Amazon Decade-versary

I was on Amazon recently, tracking an order, and for no good reason decided to look at my past orders. And I discovered that it’s been a decade that I’ve been doing business with Amazon. Just over, actually: my first order was placed on 31 October 1996. Halloween, though I don’t remember if that had anything to do with it. My first order was for Idoru, which seems somehow appropriate… Read More

Dead End Street

Let’s hear it for local government! I live on a cul-de-sac in Chapel Hill. (I leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine which one. Extra credit for my Reference students in the Fall if you can find out when we bought the house & for how much.) Anyway, I live on a cul-de-sac. But until today there was no sign to indicate that it is a cul-de-sac… Read More

Redefining the word eye-ball

This rather startling image appeared in today’s CNN World Cup-themed offbeat images: This remined me very much of the cover art from Jean Michel Jarre‘s album Les Chants Magnetiques: And then, free-associating, I thought of the ’80s fashion for which I have no name, but I could think of 3 examples: If eyes are the windows of the soul, I’m not sure what this says about World Cup fans. Or.. Read More

I would prefer not to

Who’s Reading Your Cell’s Text Messages?, from eWeek [via Slashdot] Bubrouski, a computer science major at Northeastern University in Boston, is the proud owner of ‘,’ an account on the popular Verizon text messaging service… “I started getting phantom text messages with no callback number and an empty ‘From:’ field,” Bubrouski wrote. For example, text messages… told Bubrouski that “A student at 4105704297 has just completed Princeton Review Word Set.. Read More

Better living through automation

The Roomba that I wrote about in my last post arrived on Feb 15, not bad for a Valentine’s Day present! And the verdict is: we totally dig it, it scares the dog, the cat doesn’t care. How cool is it that we can be walking the dog, or making dinner, or whatever, and have a robot be cleaning the house at that very moment? Better living through automation, that’s.. Read More

The Obligatory Valentines’ Day Post

I was talking with AE earlier today & we both noted that the fact that it’s Valentines’ Day had barely registered, and that we hadn’t planned a post for today. So here is my Obligatory Valentines’ Day PostTM. I got my wife a Roomba for Valentines’ Day. I’m serious. I know that sounds really unromantic — I mean, let’s call a spade a spade here, I got my wife a.. Read More

International Edible Book Festival

This wacky item comes from the good people in the Duke Libraries Preservation department, via Yvonne: Please join the Preservation Department in celebrating the first annual Edible Book Festival at Duke on March 31, 2006, from 2-4pm in the Tower Reading Room. What on Earth is this you ask? It’s a festival celebrating books by making them out of food. The festival has been around since 1999, but this is.. Read More


I’m sure I’m not the first to notice this, but I’ve noticed that more and more I keep coming across the word fu. As in kung fu, or what is certainly one of the best names for a blog in the whole of the blogosphere, Geek Fu, or as one of my students put it recently, “Google Fu”. The OED has no entry for fu, though fou has two meanings:.. Read More

I thought I’d never see the day

Boston surfaces from the Big Dig, from CNN After more than a decade of ever-shifting traffic detours, the last major piece of roadway in Boston’s Big Dig opened Friday, officials said. From The Big Dig site: In order to finish the last three percent of construction, there are numerous road changes in place. Indeed.


I was in New Hampshire over the last few days visiting my parents. That is not, however, the subject of this post. The subject of this post is the evolution of language, I suppose. When I was in NH I naturally heard a lot of New Hampshire-ites talking. Many of them were NH natives — many, for that matter, natives of the small town where my parents now live. Anyway,.. Read More