Wednesday, August 01, 2007

It Was Gatlinburg In Late July

Some notes from our recent trip to Louisville and Gatlinburg:

-The giant Jesus at exit 29 on I-75 in Ohio was inspiring as usual. It even had me singing this song.

-That sign for Big Bone Lick State Park will always make me laugh.

-The Simpsons and new Harry Potter movie are both definitely worth seeing.

-We went on Sunday to the aquarium in Newport, Kentucky, right across the river from Cincinnati. The aquarium is great on its own but is also part of an amazing complex overlooking the water and the Cincy skyline. It has a top of the line movie theater and a number of good stores, all surrounding a large courtyard with limestone and cobblestone pavement. They have street performers and apparently a number of concerts throughout the summer. It really brings life to the waterfront, an area where many people like to spend time. In other words, it's yet one more thing that Detroit should have done years ago.

-We've discovered that Emma is a Johnny Cash and Diana Ross (separately, as I don't think they ever sang together) fan. They are the only musical performers thus far that can calm her when she's in meltdown mode.

-We had our first night away from Emma since she came home from the hospital when we left her with the in-laws while we spent the night in Gatlinburg. I jolted from sleep at 5:45 in the morning when I had not heard Emma, only to realize where we were.

-The lady playing miniature golf in front of us the other night in Pigeon Forge had the gall to be talking on her cell phone during her game. Talking on a cell phone during a funeral or in a library is one thing, but during a miniature golf game is another. How dare she?

-On a more serious note, I'm about a quarter of the way through Ronald Reagan's recently released diaries. Whether you loved him or hated him, I highly recommend the book. Rather than a whitewashed, after-the-fact autobiography or biography by someone with a bias for or against the subject, a contemporaneous, private diary by one of last century's most consequential men gives great insight into the thoughts of a historic person. It is also interesting to see how much some things have changed, like the collegiality in the Beltway. While they often publicly butted heads, Reagan often wrote fondly of Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill. They considered each other as friends worthy of admiration and respect, even when they disagreed on some very important issues. This is far different from the vitriol and hatred that has come from both sides of the aisle the past fifteen years or so.

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