Zhaba Zhournal
Friday, December 26, 2003 
On December six-and-twenty 
It's the day after Christmas, and that means another winter holiday in some parts of North America. Not just Boxing Day in Canada—Junkanoo in the Bahamas.

I discovered it when copyediting (by which I mean "practically rewriting") a book for teachers about holidays, which I briefly posted about back in August. The book mentioned it in two paltry sentences at the end of the section on Kwanzaa, but didn't actually explain it, so I did some Web research so I could provide more (and better-written) information. It turns out it's an Afro-Caribbean holiday started by slaves as early as the 16th century. The day after Christmas and New Year's Day were the two days on which they could hold traditional African celebrations, and the holiday has long outlasted slavery (which ended in the Bahamas in 1838, by the way, 25 years before the U.S. Emancipation Proclamation went into effect).

Anyway, Junkanoo sounds like a heck of a lot of fun. Parades, costumes, music and dancing in the streets—this Bahamas travel guide says "Junkanoo is reminiscent of New Orleans' Mardi Gras and Rio de Janeiro's Carnival, but it is distinctly Bahamian and exists nowhere else." Certainly more fun than wassailing in the snow. I love Christmas, don't get me wrong, and the Philadelphia Mummers Parade on New Year's Day is a, um, unique spectacle in itself; but one of these late Decembers I want to betake myself to the Bahamas, where the weather is warm and the art doesn't involve snowmen and the music doesn't involve reindeer or the words "fum fum fum."

[ at 3:41 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Groan-inducing neologism of the season 
Headline on AOL (yes, I use an AOL connection on my home computer): "Seize the Shoppertunity." Ugh. (Even "Shopportunity" would be better.)

Another one, not quite so bad: "Once Again Into the Mall." That would be "Once More," if you're going for the allusion I think you are; and "Unto" rather than "Into" as well. "Once Again" doesn't even scan, at least not in iambs.

(I'm being picky because I'm bored, and I'm bored because I'm home alone; J.'s employer has revoked the usual Christmas-to-New Year's break and is making them come in every weekday from the 26th to the 31st. "Them" meaning "Everyone who doesn't have as much vacation time as we managers do." Grumble. Well, it'll build camaraderie, if not morale...)

[ at 2:39 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Wednesday, December 24, 2003 
Cashmere me 
For family scheduling reasons, J. and I exchanged our Christmas gifts to/from each other at home tonight; and I would just like it to be known that, at this moment, I am wearing nothing but a full-length long-sleeved burgundy cashmere robe.

Since the only reason I can think of for getting rich is to be able to wrap oneself in cashmere, I think I'm all set.

That is all.

(And to all a good night!)

[ at 11:26 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Work, sort of 
I am very unenthused about being at work today, along with five other employees and the six office mice. (Who aren't stirring, incidentally.) All the supervisory personnel have already disappeared on their vacations, so there isn't quite as much work getting done as there might be. We did get permission to go home at 3; and we'll have to actually stick around till then, because I'm sure one of the supervisory personnel will call the office at 2:59 to see if anyone answers the phone.

Well, gotta get back to work. No, really, I mean it.

[ at 12:25 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

'Tis better 
Maybe I'm crazy—I have been wondering if I've got a manic or hypomanic episode coming on—but, dang it, I'm actually buying things from the wish lists of people I know solely online. Or planning to, anyway. I've tracked down the Amazon wish lists of everyone I've blogrolled who has a wish list link I can find, or whose name or e-mail enables me to search Amazon for one. Because I feel like it, darnit. And because, for a change, I have the financial wherewithal. And because I actually do like giving things more than receiving things. (I like receiving things, don't get me wrong; but giving is my favorite part of the holiday season.)

So if you get a package from Amazon in the next couple of weeks and wonder "Who the heck is this from?" it might be me. Happy assorted holidays—Christmas, the brief remainder of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, Saturnalia, Boxing Day, New Year's, Epiphany, Junkanoo, whatever—and rest ye merry, and to all a good night, and [deity of your choice] bless us every one.

[ at 10:32 AM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Tuesday, December 23, 2003 
Sort-of correction of the day 
I have previously asserted, with some asperity (okay, a lot of asperity), that there is no such fucking thing as African moldavite. It turns out, however, that there is such a fucking thing as African moldavite (read the comments to the entry I just linked to). Or, at any rate, there are meteorite tektites in Africa that are similar in chemical composition to those found in the Moldau region of the Czech Republic from which the name "moldavite" is derived; although meteorite purists, like this guy on Meteorite Central's meteorite mailing list, say that "moldavite" is "solely associated with the Ries impact event," which the Lunar and Planetary Institute has more to say about here (PDF link).

So, in a limited way, I stand corrected. But I'm going to stand firm on the Moldavite Fragrance Collection—or any gemstone-derived "fragrance"—as being a big load of hooey. (There are a lot of perfumes that advertise themselves as having an amber scent, including this one from the ever-so-reputable Burberry's. I've actually burned amber, and believe you me, it's not something you want to smell like. But then, venerable perfume bases like ambergris and civet, in their natural states, are also pretty nasty; maybe they do something to the amber so it doesn't reek of burned pine tar.)

(I sincerely apologize for using a Wal-Mart link for that fragrance, by the way, but the actual Burberry's site is so overproduced and Flash-intensive that it would be even more annoying to link straight to them.)

[ at 12:12 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Monday, December 22, 2003 
The sky (is|isn't) falling 
Top headline on AP: Terror Alert Prompts Tighter Security.

Top headline on Reuters: Americans Urged to Go on with Holiday Plans.

Perhaps I'll hide under a desk with a festively-decorated gift bag over my head.

[ at 4:59 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

The year in searches 
From a Hollywood Reporter article on the year-end report of search requests from AOL, Yahoo!, and Lycos:
  • Paris Hilton had the biggest increase [your sex joke here] in search requests since last year—212,000%.

  • A quote: "Lycos is predicting, based on its growing number of searches, that the movies 'The Passion of the Christ,' 'Troy' and 'Catwoman' will be hits." I wonder what the market overlap on those is going to be.

  • Another one: "'Finding Nemo' has the dubious honor of being probably the year's most downloaded movie at peer-to-peer file-sharing services." Hm. It's stealing; but it's a family-friendly children's movie. Does that balance out? (I suspect the Paris Hilton video is really the most downloaded movie, but I guess that doesn't officially count.)

  • On Lycos, Michael Jordan was the third-most-searched-for athlete. What, is he still around? I thought he and all his championship rings had retired to Planet Nike.

  • Britney Spears actually "fell off Lycos' top-10 list of search terms for several weeks" (somehow I feel like "fell off" deserves a sex joke too), until she did that kissing-Madonna thing and some sexy magazine covers and rocketed back to the top. Yes, when in doubt, and when unsupported by talent, the best way to grab the spotlight is to take off most of your clothes and engage in para-sexual activity with anyone in sight. (Well, it's less bizarre than when she humped that snake at the 2001 Music Video Awards.)

  • And, finally, perhaps the most surprising thing of all: "Al-Jazeera...generated three times as many search queries in April than did the word 'sex.'" I didn't think anything could knock off "sex" as a search term. Wonders never cease.
One of these days I'll have to figure out the most frequent search requests for my site; I fear "m0n$terc0ck$" is going to be one of them. (Characters replaced to avoid further search requests.) I wonder where that ranks on AOL, Yahoo!, and Lycos...

[ at 10:20 AM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Yes, that's me.

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