Thursday, March 31, 2005

Thursday Three?

My fanny. More like thursday 17.5967393945736394.

I'll take a shot, but under protest at the false advertising.


1. Dunkin’ or Krispy Kreme
Either. More variety at DD, more hot donuts at KK. Either way, it's a shlep to the kosher ones.
2. Cheese curls or cheese puffs
Yuck. Styrofoam peanuts painted safety cone orange. No thanks.
3. Chocolate or vanilla

CATEGORY 2--TV People:

1. Ginger or Mary Ann
Can I answer both?
2. Crockett or Tubbs
3. Barney or Warren
Purple Dinosaur or Acting Dinosaur? Miller or Buffett? I'm too confused to answer.

CATEGORY 3--Potpourri:

1. 9mm or .45
I was never good at math.
2. Pro football or college football
Pro, until hockey season starts again.
3. Boxers or briefs/thong or granny panties
Does this really need an answer?
4. Electric or blade
Electric. See Leviticus 19:27 for more details.
5. Paper or plastic
Canvas when I remember to bring 'em, plastic otherwise.
6. Dark socks and sandals at the beach or barefooted
sandals, no socks.
7. Wal-mart or K-mart
Eh. Target most often.
8. Dog or cat
9. LP or CD
CD mostly, occasional LP. I own a turntable, & my dad's will play 78s.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Neat Article on Jim Thorpe

and the serendipity that sometimes brings things to light. It's at the NYTimes, so you'll have to register to see the article (or go to & get a valid password).

Of course, it's interesting to hear that the experts are saying this is a brand new discovery, and the guy who bought the lucky book just went to the public library and found the news articles from the 20s detailing the basketball tour Jim Thorpe was on. One more sign that information is right in front of people who can be bothered to look.

Headlines like this

are why I hate the media. Look, I know the AP needs people to look in order to make money. But somebody up the chain there wants Mary Cheney identified as gay every time she appears in print. It is quite obvious to me that they don't want people on the right to forget that Ms. Cheney is ::GASP:: a homosexual.

The problem is, most conservatives know that. Some might wish she were not, but most of us are willing to accept that this is who she is, whatever we might choose for her. Not only did it make no difference in her father's re-election, but most decent people were upset that his family was dragged into the political debate.

I don't care if the story mentions that she's gay, but the headline makes it clear that this is the only reason they are reporting the story. If one of his other children was writing, there wouldn't have even been an article. What would have been wrong with the headline "Cheney Daughter to write Book?"

Evolutionarily speaking

I think this guy's barking up the wrong tree. Not because there's any real issue for me about evolution. I don't really have a dog in that race (to keep the metaphpor going until it collapses under its own weight), but I tend toward the creationist view. Without getting into it, I'll accept that God could have used evolution as a means of creating living beings, but I insist that it was God behind it, whatever Dr. Smartypants thinks.

Anyway, the guy's complaining that banning evolution films somehow fails the Museum world's educational mission. I may be missing something, but aren't most of these Imax theaters just there to make money? Why are they going to run a film that the locals won't come see? Sometimes I think Academia has forgotten that there's a free market out there. If they're so obsessed with survival of the fittest, why won't they let economic Darwinism rule?

Maybe I'm the idiot, I dunno.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Cliff Notes Version

of the weekend, since, I cannot possibly measure up to The Possum Car Trip from Purgatory.

Thursday, as I might have mentioned, was the Fast of Esther, and I have never fasted well. This one went OK, but it kinda screwed up my digestive system. Friday itself was Purim, the commemoration of the story related in the Book of Esther. Follows the usual pattern of "They tried to kill us, we won, let's eat." One of the key commandments for the day is to hear the Book read, and to accomodate mine & the Mrs.' needs on that score, I went to a 5:30 AM service. Quick & to the point, but I was on little enough sleep as it was.

Mrs. went, sans kiddies, at 7:30. The rest of the morning was a blur of taking the kids to a later reading (they're not obligated, but we figured they should get the flavor) and delivering food gifts to various folks. The commandment itself is to deliver two types of food to one person. Over the years this has gotten blown so far out of proportion that there are entire companies set up to handle it. I've given up on getting baskets to everyone I know, and I'm certainly not filling them up with tons of processed crap.

