Cabbage News Network Week #30

Aug. 18th, 2017 09:31 am
kmusser: (Nirvana Bliss Action)
[personal profile] kmusser
Not news, but relevant: 2015 FBI report about links between white supremacists and local law enforcement.

Saturday 8/12
  • DJT fails to condemn violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, many GOP leaders unequivocal in condemning rally and some call out DJT for failing to do so (source).

Monday 8/14
  • Sessions labels white supremacist rally in Charlottesville as domestic terrorism and promises DOJ investigation (source).
  • Merck CEO resigns from DJT advisory council over DJT's refusal to condemn white supremacists, DJT promptly mocks him on twitter. (source).
  • DJT reluctantly condemns white supremacists (source, on his reluctance).
  • Mueller investigation including Trump SoHo project - possible money laundering scheme and related cover-up (source).
  • Update on DJT judicial appointments (source).
  • DoJ wants IP addresses of everyone that ever visited DJT protest site (source).
  • California suing DoJ over sanctuary city funding (source).

Tuesday 8/15
  • Three more CEO's leave DJT's advisory council (source).
  • DJT clarifies that in condemning Nazis he didn't mean to condemn the good Nazis, oh and protesting Nazis is bad too. (source).
  • DJT to roll-back FEMA regulation about not funding infrastructure projects that will be underwater in a few years. (source).
  • CBO report on how stopping health care subsidy payments would raise premiums (full report).

Wednesday 8/16
  • U.K., German, and Israeli leaders condemn DJT (source).
  • DJT ends immigration program for minors from Central America (source).
  • NAFTA negotiations begin (source).

Thursday 8/17
  • DJT defends Confederate statues (source).
  • DJT disbands two advisory councils (source).
  • Bannon gives bizarre interview (source).
  • Military leaders issue statements denouncing racism (source).
  • GOP rank and file remain silent on DJT's response to Charlottesville (source).
  • DJT's infrastructure advisory council disbands (source).
  • White House won't release visitor logs (source).
  • Murdoch condemns DJT (source).

Friday 8/18
  • Presidential arts commission resigns (source).


Elsewhere in the world
  • ISIL terrorist attack in Spain (source).


Legislative action this week - Congress in recess


Maps of the week

From the SPLC report on Confederate monuments:

An interactive map on where the Confederate monuments are.

jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
[personal profile] jazzfish
Currently reading Freedom and Necessity, and enjoying it, as expected. One thing I hadn't expected: the print feels tiny. Unsure if this is just a natural result of Getting Old or if it's actually small. There doesn't appear to have been an ebook release, which makes me a little sad.

Gonna be a busy fall, bookwise. Just preordered new books from Kat Howard, Ann Leckie, eBear, and Steve Brust. Need to get on with that Great Big Dragarea Reread prior to late October. At least the eBear won't demand my immediate attention: reading Book One Of A Trilogy is a mistake I try to avoid making when the author is known to write bound book-fragments.

I biked for an hour and a half yesterday, going to a small get-together that may be the kind of thing I'm looking for. Mostly, a good ride, if overly sweaty, and tough going uphill. There's an exhilaration in a steep downhill, though, and a long gentle decline makes for a pleasant coast.

It occurred to me last week that my hip problem likely isn't just from wallet-induced sciatica. It's also possibly a result of babying my right ankle (and hence leg) for several months after I twisted it pretty sharply (CW: depiction of trauma, neither graphic nor permanent). So there's that.

Erin pointed out awhile ago that I do a lot of railing against the Confederacy (sometimes on FB, sometimes in person). I grew up hating everything about the South: the weather, the people, the history, the culture. I've mellowed on that a lot in the last decade or so, but Treason In Defence Of Slavery still gets me wound up. I think it's that it's a reminder of everything I hated about the South. Or maybe just that it's a part of my upbringing that's still acceptable to hate.

