That fortune cookie knew what he was talking about!

The other day, I was listening to some people talking about their adult children, and the relationships they have with them, and one woman said (regarding her daughter), "Well, she's a Leo and I'm an Aries, so you know how that is."

No, I don't know how that is, I promise you.

At the Friends' bookstore, we've recently received a pile or three of books on tarot, astrology, wizardry, sun signs, runology, I Ching, and related strangeness. I wanted to shelve it all under "Claptrap", but one of my co-workers suggested perhaps it would be more politic if we put it all in a section called "Believe It or Not". I agreed because it meant I got to use the bookstore's cool little computerized hand-held label maker to print out a label saying just that. (I still want to make a label that says "Claptrap". Maybe someday.)

All this astrological rigmarole is merely a source of mirth to me. Who could possibly give any credence to something that appears in the daily newspaper next to the comics?

No, if you really want to know what the future holds for you, the only sure way is to read your fortune in a cookie. Now there's something that makes sense. I can't believe the number of times I have been prepared for some imminent change in my life simply by going to a Chinese restaurant and having a good meal.

It should be noted, though, that there are various kinds of messages in those cookies. You have your basic fortune cookie, but there are also advice cookies and observation cookies. The observation cookies are correct, I'd say, about 50% of the time, not unlike a basic, generalized horoscope. It's the same odds as flipping a coin. The problem with observation cookies is that they are too often pedestrian in nature. And the advice cookies are mostly just annoying. But the fortune cookies - at least the ones that have fallen into my hands - are amazingly accurate.

Here are some examples:

Example #1

#1. I got this fortune about five years ago, and since that time I've been to the seashore (here and in Hawai'i) a number of times, always with pleasurable results. The latest was about two weeks ago, when my sister and brother-in-law came to visit and we went to Oceanside. The pleasure was not only in seeing them but in getting that Chocolate Xtreme Blizzard from Dairy Queen.

Example #2

#2. Well, if you've been paying attention, you know this fortune came true about three months ago.

Example #3

#3. We got a comforter for our bed many years ago. It is made of what you could call a wealth of material. It has palm tree decorations on it, and I like it very much.

Example #4

#4. I think this means I'll go back to England someday and actually visit those used bookstores.

Example #5

#5. I got this fortune about a year ago. We went on a cruise last December with my parents, and my mom found two perfectly new t-shirts left behind in her cabin and she gave them to me. Amazing, is it not?

Example #6

#6. This is an example of an observation cookie. Although not the only accurate observation I've received, it's the only one that really means anything to me.


You're already winners 'cause you didn't kill each other up at camp

Every two years, my family has a reunion. We gather from the far corners of the US to some locale in a western state - usually a campsite with a lake or other body of water nearby - and spend a few days relaxing and enjoying one another's company.

A perfect time to do a lot of reading, I thought, so this year I took two fat books along with me: Acacia: The War with the Mein, by David Anthony Durham (753 pages); and The Great Hunt (book 2 of The Wheel of Time), by Robert Jordan (681 pages, not including the glossary).

Apparently I thought I'd have a lot of free time. But it turned out there were lots of activities, like:

the talent show...

...the s'mores contest...


...squirt-gun battles...

...the softball game...

...the genealogy game...


...lake exploration...

...not to mention miniature golf, visits to the campground store, boating on the lake, a couple of birthday celebrations, and epic games of Monster Sonster.

Some people did manage to get in a little reading.

I, for one, got to page 340 in Acacia. Too bad it'll be another two years before I have a chance to finish.