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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

From high in the hills of New Hampshire, July 30, 2013

The Connected Life

I don't subscribe to the Steve Jobs/Apple model of technology. Forgetting physical product design for a moment, this is the Apple way of thinking whereby everyone is always connected to a network, where ever they are, at all times.

In this model, you really don't carry anything about you. Now you may think you do, because you can use that iPad or iPhone to quickly access those vacation photos from 2011, but in reality you don't own that stuff. Oh, buried in that end user agreement (that you didn't read, by the way) Apple says that you do own your property, but you really don't. Same thing for your contacts, your music, your notes. Everything.

No, all of your stuff in the connected life actually resides on a server, somewhere in a place where you have never been and, in for many in this day and age, couldn't find on a map anyway. Apple (and in fairness, other companies as well) have created the illusion that your stuff is, well, “yours” through fast moving bits of data seamlessly streamed over an ever-imagined, all-encompassing virtual network that exists everywhere.

The reality though is that your stuff really is at the mercy of a spider-web of privately run networks that really exist at the whim of large businesses who sole purpose in existing is to make money for someone else (not you). Yeah, yeah, I can hear it now, “Socialist!”, a cry, by the way, that by and large comes from people who really can't define the term “Socialist” anyway. What's more, I personally am far more vested in the private sector & free markets (more than a quarter century and counting working in the for-profit private sector) than many of people I know. I just happen to realize the limits of the system in which I exist. I can't say that same for others (including the Governor of Texas), but so I digress.

Getting back to the point at hand, the real problem I have with the Connected Life is that it assumes this constant plug-in to the “network”. Risky? You bet. But also stupid. Think about it: in the Connected Life you are almost forced to be places where you have a connection. You are at the whim of the business continuation planning of all those Apple (and other tech company) server farms that house the “iCloud”. You had better be praying that Apple doesn't cheese off some hacker group, resulting in those intimate pictures you had on “the iCloud” now serving the fantasy needs of some angry Russian teenager.

Some are forget that there is real value, at times, in physically owning the physical things that are truly important to you. There is a certain security in being able to say “this is something that I treasure and I'm not relying on some big corporation that doesn't know or care about me” in order to access it. How perverse it is to say that we entrust our treasured memories to some non-corporeal entity that actually doesn't give a damn about us? We lock our doors so that strangers can't access our homes, but we let faceless strangers access much of our personal (electronic) lives. Let's not forget that there is also a real value in being able to completely disengage from the network from time to time in order gain perspective.

To the last point in the previous paragraph: I firmly believe that as a society we are moving to a place where we greatly devalue the physicality of things like friendship and identity. And of solitude. We wonder why there is so much stress (and all the things it causes) in the world on one hand while we tether so much of our identity to Facebook and the iClouds.

Here's to all of us taking the time to disengage, at least for short periods of time. Here's to spending physical time with our friends.   

Friday, July 26, 2013

Selling the Stuff (das Haus verlassen, #3)

Tomorrow is the day when we try and sell some of the stuff that my mother accumulated over the years.

It's almost rather odd actually...this is, in part, what happens to us after we die...our "stuff" is divided up and sold.  Now in fairness, I'm actually including some of the stuff I don't want any more in this sale, so it's a kind of dual purpose event.  In the end, I hope there is just simply less laying around.  

Part of the method to all of this madness is to get the house ready for sale.  Things are staring to fall into place:  I've had some work done in my bathroom & kitchen, shutters have been replaced, there has been much painting accomplished, and cleaning has been on-going.  There are more things to do, but by and large the bigger projects are either completed or in progress.  Now to empty the house out some more.

Major "props" go out to my brother Rich, who is the hardest working man I know.  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

10 Suggested names for the new royal baby.

My contribution to the UK.
  1. Ace.  Just "Ace".
  2. Jello Biafra Mountbatten-Windsor.
  3. Chaim Witz Mountbatten-Windsor.
  4. Gaz Mountbatten-Windsor.
  5. Lothar (of the hill people) Mountbatten-Windsor.
  6. Thor.  Just "Thor".
  7. Stephen Gerard Albert Mountbatten-Windsor.
  8. Derbni Mountbatten-Windsor
  9. Vinny Mountbatten-Windsor
  10. Adolf Saxe-Coberg-Gotha.

God Save the Queen!

