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June 30, 2008

Comments

our media remains worthless. and Obama seems to be running a disappoint the base campaign, this last couple of weeks.

yay.

I would like to see more articles posted about John McCain's "Straight Talk".

http://www.womenforjohnmccain.com/

Assignment 1: Finish updating the blogroll.

2. Summer reading lists.

3. Obama's 100 Days. What are the top 5 pieces of legislation / executive orders he should get going? (My list: post-hydrocarbon energy bill, universal health care, Iraq departure, infrastructure investment, excellence in education [aka No Child Held Back])

In 2007, the Bush administration promised that it would admit 12 000 Iraqi refugees by the end of September 2008. (Whoop-de-doo, etc: the US caused the worst refugee crisis in the world, and now generously offers to take in 1/3 of 1% of the refugees - and only after they've been lengthily scrutinised by Homeland Security to make sure they're not ter-or-rists.)

The administration claims it's close to meeting its target: is it lying?

Christina,

Your wish is my command:

http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2008/06/coopt-the-vote.html

A bridge post!

A post on my really interesting/scary jury experience.

Oh, I'm just assigning things to myself. ;)

But in furtherance of the jury post, can anyone find a good reference in California for what the responsibilities of jurors our in talking about the experience post-trial? 'Cos I easily found the rules for during the trial, but I'm suspicious that I'm totally free post-trial.

SH: my reference is my public defender wife. Jurors are free to discuss and to decline to discuss the case with anyone they like.

My own take (completely unresearched) is that there may be a constitutional right of privacy to statements made during deliberations. So you should probably be discreet in providing identifying information about how idiotic fellow jurors were.

snark: "our" for "are"? How unlike you.

Sebastian, the general rule is that jurors are not restricted post-trial, although there may be ethical or other restrictions regarding whether an attorney for one of the parties can speak to a juror. But you're wise to look into the matter, says von, uselessly.

Sebastian, I look forward to your jury post. My one experience on a jury was as an alternate. As my chorister daughter would put it, this means you have to learn the music but you don't get to sing.

The case was a memorable one -- California "road rage."

Publius, do you have any insight into what the Democrats in Congress could or should be doing to prevent (or at least hold accountable) Bush if he does all sorts of scurrilous things during his last days in office? Maybe looking not so much at the whole will-he-or-won’t-he-bomb-Iran? thing but at the other metaphorical ways he could trash the hotel room before checking out. Things like pardons, gov’t contracts, diplomatic agreements, etc. I know that I for one don’t have a whole lot of admiration for the Democratic leadership as of late but that you have directed some praise at Reid and Pelosi in the past. Do you think they’ll be able to−to strain my metaphor−be able to ensure that Bush loses his security deposit if he wrecks things on the way out?

Obama seems to be running a disappoint the base campaign, this last couple of weeks.

This worries me a little, as a strategic matter among other things.

My suspicion is that his thinking is that he has a lead and will win barring disaster. It's a "run out the clock" approach.

That's not, I think, as good a strategy as it seems, in sports or politics. You surrender momentum, lose aggressiveness, and aren't ready when the other side starts to gain ground.

1. Anything that isn't purposefully pro-Obama or anti-McCain. I'd be interested in seeing a policy argument made to advance a, well, policy, as opposed to advance a politician who you think is more likely to advance some facsimile (however poor) of the policy that you advocate.

2. I'm always interested when I see something within a blogger's area of expertise. Let's face it: anyone can do politics. But not anyone can be Hilzoy on philosophy (& medical/bioethics), Publius on the FCC, Sebastian on volleyball (kidding), etc.

3. Eric Martin could write a post on Ethiopia/Somalia, the plight of the TFG, and the risk that East Africa is going to become the next Afghanistan.*

von

*I have a longstanding dispute with Eric regarding whether or not it was wise for the US to provide limited assistance to Ethiopia. I'm curious whether he still feels that Ethiopia's predictably bad experience in Somalia supports his position, and why. (Obviously, I don't think it does.)

publius,

I'd love to see a post comparing telecom regulation in the US with peer nations and exploring the effects those regulations have had on broadband penetration, network investment, and provider choice.