And in actual significant news, I've lost a friend over the breakup. One that I know of, I mean. I'd hoped for some compassion and understanding but it was not to be. I'm sad, and a little surprised, but only a little: she's prickly, far more invested in Emily's emotional state, and I suspect skeptical of the whole poly thing anyhow. (A conclusion I draw from sentences like "Since November I've watched you break up with Emily in slow motion.") Losing friends I care about doesn't get any easier. Especially not when they've been good friends and sources of support in the past. Oh well. She's not quite burned the bridge, I guess. She's poured gasoline on the bridge, offered me a book of matches, and walked away. Best I can do is not actually light the fire and be here if and when she changes her mind.

Overall? Still flailing around, still trying to sort out what I want my life to look like and how to make it look like that.

Graze Box #31

Aug. 17th, 2017 04:13 pm
fauxklore: (Default)
[personal profile] fauxklore
Summer Berry Compote: This consists of a sweet compote with raspberries, strawberries, and currants, along with whole grain shortbread to dip in it. It has 130 calories. Given my fondness for berries, it is no surprise that I think this is completely delicious. It had apparently been out of stock for a long time, so I was really glad to see it back. More, please.

Veggie Caesar: This is a mixture of edamame beans, cheddar cheese bruschetta, and sour cream and onion half-popped corn kernels. It has 120 calories. This is savory and a little salty and lots of crunchy. I think it’s a nice combination, though I have to admit it isn’t really clear what it has to do with Caesar.

Peanut Butter & Jelly: This is a mixture of salted peanuts, raspberry strings, and vanilla fudge. It has 220 calories. This is a nice combination of sweet and salty. It is, of course, best to eat all of the components together. You wouldn’t want to run out of fruit strings and still have lots of the less interesting peanuts left, after all.

Vietnamese Pho: This consists of a moderately spicy broth paste (which you reconstitute with hot water) plus dried shiitake mushroom slices, rice noodle pieces, and sesame seeds. It has 60 calories. It’s not really very pho-like and the broth is definitely dominated by the flavor of star anise (which, admittedly, tends to be a flavor I find dominant in any quantity). It’s not terrible, but it’s not something I’d want as often as I seem to get it.

Chia Coconut Cookie with Special Blend Black Tea: The tea is just tea, with a little bergamot (not as much as in most Earl Grey tea) but the coconut chia cookies (you get two) are the heart of this. They have 120 calories. I like both the flavor and the slightly crumbly texture of these cookies. I’m not a big fan of coconut, but it isn’t too dominant here. They’re mostly buttery and not particularly sweet. Overall, an excellent snack – one of my favorites.

Eleanor’s Apple Crumble: This consists of soft apple pieces, raisins, and caramelized honey and cinnamon almonds. It has 110 calories. The almonds are especially tasty. Eating all the components together does taste something like an apple crisp. A reasonably good sweet, but not overly sweet, snack.

Peach Cobbler (new): This consists of almond slivers, peach fruit drops, yogurt-coated sunflower seeds, and amaretti drops. It has 160 calories. The peach drops are amazing. I wish there were more of them and fewer almond slivers. This doesn’t taste much like a peach cobbler, but is good anyway.

Sweet Memphis Barbecue: This is a mix of barbecue peas, salsa peanuts, and wild rice sticks. It has 190 calories. This has a lot of flavor, without being too spicy or too weird. That makes it a good savory snack.

Insomnia Post

Aug. 16th, 2017 03:18 am
tablesaw: Charlie Crews, in a dark suit, rests his head on his left hand (That's Life)
[personal profile] tablesaw
I really wish i were better at typing on my phone because i can't sleep but i don't want to get a laptop while I'm in bed.

Anyone have local ghost stories?

Aug. 15th, 2017 04:23 pm
wickamuff: (Default)
[personal profile] wickamuff posting in [community profile] davis_square
Hey neighbors! I'm in an R&D phase of a podcast I'm working on and am currently collecting stories of people's odd experiences with "ghosts". I approach this topic with a healthy amount of skepticism, but find it fascinating that many people have had unexplained encounters!

