Friday, October 31, 2003

All Hallow's blog.

One thing I'll say about Halloween. It gets people out of their houses, here in the suburbs. That isn't a bad thing, especially for the kids. Which is my operative opinion about Halloween, anyway -- for the kids. So if you're an adult, a grown human being, still dressing up on Halloween, knock it off.

There's a soapbox I feel comfortable on: Adults should act like adults.

On the other hand, my ideas about adult behavior are fairly broad. Halloween costumes didn't happen to make the cut. That may be because there was a clear line between the last year I went trick-or-treating and the first year I didn't. When I was in the 7th grade, I remember discussing, the day after Halloween, the previous night with some friends. We had all trick-or-treated in our different neighborhoods. At some point in the discussion, a couple of them broached elaborate ideas about what they were going to wear the next year.

Then it hit me -- though I didn’t say anything -- that there wasn't going to be a next year. We were done with it. Trick-or-treating was for kids, and by 8th grade, we wouldn't want to do something so childish. It turned out I was right.

Of course, things have changed in the 30 years since I made that judgment. Now I see high school kids at the door every year. When I was in high school, that would have been sure to evoke from some of the households, "Aren’t you a little old for this?"

Thursday, October 30, 2003

POTUS and POTUS-would-be blog.

Another long day at the magazinewerks. Next issue needs wrapping up.

Jay writes: "I just read your blog about going out to hear Bill Clinton during the '96 campaign since you had never seen an incumbent president before. I'm nine years older than you are and I don't believe that I've ever seen an incumbent president, though I believe that I did see a sitting vice president who later became president. That was Lyndon Johnson, who came to McKinney [Texas] for some reason, in 1962. Presumably some sort of opening, though I can't imagine what. I say, I believe I saw him, because while I recall that there was a lot of hoopla and discussion about the visit, and school was turned out in force to watch the parade, I have no mental image of seeing Johnson himself. It's possible, I suppose, that the memory has been diluted, over the years, by all of my subsequent exposure to his image on television and in the press.

"In the fall of 1968 I went to the old civic center in San Antonio to see Richard Nixon. I have a vague recollection of seeing Nixon, at a considerable distance, but no recollection of anything he said. What I do remember, very clearly, was seeing Desi Arnaz, who had been brought in to speak on behalf of Nixon's candidacy. I suppose the theory was that since he was Hispanic -- had in fact made a career out of being a Cuban -- and San Antonio was heavily Hispanic, he was the man to send to San Antonio to promote Nixon.

"That Cubans and Mexicans are no more alike than, say, Scots and Minnesotans amongst English-speaking peoples apparently didn't enter into anyone's mind. Of course, I had seen Desi Arnaz on television, so what impressed me was how much he had changed: his hair had turned white and he wore a white beard. (I have the idea that he was wearing a palm beach suit too, but I may be imagining that.) All I remember about his speech was that he brought it to a conclusion by shouting "Viva Nixon!" He may have shouted "Viva Cuba libre!" too, but I'm not sure anymore.

"In 1973 or so I saw Nixon's old opponent, Hubert Humphrey, another ex-vice president and aspirant to the chief magistracy. He had come to speak at SMU. I wasn't interested in hearing him speak, and didn't go to the speech, but happened to spot him standing in front of the Student Center afterwords, looking tired and somewhat smaller than life, apparently waiting for his ride.

"In the spring of 1977, thinking of Nixon, I saw Alger Hiss, who came to speak at Duke. The girl in charge of the speaker's programme had gone around to all of the classrooms and chalked up a message that morning advertising Hiss' appearance in the Green Room (the larger of two student lounges) that afternoon. I had gone around a bit later and added, also in chalk, a large hammer & sickle and the word "Chekist" to her announcements. I had my own opinion of Alger Hiss. I didn't go to hear him speak, but I did take a quick look; he was history on the hoof, after all, whatever I thought of him. But I wander from the topic.

"Back to chief executives. In the fall of 1980 I happened by Alamo Plaza one day at lunch and discovered that Ronald Reagan was appearing at a rally. The podium was immediately in front of the Alamo. I saw him in the distance but didn't stay for more than a moment or two. I can't recall where I was going but listening to political speeches wasn't on my agenda that day, and the crowd was too thick for me to get very close in any event.

"Sometime in the late '80s I attended a continuing legal education course at a hotel in downtown Dallas, the sort that a serves as a venue for lots of business meetings and gatherings. Someone spotted George W. Bush a short distance away and pointed him out to me. I have no idea what he was doing there; presumably attending one of the assorted other meetings in the hotel that day. At that time he was the president's son and himself president of the Texas Rangers, but was not known to harbour ambitions for high office himself.

"Since that time, as far as I can recall, I've seen no presidents, ex-presidents or aspiring presidents, though I saw Bill Clinton's motorcade once, in 1995, speeding down Woodall Rogers, the northerly portion of the freeway loop that surrounds downtown Dallas. The president had had a speaking engagement downtown. My office at that time was adjacent to the freeway. First the police blocked all the overpasses over the freeway to traffic. Traffic on the freeway suddenly ceased, doubtless blocked by other, unseen police. After a moment several large black cars with darkened windows came speeding up the freeway. Then they were gone, and the police left. Life and traffic returned to normal.

"He never held office in this country, of course, but in September 1989 I saw Boris Yeltsin, at that time a former Candidate Member of the Politburo of the Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and unemployed in any official capacity. He spoke at a luncheon in one of the larger hotel ballrooms in town sponsored by the Dallas Counsel on Foreign Relations. It was a good speech and well delivered, I recall, despite being filtered through a translator. At the end of the speech, he was presented with a western hat. He put it on his head and grinned at the crowd -- there may have been a thousand people in the audience -- and then took it off and waved it around cheerfully. He clearly had the instincts of a fine stump speaker.

"I saw the Patriarch of Constantinople when he visited Dallas in 1997, too, but I suppose that's too far off point. The Patriarch's predecessors in office had dealings with a long line of emperors and sultans, true, but, unlike the Popes, they were never temporal rulers in their own right."

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Calendar blog.

Busy day at the editing sawmill. Cutting wordy logs to fit the needs of the magazine all day, with clouds of excess word-dust and stray syllables all over the floor. No time to sweep 'em up.