I still want to see the return of live BSG blogging (can't remember which ObWi member used to take on that responsibility. G'Kar responded that he would take that task, which makes me sad thinking of his response.

Second (or third) the request for Sebastian's jury post - I'd find that very interesting. (Hoping this doesn't put Sebastian off the idea, but I promise, Sebastian: unless the case concerned forced pregnancy*, not a carping word out of me about it: I'm interested to hear about the workings of the US jury system from the inside....

*Because you wouldn't believe me if I didn't make this exception. would you? *eg*

Does anybody here know anything at all about Fairbanks, AK? What neighborhoods are good to rent in, et c.? Im going for a job in two months and am going to be totally lost.

If anyone can help me out, please shoot an email to portiasa----->at<---gmail.com.

Seb -- I too dont know California specific rules, but in most jurisdictions jurors are free to talk post trial.

Von,

Funny you should mention. Something will be in the mix this week re: the Horn.

Good, Eric.

And another vote for a post on Sebastian's jury case, assuming that it's kosher to blog it.

Sebastian,
My WA post jury instructions echo TOF's wife's. I imagine the usual free speech limitations apply, libel, slander, falsely crying fire in a crowded court room, etc. Lack of a formal record might impact the practical liability for both true and false statements about deliberations, but what the heck, you are a lawyer, dish and defend yourself.

"'Cos I easily found the rules for during the trial, but I'm suspicious that I'm totally free post-trial."

While you can always be sued for libel or slander, winning such a case doesn't come easily. Failing that, I'm unclear what sort of restriction on your First Amendment rights you're suggesting you think might exist. How would that work legally, if you haven't signed some sort of contract?

And such a contract would have to be entered into before being placed on a jury, wouldn't it? It couldn't be ex post facto. Did you sign such a non-disclosure agreement? If not, why worry?

(As you know, IANAL, but I'm wondering what legal principle your worry would be based upon.)

Oh, since this is close to an open thread, I've been blogging again: this got a bunch of links and hits today, and there are other posts above and below it, if anyone is interested. :-)

I'd like someone to blog about why, for the last week or so, the Obsidian Wings RSS feed has been broken (at least through Firefox ActiveBookmarks).

Or, better yet, don't blog about it, just fix it. :)

Hmm. I've been in Vermont, and just got back, so it will take a bit before I get up to speed on what I've missed over the weekend. However:

Seb, it never occurred to me not to talk about my jury experience, nor was I ever cautioned not to. I never identified any actual person, and had it crossed my mind to do so, I would have rejected the idea on basic decency grounds.

However: my one and only actual jury (as opposed to the 3 week trial in which I was an alternate, sigh) involved the following: maybe 50 year old black guy goes on a fishing trip with buddy. Drops buddy off (in poor black neighborhood in LA), tries to back out of very narrow alley, dings other car, waits for police like a good citizen. Police arrive, think he's drunk because he has a limp (and because he has a couple of empty beer bottles in the back of the car: didn't want to leave them in fishing place), take him downtown, give breathalyzer, find out he's been telling the truth when he says he hasn't been drinking.

Police apparently get annoyed: why have they dragged this guy downtown with nothing to show for it? They decide to arrest him because he has a gun in the way way back of his Suburban (behind the very back seat.) (Rifle, in case interesting critter shows up on fishing trip, in which case it could become hunting trip.) Charge: carrying a concealed weapon. (Iirc, tinted windows of Suburban relevant to "concealed" part.) There was no evidence of any other anything criminal. I asked the prosecutor afterwards whether there was anything else that couldn't be introduced into evidence; he said no.