If you think you may have had a run-in with a ghosts around town, I would love to hear about it. Feel free to PM me.

Example of a local legend : around the Powder House tower there have been reports of mysterious blue lights and what sounds like a man yelling for his daughter to stop necking with a neighboring farmer (but I've never spoken to anyone who has experienced this personally, just rumors I've seen online).

Thank you!

fauxklore: (Default)
[personal profile] fauxklore
Storytelling at the Lake: Wednesday night was storytelling at the Lake Anne Coffee House in Reston. For complicated reasons, apparently involving window repairs, we were telling outside in the patio area. That’s a bit challenging with people moving around more and noise distractions, not helped by having a hand-held microphone, which was slightly awkward. But it was a good show and I thought the audience was responsive. In other words, they laughed at the right places. (I told "Thank You, Miss Tammy" in which, among other things, I explain why the prince in Swan Lake can’t tell Odette and Odile apart.) Overall, a fun evening.

Big Fish: I saw the musical Big Fish at Keegan Theatre on Sunday afternoon. This is based on the movie, which I don’t remember well enough to judge how alike it is. The story involves the relationship between a journalist, Will, and his traveling salesman father, Ed, and Will’s search for the truth in the fantastic stories Ed did and didn’t tell. This show has only an adequate score, but it is sweet and has lots of feel good material. More importantly, it was well-performed, including convincing performances from Dan Van Why as Ed and Ricky Drummond as Will. I also want to mention the beautiful singing of Eleanor Todd as Sandra (Ed’s wife and true love). And then there is Grant Saunders, who had fabulous comic timing as Karl the Giant. The staging took good advantage of the intimate space. Overall, I enjoyed seeing this and would recommend it.

A Political Addendum: When I linked to my piece yesterday re: Charlottesville, a college friend mentioned that he had a concern that somebody would take advantage of freedom of speech to claim that they had spoken at a particular institution, granting them additional credibility. I think there is a distinction that can be made regarding who the invitation to speak is from. Merely appearing on the campus of a major university is not an endorsement, while, say, being a commencement speaker is. This comes down to the question every institution should ask themselves of "who do we want representing us?" I have enough trust in the values of the institutions I support to believe they would not provide a platform to the likes of David Duke or Richard Spencer or Steve Bannon.

As usual in life, context is everything.
ceelove: (Default)
[personal profile] ceelove posting in [community profile] davis_square
UPDATE: This event is a no-go! Many thousands of people expressed interest in counter-protesting, most of the speakers cancelled, and Mayor Walsh released a statement that the event was not welcome here.

I expect there will still be a rally against Nazis and white supremacist terrorism that day, and also there are related things like a "teach-in" (presumably about direct action and safer protesting) referenced in links in comments.

-------------------

Some of the same groups that fomented white supremacist hatred and terror in Charlottesville today will be in Boston next Saturday.

https://www.reddit.com/r/TheNewRight/comments/6r4e3h/boston_free_speech_rally_august_19th/

tiskets and taskets

Aug. 14th, 2017 05:49 pm
jazzfish: a whole bunch of the aliens from Toy Story (Aliens)
[personal profile] jazzfish
The guy at MEC (Canadian for "REI") suggested a specific brand of bike basket (Wald), one that bolted onto the front fork in addition to hanging from the handlebars, so it had more support and didn't interfere with the cables.

I ordered one from Amazon last week and it arrived today.

I rode home awkwardly clutching the box with one hand because I had nowhere on the bike to carry it, which seems ironic.

Looks like it'll require specialised tools to attach, though, since my front wheel is 'quick release.' Also since I have basically no tools at this point in time. Guess I'm taking it into MEC on Friday. Maybe they can fix the shifter indicator that they broke a couple of weeks ago when it was in for a tuneup.

I /like/ having a bike. Very curious to see if I continue to like it when it gets cold and/or wet.

bright the hawk's flight

Aug. 14th, 2017 01:10 pm
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
[personal profile] jazzfish
Tattoo photo (warning: fb), taken on Friday shortly after the autostick-saran-wrap came off. The background isn't finished and the whole wants another going-over, but it's there.

