Monday, September 26, 2011

Al Aronson, Painter:

Al Aronson is a neighbor of mine, and his fine paintings are full of energy and pleasing color. If you spend a few minutes gazing at his online gallery, chances are that his work will lift your spirits. You can find out more about him and contact him through his website.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Knick, Knack, Knuckle-whack:

English has a lovely collection of words that begin with “kn”. These words have character, and there aren’t nearly enough of them. You need to contemplate a word like knude for just two seconds, to realize what we’re missing. I’ve made a list of suggestions here, although I doubt they’ll get into the OED any time soon. These words just sing, don’t you think?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday bad Word-play Hay Day:

I wish there was a really high-definition picture on the web of some hay. In great detail, larger even than this one: . 8,000 by 8,000 pixels, maybe. If you wanted to examine the whole picture on your screen, you’d have to take a scroll in the hay.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ominous Dark, Cloud on the Ground:

On September 11, 2001, I went to a meeting in the eastern suburbs of Philadelphia. I drove back north on the New Jersey Turnpike in mid-afternoon. To my right, the entire horizon – and I could see a lot of it – sported a line of dark, ominous cloud at ground level, tall enough to be visible everywhere, spreading north and south as far as the eye could see. It was smoke from the collapse of the the towers that had spread right down the Jersey shore line. I wondered how terrifying that sight would have been, had I not known what had happened. There was no way to tell whether it was drifting toward me, and I had never seen anything like it.

I wondered what that sight would be like to anyone who did not know about the disaster. I could imagine getting off the turnpike and driving away from it as fast as I could, and calling my wife to tell her to do the same.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I love my VibraLite 3 Watch:

The alarm goes off! Buzz! Wake up! Pump adrenaline!
Waking up to an alarm is a very individual matter. That’s why somebody invented an alarm clock that makes a loud noise and flies around the room until you catch it.

I’m the type that reacts swiftly to a loud alarm, pumping adrenaline and jumping into action too fast. The last time my phone woke me up, I grabbed it and mashed the end button, before I could even realize I had hung up on a phone call, not an alarm.

It’s the adrenaline that bothers me. As we get older, it’s better to wake up gently, get all the systems in working order before trying to do too much. I bought the VibraLite 3 because it reminded me of a movie I enjoyed, In Like Flint. The master hero in this movie twice puts himself into suspended animation, waking up only when his watch, responding to an alarm, extended a little hand and tickled the inside of his wrist. (He used this ability to ship himself into the enemy fortress.)

I never forgot that wrist tickle, and the VibraLite 3 is a watch that can beep or vibrate (or both) when one of its two alarms goes off. I had a practical reason for buying the watch, too. I need to wake up without waking my wife, and the vibrating alarm does the trick. But best of all: unlike all the other alarms in our house, it wakes me gently. Maybe it will add years to my life.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

I Love My Website:

Steve Martin used to do this bit in his comedy routine: “Oh, my shoe’s untied!” and he would bend down to his shoe. The TV camera would zoom in on his perfectly tied shoe. Martin would then stand up and say “I like to play tricks on myself.” So do I, even though they are unintentional.

As I entered the local supermarket, my eye caught a stand of plaques for dog lovers. Signs like: I {heart} my Basenji. I {heart} my Cockerspaniel. I {heart} my Poodle. I {heart} my Website. I ...

Wait, wait! I might want to buy that one.

I went back for a closer look. The plaque actually said:

I {heart} my Westie.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

A new definition of 'Optimist':

An optimist is someone - like me - who takes off one pair of glasses before looking for the other pair.