and were a little late both times.


More details about the Latin phrases of the proposal are found in Dorothy Sayers Her Life and Soul by Barbara Reynolds Pg. 260:

The words "placetne?' and "placet" ("does it please?" – "it pleases") are uttered at a degree ceremony when a candidate is presented for graduation. The young Dorothy had described just such a ceremony in her letter to Catherine Godfrey many years ago—the occasion when she first set eyes on Maurice Toy Ridley, who was to become, though she had forgotten, a model for Lord Peter. When the degrees are conferred, the Proctors walk round so that anyone objecting may "pluck" the proctorial robes and protest. This did not occur in the case of Harriet and Peter:

Reynolds then quotes the paragraph from Gaudy Night which follows the proposal.

The Proctor, stumping grimly past with averted eyes, reflected that Oxford was losing all sense of dignity. But what could he do? If Senior Members of the University chose to stand –in their gowns, too! – closely and passionately embracing in New College Lane right under the Warden's windows, he was powerless to prevent it. He primly settled his white bands and went upon his walk unheeded; and no hand plucked his velvet sleeve.



Saturday, August 07, 2010


The city of Santa Clarita is considering taking over the operation of the three library branches located in the City of Santa Clarita from the county of Los Angeles.

Why Privatizing the SCV libraries is a bad idea:

  1. The libraries in Santa Clarita are one of the best things about living in the area. They are well run, kid-friendly, adult friendly and staffed with knowledgeable and helpful people. Why mess with a successful operation? There aren't that many of them (successful operations) around.


  2. All of those nice, friendly, helpful people who currently staff the library will lose their jobs and benefits. During this time of high unemployment and economic troubles why would we want to do that to the locally based employees who are currently doing such a fine job.


  3. Those people, like me, who live outside of the city of Santa Clarita limits in unincorporated parts of the county of Los Angeles such as Stevenson Ranch and Castaic will likely lose their library privileges. (This even though we pay the same taxes as the city residents for library support.) The FAQs on the Santa Clarita website disingenuously state that those who live outside of the city proper will still be able to "go to" the library. It does not say that we will still be able to check out books.


  4. The county library system currently consists of 89 branch libraries. The entire collection of each of these libraries is fully and easily accessible to every county library user. This is to me the real beauty of the library system and the reason the local library is so useful. Nine times out of ten the specific book I'm looking for is not housed in the local library. It actually never ceases to amaze me how few of the books I look for are available, even in the relatively well-stocked Valencia branch library. But, I have been ever so grateful for the easy to use web-based L.A. County catalog that allows me to click a button and order a book or DVD from another county library. In a few days it conveniently shows up on a shelf at the Valencia library with my name on it. All this at no charge, no need to have a librarian search a database for me or fill out a form.


  5. This Web-based intralibrary request system is not at all like an inter-library loan. If the city takes over the local libraries interlibrary loan would be the only access SCV users would have to the county books. I recently had need for a book which was not available in any of the county libraries. I stood in line and waited for the assistance of one of the reference librarians to ask about an interlibrary loan. He searched his database of libraries for me. I was warned that although the book was available in several Southern California libraries that it was completely at the discretion of those libraries whether or not I would ever see the book. I had to fill out a form and pay $3.00 for the privilege. About a month and a half later I received a notice in the mail that my interlibrary loan request had been filled. I now have the book but will not be allowed to renew it. The Intralibrary request items are renewable up to 3 times just as if I had gotten it from the shelves of the local library.


  6. Please Don't Take The Library Services Away!


I could go on about the wonderful kid's summer reading programs that both of my children have participated in, the helpful librarians who helped me find resources for my Middle School Social Studies classes etc., etc. This is a terrible idea!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Romantic Proposal

I just finished reading Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers:

In the book Lord Peter Wimsey continues proposing to the love of his life, Harriet Vane, on an average of once every three months over a period of five years. As they are both classically educated Oxford graduates Peter takes the opportunity to practice his Latin with her as he proposes.

(Pg. 65)

One first of April, the question had arrived from Paris in a single Latin sentence, starting off dispiritedly. "Num . . . ?"—a particle which notoriously "expects the answer No." Harriet, rummaging the Grammar book for "polite negatives," replied, still more briefly, "Benigne."

Note: (Benigne – no thank you.)


(Pg 500)

". . . But I will ask you now, and if you say No, I promise you that this time I will accept your answer. Harriet; you know that I love you: will you marry me?"

. . .

They passed beneath the arch of the bridge and out into the pale light once more.


She stood still; and he stopped perforce and turned towards her. She laid both hands upon the fronts of his gown, looking into his face while she searched for the word that should carry her over the last difficult breach.

It was he who found it for her. With a gesture of submission he bared his head and stood gravely, the square cap dangling in his hand.

