Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Word

The Guardian weighs in today with their take on the best on-line dictionary.  This, in wake of the announcement that the newest version of the golden standard, the OED, will NOT be available in hardcover.
A shame.  I still have my dual volume going back over 30 years that came with the complimentary magnifying glass that allows careful sifting through the onion-skin paper.  The books still have the smell of Olde English words from the 1400's.

A new on-line dictionary to me, as mentioned by the Guardian, is OneLook.  It's one of those look and click and click and click sites, as the main site is tied to 1,060 different dictionaries.  At last count, the site willl provide insight into 18,967,499 words.

The Guardian's preferred dictionary of choice?  The print version of Collins; the pocket version is the one available for free online.  No Kindle version available.  Yet.

Aside:  Speaking of words, anyone familiar with compikaze?  A most useful word in these dangerous online times.  Maybe that'll the main market for those web-access minimal software loaded $35 Indian computers?  Use 'em 'til they're infected.  Then, discard and start anew.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Philly Stifles Cupcakes

Oh, Kaaaaate, don't take your cupcakes to town!"

Sung to the music of....

Town, that is, if you're talking about Philly.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sad Day in Philly

A few days after making national news with threats of taxing/licensing bloggers, Philly's enforcement agents (which specific agents they were seems to be in question...see the link) seized the goods and the truck of The Cupcake Lady on Tuesday, August the 24th.

That night, in Citizen's Bank Park, a minor league umpire, Scott Barry, decided that Philly seems to be the place to exercise excessive vested power.  He ejected Ryan Howard, Philly's top power hitter, in the bottom of the 14th inning of a tense and interesting game against Houston.  The Astros, loaded with ex-Phillies, went on to win 4-2 in 16 innings.   Howard's ejection left a Phiilies bench bereft of position players so Roy Oswalt, a Houston Astro..make that a disgruntled Houston Astro just a month ago, went out to left filed for the Phils.  Being there last night was testament as to how much more a live game carries for the fan than simply watching it on the tube.  The crowd's incredibly loud serenading of Oswalt as he sauntered out way past his usual pitching mound territory toward left field left no doubt as to which team has the game's best fans.

Tonight, Roy Halladay, Phillies' Cy Young Contender, against Jay Haap, a Phillie a scant month ago.  The fans will be vocally armed and dangerous, waiting for just one slip from the umpiring crew that has now cost them the last two games.  At least 2 members of the 4 man crew will probably be eying where the nearest exit is at all times.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Porn Index

I missed this story yesterday on NPR.   As The Atlantic quipped, Strange Bedfellows.   Indeed.  Almost seems like one of those Malcolm Gladwell or Freakonomics stories that crop up, connecting disparate incidents or actions into a concoction of relativity.   Porn as a metric of peace & stability.  What a strange & wonderful world we are inhabiting.  Next, we'll be referring to Jenna Jameson as Dr. Jameson, Political Scientist.


The Wrong Point of an Argument

Currently, it seems the biggest argument nationwide regarding building/renovating in NYC is about the non-mosque Islamic Center that will be (maybe) going to be situated near a Adult Men's Club in downtown NYC.  So....there will be one building where women will be more than fully clothed close to a building where women will be BAREly clothed.  An interesting juxtapositional state of things; a state of affairs that always makes NYC an interesting place to visit.   My opinion as regards this national conversation?   I and every other non-residing in NYC American should just butt out.  This is a LOCAL issue, IMHO, not a national one, and from what I've read, New Yorkers, in general, are not against the conversion of the abandoned Burlington Coat Factory retail store into an Islamic Center.

The proposed real estate change that SHOULD BE discussed nationally is the purported plans of a very tall, very slablike, very undistunguished building allegedly to be erected near Penn Station.  What a monstrosity and what a stupid decision to place it such that views of the Empire State Building would be diminished!   From afar, mid-Manhattan should always be dominated by the Empire State and the Chrysler Buildings.  Old-fashioned POV from a guy who lived in Jersey and always got a thrill of seeing those two buildings as he drove into the City for another interesting turn of events.   The more things change the more certain things should stay the same.

Save the View!


Monday, August 23, 2010

Sense of Space

Some days I feel as if I've been living in a storybook neighborhood while the world "out there" has been going through changes that I've seen but hardly experienced.  Today, nails in certain housing coffins seem to be the story.

What struck me the most about these stories was a passing sentence in one of the links.   "For a little historical context, 1,200 square feet was the average home size in America in the 1960s. That grew to 1,710 square feet in the 1980s and 2,330 square feet in the 2000s".

