Sunday, November 26, 2006

Season of Light

Happy Holidays! I had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday and hope you did, too. I got over my sinus infection, got caught up on my grading (except for research papers, which I saved for after Thanksgiving), and took four wonderful, relaxing days off!

As always, I put up my Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving. Why fight the shopping crowds on Black Friday when you can do something fun and relaxing at home? Everything went great until I pulled out the net of lights I always put across our sliding door. The middle 2/3 went out and I couldn't get them to work.

Off to Target for new lights! Back home to find they were 6' and the sliding door is 8'. Back to Taget. No 8' lights of any kind. Off to Wal-Mart. No 8' lights of any kind. Agonize over the decision, then decide to brave Bronner's. Discover that most of the population of Michigan is in Birch Run and the rest are in Frankmuth. Deal with unbelievable crowds only to find no 8' lights of any kind.

After deciding no one makes 8' lightnets any more, I settled for two 6' nets that would overlap because after all that I wasn't leaving Bronner's without some kind of lights! They look better than I thought and I am pleased with them. They are the stay-lit kind so I'm hoping they last several years.

Now I'm facing the last two weeks of school. It's always hectic with lots of grading, meetings, panicky students, etc., but at least I have my beautiful Christmas decorations to brighten things up.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Bo Schembechler 1929-2006

Bo Schembechler
Obit * Coaching Record

He was the "winningest" coach Michigan ever had. "He will always be both a Buckeye and a Wolverine and our thoughts are with all who grieve his loss," said Ohio State coach Jim Tressel.

Bo loved the U of M vs. Ohio State game. He no longer traveled to out of state games, so he wouldn't have been in Columbus tomorrow anyway, but I'm sure it will be a hell of a game. Both teams will play harder than usual, wanting to win for Bo -- and I'm sure Bo will be watching from the best seat in the house.

Rest in Peace, Bo. We'll always miss you at U of M.

UPDATE: Sun. Nov. 19

OSU 42, Michigan 39. When my time comes, I'm sure I will die from heart failure during the last two minutes of a Michigan game. It was SO close!

Bo's funeral is today. According to the Ann Arbor News the public is invited to attend a viewing at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Ann Arbor, 12-3, today.

Tuesday "A Celebration of Bo's Life" will take place at 1:oo p.m. in at Michigan Stadium. (How appropriate!)

Memorial gifts can be made to support the Michigan Cardiovascular Center - Bo Schembechler Heart of a Champion Fund. Send contributions to:

UM Cardiovascular Center
300 N. Ingalls, #8B02
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Farewell Summer

It took 55 years, but Ray Bradbury, 86, has written a sequel to Dandelion Wine. I haven't read it yet but I'm looking forward to it! Read the review by Carole Goldberg.

I'm so glad you are still writing and inspiring us, Ray!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Veteran's Day

To all our veterans, and to all servicemen and -women who are still on active duty, thank you for your service to our country and for fighting for our freedom. I'm just sorry most Americans only stop to thank you on patriotic holidays; you deserve our thanks every day for your sacrifices large and small.

Although the public seems to have forgotten, freedom isn't free. Or, to quote Sam Gamgee from The Two Towers (movie version), "there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it's worth fightin' for." The next time you see one of our veterans or servicemen/women, take the time to say thank you. There are lots of web sites where you can support our soldiers.

Operation Gratitude * Cards for Heroes * Letters from Home

If you know of any other good links to support our troops, let me know!

UPDATE Nov. 15. I just found this video in my e-mail and couldn't resist including it here:

Warning: Get out the Kleenex, especially if you've lost a loved one in the service.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day

I am so glad today is election day! Not only do I get to exercise my right to vote, today means an end to the six or eight election phone calls we've been getting daily for the last few weeks. I don't know why they bother. I'm sure I'm not the only person who ignores such phone calls. I don't even listen to their annoying messages!

Did you vote today? I voted on my way to work. Isn't voting more fun nowadays, thanks to Al Gore? Instead of good, old poke-a-hole-in-the-punchcard-ballots we get to color in all the bubbles, and there were a lot of bubbles this time. I hope these scan-tron ballots aren't too sensitive. I always wonder if I filled in the bubbles completely enough and what happens if I go outside the lines a little? I try not to think about it; it takes long enough to just color in the bubbles without worrying about things like staying inside the lines.

I'm sure voting today took longer than the last election. I had to wait in line to get a ballot, then wait in line forever to get a booth. I don't know if the people ahead of me were reading all the proposals for the first time or just taking forver to color in the bubbles, but they sure took their time!

If you have not yet done so, go vote. Just be sure to color in the bubbles completely and stay inside the lines.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A Disappointing Book from Elizabeth George

In today's paper I saw that Elizabeth George's new novel, What Came Before He Shot Her, is #7 and rising on The New York Times best-seller list. I wonder who is reading this book, because I'm sure not!

This is a prequal to the previous book in George's Inspector Lynley series, With No One as Witness, in which an important supporting character is killed. (No names mentioned in case you are still reading the rest of the series!) It's not Inspector Lynley or his sidekick Constable Havers, but it is someone close to them. The book ends with Lynley resigning from Scotland Yard and Havers uncertain about the future.

What Came Before He Shot Her
does nothing to advance the series storyline. Instead it's 600 wretched pages about the wretched life of the 12-year-old who killed the important supporting character. It's grueling, realistic, and awful beyond words. If you like torturing yourself with realistic fiction, you'll love it, but that's not why I read mysteries. Where is the sense of closure or justice?

Don't bother looking for your favorite characters, either. The important supporting character shows up for two pages (long enough to die), Havers and Sergeant N'kata show up for only two pages (in a scene from With No One as Witness), and Lynley doesn't even appear.

Don't mistake me: I like George's writing style and loved all of her previous books. That's what makes this one all the more disappointing.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

No More Meerkats for Me!

It's over. I can't stand to watch Meerkat Manor any more. I love every one of those little critters and am still upset about the deaths of Shakespeare, Tosca, and little Bubble. Little Blossom's tragic death last night was the last straw.

Poor little Blossom, just one month old, wandered away from her family, exploring the world, and while she was just out of sight (hidden by the tall, summer grass) she was killed by a bird of prey. It was awful! I know one in four baby Meerkats don't make to adulthood, but I don't need to see why.

If anyone watches, keep me updated, but don't tell me if anybody dies!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

No Costume, No Candy

Last night I handed out candy to trick-or-treaters at my friends' house while they took their kids out trick-or-treating. I only have two rules. To get candy kids must:

1. Wear a costume
2. Say "Trick or Treat"

Older kids who don't have a costume can sing for their candy. You'd be surprised at how many just walk away instead! (At least two this year.) I only had one rude teenager who complained that he didn't like the candy. I told him he was out of luck. (The rude little @#$%^!)

My friend said some older boys were picking on her girls (ages 9 and 12) while they were trick-or-treating. She finally had to yell at him to leave the girls alone, but he backed off then. That's the only problem we had all night. Small potatoes compared to the number of arson fires in Flint last night.

All in all, it was a lot of fun. I love seeing the little kids in their costumes, playing the scary music CDs, and re-living my own trick-or-treating days.