Got my new DayMinder brand 14-month desk calendar yesterday. Ruled Daily Blocks. 16 Page (sic) Memo Section. (That should be 16-Page; I'm an editor just so I can notice such itty-bitties.) Anyway, this is an important bit of information storage technology to me. Palm pilot? Bah. Give me a paper calendar any time.

The calendar makers didn't take my suggestions about reinstating the Australian and New Zealand holidays. In terms of holidays and other notable days, nothing has been changed from 2003 that I can see, except that September 11 has acquired the name "Patriot Day." I must not have been paying attention, so I ran that phrase through Google, and sure enough, that's what the President has been calling the day, in two successive proclamations last year and this. The calendar-makers must not have noticed in time to add it to the 2003 calendars, but by gar they got it in 2004.

Patriot Day? A day worth remembering, surely. In the way that Pearl Harbor Day is making a comeback, on calendars at least. But can't we call September 11 something else, something as solid as Pearl Harbor Day? Something that doesn't sound like it came from a joint holiday committee of the DAR and the Daughters of the Confederacy? Besides, if I remember right, Massachusetts has Patriot's Day already, April 19, for the anniversary of Lexington & Concord.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Child development blog.

"Daddy," Lilly said when I got home this evening, "let's play bank. I'll be the professor, and you be the helper."

Professor? "What’s a professor?" I asked her. I'd never heard her use the word. But it must have come up somewhere, and attached itself to the game of bank. Which we've played before -- it involves passing an advertisement for check printing around, and signing a piece of paper repeatedly. But I never got her to say what a professor might be.

As far as I know, my first experience with that word was probably from Gilligan's Island, which might help explain my lack of awe at the academic professions. That, or some of the classes I later sat though.

As for Ann, her new activity is clapping. Saw it this evening -- all of us -- for the first time. She can hit her hands together and make a noise. This is pure delight for her. She-s also liberal with her syllables these days, but the ones I really like to hear are "da-da-da-da."

Monday, October 27, 2003

Forgotten blog.

Let’s see... I would have sworn that I'd posted something yesterday, but I checked blogspot and it looks like I didn't. (Unless blogspot ate it.) I even had a whole "extra" hour to do so. I did some editing on the material fairly early Sunday morning, which may be the reason I thought I posted it Sunday night.

Insert: Joke About Aging. Maybe the Red Skelton line about the three signs of aging. The first: memory loss. The second: I forgot...

But, even in the human scheme of things, I haven't arrived at old age. Give me a few decades. I've been having memory lapses all my life anyway, nothing out of the ordinary. Once someone I knew in college, the son of a college professor, said to me: "Professors forget things too. You should see one who's only wearing a bathrobe, and he can't remember where he’s left his house keys."

Instead of posting, I strove to meet my goal for yesterday, which was to rest as much as possible. Sunday is, after all, a Day of Rest. The weather, distinctly cool (in the 40s), inclined all of us to stay inside. But I did a few things, such as help Lilly build a fort -- I mean the girl's version, a house -- out of the sofa cushions; wash dishes and vacuum; attend to baby duties from time to time (I enjoy feeding Ann noodles); and remove and inspect every one of my cassette tapes.

I'm annoyed that cassettes represent a fading medium. I have more than 100, maybe 150, mostly homemade, some (many) as old as 20 years, and they've help up pretty well.

This was the material I was going to post yesterday -- another page courtesy the not so way-back machine:

October 29, 1996.

Learned this morning the late Morey Amsterdam wrote "Rum and Coca-Cola" among other accomplishments of an old vaudevillian. That's sort of fact you hear on public radio.

Last night Yuriko and I went to see the President speak at Daley Plaza. I was fulfilling an ambition to see an in-office president with my own eyes. Saw Gerald Ford give a little talk in Nashville (I was invited as a "reporter"), but that was about 10 years after the man had achieved the ex-presidency. Saw Michael Dukakis parading on Michigan Ave. just before the '88 election, but you know what happened to him.

Various entertainers showed up to either entertain or merely to encourage us to vote Democratic. A number of has-beens were represented, including Valerie Harper, who had to be introduced as "the actress who played Rhoda," and a singer whose name I forget and whose band I also forget, though it was a supergroup, or at least a popular one, of the '70s. One of their hits opened with the awful line, "Heard it from a friend who, heard it from a friend who, heard it from another you’ve been messing around." Which he sang. Maybe not the best choice of songs for the Clinton campaign, but never mind.

Assorted pols also spoke, including hizzoner Mayor Daley, whom I'd also never heard live. Nobody really said anything of course, the President included. Strange how much of it was familiar, even though practically my only aural exposure to any of this year's election is public radio. The event as a whole lacked any touch of the dramatic, except perhaps a spot of heckling by a Dole supporter. Even the campaign signs, printed in workaday typeface and bereft of any sense of artistic style, were dull. Such is this year’s election. Can't be 1840 every time, I suppose.

They weren't giving away campaign buttons, but selling them, so I didn't get one. Somewhere in a closet, my mother has a collection of campaign buttons and bumper stickers, going all the way back to '64 I believe. I’m sure she didn't buy a one of them, either.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Items from previous Octobers, continued.

October 22, 1997 [about a month before Lilly was born].

It's snapped cold here lately, or at least very cool. Out in the suburbs it has already been below freezing at night, but not where we live. It's usually warmer in the city in the colder months, and cooler in the hotter months, because of the lake. It may go below freezing in the city tonight or tomorrow night, I hear.

Yuriko went to the doctor today and all is well. Starting next week the baby will be at term, and so far no signs that the baby won't stay put for a while. If (s)he is anything like his or her Dad, (s)he won’t do anything till absolutely necessary. Starting this week, Yuriko's visits to the doctor will be weekly, till it's time. She is of course very big, but we'd like her to get just a little bigger. We're slowly rearranging things in our apartment to accommodate the little one. Might have to pick up the pace this weekend.

Put this one in the People Will Believe Anything File: The LaRouchies are back outside the British consulate on Wednesdays, spewing forth. The consulate happens to be in the Wrigley Building, across the Chicago River from my building. As part of the harangue, one of them wears an evil-looking Queen Elizabeth mask, and goes on about the British Empire -- "the real Evil Empire!" And you thought the Empire was a thing of the past. No, indeed, it seems to have endured in secret, and is really running the world. Hm. Giving up Hong Kong was one hell of a ploy, I'd say... if I were Jiang Zemin I'd be quaking in my boots (or shivering in my Mao jacket). Tony Blair's gonna punch his lights out.

