the anticlimactic answer to the question one of you is desperately bored enough to wonder about if nothing else is pressing on you. Like the need to floss, which would be far more entertaining than...
[please hum suitably dramatic music]
This [representative image only] has been replaced by this.["]
Yes, I have pulled the trigger on my longstanding desire to replace my 1996 Civic with a newer car. Moronic because there wasn't really anything wrong with the Civic. The engine ran fine, I wasn't having any major issues with the car, and we owned it outright. It was, in fact, bought with cash, back when we had such things available to us.
But (and I may have talked about this before) I was tired of the car. It had next to no pickup, to the point where I routinely turned off the AC if I wanted to accelerate onto the highway. It should be noted that unlike some other places, onramps in the NY metro area are somewhat shorter than elsewhere. The average entrance ramp is somewhere between the length of a ruler and that of a yardstick. No pickup is thus something of an issue. And the car was ten years old, and we've had it for 7 of those ten years.
So the question came down to this. Was I prepared to live with this car, with only 94,000 miles on it, and drive it until it died? Or did I want to trade it for something I was happier with while there was still some resale value? Trade full ownership for car payments? Spend money or don't?
Obviously, the moron side of my brain won out. I didn't need to spend money, the Civic worked, all I really need is a commuter car, and I did it anyway. I'm still torn about the choice I made because I'm cheap. I didn't have a love affair with the Civic, after less than a day with it I'm happy with the Accord, so this wasn't an emotional decision about the car. But I HATE, I repeat, HATE spending money. I come from a long line of cheap SOBs. And yet I pulled the trigger anyway.
The buying itself was fairly straightforward. I've been talking with Mrs. about this for a while, so we just decided last week we'd go looking this past Sunday. So we head off to one dealer, and the guy just acts like he can't be bothered to talk to us. He hands us a shopping list of what they have, says "what do you want to see", he can't find the keys to the one we're interested in, and I said "just pull something around so we can try it." One dopey around the block test drive, and we say "we'll let you know."
On to the next, which is the same dealer we got Mrs.' car from four years ago. She suggested I try the new Civic just to see - the engine's bigger, and maybe for the same price I can have a new car, not a used one. So we get a salesperson (skinny, attractive, not very talkative or salesmanlike) and we take a spin in the new Civic. Definitely faster, nicer, digital display doohickies, but kind of uncomfortable - the headrest was poking Mrs. in a very rude way.
So we head over to the used, and I tell the guy there I want to look at an Accord. So we get in the nice blue one, and drive it around, and its not bad. We start haggling, and I get some heebie jeebies. What if that's not the right car? Mrs. says "look, there's the gray one we peeked into, take another drive & make sure." He pulls it around, we take another spin, and I'm sold on this one instead. It's cleaner inside, 12,000 fewer miles, just feels better. Back to the table, I say I'll make a deal if he'll give me the same price on the gray one, and we're done.
I feel like I did a pretty good job negotiating. We got the sales tax included in the price, and knocked that down to $2,000 less than their original absolutely rock-bottom asking price. Did I rob them blind? Not likely. Did they rob me blind? At least it was only in one eye. Add the lojack and the bumper to bumper warranty and I didn't end up off quite as cheap as I wanted, but I would have paid for those anyway even if I didn't knock the price down.
So I am the proud owner of a 2003 Accord LX. I'm not sure I made the right choice about doing this or not, but I like the car a lot and I would have had to do this eventually. I was bargaining from a position of relative strength, in that I had a car. I could walk away no worse off than I was before. The cost is an issue, and I still feel like I was being selfish wanting something else when the other car still worked fine. But as the great Hebrew sage Hillel is reported to have said, "Ve-im lo achshav, eimatai?" - "And if not now, when?"
I doubt the sage had in mind buying Hondas (used or new), but the choice is made and I'm pretty happy with the result. Considerably cash poorer, but happy.
[Incidentally, my hint yesterday said "round things are involved, but not the sum total of the story." I will remind car people in particular that there are numerous round parts on cars that should have given away the answer. Washers, air vents, knobs, etc. Maybe even one or two things on the outside of the car. I thought it would be obvious if you're a REAL car guy.]