"Placetne, magistra"



Note: (Placetne – Does it seem good?/Is it agreed?)

(Placet – It seems good./ It is agreed)


Maybe it's just me and my love for languages. But this is the most romantic proposal I've ever read.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Homecoming Words

When I step off the plane in New Orleans next week I may feel inspired to say these words from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's play Remorse: A Tragedy:

If aught on earth demand an unmix'd feeling,
'Tis surely this—after long years of exile,
To step forth on firm land, and gazing round us,
To hail at once our country, and our birth-place.

Nah, I'll probably just say, "Oh man, is it ever hot!"

In other words, I'm really excited about going back to my birth-place. Seven years is a long time to be away.

Monday, May 31, 2010



Yep, without even purchasing a lottery ticket, we have been informed that we are one of 24 winners of the $3 Million US dollars Shoppers Sweepstakes Lottery. Our portion of the winnings is a whopping $125,000! Yippee!

Enclosed with the letter informing us of our windfall was a check for $3,875 for the payment of applicable Government Taxes. The check was drawn on Sovereign Bank.

Of course I shouldn't be publicizing our unexpected good fortune because we were urged to keep the winning confidential until the claim is processed. This is to discourage "unscrupulous acts by non participants taking advantage of this program." I know I wouldn't want to be besieged by low-life acquaintances looking for handouts, but then I don't know anyone who would do that so I'm not worried about it.

We are going to use the proceeds to invest in some bargain priced bridge property in New York City (Brooklyn to be exact.)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sucker Punch

A sucker punch is a blow made without warning, allowing no time for preparation or defense on the part of the recipient. It is usually delivered from close range or from behind.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Lessons Learned

In honor of my daughter's (almost) completion of her first year of Latin studies is this poem. I'm so proud that she was able to jump into the fourth year of Latin class with her classmates. She has kept up and actually done quite well.

The key to understanding this poem is that the Latin word Amo means "to love", while the Latin word Amarus means bitter. Both words can take the form Amare. Amare is the present active infinitive of amo (love), and the vocative masculine singular of the adjective amarus (bitter).

I thought the poem was particularly apropos the current season.


A Lesson in Latin

Lewis Carroll, A Lesson in Latin:

Our Latin books, in motley row,
  Invite us to our task—
Gay Horace, stately Cicero:
Yet there's one verb, when once we know,
  No higher skill we ask:
This ranks all other lore above—
We've learned "'Amare' means 'to love'!"

So, hour by hour, from flower to flower,
  We sip the sweets of Life:
Till, all too soon, the clouds arise,
And flaming cheeks and flashing eyes
  Proclaim the dawn of strife:
With half a smile and half a sigh,
"Amare! Bitter One!" we cry.

Last night we owned, with looks forlorn,
  "Too well the scholar knows
There is no rose without a thorn"—
But peace is made! We sing, this morn,
  "No thorn without a rose!"
Our Latin lesson is complete:
We've learned that Love is Bitter-Sweet!

Friday, April 02, 2010

The Transfiguration

by Edwin Muir

So from the ground we felt that virtue branch

Through all our veins till we were whole, our wrists

As fresh and pure as water from a well,

Our hands made new to handle holy things,

The source of all our seeing rinsed and cleansed

Till earth and light and water entering there

Gave back to us the clear unfallen world.

We would have thrown our clothes away for lightness,

But that even they, though sour and travel stained,

Seemed, like our flesh, made of immortal substance,

And the soiled flax and wool lay light upon us

Like friendly wonders, flower and flock entwined

As in a morning field. Was it a vision?

Or did we see that day the unseeable

One glory of the everlasting world

Perpetually at work, though never seen

Since Eden locked the gate that's everywhere

And nowhere? Was the change in us alone,

And the enormous earth still left forlorn,

An exile or a prisoner? Yet the world

We saw that day made this unreal, for all

Was in its place. The painted animals

Assembled there in gentle congregations,

Or sought apart their leafy oratories,

Or walked in peace, the wild and tame together,

As if, also for them, the day had come.

The shepherds' hovels shone, for underneath

The soot we saw the stone clean at the heart

As on the starting-day. The refuse heaps

Were grained with that fine dust that made the world;

For he had said, 'To the pure all things are pure.'

And when we went into the town, he with us,

The lurkers under doorways, murderers,

With rags tied round their feet for silence, came

Out of themselves to us and were with us,

And those who hide within the labyrinth

Of their own loneliness and greatness came,

And those entangled in their own devices,

The silent and the garrulous liars, all

Stepped out of their dungeons and were free.

Reality or vision, this we have seen.

If it had lasted but another moment

It might have held for ever! But the world

Rolled back into its place, and we are here,

And all that radiant kingdom lies forlorn,

As if it had never stirred; no human voice

Is heard among its meadows, but it speaks

To itself alone, alone it flowers and shines

And blossoms for itself while time runs on.