Monday, July 22, 2013

5 Reasons Why I Don't Care About the New "Royal" Baby

In no particular order:

  1. Revolution - Didn't we fight a revolution specifically to NOT care about what the "royal" family does?  What is this, Canada?
  2. Genetics - Did you know that the Queen and her husband are cousins?  Yes, that kind of thing just doesn't happen in Arkansas.  See HERE.  Seems to me that what Kate Middleton and the new baby bring to the royal family boils down to two words:  Genetic Diversity.  
  3. They Reap, Yet They Do Not Sow - The Royal Family takes, but does not give.  See HERE.  Looks like those costs are going up.  "Oh, but they raise money for charity!"...sorry...for the record, so does Barry Manilow (See HERE)...and by the way, he also writes the songs that make the whole world sing to boot! 
  4. Celebrity - What specifically is more important about this baby than any other baby?  The world doesn't need more people famous for being famous; hell, there are still Kardashians waiting to breed.
  5. Distraction - I get it...the whole "royal baby" is a distraction from the nasty stuff going on in the world.  However, if more people paid attention to the nasty stuff...and less attention to this kind of thing...then perhaps we wouldn't have quite so much of the nasty stuff.  

Personally I like The Onion's coverage of the new royal baby.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

"Jenna" Claims that the Civil War was started over taxes, not slavery.

Here's my response to "Jenna":


Slavery didn't cause the Civil War? Allow me to quote from the first two sentences of Georgia's declaration of secession:

"The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. "

Citation here:

See any references to Tariffs? No. See any references to slavery? Yes. 

I won't go into your other points, as I can only stomach devoting just this much time to Confederate apologists. 

Next time please provide some sources to back up your claims. Blogs & Wikipedia don't count.

Have a nice day!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A few random & final thoughts on Trayvon Martin

As I noted the other day, no matter what else is discussed regarding the George Zimmerman case, one thing always needs to be kept in mind:  Trayvon Martin is dead.  The pain that his parents must feel, still, is unimaginable.  I should say that "normally" it is unimaginable; in the case of Trayvon Martin's family, they have to contend with the on-going media circus surrounding their son's death, which probably propels all of the normal grief into stratospheric heights.

The above noted, there are a few final thoughts I have on this whole sad case.

Trayvon Martin is not a  Civil Rights hero...he is a 17 year old kid who died needlessly.  Comparisons to others, such as Medgar Evers, seem misplaced at best, silly at worst.  Reference HERE.

George Zimmerman is no Klansman.  Painting a picture of this man as some kind of Klan operative out to kill a black kid is just ridiculous.  Call George Zimmerman a "pathetic cop wannabe" and I'll believe you.  Call him an "idiot" and I will probably believe you again.  Heck, I think he's a murderer, having (in my opinion) committed manslaughter.  All of these labels have some proof attached to them; I've not, however, seen anything that points to George Zimmerman as a racist thug.  He's no more a racist than Trayvon Martin was a pot-head.  The whole racist angle seems to me to be an excuse to attempt a legal "do-over" on George Zimmerman.  Like it or not, George Zimmerman was acquitted.  Period.

The above noted, racism is alive and well in America...and the media plays it up for money.  Sorry, but it's true.  I am particularly disgusted with Fox News, which seems to have gone to great lengths to blame Trayvon Martin for his own death.  I'm surprised that Fox didn't try and tie Trayvon Martin to the Crips or the Bloods.  It reminds me of defense attorneys that paint rape victims as somehow "asking for it".  How many photos of bloody George Zimmerman where shown on Fox News?  Tons.  How many pictures of a dead Trayvon Martin or the injuries he sustained?  None that I've ever seen.  Oh, but that would be in "bad taste".  Yeah, right.  That's like complaining about the obesity epidemic...while eating at Burger King.

Trayvon Martin's case isn't about's about a series of incredibly stupid decisions by one young man, George Zimmerman.  In American idiots are not only allowed to own guns, they seem to be actually encouraged to own guns (why do you think they sell them at WalMart????), which while sad, isn't really the central issue of this case.  The central issue of this case is George Zimmerman, who was bound and determined to take his "cop wannabe" act to just one step further; the fact that he had a gun just made it worse.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Surreal (das Haus verlassen, #2)

Surreal:  the feeling you get after realizing that 80% of everything you own fits into a 5'x10' storage locker...with room to spare.

Good thing I stocked up on banker's boxes.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Trayvon Martin is still dead

Trayvon Martin is still dead.  That's about the only thing I'm sure about relative to the George Zimmerman trial.  There is one other thing that seems to be certain in all of this media mess:  George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin.  It all degrades from there, and what you believe may in fact depend on what you choose to hear.

