Friday, December 30, 2005

Exciting news at last!!!

Tonight is the night. Finally. I can tell you some exciting news. My first paper since 1998 is now published. You can see the abstract here. Okay, in my business, publishing is expected. What is so exciting about that? Well, a couple of weeks ago, my editor friend informed me that one of my figures was going to be used on the cover of the journal. This issue is in honor of my first postdoc advisors 65th birthday. So, having my figure as one of two on the front or back cover is really an honor. The figure is similar to this one:

Now, I'm sure you're probably thinking what's all the fuss. Well, this postdoc advisor means the world to me, so having a paper published in his special issue and having a color figure on the cover is just too cool. I owe my career to this guy. I'm just glad I was asked to contribute.

Political blogging

Today, I made my first post on the DailyKos political blog. And a quite good one at that, so I'm thinking.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Today's the Day

visitor 1000 will arrive at some point, probably before midday - identify yourself in the comments :o)

and just perhaps, if some folks in New Jersey will get off their asses, there might be some exciting news as well. But, after waiting for the last 4+ weeks, I'm not hopeful...

Monday, December 26, 2005

Happy Chanukah and visitor 1000

Today is the first day of Chanukah - the festival of lights, a celebration of the victory of the Maccabees and the rededication of the Jerusalem Temple. It also commemorates the miracle of the oil that burned for 8 days. Last evening we lit the first candle of the menorah. We light an additional candle each night for 8 nights. We give gifts of gelt - chanukah money - which is then given to those less fortunate. And of course, we eat latkes and play dreidel.

I can't say exactly who visitor 1000 to the meadow will be since I didn't start keeping track at the beginning. However, sometime in the next few days, the counter will hit 1000. Who will the lucky visitor be, a neighbor? a local friend? family from back home? Mrs. Bloom? a new friend on another continent? a random visitor from Live Journal? If you happen to be the one, identify yourself in the comments.

Friday, December 23, 2005

American Girl revisited

I ranted about how the Christian right was boycotting American Girl over some straw man in the name of "pro-life" here. Well, it looks like Mattel and American Girl caved in and will end their support of Girls Inc. at the end of the year. It sucks that American Girl will not renew the agreement with Girls Inc. in support of Girls Inc.'s academic activities for young ladies. So, for James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson, I've got a Christmas present for you right here.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

411 Sulphur Springs Road

On this piece of land in the town of Manchester, Missouri, stood a modest old farmhouse. The Martin Engler House was built as a residence in 1906. It looked about like any other early 20th century white clapboard farmhouse. This one had a small screened porch that protected a beautiful wooden door. There were majestic maple trees in front of the house and a shed and garage out back. Now back in 1906, there probably wasn't much in the way of suburbs surrounding this farmhouse. It would have been on the edge of Manchester proper. This proud old farmhouse looked out of place once its farm was covered with postwar ranch houses, all looking the same, boring babyboomer style. You know, with the fancy picture windows and carports.

I loved that old farmhouse. It came on the market a couple of years ago. We could have bought it. Alas, it wasn't practical - too small really, and no airconditioning. That old white clapboard farmhouse was my favorite house in all of West County. Driving home from God knows where the other day, I saw the pile of splintered wood in the lot and the big scoop in the yard crushing what was left of that grand old house. Today, they were removing the last bits of the rubble. The old radiators had been removed and set aside - I'm sure so someone could sell them to someone doing a refurbish job. Those big beautiful trees have been pushed over. The whole lot cleared. By now, I'm sure it's all gone. I just found where the city granted the owner a variance to create two non-regulation lots where this old house once stood. That can only mean that soon, two brand new, 21st century, cookie cutter retro-style homes will soon be standing on this treeless lot.

Those bastards.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Johnny you rat bastard!!!


Damon jumps to Yankees: "A Red Sox offseason of discontent and upheaval took another shocking turn last night when free agent center fielder Johnny Damon, who had achieved rock star status in Boston, defected to the New York Yankees, agreeing in principle to a four-year, $52 million contract that will become official when he passes a physical."

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


not today. Maybe tomorrow...

Monday, December 19, 2005


Well, the president admitted on radio that he violated the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, but no one seems to give a shit. Let's see - get a blowjob, get impeached. Violate the Constitution, get a free pass. I wish someone would hurry up and give this scumbag a blowjob so we could impeach his ass.

