Celebrity Death Watch: Obviously, the big recent celebrity death was Osama bin Laden. I'll admit to being glad, but I'm also uncomfortable with extrajudicial killing. And I have definite mixed feelings about the burial at sea. Overall, I'd have preferred a trial, execution, and unmarked grave, but we could have done a lot worse. The thing I am puzzled about is why some people said that the affair made them proud to be American. What was uniquely American about the whole thing?
I'll also repeat that I consider terrorism to be like a hydra. Cutting off the head doesn't kill the creature.
Other deaths are ones I am considerably sadder about. Two involved Broadway luminaries. Marian Mercer was an actress who won a Tony for Promises, Promises. And Arthur Laurents wrote the book of West Side Story. But the most significant was in the realm of science. Jerry Lettvin was a true original, one of the best known people on campus in my days at MIT. He was a colorful character and a great inspiration to many students. I didn't know him well, but I felt richer for having known him at all.
Dear U.S. Airways: Days start at midnight. If I am searching for a flight on June 27th at 12:40 a.m., please don't second guess me and show me a flight on June 28th. I did not catch this until after I clicked "buy." Fortunately, I called immediately and could, therefore, cancel since the ticket price on the right day was not worth taking a redeye for.
Product Mockery: While grocery shopping the other day, I saw bags of pre-peeled, hard boiled eggs. I despair for my people.
Tall Tale Contest: I drove to Roanoke on Saturday for the 2nd Annual Virginia Tall Tales Competition. There were nine contestants. Mac Swift won, with an excellent piece (which I had heard him tell before) about his uncle's desire for a flat farm. 11-year-old Olivia Merryman came in second with a piece involving how video games saved her life. Linda Goodman was third with an unusual encounter on a dark road (and an atrocious pun). And Anthony Burcher got the audience choice award with his spooneristic version of the Tower of Babel. For those who care, I told "Why I'm Not a Millionaire." It was all a lot of fun. The evening show had Bil Lep headlining, along with music by Ryan and Paul Little. Much to my relief, the Littles turned out to play jazz and not country music, which is always a risk in that part of the state. Overall, a great day.
Roanoke Walk: Since it is such a long drive (about 4 hours), I stayed overnight in Roanoke and did a volksmarch in the morning. The route went through downtown Roanoke (a bit depressed, but the market square has some life still), the Old Southwest historic district, and greenways along the Roanoke River. It was pleasant enough, though not as exciting as it might be. Still, I appreciated the exercise before the schlep home.
And now I can go and work on some of the other 50+ items on my to-do list.