zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
political cartoon

When I was a child, I had a coloring book on the presidents of the United States. One of the details that stayed with me was that of Andrew Johnson being buried with a copy of the U.S. Constitution placed beneath his head.

So, thirty-odd years later, I drove to what is now the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery to pay my respects. I parked at Monument Hill, spent some time with the graves there, and then walked around. There was much to ponder among the hundreds of other headstones there.

Photos under the cut; click on them to enlarge )

Earlier that day, I'd walked around the museum buildings on the national historic site. I was especially taken with the depiction of Johnson as a Greeneville tailor (and budding politician), listening to the locals as he worked:

Andrew Johnson
zirconium: photo of Greek style coffee, Larnaca, October 2011 (coffee in Cyprus)
Earlier this afternoon, my dog continued ripping the guts out of her old Santa toy and then started dry heaving.

My state of mind isn't quite that bad, but things are a bit crunchety here wrt the time-space continuum, which (as many of you know) I have an ongoing lovers' quarrel with at the best of times. So sharing my notes and snapshots of the archives, bookstores, chapels, graveyards, and restaurants I visited on my way back from Miami (via Jacksonville, Charleston, and various cities in North Carolina) will have to wait until the new year.

As it happens, I'm booked through January work-wise, so it'll be nice to go through the sheaves during breaks from citation-herding. Plus many of you are still in the thick of your own elfish/elven plots...

But speaking of elven plots -- there is no escape! [click the images to enlarge]

Karpeles Manuscript Museum, Charleston There is no escape from Tolkien

I went to the Karpeles Museum in Charleston to look at the Doyle, Sayers, and Fleming manuscripts they had on display there. I'll write more about that later, but the salient point is that the building used to be a Methodist church in a rather run-down part of the city, and the stalls in the women's bathroom are papered accordingly, with flocks of angels ... and, inside one door, a very detailed family tree lifted from LOTR. LOL.

Another delight was the Stowe Garden's orchid "tree":

Me and the orchid tree orchid tree closeup

(16 ft. tall. 300 orchids. An aside to Nashvillians: my Cheekwood membership covered admission to the garden and three museums, and would've covered the NC Arboretum if I'd had time for it.)

And here's me with an old pal on the Green in downtown Charlotte:

me w/a fishy friend

Wishing you all a smooth end to the year (or a crackletastic one, if you're into fireworks and other happy kabooms), and a happy and healthy 2013 ahead.
zirconium: photo of Greek style coffee, Larnaca, October 2011 (coffee in Cyprus)
* one workout
* two big detour-loops (once when picking up roomie at airport, once on our way back from Key Biscayne to the hotel. Florida, your signage sucks).
* a glass of Malbec, lamb samosas, lamb biryani, and shrimp apna curry. And freshly fried papadum w/bright red peppers, at Ayesha (thanks, Tripadvisor!).
* tennis! (and bubble tea)
zirconium: photo of Greek style coffee, Larnaca, October 2011 (coffee in Cyprus)
...on my first day of vacation:


Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off--then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.

- Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chapter 1
(The episodes in my CD folder were downloaded from MobyDickBigRead.com. Chapter 1 is read by Tilda Swinton.)


I've been on the road since Tuesday. The trip so far:

Miles covered: 1000+, including an unholy number of detours and u-turns (Miami rush-hour traffic was not fun. On the plus side, I found a Spanglish station [95.7 FM] that careened from beauty and nutrition tips to a mashup of Gangnam style/"Hammer Time"...)

Chapters of Moby Dick listened to: 53

Workouts: 2

Discoveries/highlights:
* I don't like parasailing and I'm too uncoordinated to water-ski. Tubing, however, requires no technique and isn't too many hundred feet up in the air, and was therefore totally awesome.

* I was underwhelmed by the music and plot of Orchid (the performers were fine, but I do have Nashville standards, and covers of Madonna and George Michael do not do thing one for me at all), but I was impressed at the setup of the Pleasure Garden (for a cluster of pop-ups, it's very impressive, and seeing the Ruinart logo everywhere brought back happy memories of visiting Reims three years ago), and seeing the acrobats, aerialists, and burlesque dancing was wonderful. Especially Kitty Bang Bang, an incredible dancer who is also a fire-eater. She started out by putting out a cigarette on her tongue and eventually set fire to her nipple tassels and twirled them. I felt a touch sorry for whomever had to follow her sets.

* Woke up with awful hair. Working out for 30 minutes somehow seems to have fixed it. Let that be a lesson to me. ;-)

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