Phase Three: Unexpected

We had not assumed that Harrisburg would be a site of excitement and intrigue, but we were partly wrong. It turns out that three or four young women who behave as though they’re rehearsing for a future appearance on “Girls Gone Wild” occupied the room next to ours last night, making it clear that such old-fashioned concepts as “quiet” and “sleep” no longer apply in the thrilling epoch of twenty-first century Harrisburg. At least, at the Red Roof.

Thanks to these vivacious culture mavens, Margaret and I have plumbed the banal shallows of the Nickelback oeuvre, since the girls phoned one of their mothers, shouting instructions to Google the lyrics of a song they were referring to as “Pants Around Your Feet.” This was made more complicated by (a) the girls’ inebriation, (b) the mom’s apparent incapacity to spell “Google,” (c) the fact that the title of the song in question is “Figured You Out,” and (d) the girls’ proclivity for drowning one another out. Several gentle cues went unheeded, but sometime after midnight these ladies could no longer remain conscious. Margaret and I have been resisting the temptation to incite Beatrice into a yipping fit outside their door this morning, though I can think of no more perfect complement to a hangover.

We have a relatively short drive into Princeton this morning, but we may be changing our plans to stay over with friends tonight; we may need to get into the townhouse early, or to find some other place to lodge. Ah, the sweet mysteries of unexpected developments!

Phase Two: Complete

Safely ensconced in Harrisburg. Only drawback (consistent with experience in Ann Arbor) involves the complications of having a dog with us — we can’t just leave her at the motel lest she whine and fuss, but we can’t take her in to restaurants either. Apart from that, travel has been fine. Margaret and I talked over course syllabi she might put together, episodes of “Lost,” and sundry other topics.

Happy Birthday, Doc!

The other day I suggested that Homeland Security might better be administered by people who actually know what they’re doing; today, celebrating Doc Searls’s birthday, I suggest we might prosper if someone who knows what he’s doing, someone with a level head and a charitable heart even when people are giving him a hard time, someone who has forgotten more about radio than most anyone at the FCC has ever learned, someone who has an articulate and well-reasoned approach to the relation of media to public service — if someone, in short, like Doc Searls was in charge at the FCC.

I wouldn’t wish to stick him with that responsibility — but then, being Doc, he might just take it up anyway out of his love for the media, his respect for people’s imaginative uses of public spectrum, and his pride in a country that has should have the wisdom to trust its citizens to exercise their ingenuity on behalf of the general welfare.

Happy Brithday, Doc. Thanks for the gifts you’ve given your friends.

Phase One Point Five

We’re taking a restful Sunday, visiting with Nate and exploring Ann Arbor. We had a late breakfast at the Cloverleaf Restaurant, then wandered around the University of Michigan campus. We watched the re-re-edited Return of the Jedi, complaining about all the revisionist changes George Lucas made — culminating in the soundtrack change at the end (A very young Pippa used to delight us by singing along, “Halle-lu-ke-lah! Boop-boop!”) and the substitution of Hayden Christenson for David Prowse in the Jedi Ghost Alumni Association sequence.

Tonight we bid Nate goodbye, and tomorrow morning we roll out for Harrisburg. All is well.

No BBC 4 Me

The BBC has stuck with its weirdly wrong-headed decision to take the media projects that the UK’s public has paid for, and lock them behind Microsoft’s Wall of Inaccessibility (in patent defiance of the BBC’s own mission). One could devise so very many ways to offer the citizens of the UK free use of their audio and video archives, and even some ways to access to people who seem to be in the correct territory — but ceding control to Microsoft has to be the least defensible. At least Euan and Tom don’t have to take the heat for this disaster, which will cost Britain money, productivity, and the joy (and prestige) that open access would have afforded millions.


We have more closing-out to do this morning than I had hoped, but today’s the day we head out to Ann Arbor. Heaven consenting, I’ll check in from our motel later in the day.


Today we’ll tackle my office, extracting books that I’ll need and clearing a space for my successor Raj to occupy. We’ll make sure everything fits into the car, get some rest, square away our directions from Nate, have a festive good-bye dinner with Si and Laura, and get a good night’s sleep.

At least, that was our plan before Mr Josiah’s persistent cold took a turn for the bronchial worse. Now we’ll try to shoehorn our packing-like activity into the first part of the day, take Si to the physician in the early afternoon, and think through some contingency plans in case we’d be ill-advised (no pun intended) to leave him behind in precarious health.