We all thought that prosecuting this and taking it to trial was idiotic. Some of us, like me, thought: but the law is the law, however stupid the decision to prosecute seems to us. Others thought: nullification! The form nullification took was to make an argument that no one had made in trial, namely:

In CA, apparently, you are allowed to keep a gun in the trunk of your car. A majority of the jury decided that "the trunk" meant "the part of the car where you keep stuff", rather than "that locked part in the back, the one you can't get to from the interior of the car." While we in the minority thought that a Suburban has no trunk, the majority decided that "the trunk" of a Suburban was that place way in the back where this guy's gun was.

Hung jury. Because it depends what the meaning of the word "trunk" is.

We spent a whole day debating this. I swear to God.

Oh, and I'd like to second von's first suggestion, of a policy-driven rather than candidate driven blog post. In particular, I'd like to see something on energy policy, but any policy would do.

In CA, apparently, you are allowed to keep a gun in the trunk of your car. A majority of the jury decided that "the trunk" meant "the part of the car where you keep stuff", rather than "that locked part in the back, the one you can't get to from the interior of the car." While we in the minority thought that a Suburban has no trunk, the majority decided that "the trunk" of a Suburban was that place way in the back where this guy's gun was.

Wow, now I want to see a post on trunks. =) It sounds like the minority on this jury defined trunkness by inaccessibility from the passenger compartments. Whereas I always understood the trunk to be that compartment immediately adjacent to the trunk door (i.e., behind the very back seat, for a Suburban).

(This is why as a kid I thought station wagons were so cool: you got to sit in the trunk and face backward! The appeal faded considerably once I actually tried it.)

But I can see how ease of access might be relevant when interpreting a law about where a gun can be stored.

Just to complicate matters, many trunks in ordinary cars nowadays are accessible from within the passenger compartment.

I can see how this might take a day. I've been in meetings like that.

hilzoy,

Interesting. I'd have been a nullifier myself.

I see no other reasonable way to influence police and prosecutors to stop this kind of nonsense.

What does a post November '08 GOP look like and in what direction might it head over the four years following the election?

Most of you are far more serious than me, but I've watched Muse's Knights of Cydonia video several times, having first done so when John Cole posited it might be the best music video ever, and I observed an as it were gratuitous horn player -- that is, not really a character in the video before that time, but when a horn comes in in the song, suddenly there's someone standing there playing a horn who's a character in the video (as opposed to in the band). I have a strong impression, completely unsupported by evidence, that a horn player is far more likely to appear as needed as character in a music video than players of other sorts of instruments. I was wondering if anyone agrees or disagrees with this impression.

I would like to see a thread on unrequieted love threadjacked by thoughts on requieted love.

I'd like to know this: Was Shane in "Shane" dead or merely wounded as he rode away on his horse at the end of the film?

Why do cardboard boxes sometimes smell like vanilla and why does that scent take me back to childhood?

If a person feels perfectly fine and is perfectly fit, is a diagnosis of some dread disease by a doctor the result of visiting the doctor for no good reason in the first place? Would a person have the disease if it weren't diagnosed?

I say the sky is blue. You say the sky is blue. But how do we know what color blue is?

If the sky rains yellow MiniCoopers and the earth opens at the seams and out swarm yellow Mini-Coopers, and the road taken and the road not taken are clogged with yellow Mini-Coopers and the light at the end of the tunnel is a yellow MiniCooper, what does that mean?

If a psychotherapist tells you that love is wonderful but one must explore the motivations and impetuses and incentives and the nature of the headwaters of love and then a young person approaches you and tells you they can plainly see you are in beautiful love and wishes you the best no matter what, who ya gonna listen to?

How quiet does requieted love have to be?

Can quieted love be included?

What about requilted love?

jakeb,
you mean the bugle player, and your thesis is that wind players (i.e. trumpet, sax, the occasional trombone) will appear rather than strings or percussion? I agree and I think of two reasons. The first is that it stems from the sonic strength of those instruments (I can't think of where a clarinet or oboe popped up in a music video, though there may be a case or two) I have a memory of videos where, when stings appear, you have a couple of stands of violins, which is basically the same principle, but there has to be enough of them to actual make someone say 'hey, there are strings there'

I also think it has to do with the gyrations that one can make while playing the instrument. Hence my instrument (the french horn) doesn't get much love in music videos because doing the power pelvic thrust when the bell points in the other direction doesn't seem to be too logical. Likewise for violins, flutes and bassoons. You can get a bit of it going with a clarinet, but shiny brass is preferable.

