Wednesday, December 30, 2009

End of 2009 musings...

It's a funny thing, in many ways I've always considered my new years and end of years to run concurrent with my school years, in other words, from August to July. This is because I've spend most of my life in schools, either as a student or an educator (and many years as both), so I don't always put the same empasis on Dec. 31st-Jan. 1st that a lot of other folks I know do. Still, this has been quite a strange and up and down calendar year - this 2009, and I can't say that I'm sorry to see it go and 2010 arrive. For that matter I"m also kind of happy to see the decade end (and yes, I know you purists consider 2001-2010 to be a decade, good for you but I'm going with 2000-2009, just like I consider 1930-1939 to be the "thirties" for instance, so there). Don't get me wrong, a lot of good things happened both in my personal life and in the world in general during the past decade and the past year, but...all things considered, I'm ready to move on.
A little retrospect is always good however, and I'm thankful for a lot - my family, my job, my co-workers, my books, my political party's electoral victories at the end of the decade. Despite some setbacks for both my family and my country, I'm fairly optimistic about the future.
On the book side I ran across some new authors (to me at least) in the previous years, some new major favorites now include fantasy wirters Neil Gaiman, and Terry Pratchett, historical fiction writer (and fellow Pulp lover) Paul Malmont, Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, sports writers Peter King, and Stewart Mandel, historical fiction writer Norah Lofts, and Pulitzer Prize winners Junot Diaz and Edward P. Jones both of whose works opened my eyes to new places and cultures. A good decade, and final year especially for reading. As the year ends I'm reading Terry Pratchett's Sourcery while trying to convert my family to become fans of the Discworld.
Physically, I'm trying to make the change from couch potato to moving being, encouragement is always welcome. I did start my wii fit profile today, at my daughter's urging, and took a short walk in the rain. We'll see how the new year goes.
The "animal whisperer" and the "teen age vegetarian moralist" are arguing, make that discussing the best strategies to use in playing Assassin's Creed II. "Shoot the flying demon!" "Here, let me do it!" "No, play it on your own dang file!" "Argghh..." Aw, the joys of being a parent. The "saint" (as I call my harried spouse) as retired to the relative quiet of our bedroom to read her Christmas present Under the Dome - I think I'll take my Discworld tale of Rincewind and his misadventures and join her. Good night all. Possibly more notes on the past year tomorrow, including my addiction to Facebook in general and Mafia Wars in particular...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Who Lincoln Was | The New Republic

Sean Wilentz has an excellent article on Lincoln. Here's the link,
Who Lincoln Was | The New Republic