Cat in the Hat Construction Zone

Some years ago I read a Peanuts strip in which Charlie Brown and Linus were talking about a list of family contact information they had to fill out at school. In the final panel, Linus admits that he wasn’t sure what to write in the space for “Doctor”, so he’d written the name “Seuss.” Years later, I still remember that strip and I keep waiting for someone to ask me who my family doctor is.
Doctor Seuss – or, as his mother called him, Theodor Giesel (and no, I didn’t misspell either half of his name) – was born on March 2, 1904. And in 1957 he wrote The Cat in the Hat. So not only would this Friday have been Dr’s Seuss’ 103rd birthday, it can also be viewed as the Cat’s 50th.
I don’t know how long it’s been going on, but a few years ago I learned that March 2nd is celebrated as “Cat in the Hat Day.” This weekend, on March 3rd, my Jaycees chapter is going to participate in a Dr Seuss-inspired event called “Read Across America” (we’d have gone for the 2nd except that’s a Friday and everyone has jobs).
The big project for Tuesday evening was preparing a bunch of books that Nicole had convinced the Germantown Kohl’s to donate to the event, and then putting together a collection of “Cat in the Hat” hats that will be used as decorations for Saturday’s event. On the spur of the moment, I got out my cell phone and took a few photos of the result. In real life, the hats are red and white. But the cell phone camera, when combined with the fluorescent lights, results in photos that have the hats looking like we’re in a construction zone. 🙂

The Gaithersburg edition of “Read Across America” is Saturday, March 3rd at the Gaithersburg Library on Montgomery Village Avenue. The event starts at 9:30 and continues until 11:00. Approximately 200 kids will receive books donated by the Germantown Kohl’s, approximately 90 will receive the kit and instructions for making their own Cat in the Hat hats.

A Fun Twist on Sudoku

Bill Holbrook, the artist behind the Kevin and Kell cartoon, has come up with a new twist on Sudoku. As he points out in today’s strip, there’s really no significance to the numbers on a Sudoku grid.
The world of Kevin and Kell is populated with anthropomorphic animals, with a society loosely organized along the lines of what different species eat: Herbivores, Carnivores, Insectivores, etc. Today’s strip is the herbivore version of sudoku, using produce instead of numbers.
It takes a little while to get used to looking at vegetables instead of numbers, but the puzzle is solvable. It took me about 30 minutes.

Gunfight at the Farpoint Corral

Say what you will about Peter David, but the man is anything but boring. My own choice of words usually includes things such as “entertaining” and “quick-witted.” I sincerely believe he’s one of those fortunate people who’ve managed to avoid growing up any more than absolutely necessary.
I had the fortune to be seated at the same table as Peter for the banquet at this year’s Farpoint convention. Peter was his usual self, entertaining us with such stories as his discovery that the Enterprise’s warp core is shaped like a coffee percolator (I don’t see it myself, but have no reason to doubt Peter when he says that Mike Okuda confirmed it).
Because this is the year 2007, the theme for this year’s banquet was 007, James Bond. The tables were decorated with a variety of James Bond themed knickknacks such as playing cards and poker chips (after all, James Bond does visit a lot of casinos). At one point Peter and Lew were exchanging stories of visits to various Star Trek sets (and I was wishing I had that kind of connections), when Peter looked up and realized there was a gun on the table. Continue reading Gunfight at the Farpoint Corral

Blue Movies

Watching Pirates of the Caribbean today, I also saw a trailer from Disney, promoting the list of movies they’re planning to re-release on Blu-Ray DVD. The list includes quite a few well-known/well-loved movies such as The Lion King, Finding Nemo, Pirates of the Caribbean and even a few less liked movies such as Herbie: Fully Loaded. All in High Definition.
A few months ago I finally saw what a High-Definition TV image looks like. I don’t see myself running out to buy an HDTV any time soon, but I do have to admit to being surprised at how sharp the image was. The people in the images looked almost real enough that you could reach out and touch them.
And that’s the odd thing. Several of the titles Disney is planning to re-release are cartoons. I don’t understand the benefit. The cartoons will perhaps look more cartoony?
Of course, there is one important benefit. If people run out and buy the movies just so they can say they have the Blu-Ray version, Disney will make a fistful of cash. Good for them I guess, but I think I’ll pass.


One of the best parts of my new job is that I get to surprise Wylie. For the past two months I’ve been getting home an hour or two earlier than I used to and when I open the bedroom door, Wylie pops his head up as if to say, “Hey! You’re home early. How did that happen?”
I like surprising him. 🙂


On one of the email lists I’m subscribed to, people have been chatting about one of this weekend’s science fiction conventions. A couple people started wondering aloud whether they needed to buy convention memberships since after all, they were only planning to attend a club meeting and maybe one or two other things that weren’t in the main ballroom. In short, did they need to pay even if they weren’t planning to see the guests?
That’s a tough one to answer.
On the one hand, convention memberships are what pay for everything. Not just the celebrity guests, but also the bills for the convention space. Generally speaking, the space rental for the weekend is one of a convention’s two largest expenses, and that’s all the space, not just the ballroom. (The convention has to pay for that “free” meeting space.) And obviously, if too many people routinely take advantage of the convention’s “free” resources without paying for memberships, eventually you won’t have a convention.
On the other hand, any convention that checks badges for every panel and every club meeting is going to end up hearing a lot of unpleasant feedback involving comparisons to the Third Reich, Soviet Russia and the like. And the sheer amount of manpower required to do all that checking is also a bit overwhelming too.
Sure a convention membership is going to cost you some money, but you get a lot in return. You don’t only get to attend whatever club meeting, you also get admission to “all-you-can-eat” of that days’ programming with panels, Q&A sessions, and frequently a costume show and Saturday evening dance. Plus you get the warm-fuzzies and/or good karma that come with the knowledge that you’re supporting local fandom.

Creative Spamming

I’ve been getting a lot of spam lately where the subject line contains a bunch of random words that have nothing to do with the actual message. The idea, of course, is to get past everyone’s spam filters by not using the words (and misspellings) that most folks associate with spam.

A lot of the resulting subject lines don’t make a lot of sense. Gibberish such as “Not prairie as draftsmen” or “Are go cyclotomic.” Every so often though, they come up with something that makes you do a double take.

Cleaning out the spam trap a few minutes ago, I spotted the subject line, “Eat Ilsa Osborn.”

I’m quite disappointed the spammer didn’t identify himself as Hannibal Lechter.

A Phrase in Search of an Occasion

“You talk about insanity as though it were something bad.”
I’m certain that somewhere out there, a situation exists where that’s exactly the right thing to say. I’m also equally certain of two other things: A) I have no idea what that situation is, and B) If I should happen to encounter it, I won’t remember what to say.

A Silver Lining to the Silver Hair

It’s been a week since my 41st birthday and it seems like there may be an advantage to getting older.
It turns out that a midlife crisis is the perfect excuse for pretty much anything that might otherwise be frowned on. Decide to buy a motorcycle? Why it must be a midlife crisis! Buy a sports car and speed down the interstate at 150 MPH? It must be a midlife crisis! It works for anything!
I refuse to suffer from any sort of midlife crisis, but I may choose to have one in order to enjoy every moment of it.