If you watch the NBC affiliated news organizations, you're almost left with the following mental headline:
"Choir Boy and future nuclear scientist Trayvon Martin was assassinated by racist vigilante thug George Zimmerman just for being black."

Now if you watch Fox News or read the Drudge Report you are almost left with the following mental headline:
"Pot-crazed Trayvon Martin attacks innocent community volunteer George Zimmerman; Zimmerman courageously defends himself and barely escapes with his life."

As for me, I would feel far too soiled to spend any length of time watching or reading any of the coverage.  As it stands I'm on the break of tossing my cookies just typing this posting.

All I know for certain is the following:
  1. Trayvon Martin was 17 years old.
  2. Trayvon Martin is dead.
  3. George Zimmerman did in fact kill him.
Call me crazy, but unless someone is in the process of invading your home, car-jacking you, or coming right at you with a weapon...and you feel that your very existence is threatened...then killing another human being is wrong.  Period.  Does that make me more sympathetic to the prosecution in this case?  Maybe, but it certainly doesn't stop the nausea I feel whenever I encounter the media coverage of the case.  All I know is that Trayvon Martin is dead.

Speaking of the case and contrary to what was presented in court, we will never know what was really in George Zimmerman's head that fateful day.  Even if he told us...or if he as told us...I don't know that I'd believe him.  Wanting to avoid jail time seems to be something of a mitigating factor in anything any defendant would say about any case such as this.

Trayvon Martin, on the other hand, doesn't get a chance to explain his side of the story.  I refer to the whole "being dead" thing.

The bottom line for me is this:  just generally being "threatening", if you care to believe the defense line of reasoning, shouldn't be a death sentence for anyone.  This includes Trayvon Martin.  Not even in Texas (let alone Florida).  Now I don't believe that the death of this 17 year old was a planned, pre-meditated act; I do believe that Trayvon Martin is dead though, and in the end George Zimmerman has to pay some price for what he did.  What should be penalty be?  That's above my pay grade to decide.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Empty Walls

Most of my walls are now empty.  It's actually disconcerting, in an odd sort of way.  Gone is the Italian print of a Space:1999 Eagle.  Gone is the Back to the Future movie poster.  Gone are the two framed John Lennon posters.  Ditto the Rat Pack (that my daughters gave me for Christmas, many years ago).  Gone is the decorative steel American flag.  In fact it is all gone, except for two things:

  • An artistic floral print that Ms Rivers got me while at the Philadelphia Flower Show in March, 2011.
  • A framed map of Acadia National Park (also a gift from Ms Rivers).
All of my other large wall hangings are now safely in a sortage building.

I have kept three framed pictures:  one of Ms Rivers and I, and two of my daughters.  All the rest are boxed and awaiting a resting place in the above referenced 5x10 storage area.

Also gone?  An audio cabinet.  A cabinet for holding CDs & DVDs (all of which are boxed now).  A bookshelf.  Most of what's left consists of boxes are that are going into storage or elements that will help make up my minimalist existence for the next few months.  I am allowing myself to keep the bare essentials:  Two TVs, desk, BlueRay player, stereo system, and a filing cabinet.  Some of what's here will be sold, including some book shelves, a table and chairs and various other things.  The underlying idea behind all of this is to make the place as appealing as possible to a potential buyer.  Let's hope it works.

I never quite knew how my life here on Elba would end.  I'd like to say that it "seems like only yesterday when I moved in", but that would be a lie because October 2010 was almost a lifetime ago.  At least on the angst scale.  I moved in here a wreck, all in two days I'll add.  I'm moving out at some date to be determined  that only God knows, a thoroughly different person.  Hopefully a better person.  Not quite Six Million Dollar man better, but better never the less. Oh, and I also have a cat.  He seems to be handling all the moving and such rather well (he is now snoozing against my keyboard as I type this).

I do have more stuff than I realized.  And I'm disposing of more than I realized.  Some has been donated. Some has been or will be thrown out.  Some will be sold.  I really don't need the money from any stuff sold, so the proceeds of anything that involves substantial cash, say over and above a good dinner at the Olive Garden, will be given to my brother Joe.

By the way, the title of this post, "Empty Walls" addition to being a factually correct also a sort of hat tip to John Lennon's terrific album Walls and Bridges.

