Monday, January 15, 2007


I was in Atlanta Georgia yesterday. I had a 6:20 a.m. flight out on Saturday Morning. I left my house at 2:30 a.m. to go to my office to make copies of some handouts for the genetics seminar I was giving. It took longer than I anticipated and I didn't hit the road to Pittsburgh until 4 a.m. I got to the airport at 5 and had plenty of time to make through security and get on my flight luckily. Last time I was at PIT 1.5 hours was not enough. I flew back on Sunday morning on a slightly more humane 8:10 a.m. flight leaving the hotel on their 6:30 shuttle.

I will not do the whole rant here, but I find the new security measures to be intrusive, obstructive, and cause travel to be MUCH less pleasant than earlier, and I don't feel any safer. I just feel that I am living in a totalitarian state, not America anymore.

In spite of airport security invasions, I LIKE airports. I like the long corridors, the shops, and often good coffee, sometimes good food. Detroit is notable for the stores in its big concourse, a museum store, several art/designer boutiques, unique shops. Mineapolis is like a mall, with many standard mall chain stores with regular mall prices. Chicago’s has Chicago pizza, including frozen ones in insulated bags you can fly home with an cook in your own oven. Phoenix has decent southwestern food and good margeritas.

I like the atmosphere of airports, the sense of both hurry and waiting. I like the thoughts of travel to distant places. I like being alone in a crowd. One can people watch, or settle with a good cup of coffee and a good book, or do work with a laptop.

I like the design of many airports and the expanses of windows looking out at sky and planes. I like the long concourses and vaulted spaces.. I really like that many airports have doubled as galleries often for modern art, sometimes for science and technology.

In Atlanta I discovered it wasn't necessary to take the tram to get out. You can, in fact, walk through long underground corridors. I could stand to walk, having gained an alarming amount of weight over the 3 week break. It was a fairly long ways, and most of the tunnel was odd, fluorescent lights hanging at angles from the ceiling, loosely held by cables. Red tags hung from them with text assuring that they were in fact affixed and not going to fall.

The reward for the walk was in the last corridor, between terminal A and the main entrance and baggage claim. It was a gallery of contemporary Africa sculpture. Most of it was in stone.


What struck me was the creative use of the stone. In most case it was a dark stone used, that when polished was deep black or dark gray. When left rough it was lighter, the finishing of the stone provided color contrast of smooth dark skin, pattern cloth, and the roughness of nappy hair sometimes indicated by entirely unfinished stone.

The pieces were often inward looking and contemplative, several depicted the support of community or family, a group of friends, a protective father, a cluster of children.

Others held joy, dance, flight. I liked them.

It is too bad that most people take the tram and do not get to see these.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I'm Dreaming of a White... day in January?

I love snow. We had a nice little fall of maybe 6 inches back in early December. It was lake enhanced, light and fluffy and full of glittering, lacey, perfect snowflacks. It lasted a few days. Usually in late December or early January the cold sets in and it snows and stays. Temperatures do not get above freezing sometimes for weeks. Right now it is bright and sunny and in the 50s (F). Our temperatures are not projected to make it down to the average HIGHS for the forseeable future. That projection is into mid-january, the coldest time of the year here. No snow.

I want a roaring fire and hot spiced wine, or a hot buttered rum on a snowy night. I want the lovely hush of falling snow. This winterlessness is making me cranky.

I just put brand new snow tires on my car. I will be driving back and forth accross the Alleghenies and Pocanoes in the next few weeks, who knows, maybe there will be some snow up there and I'll need them.

Glodal warming, El Nino, whatever, one of our four seasons may be missing this year. There is still live lettuce and chard down in my vegetable garden. I suppose I should eat some of it.