But he will come again, it's said, though not

Unwanted and unsummoned; for all things,

Beasts of the field, and woods, and rocks, and seas,

And all mankind from end to end of the earth

Will call him with one voice. In our own time,

Some say, or at a time when time is ripe.

Then he will come, Christ the uncrucified,

Christ the discrucified, his death undone,

His agony unmade, his cross dismantled—

Glad to be so—and the tormented wood

Will cure its hurt and grow into a tree

In a green springing corner of young Eden,

And Judas damned take his long journey backward

From darkness into light and be a child

Beside his mother's knee, and the betrayal

Be quite undone and never more be done.

Edwin Muir, "The Transfiguration" from The Labyrinth. Copyright 1949 by Edwin Muir.
Source: Collected Poems 1921-1958 (1960)


Happy Easter! He is Risen!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Here and Back Again


    By Rev. Thomas Shepherd


  Alas, my God, that we should be

    Such strangers to each other!

  O that as friends we might agree,

    And walk and talk together!


  Thou know'st my soul does dearly love

    The place of thine abode;

  No music drops so sweet a sound

    As these two words My God.


  May I taste that communion, Lord,

    Thy people have with thee?

  Thy spirit daily talks with them,

    O let it talk with me!

  Like Enoch, let me walk with God,

    And thus walk out my day,

  Attended with the heavenly guards,

    Upon the king's highway.


  When wilt thou come unto me, Lord?

    O come, my Lord most dear!

  Come near, come nearer, nearer still:

    I'm well when thou art near.


  When wilt thou come unto me, Lord?

    For, till thou dost appear,

  I count each moment for a day,

    Each minute for a year.



  There's no such thing as pleasure here;

    My Jesus is my all:

  As thou dost shine or disappear,

    My pleasures rise and fall.

  Come, spread thy savour on my frame--

    No sweetness is so sweet;

  Till I get up to sing thy name

    Where all thy singers meet.


Rev. Thomas Shepherd, 1665-1739.

Son of William Shepherd, sometime Vicar of Tilbrook, Bedfordshire, Thomas was ordained an Anglican priest,

serving first at St. Neots, then in Buckinghamshire. He later left the Church of England, and joining the

Nonconformists in 1694 became pastor of the Independent Castle Hill Baptist Meeting, Northampton (Philip

Doddridge later served there, as well). In 1700 he moved to Bocking, Essex, preaching in a barn for several years

before a chapel could be built. He served there the remainder of his life.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Literary Game

Using only books you have read this year (2009), answer these questions. Try not to repeat a book title.

From: D.G. Meyers: A Commonplace Blog

Describe yourself: The Poincare Conjecture: In Search of the Shape of the Universe (Donal O'Shea)

How do you feel:
The Old Curiosity Shop (Charles Dickens)

Describe where you currently live: The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: There and Again (George MacDonald)

Your favorite form of transportation: Aladdin's Lamp: How Greek Science came to Europe through the Islamic world ( Deckle Edge) or The Time-Traveler's Wife (Audrey Niffeneger)

Your best friend is: The Tie that Binds (PG Wodehouse)

You and your friends are:
Tycho and Kepler: The Unlikely Partnership that Forever Changed Our Understanding of the Heavens (Kitty Ferguson)

What's the weather like: Gates of Fire (Steven Pressfield)

You fear:
The Tides of War (Steven Pressfield)

What is the best advice you have to give:
The Poetry of the Universe (Robert Osserman)

Thought for the day: Quantum Philosophy (Roland Omnes)

How I would like to die: Mr. Dixon Disappears: A Mobile Library Mystery (Ian Sansome)

My soul's present condition: The Blue Flower (Penelope Fitzgerald)

Running for Haiti's Kids

I've been so inspired by the example of the Livesay family, a family of "former Minnesotans in our 4th year serving in Haiti." Their blog can be found at

I'd like to invite anyone and everyone to contribute to the Medika Mamba project which is helping so many children recover from malnutrition. This is a way to directly impact the lives of little children for good. Tara Livesay writes on her blog:
ALL money donated will go directly to purchase Medika Mamba that will be used to help kids in Haiti recover. Please consider sponsoring me as I train to run to benefit malnourished children in Haiti.

I don't see how anyone can watch this and not be moved:

Go to the Livesay blog and make a "chip-in" contribution before October 4, 2009.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I remember

A Facebook Group entitled "I grew up in New Orleans in the Seventies", (well actually it was Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans), which I recently joined, prompted me to sit down and "stream of consciousness"-like write down memories from my childhood in New Orleans.