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
the anticlimactic answer to the question one of you is desperately bored enough to wonder about if nothing else is pressing on you. Like the need to floss, which would be far more entertaining than...
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
may be my alltime favorite Dire Straits song. And I really like Dire Straits, so that's saying something.
Once I had a woman I could call my own;
Once I had a woman now my woman she gone
Once there was a river, now there's a stone
You know it's evil when you're living alone.
Ahhh. It loses a lot without that fabulous steel guitar in the background, though.
Hang on a sec - I want to play it over again.
UPDATE: The same holds true for Southbound Again. It's very difficult for me to really pick a favorite, but the self-titled first album is full of gems. All anybody knows is Sultans of Swing, and I've lost interest in that over the years because of how bloody often it's played. It is a fabulous song, but there's more to DS and more to this album in particular. If you don't have it and like guitar pickers, I highly recommend it. Available, naturally, at Amazon. (BTW, I agree wholeheartedly with the top review listed on the page.)
Monday, August 28, 2006
comes in all shapes and varieties, as do the morons that effect the moronitude. I have, I suspect, dived headfirst into the moropool. Unlike the usual suspects ::cough cough::Terry::cough cough::, mine does not involve a project at all.
It does, however, involve gobs and gobs of cash, was likely unnecessary, is more than a bit selfish, and is entirely self inflicted, which are the other key parts of moronitude.
Details will follow, most likely later this week when the point of no return has been surpassed.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
I don't quite get the French, example #26754404056453. Via the Corner, this quote in a Wall Street Journal Europe article:
The charming French minister of defense, Michèle Alliot-Marie, says she is not sending troops unless and until the U.N. can guarantee their safety.
Guarantee their safety? They're TROOPS, dammit! THEY...ARE...SUPPOSED...TO...BE... IN...HARM'S...WAY!!! They get paid to be shot at so that nobody else does. That's what most people's armies are for, though I grant you in France's case it can't be assumed.
I'm willing to guess the troops themselves are fairly robust, brave types. The Resistance proved there are French people with cajones. But their minister gives me the impression they're a bunch of nancy-boy [not necessarily Nancy-boy] wusses who need coddling.
Oh, I know this is just political posturing by a slimy politician, but there's something surreal and postmodern about keeping your troops safe. Very French, either way.
First, this little gem:
Under fire, Indian eatery drops Hitler from name
I grant you some think there's no bad publicity, but I disagree. I imagine a "Stalin's Mustache" wouldn't go over too well in some places either.
Next, one for the "if you say so" file:
Cows 'moo' with an accent, farmers believe
This would seem to raise a number of interesting possibilities. From the Barnyard Players version of My Fair Lady ("Why can't the Cattle...learn...to...speak") to the development of the BLA (Bovine Language Association), where lefty cow professors could debate the existential superlative nonconsenusal meaning of "moo".
For the record, you can learn about cow breeds here.
for the BlogTribute to the victims of 9/11 (saw the link on Michelle Malkin's blog.) If you have a blog, and have not signed up, I strongly recommend you sign on. There were more than 300 names remaining of the nearly 3,000 dead, and I think it would be a terrible shame if we left those names off. It's not that I think this is the greatest thing ever done in the world, but it's one way of remembering those murdered on that day.
I have been assigned to acknowledge the life of one Michael Edward McHugh, age 35. I had never heard his name before today, but I will do my best on the anniversary of that terrible day to do his memory justice.
Sign up too, won't you?
is less worrisome than the veiled kind that usually passes for news around the country. As Andy McCarthy over at the Corner notes, "[this is] one of the more ignorant analyses of modern terrorism's root causes one is ever apt to read." McCarthy doesn't seem to think it's worth analyzing, and I can't blame him.
I'm going to take a stab at it anyway - if a moron like me can shred this guy, how much moreso a McCarthy who does this for a living? In order of writing, my take on his errors:
1) He says "terrorism is a tactic...the root cause of terrorism is politics" Here we have the basic problem of the left. They have it backwards. Terrorism exists for its own sake for the Islamic nuts, politics is simply a means of pushing the destruction of the West and its ideals. Just because to some westerners politics is the driving force doesn't mean it is to other people. Everything to the Wahabbist is a tool towards the Islamicization of the world. They could care less about fair representation, the right to their own way of life without government interference, or the rule of western law. They want an Islamic world, and terrorism helps them get there.