I'm reasonably happy with it. I'd been thinking of the background as much more line-art sketched-in, but I like the detail work. And I'm exceptionally pleased with how the hawk came out.

It doesn't yet feel like a part of me. Probably gonna take awhile for that to settle in.

Charlottesville

Aug. 14th, 2017 03:11 pm
fauxklore: (Default)
[personal profile] fauxklore
I have a couple of frivolous things to write about, but they can wait. Right now I need to be serious. The context (which most of you know) is that I am a middle-aged woman, a Jew, and, specifically, the daughter of a Shoah survivor. I also live in Virginia, about 100 miles northeast of Charlottesville.

There are a couple of things from the past that I should start with. The first one was from my undergraduate days and involved an invitation to a speaker who was offensive to a large number of members of a group I was involved in. Some people favored asking the university to disinvite the speaker. I was with the faction that went with the "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." (The quote is widely attributed to Voltaire, but apparently came from a much later biography of him.) I researched quotes by the group that speaker represented and put together a collection that appeared on the back page of a student newspaper. The point was to show that this person was spreading hate and using his own words was a sane approach to doing so. (By the way, I am being vague about the details because, frankly, I don’t remember them after nearly 40 years. But they also don’t matter for what I want to say.)

The second thing I want to mention was 17 years ago, when I was on a trip to Tuva, Siberia, and Mongolia. We took a section of the trans-Siberian railroad, from Irkutsk to Ulan Ude. For those who are not familiar with Ulan Ude, one of its major attractions is the world’s largest statue of Lenin’s head. There was some controversy about leaving this up, particularly as most statues of Lenin were being taken down throughout Russia. There were actually a large number of people in Siberia who thought they had been better off under Communism, so it was a more complicated issue than it might seem. Even for those who opposed Communism, many questioned what the right way to remember history was.

The reason I mention these two items is that I think they are both applicable to what happened in Charlottesville this past weekend. Taking the second one first, the "Unite the Right" march started as a protest against the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park in downtown Charlottesville. My personal opinion is that the right thing to do with Confederate statues is to remove them to a museum, which can also provide historical context about the Civil War. Even though I disapprove of the statue remaining in place, I think it was legitimate to allow the protest against its removal. But – and this is a big but – that is predicated on a peaceful demonstration, limited to the intended scope. I also think it is perfectly legitimate for people who disagree with the statue remaining in place to counter-protest (and, yes, again, peacefully).

Some members of the alt-right group, which included neo-Nazis, KKK members, white nationalists, and other racist scum, marched to the University of Virginia and surrounded counter-protesters, who as far as I could tell from news reports were singing peacefully. They brandished tiki torches and flags with racist (both Confederate and Nazi) symbols. There is also report of them having surrounded an African-American church where a service was underway. This is no longer free speech. This is intimidation.

I do have to comment on reports about guns being brandished. Unfortunately, Virginia is an open-carry state. There are fewer incidents up in the region I live in, but there are still some here of open-carry "activists" who get their kicks by showing off their sidearms at diners and shops and such. We’re supposed to believe they are not actually posing a threat by doing so, though the problem is, of course, you can’t distinguish between them and those who are intending to pose a threat. But that’s why I focused on the torches and racist flags.

Anyway, things accelerated on Saturday, with various incidents of outright violence, as well as chanting of racist and anti-Semitic hate speech. (Note that the mayor of Charlottesville is Jewish, but I suspect the anti-Semitism was mostly on general principle for these thugs.) Again, this is far beyond what is legitimate free speech. It appears that there may have been some acts of violence by the counter-protestors, which is also not okay. Of course, the most significant act of violence was by one of the white nationalists driving a car nto a crowd of anti-fascist demonstrators, killing one woman and injuring a large number of others. No human being could possibly justify that.

There are lots of questions about whether the police were adequately prepared and whether they had planned appropriately. It’s hard for me to know, based on a limited number of reports. I hope that gets more investigation over the coming days.

