The Kiss

Jill and I Kissing at our Wedding

Jill and I got married on Saturday. It was a wonderful ceremony and a great party afterwards. We couldn’t be happier. Thanks to everyone who was a part of it, and thanks to Charley for getting this pic.



For my birthday, Aurora made a drawing of “Ulcharmin,” my WoW avatar (level 57 Orc Hunter). An appropriate gift, since I’m currently working on my essay “The Corporate and the Quotidian in World of Warcraft” for the World of Warcraft seminar we’re having here at UiB later this week

Home Run

Home Run

This weekend I made it home to Chicago for a quick visit, and got to watch the Cubs at Wrigley for their second home game. The wind chill was about 20F, but you still can’t beat fun at the old ball park. Derek Lee came up with the clutch homer. The Cubs ended up beating the Cardinals 3-2.

Another Semester Come and Gone

I just turned in final grades! A weeklong marathon of about 70 final papers and projects has come to an end! Let summer begin!

Actually, let planning for summer school begin — my next term starts in 9 days.

My head is filled with pedagogical lessons from this term, which went well, but from which I can learn a great deal. I’ll have to note those — maybe this afternoon. Or Tuesday. Right now, I’ve got some tomato plants, strawberry plants, and basil to get in the ground. It’s gardening season again.

I have a busy summer planned, including a bit of teaching at Stockton, a bunch of writing, some editing, some submission of finished writing, some work on ELO projects, some QT with my girlfriend, an epic family trip to the Grand Canyon, and a week of lectures in Norway before the season’s through. Not to mention the beach. It’s unfortunately not yet beach weather. Today I feel like it should be 80 degrees and I should be in swimming trunks. Ah well, 58 degrees and weeding in the garden will have to do.



Sometimes New Jersey feels far from home. My Aunt Deb sent along some pictures of her new puppy playing with my nephew JP, and a pumpkin carving party. On a gray Sunday in Jersey, I don't feel like catching up on paperwork as much as I feel like playing with my nephew, hanging out with my nephews, niece, brothers and sister, and giving my Mom (who had a health scare this week — though thankfully she's doing fine now) a great big hug.

Peace Fountain and Shelf Fungus

My cousin Michael and I walked up through Central Park from 92nd all the way up to Harlem at 128th and Amsterdam for the Artbots show. Along the way, we saw the most brilliant yellow formation of shelf fungus I've ever seen, and stopped off at St. John the Diviner Cathedral to admire the Peace Fountain, by Greg Wyatt.




Cousin Ben

A few years back at a family gathering, a relative from Arkansas on my mother's side told me that we were related to Benjamin Franklin. I didn't really buy it at the time (I always thought my family was made up of 19th or early 20th century immigrants). But I'll be darned, looks like it checks out, and that the Clayworth side has been living in this part of the world for about 350 or so years. A relative, Mary Rogers, emailed some genealogical research on to my brother, and it looks like Franklin was a cousin of mine — he's not a direct anscestor, but there's a direct line from Franklin's mother, Abiah Lee Folger, to my mom, Barbara Clayworth. This stuff is really interesting to me. It's also kind of strange to look at the kind of details of people's lives that last — usually date and place of birth and death, sometimes an obituary or what's carved on your tombstone. And, it appears, the battles you faught in and whatever wounds you took in took in battle. Of course, cousin Ben's life was better documented. And my hairline suddenly makes sense.

Untitled App

After a great break in Chicago for my father's 60th Birthday and numerous adventures with the kids (Shedd Aquarium, Cubs Game, and the Treehouse exhibit at the Morton Arboretum), I was bemoaning the fact that although iPhoto let's you put together great slideshow presentations of photos (with an iTunes soundtrack), there's no easy way to export the slideshows to share them with others. Lo and behold, on our return to Jersey, the first email in my inbox was from Ken, with a link to Untitled App, a very cool little piece of software from Boinx, which lets you go above and beyond the Ken Burns effect in creating slideshows, integrates nicely with iPhoto and iTunes, and promises a standalone export format (coming soon). When it comes out of beta, it may very well be worth the $79 price tag.

Some Memorial Day Thoughts

lesterclayworth1: Probably because it's Memorial Day, and because I just finished reading a generational novel, Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (more on that later), I woke up this morning thinking about my maternal grandfather, Lester James Clayworth. He died, well before I was born, in 1962 at the age of 40. What occurred to me is that I know remarkably little about him. He was in the infantry in World War II and fought at the Battle of the Bulge. I have some foggy memories of pictures that my grandmother Lois (Scoville) Clayworth kept in a box along with some medals and other mementos. She also had a stash of letters that he had sent her during the war. Unfortunately, shortly before her death ten years ago, she burned his letters. In one way, I can understand why she did this. The letters were written to her, and were probably romantic in nature, or perhaps included some information she didn't want her kids or grandkids to read. Maybe they were sort of intensely or embarrassingly amorous. At the same time, I wish that I could read them now. It's strange to think that my grandfather was about the same age as some of my younger students when he was on the front lines in Belgium and Germany.

lesterclayworth2: I did a little bit of research this morning online. On sites like I was able to find out a fair amount about the Clayworth family — my grandfather's father was named Roy Taylor Clayworth, and his father was named Edward Clayworth. They were both born in Kansas. Roy moved from Kansas to Missouri, and at some point my grandfather moved from Missouri to Chicago. One of Lester's sisters was (or perhaps still is) named Baby Clayworth Clayworth. There's another relative named Living Clayworth. Roy and his wife Bernice had 8 children over a 23-year period.

The strange thing, to me, is that there is about as much information online about my great-great grandfather as there is about my grandfather, or even my grandmother. Date of birth, name of spouse and date of marriage, date of death. I found myself wanting a bit more. Where's the picture of my grandfather in his service uniform? Where's their wedding portrait? Where's some kind of written record of his personality? What was he like? What kind of jokes did he tell? Why did he raise birds? What did he think about when he was fishing?


My great uncle Dave Rettberg, who passed away this year after a long battle with Alzheimer's, was also a WWII veteran, a bombadier. I have some vague recollections of his war stories that I wished I'd paid more attention to when I was younger.

No one in my family served in Vietnam or the Gulf Wars, and I'm glad for that. Today must a very difficult one for the 800 or so American families who've lost a loved one in the past year due to the Bush adventure in Iraq.

Thanks to my brother Paul, of Media Dreams Studios for the pics of Lester. Also, it turns out Baby Clayworth Clayworth probably died at or shortly after birth. My Aunt Deb says there were only seven kids.

Rettberg on Mars

To celebrate his 60th Birthday, my Dad is taking a trip with my Mom and Chris and Mike Scott to Germany next week. I was talking on the phone with my Dad tonight, and googled up some German Rettbergs they might look up while they're over there (our strand of the family came over some time around the turn of the last century). The most interesting German Rettberg I ran across seems to be Dr. Petra Rettberg, the first Rettberg on Mars


(ok so she didn't actually go there, but spent some time on the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, investigating the UVfiltering effect of natural soils). Also notable — the musical playwright Rolf Rettberg — he's got MP3s online from Hundert Wasser. Not to mention the very talented Wiesbaden goldsmith Rene Rettberg, and of course the paralell systems designer Achim Rettberg (frankly the most brilliant Rettberg I've never met).

Maestro is Rapt


Friday night at the Rettberg house — I've never seen Maestro so rapt by the television set as tonight, while we watched Winged Migration, a great documentary about the migration of birds. Did you know that the Arctic Tern migrates 12,000 miles from the Arctic to the Antarctic every year? Talk about frequent flier miles.