2) The "Author" argues that "When you are the target of terrorist tactics, you can't kill your way out of it." Uhh, yes, you can. We have been the target of it for a long time, and since we kicked the crap out of them in Iraq & Afghanistan (and yes, I realize those are not solved by a long shot) we haven't been attacked again. I also point to our previous war experiences. We killed a hell of a lot of Germans and Japanese, and we beat them in war and brought peace. This guy assumes we should be talking to these nutballs, as if they want the peace we want. They don't. They want us dead or enslaved. Non-western minds don't see negotiating as ideal - it's either a tactic or weakness. They understand force, they understand power. If we wish to survive, we need to show them we're not to be trifled with.
3) "We have a Jewish problem...the powerful Jewish lobby...we don't elect politicians to serve 3 percent of the population and a foreign country." Yadda. Yadda. Yadda. Let's ignore the blatant anti-semitism of this. Let's ignore the relative power of the "Israel/Jewish lobby" vs. that of the AMA, the ABA, AARP, Abortion lobby, etc., etc. Let me rephrase his description of the Jews with a left cause, and see how it plays. "We have a Hispanic problem. The government is totally paralyzed and is unwilling to issue even the mildest rebuke to Mexico, no matter how outrageous its behavior. Why? Because the immigrant lobby is so powerful, American politicians are afraid of it." I don't think I need to go further. You couldn't imagine anyone in the press writing such statements, despite the impact of illegals on our workforce, our social services, the tax implications, etc. If he did, he'd be branded as racist and hurtful. But naturally, it's the Jews causing all the problems. Believe me - lacking Israel, the Wahabbists would find some other reason to attack.
Look, I could argue about his vision of us getting out of the Imperialism business - I can understand that sentiment to some degree, but I don't think we're promoting classical imperialism. I also don't think George Washington's 18th century view of imperialism and international relations can be applied in a modern era of swift travel, blurred national identities, and global immigration. But I don't really know enough about it.
Shame on King Features for letting this imbecile publish, but let's have stuff like this out in the open. It's easier to destroy stuff like this when you can see it clearly for what it is.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Speaking of See Enn Enn, they seem to stick to the script:
Jill Carroll: Terrorists 'surprisingly clever'
Leaving aside the need for a thirty part series on this woman's experience, why does the headline writer make the assumption that these guys should not be considered clever? What's surprising about it? We're dealing with smart people over there. Not in any field the rest of us think is useful, but they've put a lot of effort into figuring out how to hurt people.
This is one more reason to appreciate what our country and our soldiers are doing. We're fighting a group of people who are putting every ounce of energy they have into finding ways of destroying the world. And we, who are spending a lot of time on other things, including creative and beneficial things, are still winning. Not every battle, perhaps, but we haven't been successfully attacked here in five years. It remains a constant battle, but the best they can put together can't defeat what we have.
It raises the question I always ask when criminals or terrorists are the subject. What could these people accomplish if they spent half their time working on something useful? All that brainpower wasted on new ways to kill people? Hours working on methods of adding shrapnel to bombs? Go find a cure for cancer, stupid, and we'll be happy to talk about the superiority of Islam.
that despite the best efforts of the Islamic Death Merchants Debating Society and Manure Delivery Collective, the apocalypse seems to be late. I grant you the day has yet to end in the US, but as CNN for the moment has the JonBenet guy on the front page, our cataclysm for now is no worse than yesterday's.
One could reasonably argue that CNN's idea of news is a sign that we're already at the End of Days, but that's been more of a slow, steady creep than an actual mass fireball of orgiastic Islamic martyr creation.
Barring any signs to the contrary, I'm going to contine to assume that I have to defrost the basement freezer tonight. That's subject to change, naturally, but for the moment I'll assume status quo ante.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Had a conversation with someone last night that left me feeling like I'd been run over by a train. She and her husband split up, and we had no idea it was coming. We don't see them as often as we'd like, and I guess we won't be seeing them together again.
