Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I Love Words: Heliolatry

Word: heliolatry

Pronunciation: \hee-lee-AH-luh-tree\

Function: noun

Date: circa 1828

Definition: sun worship

I am a heliolater. Unfortunately, with my one-standard-deviation-removed-from-albino skin, that’s pretty much like being a person with a nut allergy who would like nothing better than to eat a PB&J (i.e., sad).

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Neverending To-Read List

I just read a short NYT review by William Grimes of a book called 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, by Peter Boxall (©2006). It was nice to hear another book lover poo-poo the idea of an authoritative list on the subject and also admit with guilt and resignation that he has not read some of the commonly agreed upon “great works” himself yet.

I really enjoyed the last few lines of the review, so I’d like to share them with you:

“In his novel Changing Places, David Lodge — not on the list — introduces a game called Humiliation. Players earn points by admitting to a famous work that they have not read. The greater the work, the higher the point score. An obnoxious American academic, competing with a group of colleagues, finally gets the hang of the game and plays his trump card: Hamlet. He wins the game but is then denied tenure.”

Ah, the irony.

Grimes also admits: “I have a personal white whale: Moby Dick. I really must read it before I die.” Oh dear, Mr. Grimes. I’m afraid I share your guilt on that one. I started reading MD sometime the year before I moved to California but put it down and never returned to it. Yet another book to add to my GoodReads to-read list, I guess! Are there any classics that you’re embarrassed to say you haven’t read yet? Do tell.

I say, rather than feeling guilty about the ever-growing list of “must-reads” we may not have gotten to yet, we should be happy to know our options for quality reading are virtually endless!

Friday, May 9, 2008


You and your significant other go to bed. One of you sports flannel PJs, piles on extra blankets, and still complains through chattering teeth that s/he can’t feel his/her toes. The other does all s/he can to keep at least his/her underwear on, complains that covering up with even the sheet is making him/her hot, and wonders if it would be okay to turn the fan on or open a window. Sound all too familiar? Then you, my friend, need THESE. Pure genius.

Answers to the IKEA Product vs. Lord of the Rings Character Challenge

The Lord of the Rings characters: 1, 4, 6, 7, 10 ,11.

IKEA products: 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Literary Laugh Track

The other day, when we were at Vroman’s, Matt bought The McSweeney’s Joke Book of Book Jokes, a compilation of book-related humor from the editors of McSweeney’s. It’s been sitting on my living room coffee table amidst piles of newspaper sections and magazines lately and, every so often, I pick it up and turn to a random page to amuse myself. Plenty of it assumes a well-versed knowledge of literature and/or authors and, so, may come off as a bit intellectually elitist at first, but plenty of it is actually pretty accessible. For instance, here’s the piece that made me chuckle today:

IKEA Product or The Lord of the Rings Character?” by Carley Feldman

1. Faramir
2. Freden
3. Grundtal
4. Boromir
5. Molger
6. Galdor
7. Freda
8. Agerum
9. Babord
10. Frodo
11. Griima
12. Akurum
13. Brunkrissla
14. Sultan Hogbo

(I’ll post the answers in my next blog.)

Transcendental Tart

Another belated blog . . .

My husband is a mathematician. And a damn good cook. Most days, those passions exist on parallel planes that don’t intersect, but every year in March, he gets to enjoy both at once. You might say, he gets to “have his cake and eat it too,” except we’ll have to call that cake pi(e). Yes, a *terrible* pun, BUT a fabulous excuse to bake and devour delicious desserts on March 14 (or 3.14 – the beginning of the string of numbers that constitute pi), Pi Day. Matt’s office celebrates every year and, every year, Matt bakes at least two pies. In the past, his old-fashioned cream pie (made from his grandmother’s recipe) has been a hit. This year, he made two berry pies that came out picture-perfect. In fact, here’s a picture of one!

Unfortunately, this year, I can only speak to their visual appeal . . . because Someone forgot to save me a piece. . . . Me? Bitter? Nooooo.