So here is my bottom line:
Both sides have the right to peaceably assemble. Condemning the views of a group is fine (and, indeed, the only moral approach to evil speech), but using violence to do so is not. Let us act deliberately to oppose bigotry and to foster the inclusive values that are the heart of what America should be about. And let us look carefully at what our politicians are saying and doing and work for those who are on the path of good.

Capisce?
mem_winterhill: (Default)
[personal profile] mem_winterhill posting in [community profile] davis_square
From the city: https://twitter.com/SomervilleCity/status/897160515134377984

Join us for the Our Ville Stands with Your Ville: Charlottesville Vigil this Wed., 6pm, in Davis Square. More info: http://ow.ly/a3Y030eoWdK


6pm Wednesday, August 16 2017, Davis Square statue plaza

"Free" Speech rally next Saturday

Aug. 12th, 2017 07:51 pm
ceelove: (Default)
[personal profile] ceelove posting in [community profile] davis_square
UPDATE TO THE UPDATE

Saturday appears to be sunny with a high chance of Nazis. Many more counter-protesters than "free speech" advocates, though. You may be searched for weapons if you go (I am relieved to learn).

----------------------

UPDATE: This event is a no-go! Many thousands of people expressed interest in counter-protesting, most of the speakers cancelled, and Mayor Walsh released a statement that the event was not welcome here.

I expect there will still be a rally against Nazis and white supremacist terrorism that day, and also there are related things like a "teach-in" (presumably about direct action and safer protesting) referenced in links in comments.

-------------------

Some of the same groups that fomented white supremacist hatred and terror in Charlottesville today will be in Boston next Saturday.

https://www.reddit.com/r/TheNewRight/comments/6r4e3h/boston_free_speech_rally_august_19th/

(I'll be counter-demonstrating at noon, myself. Possibly with a sign saying either "Proud Race Traitor" or "Go back home to 1945" unless I determine it's more likely to get me killed.)

Mother of Exiles

Aug. 11th, 2017 05:22 pm
jadelennox: Wendy from the middleman: "I save the world in my own way." (middleman: wendy saving the world)
[personal profile] jadelennox
I wrote a poem. It is extremely fetid, alas. I was having some politics and genealogy angst I couldn't get out otherwise.

Mother of Exiles )
historical notes )

Now here's a good poem: "In Exile," by Emma Lazarus.

In Exile )

Cabbage News Network Week #29

Aug. 11th, 2017 09:47 am
kmusser: (confusion)
[personal profile] kmusser
Previously
  • Interior opens Federal lands to coal leases (source) (from the end of March, but only now being reported on).
  • FBI raided Manafort's home last month as part of the Russia investigation (source).

Monday 8/7
  • Russia investigation is expanding. (source).
  • U.N. approves North Korea sanctions, North Korea threatens retaliation (source).
  • Government scientists leak their climate change report out of fear that it'll be suppressed (source, full report).
  • DHS CIO quits after 3 months (source).
  • Enforcement of Wall St. regulations is down (source).

Tuesday 8/8
  • DJT threatens military action against North Korea (source).
  • North Korea threatening to nuke Guam (source).
  • Justice Dept. supports purging voter rolls (source).
  • Commission on opioid epidemic offers its recommendations, DJT declines to take any of them (source, draft report).
  • DJT considering privatizing the war in Afghanistan (source).
  • Administration drops plan for sleep apnea testing for truck and train drivers (source).

Wednesday 8/9
  • DJT set to surpass Obama in number of bombs dropped (source).
  • Administration divided on North Korea response (source).
  • DJT and McConnell blame each other for GOP failures (source).

Thursday 8/10
  • Half of GOP ok with not having a 2020 election (source).
  • Health care premiums set to rise thanks to uncertainty (source).
  • McCain proposes long-term plan for Afghanistan (source).
  • DJT takes some of the opioid commission's recommendations after all, declares national emergency (source).
  • EPA reduces enforcement of environmental laws (source).