It's all mutually agreeable, things just didn't work out, etc., etc. It's probably the right thing to do. But I'm beyond shocked. Mrs. & I agreed that of all the couples we know, those with & without problems, these people weren't even on the list of people we thought could possibly break up. I don't want this to happen. Not because I think it's the wrong thing - it's not my marriage. I just hate the idea of this kind of change, and especially with people I like a lot.
We talked about it after the phone conversation, and my one takeaway is that I'm getting exceedingly paranoid about the direction life is taking. Things seem too good to be true, given what's happening in the world in general and specifically to people around us. I'm not begging for trouble, mind you, but I can't see why we'd escape the illness, strife, and troubles of people we know. Oh, I know God doesn't really work that way - all happens for a reason, and He's not sending problems just for the fun of it. But I do wonder why I have been blessed with a happy marriage, good health, and (mostly) good kids, and others I know are struggling with some of these issues.
It's a large philosophy problem I guess, and I'm not the most philosophical person in the world. But this is a depressing turn of events, and given the issues in the wider world at the moment, I'm feeling deeply concerned about the course of human events on both the micro and the macro levels.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
a note the other day, asking me to look at this article from the Straight Dope. He asked (without giving it away) if I noticed the same thing about it he did; as it turns out, I did not.
Terry noticed how comical and sad it was that the people at the Seder didn't actually know what was going on, and couldn't explain it to the children. What's in some ways equally sad is the fact that I didn't notice that at all. I've become so used to the idea that the average American Jew knows less about their own heritage and faith than they do about African traditions that I can't even tell when the ignorance is as blatant as in that article.
I'm a minority of a minority. I'm one of precious few Jews left in America that practices daily, knows something of our heritage, and is raising his children in those traditions. Your average American Jew participates in his faith perhaps three times a year - a Passover seder, trips to services on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, and Chanukah. I'm almost tempted to leave that last one off, given how close it is to Christmas for many Jews.
Oh, people will tell me "there are a lot of Conservative and Reform Jews out there who practice regularly, what are you talking about?" I answer two things to that. First, those numbers are terribly small, and shrinking by the year. I grant you there are active members of those denominations, but it's a well defined trend that kids raised in those denominations are barely aware they are Jewish. They get next to no Jewish upbringing, and it's no surprise that they don't associate Judaism with any actual practice.
My second answer is the one that might offend people, but I don't much care. As far as I'm concerned, there's precious little about Conservative and Reform Judaism that involves the actual practice of the faith of our ancestors. Call them Judaism if you like, but I won't. When you discard the Rabbinic explanations for the written words of the Torah; when you argue (as most Reform do) that Judaism (and by extension, God) needs to adapt to our modern needs instead of the other way around; when you treat your faith and its tenets with contempt, I won't call you a practising Jew. A misguided one, perhaps. An apostate, when I'm feeling especially irritated.
But Judaism? No. Sorry. Uh-uh. Not Judaism in my book. Our purpose on this earth is to follow the word of God as laid out in the Torah - both the written and oral law. We are to be a light unto the nations by our devotion to God and His word. We are not here, whatever the lefties think, exclusively for "Tikkun Olam." Yes, we are supposed to "Repair the World," but you can not - I repeat, CAN NOT - do that at the expense of the mitzvot commanded us by God. All the social justice in the world doesn't help if you're missing the other parts of our mission. Prayer, Torah Study, charity, and daily observance of the mitzvot are out responsibility. Without those, the rest is an empty shell.
So the ignorance of the seder participants is not surprising. I should have seen the sadness in it as Terry did, but as I said, I'm so used to it I don't see it anymore. It's not their fault - American Jews have been steadily drifting away from observance for more than 100 years, and these people have never been taught anything. When returnees to the faith are struggling to reconcile their past with their desire for more observance, they are often told they were like "Tinok Shenishba" - essentially a babe in the woods. There is no point in beating yourself up over something you had no control over. When you're brought up with nothing, you can't be expected to know the mistakes you are making.