I remember…

Royal Castle, Krystals, Time Saver, Frost-Top, Monkey Hill, The Levee, Drive-In on Veterans, Midnight Mass on Christmas, Oyster Po-Boys from Schwegmanns, Gaylords, The Zephyr and the Wild Maus (overcoming the fear that I would fall off the edge) at Ponchartrain Beach, The wading pool at the Ponchartrain Beach pool before it closed. Boiled crabs on newspaper spread out on the picnic tables at the Lakefront, Fitzgerald's Seafood restaurant on the pier at West-End, The colorful fountain at West-End, the swings at West-End park, Sno-balls with cream on top, Riding the street cars up St. Charles Avenue to the dentist office on Canal Street. The SS President on the Mississippi River. The rotating restaurant/bar at the top of the World Trade Building. Horseback riding at City Park: (MonkeySee Monkey Do, Country Boy were a couple of the horses' names I remember), Horseback riding at Audubon Park, The boat pulling inner tubes (fall off and the boat stops and waits for you to swim back to your tube) at the Ponchatoula River. Inner tubing down the river (almost drowned once), Manuel's Hot Tamales from the street vendor cart, "Get your Tamales, Get your Red Hot Tamales" wrapped in newspaper. Rock concerts at the Warehouse, Cotton Club swimming pool. Beignets and Café Au Lait in the French Quarter. The French Market (so many smells, so many varieties of vegetables and kind of scary at night) in the French quarter. Driving across the Ponchartrain Bridge (paying the toll) to picnic in Mandeville. Riding bikes from home in Metairie to the Lake Front. Watching scary movies with Morgus the Magnificent, Lakeside Shopping Center when it was an open air shopping center, Disco at Fat City, D.H. Holmes, Maison Blanche, Crawfishing in the swamps- so much fun wearing wader boots and filling up burlap sacks full, the best part, having a big crawfish boil after.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Abundant Harvest!

I recently signed our family up for a weekly delivery of fresh, locally grown, in-season, organic vegetables. The picture above is of the first week's box. Every Saturday morning we bring back the crate that held last week's produce and pick-up a new box overflowing with fresh vegetables, fruit and herbs. Now I just need more recipes for eggplant and kale… Oh yeah , and more time to cook. Well at least I have an incentive. It's so much fun to see what's in the box each week.

From the Abundant Harvest Website:

"Abundant Harvest Organics is an alliance of small family farmers in Central California dedicated to growing superior organic produce and getting it to you in the simplest manner possible; that is, without the use of chemicals or packaging materials. We grow locally and supply locally, cutting the need for expensive and wasteful fuel and packing resources."

I feel so much more "in-touch" with the agricultural process because the produce is all locally grown and in-season. If you live in the Los Angeles area and are interested in finding out if there is a delivery location near you, this is the website:

Monday, September 21, 2009

Still Searching for Treasures in the Heap

The Bookworm: By Robert Buchanan (1841-1901)

With spectacles upon his nose,
    He shuffles up and down;
Of antique fashion are his clothes,
    His napless hat is brown.
A mighty watch, of silver wrought,
    Keeps time in sun or rain
To the dull ticking of the thought
    Within his dusty brain.

To see him at the bookstall stand
    And bargain for the prize,
With the odd sixpence in his hand
    And greed in his gray eyes!
Then, conquering, grasp the book half blind,
    And take the homeward track,
For fear the man should change his mind,
    And want the bargain back!

The waves of life about him beat,
    He scarcely lifts his gaze,
He hears within the crowded street
    The wash of ancient days.
If ever his short-sighted eyes
    Look forward, he can see
Vistas of dusty Libraries
    Prolonged eternally.

But think not as he walks along
    His brain is dead and cold;
His soul is thinking in the tongue
    Which Plato spake of old;
And while some grinning cabman sees
    His quaint shape with a jeer,
He smiles, — for Aristophanes
    Is joking in his ear.

Around him stretch Athenian walks,
    And strange shapes under trees;
He pauses in a dream and talks
    Great speech, with Socrates.
Then, as the fancy fails — still mesh'd
    In thoughts that go and come —
Feels in his pouch, and is refresh'd
    At touch of some old tome.

The mighty world of humankind
    Is as a shadow dim,
He walks through life like one half blind,
    And all looks dark to him;
But put his nose to leaves antique,
    And hold before his sight
Some press'd and withered flowers of Greek,
    And all is life and light.

A blessing on his hair so gray,
    And coat of dingy brown!
May bargains bless him every day,
    As he goes up and down;
Long may the bookstall-keeper's face,
    In dull times, smile again,
To see him round with shuffling pace
    The corner of the lane!

A good old Ragpicker is he,
    Who, following morn and eve
The quick feet of Humanity,
    Searches the dust they leave.
He pokes the dust, he sifts with care,
    He searches close and deep;
Proud to discover, here and there,
    A treasure in the heap!

ht:Laudator Temporis Acti

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

There and Back, Again

Here are some more quotes from George MacDonald's There and Back. I especially enjoyed all the references to books and reading in the story. The book is full of them because of the author's love of literature and story, and also because the main character of the story is a book-binder by trade and a book-lover too.


