December 31, 2012

2012: the blogging year in review

We are now counting down the last hours until 2013, which means that I am again contemplating the "state of the blog," as I do at this time every year.

This year I made 78 posts, including this one—up a few from last year. It's a far cry from the nearly daily blogging habit of the early 2000s, of course. February came close. I'd like to pick out a theme for the year based on my posting trends, but there really was none. (I almost chose "the end of the world," until I realized that Harold Camping's fiasco was in 2011. You're gone and forgotten, Harold.) No drunk moose or monkeys this year—somehow, I managed even to overlook the monkey in the Ikea store a few weeks ago! So I'll give myself good marks for maintaining volume, and take some off for scatterbrained topics. All in all, a C+ year.

I resolved last year to up my reading volume, and I certainly did that. My goal was to read a novel a week, or at least 50 in the year. If I can finish off the one I'm currently reading by tonight, then I'll have an even thirty. That's not bad; in fact, it's about a threefold improvement over last year.

I revived my Stephen King reading project, which had faltered in 2010, by going from The Shining to The Running Man, and I will continue to push through his collected works in 2013. I also took two books off my "incomplete" list that have been there for several years: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Heretics of Dune. (Once I read Chapterhouse: Dune in a week or two, I'll finally have finished all of Frank Herbert's original series. Finally, I made two new discoveries that show some promise for the future: the Saint books by Leslie Charteris (along with the TV series with Roger Moore and the old radio shows with Vincent Price), as well as the Jack Reacher books by Lee Child. I've actually never been much of a mystery reader, apart from Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayer.

You know, it occurs to me that if I converted the Crusty Curmudgeon into a book blog, I'd solve both problems: posting volume, and reading volume. (But that would be boring.)

2013 is a milestone year: September 4 will be the 10th anniversary of the Crusty Curmudgeon. While I'm nowhere nearly as active as I was for the first three or four years, I haven't given up. I don't intend to. I will see you again in the new year, Faithful Readers. All the best for 2013, and God bless you.

December 20, 2012

And that's our show for this evening

See you in the morning, all. Maybe. Sing us out, Vera Lynn.

Listen to the words long written down

Just sing out a 'Te Deum'

(N.B. I don't believe, not really)

Yes, the Bruce Dickinson

Only William Shatner's a Captain Kirk. And Chris Pine.

Armageddon outta here

Apart from laryngitis, I feel fine

Have you ever noticed how much "apocalyptic" and "a capella" sound alike?

Given that the 13th b'ak'tun on the Maya Long Count Calendar ends tomorrow, signifying the end of the world, I thought it would be appropriate that we all go out the way we came in. Screaming.

In the meantime, however, enjoy this evening's selection of soothing, doomicious ditties, which shall be presented this evening automatically and with no further comment, so that I can crawl under my coffee table and practice my fetal position.

Stupid Mayans. Keep your calendar to yourselves, next time.

December 19, 2012

2! Minutes! To miiiiiiidniiiiiight . . .

I was at a friend's place last night, and in the lobby there was a notice that there would be a fire alarm test this Friday (i.e. December 21).

My first thought, natch, was that maybe they should test them a day earlier.  They might come in handy when the Mayapocalypse goes down . . .

December 15, 2012

This is it people . . .

5 more days to the end of the world, according to the Mayan Long Count Calendar.

This is huge—at least as important as Harold Camping's prediction of the end of the world last year.

December 13, 2012

And now . . . this - Dec. 13/12

Oh, deer

A suburban New York City village is considering controlling the rising deer population by darting them with a contraceptive. . . .

Newsday Westchester reports that the project would keep the animals from reproducing for up to three years. The village expects soon to receive state and federal environmental approval for the plan.

[Full Story]

Hmmm. That's a bit of a mystery: where to find an effective, affordable, and shootable cervine population control method?

December 12, 2012

Gross cubed

It's 12/12/12 12:12:12.

Not as fun as last year's 11/11/11 sequential date, but nonetheless it looks cool on your watch. Alas, unless you're too young to be reading this, more than likely you'll never see another numeric coincidence like this in your lifetime: the next one will occur on January 1, 2101.

Of course, no one is going to see that anyway, because in 10 days on 12/21/12, the Mayans are going to rise from the dead and bludgeon the planet into extinction with their calendar.

That is all.

December 06, 2012

On this day

Had he not passed away yesterday, today would be the 92nd birthday of jazz legend Dave Brubeck (1920–2012). His groundbreaking 1959 album Time out was centred around the concept of unusual time signatures, and though unconventional, it soon became a huge bestseller, and arguably is one of the "gateway" albums through which newcomers to jazz approach the genre.

Brubeck was second only to Herbie Hancock on my hierarchy of jazz pianists, and the world is significantly less groovy today. By now you've probably heard more than your fair share of Brubeck clips on the news, but I hope you're not averse to one more take of "Take 5" in his honour:

So it turns out I'm exactly 50 years younger than Dave Brubeck. Well, that's something.

Also today is the 95th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion. On December 6, 1917, the Norwegian steamer Imo collided with the French cargo ship Mont-Blanc in Halifax Harbour. Mont-Blanc subsequently caught fire and then detonated, levelling much of Halifax and killing nearly 2,000 people. At three kilotons, it was the largest man-made explosion in history until the birth of the atomic bomb (by comparison, Little Boy, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, was 16 kilotons). The shock wave from the blast was heard and felt hundreds of miles away; then-Prime Minister Robert Borden was in Charlottetown, PEI, and he heard it.

Third, this is the 23rd anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, in which the deranged Marc Lepine armed himself, entered L'Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, and killed 14 women. Despite being a white, Christian male (who was also studying engineering at the time of the murders), I still stubbornly refuse to accept responsibility for Lepine's actions.

Finally, this is the feast day of Saint Nicholas of Myra who, in addition to being the prototype of Santa Claus, was notorious for beating Arius at the Council of Nicaea. Go celebrate the day by slapping out a heretic.