I hope your year is off to a good start. Nita and I are boarded up at the moment, riding out some cold temps, fog, drizzle, and in the last few minutes some very large snowflakes. What happened to that climate change stuff, anyway? I was pretty sure that if I held on to this place long enough, Nebraska would eventually become beachfront property.
I didn’t get as immersed as usual in the bowl games. There are getting to be so many of them that they can almost be watched around the clock. But, man alive, those two playoff games (Georgia-Ohio State and TCU-Michigan), plus the one bowl game I did watch (Tulane-USC), were three of the best, nail-bitingest games ever to grace a TV screen. All were decided in the closing moments, one with three seconds remaining and another on the last play of the game. Wonderful to watch. Tulane’s entire season was a remarkable story and their comeback against USC will be replayed and written about for years to come.
Please be advised that there apparently was an administrative error at Santa’s headquarters. Somehow, our family was removed from the naughty list (erroneously, I’m pretty sure), so we wound up receiving an embarrassing amount of stuff. It was delightful – we are grateful to all for the mementoes and the dozens of cards and letters from so many folks around the planet who have graced our paths over the years. Thanks to all for the remembrances and many kindnesses.
It will probably be of no surprise to anyone to learn that much of the treasure trove that I received consisted of books. I am eager to dig into all of them. Much of my leisure reading is at night, so I am thinking about eating supper in mid-afternoon and going straight to bed. I think the three that I’ll start with are And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle; The Mosquito Bowl: A Game of Life and Death in World War II, and Interesting Stories for Curious People. Actually, I started And There Was Light a couple of nights ago. Like many others, I had long thought that Lincoln’s view on slavery and his commitment to ending it were beliefs that evolved and hardened over time. The book, though, makes it clear that his attitude towards the institution and his determination that those held in bondage should be emancipated were years-long convictions present in his life long before he entered the White House.
Similarly, I had read of some of the threats on his life that persisted from his first days in Washington. The reality, though, was that there were very clear dangers of assassination even before he took office. Compared to the present day, security was lax, almost at times to the point of being non-existent. The author of And There Was Light is Jon Meacham, a Pulitzer Prize winner. The research documentation is formidable: 153 pages of source notes and a 57 page bibliography.
There’s not a lot of writing news to report. The first feelers sent to prospective agents on the fiction book have not yet had time to percolate. Many of the notes I sent were dispatched in late November or early December. Most agencies indicate a six to eight week time frame for initial responses. The holidays and short staffing at many places have likely pushed that back even further.
I’m still doing some last-minute fiddling with the military history book. Like the first two volumes, the book discusses military leaders who have done extraordinary things but whose accomplishments have been ‘forgotten’ or lost in the shadows of other more renowned figures. The last chapter focuses on the Global War on Terrorism. As either closure to the chapter or as an appendix to the book, I thought it might be good to include a chronology of events associated with the struggle that have taken place around the world since 9/11. The list of terrorist acts and military responses over those 21 years is rather lengthy and different organizations sort and label them in different ways. Among many others, the U.S. State Department’s Office of Counterterrorism compiles an annual list. So, it will probably take me another week or so to wade through the remainder of that stuff and then finally, at long last, the writing will truly be complete. I had thought I had written the final sentence on it three or four times. But like the guy pushing the rock to the top of the hill, it just kept rolling back. Maybe this time I’ll shove it over to other side of the mountain. (Of course if no publisher retrieves it at the bottom, it could gather dust for years to come.)
TRULY AWFUL PUNS
I have a pencil once owned by William Shakespeare. He chewed on it a lot.
Now I can’t tell if its 2B or not 2B.
Four cousins – Time, Leap Year, Fortnight, and Daybreak – broke into the principal’s office. The principal quickly rounded up the four suspects, but quickly let three of them go since he was convinced that one of them would inform on the others.
He knew that Time would tell.
Best to all for the New Year and all the days to come.