"I would rather learn to read, though—the right way, I mean—the way that makes one book talk to another."



What is feeling but poetry in a gaseous condition? What is fine thought but poetry in a fluid condition? What is thought solidified, but fine prose; thought crystallized, but verse?


She had yet to learn that books themselves are but weak ministers, that the spirit dwelling in them must lead back to him who gave it or die; that they are but windows, which, if they look not out on the eternal spaces, will themselves be blotted out by the darkness.


Only those who haunt the slopes of literature, know that marvels lie in the grass for the hand that will gather them. Multitudes who count themselves readers know no more of the books they read than the crowds that visit the Academy exhibitions know of the pictures they gaze upon. Yet are the realms of literature free as air, freer even than those of music.


For what are books, I venture to say, but an army-corps of the lord of hosts, at whose command are troops of all natures, after the various regions of his indwelling! Even the letter is something, for the dry bones of books are every hour coming alive to the reader in whose spirit is blowing the better spirit.


The good in a true book, he would say, is the best protection against what may not be so good in it; its wrong as well as its right may wake the conscience: the thoughts of a book accuse and excuse one another. In saying so, he took the true reader for granted; to an untrue reader the truth itself is untrue.


"Look here: I am very fond of a well-bound book; I should like all my new books bound in levant morocco; but I don't care about it; I could do well enough without any binding at all."

"Of course you could, sir! and so could I, or any man that cared for the books themselves."

"Very well! I don't care about religion much, but I could not live without my Father in heaven. I don't believe anybody can live without him."


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

There and Back

I just finished reading There and Back, George MacDonald's novel about a book-binder who comes into his rightful inheritance and finds true love. George MacDonald (1824-1905) was a Scottish author, poet and Christian minister. His fantasy works influenced both C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein. You may recognize the title of MacDonald's novel in the sub-title to Tolkein's, The Hobbit, or There and Back Again.

There and Back begins with this note from the author:

Some of the readers of this tale will be glad to know that
the passage with which it ends is a real dream; and that,
with but three or four changes almost too slight to require
acknowledging, I have given it word for word as the friend
to whom it came set it down for me.


The dream, recounted in the last chapter of the book as Barbara's dream, brought tears to my eyes and stirred a deep longing within me. May it bless you as well:


Barbara's Dream

"One morning, after what seemed a long night's dreamless sleep, I awoke; but it was much too early to rise; so I lay thinking--or more truly, I hope, being thought into, as Mr. Wingfold says. Many of the most beautiful things I had read, scenes of our Lord's life on earth, and thoughts of the Father, came and went. I had no desire to sleep again, or any feeling of drowsiness; but in the midst of fully conscious thought, found myself in some other place, of which I only knew that there was firm ground under my feet, and a soft white radiance of light about me. The remembrance came to me afterwards, of branches of trees spreading high overhead, through which I saw the sky: but at the time I seemed not to take notice of what was around me. I was leaning against a form tall and grand, clothed from the shoulders to the ground in a black robe, full, and soft, and fine. It lay in thickly gathered folds, touched to whiteness in the radiant light, all along the arms encircling, without at first touching me.

"With sweet content my eyes went in and out of those manifold radiant lines, feeling, though they were but parts of his dress, yet they were of himself; for I knew the form to be that of the heavenly Father, but felt no trembling fear, no sense of painful awe--only a deep, deep worshipping, an unutterable love and confidence. 'Oh Father!' I said, not aloud, but low into the folds of his garment. Scarcely had I breathed the words, when 'My child!' came whispered, and I knew his head was bent toward me, and I felt his arms close round my shoulders, and the folds of his garment enwrap me, and with a soft sweep, fall behind me to the ground. Delight held me still for a while, and then I looked up to seek his face; but I could not see past his breast. His shoulders rose far above my upreaching hands. I clasped them together, and face and hands rested near his heart, for my head came not much above his waist.

"And now came the most wonderful part of my dream. As I thus rested against his heart, I seemed to see into it; and mine was filled with loving wonder, and an utterly blessed feeling of home, to the very core. I was at home--with my Father! I looked, as it seemed, into a space illimitable and fathomless, and yet a warm light as from a hearth-fire shone and played in ruddy glow, as upon confining walls. And I saw, there gathered, all human hearts. I saw them--yet I saw no forms; they were there--and yet they would be there. To my waking reason, the words sound like nonsense, and perplex me; but the thing did not perplex me at all. With light beyond that of faith, for it was of absolute certainty, clear as bodily vision, but of a different nature, I saw them. But this part of my dream, the most lovely of all, I can find no words to describe; nor can I even recall to my own mind the half of what I felt. I only know that something was given me then, some spiritual apprehension, to be again withdrawn, but to be given to us all, I believe, some day, out of his infinite love, and withdrawn no more. Every heart that had ever ached, or longed, or wandered, I knew was there, folded warm and soft, safe and glad. And it seemed in my dream that to know this was the crown of all my bliss--yes, even more than to be myself in my Father's arms. Awake, the thought of multitude had always oppressed my mind; it did not then. From the comfort and joy it gave me to see them there, I seemed then first to know how my own heart had ached for them.

