30 December 2018
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A Girl Named Lorelei Took My Order

The Whimsical Blogitem Title Prize

As I was walking on a trail the other day, I was listening to the obscure song "Drive" by the obscure group "Hazeldine, which I discovered by listening to the Vin Scelsa show a decade or so ago. The Wikipedia article about the band begins "Hazeldine were" which is probably more than enough information. The song contains the lyric "A Girl Named Lorelei Took My Order." I thought to myself I could use that as a title for a blogitem, and now have done so. If you're keen on looking for hidden relevance, don't waste your time.

Where Has All The Blogging Gone?

My new computer ate my life, and not for the first time. My place of striving has undergone a network upheaval due to some customer requirements, and I viewed it as a blessing and a curse. The blessing, yet to come, should be a reduction in time spent in administrivia such as backing up, as well as the increased speed of six-years-newer hardware. The curse, hopefully dissipated by now, has been the loss of my time spent remonstrating with my new personal "infrastructure."

As the end of 2018 approaches at the usual rate, I decided I couldn't leave December unblogged. I'll try to do better, if better it be, next season.

The Best of Years, the Worst of Years

2018 wasn't either. There's a slight chance that it's a year of living dangerously*, as there remains over a full calendar day remaining, and who knows what will happen then? But I'm brave, at least in that statistical sense. It has been a year of inconclusion in several irritating ways, ameliorated in large part by receiving an honor from the Recording Academy, which itself was somewhat inconclusive since—well, what's left?

Anachronym vs. Anacronym

Do you know the difference between an anachronym and an anacronym? I not only didn't until I had occasion to look up "tinfoil" but wasn't aware that either was a word. "Tinfoil" is an anachronym, which is a word that is appropriate for only a former or later time. Tinfoil used to exist until it was supplanted by aluminum foil, which is much cheaper, and has a shiny side that's so important for making a hat. (Toothpaste tubes used to be made from tin in my living memory. They are now plastic, and don't squish as convincingly.)

"Laser" is an anacronym. LASER used to be an acronym, since the letters stand for something, but now it's a word unto itself.


Did you now that pirates used to sail the high seas, attacking ships, plundering gold and jewels, and doing all the nasty things you hear about in the the Emerson Lake and Palmer song Pirates? Now piracy seems to have been redefined as downloading music for which one hasn't paid. Not that I approve of that, but it's not nearly as picturesque.


Time dilation has been a recurring science fiction theme, one which can be almost as paradoxical as time travel.

Eye dilation is what they do to you when you have an exam. You go home wearing a goofy mirrored plastic wrap over your eyes so things aren't excessively bright. In the few hours before the drug wears off, I've found that I can't use my Android phone with iris recognition and have to put in my secret code to unlock it. Talk about first-world problems!

Blog-wise I've been dilatory. I hope to be more consistent in 2019, a happy one of which please to have yourself.

* I climbed my antenna tower a few days ago to do some maintenance despite protestations that I'm "too old." I survived, injury-free with limbs intact, so clearly I wasn't "too old" this time. Just as clearly, eventually I shall be. When I activate my "Ask A Fossil" blog, perhaps I'll attempt to scientifically define a cut-off age for tower climbing.

Richard Factor

"Goodbye and Hello"
Tim Buckley




Beijing held an Olympics in 2008, and all I got was this bright red T-shirt.

When I was in grade school, a teacher asked the question: "What form of government does the name of the African country Liberia have as suggested by its name. Me: "Hmm, rhymes with Siberia, so it must be communist." Wrong! Liberia is similar to 'liberty' so it must be a democracy.

If anyone were to ask me today what form of government the Peoples Republic of China has as suggested by its T-shirt color, I would again guess communist.

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