I would like to see someone defend Obama’s position that Afghanistan is a just war. I know that the Democratic line is Afghanistan good, Iraq bad.

But they seem like the same police action to me.

A majority of the jury decided that "the trunk" meant "the part of the car where you keep stuff", rather than "that locked part in the back, the one you can't get to from the interior of the car."

While I agree with the minority (for alcoholic beverages, "trunk" almost certainly means the not [easily] accessable from the main cabin portion), but voted with the majority to prevent a miscarriage of justice. Since the advent of hatchbacks, I would have thought they would change the law.

I can't be too surprised they haven't.

I searched the DMV and found relevant text for alcohol:

23225. (a) (1) It is unlawful for the registered owner of any motor vehicle to keep in a motor vehicle, when the vehicle is upon any highway or on lands, as described in subdivision (b) of Section 23220, any bottle, can, or other receptacle containing any alcoholic beverage that has been opened, or a seal broken, or the contents of which have been partially removed, unless the container is kept in the trunk of the vehicle.
(2) If the vehicle is not equipped with a trunk and is not an off-highway motor vehicle subject to identification, as defined in Section 38012, the bottle, can, or other receptacle described in paragraph (1) shall be kept in some other area of the vehicle that is not normally occupied by the driver or passengers. For the purposes of this paragraph, a utility compartment or glove compartment shall be deemed to be within the area occupied by the driver and passengers. (emphasis mine)

It would seem to me that the "hatch" of a hatchback is "not normally occupied by the driver or passengers" and so would qualify as a "trunk-like area".

I might have asked to see exactly what the Vehicle Code says about weapons.

Pretty quiet.

How quiet?

Fine. But is it O.K. to throw the covers off?
Would this be a case of a quilting bee segueing into an orgy? We have the bees; it's merely a matter of inviting the birds.

tgirsch- my hunch is that it must have something to do with the firefox upgrade. We haven't changed anything and the problems seem limited to people who use the firefox reader. (my google reader is working fine).

My only suggestion would be to maybe try a different subscription link. for instance, in firefox 3, click on the feed link in the address bar. it shows atom, rss 1, and rss2. maybe try a different one?

publius,

I'm using a dedicated feed reader called liferea and it is bombing on the OW atom feed complaining about the funky characters in the sentence that says "we are aware of dozens of cases..." in the "Returned to the Battlefield" post. My guess is that some bad character data got copied-and-pasted into the post and some feed readers are more robust to ignoring it than others.

lj--

You make two good points, but I'm wondering about something more, er, archetypal, if not silly-- the bugle player in KoC is a character in the story (such as it is), right? For instance, you see him training with the master along with the hero after he (the hero) has been rescued by the, er, Valkyrie.
Why is the only musician in the story a bugle player? I keep wondering if there's some peculiar echo of Horns of Elfland/Horn of Gabriel/Trumpeters on Fantasy Castle's Ramparts that leads to the appearance of these characters as opposed to something else. That is, I predict that if we had enough high-production-value music videos made in sub-saharan Africa, the generic character in a story who happens to play a musical instrument would be a drummer; if suddenly Romany folk started making music videos, a violinist would keep appearing, and so on. And it wouldn't just be owing to the predominance of certain instruments in these counterfactual cases-- it's the myth value they have.

But maybe I just need to lay off the moonshine . . . .

What Von said. Also, unrequited love. Anything besides presidential candidates, who are starting to get me down.

Turbulence - The ObWi feed is Atom? I thought it was some weird RDF format that isn't quite RSS.

Good points, jakeb. One other thing is that all these instruments require breath. I remember I had just started dating a cello player when I was studying music, and I saw her practicing and leaned in the room to tell her where I would be when I finished, and she replied while playing, and I was flabbergasted. Playing horn, the idea of talking while one practices is rather improbable, and the idea that you are doing something that doesn't let you communicate in other ways might have something to do with the iconography. And, of course, there is the Song of Roland, where he blows his brains out with his horn.