In addition to the reference to "walls", the Lennon album was recorded during his infamous lost weekend.  You can read more about it HERE.  I wouldn't describe my time here as being a lost weekend, but it has been a transition from my past to my future.  The analogy works for me.  Here's what also works from me, also from the Walls and Bridges album...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

An interesting read.

As a follow-up to my last posting, I was searching on-line for some additional information about the Susquehanna River and stumbled upon the following article:

which was published about a year ago in the York Dispatch.  If you are at all interested in the river, this is a great read.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

In NEPA, how we treat our rivers says a lot about how we view ourselves

We were driving through downtown Wilkes-Boro the other day, in route to Staples to pick up some boxes for my unending process of cleaning, packing and (hopefully, eventually) moving.  Heading over the Market Street Bridge and spying the Hotel Sterling, I was once again amazed at the fact that here was prime real estate sitting along what could be a scenic river and it was a occupied by a building that is basically just a petri dish for mold.  Very sad.

In fact, as you drive up and down the frontage that towns have along the Susquehanna River it's not difficult to be amazed by how beautiful it could all be.  Then, of course, I remind myself that not that long ago, the river was basically viewed as being some combination of toilet/industrial waste disposal facility.  With this in mind, a decrepit and decaying hotel is, probably, par for the course.  In fact, it's probably a decent avatar for a river is the equivalent to a 55 year old Meth-head.

(Scenic river vistas, Forty Fort style)

Now to be fair, this isn't just a problem in "Da Valley", as Scranton is (in)famous for treating the Lackawanna River like a toilet for decades a well.  Personally I think it's all part of an attitude that is still somewhat prevalent in NEPA today, where many residents simply don't really care what happens around them, just as long as "they got theirs".

Got that good job at the Da Depot?  Score!  Who cares if [insert name of convicted NEPA politician here] was ripping the tax payers off!

Got your uncle on the School Board and now in line for a teaching position?  Excellent!  Who cares if the river stinks of benzine and feces!  It's "down there" anyway!

It's as if local residents had their brains permanently switched over to survival mode, and just as long there was money for a decent car, some Genny in the fridge and a mortgage payment for that former miner shanty, all was well in the world.  It's the modern day equivalent of Bread and Circuses.

It doesn't have to be this way, and slowly some attitudes are changing.  River events happening throughout the area (like THIS) actually mean that some people see these natural places as resources, and not just for industrial and human waste disposal either.  A younger generation, maybe not quite so indoctrinated into the "turn a blind eye to what the Man is doing just as long as you get yours" philosophy of life, may yet see the rivers as a place to go to, not avoid.

I also think there are some common sense (but because of politics probably unlikely) things that governments can do in NEPA to help transform our river-scapes:

  1. Eliminate development in chronic flood zones.  There are still too many boarded up places along the Susquehanna River...just drive up the Eight Street Bridge to see what I mean.
  2. Require local municipalities to maintain their portion of green space along river banks.  See the photos above.  A rotting washer sitting along a river bank screams volumes about NEPA.
  3. Encourage local businesses to adopt portions of the river. We do it with highways, so why not with something like a major river?
  4. Aggressively pursue those folks who still insist in not connecting to sewage treatment systems (come on, we all know or have heard of people who have their toilets dumping into some mind bore hole that eventually makes its way into the Susquehanna).  Ditto for industrial polluters, for what few there may still be in the region.
The Hotel Sterling's property should be an incredibly valuable asset.  Why not? It's prime real estate sitting along a major river, which is most places in this country would be a good thing; the fact that it's not speaks volumes for the work that is still to be done in NEPA.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Road Apples, #138

German Titles....It''s worth noting that, when you give a posting a title that's in German, your hits from Germany seem to increase.  Whoda thought?

Three Large Garbage Bags...This was the count, as of Thursday, July 4th, of shredded paper after I cleaned out my old financial records.  Thank goodness for the Vietnam-era war surplus shredder I acquired in 2011.  Mind you it was hot enough to fry an egg after about bag two.  Too much hoarding.

The older you get...the hotter summers seem to become.  Just saying.  Global Warming?  Who knows.  That maybe expanding Steve waistline.

