Friday, December 25, 2009

The Christmas Meme

Trying to get back into blogging regularly, I'm finding it easiest to post things that don't require a lot of mental effort. Hence this latest entry, courtesy of Sidney Williams' Journal:

The Christmas Meme

Copy this entire entry and paste on a new post page. Change all the answers to apply to you. Then notify a bunch of people you know, including the person who sent it to you.

My answers:

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Gift bags all the way. If it won't fit in a gift bag, I just stick a ready-made self-adhesive bow on it. I'm all about doing things the easiest way. No Martha Stewart make-it-from-scratch for me!

2. Real tree or artificial?
Sorry, you purists...I like my little two-foot artifical tree with its built-in fiber-optic lights and interior color wheel. The ever-changing light display is lovely...and I can pack the tree away easily to store for next year.

3. When do you put up the tree?
Usually the weekend after Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down?
After Twelfth Night (Jan. 6).

5. Do you like eggnogg?
Yes--with or without added alcohol!

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Probably a Breyer horse model, or perhaps my Barbie doll. (And that was back when Barbie was first on the market, in 1958. We got ONE Barbie doll; now every little girl seems to have at least 10 different Barbies.)

7. Hardest person to buy for?
My boss--what do you get for someone who already has, or can afford to buy, everything she wants? (Fortunately, the Boss told a few years ago that if we feel we must give her a gift, to donate in her name to a charity.) In general I no longer exchange Christmas gifts with most of my friends/family--saves money, and avoids bringing in more Stuff That Will Have to Be Discarded Someday. The exception is my new little grandson, Nicholas, for whom of course I had to buy a gift for his first Christmas.

8. Easiest person to buy for?
Baby Nicholas! Of course, bibliophile that I am, I bought him books.

9. Do you have a nativity scene?
Yes....Although I'm no longer conventionally religious, I like the whole tradition of the holiday season, including the religious references. I'm willing to go with a Pagan Winter Solstice theme, too....

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
I buy a new box of cards every year, and every year I "don't get around to" sending them. I also resolve to send e-mail Christmas greetings, but usually miss doing those, too.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
A diet book from my sister--I think it was The South Beach Diet. Yes, I need to lose weight, but still....

12. Favorite Christmas movie(s)?
"A Christmas Story"--I watched it again on Christmas Eve this year, and loved it as much as ever. I can't decide which part is my favorite, the "triple-dog-dare" scene, the leg lamp scene, or Ralph's fantasy about routing the bad guys with his new BB gun. Others I like are "Bad Santa," and "Elf." "It's a Wonderful Life" is the greatest classic, but I'm kinda burned out on it right now. I've seen that SO many times....

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
See answer to No. 7 above.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Not that anyone can prove without investigation and affidavits.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Turkey with cranberry sauce and cornbread dressing. Although, alas, around here most people seem to have oyster dressing, and I hate oysters.

16. Color of lights on the tree?
Multicolored fiber optics.

17. Favorite Christmas song?
"The Christmas Song," as performed by Nat King Cole.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Stay home!

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, Blitzen (and, by the way, it is DONDER, not Donner! "Donder" is German for thunder, and "Blitzen" is German for lightning).

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
See No. 7 above. Others in my family who do give/receive presents do it on Christmas morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
With all the thousands of recordings of the standard Christmas songs, why must the radio stations play the same versions over and over and over?

23. Favorite ornament, theme, or color?
Don't use ornaments anymore, just the little two-foot tree with its built-in lights.

24. Favorite for Christmas Eve dinner?
My family does not do anything special for Christmas Eve, only for Christmas Day.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?
See No. 7 above. Alternatively, to win the Powerball lottery.

26. What is your wish for Christmas?
World Peace...An End to Genocide...Universal Health Care...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Stealing Books

Interesting (and ironic) factoids from an essay that will appear in the NYT Sunday Book Review, already posted on the NYT website:
  • The book most often stolen is the Bible. (At least, most often stolen from BookPeople bookstore in Austin, Texas.) The Bible even is stolen from a Christian bookstore that will give 'em away free is people ask for one. (Maybe when they know you'll give it away, they figure they don't need to ask....)
  • St. Mark's Bookshop in Manhattan locks up the work of certain authors in a display case because they're so often stolen. ("This library of temptation includes books by Martin Amis, Charles Bukowski, William S. Burroughs, Raymond Carver, Don DeLillo and Jack Kerouac, among others.")
  • The most-stolen authors are male, apparently because book thieves are predominantly male.
  • "Only 40 percent of books that are read are paid for, and only 28 percent are purchased new, said Peter Hildick-Smith of the Codex Group, a consultant to the publishing industry. The rest are shared, borrowed, given away — or stolen."

Read the full essay, "Steal These Books," here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Miracles are happening in New Orleans. Witness this photo taken on the Mississippi River only a few days ago. For those of you who don't recognize this man on sight, it's Drew Brees, quarterback extraordinaire of the NEW ORLEANS SAINTS football team! They're now 13-0 (a true miracle for those of us who have followed the Saints over the past 40 years), division champions, and heading into the playoffs with a bye the first week and a home field advantage thereafter. Not to mention our hopes, expectations, etc., of the Saints getting into the, we won't say the word for fear of jinxing our team. They have three games left in the regular season. Regardless of the results in those last games, however, the Saints are in the playoffs! Many of us, faced with a difficult situation, now ask ourselves, "What would Breesus do?"