Of course, perhaps it is the ability to do the pelvic thrust with various instruments what makes them attractive to the West. Pass the moonshine...

try the new RSS one I added -- did that help?

Summer reading has been mentioned here and elsewhere...hopefully this thread is open enough for a comment about that.

For reasons too involved to explain, I was inspired this summer to reread an old favorite -- Our Mutual Friend -- and then to reread Daniel Deronda, which I have just finished this evening. When I was younger, Middlemarch was by far my favorite George Eliot; I read DD once in the old days (in grad school) but it didn't particularly grab me then.

This time it did. I won't say more than that -- this is a blog comment after all -- except to observe that I'm about to go right back and start again from the beginning.

This absorption in 800+ page Victorian novels has been quite a counterpoint to daily blog-reading. Some of the sentences are longer than some blog posts! (Not ObWi posts, of course. ;) (And even DD doesn't come close to Faulkner for maximum sentence length. But on second thought, it matches up pretty well for sentence complexity.)

I had begun to wonder if I had the attention span for long novels any more. That worry has been allayed.

Serendipitously, I am leaving tomorrow for two weeks: London, York, Edinburgh, London. I have been to England once, but never to London, and I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself. Having majored in English and focused first on Victorian novels and later on George Bernard Shaw, I find that when I study the map of London trying to allot my precious few days of visiting, the names of streets and neighborhoods and bridges and squares are as familiar as the map of my home town, which I will probably be able to navigate long after senility has removed every more recent memory.

I'll be checking online from the road, and would love to hear more summer reading reports.

As a footnote: http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2008/06/with-a-broomsti.html#comment-120187730>Jes quoted GBS a few days ago. I fear that the answer to the quoted question is: Yes.

Heads-up for hilzoy:

Kant sighting on ... Cute Overload?!??!?

I quit.

Things are way too quiet.

I have been to England once, but never to London,

Have a great time, but be warned, things were really expensive when I was there last summer with japanese students, who were moaning at how little their money bought. One person said that it was a sign of progress that to have japanese feel poor in the UK.

I found that there were very cheap National Express coach tickets (funfares) if you reserved them on the internet, but were non refundable and non changeable. I was either supervising students or visiting relatives, so I wasn't doing any touristy things, but perhaps some folks might have some money saving ideas.

Thanks, lj. Money-saving tips are always welcome, in this or any other context.

I do gasp when I look at prices, but this is a long-postponed trip, and I have no expectation that the exchange rate is going to tip back in my favor any time soon, if ever. Anyhow, my favorite thing about traveling outside the US (which I've done very little of except for Ireland) is just being a foreigner, and trying to absorb the differentness of each place. It wakes me up in a much-needed way and it can be done without spending a fortune.

We'll get a lot of "take-away" and have picnics (in the rain?), and for our second London stint we're staying in a dorm at the London School of Economics -- not quite as cheap as a hostel, but with the advantage of having our own room (my daughter and I).

Besides quirky personal goals, like seeing places associated with GBS, I got a lot of suggestions about London from http://crookedtimber.org/2007/12/16/london-tourism-advice-offered-and-sought> a post on Crooked Timber last year.

Hopefully York and Edinburgh will be on a more manageable scale...

Thanks again!

"I would like to see someone defend Obama’s position that Afghanistan is a just war. I know that the Democratic line is Afghanistan good, Iraq bad."

Helpful clue, Bill: al Qaeda attacked the U.S. multiple times, including on September 11th, 2001; they were supported by the Taliban, rulers of Afghanistan. This was an act of war, recognized by more or less every country on Earth.

Iraq had nothing whatever to do with it.

HTH.

"Serendipitously, I am leaving tomorrow for two weeks: London, York, Edinburgh, London. I have been to England once, but never to London, and I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself"

Envy, envy. I spent a month in England in 1996, but I barely scratched the surface, and never made it to Wales or Scotland.

