A few vacation snaps, because isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?
Everybody knows Sue, the T. rex at the Field Museum in Chicago. I tell Kate, “When I was a kid, T. rex were always depicted standing up on their back legs, like Godzilla. This is considered a far more accurate pose, based on analysis of the skeleton. More birdlike.”
Kate says, “Uh-huh,” as though nothing in the world could be more boring. Just once I want a kid who acts like she went to a private school, one of those little success robots with the firm handshake for adults and a reply that lets you know they’re paying attention to everything you just said.
Anyway, here’s Sue:
Alan notices something else about her. Her armature:
“They could have used some crappy clamps, but this is sculptural. Look at the detail.” Each one of the vertebrae has a different attachment to the spine support. It’s simultaneously Victorian and modern, very cool.
Of course, that’s the Field, too — a place that honors the natural world by putting on display hundreds of dead animals. Signs here and there remind us it was a different world once upon a time, before television and hidden-camera technology. Seeing a stuffed wildebeest at the Field was the only way lots of people got to see a wildebeest at all. I think it’s a testament to the work they do that people still see wildebeests there.
I like the Lions of Tsavo myself. Those were some bad-ass lions.
Then it was up the Michigan coast for some beach time. True fun fact: Earlier this year I wrote a story on the tax incentives for making films in Michigan. A guy from the office that handles liaison work with Hollywood swears he has answered this question from California more than once: “Can’t you see Wisconsin from your side of Lake Michigan?” Um, no:
That was a pretty windy day. Lousy for kayaking. Alan, being a resident of the Auto Theft Capital of North America, knows how to protect his property:
Sometimes people say, “Couldn’t a skinny person slide under the Club and paddle away?” I suppose so. But they couldn’t remove it without destroying the cockpit coaming. It’s all about making your stuff more complicated to steal than the next person’s.
Vacation, she is over. I tried very very hard not to pay any attention to the news beyond the important stuff. I ducked in and out of Facebook, just to make sure August is still the month where we care about what the First Lady wears to the Grand Canyon. I also tried not to write too much, just read and think. What I thought was…I should do some more writing. DIfferent writing, anyway. I say this every year. This year I should do it.
When we were in Chicago, we encountered European tourists, at least assuming that a knot of German-speaking people rolling their bags around hotel lobbies are tourists. On my sole trip to Paris in the ’80s I saw a poster in a travel agency, with the usual national icons touting trips around the world — the pyramids for Egypt, Great Wall for China, etc. For the United States, a cowboy rode a bucking bronco, surely a long shot for three days in Chicago, and certainly for a leaf tour through Vermont. What a big country this is; I never get tired of exploring it. I just run out of money.
So, what did I miss? More health-care debate? Meh. I kept up with that via my editing job, which continued through the week. (Long story.) And I thought about it a lot on Friday, when Kate’s mild earache turned into real pain, and we made a detour through an urgent-care center to learn what I already knew: She had an ear infection, and she needed antibiotics. As these things go, it wasn’t so bad — she saw a physician’s assistant, stayed out of the E.R., etc.; we must observe cost-control efficiencies — but once again, it semi-infuriated me. I still think it’s a very real possibility that our little family will be without health insurance within the next few years, because pals? Even with two college degrees, we cannot afford a $1,500 a month nut for health care. No matter what we cut, no matter what we sell. It can’t be done. That’s my personal bottom line.
So now it’s onward into the week, which, as is usual for post-vacation, too much sorting of mail and too little reflection on memories. Except here, maybe. So there’s that.
Bloggage? Sure: Roy on the National Review’s sudden fondness for long-distance psychoanalysis. Funny.
I did a little reading on this model-catfight-blog business, and I still think the most amazing detail is that someone managed to speak to an actual human being at Google, much less get them to reveal an anonymous blogger. They cancelled my AdSense contract, and I still have no idea why; I contacted them about a copyright theft and had to do the entire business through filling out forms. I’m not sure they even actually exist in corporeal form — I think the whole business is a hologram.
Oh, and the new season of “Mad Men” got under way in my absence. What do we think so far?
I think it’s time for breakfast.