Three Day Walk: In a fit of madness, I decided I could actually be somewhat prepared if I just delayed a couple of months. So, instead of cancelling, I just switched to the Philadelphia walk, which is in early October. You still have an opportunity to donate to help me reach the fundraising goal. (Note that the totals shown by this widget are not necessarily accurate.)
Celebrity Death Watch: There is lots to report in this category. Let’s start with Ernest Borgnine, who deserves a mention for his role in the classic movie Marty, a lovely little piece about an ordinary man finding happiness despite people around him. While I am on actors, there was Sherman Helmesley, who, in addition to his television roles, starred in the Broadway musical Purlie. Then there was Chad Everett. I watched Medical Center in the early 1970’s largely because of a crush on him.
Moving on to other categories of fame, Sally Ride was the first American woman in space, fulfilling the dreams many of us had. She also became an effective voice for women in science and technology. She was definitely one of my heroines.
Speaking of effectiveness brings me to Stephen Covey, who wrote The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I actually took the 7 Habits class when my (then) boss did, on the grounds that it is a good idea to know what your management is being taught so you can be effective at subverting it.
Finally, I want to mention Donald Sobol. He is probably most famous for the Encyclopedia Brown series of children’s mysteries. But I remember him primarily for the “two-minute mystery” puzzles that appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazines. Those provide a good example of the distinction between a pure puzzle and a full-up mystery novel, with character development. They aren't very satisfying reading, bt they are good exercises in mental development.
Other deaths (more conceptual): Weekly Highlights is ceasing publication. I always looked forward to reading this when I was in elementary school.
Matt Groening has stopped his Life in Hell comic strip. He is responsible for my most embarrassing celebrity encounter. Back when I lived in Venice, California, I would go to an occasional cocktail party at a local bookstore. At one party, I was looking at Life in Hell postcards and told a bearded man standing nearby how much I liked the strip. He replied, “Thanks, I draw it,” at which point I turned into a simpering idiot. He was gracious enough to not only autograph a book for me, but to also draw a cartoon in the inside front cover.
NOAA’s latest budget kills the Aquarius Reef Base, the only deep undersea base we have. I understand the budget realities, but I am deeply disappointed, especially as they are blaming increases in weather satellite costs for this.
Work annoyance of the month: They have rewickered the front door to our suite so that it closes by itself. However, it does so very very slowly. When nobody is at the front desk, whoever opened the door has to wait for it to close, which is a waste of time. I suppose that if this is the worst annoyance I’ve had at work all month, I am not doing too badly. (Or, more likely, I am just used to all the other annoyance.)
Weather words: While I was in Cincinnati, a massive line of thunderstorms and wind struck the D.C. area. This was officially referred to as a “derecho.” I am convinced that there is a special office of meteorology that creates words like this to make the rest of us feel dumb whenever there is some natural disaster that we might have referred to in ordinary English.
Speaking of words: Maybe it is just among the people I work with, but it seems like the expression “a couple three” has entirely supplanted “a few.” Please point it out to me should that abomination ever seep into my speech.
Awkward language: A news headline referred to homeless men being found “stabbed with notes.” I have, admittedly, gotten paper cuts from time to time, but I suspect that they were probably stabbed with more conventional sharp objects and notes were left with their bodies.
Fun with language: An advertisement from the DC Jewish Community Center for a Tu B’Av event referred to this Jewish celebration of love as “Valenstein.”
Unintentional fun with language: One of my colleagues had a slip of the tongue on the way out of the office last night and referred to the “HIV lane” on the highway. My immediate thought was that must be the truck lane on the Ukimwi Road. (“Ukimwi” is a Swahili word for AIDS. The reference is to the contribution of improved roads, along with the tendency of truckers to frequent prostitutes, in the spread of the disease in Africa in the 1980’s.)
Things I have yet to write about: I still need to write up the NPL con. I also need to do a big entertainment wrap-up as I saw six shows at the Capital Fringe, two other shows, and two movies. I’ve been planning for a while to write about dating. And I am going away this weekend so will have that to write about.