If you're interested in history and art and design, I'd highly recommend, when in London, not missing the Victoria and Albert Museum; the British Museum is indispensable, but famous. The V&A is sometimes called the attic of Britain; Joe-Bob Gary says check it out.

And eat lots of curry. :-)

Most important: get a "London A to Zed" before leaving, and study it, and then never let it leave your body save when you bath or sleep.

And could I fit in your luggage, please? I'll be useful! I speak English!

I quit.

Things are way too quiet.

You can't quit! You're fired.

Now, come back here and report for work at a lower salary this instant!

I have mentioned this before, but my uncle was a member of the Scotch Whisky Society and took my wife and I to their headquarters in Leith and I see they now have locations in Edinburgh and London. The membership is 100 pounds, but if you like single malt whisky, it might be an investment.

Serendipitously, I am leaving tomorrow for two weeks: London, York, Edinburgh, London.

How long are you spending in Edinburgh? If you go to no other sight on the tourist list, go see Edinburgh Castle - not even so much for the historical interest, as the view over Edinburgh's New Town from the battlements. On a clear day you can see as far as Fife, but unless it's very foggy you can see the pattern of the streets laid out in 1750 - it's the world's first designer town.

The other sight-not-to-be-missed - take the train from Waverley Station to North Queensferry. You can cross platforms and go right back again, but on the way you get to see one of the most spectacular views that most tourists don't know about: the Forth from the Forth Rail Bridge.

There's lots of online guides to Edinburgh's best places to eat and drink, but I do like the one I linked to.

I have a friend who is trying to get information from the two campaigns on extending the Adoption Credit, with very little luck. (See here.) It would be great if you could dig up some info on it.

JamieM, handful of tips:

1. Flying into Gatwick? My personal preference is to take the Gatwick Express to get into London: Cheaper (and faster) than most alternatives (which is not to say cheap).

2. Never, ever, ever take a cab in London. It's unbelievably expressive. Learn and use the underground or just walk.

3. Avoid Madam Toussards.

4. Seeing the crown jewels is overrated.

5. Drinks at the Savoy are overrated, but you may want to do it anyway. Alcohol, after all, is involved. (OTOH, the showers at the Savoy are not overrated ... though that may be a tougher task to manage.)

6. Avoid tea rooms, tea times, tea anythings.

7. After your seventh castle, you can see no more. So save your castles for the good ones.

8. I was about to recommend the National Museum of Ireland, which is a fantastic deal (it's free). Then I realized that it's in Dublin.

9. Number 8 was ghostwritten for John Thullen.

10. My favorite activity in London is walking around, wandering into pubs, and getting lost. Make sure that you have plenty of time, however.


"2. Never, ever, ever take a cab in London. It's unbelievably expressive. Learn and use the underground or just walk." ....

Umm, "expensive", not "expressive." Although, admittedly, too much expression in a cab can be a bit awkward.

A wealth of helpful tips. Thanks to all.

Gary -- we're taking just carry-on and one smallish checked bag. How small a space can you pack yourself into? ;)

The V&A is on my list, but since I have a traveling companion there will be some negotiating about how we use our time. The British Museum has strong Shaw associations among its other attractions, so it's high on the list.

Jes -- 5 nights in Edinburgh. I've bookmarked the Best Of website and jotted down the train info. It sounds lovely !!!

lj -- I'm not a drinker, though I hesitate to admit that around here. I'll try to think of something else to do with that 100 pounds. ;)

von -- Walking/Tube/getting lost sounds good to me. I've actually been to the National Museum of Ireland; now you're making me homesick for Dublin.

It sounds like the art museums in London are mostly free as well...funny how all the government buildings cost a small fortune to get into (16.5 pounds for the Tower, which is where the crown jewels are, right?) but art is free. As are, I assume, the many famous gardens.