"Then tears began to run from my eyes--but easily, with no pain of the world in them. They flowed like a gentle stream--into the heart of God, whose depths were open to my gaze. The blessedness of those tears was beyond words. It was all true then! That heart was our home!

"Then I felt that I was being gently, oh, so gently, put away. The folds of his robe which I held in my hands, were being slowly drawn from them; and the gladness of my weeping changed to longing entreaty. 'Oh Father! Father!' I cried; but I saw only his grand gracious form, all blurred and indistinct through the veil of my blinding tears, slowly receding, slowly fading--and I awoke.

"My tears were flowing now with the old earth-pain in them, with keenest disappointment and longing. To have been there and to have come back, was the misery. But it did not last long. The glad thought awoke that I had the dream--a precious thing never to be lost while memory lasted; a thing which nothing but its realization could ever equal in preciousness. I rose glad and strong, to serve with newer love, with quicker hand and readier foot, the hearts around me."



Sunday, May 31, 2009

Akdamut – A Pentecost Poem

Translated from the Aramaic and Source of the hymn: "O Love of God"

Akdamut-First Day Of Shavuot ("Sabbath and Festival Prayer Book" edited by Morris Silverman with Robert Gordis, 1946. USCJ and RA, 185-88.)

Were the sky of parchment made,
A quill each reed, each twig and blade,
Could we with ink the oceans fill,
Were every man a scribe of skill,

The marvelous story
Of God's great glory
Would still remain untold;
For He, Most High,
The earth and sky
Created alone of old.

Without fatigue or weary hand,
He spoke the word, He breathed command;
The world and all that therein dwell,
Field and meadow, fen and fell,

Mount and sea,
In six days He
With life did then inspire;
The work when ended,
His glory ascended
Upon His throne of fire.

Before Him myriads angels flash,
To do His Will they run and dash;
Each day new hosts gleam forth to praise
The Mighty One, Ancient of Days;

Six-winged hosts
Stand at their posts -
The flaming Seraphim -
In hushed awe
Together draw
To chant their morning hymn.

The angels, together, without delay,
Call one to another in rapturous lay:

"Thrice holy He
Whose majesty
Fills earth from end to end."
The Cherubim soar,
Like the Oceans's roar,
On celestial spheres ascend,

To gaze upon the Light on high,
Which, like the bow in cloudy sky,
Is iris-colored, silver-lined;
While hasting on their task assigned,

In every tongue
They utter song
And bless and praise the Lord,
Whose secret and source,
Whose light and force
Can ne'er he fully explored.

The heavenly hosts in awe reply:
"His Kingdom be blessed for e'er and aye."
Their song being hushed, they vanish away:
They may ne'er again offer rapturous lay.

But Israel,
Therein excel -
Fixed times they set aside,
With praise and prayer,
Him One declare,
At morn and eventide.

His portion them He made, that they
His praise declare by night and day:
A Torah, precious more than gold,
He bade them study, fast to hold;

That He may be near,
Their prayer to hear,
For always wear will He
As diadem fair
His people's prayer
In His phylactery,

Wherein is told of Israel's fame
Who oft God's unity proclaim.
'Tis also meet God's praise to sing
In presence of both prince and king.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

How Sleep The Brave

HOW sleep the brave, who sink to rest
By all their country's wishes blest!
When Spring, with dewy fingers cold,
Returns to deck their hallow'd mould,
She there shall dress a sweeter sod
Than Fancy's feet have ever trod.

By fairy hands their knell is rung;
By forms unseen their dirge is sung;
There Honour comes, a pilgrim grey,
To bless the turf that wraps their clay;
And Freedom shall awhile repair
To dwell, a weeping hermit, there!

William Taylor Collins

From Greek Class to the Gallows

I collect quotes about (among other things) classical education in literature. Here's a classic from William Makepeace Thackeray, The History of Pendennis, chapter 2:

Miserable trifler! A boy who construes δε and instead of δε but, at sixteen years of age is guilty not merely of folly, and ignorance, and dulness inconceivable, but of crime, of deadly crime, of filial ingratitude, which I tremble to contemplate.

