Mister Bubby:  I said three bad words today.

Madhousewife:  Oh, dear, what were they?

MB:  Well, it was the same word, only I said it three different times.  But only to myself.

Mad:  Yeah, let’s not say bad words to other people.

MB:  I don’t.  I just said it in my mind.

Mad:  What word was it?

MB:  It’s that word they say in Dad’s video game.  [spells it]

Mad:  Okay, yeah, try not to even think that word because it’s very easy to start saying.  It just sort of rolls off the tongue, unlike some other bad words we know.

MB:  Like the b-i-t-c-h word?

Mad:  It’s not necessary to spell it out every time.  “The B-word” will do.

MB:  What about [spells the mother of all bad words]?

Mad:  You can just call that the F-word.  The Super-F-word.

MB:  But “super” makes it sound like it’s good.

Mad:  How about the Super-Bad-F-word?

MB:  Okay.

Mad:  Don’t even think that one.

MB:  You know, R [his best friend] knows the U-word.

Mad:  What’s the U word?

MB:  I don’t know.

Mad:  When you find out, let me know.

MB:  Okay.

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Elvis is really into spelling things lately.  (No, not b-i-t-c-h, fortunately.)  More to the point, he is really into having us spell things.  He wants us to spell just about everything.  Sometimes we have to spell everything twice.  For some reason, after he asks us to spell something, he has to inquire as to the whereabouts of a particular letter that has no business being in the word we’ve just spelled.  Usually it’s the letter E.  “Where’s the E in banana?  Where’s the E in Washington?”  Lately, however, when we’ve just spelled a word that has an E in it, he likes to ask about the letter F.

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This morning I was helping him make an egg for breakfast, and he wanted to spell “egg.”  So we spelled “egg.”  Unfortunately, I am not a morning person and I have less patience for spelling things in the morning.

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Elvis:  Where’s the F in egg?

Mad:  There is no F in egg.  It’s just E-G-G.

Elvis:  Where’s the F in egg?

Mad:  There is no F in egg!

It sounds wronger when you say it out loud.

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I was going to forego New Year Resolutions for 2010–new decade, new New Year policy–but I decided I just couldn’t do that because it’s in my nature to promise myself that I’ll do things and then not do them.  I can’t seem to avoid it, so I may as well make it official.  This year I do NOT resolve to finish my novel, because you can only do that so many times before it starts to ring hollow.  This year I pretty much give myself permission not to finish my novel.  Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until she was 90, or something, so I have a lot of time left for that kind of foolishness.

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This year I resolve to read all the books that I feel morally obligated to read because a) I have bought them, b) others have bought them for me (usually because I asked them to), or c) others have loaned them to me, and I feel awkward returning a book I borrowed but didn’t bother to read, which is why I still have it, even though the lender would probably much rather I returned the book than took three years to read it.  Just to keep my goal realistic, I will give myself the option of reading the borrowed books or just returning them without reading them, depending on my mood in 2010.  I may or may not try to fake having read them.  I haven’t decided yet.  All I know is that come December 31 of this year, I will no longer have Jasper Fforde clogging up my bookshelf, no offense to him.

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I’m thinking, just off the top of my head, that I have at least 20 books on this list.  That’s a conservative, or rather, hopeful estimate.  The real number may be closer to 30.  But let’s call it 24, just for simplicity-of-math’s sake.  That means I will need to read two books per month, plus whatever books I have to read for book clubs and whatever serial-killer or chick-lit books I have to read because I’m going through a major depression, plus maybe books that just strike my fancy because they’re not books I feel morally obligated to read.  Do I think I can do this?  Yes, I think I can.  I deliberately used the Little Engine That Could reference instead of the Barack Obama “Yes, We Can” reference because it was more literary.  I’m succeeding already, kids, and it’s only the fifth of January.  Can I get an amen?

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