December 14th, 2005


Wilderstead in Winter

Chilly waters
Chilly waters

I went out to Wilderstead this afternoon (actually, yesterday afternoon by now). I never tire of looking at it, wandering through it, or just breathing out there. It is my quiet refuge. There were deer tracks everywhere. I took this picture of the semi-frozen creek.

I keep thinking about a name for this creek. As a spring-fed stream, it never -quite- dries up. And it has no name on any official map. I'm thinking of calling it the Pishon. Why? Well, the Pishon was one of the four rivers of Eden in Genesis, and it was the one that flowed from the land of much gold. Gold was found in times past on the gravel bar down at Hueseman Ford on Laughery Creek, but nowhere else on Laughery. Since this little stream flows into Laughery just at that point, it must be carrying minute traces of gold from somewhere up the hollow between Woods Ridge and Akes Hill.

Wilderstead is my Eden. There is a hint of gold in the area. Hence, Pishon Creek. Any other suggestions?

Literary Quiz

Great Opening Lines

Each book and each author is worth one point.

Grading Scale
36-40 Doctor of Humane Letters
31-35 Literary Maven
26-30 Educated Barfly
21-25 Printer's Devil
0-20 Right Tackle

1 “First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys.”

2 “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

3 “Last night I dreamt we were at Manderly again.”

4 “Someone must have been spreading lies about Joseph K, for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one morning.”

5 "Call me Ishmael."

6 "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit."

7 "Arma virumque cano."

8 "Marley was dead, to begin with."

9 "Midway this way of life we're bound upon,
I woke to find myself in a a dark wood,
Where the right road was wholly lost and gone."

10 "Hwæt! we Gar-Dena in geardagum
þeod-cyninga þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æðelingas ellen fremedon."

11 "Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote
the droghte of March hath perced to the roote . . ."

12 "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."

13 "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

14 "Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun."

15 "All Gaul is divided in three parts."

16 "I have no intention of explaining how the correspondence which I now offer to the public fell into my hands."

17 "O, for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention,
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!"

18 "You don't know about me, without you have read a book by the name of 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,' but that ain't no matter."

19 "There was a man named Lessingham dwelt in an old low house in Wastdale, set in a gray old garden where yew-trees flourished that had seen Vikings in Copeland in their seedling time."

20 "On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays it was Court Hand and Summulae Logicales, while the rest of the week it was the Organon, Repetition, and Astrology."

Credit to jadeejf for original idea.

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beats working

Christmas Quiz

1. Christmas trees are a custom that originated in
A. Iceland
B. Germany
C. Italy
D. Russia

2. Some Christmas songs are carols, and some aren't. Which of these songs IS?
A. Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
B. Deck the halls with boughs of holly
C. Joy to the world
D. Silent night

3. In Charles Dickens's story A Christmas Carol, how many ghosts haunted Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve?

4-6. What are the traditional names given to the three Kings (the Magi, or Wise Men)? Pick three.
A. Alberich
B. Aloysius
C. Balthazar
D. Caractacus
E. Caspar
F. Denethor
G. Earendil
H. Jabez
I. Julius
J. Lazarus
K. Melchior
L. Melchizedek

7. When and Where did St. Nicholas live?
A. 4th Century, Turkey
B. 12th Century, Norway
C. 16th Century, Holland
D. Never, North Pole

8. Advent means:
A. "Preparing"
B. "Opening"
C. "Coming"
D. "1/2 Off Sale!"

9. What WAS in those ships all three, on Christmas Day in the morning?

10. Who stole Christmas, in Dr. Seuss's book?
A. Satan
B. The Grinch
C. Professor Moriarty
D. Jack Frost

11-12. What did the angels wish to God and to Men, respectively, on that first Christmas? Hint: "X to God in the highest, and on earth Y, Z to Men." [Y or Z will count]

13-20. Name Santa's eight miniature reindeer, as given in C.C. Moore's poem A Visit From St. Nicholas.

16-20 You can drive the sleigh!
11-15 You get to be an elf.
6-10 Start making Easter eggs.
0-5 Expect a lump of coal.

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The silence is deafening

Right up until the last minute, Tookie Williams's partisans were acting as if this were civilization's last ditch, and they had to defend it or else. But after his execution, he immediately became old news. Neither the MSM nor the anti-death-penalty folks could work up enough outrage to say much about the event. Ho-hum, what's the cause du jour?

Don't you think that if they'd really believed all that hokum about his "innocence," they'd have been all over it with the press conferences and street theater on the day following his death? Naah: Tookie was just another horse to ride in their perpetual promotion of grievance. Once he was dead, even they didn't mourn him.

Religious Literacy Quiz

I seem to be chattering a lot today. What is the right word for "chatter" when applied to typing? "Clattering?" Anyway, this will be my last quiz for the day. I was going through some old, old files in First Choice (why can't they make a program that good, anymore, huh?), and I came across this instrument. This is the quiz I gave to 8th and 10th graders fifteen years ago for my dissertation. See what y'all can do with it.

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