It reminds me a bit of my Greek Prose Composition class in college. Read the entire scene, it's hilarious. Notice the progression from mistakes in construing Greek to the gallows… (Thanks to laudatortemporisacti for the reference.)

It was at the close of the forenoon school, and Pen had been unnoticed all the previous part of the morning till now, when the Doctor put him on to construe in a Greek play. He did not know a word of it, though little Timmins, his form-fellow, was prompting him with all his might. Pen had made a sad blunder or two when the awful Chief broke out upon him.

'Pendennis, sir,' he said, 'your idleness is incorrigible and your stupidity beyond example. You are a disgrace to your school, and to your family, and I have no doubt will prove so in after-life to your country. If that vice, sir, which is described to us as the root of all evil, be really what moralists have represented (and I have no doubt of the correctness of their opinion), for what a prodigious quantity of future crime and wickedness are you, unhappy boy, laying the seed! Miserable trifler! A boy who construes δε and instead of δε but, at sixteen years of age is guilty not merely of folly, and ignorance, and dulness inconceivable, but of crime, of deadly crime, of filial ingratitude, which I tremble to contemplate. A boy, sir, who does not learn his Greek play cheats the parent who spends money for his education. A boy who cheats his parent is not very far from robbing or forging upon his neighbour. A man who forges on his neighbour pays the penalty of his crime at the gallows. And it is not such a one that I pity (for he will be deservedly cut off), but his maddened and heart-broken parents, who are driven to a premature grave by his crimes, or, if they live, drag on a wretched and dishonoured old age. Go on, sir, and I warn you that the very next mistake that you make shall subject you to the punishment of the rod. Who's that laughing? What ill-conditioned boy is there that dares to laugh?' shouted the Doctor.

No wonder classical education has a bad rep!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

15 Books: A Meme

I received this on Facebook. It was hard to narrow the list to fifteen but here they are:

Instructions: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Tag 15 friends, including me.

  1. The Bible (I became a different person after I started reading the Bible when I was sixteen yrs. old)
  2. How Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen (Reading this book a few years ago made me realize that I had lost a part of my identity by losing my childhood insatiable appetite for reading and changing it to thinking of reading as something to be done only for a specific purpose. Reading is part of who I am as a person, and I had lost part of myself by denying it. )
  3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (IMHO quite possibly the best book ever written. As many times as I read it I always come away a better person for having read it again.)
  4. A Room of One's Own by Virginia Wolfe (Helped me realize the importance of setting aside a space (and time) for writing.) Still working on that one.
  5. Appointment in Jerusalem by Derek Prince (Amazing (true) story of a woman's journey of faith.
  6. Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte (Another one that I never get tired of rereading.)
  7. Grammatical Man: Information, Entropy, Language, Life by Jeremy Campbell (Great book on information theory and language, the main topic of my Ph.D. dissertation.)
  8. John Adams by David Mccullough (My favorite biography)
  9. The God Who is There by Francis Schaeffer (Schaeffer was a prophetic voice to his generation.)
  10. Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco (The best conspiracy theory novel I've read. I love The Name of the Rose too, but had to narrow the list to 15.)
  11. The Way of Holiness by Andrew Murray (My favorite devotional book by my favorite devotional author.)
  12. Thank You Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse (Really any Jeeves book. Jeeves and Bertie Wooster are my two favorite fictional characters. I can't read Wodehouse without cracking up. He makes me smile.)
  13. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkein ( I can get lost in his prose.)
  14. Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis by Michael Ward (Ward discovers a hidden structure in the Lewis' Narnia novels based on the 7 planets of medieval cosmology. Incredibly well written and convincing.)
  15. Kite Runner by Khaled
    Hosseini (This book put a human face on the struggle in Afghanistan for me.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

May 15, 1618

I just finished reading a book about Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe, Tycho and Kepler by Kitty Ferguson. According to the book it was on this date, May 15, in 1618that Kepler discovered the 3rd law of planetary motion.

The 3rd law is the harmonic law which states that “there is an exact relationship between the squares of the planets’ periodic times and the cubes of the radii of their orbits.” Kepler was so excited by the discovery that he wanted to give way to a “sacred frenzy”, as he put it:

I feel carried away and possessed by an unutterable rapture over the divine spectacle of heavenly harmony... I write a book for the present time, or for posterity. It is all the same to me. It may wait a hundred years for its readers, as God has also waited six thousand years for an onlooker.