Fortunately, both of our local synagogues have developed methods of covering everybody. You pay as you go, and every participant gets ONE basket. It's usually overfilled, but you get one instead of thirty or sixty or whatever. We made about 15 others to deliver to non-participating types, and included: 1 orange; 2 twizzlers; one bag homemade choc. chip cookies; one bag homemade fudge. As my man Tony Kornheiser would say, "That's it, that's the list"

We head off to my brothers for the festive meal, which was fun. Friday Purim can be a bit of a problem, as Shabbos still has to happen, but we got it all worked out. We did come home to two issues. First, the kids fell asleep in the car. Naps are a thing of the past for both kids, but they really could use the extra sleep. So we left them in the car with the Mrs, and I went out to get the last things we needed from the store. The second issue was the avalanche of boxes sitting on the porch, filled with goodies. I, naturally, have no self-control, so there was much sugar consumed.

The rest of the weekend was normalish. Lunch with friends on Saturday went from noon to almost 5 PM (not solidly eating, but a lot of schmoozing), which led to our dinner plans with other friends. Watched the Incredibles with the Mrs. on Saturday night, followed by a Sunday replete with birthday parties and laundry and cleaning. Spiderman 2 on the DVD Sunday nite, collapse into bed.

Since tomorrow AM is the second of my three root-canal visits, I do not expect to be too cheerful tomorrow. Can you blog if you're face is numb? I guess we'll find out tomorrow.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Informal Poll

Given that the five regular readers of this site are spread across the country, I wanted to test something. How many of you have ever heard of Asterix?

My neighbor (a South African by birth, which makes him more African-American than most other people) told me I'm only the third person he's ever met in America who knows that delightful Gaulish warrior. I wanted to see if that's true. If it is, Americans are woefully ignorant and possibly beyond salvation.

So, if you'll indulge me, kindly let me know in the comments if you are highly cultured or hopelessly enmired in ignorance.

These bloggers are crazy.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

While some people

chatter on & on about having lunch with attractive people, some of us are in the midst of a fast day. I'm at the tired, headachy, and grumpy stage. Which is not all that different from my normal behavior, but today I have a reason for it.

Anyway, Sugarmama's extra special Salsa Page reminds me that I've been meaning to get back to Trader Joe's to pick up another jar or two of their Chipotle Salsa. Not being the connoisseur that Sugar is, I can't tell you how it ranks as compared to other brands. I like it, anyway.

Mind you, at the moment I think I'd eat styrofoam packing peanuts, so you probably shouldn't trust my taste buds right now.

Thursday Three

1) What is the one thing that you love MOST about Spring?

NO....MORE....SNOW. Putting the snowblower & salt away for another year cheers me up no end. Also being able to open the windows & get some air in the house.

2) ASIDE FROM POLLEN AND TORNADOES, what is the one thing that you love LEAST about Spring?

The fact that in NY it only lasts about a week before we hit the 85-90 degree temperatures.

3) Name your single most favorite song, movie, play, book, painting, sculpture, etc., etc., with “spring” as part of the title.

"Springtime for Hitler" popped into my head, but I don't know if that qualifies as "favorite." "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park?" No spring in the title, but in the opening verse. I can't think of anything else.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Archives of interest

Not a lot of time to play today, but I missed last week so I don't want to forget this week too.

In honor of absolutely nothing, here is the Alaska State Archives. Lots of interesting images and stuff to look at about the Last Frontier, as they apparently call themselves.

According to the state, they have an official insect along with about a dozen other "official" things, all passed by act of the legislature. As usual, I feel like the legislature might find more useful things to spend their time on. I guess it keeps them out of trouble.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Life otherwise

is sort of quiet. Little of consequence happened over the weekend (though I did grill some chicken, which was fabulous), short of a trip to Costco. I did get pulled off a long line there into a new lane, and the same happened on a regular shopping trip, so on that score things went extremely well.

Last night was the first of three visits to Miller the Driller the Cavity Filler (her name isn't actually Miller, but one of the sportscasters I like refers to a team Dentist that way, and it just rolls off the tongue so nicely.) I apparently need a root canal, so last night was the excavation. It wasn't as bad as I thought it might be, which is to say it still stunk. Two more visits to put in the almost-but-not-quite-a-real tooth, and then I can unclench my fingers.