Even the last great barrier of American Judaism "well, of course you're going to marry someone Jewish, right?" has fallen by the wayside. Intermarriage rates are enormous, and for good reason. Why would a person listen to a parent arguing for a Jewish marriage when Judaism means nothing in the house? At this point in our experience, so many of the parents themselves married non-Jews that almost no one makes the attempt anymore to keep the marriages between Jews. By halacha, so many Jews are considered not Jewish (because their mothers were not Jews), that we've lost millions to intermarriage.
I was most surprised, in the article Terry sent, that the respondent actually wrote as if he knew something. I don't know if it was research or his own knowledge, but he got most of it right. He clearly doesn't believe most of it - he refers to it all as "folklore", which I heartily disagree with him on. But the ignorance of the participants in the Seder? Too common at this point to be novel. It's very sad, and if not for the small segment of the population in the US dedicated to remaining true to Torah, I would imagine there would be no Jews at all left in this country within a century or so from now.
Sorry to be depressing, but this is where we are.
by Dave over at Terry's made me wonder about something (and yes, I'm quite the namedropper, huh?)
He noted his childhood games of Cowboys & Indians, and I got to wondering what the few kids not crazy glued to their playstations are running around playing these days? Sure most kids are fat as houses and permanently attached to their couches & remote controls (at least to hear the media's take on it), but there's gotta be a few out there who go out in the street & actually play. Have they moved on to drug dealers and Narcs? Special Forces and Taliban? ("awww, man, why do I have to be Mullah Omar again?")
Sadly, I assume kids have moved past those. Any that haven't have been indoctrinated by the effeminate left not to be mean or stereotype Aboriginals or something. Today's kids are expected to play "UN Negotiation" or "Kiss French Derriere Capitulation." I remember playing cops & robbers, or ghosts & goblins, and I remember having imagination. I must really be getting old - the loss of those running around, shooting games makes me sad.
Well, to make up for it, allow me to say "I got you!"
[The proper response, of course, is "nu-uh, you missed me!"]
Monday, August 14, 2006
They are, however, unrelated to each other. The good book (not The Good Book) is Stephen Hunter's American Gunfight: The Plot to Kill Harry Truman. I agree with many of the commenters that the style Hunter takes to write the book is a bit distracting, but on the whole it's a good tale of a story I'd never even heard of before. Hunter was a regular on the temporarily hiatused Tony Kornheiser show on WTEM radio in DC, and one of the most eloquent people I've ever heard. His description of the events of 9/11 remain the best overview of the attacks I think I've ever heard.
The book, which I haven't finished, certainly highlights Hunter's knowledge and appreciation of guns, the culture of shooters & law enforcement in the '50s, and the hazyness of a gunfight. Again, the jumping back & forth between parts of the story is a little hard to live with, but on the whole it's a good book.
The movie, on the other hand, didn't do it for me. I got 7 Days in May from Netflix a few weeks back, on the assumption that Burt Lancaster + Kirk Douglas=good movie. I was pretty disappointed, on the whole. The acting was fine, and I think the story had the germ of a good movie in it, but the various subtexts of the movie are so typically liberal as to be caricature. The overly aggressive, treasonous military, the bucking that stereotype marine colonel, the Soviets who can be our friends if we just try peace, the decent, honorable president, etc.
I found myself agreeing heartily with some of Lancaster's lines as the general planning a coup. He suggests repeatedly that the Soviets can't be trusted, and they're simply playing games by signing treaties. And I think the character was correct. The President argues that we have to try, and peace is the only answer, and kumbaya, and all that nonsense. I imagine the director Frakenheimer was a typical Hollywood leftist, and another apologist for the Soviet Union. The problem is the movie has no subtlety - there's no depth to the military men, only secret plots and barely hidden fascism.
So if it was on your rental list, I'd skip it.
Friday, August 11, 2006
how much I am growing to loathe scanning images? At its best it's monontonous, and it really isn't at its best right now. I've been at it all morning, and I can say I'm enjoying myself not at all.
Preview, outline, scan, crop, save, enter metadata, repeat. It's a little too much like work for my taste.