I love tea. But I can't eat wheat, so between that and my strong resistance to paying a lot for beverages, there's not much attraction in tea rooms. Nice to hear I won't be missing anything. I'm taking a small supply of my current favorite variety of oolong...seems idiotic to take tea to the center of the British Empire, but you never know when an emergency might arise.

JanieM:

Never take a cab in London ..... to the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.

True, the museum is free, so you'll save there, but you wouldn't believe how unbelievably expressive you will become once you learn the cost of the cab ride.

You'll be reciting Joyce's _Finnegan's Wake_ at the cabbie in a thick Irish lilt while waving your arms around and you'll be glad there is no punctuation, which costs extra.

Pop down to Hyde Park in London and catch the rants at the speaker's corner. It's just like Obsidian Wings except for the give and take. Especially the take.

See some theater. Expensive, yes, but expressive.

If you spot Paul or Ringo in London, leave them alone but send them brainwaves that I appreciate their assistance in life. If you spot John or George, run up to them and let them know that pledging NEVER to reunite the Beatles is one thing, but the means they used to keep their pledges go way too far.

If you get a might bit peckish, eat.

If you spot the young Julie Christie on the sidewalk, kidnap her and transport her to the National Museum of Ireland via cab.

I'll meet you there.

If you meet a guy named BOB, tell him he's not my uncle.


I completely second the walking recommendation, along with 'getting lost'. London has always struck me as a coral reef-like city: marvelous things just sort of accrete into a glorious structure, and it's wonderful to just meander about looking at them. Plus, the Tube ensures that you won't have to stay lost.

"Gary -- we're taking just carry-on and one smallish checked bag. How small a space can you pack yourself into?;)"

Thank you for the question, Janie.

The last time I saw Gary, I was packing him into a 12" by 18" box for shipping to Raleigh via the US Post Office. It was a bit cramped for him, but did he really need seven romance novels and a coffee maker in there with him? Plus, he saved on air fare.

Message to Obama campaign:
Bite me.

That is all.

John Thullen: my laugh of the day (so far). It's not an unusual occurrence that you are the one who provides it.

I'll make an extra effort to get an early train out of Edinburgh on the 13th, since I gather that the give and take (and take) at Speaker's Corner (another Shaw association, by the way) happens only on Sundays.

Sorry, if I kidnap Julie Christie I'll keep her for myself. On second thought, I'm probably not her type (as in gender), so never mind that, I'll send word when we get to Dublin and you can meet us next to the Shaw statue.

(I'm not really as obsessed with Shaw is it might appear, but the lifelong (re)reading of his letters is the major reason why London seems so familiar, even though I've never been there. And as is apparent just from this brief exchange of comments, he turns up everywhere you look.)

Hilzoy -- great image/analogy about the coral reef. It's also nice to have the idea of just walking around confirmed and reconfirmed. I love walking, and there's no admission fee!

Well done, Thullen.

If you're into gruesome stuff like I am, try the Jack the Ripper walking tour with Donald Rumbelow. There are other Jack the Ripper walking tours, but I specifically recommend going under Donald's expert guidance.

As an aside, when I took the tour ten years ago, a Roman-era archeological dig was just getting started along the tour route. I'd be curious to know what it looks like now.

Too bad you don't drink, Jamie. An imperial pint is an excellent way to stave off hunger when walking and lost and in search of suitable sustenance. It's much easier to find good beer than good food in London - not that there isn't plenty of good food there these days. It's just that the beer is ubiquitous.

JanieM--
If you do visit Edinburgh castle, don't miss the small "Cemetery for Soldier's Dogs". Oddly touching, I thought.

-JakeB

Who wants to play Stump The Yoo!? Order your home game now, while supplies last!

"Gary -- we're taking just carry-on and one smallish checked bag. How small a space can you pack yourself into? ;)"

Pretty small. For a good reason.

"The V&A is on my list, but since I have a traveling companion there will be some negotiating about how we use our time. The British Museum has strong Shaw associations among its other attractions, so it's high on the list."