Or do they even wear Mao jackets any more (at state occasions, anyway)? I saw a few myself on the streets in China, but not many. And come to think of it, I read the other day that Castro doesn't smoke Havanas any more. He's blown his chance to be on the cover of Cigar Aficionado, I think. What's the world coming to?!?

Friday, October 24, 2003

Nick & Nora blog.

A bit of intergenerational information exchange at the office this week. The youngest person in my office is 24. At 42, I'm biologically old enough to be her father, but I feel only old enough to be an uncle. My oldest nephew, after all, is only four years younger than she is. In any case, I'm not to the point at which I know too much to learn anything. With any luck, I may never be that way, though as middle age advances, it seems to be a risk.

Somehow or other, the subject of Nick and Nora Charles came up. Someone else in the office brought it up. Odd things sometimes arise in the course of office work.

The information exchange was this: the youngest person in the office, Angie, had never heard of the Thin Man movies. But she knew that there's currently a line of pajamas and other sleepwear called "Nick and Nora." I'd never heard of that. I looked them up, to discover that they're expensive, making the case for sleeping in a t-shirt and shorts, but nice-looking nevertheless. Nowhere on the Web site that I saw was any acknowledgement of the fictional characters -- it can't be a coincidence, but yet another example of panning nuggets from the stream of past decades (see also: Phoebe Snow, just to cite another example that comes to mind).

We discussed at moderate length the characters, the first movie's superiority over the later ones, William Powell and Myrna Loy, Asta, even the Dashiell Hammett source novel, which I haven't read. Someday, Angie will probably see The Thin Man. It will, I hope, be as enjoyable as my first viewing, ca. 1982 at the student center cinema at Vanderbilt. It helps, I think, to have an appreciative audience with you for a movie like that.

Reporter: Say listen, is he [Nick] working on a case?
Nora Charles: Yes, he is.
Reporter: What case?
Nora Charles: A case of scotch. Pitch in and help him.

A light tale of witty, hard-drinking, wealthy detectives during the worst of the Depression. Something you aren't going to get from Hollywood any more.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

The cereal blog.

This just in (recently) -- from my correspondent in Minneapolis -- my italics added:

BLOOMINGTON, MN-General Mills has closed down Cereal Adventure at the Mall of America, leaving a 16,000-sf hole at the country's largest enclosed shopping mall.

"The Golden Valley, MN-based food company's three-year-old, 16,000-sf attraction included cereal-themed games and playground equipment, a cafe and a retail store that sold branded merchandise. General Mills had charged admission to Cereal Adventure, which includes a museum and a theme park, both related to its products such as Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs and Betty Crocker.

"The food company said the decision was based in part on spending its marketing dollars on other efforts. Initially, the food giant viewed Cereal Adventures as a way to promote its products to the 42 million-plus visitors each year to the Mall of America."

Now that's gall. (Something like selling branded merchandise.) "C'mon, folks, welcome to our 3D, real-time advertisement. You have to pay to see it." Which is exactly backwards. General Mills is vague about its reasons for closing Cereal Empire, but I wonder if it's because they couldn't find enough suckers to pay to get in.

I haven't been to the Mall of America. Yet. When I go to Minneapolis next month, I might well end up there for a look. It would be a professional obligation, if nothing else. On my previous visit to Minneapolis five years ago -- and until next month my only visit -- I forgot about the Mall of America. I had other things in mind: I saw the state capitol in St. Paul, the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices, even the cemetery in which Hubert Humphrey reposes (I didn't have time to find his stone; but I should, someday; it counts as a Vice Presidential resting place, and I haven't visited enough of them).

Just before I left town, one of my hosts said, "You didn't ask to see the Mall of America. I'm glad. Everybody wants to go there, and I'm tired of it." A mall's a mall. A big mall's just a big mall. But I think I'll go there anyway, if only to see the hole that once was Cereal Kingdom.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Duncan blog.

All in an editor's day. The following is an e-mail I sent to's correspondent in Detroit. I'm responsible for editing his stories and publishing them at the, which contains commercial real estate news 'round the clock.

I forwarded that third story to our SE bureau chief -- it's really a Florida story -- but you don't need to replace it.

Also, in the second story, published just now, I changed Duncan Doughnuts to Dunkin' Donuts. But it occurred to me that it might be something local: good ol' Duncan Doughnuts, the Detroit area's only Scottish doughnut shop. If I need to change it back, let me know.”

It's good to keep business correspondence as interesting as possible. I like the idea of a Scottish doughnut shop. Ask for the haggis-filled manager's special.

In Japanese bakeries of virtually every stripe, you can buy a thing called a curry doughnut. What a discovery that was. No part of it is sweet. Browned by frying on the outside, it's soft on the inside, and a spicy brown curry resides at its core An enormous amount of fat, I'm sure, and heartburn later on, but boy they're good going down.

My favorite spot for curry doughnuts used to be the Cascade Bakery, near the main promenade of Hanshin Station, Umeda, in the heart of Osaka. Even now, I can get one in Arlington Heights, Illinois, if I’m so inclined. I know at least two Japanese bakeries in that town that sell them. But it’s been a while.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Memorization blog.

Behold the power of Google. Sometime in the miasma of my morning commute, there in my train seat, a poem I'd memorized about 30 years ago, in junior high school, came floating into my mind. Or rather, its first stanza did, since I could remember no more.

I'm not a fanatic believer in enormous rafts of memorization -- leave that to the bards of preliterate places. (Not everyone agrees. I had a chemistry teacher in high school who said, "Now, you don't have to memorize this material. You just have to know it.") Still, a moderate amount of memorization is probably good mental exercise. I don't remember the exact circumstances of how I came to commit this poem to memory, but I'm fairly sure that I wasn't assigned it, but rather was assigned to memorize something, and found it in a some book or other at the Alamo Heights Junior School library.