So Lacrosse is the next big thing? Kids are leaving baseball to go play hockey without skates or ice? This is the next soccer or professional beach volleyball league, folks. A niche sport that works really well for some people, but is never going to be the next big thing.
There are an estimated 382,000 people playing lacrosse in the US, according to the story. If my math is right, that makes slightly more than .1% of the US population. On the flip side, Little League alone states [media guide, page 47 - warning - PDF]that more than 2.6 MILLION kids played organized softball or baseball in 2005. Add in the adults, and I think you're looking at well over 3 million people playing baseball in the US. I believe that would be about 10 times the number of lacrosse players.
Sorry lacrosse folks, but I wouldn't count on becoming the top sport in the US anytime soon.
for no particular reason that I have heard very little from or about Ted Kennedy lately. If I was a Kosmonaut or other liberal conspiracy theorist, I imagine I would speculate about the timing of his disappearance and blaming it on the Bush administration somehow.
I imagine the truth is more prosaic - he's probably inebriated and chasing a floozy, sans trousers. Like I said, it was an extremely idle thought.
professionally has chosen to burn some bridges in a fairly big way. I don't think it was a smart idea, as it had consequences. Those consequences, however, are going to make my life easier, so I can't say I'm that upset about it.
I do think people need to consider everything they say & do VERY carefully before pulling the trigger on such an act. It's a small world, and things have a funny way of coming back to bite one in the fundament when you least expect it.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
On the whole, a bit dull. I walked out of several sessions out of sheer boredom. Perhaps some of the topics might have been interesting presented properly, but these were not. One session that did deliver was on a fairly old controversy regarding a cover for our professional journal, perhaps two or three years ago.
I know, I'm overcome with excitement too.
Without getting into all the dirty details, the cover caused some stir, especially among corporate archivists who have to explain to the bosses that might have seen it that the organization does not hate corporations. Letters flew back & forth, including one from an academic basically saying its impossible for corporations and corporate archivists to be ethical.
So the session dealt with the whole thing, and I have to say the Q & A after made me feel highly defensive. Let's simply say there are a lot of liberals in my profession, and I believe they have a bizarre view of the relative value of corporations vs. academia. Barring one older gent who stood up and told the gathered socialists that they were off their nut. I told him privately that I agreed with everything he said. I don't know that there's such an antipathy to corporations among the general membership, but there's clearly a cultural chasm here. I'm glad I am where I am - I couldn't take the academy life at this point, and I prefer working in an environment where the real world intrudes occasionally.
Other than that, nothing of note happened. We spent shabbos with our friends, had some lovely grilled lamb chops for Friday night dinner, and then a large lunch on Saturday that included some other old friends, so the trip was still nice. Driving home took forever, most of the traffic hitting as we got closer to NY. So I'm not sorry we went, but I don't know how much I learned.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
I had on the Metro on Wednesday (as best I remember it):
Guy on my left: Excuse me, does that on your head mean you're Jewish?
Me: Yes it does
GOML: so, does that mean you don't believe in Jesus Christ?
M: Yes, that's right
GOML: So, you've never seen the evidence of his power on earth?
M: I can't say that I have
GOML: So, what do you believe in?
M: Well, what you know of as God the Father is all we believe in.
GOML: How can you make it through without knowing him?
M: Well, we had 1500 years of tradition before Jesus arrived, and it's good enough for us
At this point, my stop has arrived, and I make my apologies for cutting short our talk.
GOML: Well, I hope you can find his truth someday.
M: uh, Ok, thanks.
He then gets up to get off too, and I half think we're going to continue this, but he heads off another way. It was very polite, and the first time I've been proselytized to in a while. I know many of you regulars are strong in your Christian faith, and spreading the word is an important task for you, but allow me to offer some unsolicited advice. If you see a guy in a kipah walking down the street, feel free to discuss faith wth him.
But don't bother trying to convert him. As Johnnie Cochrane might say, "If he's wearing a lid, he's a real yid." Not much chance he's open to alternative approaches. But I have a feeling most of you knew that already.
happens to be Tisha B'av, the commemoration of the destruction of the two temples of antiquity. It also commemorates every other tragedy to happen to the Jewish people over the last 3,000 years, and I think I wrote about this last year.