Purim is coming up, and my big plans for getting our Mishloach Manot fixings together in advance are a dismal failure. These things can get elaborate, but we tend to keep stuff simple. By law you only need to give one person two different types of food. Some people I know (and might be descended from) give about 6,000 people 457 items each. We've kept it down to a short list of about 10-15 people, and no more than 4 items per basket.

My plan had been to spend part of the weekend making chocolate chip cookies and mint fudge, but best laid plans have a habit of misfiring. I'll make the attempt tonight and see what happens.


is the message I got, via email, from my younger child. I'm glad she's picked up the old man's typing skills.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Thursday O'Three

Nothing to do with Patrick's day, but musical. Bear in mind that my dad is a professional musician, and this one strikes a chord. Get it? Huh? Huh?

1. What instrument do you play?

I have been known to play cheap kid-toy kazoos. I can sing a bit, but just a bit.

2. Which one do you wish you could play if time and talent were not involved?

Guitar. This man is EXACTLY who I would want to sound like. Never gonna happen, but a guy can dream.

3. Have you ever taken lessons for an instrument or voice and how did it go?

Yep. Aforementioned Parental unit attempted to teach me clarinet at about eight years old. [Me, not him. Duh.] I wouldn't practice, so so much for that. My grampa, who was a piano teacher by trade, did attempt piano lessons, which similarly went nowhere. I can, however, still play "Drifting" on the pianner at my dad's house (Grampa's 1893 steinway baby grand, which pops took after my grandma moved out of her house).

I also attempted to teach myself the tin whistle with the help of a tape/book package, and got vaguely far. Practice does not sit well with me, I guess

Captain Frank

posted this article about the children left behind when our soldiers are killed in action. The story is, of course, sad and tragic. These poor kids are left without a parent, and there's really nothing that can replace the parent they lost.

It did get me thinking a bit. I don't think much of Newsweek, and my automatic assumption is going to be that they're making political points about the war in Iraq. It's probably not fair of me to assume this, and the story is no less real. Suffice it to say that the Media brought this suspicion on itself.

I do not think for a moment that the death of our soldiers is a good thing. I do not think the suffering of these families is a good thing. But I do need to raise the point - is this a necessary thing? I believe the war itself is necessary, and unfortunately that brings death with it. I thought of the thousands of kids left orphaned after September 11th, and concern that our enemies had for their loss - which is to say, none at all.

Look, I'm a civilian with no one in harm's way. It's easy for me to sit back and say "this is something the country needs, and it's unfortunate that this is the result." It's a lot harder to say that when the person killed is your loved one. Yet what are the alternatives? Allowing the terrorists to run rampant here? Leaving Saddam in power when even the NY Times has figured out he had WMD capability? (See here as well for some opinion on the subject.)

I wish there was something we could do to bring back the parents of these kids, and all the other sons, daughters, husbands, wives, and friends. If there is any comfort to be taken from these deaths of these wonderful people it's that they died to protect all of us. Think about that for a minute. Not only did they die to protect their own families (which I think most of us would probably do), but they died to protect millions of complete strangers. What kind of incredible people volunteer for such a job, knowing the risks involved? Only the best this nation has to offer.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

And there was more

to the fabulous weekend. Sunday brought a hairclipping for the Mrs., leaving me at home with the childroon. Endless debate over the spots on oldest's face led to an appointment with the sawbones, junior edition. Naturally, the doctor was two blocks from where Mrs. was on her appointment, and grand confusion ensued over whether or not to meet there, leave youngest someplace local, or take her to the doc's, etc. We resolved all issues by walking down the block to a neighbor who's a doctor (well, a resident, but it was close enough). He said oldest was not contagious, so I saved both a trip and a $20 co-pay.

Off then to the parental units in Brooklyn, where we handed off the kids to the tender mercies of their grandparents. My dad took them to their cousin's house nearby for dinner & playtime. Me & Mrs. got all dolled up (well, one of us did, anyway) for the annual dinner for oldest's new school. These things tend to be fancy & expensive, but this place is earning a real warm spot in my heart for how they do things. We got the invite a week or so in advance, saying "Come as our guests." Not common when these fundraisers are going on. They'll hit us up next year I'm sure, but it's not something a lot of places would have done, and I appreciate the gesture.

