I found out too late to post it here but last Thursday, January 3rd, was J. R. R. Tolkien's birthday. According to a young tradition invented by the Tolkien Society, on that day you should, at 9 p.m. local time, stand, raise a glass, and toast the man in the British fashion by saying, "The Professor."
It's a good tradition. I took part in it for the first time last week and I expect to honor it every year henceforth.
And closely related . . .
The thing I remember most about Ellen Kushner's wonderful and now-extinct radio show Sound & Spirit (which she once characterized to me as "Joseph Campbell meets Ellen's record collection") is how the local PRI station kept changing when they aired it so that I was always frustratedly trying to find where they'd hidden it now.
The thing I remember second-most about it was the hot summer day when my then-teenage son Sean and I were cleaning out the garage. He excused himself to go to the bathroom and a good ten or fifteen minutes later I chanced to glance at a handful of kibble I'd picked up and found myself staring at the grinning skull of an opossum. After gently depositing the thing on the garage floor, I went in to see why it hadn't been Sean who'd picked it up and found him talking intently on the phone. "Who are you talking to?" I asked him (politely, thank God!) and, covering the mouthpiece with his hand, he replied, "I'm being interviewed for public radio."
[That was for a show Ellen did on nostalgia, and Sean was being interviewed because he'd just named his generation. Maybe I'll tell you that story someday.]
The third most memorable thing is that I ... What's the word? Not "appeared." I was heard on the show's Tolkien episode, talking about reading The Lord of the Rings to my son Sean when he was nine years old and discovering that we were experiencing two entirely different books.
That's the show up above. There's a lot of good stuff in it. Enjoy.