Monthly Archives: December 2011

Newt Gingrich’s campaign book

In mid December, Newt Gingrich made a pledge which read, in part:

“I also pledge to uphold the institution of marriage through personal fidelity to my spouse and respect for the marital bonds of others.”

I’m guessing Gingrich hopes no one knows how to look stuff up on the Web. Search for the definition of “chutzpah,” and you’ll find his photo.

But, rather than be simply critical, I will offer this helpful suggestion: his campaign should have a book on this theme. I’m nominating this book, discovered at a Giant supermarket. Note the subtitle.


Newt Gingrich

Highly encrypted map of Maryland

This highly detailed map of Maryland was reconstructed from a mass of fiendishly encrypted cardboard tokens. It was assembled after an intense multi-discipline effort by a health care informatician, a systems analyst, a nurse, a psychologist, a theologian, a historian, three writer-editors, an Internet projects manager, a literature specialist, a linguist, a chemist, a photographer, and an environmental projects consultant (a total of four individuals).

The cardboard tokens were uncovered in an obscure location in the Lake District, Cumbria, England. To assemble the map, the team used the latest EHACCATTPRT (Encrypted Heuristic Adaptive Cooperative Chromatic And Typographic Topological Pattern Recognition Technology, pronounced as “E-hack-pfft” in the US, “Aye-hack-puff” in Queen’s English, and in Liverpudlian, “Gnomish”) advances.

Next, the team will turn their talents to solving global economic issues.


Highly encrypted map of Maryland, formed from 1000 pieces

Messiah Sing-Along: The Libretto

When we decided to go to the sing-along at the Kennedy Center, we had no idea how many people would show up. Nor did we realize how excited they would be to participate, how well accomplished they were as singers, how well versed they were in the music…

Everyone, it seemed, had a well-worn copy of the libretto. So we bought a copy, too.

Libretto to Handel's Messiah

Libretto to Handel's Messiah

Sing-along Messiah at the Kennedy Center

On a cold winter’s night, a band of 2,500 crazed individuals lined up at the Kennedy Center for free tickets to the annual Messiah sing-along. Between the wind whipping in from the Potomac and the poor light, it was an interesting test of stamina, fortitude, imagination (what to do during the lengthy wait) and tunefulness; many in the crowd practiced singing from Handel’s lengthy libretto, or singing a wide number of other pieces from an equally wide number of genres. Others engaged in the usual DC-area gossip (“Do you have any job openings at your agency?” “That tax bill will be dead on arrival.” “Do you know of any inexpensive apartments in Georgetown?” “That last novel had a particularly Stygian cast to it.”), wondered where they could get something to eat, or played with their smart phones.

Once in the building, there was another wait as the line crept slowly to the gentleman dispensing tickets, then yet another wait as the crowd milled about the lobby prior to the doors opening. Fortunately, all the tickets, while free, had assigned seating, so there was no mad scramble but, rather, an ordered incoming tide filling the concert hall.

Then: two hours of Baroque music featuring the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, three conductors, and the Metropolitan Chorus, the Fort Washington Community Corus, the Northern Virginia Chorale, the NVCC Annandale Chorale, and the Prince George’s Choral Society, plus the 2,500 somewhat chilled holders of free tickets.