This is Advent, the season of waiting. We wait in faith for for the light to conquer the darkness, and we wait in suspense to see what gifts we will receive for Christmas or Hanukkah and whether our gifts to others will be received with delight. The year I was six, I experienced a very … Continue reading That Time Giant Ducks Fell Out of the Shower
Years ago, Daniel and I made friends with this guy named Vinnie who lived in one of the apartments over the garages behind the cluster of rowhouses where we were living at the time. His apartment was small and shabby, but he'd chosen it because it had a large yard, and he loved gardening. In … Continue reading That Time I Bought Ladybugs by Mail
See Chapter 1 for explanation of this unusual recipe collection. HAM WITH EGGS: Take a few pickled walnuts, flattening through the mutton the same weight of buttered paper through a quart of herbs. In a Belgian manner, take the liquor; mix the pan, adding pepper torn apart from the paste and all the threads. Cut the … Continue reading A Robot’s Cookbook, Chapter 3
There are some things here on Earth that just defy rational explanation. Here, for example, is a toy that we received as a gift when our first child was born in 2004. His little sister played with it, too, but lost interest after infancy. I recently found it at the bottom of a toy basket … Continue reading The Silliest Baby Toy
I was happily distracted from the boring biological activities of the next two minutes by imagining my vacation to The Restooms. These must be a series of interconnected caves of unusual smoothness and beauty, furnished with embroidered silk pillows for lounging.
See Chapter 1 for explanation of this unusual recipe collection. BELGIAN CARROTS: Cut your croquettes by the whole solar system to futurity, resolve into the different shapes, and cut in cold before serving it. Mix till it simmers in the breadcrumbs, grated cheese, sliced carrots, and chocolate for five minutes, while a few Brussels sprouts … Continue reading A Robot’s Cookbook, Chapter 2
I am putting this post in a variety of categories because it's kind of silly but I'm kind of serious, too. I would like to believe that in this very complicated world, my actions truly do make a difference, even in unexpected metaphysical ways. Purple is my favorite color. At this point in my life, … Continue reading The Power of Purple Is Real!!!
I decided that this text requires its own post to really do it justice. It started as an extremely lengthy spam email received by my ten-year-old Nicholas, who immediately turned it into a bizarre modern entertainment experience by having the computer read it aloud. Then he wanted to post it as a comment to one … Continue reading A Robot’s Cookbook, Chapter 1
As a professional data manager, I still don't get enough information to pore over, so I sometimes spend my lunch break delving into the WordPress stats page that tells me how people find The Earthling's Handbook. One of the more interesting features is the list of phrases typed into search engines that brought people here, … Continue reading What Earthlings Want to Know
Well, I was really hoping to write a nice long post for the What I'm Reading series at Modern Mrs. Darcy, where Anne and her readers talk about the books they've read recently, on the 15th of each month. I've read a whole lot of new-to-me books this year, because having viral bronchitis for the … Continue reading Things Not To Do: Fiction Writing Edition
Last weekend, my family enjoyed a spontaneous and somewhat silly holiday feast. A few days earlier, we had finally gotten around to baking an acorn squash and two butternut squashes we'd received in our CSA farm share back in November. Each of the three of us ate a big chunk of squash as a side … Continue reading Fishgiving: A Feast from the Freezer!
Recently I've had several conversations about robots: how people keep making robots that can do new things, how robots are getting better and better, how someday maybe they'll take over. Yes, it is a bit daunting, but I believe there are some things that robots will never be able to do quite as well as … Continue reading Where Robots Learn to Cook
Happy April Fools' Day! Today we present a crosspost from our sister publication on another world, The Pyqan's Handbook. The saptapper is a small waterfowl whose long neck ends in a large mouth. Its small, glistening eyes bulge up like beads around the neck. Saptappers are purple, in bands shading darker, bluer, grayer from mouth … Continue reading Saptappers
Today's Three Books on Thursday theme is books that make the reader laugh out loud. I can't, of course, guarantee that what's funny to me will be funny to you, but here are three books that in my opinion are filled with hilarious moments: Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson is an account … Continue reading 3 Books for Laughing Out Loud
THE SCENE: Our dining room, last night. We are finishing up a dinner of Honey Baked Lentils and baked butternut squash. Nicholas, age 7, has gobbled two chunks of squash but only a few bites of lentils. NICK: Okay, I'm done. Can I have dessert? MAMA: (noting lentil level) Hmmm. You could have Bean Fudge. … Continue reading Dessert: A Matter of Emphasis
Nicholas, age seven, recently remarked--seemingly out of nowhere, but I'm sure there was plenty of context in his mind-- "I wish I was a crayon. Except that people would be scraping my head off all the time."
The scene: Our dining room, 7:00 a.m. Nicholas is eating a Grape-nuts Smile. Mama is eating Tomato Toast and reading the newspaper, wherein she discovers some facts that might interest a 7-year-old. MAMA: Did you know? The starfish is not really a fish. Also, it has no brain and no blood. NICK: Did you know? … Continue reading Morning Conversation (starfish and princesses)
This morning I realized that Today's Young People have created the need for a device which can assess the pajama-like qualities of one's outfit in a quick and objective manner to determine whether or not it qualifies as clothing for the purposes of, say, attending school. This pajameter could be used at the school entrance … Continue reading Pajameter
Nicholas is six-and-a-half now, but I just found a post I made to a discussion board three years ago, answering the question, "Has your child invented any words?" I'm glad to see it again because I had forgotten 3 out of 5 of these! Pretendstructions. When Nicholas gets tired of his parents knowing all the … Continue reading Words my three-year-old made up
Recently, I bought at Goodwill two anthologies of Calvin and Hobbes, a comic strip I enjoy reading to my six-year-old son. When we started reading the second one, Weirdos from Another Planet, we were surprised to find the following note written in metallic gold pen inside the front cover: Dear Corey, It was really fun … Continue reading An Unexpected Find in the Thrift Store