What is it about the Columbus Dispatch? Me and the D are like Michael Corleone and organized crime — they keep pullin’ me back in, although not for paying work, just for the Christmas party. I try to attend every few years.
“Do you still know people there?” my brother-in-law asked.
“No one ever leaves that place,” Alan said. He’s right. A few, maybe, but I’m always amazed at how many folks from my early-’80s tenure are still there, and I’m grateful at how many of them still want to talk to me when I show up at their Christmas party. Many even will buy me a beer.
It was a fun evening. Columbus passed a no-smoking-in-public-places-even-bars ordinance earlier this year, and I have to say: Wow. I generally have no problem with smoking in a bar, but on a night like this, everyone packed ass to elbow and the air humid with the collective respiration, having the place smoke-free made all the difference between a pleasant evening and one after which you undressed on the back porch so as not to bring reeking clothes into the house.
Alan was coming down with a cold and ducked out for a walk anyway. He said later, “I went past a restaurant with no name on the front, and mostly gay couples inside.” Probably somebody’s house. German Village — feh. Always too trendy for the room.
And then it was the Nall Family Christmas celebration, and the Sunday drive home from Columbus, which I try to plan around one of my favorite public radio shows, To the Best of Our Knowledge. I’ve never heard it anywhere but on WOSU, and I don’t know why, because it’s really a fine, relaxing listen. It’s like a less intense “This American Life” — a handful of pleasant conversations and interviews arranged around broad themes. Very broad themes, sometimes. Today’s were Death and Family (in two separate hours, not “death and family”). The interviews were with everyone from a cancer specialist to some guy from Monty Python’s Flying Circus. A Sunday Ideas section for the drive. Which beat the real paper Sunday, and its tales of presidentially approved domestic spying. That kind of stuff makes me drive off the road.
Something that’s likely not on your radar screen, and hasn’t even registered much in Detroit, is the dust-up between the Ford Motor Co., the American Family Association and various gay-rights groups. To my way of thinking, Ford came down on the right side of this thing eventually, but I can surely not be the only American tired of all this crap.
You mean it’s dangerous to let your kid go online without adult oversight? You’re kidding. Ahem: Justin’s mother, Karen Page, said she sensed nothing out of the ordinary. Her son seemed to be just a boy talented with computers who enjoyed speaking to friends online. The Webcam, as she saw it, was just another device that would improve her son’s computer skills, and maybe even help him on his Web site development business. “Everything I ever heard was that children should be exposed to computers and given every opportunity to learn from them,” Ms. Page said in an interview.