In the "Yeah, we kinda knew that already department"...The Scranton Times ran a story in today's edition detailing the Scranton School District's policy (or lack thereof) for hiring "non-professional" position, such as clerical and maintenance workers.  The revelation?  The District is basically an employment agency for friends and relatives of board members.  Nice try Scranton Times, you're about 30 years too late.  Want to make a REAL impact?  Then publish the names of all district employees who are relatives of current or past Directors.  Now I know for an absolute fact that there are many hard-working, dedicated individuals working for the Scranton School District.  I also know that there are few hacks, and  that once hired, it's exceedingly difficult to get fired from the District.

Director Lesh is wrong...In the same article referenced directly above, sitting Director Robert Lesh commented about how the District's policy for hiring non-professionals is what also exists in the private sector.  Nice try Sparky.  Yes, I know of friends and relatives that have been hired at my employer.  I also know that when those same friends and relatives don't perform, they are let go.  Now how often does that happen in the Scranton School District.  Hmmm, let me see...think...think...think...oh, I know:  almost freak'n never!

Four degrees...was the difference in temperature between Scranton and Wyoming yesterday.  In twelve miles the air temperature increased by that much.  There is definitely something to this climate change stuff.  Maybe, just maybe, noted climatologist Rush Limbaugh and the 3% of climate scientists that agree with him are wrong.

Climate Change Statistics in Perspective...97% of scientists in the field of studying climate agree that the Earth is getting warmer and that human activity is causing the change.  Reference HERE.  Now people like Rush Limbaugh rant against this consensus and almost always drag out some scientist from a corner of the world with claims that everyone else is wrong and that somehow all is okay.  To help put this in perspective though, let's play a little exercise:  instead of talking about climate change, let's talk about your health.  Assume that you go to your doctor, and after a series of tests, he determines that you have ear-lobe cancer (which, by the way, is quite deadly).  Now you are a wealth individual, so money is no object in terms of your treatment options, but you want to make absolutely sure that you do, in fact, have ear-lobe cancer.  So you schedule a second opinion, and once again the diagnosis comes back that you do, in fact, have ear-lobe cancer.  Undeterred, you schedule 98 more "second" opinions.  When the results come back, 97 of the 100 doctors you visited state conclusively that you do, in fact, have deadly ear-lobe cancer.  Oh, and by the way, of the 3 who said you don't have ear-lobe cancer, one is a doctor from the Ukraine with a shady reputation, that you heard about on a radio show hosted by a former drug addict that also sells dubious financial transactions.  So what do you do?  Do you act on 97% opinion, or do you believe the 3%?

Friday, July 5, 2013

When the rubber hits the road

(thanks to my fellow BHHS grad Rosemary Rosencrans & Wizard Accounting Services for the graphic)

I'm a large consumer of what some would call "Pop Psychology".  I like to read positive affirmations.  I find some degree of inspiration in quotes about happiness and making positive life choices.  I like reading books about becoming a better person.  I find some degree of inspiration in all of it.

For the record, there is a big difference between being "inspired" and "actually doing the stuff"...better known as that space where the rubber hits the road.

I tell myself all the time that life truly is a journey and that it's not the destination that matters.  Easy thought, difficult implementation.  Rather ironic, given my pending circumstances.  Anyway, in my defense, I have to confess that the philosophies of which I read and attempt to partake were not a part of my life during the formative years.  Where you define "formative years" as being basically until about age 45 or so.  A little late to the game?  I suppose.

I could blame my upbringing, but in complete fairness, my mother did a damn good job given the circumstances.  My father?  He simply wasn't there, and while many blame absent parents, in totality I'm probably better off, given my father's many demons, that he in fact wasn't there.

I could blame a whole slew of poor choices on my own part.  However we all make poor choices some times.  I've also made some damn good choices too.  On balance, I'd say that, in fact, I'm probably ahead of the game in that department.

Maybe a way to look at all of this is through the cold lens of a business person.  I claim to be one, so that's actually fairly reasonable.  By this measure I'd say I was doing okay.  I earn a good living.  My children are all either college educated or working in that direction.  No one I know is in jail.  None have Crystal Meth addictions.  None have joined religious cults (unless you call "Canada" a cult).

So why do I still get so distracted by so many little things?  Why on Earth do I still feel so compelled to be brought down by things that are, on balance so insignificant?  Hell, the things that were so largely dwelling as worries in my head a year ago have mostly evaporated.  Wow, they must have been important (sarcasm is a difficult thing to impart using the written word)!  I really, truly do intellectually understand the notion that I shouldn't be dragged down by some things, yet I fail when it comes to the actual implementation.