Friday 8/11
  • HHS ends teen pregnancy prevention program (source).
  • Global stock sell-off due to US-NK tensions (source).


Legislative action this week - Congress in recess
jazzfish: artist painting a bird, looking at an egg for reference (Clairvoyance)
[personal profile] jazzfish
Erin's staying with me for the week, which is lovely. She got in on Friday afternoon, and we've spent the extended-weekend snuggling and cooking and talking and running errands. It's been well over a decade since I've had a partner come to stay with me for longer than an afternoon, excepting Emily for the couple of years we were in DC and not living together. (And this past Xmas, I guess, though that was its own kettle of awkwardfish.) It's worked out rather well.

We went and got most of the Cargo furniture on Saturday, and it fits into the space pretty well though not quite as easily as I'd hoped. Gonna take a bit more rearranging to get it the way I want. Also, I'd like to get some art hung up sooner than later, in the hope that that'll help it feel more ... more real, more mine, something. I'm really good at getting my space about 80% of the way there, and then just not bothering with that last 20%.

Trips to the old condo are now most definitely Difficult, emotionally. Emily's solidly settled in and she's made the space her own. It's good to see her doing well. It's also rough to surround myself with... with how effectively I've been removed from something that used to be shared. There are still a couple more things that I need to do there: sorting artwork, for one. Maybe if I know / admit in advance that it's gonna be rough it'll be easier. Maybe.



I said "extended weekend" and I meant it. I took yesterday off work to get my second tattoo.

I've gone into extended detail about my first. This one took much less dithering and deliberating. A couple of weeks ago I went in and spoke with Rachel Lige, an artist that Erin recommended, and tried to describe the idea I'd had in my head. She made approving noises and asked a few questions and used words like "negative space" that I hadn't had the vocabulary to put into my description and quickly sketched something that looked like it might conceivably approximate what I was thinking of. I put down a deposit and made a tentative appointment for, well, yesterday, and emailed her some reference material that afternoon (a few silhouettes, plus the Le Guin and the Richard Siken poems), and tried to think no more about it.

Until last week when she sent me a preliminary design, and it was just about perfect. As an added bonus, seeing it, rather than trying to visualise, gave me the ability to describe it. "On my left pec, a silhouette of a hawk in flight, dark purple and filled with stars, over a dark grey sketched-in landscape." I wrote back to her with a couple of minor suggestions and confirmed Tuesday.

The whole experience was markedly more pleasant than the previous one. Some of that's having Erin there for much of the time (she ducked out for an hour or so to run a few errands), some of it's feeling more comfortable with Rachel than with Gilda, some of it's just having been here before and knowing a bit better what to expect. It took, mm, somewhere between three and four hours. Much of it was painful but not so bad: bits directly over ribs or sternum pinched unpleasantly, and the area down towards my armpit was just plain more sensitive. Then the last half-hour to forty-five minutes, in a combination of 'going over parts that have already been poked raw two or three times' and 'body is just Done', were sheer unpleasant agony. So we got most of it done, and I'll be back in a month or so for touchup and to finish some of the outside bits.

It looks lovely, though right now it's more red than I'd like. One expects that that will improve as it heals. The landscape's more detailed than I'd expected, and maybe darker, but I'm happy with it. I'm particularly pleased with how the stars in the hawk came out.

I was distinctly lightheaded when I sat up: not just a standard low-blood-pressure thing, but a very specific floatiness and absence of conscious thought. It's neat. I'm glad Erin was there: she fed me half a litre of chocolate milk and guided me to the Ethiopian place on the Drive where we ate raw cow and spicy lentils, and then took me home and generally kept track of me. So that was lovely, too.

I've already got vague ideas for next/additional pieces. The first tattoo I ever considered, back when I was still in engineering, was an electrical ground symbol on my Achilles tendon, and I still (or maybe again?) think that's relevant. I've recently kicked around the idea of a tiny orange, though that might be a passing fancy. And I've a mental image of a larger, brighter, piece on my right shoulder and upper arm. No sense of what it is, just that it... ought to be there, somehow.