Our house was built back in the mid 1910's, when Wilmington was known for shipbuilding and not just DuPont.  An "English garden" community was set up a bit inland from all of the shipbuilders on the Delaware River, for the workers and their families.  The houses range in size from 1,100 to (only one house) 2,100 sq. ft., wth the average being about 1,400, not including the (ever-leaking) basements.  So, for the day, early 1900's, these houses were considered quite spacious.  The attached house next door to us is occupied by a single woman and her dog; in the 1960's a family with 5 kids resided there.  Not including the dog, that means she had an average of 1,400 sq. ft. to herself while the 1960 family had an average of 200 sq. ft.  From all accounts of neighbors who were familiar with the family, everybody was relatively happy in "tight"quarters.   The young lady next door moved for a more "comfortable feel" of a home.  A larger house.

I am an admitted CroMagnon man.  If I live in a space I personally take care of the space.  Differences of opinion as to maintenance of said space do occur with my Ever-Loving Wife as our respective Visual Dust Detection Monitors are on different settings.   She sometimes infers that my Monitor is either off or its batteries are shot.  I believe in the "settling of dust" as a valid house-owning policy.  Our discussions are lively and our blood flows quite well thanks to these matter-of-opinion exchanges.

I can only imagine the level of discussions and the repetitiveness of the exchanges in houses of 50% or 100% the size of our 1,700 sq ft one.   Not to mention the size of the monthly billings for services ranging from heat to cleaning to lawn maintenance to electric to roofing.  That is a house that is a sinking ship of woes.

On any given day you may, if you're lucky, see a house for sale in our community.  You have to keep your eyes open as usually within a week that sale ssign is gone.  While larger, newer houses are bought up, eventually, as t a 10 to 30% discount, these old houses in our neighborhood go for the asking price or a 10-15% premium.

Sanity seems to be returning to home sizes.  No more bowling alley length corriders running between rooms with wall-to-wall carpeting running hither and yon.   You'll have to excuse me, I'm off to the backyard (cute & tiny) for a round of post-hole digging.   Winter was not kind to our fence.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cleaning & Forgetfulness

It's the dusk of Summer.  The Big Plans that seemed all possible when Summer dawned have, in part, been scrapped.  But there's always at least one Big Plan that still lurks, one that has been kicking around on the 3rd floor of our house for quite a few summers.  The Big Plan of Organization.   The 3rd floor is where most of my books reside, piled into bookcases, stacked on the floor in bookscrapers, leaning Pisa-like toward gravitational collapse.  The Ever-Loving Wife is, God Bless her, still in the frame of mind where change is possible.  I, yielding only centimeter by centimeter, have crouched behind my barricade of books upstairs wondering when the seige will end and an agreement will be reached.  I take on Billy Collins' "Forgetfulness" as a reason to keep all of the printed matter as "the memories (I) used to harbor decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of (my) brain, to a little fishing village where there are no phones". 

"The memory's definitely going but the books remain as vessels of the memory!", I shout out as a convoluted battle-cry.  The floor groans with the weight, the tome-dust flys in the heat of the room, settling down on books I most probably will not be picking up any time soon.

But which of the beloved ones do I let set sail?  Should there be a plan or do I simply let them slip down the stairs off to other homes where they will not be read?

"No wonder you rise in the middle of the night - Billy Collins

to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.

No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted

out of a love poem that you used to know by heart."

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Luckily, Blogging Isn't My Job Or I...

..would have fired me a while back.  My attendance on this site seems to have been rather...uhmmmm...spotty of late.  With the recent (seems month-long) heat wave here in the Mid-Atlantic, lethargy has taken hold.  I've been reading quite a bit, i.e., enjoying the creative pains of someone else.  What has consumed me, what with the heat, the reading, the beat-me-up beating-down sun, is an appreciation for writers of the 1800's and 1900's from the Deep South.  How did Faulkner create such master works in the Age Sans A/C?  Did he write only at night?  Did he basically take a mulligan on the summer (that being from early April to early October)?  Or, most probably, am I a Heat Punk?  The short amoutns of time I spent in Florida convinced me that I'd never EVER be able to live down there.  Even a few years in North Carolina were too much.  Now, it seems even Delaware is too much heat.

I'll be seriously considering retiring to Newfoundland in 10-15 years.  Interesting, but introverted, people.   Mostly a cold climate.  CLiffs to jump off of if the heat wave extends that far north.  Yeah.  Newfoundland might just be the place to fend off the 95-100 degree days.

Well, after what seems an eternity, I'll be hosting the Morning After show this Sunday on WVUD, 91.3, Newark, DE.  Tons of great new music; limiting myself to 3 hours of music will be most difficult.  So, if you're holed up somewhere cool, like a cave or a full-blast droning A/C room, tune in form 9 'til 12 EST this Sunday morning.  I will attempt to send you a cold breeze of sound.

On the WWW, you can listen from this floating point or from here..

Update, 8/17/10:  Playlist for the show is here.

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