The road is snow-covered such that it is impossible to see the lines of the crosswalk.  Does this make it more or less important to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk?

  1. More important
  2. Less important
  3. Equally as important as when the road is clear
  4. Shut up!  Can’t you see I’m on the phone!

At brunch yesterday the topic of burial instructions came up, and I was surprised to discover that Jackie didn’t remember that I’d already documented my wishes for dealing with my remains.  The gist of my instructions is that (although I’d urge her to be guided by frugality) she should do whatever she wants.  However, I did add this proviso:

4. If there’s no good reason to prefer one thing over another for reasons of convenience or cost, I’d really like to have my body eaten by vultures.

Sadly, I’ve seen no move toward making sky burial socially acceptable in the United States.

I published one short story in 2009:

My story submission database isn’t really set up to answer the question of how many new stories I wrote this year, but I see three whose first submission to an editor was in 2009.  Hopefully some of those will appear in 2010.

Two articles of mine appeared as guest posts at personal financial blogs:

I wrote 71 posts for Wise Bread.  I’ve bolded a few where I thought I managed to say just what I was trying to say, and commend them to your attention:

One of my Wise Bread posts (Understand Capital Costs) was featured in in US Airways Magazine (October 2009, page 22).

Our Christmas Star, originally uploaded by bradipo.

When I first moved out on my own I had only sparse Christmas decorations. Among the things that were lacking was a star for the top of the tree.

I didn’t feel it was so terrible—the tree was decorated, even if it didn’t have something on top. One Christmas, though, my brother and his wife came to visit at Christmas, and Alisa was appalled. Rather than tolerate such a defect, she cut a star out of shirt cardboard, covered it in aluminum foil, and put it on top of the tree.

I was delighted. I kept that star and used it on my trees for many years.

We went on using it for some time after I got married, until Jackie started doing needle-felting. Deciding that a Christmas star would be a perfect little project, she needle-felted this star, which has been our tree-topper ever since.

Creative Commons License
Our Christmas Star by Philip Brewer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Since the demise of Hilary Moon Murphy’s Clarion Ex Machina site, there hasn’t been a good collection of links to all the various Clarion journals.  Now Liz Argall has fixed that with her page of Clarion blogs, journals, articles and interviews.

There’s lots of good stuff there.  I don’t know of a better source of raw material for people who are interested in the Clarion experience.

A while back Trent Hamm at The Simple Dollar invited me to do a guest post and I finally came up with an idea that I liked:  Living off Capital.

People who come from wealthy families learn how to live off capital. The rules are taught along with all the other things they learn from their parents–how to dress, how to eat, how deal with bankers and trust officers. But even though most people don’t learn the rules, living off capital is just a skill, and it’s one that everybody should learn, because everybody lives off capital sometimes.

It talks about investing for income, reinvesting to preserve capital, diversifying, and keeping your expenses flexible.

Esperantists are celebrating today. It’s 150 years since the birth of L.L. Zamenhof, the creator of Esperanto. Celebrating along with them is Google, which is featuring the Esperanto flag in their logo.

Google logo featuring the Esperanto flag

Esperanto has been important to me for twenty years. I’ve traveled overseas with it. I’ve met bunches of cool people, read fascinating books and magazines, and listened to great music.  Most important, I’ve done it on equal terms with the writers, performers, guests, hosts, and other people that I’ve met.  Instead of one of us speaking our native language, we’re both speaking a second language–but one that’s easy to learn.  Easy enough to learn that you don’t need to have any special talent with languages to learn it.

Happy Esperanto Day!