In any event, it means solemnity, no food, no water, and that's a little rough in 100 degree temps. I'm heading off soon to the conference, so I'll be indoors and vaguely occupied during the day. Mrs. left me the car, so I don't have to deal with the metro and the 1/2 mile walk to the hotel from the metro stop.
UPDATE: I did write about this last year. And not that it took a genius to figure out, but my prophecy was accurate. Palestinian and other arab terrorism has not stopped, and kicking Jews out of Gaza made damn little difference.
Wheeee! A colloquium full of Business Archivists on NARA's plans for saving electronic records (muy complicated), and later yesterday a drunken bash with the same crowd. Well, not drunk, but alcohol was served. If you paid for it.
The middle of the day was highlighted by a trip to a local archives for some work-related research, which turned out pretty fruitful. Not a ton of stuff, but enough to make it worth the trip. It's also nice to see other people's shops, and discover that we all have messy offices.
Especially if the archivist is a cute redhead.
I should mention that we took the kiddies to the Museum of Natural History on Tuesday. I will also mention that a simple walk across the mall from the Smithsonian metro stop to the museum was Sahara-like. It is bloody hot down here, and I don't care for swamp-like humidity. The museum itself was fine, save a few overwhelmingly PC exhibits. I think the museum community is pretty reliably left, so it's no big surprise. Mrs. was unimpressed with their description of "Wealth in Africa" as being centered (other than on actual money) on "friends, family, etc." No mention of poverty. No mention of internecine warfare. Whatever. There was a section of the museum labeled as "Western Culture", which turned out to be a gift shop. Intentional? Meh. I would've expected a "westerners have ruined the world" lecture, so crass commercialism was a relief in comparison.
The only other exhibit of note was the "Arctic!" exhibit, which is only notable for the excessive! use! of! exclamation! marks!!!!!! throughout. The hyperactive, handwringing, overblown description of man's destructiveness (and no, we didn't actually go through the wretched thing) led me to refer to it as the Al Gore exhibit.
A few expensive tchtochkes later, a brief panic when we couldn't locate youngest, and then home.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
incidentally, was very nice. The food was good, the kid read his Torah portion beautifully, and we really got a chance to catch up with some folks we haven't seen in a while. I cannot tell my cousins' hordes of children apart, but there were so many people running around I was confused anyway.
You may recall a while back I wrote about the accused abuser in my alma mater. I did take the opportunity to ask my uncle, who is more dialed in to the Brooklyn orthodox world, his opinion of the matter. He didn't surprise me with his response, but I think he disappointed me a bit. While he fully condemns the actions of the molester, he's more upset with the news people for making an issue out of it. He seems to think they just want to make organized religion look bad.
I grant that's true to some degree, but for my money that simply avoids the question. If anything, that is proof to me that we need to be better than everyone else. If they're looking to make us look bad, why give them ammunition? Behave holier than the secular world (not holier than thou, but actually holier) and what will they have to write about?
Don't get me wrong - my uncle is one of the decentest, most honest, and most observant people I know. I think, however, he still has his blind spots. As we all do, I suppose.
Did I wake anyone up? I am, in fact, fully clothed, with the exception of my pale, hairy legs and daring toes. I've gone commando in the sock area, given that temps are in the 90s around here.
The trip down was uneventful, largely due to the installation and permanent running of the portable DVD player. The down side is I had to listen to Barbie Rapunzel, Strawberry Shortcake, and not one but two My Little Pony videos. May I say the writing on these teleplays is nothing short of execrable? On the plus side, the kids were happy the whole trip down.
We did stop at an outlet place in Maryland, where LL Bean was kind enough to have pants in my waist size for $5 apiece. I can't remember the last time I spent $5 on anything that lasted more than a day. We spent some dough in a few places, but on the whole we saved quite a bit so I think it was a good idea. The only stupid thing is I have these dopey gift cards that expire at the end of August, and if I had been thinking we would have spent them yesterday.
There is no actual conference news as of yet - the first things I expect to go to begin tomorrow. I know anyone still paying attention is desperate to know of the doings of the Society of American Archivists, but you'll just have to manage your disappointment for one more day.