November 2009

After spending early November in California I went north to Seattle, then south to New Mexico, where I dined more than once at the excellent Taaj Palace ( While there I finished reading Wolf Totem, a thinly-fictionalized, gripping account of the author’s experiences living with herders in Mongolia, just as the Communist Chinese were “taming” the grassland and destroying the nomads’ traditional way of living. I also completed Terry Eagleton’s Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate, from which I took this quote: “We reason as we do because of the kind of material creatures we are. We are reasonable because we are animals, not despite being so.”

During the month’s travels I also found time to devour two more Terry Pratchett offerings, from which I have extracted two representative specimens of his wordsmithing:

from Thief of Time: “… said Ronnie Soak, with all the sullenness and reluctance of someone
cuddling a lifetime’s huge snit like a favorite soft toy.” (p293)

From The Wyrd Sisters: “… (he) explained that falling down a flight of steps with a dagger in your back was a disease caused by unwise opening of the mouth.” (p19)

This month’s words learned from T. Pratchett: tabard, besom, and scad (the fish).

I took the precaution of attending Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs in 3D with a clever 9-year-old, and was rewarded with an enjoyable cinematic experience, after which followed, at the behest of said lovely young lady, a palindromatic interlude, during which I particularly enjoyed how the classic:

A man, a plan, a canal: Panama

Has been emulated in this recent coinage: A jar, a ham, a maharaja

To close out the month, good advice offered from three diverse quarters:

“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.” – George Washington Carver

“Everybody, soon or late, sits down to a banquet of consequences.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” – from a WWII poster.

Last Modified on July 12, 2015
this article November 2009