In the meantime, I can focus on healing up from this one.

Catch-up

Aug. 9th, 2017 01:44 pm
fauxklore: (Default)
[personal profile] fauxklore
I've been busy for most of the past week.

Celebrity Death Watch: Ara Parseghian coached football for Notre Dame and appears in crosswords fairly often. Judith Jones edited cookbooks. Ernst Zundel was a Holocaust denier. Darren Daulton played baseball, largely for the Phillies. Don Baylor also played baseball, including a stint with the Red Sox in 1986, during which he set a record for being hit by pitches. Haruo Nakajima was the first actor to portray Godzilla. Glen Campbell was a countryish pop singer, notable for songs such as "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" and "Rhinestone Cowboy."

I want to particularly highlight Barbara Cook, who was one of the greatest Broadway stars of all time. Some of her more famous roles included Marian in The Music Man, Cunegonde in Candide (in which she achieved a tour de force with "Glitter and Be Gay"), and Amalia in She Loves Me. She had a fabulous voice and, unlike many great singers, she could also act.

Non-celebrity Death Watch: Michael Cotter was a Minnesota farmer turned storyteller, who told stories of his farm life. He was a quiet and skilled teller, who I was privileged to hear a few times.

I am way behind on reading magazines, so I only just caught the news (via the MIT section of Technology Review) that Kathy Porter-Jordan, a friend from my undergraduate days died nearly a year ago. I particularly remember one year on Shavuout when she and I delved into the subject of leprosy in the Tanach.

Trip to Oregon: I made a quick trip last week to Portland, Oregon for the memorial service for my friend, Mary Joan. The travel was a bit stressful, as a thunderstorm struck just after we had been boarded (but before the plane was fully fueled). In the end, we got delayed about two hours. My decision to take a non-stop was vindicated as I figured I was fine as long as I got there some time on Thursday night. The delay was extended a little on arrival as a guy in the row behind mine had a medical emergency (significant enough for the flight attendant to be bringing him oxygen) and we had to wait for paramedics to take him off before we could disembark. But, I got there, so everything was okay.

My friend, Suzanne, was at the same hotel and, fortunately, has a compatible attitude towards timing. (Google maps says it’s a 22 minute drive, so let’s figure 45 minutes and then let’s add an extra half hour just in case we get lost ….) The ceremony was brief, with a few people (each of the two of us included) speaking, with a longer speech by Mary Joan’s husband. Then everybody went out to lunch, at which we learned that the day had been chosen since it would have been their 44th wedding anniversary.

The trip home went smoother, despite it involving a redeye too short for more than a nap. I also had a longish wait for the moon buggy from the D-gates to the main terminal at IAD, so it took longer to get to my car than to drive home. At least I had time to nap for a few hours before my next commitment.

Ben’s Bar Mitzvah: A friend’s son’s bar mitzvah was Saturday. The service was your standard Chabad service, which I won’t comment on. Ben did fine on the Torah reading and his haftorah and his mother did the expected job of bursting into tears during her brief speech afterwards. There was pretty good food at the Kiddush lunch. The big reception was in the evening at the National Museum of the Marine Corps. I only had time for a quick look through the museum, but it would be worth going back and spending half a day to see it all. There was reasonably good food and slightly odd entertainment, mostly oriented towards the kids, e.g. a sword swallower. Overall, it was a pretty nice event.

Embassy of Haiti: I went to an MIT Club of Washington event at the Embassy of Haiti last night. Actually, it was a joint event with the Harvard Club and they far outnumbered us. The embassy is beautiful, with a large art collection – practically a gallery. The ambassador was personable and gave a brief and entertaining speech. The food was okay – rice, chicken, fish, pork – and they had tasty rum punch and cake for dessert. The only problem was that it was very crowded and the food line was quite chaotic. Still, it is always worth going to these sorts of things.

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