I really, truly don't know.  I wish I knew, but I don't.  I suspect that the very best I can do is to continuously try...try to maintain perspective...try to learn from the lessons life offers all the time...try to maintain my composure when emotional gravity hangs over my neck like a 500 pound anchor.  Note the last one.  Yes, it may look as if I am always so very well composed, but looks are deceiving.  I'm just as messed up as the next guy; my skill is that I'm better than that next guy at not letting it show.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy July 4th...

...and here's to hoping one and all take time to remember today that the best things in life aren't THINGS, nor are they FREE.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

das Haus verlassen #1

Well I guess I'm committed to this whole thing, not that there was any chance I wouldn't be, mind you.  It's just that the whole thing is so "big".

I'm speaking about the whole notion of putting the house for sale.

As I've noted here before, my plan has never been to live long term at this current residence.  I bought it years ago with my ex-wife and mother, lived here for a while and moved; my mother continued to live here until her death.  I returned for stay #2 in late 2010, living on the side that my mother originally occupied.  It took me forever to unpack when I moved in; I think it was well into 2011 before I stopped having to maneuver around moving boxes.  Now this place is slowly but surely being turned into some kind of moving command center.  And an estate command center.  And home repair center.  Oh, and I'm still living here.

This place has never really seemed like "home".  The closest thing to a "home" I ever really had was an apartment in a housing project, truth be told, and while that place still stands, I can't say that I've been by there in a long time.  The rest of the places...Duke Street in York (torn down in the late 90's), a crappy rental home in West Scranton (still standing...looks like the current residents cook Crystal Meth there), Prospect Avenue...were all just "places I lived".

Maybe in all of these places I've actually been searching for a home.  Who knows.  That sounds like a question that is, well, above my pay grade.

Anyway, now there is much to do.  The initial meeting with the Realtor was yesterday, and we have a plan mapped out that should get the house on the market in early August.  Between now and then there are a few other things to do, including some improvements on this side of the house.

The good news?  Once I get a plan I'm kind of like the Terminator:  I don't stop.

The bad news?  I don't have firm plans for what happens when I end up being successful.  I was thinking about living under my desk in my office at work (hey, we do have showers!), but I don't think that I'd be able to hide Jean-Luc.  Not that the office couldn't use an official cat, by the way.

Regardless, this too will all happen as it is supposed to.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Lilly White: The Prairie Home Companion Experience

I am an admitted fan of the radio show "A Prairie Home Companion", so when I was presented with tickets to the final show of the season I just jumped at the chance.  The show I attended was held at Tanglewood, in Lenox, MA, which is a beautiful location in western part of the state.  Complete with cashed in Hilton Honors points, Ms Rivers and I made a trek up to Tanglewood to see the show last Saturday.

Walking to the amphitheater

Garrison Keillor

Garrison Keillor

End of the show, taking a bow

Tanglewood, Main Gate

If you are a fan of the show you must, at least one time, go see it performed live.  It's quite an experience and it helps you appreciate, all the more, what you hear on the radio.

A few observations are in order though:

  • The audience?  Let's put it this way:  Lilly White.  Really, exceedingly Caucasian.  I didn't see anyone, in the thousands in attendance, who was even remotely Hispanic, Asian or African American.
  • The audience?  Healthy looking.  Seriously, I think I was the heaviest male in attendance...well right after Mr Keillor himself.  Tons of dudes wearing L.L. Bean baseball caps, snacking on granola.  Older women with their hair pulled back in sensible pony-tails, drinking water from sports bottles.  The parking lot was full of mini-vans and late model Honda sedans.  A few Prius spiked in for good measure.
  • The audience?  Older.  Maybe a median age of about 52.  We (Ms Rivers and I) were on the young side.
  • The venue?  Just beautiful.  We stayed overnight in Albany, and the trip from there to Tanglewood was actually really nice.  Albany wasn't too bad either...kinda hilly though.
  • The show?  As noted above, I was impressed.  Now granted that this show isn't everyone's cup of tea, so all you fans of Fiddy Cent and Nicki Minaj will no doubt not be impressed with the music, but as the old saying goes, "different strokes for different folks".
  • The show?  I was particularly impressed by the "News from Lake Wobegon".  He delivered it like a preacher telling a sermon:  no notes, just an outline in his head that he delivered as be moved back and forth on the stage.  This is a guy (Mr Keillor) who clearly LOVES what he does for a living.  
Would I go to see it again?  Absolutely.  Next time I'll try not sit behind so many tall people.