Anyway, we got ourselves together and headed over to the hall where the shindig was being held. To begin with, the Rabbi in charge (who was the guest of honor to boot), who has met us twice, recognized us and welcomed us warmly. Then, of course, there's food EVERYWHERE. I suspect a few of my readers would have fainted from the sheer gustatory variety on display. Huge sushi table out in the hallway; around the room in the main cocktail area: Chinese table; pasta station; dead animal on a stick table; something else I forget; deli table; carving station. You gained weight just by walking in the room.

The odd thing is, we were among the first people there & we barely ate until halfway through the cocktail hour. Bear in mind neither child goes to the school, and yet we knew tons of people there. Half the guys I play hockey with were there, as well as plenty of others from our town. Without getting into the gory details, there are a lot of reasons we're not sending oldest to the school in our town. Suffice it to say the management of the place leaves a lot to be desired. Apparently, based on the representation at this dinner, a lot of people feel the same way as us. A LOT of people.

Anyway, plenty of shmoozing, some eating, on to the awards & stuff. The kids choir sings (not exactly the Chorus at the Metropolitan Opera, but very cute & certainly heartfelt. I don't really like large women in Norse Armor anyway) Awards handed out, some genuine sentiment in the room, and then, it's off for dinner.

What? You thought a Jewish organization would only have one set of food? Dinner, dancing, a raffle (we actually won! Not usual for her, according to the Mrs., but we walked off with a pair of expensive sunglasses each. I never buy expensive shades, as I have a habit of sitting on them, but it's nice to win), and finally home.

Since then it's just everybody sick in the house, and me pretending that I haven't got the same head cold as the rest of them.

(Oh, and may I say Mrs. Skinny looked SMOKING on Sunday PM. Not that she doesn't always, but I was walking around with a hot chick at this thing. Not this kind of hot chick, thank you.)

Monday, March 14, 2005

Busy weekend

and somewhat productive to boot. While the weather was schizophrenic to say the least (snow in the AM, bright sunshine & warm temps in the PM) we did manage to do stuff. Nothing of consequence, but still stuff. Got home Friday with nothing to eat, and managed in the three hours prior to Shabbos to make meatloaf, mashed pertaters, and gingersnaps. The latter was not exactly required, but they were delicious. Even managed to get showered up, which took care of the itty-bitty hairy remnants of my periodic shearing. (yes, that means I got a haircut on the way home)

Oldest has taken to staying home with mamma on Friday nights, which is a little peculiar since she enjoys going to services so much. Her enjoyment is inversely proportional to the amount of time she actually spends in the sanctuary during prayers. Most of her time is out in the hall with her friends, which is fine for now. I'll bring the hammer down when she gets a bit older. It's not conducive to good concentration to have a whiny four year old sitting B-O-R-E-D next to Daddy.

This week she wanted to stay home, so youngest and I hightailed it (late, as usual) through the remaining slush off to services. Snack-free, miraculously. She survived. We get home, and oldest is not well. She turns down Mrs.' home-made Challah, even [GASP!] A WHOLE ROLL! Very out of character. She eats one bite each of meatloaf, mashed spuds, and a handful of dried cranberries. And then asks to go to bed. She's a little hot, she gets some tylenol, & off to bed followed quickly by youngest.

Next AM she's up perky & on-time, but has pimple-looking spots on her face. And us with lunch plans on the far side of town. Off to neighbors - #1 is a medical resident, but not home. #2 is a nurse, but asleep says her husband, so I take youngest off to services (late again). Oldest shows up an hour later, says "We're here!" and runs off to play. Nurse says it's not chicken pox, not likely contagious.

So we head off to the other end of town, have a lovely lunch, and Mrs. vamooses to a class for women, leaving me with the kiddies. NOT HAPPY. "WANT MOMMY" from youngest, oldest is too out of it to care. Home, dinner & bed by 6:15 PM, an hour before normal. Youngest goes down a bit later after Mrs. returns, and we spend a pleasant post-shabbos watching Spider-Man, which I recommend highly, and snacking on (of all things!) bell peppers and green beans.

This sort of thing

is why I love my job sometimes. Reality is always more interesting than fiction, though you could a LOT worse than this young lady.

Extra bonus points to her for keeping good company.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Thursday Three - Ahoy, Matey!

Avast, you old sea-dogs, crank up yer shantys and dance a hornpipe to the Thursday Three. Or not.

1.) Have you traveled anywhere by boat (across a pond or around the ocean)?

