It's finally time to get into serious Christmas shopping. I seem to be putting this off more and more every year, possibly because by some weird law of inverses I tend to get better -- in that I get more delighted smiles from the people I gift -- the less I think about presents. And of course it's hard not to go looking for uniquely Singaporean trinkets, or at least Pacific-Rim Asian trinkets, since there is something disappointing in bringing somebody a DVD of Huckleberry Hound that's better-travelled than they are.
I haven't quite found the real groove of Singaporean trinkets for this year, although poking around the Japanese kitsch stores has turned up a lot of rather cute miniature things, like tiny kitchens and such. Fascinating me -- to the point a clerk asked if I wanted to just buy them already -- were some tiny tins of Disney-themed food. These have the proportions of Charles Chips cans, but are maybe as tall as a quarter, and come with figures that fit. Among the ones I saw were: The Aristocats Marie's Milk; Bambi Thumper's Sweet Carrot Glace (``Since 1942''); Mickey Mouse's ``Lonesome Ghosts'' Flour (``Since 1937'' -- referring to a short of that title); Lady and the Tramp Lady's Pasta Sauce (``Meatballs''); and Dumbo Apple Juice (``100%''). It's only the last I don't get; maybe Dumbo and Timothy Mouse ended up in an apple tree that first time they flew?
Trivia: Had Ranger 9's launch been delayed one day its primary target would most likely have shifted from the Crater Alphonsus to the Crater Copernicus; with two days, it would shift to Crater Kepler; with four or five days, to Schroter's Valley. Source: Lunar Impact: A History of Project Ranger, R Cargill Hall.
Currently Reading: History of the Hour, Gerhard Dohrn-van Rossum. I'm a touch disturbed to read that the Venerable Bede, describing ways to divide up the day, set a moment (or, to be exact, ``momenta'') to be forty to the hour, that is, a moment is 90 seconds. I'd read ages ago in the People's Almanac that a moment was ``officially'' 90 seconds, and had since my youth come to suppose that everything in the People's Almanacs was either urban legends, overblown folklore, sketchy alternate histories, plans to reduce the number of United States, or chronologies of James Blishs's Cities in Flight universe. It's bizarre to find, after years of skepticism, that something they wrote as a little-known fact has an actual base in little-known facts.