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Thanx and Linx

Just a quick note to thank you all for hanging in there and keeping things going while I’ve been hermitting more and blogging less. The Commentariat is alive and well!

Thanks also for making up (big time) for lost time on Amazon. Seems everybody was just doing their Christmas shopping at the last minute this year. I was worried when November flopped, but you’ve made December very good, indeed.

I also owe somebody a thank you for a gift that arrived this morning, an Opinel No. 8 carbon-steel folding knife (Amazon link for it). Has an impressively sharp blade and a little collar that twists to lock it open or closed. Very clever, very smooth to the hand (unlike many folders), very French. The ID of the “Santa” remains a mystery; the only note in the package thanked “me” for my order. But the universe of people who have my address and know I like knives is a small one.

I might guess “Santa” more easily than I could ever guess last Fall’s “Rockefeller.” (In fact, since Rockefeller went to such remarkable lengths not to be known, I’ve been trying to respect his or her wishes by not trying to find out. But I remain astounded and grateful for R., the two Big Anons, Family A, D, PSM, and all the magnificent benefactors who’ve kept that nice, dry roof over my head during the wild pineapple express storms we’ve been having this season.)

But … onward.

Have a few happy links to start working up some good holiday cheer.

Dog swims 1.5 miles through a storm then figures out where to meet up with her lost person. Her human thought she had drowned.

You know how the Oxford Dictionary people always announce the new “words of the year” long about December? Well, the Canadians at The Syrup Trap are waaaay ahead of them. They’ve already announced the words of the year for 2015-2035. 🙂 (Tip o’ hat to Canadian MJR)

While this next item may not exactly be in the good cheer category, it’s something that might give you comfort while you listen to that drearily bombastic uncle hold forth at Christmas dinner: boredom can be good for you.

And over at The Zelman Partisans Y.B. ben Avraham and Sheila Stokes-Begley have been telling the Hannukah story in terms you don’t usually hear it. Check out their passionate, eloquent, and unfortunately cautionary tales. I would not call their stories happy, but they might be inspiring and are absolutely informative.


  1. Matt, another
    Matt, another December 23, 2014 2:06 pm

    The Opinel #8 is a great classic. I have had one or more in my kits since 1988. I wore out a few of the smaller #6 as daily use pocket knives. They feel great in the hand and can be used to do most anything. I like the fact that they scream “Yuppie” if someone sees them in your lunch bag or picnic basked with fruit, cheese and wine. One small warning. The wood handle can swell enough to make it difficult or impossible to open if caught out in the driving rain with it for several hours. Other wise one of the best knives.

  2. jed
    jed December 23, 2014 5:41 pm

    I’ve heard good things about Opinel, but have somehow managed to own not one example. Considering the price, there seems to be no good excuse for that — at least not for a knife nut. So … you’re a knife nut too, Claire?

    PSM? As in the flossing incident?

    (Yes, I acknowledge that one must ask where else that $13 or whatever the amount might be put to better use.)

  3. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty December 24, 2014 4:55 am

    So very glad you got your roof fixed in time! And the homeless man with his dog touched a special place as I contemplated my own “Perfect Christmas.” We were homeless, to all intents and purposes, yet it is the Christmas I remember the best.

    Happy holidays to everyone. 🙂

  4. Claire
    Claire December 26, 2014 7:05 am

    Shel — Great story. Wish the article offered a little more info on where the dog might have been all that time (immediately picked up and in foster care or wandering the streets), but what a happy ending.

  5. Claire
    Claire December 26, 2014 7:42 am

    ML — I love that story & am glad for the chance to see it again.

    My family, though working class, never suffered that kind of deprivation. We got oranges and walnuts in our stockings — but always along with heaps of kiddie “loot” under the tree. I never understood the value of those stocking stuffers as you did. In fact I always wondered — though never asked — why “Santa” would give something as mundane as an orange (when we lived in California) and walnuts (when we had a walnut tree in our own backyard).

  6. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty December 26, 2014 1:48 pm

    I’ve given a lot of thought to the idea of relative wealth, and how people develop “values.” While material possessions are wonderful, and we all need them, they are all too often seen as a measure of one’s value, rather than just props for the production of life.

    The most “deprived” children in the world are those who have never been given the opportunity to learn integrity from the example of their parents and community, the value of hard work to benefit both themselves and their family, of producing things to use or sell or give away, the give and take of the free market and voluntary cooperation among people of good will.

    Those born to money, high social position and fame are usually the most truly deprived of all. But even they may learn, of course.

    A friend was talking about how terrible it is that the “homeless” and “downtrodden” in Colorado are being “herded” into “Fema camps” like prisoners. I reminded her that these folks are all rich and free beyond the wildest dreams of a person living in the gutters of Calcutta.

    An old saying, a favorite of my father:

    I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.

  7. Karen
    Karen December 26, 2014 3:49 pm

    “A friend was talking about how terrible it is that the “homeless” and “downtrodden” in Colorado are being “herded” into “Fema camps” like prisoners.”

    Haven’t heard of such a thing here in CO. Got a link? When I searched, all I could find were blogs and references to South Carolina.

  8. Karen
    Karen December 27, 2014 12:07 pm

    Thanks ML.

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