Various ferries, including the Staten Island Ferry, Circle Line to the Statue of Liberty, and most recently the Port Jefferson-Bridgeport CT ferry. Oh, and some of the West Coast relations required ferry travel.

2.) Have you ever owned a boat?

Nope. Well, I had a Playmobil Pirate Ship as a kid. And this looks like fun. But that's not really what you meant, is it?

3.) If you were to take a boat trip and had unlimited funds and no motion sickness, where would you go, who would you take and what kind of boat would you go on?

I'd go anywhere I wanted. Take my family. And I'd go on an aircraft carrier. This one, I think.

Bonus question: What food stuffs would you want if you were marooned.

Not sure, but I want variety. Lots of meat, and a grill to cook it on. Which means I need marinades. And fries. And burger buns. And...

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Archives of Interest

Chocolate Edition. MMMMM, Chocolate.

I was looking for something neat, and the Hershey's Archives has a great site. They even have a short description of what is an archivist, if you're curious. The collections are as much about the town & the people as the company, and I think it's worth a look.

Incidentally, if you check the Oral History or Chronology links, they're using the same online database I am.

Western Movies

I got Red River from Netflix a while back, and finally got to watch it last night. I had remembered the film very fondly as being one of the better Duke westerns I had seen.

I don't know if time has changed my approach, but I admit to a certain level of disappointment. It's a good film, but it doesn't have the impact I remember it having. There's a great deal of sort of "Western Panorama" kind of thing, which I suspect works nicely in a movie theater but not so well on TV. After a while, though, it gets kind of dull.

There are some tense, dramatic moments in the movie that work very well. The scene where the mutiny finally happens and Duke is surrounded by all these people an inch away from killing him is terrific. Then the whole thing ends in a completely unrealistic, funny approach that I think was completely out of context. Duke did funny films, where the humor is perfectly fine, but it sounds a wrong note here. The final fight scene is highly charged and climactic, and then it ends flat.

I guess '40s westerns all needed happy endings, but I think this one would have been a better film without it.

Ummm, OK?

Cultural Destabilization Plot? Kidnapping Russell Crowe? Somehow the free world would collapse without greasy haired, unshaven manly good looks?

I guess Osama has different priorities than I do.

Monday, March 07, 2005

American Ingenuity - the Dark Side

appears to lie with the Chicken Vac. I don't know how, exactly, some guy woke up one morning and thought "Gee. Hoover a chicken. That should do the trick!"

And yet, somebody did. I admit I don't worry much about farming, or the treatment of animals. PETA and I do not care for each other. And yet, I wonder about the psychological effect on a chicken of being swept into a vacuum crater thing.

Well, watch the video and decide for yourself.

(Link courtesy Jonah Goldberg.)


Since I'm sure you've been desperately curious, I can now safely report that I have found the site of that "I've Got Gas" commercial I mentioned sometime back when.

The company in question, Infinite Energy, is I'm sure quite pleased with itself. And yet I stand by my original conviction that it is a questionable slogan at best.

Perhaps folks in Gainesville have a different approach than I do.


are the most amazing people on earth sometimes. Not only does the guy come up with a clever idea for making new limbs for people, but he uses a piece of equipment owned by the guy who cost people their limbs.

Let's hear it for American ingenuity and decency. Not much chance of this making the "real" newspapers, but I thought the rest of you should know about it.

Friday, March 04, 2005

History in the News

Brings me back to college days, when I was first introduced to Abelard and Heloise. I don't have an opinion on the veracity of the story, but it's good to see it in the news.

If you don't know the story, the article will fill you in well enough. It's symbolic of the explosion of literacy, education and culture of the 12th century in Europe. Obviously the love story aspect of it (and the forbidden nature of that love) is what gives it resonance throughout history, but to me it signifies the great advances made during that period. After several centuries of relatively constant warfare, Europe is finally free to concentrate on other things. Abelard is a prominent scholar, well known in Paris for his ability. His prominence is what gets him involved with Heloise, and the inevitable results follow. What is fascinating for history are the conversations between the two after Abelard's, umm, unplanned surgery. They discuss philosophy, religion, etc., and their work remains one of the better pieces of literature to come out of this amazing period.

I believe Oxford, the University of Paris (the Sorbonne) and some of the Italian schools opened in the 12th century. Gothic architecture got its start then (that's for you, Mr. Possum.) The first several crusades (for good or ill) ocurred then, and the development of England as a major European power (especially under Henry II) began in the 12th c.