In the words of Ben Franklin:
They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security

So, I really have no news. It's really out of my hands. Tomorrow maybe, or so I'm thinking...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Yes, it is official. I'm on vacation through Jan. 2. My employer closes from the 23rd to the 2nd. I've added my unused vacation days to that to get my annual year end reprieve.

Boston was great. I could definitely get used to Cambridge. There's something about sitting and watching the ice flow down the Charles River with the city as the backdrop. I could listen to people paahking the caaahs down by the haahbah all day. I also didn't know that they had my all-time favorite restaurant there, The Helmand. It is an Afghani restaurant that I first experienced a couple of years ago in Baltimore. We had dinner there again. Their baked baby pumpkin with garlic yogurt appetizer is to die for. The spicy meatballs are the best I've ever had. If you ever make it to Baltimore or Cambridge, you must try this place.

Mission accomplished in getting the kids Sox hats to go with mine. M. got one of these

and K got this one

I didn't forget TG either. She's got a nice warm Haaahvahhd sweatshirt now.

I also got some other exciting news, but it'll have to wait a bit longer, or so I'm thinking...

Monday, December 12, 2005

blogging from Boston

I finally made it. A pilgrimage to Fenway Park. I took a pic from my camera phone, but for some reason, I can't email it. Essentially, my pic was of this view

I made it to the gift shop across the street and picked up a couple of hats for the kids, and I got my own Ted Williams t-shirt. It's a cool area of town. Had lunch at Boston Beer Works brewpub. Had a nice tall glass of Fenway American Pale Ale. Tasty. Hopefully, next time I visit, I'll actually be inside watching the Sox.
Back to the midwest tomorrow. But God, it's great to be in New England again.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Off to Boston

Quiet this week as I didn't want to write anything before the anniversary of Lennon's death and bump his pic from the top. I'm off to Boston - actually Cambridge (home of MIT and Harvard) - tomorrow to visit our remote site and work with some of the folks there on my project. I don't really need an excuse to go to New England, even if it is the dead of winter. My hotel is right on the Charles River, so hopefully, I'll have a room with a view. I've been promised lunch down by Fenway Park and a visit to the gift shop to pick up a few things for the kiddos (and myself...?). I'll be back on Tuesday evening, but I'll try to blog from the road.

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

December 8, 1980

I was 14. I was a fan of the Rolling Stones. My cousin Alex was the Beatles fan. I was all about the emotion of rock and roll. Alex was into the heady side. He called me that night to tell me that Lennon had been shot. I'm sure we both went back to our rooms and turned the stereo to the local rock station. Beatles/Lennon songs filled the playlist. Fans called remembering John. The next evening, there was a tribute show on the radio. Alex recorded it. I bet he still has it in a closet somewhere.
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

At the time, I suppose I didn't see Lennon's death as anything more than a celebrity of the recent past meeting a cruel and untimely death. I know I watched all the tv specials. But as I've gotten older, I've paid more attention to the man John Lennon. Here was a gentle soul with a platform to do just about whatever he wished. Yet, he used his platform to try to make the world a better place. Sitting here in 2005, I'm pretty certain the world isn't a much better place than it was back in the early 70s. The more I think about it, the scarier the parallels. The world may not have changed much, but I know we're better off having heard the songs of John Lennon.

All we are saying is give peace a chance

Friday, December 02, 2005

An update on P.

You may remember my good friend who was diagnosed with cancer this summer. I got a note from his wife today. P.'s had 9 rounds of chemotherapy and has just had his second set of CT scans. There are no new tumors and the original one has shrunk considerably. There is no longer lymph node involvement in his stomach area. After the first set of CT scans a couple of months ago, they said that remission was a possibility. P.'s getting tired of the treatments, but there is hope on the horizon. Hopefully, we'll be able to see him this holiday season.

A Wreath for Emmett Till

I wrote about Emmett Till back in the summer here. Recently, I was told about this new book telling the story of Emmett Till's brutal murder. The book is written as an heroic crown of sonnets - 15 sonnets where the first line of each sonnet is the last line of the previous one. The last sonnet is composed of each of the first lines of each of the previous sonnets. The imagery in both words and illustrations is haunting, horrific, and at the same time beautiful. The sonnets are complex in their symbolism, challenging the reader to think. Due to the nature of the crime, this book is not appropriate for small children. But, when the time comes, it is a story that must be told to them, lest we revert to a time and place where this brutality becomes the norm again.