Oh, I was just assuming you were including as much of the BM as you could stand: thus my use of indispensable. I was merely recommending also including the V&A, if your taste runs to that sort of thing. But take a look at their website for an idea of their exhibit, and that should tell you what you need to know about whether it's to you and your daughter's taste, or not.

And something that might not be to either of your taste, I don't know, but a fantastic historical site/visit is the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms. But maybe that's more my kind of thing, and less yours. I think it's pretty cool to be in the underground HQ of Churchill during the war, though, myself.

"3. Avoid Madam Toussards."

That's easy to do, but more importantly, avoid Madame Tussauds. :-)

"I'm taking a small supply of my current favorite variety of oolong...seems idiotic to take tea to the center of the British Empire, but you never know when an emergency might arise."

I don't think you'll have a problem finding good tea. :-) Be it PG Tips, or whatever; really, consider just buying some as soon as you get there, for the authentic stuff. And most folks will be happy to tell you how to make it properly, if you give them an excuse. :-)

Watch out for the blue plaques. Do Bloomsbury.

More walks.

Also.

The Inns of Court.

And. And also.

Oy, Gary, I'm going to need a year! We need to think of some kind of scam that will provide living expenses in London for a while......

What is it with tea people? I get my most special tea (separate from my 3-cents-a-bag nothing special going on today oolongs from Chinatown in Boston) from http://www.macnabstea.com/>MacNab's Tea Room in Boothbay, Maine. A friend had given me some jasmine from there, and I started ordering jasmine, and later oolong...and since they do mail order, and I don't go to Boothbay very often, I didn't actually meet these folks in person til last summer. I had a wonderful time tasting various oolongs (ended up liking best the one that had initially smelled the best), but while I was sipping I was getting the whole history of tea, the rundown on white/green/oolong/black and their caffeine levels and health properties, the trials and tribulations of keeping in touch with buyers and suppliers (some very personal one-shot deals carried out by people traveling between Maine and China), and on and on and on....

JakeB -- we will surely check out the Cemetery for Soldiers' Dogs.

Thanks for all the info! Imagine, with the wonders of modern technology (TM) I can still check in at ObWi while I travel. Not that I mean to spend much time online, but I'm old enough to still be amazed that I can.

Gary -- lucky I'm taking my laptop, I can browse through your links ad hoc once I get there. Mention of the Inns of Court reminds me that a friend of mine who's a lawyer sat in on a trial in the Old Bailey. I can't believe the Old Bailey is an active courtroom and not a museum! Then again...as an American I have to recalibrate this stuff in terms of time frames, and as an English major I have to remind myself that it's 2008 in London, too. I remember how shocked I was when I first saw laundry hanging amongst ancient ruins in Ireland -- nothing special to the people who lived next door.

Time to hit the road.

publius:

I had to drop and re-add my ObWi RSS feed, and now it seems to be working. When I tried doing the same thing yesterday, it still didn't work, and my pre-existing RSS feed still doesn't work, so I'm guessing you fixed something. :)

I remember how shocked I was when I first saw laundry hanging amongst ancient ruins in Ireland -- nothing special to the people who lived next door.

I saw folding chairs leaning against Celtic pillars. Again, nothing special.

Communists - Bush's Role Models in the War on Terror

h/t Drum

I'm hoping someone better suited than I can find a way to talk about this. I just want to either weep or rage. And I live in the wrong area to do the latter.

The Arar Case was dismissed this past Monday, June 30, 2008 [Court of Appeals Decision,CCR response]

Not an assignment, but a must-read: Christopher Hitchens, who has been second-to-none in promoting the War On Islam, talks waterboarding and puts his money where his mouth is. Make sure to watch the video, in which he lasts all of about five seconds.

That's easy to do, but more importantly, avoid Madame Tussauds. :-)

Yes, there too! :-)

avoid Madame Tussauds

I'm wondering where the hell is the apostrophe? I'm looking on the home page, but there's no explanation.

"I'm wondering where the hell is the apostrophe? I'm looking on the home page, but there's no explanation."

It was a wax apostrophe, and one unusually hot London summer, it melted.

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