Saturday, October 06, 2007, posted by Q6 at 6:38 PM
Are you paying attention, Mr. Gore?

I really had no idea how many light bulbs I had in my house until I tried to go a little greener and replace them all with compact fluorescent bulbs. I bought the ten pack of these things at Costco, only to discover that ten bulbs weren't enough to replace just the lights I use most often. My next trip, I'm going to purchase another ten pack and put this little project to bed. That should lower my already incredibly low electric bill. (Of course, the next part of plan involves ceiling fans and a tankless water heater--I'll be living a greener life, but I'll have the highest electric bill in my personal history. I wish that made more sense to me.)

By the way, if there's a proper way to dispose of regular incandescent bulbs (other than throwing them in the trash can), then I screwed up.
Thursday, October 04, 2007, posted by Q6 at 5:35 PM

Jay Heinrichs has written a wonderful book about rhetoric titled Thank You For Arguing. As a former speech competitor and coach, I couldn't get enough of this stuff. I agree with him 1000% that the art of rhetoric has suffered in today's electronic age, and I would love nothing more than for language itself--witty banter, educated discourse, double entendre, . . . the whole smash--to make a glorious comeback.
Gavin DeBecker's The Gift of Fear is an amazing book. Not only is it the easiest read I've ever encountered in non-fiction, but it's one of those books that answers the question, "Why doesn't life come with an instruction manual?" This is it. This one right here. I even gave this book to everyone I could one Christmas. DeBecker, who runs the foremost personal security firm on the planet, demonstrates how intuition works and explains how best to listen to it. In many cases, this has saved people's lives. He's written several follow-up books, including one that focuses on child safety and (of course) one that addresses the fears raised by the September 11th tragedy. I keep waiting for him to publish more, but those who have read his books know that he's got enough to do already.

Finally, no book list of mine would be complete without Douglas Adams' The Hitchhker's Guide to the Galaxy. A trilogy in five parts (which more or less sums up the humor we're dealing with here), this story begins as a simple science fiction romp and winds up being an impressive philosophical adventure. You have to appreciate British humor to really get the full force of it, and if you can you're in for an awesome read. Adams did some other work as well, but this series (originally developed as a radio program) has the greatest following. It's become my all-time favorite book, and I have the tattoo to prove it.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007, posted by Q6 at 11:23 PM
Here's the scene at last night's dinner: me, my fiancee, and my fifteen-year-old son sat around the table eating spaghetti and salad. It's gotta be painful for the boy, having dinner conversation with two English teachers. My son tells us about his day at school . . .

Boy: "In English class, we read some stuff about a guy named John Edwards, and then we had to illustrate his work as a summary."
Me: "I see. And how did you enjoy Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God?"
Boy: (blinking, either in awe or in shock--he hadn't mentioned the title or the content) "How do you do that?"

A little later, he got to watch Teacher vs. Teacher:
Fiancee: "You said you were feeling feverish earlier. Do you feel any better?"
Me: "Temperature-wise, no. I still feel hot."
Fiancee: "Do you have a thermometer?"
Me: "Yes, but its calibration is all off. It's an ear thermometer. An aural thermometer, if you will."
Fiancee: (with a courtesy laugh) "Well, maybe we should get a regular thermometer. An oral thermometer, if you will."
(I actually think this was lost on the boy, but we enjoyed it.)

Then Fiancee and the boy got into it:
Boy: "I'm doing okay in English now. I've go the whole 'English' thing under control."
Fiancee: "So if I were to obfuscate the connotation of this discourse . . . "
Boy: (pause; then, to self) "Crappo."

Ah, the bonding of dinnertime.
Monday, October 01, 2007, posted by Q6 at 11:21 PM