A Christmas card, Just For You!

Apparently tomorrow is some sort of big holiday. Who knew, right? Hallmark is always making up these crappy holidays just to get people to buy more $8 musical cards.

Nevertheless, it has come to my attention that I did not send each and every one of my dear friends an individualized holiday greeting card. A situation that I will attempt to remedy, right this instant, by providing a template you can use to create your very own personalized holiday greeting from yours truly.

Simply print out this post, circle and/or insert your chosen personalizations, and voilà – a heartfelt holiday wish from me. You’re so very welcome.

– – – – – – – >cut here< – – – – – – – –

Dear _____,

Wow, another whole year has gone by. Hey, remember that day I [made a hilarious tweet / got your dog drunk / hit on your aunt / got you out of that speeding ticket]? That was so crazy. And then there was the time you [Favr’d my tweet / threw up on my kitchen floor / made that awful gazpacho / hit a pedestrian with your Segway]. It’s been a wild year, huh? Yeah.

You’ve been such a great friend ever since we met [in third grade / on Twitter / at reform school / in the confessional], and I just wanted to wish you the happiest [Christmas / Chanukah / Kwanzaa / Ramadan / parole] ever.

My best wishes to you and your [lovely spouse / girlfriend / boyfriend / mother that you still live with at age 36 / sexually ambiguous live-in “friend”], and good luck with [grad school / your new job / impending cosmetic surgery / recovering from rickets] in 2009.

Your [friend / pal / impersonal internet acquaintance / AA sponsor],

[Tony / Tone / @tony_d / Mr. Delgrosso]

posted 12/24/08 at 8:20am to Me me me, Snark · 7 replies · permalink

Intellectual infrastructure

On his DotEarth blog at the NYT, Andrew Revkin talks about the need to rebuild the nation’s intellectual infrastructure as part of the growing call to center an economic revival around so-called “green jobs”.

Rebuilding the actual physical infrastructure is all well and good, he argues, before going on to declare that so far there is very little public talk about the massive spending on non-defense research and development that would be required to make such a “green” economic revival possible.

His points all make complete sense; yes, money alone will not help the technical problems and yes, we need to reestablish science as a pillar of our educational system.

Yet with many research universities facing massive devaluations of their endowments and higher education becoming less affordable (if not impossible) for even many upper-middle-class families, I wonder if there will be enough properly educated domestic brainpower to even conduct the amount of R&D Revkin calls for.

At the risk of being called a socialist1, I don’t see any reason why part of an economic recovery plan can’t include federal grants for college students who pursue science degrees related to the green technologies being tapped as the key to an economic turnaround. That’s not to say that other fields aren’t as important, but if we’re collectively agreeing that we’re fundamentally behind in R&D in the green science we’re depending on to pull us out of recession, shouldn’t we be enabling the intellectual infrastructure by actually getting students into research programs?

  1. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time.
posted 12/11/08 at 11:36am to Our Doomed Planet, Politics, Science! · 1 reply · permalink

BOO – It’s Christmas

“There’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago..”

So goes a lyric we all know from the Andy Williams song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”1. We’ve sung it in school, we’ve caroled it at home, we’ve heard it every damn Christmas our whole damn lives. It’s still a lovely classic, though.

But what’s the deal with the ghost story part? Scary ghost stories? Are you fucking kidding me? Have none of you ever stopped to wonder what that’s all about?

Perhaps it’s just that I grew up in some oddball part of the country where this Christmas tradition never took hold. But I doubt it.

Other than the ghosts in A Christmas Carol, did you ever sit around and tell ghost stories at this time of year? I didn’t think so.

  1. Written in 1963 by Eddie Pola and George Wyle, in case you were wondering. Which I’m sure you weren’t.
posted 12/9/08 at 3:34pm to Slightly Too Long For Twitter, WTF? · 8 replies · permalink

Research assistance

Dear Lazyweb:

I need a little help with a few topics for some upcoming projects, and since I don’t have a research assistant, I thought maybe a few of you brilliant people in my audience would be able to point me in the right direction1.

1) I need detailed information from a working linguist or historian about Latino-Punic script, of the variety found in Carthaginian ruins in modern-day Tunisia (and/or Libya).

2) Also on the language front, I’m looking for someone who knows a considerable amount about Old French, specifically early development of the langue d’oc and any influences on it from North Africa and Moorish Spain2.

3) This one is for all of you: I’m looking for people who had grandfathers/fathers who fought in Tunisia or Bastogne during WWII who have photographs from that time, and are willing to let me borrow them to scan and return, and use the scanned material in a creative work.

Please send responses directly to research-at-delgrosso-dot-com. Thanks a heap.

  1. Whereby “point me in the right direction” I mean “do it for me”.
  2. Please note that for topics 1 and 2, I’m really looking for working experts on these subjects with actual knowledge of the linguistics – please don’t point me to Google links or books at Amazon, as that won’t help me at all. Thanks.
posted 12/8/08 at 1:17pm to Photography, Writing · 0 replies · permalink

Hope I’m on the “nice” list

Who has their Christmas list ready for Santa? I do I do I do!

posted 12/8/08 at 9:20am to Me me me · 0 replies · permalink