The dedication prayer of his book, Harmony of the Worlds reads:
I should pray, devout and supplicating, to the Father of lights: O Thou Who dost by the light of nature promote in us the desire for the light of grace, that by its means Thou mayest transport us into the light of glory, I give thanks to Thee, O Lord Creator, Who hast delighted me with Thy makings and in the works of Thy hands have I exulted. Behold! now, I have completed the work of my profession, having employed as much power of mind as Thou didst give to me; to the men who are going to read those demonstrations I have made manifest the glory of Thy works, as much of its infinity as the narrows of my intellect could apprehend. My mind has been given over to philosophizing most correctly: if there is anything unworthy of Thy designs brought forth by me—a worm born and nourished in a wallowing place of sins—breathe into me also that which Thou dost wish men to know, that I may make the correction: If I have been allured into rashness by the wonderful beauty of Thy works, or if I have loved my own glory among men, while I am advancing in the work destined for Thy glory, be gentle and merciful and pardon me; and finally deign graciously to effect that these demonstrations give way to Thy glory and the salvation of souls and nowhere be an obstacle to that.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Interviewing With the Stars

Aimee and I had the privilege of participating in a "meet and greet" with Shawn Johnson, the Olympic gold medalist. Shawn took a day off from her rehearsing for the Dancing with the Stars finals to promote the Lunchables Lunch Your Tummy Right Tour. As part of the promotion, Lunchables is awarding 50 kids with a VIP ticket to Camp Wodward. Lucky winners will find a ticket inside a "specially marked" Lunchable.

My friend and blogging mentor Donna, aka Socalmom, told me that she had given my name as a "blogger" who has an interest in gymnastics (our daughters are on the same gymnastics team). Well I didn't receive the email but she told me Aimee and I were invited anyway. It was being held at a local gym in Burbank. We've been to this gym before and I remember it was really small.

I had no idea what to expect. Actually, I was expecting a huge crowd jammed into this small gym, kind of like the meet we had attended there several years ago. I didn't think we'd actually get close enough to talk to her, let alone sit down and ask her questions one-on-one, well actually four-on-one.

I felt kind of like I should say I was representing Horse and Hound magazine.(Like Hugh Grant in Notting Hill.) There were reporters from the LA Times and other media. Donna and I both were handed a gift bag from Lunchables. I opened it up and my mouth dropped when I saw it contained a Flip VideoCamera. I could get used to this kind of thing.

Another blogging mom, Sweatpantsmom, was there with her two daughters. Her two girls, aged 10 and 13, had their questions for Shawn prepared and neatly written out. They went in first. I said to Aimee, "Think of some questions for Shawn!" Then they ushered us into the gym and introduced us to Shawn. The four of us (Aimee, Donna, her daughter Megan and me) had about ten minutes to interview her.

Shawn was extremely sweet and poised. She seemed genuinely interested in the girls and gave some really great advice on dealing with fears and what it takes to stick with the sport. I was very proud of Aimee and Megan coming up with some great questions. You can watch the entire interview on YouTube here. (Thanks to Donna for posting it.)

After our time with Shawn she spent time with the girls on the team at the Burbank gym. We sat on the side and watched as the girls were allowed into the room. They didn't know that Shawn was going to be there. The reaction on the girls faces as the realized it was Shawn Johnson was priceless. Donna posted it on YouTube here.

Gotta run, I'm on my way to the store to buy some Lunchables.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Writing advice from Nora Roberts

I have to confess that I have never read a book by Nora Roberts. She just doesn't write the kind of books I like to read. But, I admire her because she is a successful author. I read this recent interview with her this morning and appreciated her perspective on reading and her advice on writing. So here are some excerpts from:

There Ain't No Muse: A Conversation with Nora Roberts

Conducted by Clarissa Sansone

What is your writing and revision process like?

Nora Roberts: Well, first: There ain't no muse. If you sit around and wait to channel the muse, you can sit around and wait a long time. It's not effortless. If only. Well, if it was, then everyone would do it, and where would we be then? So I work really hard to make it as fluid as possible, as readable and entertaining as possible.

I'll vomit out the first draft: bare-bones, get-the-story-down. I don't edit and fiddle as I go, because I don't know what's going to happen next. Once I get the discovery draft down, then I'll go back to page one, chapter one, and then I start worrying about how it sounds, where I've made mistakes, where I've gone right, what else I have to add, where's the texture, where's the emotion. I start fixing. And then, after I've done that all the way through again, I'll go back one more time, and that's when I'm really going to worry about the language. And the rhythm, and making sure that I haven't made a mistake, that I've tied up all the loose ends reasonably.

Do you have the time to actually sit down and read books very often?

I think if you don't read, you'd never have the chops to write, and why would you, if you didn't love stories and want to lose yourself in what someone else has sweated over? I love to read, and I really think books are the most important tool in a writer's toolbox.

Are you an omnivorous reader?

Oh yeah. There may be times when, after a really long day at the keyboard, my brain is too tired to read. And that's when I get my stories on TV. Once I start a book I'm a gobbler, so it's very rare that I'll read a couple chapters and put it down.

Read the entire interview at

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tax Dog Cometh?

I wonder if I can hire her to do my taxes? I am so late this year. I had to mail an extension request at the last minute.