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LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY — I need to acknowledge some milestones now. First, this month marks the fifth year I’ve kept this blog going, and today is my 55th (double-nickel!) birthday.

[In Chinese shorthand, the number 5 (wu) can stand for “I” or “me” (wo), so this post is really just all about me. Me me me.]

As I’ve said before, I started this exercise in self-expression (and self-promotion) as a lark, then I discovered I actually liked doing it. I can write about anything I bloody well please, so that’s really cool. And it seems people actually read it, which is even cooler.

Thanks to the wonders of social networking, I’ve been inundated with birthday wishes from literally all around the world (the US, China, Israel, and Pakistan, to name a few — and Australia – thanks, mate!). Quite a few of those wishes have come from students I taught ages ago, who still remember me fondly enough to shoot me quick Facebook comments. I am a very happy and fortunate man. Thanks, everyone!

On one birthday 25 years, I watched while the Shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after liftoff, killing its crew. Today, I am watching CNN cover the civil unrest in Egypt, which while tense seems to be far less fatal than one might expect. Historic events happen all the time, naturally, but today’s events (and the great time I am spending with my kids on my holiday here) will help me remember this day for a long, long time.