Only a few years ago, an old memorized piece of verse would have come and gone. But now, with the great search engine, I can spent (waste) a few minutes looking up all of the poem, just using a few words from one of the lines: "shoulder, truculently, bore." In went those words, and out Google spat at least three sites with the poem in toto:

The Angry Man
by Phyllis McGinley

The other day I chanced to meet
An angry man upon the street --
A man of wrath, a man of war,
A man who truculently bore
Over his shoulder, like a lance,
A banner labeled "Tolerance."

And when I asked him why he strode
Thus scowling down the human road,
Scowling, he answered, "I am he
Who champions total liberty --
Intolerance being, ma'am, a state
No tolerant man can tolerate."

"When I meet rogues," he cried, "who choose
To cherish oppositional views,
Lady, like this, and in this manner,
I lay about me with my banner
Till they cry mercy, ma'am." His blows
Rained proudly on prospective foes.

Fearful, I turned and left him there
Still muttering, as he thrashed the air,
"Let the Intolerant beware!"

I haven't had time to do more than a cursory look into Phyllis McGinley (1904-1978), but apparently she was an American poet from a time when poetry was actually published in popular magazines, and a few poets actually achieved a modicum of popularity (but nothing, I'm sure, like a radio or movie star). She even made it into anthologies for junior high schoolers.

Monday, October 20, 2003


Built a fire in my simple barbecue over the weekend, out in the back yard some distance from my all-wooden deck. It was on Sunday, a strangely warm and clear day for October. My simple barbecue is one of those ovoid jobs, basic black with a tripod of legs -- a mass-produced ash receptacle, bigger than a hibachi, smaller than MeatMan 3600 Ubergrill, available at Home Depot for several thousand dollars. Not for me a propane or gas grill large enough to grill enough weenies for the 101st Airborne.

First, the layer of briquettes, the generic grocery-store variety. Best to handle these with your hands, so that your fingers blacken up a bit. Dowse 'em with lighter fluid (the briquettes, not your fingers). Top with newspaper. Then, add a layer of kindling sticks, thoughtfully provided by my trees. Well, I'm not sure if trees can ever be thoughtful, but anyway I piled the wood on the newspaper and --- in real retro fashion -- lit the paper with wooden matches, instead of a click-click-click long-nosed lighter. Ours is out of fuel.

All the while, Daughter #1 watches with some fascination. This is good. She's old enough to understand the element of danger, but also to be interested in it at the same time. I doubt that I'm encouraging pyromania, something very rare in girls anyway. She needs to know how to build a fire. (Not that I would let her, yet. It's a someday activity, like driving a car.)

First, the paper fire. Poof! Fun to see pics of worthless celebrities convert to ash. With luck, the fire spreads to the sticks. Mine did, and with the one stick I'd reserved for poking the other sticks around, I poked the other sticks around, and they caught fire too. Worried that it still wouldn’t be enough to ignite the briquettes, I added a couple of small logs.

Pretty soon everything was a-glow. A steady stream of smoke helped us keep track of minor changes in wind direction, which usually involved the smoke being re-directed toward me. I put on the top grill, and Yuriko and I plopped some thinly sliced beef on it. She had soaked the beef in a tasty sauce, as the first stage of Korean barbecue preparation. Both of us used metal utensils to turn the meat, and eventually we served it on plates, to be eaten by wrapping it in lettuce and dipping it in another sauce, the sort Yuriko finds in suburban Asian markets.

I don't think I've built a backyard fire since sometime during the Reagan administration, when I had a back yard in a Nashville duplex. As an apartment-dweller during the years after that, outdoor fires would have been unwise legally and also from a safety perspective. But even when I had a back yard at our old house in the western suburbs of Chicago, I wasn't inspired. The presence of the deck at the new house, however, has made me itch to build a fine fire.

I built or helped build a good number of fires in my formative years, on the "porch" of the old manse in San Antonio -- a concrete slab out back. We had a simple ovoid barbecue back then, too, and trees that provided an inordinate amount of sticks. Usually no meat grilling was involved it, but there was a lot of newspaper immolation and raking the burning sticks. I wasn't feeding a boy's pyromania, as it turned out, but mild pyrophilia.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Blog nonce.

Houseguest time here. A good time to visit the greater Chicago area, too. Fall is in full colorful swing -- not too cold, not too hot, and no more risk of injury during a Cubs' victory celebration (and believe me, the place to be during the Bulls' victories, once upon a time, was behind strong walls).

No more blogging till Monday at least.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Fate's blog.

News of the Staten Island ferry accident unnerved me a little more than most far-off accident reports. I wasn't anywhere near, but an old friend of mine was -- he had considered visiting Staten Island yesterday on business, according to a LiveJournal posting he made this morning, but had decided to stay on Manhattan. Whether a different decision on this point would have taken him to the time and place of the accident, I couldn't say -- he probably couldn't say -- but it's a distinct possibility.

Also, I could imagine the accident in some detail. It's a good ride, the Staten Island ferry. I was on it only about 16 months ago -- riding across and back, around sunset in the summer. I stood outside most of the time, talking with an old man who was returning with his great-grandson, a child about a year old, to Staten Island. He talked at some length about the naval yards that used to be on the New Jersey side, where he had once worked.

The ship is large, so it's hard to imagine it coming to a sudden stop. But as it approaches the dock on Staten Island, most of the passengers crowd next to the exit, which naturally is in the direction of the dock. That must have made the accident worse.

How to interpret fate? No one has come up with a satisfactory reason why some people die in a horrible accident, and others live, and still others make small, everyday decisions that steer them away from the same event. It's easy enough to say, "It's fate," or "God's will" but all that really means is, "I don't know why."

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

HBR Blog.

I'm on the Harvard Business Review's mailing list:

Dear Dees,

Your career isn't just about money, is it?
(Hell no, it's about my need for money.)
I didn't think so.
(Astonishing insight you have.)
Something so central to your core, to what makes you tick, that you can't imagine living without it.
(Mmmm. Doughnuts.)
It's about leadership. Having your say. Making things happen. Putting your stamp on the future.
(It's about the Will to Power.)
For 80 years, one publication has stood out from the crowd as the indispensable resource for business achievers like you…

And so on. Who's impressed by this nonsense? Who's flattered by this Barnum & Bailey verbage? Some advertising is built on the likes of this falderal, but it seems that direct marketing is more prone to it.

