Sunday, December 30, 2007


Judi and I watched Ratatouille last night, for the first time. If you are one of the, say, ten Americans who hasn't already seen this movie, don't worry, I don't have any spoilers. I just wanted to record a few obsevations.

I had seen the trailer for Ratatouille when I saw the Nancy Drew movie in the theater, and I expected to enjoy it. I wasn't disappointed. I enjoyed it very much. But, more than that, I was astonished by it. My idea of animated movies has been shaped by features like The Lion King. Which is to say, there's not much substance to them. Ratatouille is a movie that will delight children, but I was amazed by the depth and subject matter of the story. You could sit and watch this movie with children -- or even your peers -- and just have a good time. And you could just as easily sit and watch this movie with children -- or even your peers -- and follow it up with a lively discussion of bigotry, of inclusion and exclusion, of loyalty, of friendship, of honesty, of the importance of finding and accepting your role in life, and especially of the importance of judging everyone by their words and particularly their deeds, and not by how they appear. Ratatouille isn't just another Lion King. You can turn it in your hands, like a cut gemstone, and each character, like a facet, will reflect a different light worth contemplating.

A few random observations:


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Spirit

Judi and I were on a bike ride, and we passed a yard decorated with those life-size lighted angels with trumpets at their lips.

Me: You always see angels blowing trumpets. What I'd like to know is, where are the angels playing the tubas?

Judi: Tubas?

Me: Yeah, you know, tubas! If there are angels playing trumpets, then there have to be angels playing tubas, too. You have to have a bass section. Somewhere there are angels playing tubas. I want to know why we never see them.

Judi: I don't think you really get the concept of Christmas Spirit.

Me: Maybe not.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Princess Sunni Update

If you are following the developments regarding Princess Sunni and her brain tumor (here, here, here, and here) things took a turn for the worse this past week. Sunni began having problems with balance. Sometimes her feet slipped out from under her. Sometimes she just tipped over sideways onto the floor.

Judi was distressed to the point of tears. "This isn't supposed to be happening this soon!" I pointed out that she only seemed to be having a problem with balance, and maybe it was a simple ear infection. On Thursday Sunni returned to her doctors in Maitland, where she spent the entire day being shuttled between Neurology and Dermatology. At first, the Neurologist said that Sunni showed no symptoms of the tumor returning, and she probably had a detached eardrum and an ear infection. This was good news, but Judi was so emotional at the moment that it made her cry anyway. But then the Dermatologist said there was no detached eardrum, and that there might be a middle ear infection, but the only way to tell for sure would be to extract fluid from her ear or perform a CT scan. Neither of these could be done because Sunni hadn't been fasted.

The upshot is that we really don't know what's going on. Sunni is on steroid ear drops and will return to her doctors next week to have more tests done. In the meantime, her balance problems are worse if anything. The good news is that she isn't having the problem all the time, or even most of the time. It's episodic. And her spirits seem very high. The challenge now is to keep Judi's spirits up.

We sent out holiday cards this year with custom-made stamps that feature a picture of Princess Sunni in her regal attire. If you would like to be added to our holiday card lists, we would be happy to send one to you. If you don't want to leave your address in the comments (and I don't blame you), you can e-mail it to me by clicking here, or using the "Send me an e-mail message!" link on the right, which does the same thing.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Oh, Christmas Tree

I set up a small Christmas Tree on my station at work this year. We don't have a lot of personal space (we're four-to-a-cube), so it's nothing fancy. It was Judi's idea to decorate mostly with airplane ornaments (from Hallmark's series), which was most appropriate, since my company is in the aviation industry. In addition to the airplanes, I used Missy's special ornament that was painted by my friend Joyce Batcheler at, and two birds-nest ornaments, one with two eggs and one with two chirping chicks:

Full Tree


Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Holiday Idea

You know, the economy is getting pretty tough right about now, and I was wondering what kind of effect the subprime mortgage meltdown and skyrocketing oil prices might be having on Santa at the North Pole. "Santa?", I hear you say. "What does oil have to do with Santa?" Well, think about it: He's got this great manufacturing facility up there, and a highly motivated non-union workforce, but, duh, he still needs raw materials. Back in the day when most toys were made of wood, the elves would make runs down to northern Scandanavia and Russia to harvest trees. They hauled the wood back to the North Pole on sleds. But now Santa has to procure plastics. He needs electronic components. The elves have to fabricate flat-screen displays and printed circuit boards. While labor costs might have remained stable for, oh... the last eight-hundred years, the cost of raw materials has really gone through the roof.

So do you think Santa might be in a bit of a cash-crunch situation? Do you think he might be feeling a little pain in the liquidity department? If so, I have just the answer. I was inspired by recent developments regarding sports venues and sporting events:

Santa could auction off the rights to name his reindeer!

Think about it! Doesn't Exxon the Red-nosed Reindeer have a nice ring to it? Sing along with me: "Exxon the red-nosed Reindeer/Had a very shiny nose....". And would it really kill us to sing Exxon the Red-nosed Reindeer to help old Santa out of a bind? Come on, people!

And doesn't "A Visit from St. Nicholas" have real charm when it goes like this:
Now Dupont! now, Dell! now, Pfizer and Verizon!
On, Comcast! On, Cisco! on, on Daimler and Boeing!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!
Maybe Clement Clarke Moore wouldn't approve, but hey, he's dead. It's for us, our generation, to sell make our own traditions after the fashion that we find comfortable and natural.

Ya think?


Saturday, December 15, 2007

'Tis the Season

I returned from my trip to discover that, in my absence, one of my dogs chewed through both sets of wires connecting my stereo to my speakers. This has never happened before. I don't know which dog it was, but I suspect my intelligent and enterprising little beagle, Andrea. What I think happened is that she became bored and turned on the radio, only to discover that the station was playing Christmas music. Feeling the same as I do about Christmas music, she became desperate and chewed through the speaker wires. I know in her place I would have done the same.

This morning I spliced one set of wires back together so I could listen to the news. I only needed one set of wires, because the news is no less dismal in stereo than in mono.


Friday, December 14, 2007

I'm back.

I guess the title says it all. Well, it fails to add that I'm tired and aching. I've spent the last two weeks doing a lot of walking and kicking (as in swim-fin-kicking). Fortunately I am now back at work where I can rest.

I will try to post something semi-interesting soon.

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