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22 December 2007


From my Scratchpad…

I was looking for my sweatshirt this week. Surrounding the seal of my alma mater, it has the schools unofficial motto, Nollite illegitimus contarere vos. That is the real, as opposed to the popular, version of "Don't let the bastards get you down." Of course, I was looking for the sweatshirt because I suspect "they" have done just that.


So, the bastards win another round. Sunday night, after work, and after friends at the Showdown—I am writing and have the TV on for noise. It distracts me with an old favorite Twilight Zone episode, Willoughby. A dispairing man wants to escape into a recurring dream he has of a train pulling into a turn-of-the-Century town called Willoughby where life is gentle, colorful and warm.

Last week, I was lamenting being out of SuDoku puzzles and crosswords with the Daily Texan on hiatus, and so I am deprived of my daily escape into puzzles, when I stumbled across an item on a English small town railway siding. The article explained it was a real situation and gave a typical scenario. It took me about an hour to see the solution given the limitations. The Internet article mentioned that almost countless variations of that problem greet the railway engineer almost every day.

Trains, escapes—a theme was developing.

My "weekend" hits mid week, and I am thinking I should across the street to Shoal Creek find a small cedar tree and kill it, take it back home and decorate it-- both for Christmas and as my gift to humanity in getting rid of one more of those nasty allergen producing plants (you are welcome). Then, I think, I should get a small electric train to run round the little tree.

With Twilight Zone, that English village, the need for puzzles and trains on my mind, I end up with a couple hundred dollars worth of train, wood, wire, track, turnouts and such. On the floor of my room is the start of a re-creation of that small English village railway. I'm calling it "Willoughby."

I still haven't killed the tree-- still haven't found the sweatshirt.

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