Baseball: Anybody who knows me, knows how I feel about certain baseball teams. Needless to say, I am happy with my Red Sox and happily rubbing things in with fans of the Source of All Evil in the Universe.
Food Pornography Department: I had dinner with the usual flyertalk group at Mussel Bar last week. The beer list was impressive and I enjoyed the Houblon Chouffe (a Belgian IPA) that I drank. The food was good, but not great. That may be because they specialize in mussels, which are not something I eat. The frites were not up to the standards of the long-list Benita’s. Conversation was good, but the room was, overall, a bit too loud.
Two Old Friends: That was the tagline for a storytelling show by Ellouise Schoettler and Diane Macklin on Wednesday night. I was tired, but I believe in supporting friends so I dragged myself to Friendship Heights and was glad I did. I particularly liked Diane’s story about her mother, who was a real pioneer in breaking down gender barriers in the automotive industry.
Wichita: I went to Wichita for the weekend, primarily to do a couple of volksmarch events. The two routes, both of which count for the baseball special program, had a lot of overlap, which made them less exciting than they might otherwise have been. If one were to be doing something saner, I would suggest walking just the river route, which passes a number of museums and nice scenery along the Arkansas River. The Old Town route takes you to Old Town (duh), but that is primarily an entertainment and nightlife district and not particularly interesting in my opinion. (It was also the site of a mass shooting, with at least 7 people shot, maybe 12 or 13 hours after I was there.) By the way, there are several themed trails marked throughout downtown Wichita and it might be more effective for normal tourists to just pick one or two of these (e.g. poets or Native Americans or inventors) to follow.
With respect to the travel, all 4 flights I had were slightly early, which was good. I stayed at the Doubletree next to the airport, which was okay but could use better soundproofing. And their restaurant was seriously in need of improvement. The breakfast buffet was nearly empty at 8:30 in the morning and it took nearly 15 minutes before they refilled things. It also took way too long to get my morning coffee. It’s only real virtue was convenience as it is literally just across the parking lot from the airport.
Speaking of mass shootings: Things like the Navy Yard shootings turn me into a total news junkie. That is bad in the case of evolving stories, because early information is not always accurate. At any rate, it highlights the need for more attention to mental health and our need to revisit the balance between rights of the mentally ill and the safety of the community.
I also noticed that Sunday’s Washington Post had a large ad for a gun show next to a story about the mass shooting in the park in Chicago.
The most horrifying story is, of course, the terrorist attack at the mall in Nairobi. I don’t think that mall was there when I was in 1998. I certainly didn’t visit it, but that might just be because it is in the northern suburbs of the city.
Things I Wonder About: We had a moment of silence at our all-hands meeting on Friday in honor of the Navy Yard victims. I wonder why everybody casts their eyes down when we have a moment of silence.
Moments of Self-restraint: A whiteboard on my floor has had the message "getting people is hard" written on it for several weeks. Whenever I see that, I want to scribble "eating people is wrong" underneath.
Politics: It would be really nice if our congresscritters would remember that they are adults. I am not holding my breath.
The looniest of them all are the right wing of the Virginia Republican Party. It’s really a shame that they pushed out moderates like Tom Davis and left us with guys like gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, who is a throwback to the 15th century (if not earlier). In addition to his anti-abortion views, he wants to do away with no fault divorce. While I am no fan of Terry McCauliffe (the Democratic candidate), anyone who does not actually have cloven hooves and horns has to be a more reasonable choice than Cooch. To add to the fun, this week we heard the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor attack all non-Christians. This is entirely unacceptable in a state that was a leader in religious freedom.
Maybe I Should Move to Massachusetts: I am devoting more mental effort to retirement planning. I have a target date in late 2015, which will have given me just about a 30 year career. The skies in Massachusetts may not be bluer, but the politics are.
That gives me just over 2 years to get rid of a lot of stuff. Help!
Apropos of Nothing: I had a dream last night in which I kept trying to inflate my socks, as if they were balloons. Please do not interpret this.