Clear and cool today, and around noon I took a short walk to 191 N. Wacker for a lunchtime appointment. That's a fairly new building, completed less than a year ago, standing near where Wacker Drive bends to follow the the South Fork of the Chicago River as it separates from the North Fork. I noticed a plaque in front of the building that I hadn't noticed before -- a City of Chicago plaque dated 2002. It marked the site of an early inn, but more importantly, the Wigwam. I was surprised. The Wigwam was here? I had vaguely thought it was elsewhere, maybe in what's now known as the South Loop, though during the Wigwam's short existence (1860-67), there was no Loop. Or Wacker Drive, either.

The City of Chicago Web site has the following: "The site of the Sauganash Hotel/Wigwam is important in the history of Chicago's early development. Mark Beaubien built the Sauganash Hotel in 1831 at Wolf Point, on the east bank of the south branch of the Chicago River at the "Forks" of the River where the north and south branches meet. It was at the Sauganash Hotel in 1833 that the newly formed Town of Chicago voted to elect its first town trustees and where many of the town meetings occurred. During a brief period in 1837 when the building was not in operation as a hotel, it served as Chicago's first theater. The Sauganash Hotel remained in almost continuous operation until it burned down in 1851.

"The Wigwam, constructed on the same site nine years later, was home to the 1860 Republican National Convention. It was at this historic convention that Abraham Lincoln was nominated as the Republican candidate for president."

Some years ago, the Chicago Historical Society mounted an exhibit on the various national conventions here in Chicago over the years, and not just the major parties -- the likes of the Prohibition Party and the Socialist Party of the Eugene V. Debs era were mentioned too. A large display was devoted to the Wigwam, naturally, including drawings of the building. My first thought: firetrap. Such were Victorian building standards.

That exhibit also featured an audiotape of William Jennings Bryant re-reading for posterity (like me), in the early 1920s, his "Cross of Gold Speech" from the Democratic National Convention of 1896. But it was disappointing -- he sounded old, and tired, which no doubt he was. None of the vim the original spech must have had.

One other thing: just a small example of the Hermes-like speed at which news travels. While I was checking in at the front desk of 171 N. Wacker, the security personnel were chatting about the publication of the name and other details about the hapless schlimazel who's being blamed for the Cubs' loss last night. The consensus was, "I wouldn't want to be him."

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

J. Edgar Blog.

Heavy rain this morning, enough to knock a lot of leaves off a lot of trees. Raking the front yard on Sunday was not, in hindsight, a good use of time. By this evening, it was cool and clear. In one neighborhood along my path home, street lights are rare, and so at one point I could see to the north both Cassiopeia and the Big Dipper, and even the Guardian Stars that pivot around the North Star endlessly. Up high is still the Summer Triangle. To the south, Mars is still very bright.

Today I wrote a letter to the American Map Corp. of Addison, Illinois:

"To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing to point out an error in you most recent edition of your Chicagoland Road Atlas.

"In Section 2, page 16, an elementary school on Springinsguth Road in Schaumburg is misidentified. I pass by this school very often, and it is clearly Herbert Hoover Elementary School, not J. Edgar Hoover Elementary School."

Interestingly, I saw that same mistake on another map by a different company not long ago. Is it a perverse urge to remember the perverse Director Hoover, as opposed to the less sinister, even pathetic, President Hoover? Or is it map companies copying each other?

In the comic strip The Boondocks, the story takes place in an unnamed Chicago suburb, which I suppose would be the jejune boondocks that the title refers to, far from the authenticity of the Chicago slums. Though it hasn't come up recently, I'm fairly certain that the main characters attend J. Edgar Hoover Elementary School. If any one man was The Man, I suppose it would be him.

Mostly, the school is trotted out when cartoonist Aaron McGruder wants some Caucasians to mock. But actually, he spends most of his time mocking black celebrities, which means little to me. Not because they're black, but because they're celebrities. Willful ignorance is generally an evil thing, but it the case of the vast ocean of worthless information about celebrities, willful ignorance is exactly the right approach.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Columbus blog.

Today might be the last warm day in several months. I should have been off, but I wasn't. Today is the ersatz Monday version of that most quasi of quasi-holidays, Columbus Day, and did I find myself reflecting on the immortal deeds of Admiral Columbus while lying in bed at 8 a.m. this morning, anticipating a bonus extra Sunday-like day ahead? No, I got up and got on a train this morning, and got myself to the office. The morning commute doesn't lend itself to reflections on important historic events, usually.

Some holiday. You have to work for the government in some way to qualify for it.

Or be in a public school. Lilly didn't have go to school today. "Do I have to go to school tomorrow?" she asked on Sunday. No. "Why?" Because it's Columbus Day. "What's Columbus?" He discovered America. Heh-heh-heh. Someday I expect her to return to me with the canned idea that he didn't "discover" anything, and I don't think she'll pick it up from partisans of Leif Ericsson. At which time we will discourse on the matter.

This argument is more than just semantics, of course, but the word "discover" is large enough to describe what Columbus did. Even the most fanatical badmouthers of the Admiral probably wouldn't take issue with a statement like this: "Guess what, I discovered a great new restaurant downtown last week." The fact that people had eaten there before you doesn't invalidate that sense of the word, or even that people work there and that someone created the place out of raw retail space. But to keep the nattering about the discovery of America at a minimum, perhaps John C. Fremont's appellation -- the Pathfinder -- might be better for Columbus than Discoverer.

Anyway, Columbus' reputation will have its vicissitudes. He's still remembered after 500 years, and probably will still be after another 500. There are reasons for that. I think of him as one of the great explorers, and I reflexively admire great explorers, who left the safety of their homes, purposefully went somewhere else, and discovered that the world is very large indeed.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Oct. 4, 1993.

Daisetsusan National Park. Rented bicycles early and rode around most of the day. Went to O-dake and Ko-dake, two narrow gorges at some distance from the resort complex. Ko-dake was the best -- a bike path runs through it, while the road, a little crowded with cars, is diverted through a tunnel. The gorge walls are reams of gray rock, bristling with all-color foliage like a wild beard. Saw an assortment of waterfalls en route, including a multi-stream cascade.

Ate roasted corn on the cob and ice cream, two regional specialties, at the wayside shacks of O-dake. Returned the way we came, stopping to climb a moderately long trail to an observation point. The fall colors from this vantage, and in fact all throughout this part of Hokkaido, equal in variety and mass anything I've seen in autumn excursions in East Tennessee or New England.

