Best wishes for 365 days of
- Good health
- Good times shared with family and friends
You can’t live in Nebraska without making at least some passing reference to the weather. (So please indulge me.) Memories of 2021 in Lincoln may linger with us for a long time. Scattered throughout the year were various single-day records for the highest and lowest temperatures recorded on that date. We went from a -31 temperature in February to several consecutive 100+ days, a least one of which was the warmest ever for that date. We also had individual records for the snowiest and rainiest days. On December 15, the Weather Bureau logged a 93 mph wind gust, the all-time highest ever recorded in the city.
We spent considerable time strapping things down or moving them off the patio so we wouldn’t have to look for them two counties to the east of us. When we were out and about it was sometimes difficult to know whether to pack a parka and snow shoes or t-shirts and sandals. It was an interesting time. As I’ve said before, what with climate change and all, I am pretty sure that at some point Nebraska will be beach front property. So, I am for sure going to hang on to this place.
Normally this time of year brings anticipation of spring training in major league baseball. This year is iffy, though – from the sound of things there may not be a spring training, or even a major league season this year. Apparently the billionaire owners and the millionaire players can’t sort through the finances. Hope it will turn out okay.
There is not a lot of writing news this month. I am still waiting on some returns from a fiction short story. “Doomsday 3.0” is about the military activating an existing plan to restore order after the country lapses into chaos following a contentious election, quarrels between private militias, and seemingly never ending virus strains that disrupt the functioning of government. The response from one publisher who took a long look at it inferred that the subject might be too touchy for his magazine to deal with at the moment. That may be the case with some other outlets, also. But, the absence of responses is probably an indication that it simply isn’t good enough and needs more work. I will likely need to return to it after wrapping up some other stuff.
Sort of the same message applies to a book length manuscript – a non-fiction military history -- that has been in the bins of various publishers for a considerable time. COVID has devastated the staffs and, sadly, has threatened the continued existence of some of the smaller and mid-sized companies. I will give the process a bit more time and then re-look at the menu of publishing houses that might have an interest in considering it.
Marv Almy, a friend in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, publishes an email newsletter every morning that recaps the day’s major new stories and editorial opinions. A recent piece noted that the New York Times book review was celebrating its 125th anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, the Times had conducted a poll of its readers asking them to identify the best books during that past century and a quarter.
The top five were:
To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
The Fellowship of the Ring (J.R.R. Tolkien)
1984 (George Orwell)
One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
Beloved (Toni Morrison)
Other titles that drew considerable support included Parable, Watership Down, The Warmth of Other Suns, The Joy of Cooking, and The Road Less Traveled.
The Road Less Traveled is, by the way, a book by an author named M. Scott Peck. Years ago I wrote the following small take on Robert Frost’s poem that contains a somewhat similar line:
He had miles to go before he slept,
Through a forest dark and deep.
He took the road less traveled
And was run over by a Jeep.
It is distressing to note that those words have never been published by anyone, anywhere. It is indeed sad to think that something so deeply profound and thought provoking has never seen the light of day.
That leads us, quite fittingly, to other deeply profound and thought provoking items -- this month’s TRULY AWFUL PUNS.
If you have to wear both mask and glasses, you may be eligible for condensation.
Starbucks is planning on offering beer and wine. Apparently, it’s getting hard to sell sober people a $12 cup of coffee.
On new car models, they’re called “heated cushions”.
That’s because the term “rear defrost” was already taken.
Have a truly great 2022.