Friday, December 22, 2006


Maybe because it's the end of the year, but it seems while Christmas is the season of hope, it's also a season of change. I look at my kids, and I think they've grown two inches since the beginning of the month. Molly got contacts yesterday; it's our Christmas gift to her this year. Oh man, are we going to be in trouble. She's always been a pretty girl, but now that her beautiful hazel eyes are not hidden behind glasses, her whole face has opened up. How on earth did I give birth to such a lovely young woman? And when did she become a young woman? I must have blinked or looked away for just a minute, and suddenly my little girl is gone. Mia's growing up so quickly as well. The other two kids had to be told about Santa before they went into junior high. Apparently we kept up the illusion a little too well; they never figured it out on their own. Mia's not even four, and she's been asking hard to answer questions all season. How come I had to tell Santa what I wanted again? (She saw him in two different places.) How come he was driving a car and not a sleigh? She told me today that she didnt' think he was real. We talked a bit, and I think I may have bought us at least this year, but she's so perceptive, I don't know about next year. Rudolph however she believes in whole-heartedly.

Here's a hilarious video by a comedian ranting about Pachelbel's Canon. It doesn't sound like it would be funny, but it is. There's a little light profanity at the end; just a warning for those who are easily offended.

Thunderstruck by Erik Larson is the story of the pursuit of wife-murderer Dr. Hawley Crippen and the Marconi device that caught him. Larson alternates between the life of Guglielmo Marconi, the creator of the first wireless telegraph device and Dr. Hawley Crippen who was trapped in a loveless marriage with his wife Cora. The tension builds in both tales as Marconi battles rivals and public opinion to make his device a success and as Crippen falls in love with his secretary Ethel. Marconi is a egotistical savant who isn't always sure why or how his ideas work but is able to translate his instints into science. Crippen is a classic Milquetoast who struggles with failed careers and repressed emotions. The murder is the more interesting story and the book suffers in spots because there is a great deal of information about Marconi and his work, but there is a dearth of info about Crippen and his. The two characters are almost polar opposites, and yet the works they are best known for are opposite to their personalities as well. Crippen would be far better suited as a thoughtful, quiet creator of the wireless, while the volatile Marconi would almost be typecast as the wife-murderer who runs away with his mistress. The stories are completely separate until Crippen and Ethel board a ship to Canada to escape the police on their trail. The book is definitely an interesting read, especially learning about the intense rivalries among turn of the century scientists, but for a more colorful (and fictionalized) version of Crippen's murder, read Crippen: A Novel of Murder by John Boyne. It doesnt' have the power of Larson's book, but it's more readable.

Today is rainy and cold. 2" puddles in December seem very out of place. This should have been the weather we got in October. But we're supposed to get 5-9" of snow tonight, so there's hope for a white Christmas yet.