Nostalgic Rumblings
The Ramblings of an Old Man

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December 2011
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We take pleasure in answering at once and thus prominently…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 2:10 pm

…the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

Dear Editor, I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says “If you see it in The Sun it’s so.”
Please tell me the truth. Is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O’Hanlon
115 West Ninety-fifth St.

VIRGINIA, Your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, not even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

— Editorial page of the New York Sun, September 21, 1897

From our entire family to yours - Annie, Katie (who knows perfectly well there is a Santa Claus), and yours truly; no matter what you are celebrating at this truly amazing time of the year, Happy Holidays!

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Amazon Removed “Limited Time” Free Kindle Books Link

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 10:38 am

On the Amazon Free eBooks: Collections page, Amazon used to list two collections - their classics and out-of-copyright collection (which, FWIW, is available from Project Gutenberg without the hassle of using Amazon), and their Limited Time Offers collection, a list of books that are for a limited time available free.

They have changed that page to remove the Limited Time Offers, which, frankly, is the only collection I care about (see above Gutenberg comment), so I’m placing it here so others can use the page…at least as long as the Big A decides to allow their computers to maintain it.

Darned shame they felt the need to remove that link. Granted, some of the Limited Time Offers aren’t great (sample chapters, short stories not books, etc.), but I’ve still scored a bunch of stuff from there. I “bought” bunches of free cookbooks and am always watching for new Gooseberry Patch titles to show up there, some novels I really hope to find time to read someday, and even some 2012 calendars. I sort the Limited Time Offers page by popularity, which generally percolates the newest stuff up to the top, and when I see something I’d like, “purchase” it immediately since tomorrow the book’s price might be back up to $9.99. (Of course I have also purchased ebooks from both Amazon and Barnes and Noble for real cash money, but free is too nice a price to pass up.

And no, I don’t own a Kindle, I own an Android tablet. And no, I don’t use Kindle for Android since it’s pretty buggy, I use another ebook reader. And yes, I know the Digital Rights Management imposed on the ebooks is supposed to prevent me from doing so, but all of us here know how much I loathe DRM and so remove it at my earliest opportunity on general principle.

Anyway, if you read ebooks and have an Amazon account, check out the free ebook list. Frequently.

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Carrier IQ: Your phone’s secret recording device

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 12:13 pm

From CNN: Carrier IQ: Your phone’s secret recording device

From the article: “Carrier IQ is a piece of software installed on millions of mobile phones that logs everything their users do, from what websites they browse to what their text messages say.”


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