Oct. 5. Spent the day in transit -- Sounkyo to Kamikawa to Sapporo. Had about three hours in Sapporo, which was enough to walk to the TV tower and take a look-see from its observation deck. Sapporo is a sizable city, spreading out like all Japanese cities, but with the difference that it actually has the space to do so without immediately butting up against a mountain range.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Oct. 2, 1993.

Day at Lake Akan. Up early, Japanese breakfast, then took a boat out on the lake. Not much development along the shore -- not any -- except for the resort town. The trees were mostly still green, with a few other colors mixed in. Stopped at an island in the lake (it's a concept I like — an island in a lake on an island). Saw the marimo exhibits. They are alga balls, very green, the size of big marbles, and native to Akan and a few other places. They are sold in all the junk shops in town, submerged in little glass containers, for your mantle when you get back home. I have had one a while, before I ever came here -- Ed and Lynn gave it to me before returning to the United States; a student had given it to them.

Returned to town and rented bicycles for a ride down to the two little lakes. A fine ride, a cool and partly cloudy day, a gentle wind, and a bike path separate from the road -- so no problems with cars. We parked the bikes and hiked 15 minutes or so to the first lake -- wish I had better shoes, since the path was steep and muddy at times, but we made it. Didn't find the trail to the second lake, though we could see the lake far away, downhill and through a thick expanse of trees.

Returned to town and took a little walk to the hot mud sulfur pool -- bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble, a one-note natural phenomenon -- at the edge of Lake Akan. Interesting, if smelly. Walked along the shore and caught sight of a rainbow arching over the opposite side of the lake. It had turned colder by this time, and a wind was up. Clouds but no rain. The thousand weeds along the shore danced to a whistling wind, which also dissipated the heat of the sun behind us.

We still weren't quite finished. It was still light, after all. We retraced our steps through town to the "Ainu village," which was a cluster of more tourist shops at shoulder season (summer is peak in Hokkaido, of course). One place advertised Ainu food, so we went in. We had a rice cake with fish eggs, and a kind of fried potato and rice mixture that the proprietor claimed was common in Peru. (Peru?) It was blackish in color and mild tasting.

Friday, October 10, 2003

REMA blog.

The first issue of Real Estate Mid-America arrived in boxes at my office this morning. It's been a four-month process, switching over from Real Estate Chicago, something akin to getting a new job. The first cousin of getting a new job, I suppose. I'm editing a different magazine. But with the same staff, in the same comfortable office. Anyway, it was a lot of work. Then you do it again. Such is the nature of the magazine racket.

In the last 12 months -- no, since Jan. 1, 2003 -- I've had a new baby, moved to a new house, and gotten half of a new job. There was also that matter of breaking an ankle. These things are known as life stresses by some, and by that reckoning, I ought to drop dead from them, possibly right after Christmas, a notoriously stressful time. (But not really for me.) Roughly the same thing happened in 1997-98: new baby, new house, new job. I remember yearning for routine, for normalcy, then. And I got it, more or less, though I had to get another new job in 1999 and then one in 2000 to achieve it in the longer run. My health didn't seem to suffer, but then again I was a youthful 36, not a doddering 42.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

MRI blog.

Had a meeting this morning with Lilly's kindergarten teacher. "Academically, she's where she should be." That is, she's reasonably bright. Knows a lot of letters, etc. In terms of cooperating with the teacher and the teacher’s assistants, to paraphrase Orwell, she’s good, but not too good, and not quite all the time. I wouldn't have expected anything else.

Orwell didn't come up during the conversation, however.

Do I want her to aspire for Noble Prizes? High office? Vast wealth? Those are all fine things, and she may pursue them. But to push those lofty aspirations on your kids is, I think, the mark of parents insecure about their own lives.

Today's new experience: MRI. Fortunately, I didn't have to have one done myself. Unfortunately, Gail, who works in my office, did have one recently. She has back problems. I've seen X-rays, naturally, a number of them of my own parts, but never an actual MRI. One of those things you hear about, but have no occasion to see, if you're lucky. Gail brought hers in, and we all had a look.

Somehow I'd imagined that it would be in color, but it was more like a very detailed -- a very detailed X-ray, with more depth. The vertebrae of Gail's spine were quite clear, even to someone like me. A doctor shows me an X-ray, and points to a place and says, "See that? That’s so-and-so, which means such-and-such." I nod, but all I see are shadows. Blobs. Blotches. The ultrasounds during Yuriko's pregnancies were even worse. That's the head? A leg? Fingers and toes? Looks like a snowy TV to me. An electronic see-the-pattern in the fuzz, and I never see it.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Shine on, harvest blog.

Another bonus extra day of summer today. Warm enough to make the twilight walk very nice indeed -- with the added attraction of a coppery moon rising, nearly the full Harvest Moon. The term "Harvest Moon" is only a quaint relic, of course. We ought to consider a new nickname for the October full moon. The High School Football Moon, maybe.

Even since yesterday, the coloration of the suburban trees has turned up a notch, and so for a week or two the pace of change promises to be fast. Halloween decor is also sprouting in some of the yards, some of it ridiculous almost beyond belief. In particular, a giant inflatable jack o' lantern with three cartoon ghosts emerging from its top, all lit up electrically. The ghosts are in the style of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon factory at its worst, and whole array is taller than I am.

I ask myself, what did the Chinese factory workers who made that item, and thousands of others like it, think of them? Did they wonder who on Earth was buying them? Did they shrug, and figure nothing is too silly for round-eyes?

Back when I lived in the western suburbs, there was a fellow in my neighborhood who made his own decorations, and who did his ghoulish best. One year part of his yard display for Halloween was a mock electric chair with a manikin in it -- and the manikin's head had been replaced by a plastic skull. A couple of other ghouls were close by. A lot of effort went into them; and that from someone who never, ever cleared the snow off the sidewalks next to his property in the following winters. But at least he didn't go off to Wal-Mart and buy a man-sized inflatable cartoon Frankenstein monster whose main colors are purple and green.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Indian summer blog.