There are certain historical periods that are known for great advances. The 12th c. is one of those, as is the 18th c. There just seem to be these moments when everything comes together and you see these tremendous periods of creativity. It doesn't mean, of course, that all troubles melt away, but clearly society makes great leaps forward sometimes. I don't know if I can point to a reason for it, but they are always fascinating areas of study.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Thursday Three - Nausea Edition

Why Terry went for the (dis)gusto here is beyond me, but here it is nonetheless.

#1--What three commonly served food items cause you to become nauseated when you smell them? (The “commonly served” will be judged loosely to allow for regional specialties that cause you unease that might not be available in other parts of the world.)

I can't think of three, but the one I can think of is bad enough for three. I don't even know what it actually is, but there was a "food truck" [colloquially, "Roach Coach"] on the corner of 96th St. & Broadway when I used to live near there that was clearly frying petroleum byproducts. Or raw sewage. It was a hispanic food truck, so I guess it was some South or Central American specialty that smells beyond hideous. I hated waiting for the light to change there just because the smell almost killed me.

#2--What three non-cable, non-satellite television shows can you just not stand to watch? (If they make you nauseated, even better.)

Survivor; 60 Minutes; Anything on WB or UPN

#3--What three things are you immune to that seem to make other people ill?

Can't think of anything, unless allergies & asthma are acceptable illnesses. I love the smell of freshly mowed lawn and pipe tobacco. And some people I know are disgusted by the smell of sauteed onions, which I think is heavenly.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

As for the rest

it was as to be expected. We got to our friend's house, went out with them for dinner at DC's lone expensive kosher restaurant. The steak I had was good, as was the rest of the dinner. The waitress was more than a little odd, but not in a terribly annoying way.

We met our friend's new dog, as well, which wasn't bad. I'm not a pet person, as no one I knew ever had one when I was growing up. I think that's a peculiarity of the New York orthodox community, not Jews in general, but... Anyway, I liked this dog - he's a golden retriever, and a very placid dog on the whole, so I didn't feel overwhelmed by him. I'm glad, as we're going to see them with the kids soonish and I think he's a good dog for small kids.

Then on the road again today, including a completely fruitless stop at Ikea in Joisey, and then home. Nearly 700 miles behind the wheel over three days, and I'm glad to be home. Youngest child's greeting on our return was fantastic, and it's always nice to be loved.

I am back

Perhaps you had not noticed I was gone. Which is how it should be.

Had a lovely few days away from home and kiddies and all. I got asked an obscenely long time ago to deliver a talk at a conference in Ocean City, MD. They asked maybe 2 months after I last delivered this talk, which was in October of 2003. (This parallels the experience I had with an article I recently had published in an unbelievably obscure journal - I sent the thing off last April and heard nothing about it until the review copies showed up in my mail about a month ago.)

Anyway, I seem to be labeled as "archives web guy", so I'm in some minor demand as the guy who can talk about archives web sites. This group was for museums, so I took the same talk from 2003 & substituted "museum" for every occurrence of the work "archives." The talk itself went fine. I co-presented with a guy from elsewhere on Long Island, and our session went pretty well. The hotel was a nice place on the whole, if only for the fridge, freezer, and microwave present in the room. When you have to travel with your own food everywhere, it's a nice help not to have to beg for a fridge. I'm sure Ocean City is pleasant enough in Summer, but it's pretty cold & dreary in February. And a little too much like Miami Beach to suit my tastes, I think. They claimed our room was $360 a night in season, which seemed a bit much even given the niceness of the room. Needless to say, our rate was considerably lower.

As yesterday was the Mrs. & mine's anniversary (6 years - even prisoners get time off for good behavior, but no such luck for my dear wife), we took the opportunity to leave the kiddies in my parent's trusty hands for a few days. After my session was done, we hit the road for Washington, DC and a chance to see some friends. The driving was a little hairy given the storm that blew through, but we made it OK. I have to admit that I'm always surprised driving through new parts of the US. This is a northeasterner's (and mostly a New Yorker's) bias, but I always equate states with the parts I've been through.

The only parts of Maryland I had seen were the highway and the DC suburbs; ergo, the whole state is suburban. I was greatly surprised to find out that everything between the resort area of the coast and the DC area is farmland. Once again, a road trip can teach you a lot about America. Which is a good thing.