Warm enough today to walk home in the evening twilight without a coat or jacket of any kind. Tomorrow is supposed to be similar: maybe as warm as 80 F. This might count as Indian summer, or perhaps Native American Warming Interlude. If you use enough oblique terms, you know, historic injustices may not be righted, but at least you'll be able to feel virtuous.

Then again, I remember one definition of Indian summer as warm conditions after the first frost. It’s been fairly cold, but I don't think we've had that first frost yet. Flowers are still out, some of them, and most of the trees I see are still a shaggy green, though yellow and brown and a little red creep into the mix more and more every day. Popularly, though, this counts as Indian summer, so we can safely ignore Farmer’s Almanac definitions. Anyway, it's pleasant, and except for the burgeoning rat problem (see: garbage strike), Chicago is in fine fettle.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Garbage blog.

Not much time for blogging this evening. Lilly had a mind to monopolize the computer after we got back from the rare Monday outing to the Community Recreation Center, which features an indoor water park.

October has already turned memorable here in Chicago. There's baseball, of course, but only half of the city, if that, cheers for the Cubs. Supposedly they are the North Side team and the White Sox are the South Side team, but nothing is ever so simple. In as much as I care, I hope the Cubs win the World Series, just for the sake of being different.

Then there's the matter of the garbage strike. Such a strange thing. "Garbage strike" makes me think of Mayor Lindsay’s New York, or less obscurely, Archie Bunker's New York. Something that happens in another time, another place. And yet we're beginning the second week of it here and now. The streets of downtown aren't overrun with packs of rats feasting large on uncontrollable human debris, but it may only be a matter of time. For what it's worth, the striking Teamsters say they won’t object if the City collects union-purview garbage around Wrigley Field for the duration of the playoffs.

Out in my suburb, management is picking up tomorrow, garbage day. But only regular garbage, no recyclables. As for my office, our landlord is discouraging us from filling our trash cans. But our landlord owns over 600 office buildings, and I know for a fact that it has the wherewithal to haul away our garbage. So I filled my trash can completely today to see what would happen.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

It's only a blog, but I like it.

One more blog about Cleveland's own Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, this time not involving my own nostalgia. Just a series of notes, really, without slipping into half-baked speculation about pop culture. The world has enough of that, but not enough accurate description of what people see, first hand.

The museum goes out of its way to justify its placement in Cleveland, most especially by devoting space to Alan Freed, who did indeed hit his stride as a rock 'n' roll promoter while in Cleveland. But I'm not fooled. Cleveland has the museum because the city fathers were willing to pay for it. The impression I get of Mr. Freed was that he had had no special love for rock, but just played what he thought kids wanted to hear. And when he achieved some success, he moved his operations to New York.

For something that started out as youth culture, the museum certainly attracts a lot of old people. Not just the demographic you'd expect, say 40 to 60, but a goodly number of out-and-out elderly, 70 if they were a day. Though the museum wasn't particularly crowded the day I visited, more than once I rounded a corner and encountered someone with a walker or a wheelchair. But then again, the genre got started about 50 years ago, and as the recent death of Sam Phillips demonstrates, the leading edge of rock and roll -- those who didn't die young, like Elvis -- are slipping away.

The video I watched the longest was in fact one featuring Sam Phillips, recorded in the mid-90s. It looked like he was enjoying the interview, with a Southerner's penchant for storytelling. Most of the museum's video clips were of course music, and I spent time watching a number of performers. Jimi Hendrix rates his own small auditorium in which a tape of his performance loops. A really big video wall, made of dozens of monitors, devotes itself to a rapid succession of iconic images: Elvis with Ed Sullivan, the Beatles mugging for the camera, that sort of thing.

Even more rapid were the music videos of a display called "Video Killed the Radio Star," named after the first video MTV ever played. There, a continuous loop spend about two or three seconds with each of two dozen or so early MTV videos. It would have been just noise and light to anyone unfamiliar with the videos; and maybe it was anyway. It was something of an insult. My attention span could have taken 10 seconds of each, at least.

Mostly, though, like any good museum, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is about artifacts. It's amazing in that regard: photos, drawings, posters, letters (such as from Charles Manson to Rolling Stone), advertisements, album covers, original Sun Records records, contracts, playlists, instruments, costumes (my own favorite: Devo, ca. 1980), radios, mixing boards, books, rock-based toys and games, and even report cards (Jon Bon Jovi was a lousy student). I half expected to see David Bowie's garden hose and Lou Reed's shaving kit. As a reliquary, this museum's tops.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

The name of this blog is Talking Heads.

A look at the "Exhibit Guide" for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, available with the purchase of a ticket (AAA and probably AARP discounts available), tells me that the computer consoles on the fourth floor are actually called "Hall of Fame Jukeboxes." Jukebox isn’t a term I would associate with touch-screen consoles, but they do play music on command, so I guess they're cousins of Rockola-style record-flipping boxes. (Which I didn’t see any of in this museum; but there was a great collection of '50s and '60s radios in one display.)

I didn't spend a lot of time at the "jukeboxes," but, as I mentioned yesterday, I played with them enough to evoke some salad days and nights. Frank Zappa was one; another was Talking Heads. That was another band you didn't hear much on the radio in the early '80s, and for non-record-buying tightwads such as me, the only exposure came through knowing an aficionado -- in my case, Bill K. of Philadelphia. By my senior year, I knew Bill well enough to be invited to his "Psycho Killer" party.

That's just what Bill and his roommates called it, named after the Talking Heads song. I wish I could say something dramatic happened at that party, but I don't remember that anything did. It was at another party in another year that a girl I knew dashed across a glasstop table and broke it with her foot, but without hurting herself; and yet another when some fool decided to shoot bottle rockets off my porch at passing cars; and still another when a pack of people (including me) thought it fun to jam into a tiny bathroom, with the ultimate result that the medicine cabinet came loose from the wall, dumping its many contents onto us and the floor.

Still, Bill's party wasn’t sedate. Dancing at that place and time, as I remember vaguely, involved jumping up and down pogo-stick style. Get a few dozen chemically enhanced college students in a dimly lit room all doing that and you've got something worth mentioning 20 years after the fact. Talking Heads supplied some of the music, of course, but what really got the room moving -- absolutely everyone it seemed -- was "Rock the Casbah" by the Clash.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Hall of Fame blog, part 2.

One floor of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has listening stations with earphones plugged into a screen-activated computer that contains songs released by all of the members of the Hall of Fame. The effect, if you happen to be middle-aged, can be to remind you of some swampy spot of your youth.

The members were listed alphabetically, and I started browsing from the back. The last member, and the only Z, was Frank Zappa. I was pleased to see him listed. I never bought any of his records, and certainly you didn't hear him all that much on the radio 20-odd years ago. But listening to him took me back to my first year at Vanderbilt. Bob 'n' Pete, or Pete 'n' Bob, two roommates not far down the hall from me, had a taste for Zappa that they would sometimes share with the rest of us, loudly. One song in particular they were fond of. I dialed it up at the console and listened:

Catholic Girls
With a tiny little moustache
Catholic Girls
Do you know how they go?
Catholic Girls
In the Rectory Basement
Father Riley's a fairy
But it don't bother Mary
Catholic Girls
At the CYO
Catholic Girls
Do you know how they go?
Catholic Girls
There can be no replacement
How do they go, after the show?

All the way
That's the way they go
Every day
And none of their mamas ever seem to know
For all the class they show
There's nothing like a Catholic Girl
At the CYO
Where they learn to blow ...
They're learning to blow
All the Catholic Boys!

Now that's Zappa. By turns puerile, funny, bawdy, silly, strange. Also, with my somewhat more experienced ear, I now realize how remarkable his music sounds -- leaving the lyrics aside.

More importantly, it made me think of those two demented bastards down the hall. They helped make freshman year that much more interesting.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Hall of Fame blog, part 1.

It's well below average early October temperatures in northern Illinois this week, nearly freezing even in the morning. On Wednesday morning, the day after I returned from Ohio, it was cold enough to make me break out my trench coat. In one of its pockets, I discovered some folded newspaper I'd put there the last time I'd worn the coat. It was dated May 22. Warm weather doesn't last long up here.

It was about a 15-minute walk from my hotel to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, through nearly empty Sunday streets. The Hall of Fame is on the waterfront, which unfortunately is separated from the rest of downtown Cleveland by a highway and a rail line. This is now regarded as a planning mistake, the sort of urban planning done 40 years ago by traffic engineers for whom pedestrians were obstacles to the free flow of cars. According to members of the Grow Cleveland Association, whom I met the next day, parts of the highway and rail line will eventually be buried or diverted, to make a more seamless connection between downtown and Lake Erie.

For now, you have to cross an entrance/exit ramp at a light, and then a pedestrian bridge to reach the entryway plaza of the Hall of Fame. When taking this walk, I looked beyond the Hall of Fame -- which I'd seen before from this vantage -- to the stadium just beyond it. "That," I thought, "wasn’t there before." I was sure of it. It was an odd feeling. Completely irrational, since five and a half years is plenty of time to build a stadium. It was full of people: the Cleveland Browns, the home team, was playing Cincinnati. It was sea of orange: the stadium seats are painted orange, and a lot of people were wearing orange, one of the colors of the Browns. (Brown is the other, I think.)

Every now and then the roar of the crowd would lift itself from the stadium like water rising from a fountain. It reminded me of those fall Saturday nights in Nashville when I lived near enough to Vanderbilt stadium to hear the crowds responding to events on the field. There's no other sound quite like it.

I took another long look at the Hall of Fame while waiting to cross one of the streets. A couple was behind me, perhaps in their 50s, and all at once the woman said, "It looks like the Louvre. You know, the pyramid in front of the Louvre, in Paris." Her husband (I presume) grunted. Maybe he had played golf that day, instead of going to the Louvre.

Of course it does. (I didn't say that.) Same architect, I.M. Pei. And remarkable works they both are. The Hall of Fame is a glass pyramid in front, but in back the building turns rectangular and meanders off in several directions. Very interesting, without being Frank Gehry-like bizarre for the sake of bizarreness.

At the plaza in front of the Hall of Fame, hidden loudspeakers play rock and roll. That seemed fitting. To greet me, and everyone else who came at about 3 p.m. on Sunday, the museum was playing "Centerfold" (J. Geils Band). For those of you who have forgotten -- it's over 20 years old now -- part of it goes like this:

"She was pure like snowflakes
No one could ever stain
The memory of my angel
Could never cause me pain
Years go by I'm lookin' through a girly magazine
And there's my homeroom angel on the pages in-between

My blood runs cold
My memory has just been sold
My angel is the centerfold
Angel is the centerfold."

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Cleveland blog.

The ride from the airport to downtown Cleveland by train is efficient and quick, as probably intended by the planners at the Regional Transportation Authority. It's also an introduction to a raw urban landscape: rundown factories, crumbling concrete, rusty bridges, weeds and graffiti. The planners probably didn't intend newcomers to get a bad impression of the city, but they do.

But if I were part of the RTA, I wouldn't worry about that much. As far as I could tell, I was the only rider in my two-car train who had gotten off of an airplane and decided to take the train downtown. Admittedly, it was Sunday afternoon, and a shoulder season for travelers, but still I would have expected a handful of business travelers or German backpackers in town to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But all the other riders seemed to be in their own neighborhoods.

I got off at the main downtown terminal, which debouches directly into a glittering, multistory mall, and if I were in the mood for setting up a sort of easy, newspaperish contrast between "the two Clevelands," I could. But it's too obvious. Cleveland is a dilapidated Northern city, never the same since white flight a generation ago, or industrial decline in more recent times. Cleveland also retains an enormous amount of wealth, not all of it in the suburbs, nor all of it in the hands of the Caucasian population.

Sociological observations aside, I was just a stranger in town, to see what I could see. Or rather, doing what I could to make a business trip tolerable. In this case, it meant flying into town a few hours earlier than strictly necessary. I'd been in town only once before, in the winter of 1998, and my visit then had been so brief that I'd hardly seen anything. Besides, it was cold. Last Sunday, while not especially warm on the southern shore of Lake Erie, was fine for walking around.

Though it isn't generally acknowledged, Cleveland has a fairly large reservoir of attractions for the curious visitor. But as I weighed my options, I decided to forego places like the museum of art, though it's reputed to be excellent. I had time for only one sizable place, and there's only one Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in the world. So, just like any German tourist following the advice of a guidebook, that's where I wanted to go.