That's right - where else could you read where I've been the last few days?
Yep, I went to Chicago for a long weekend and got to see some people I've wanted to see for a long time. This was the first time I had flown since 9/11 so I was wondering what to expect. Of course I had seen the Syrian musician story just before I left...
It wasn't too ridiculous. I had already frisked myself and put stuff that would flunk a metal detector into ziplock bags, and if I hadn't bumped my shoulders on the sides of the metal detector I would have made it through without incident. I did forget to take this laptop out of my carry-on bag at O'Hare, which got a bit of a rise out of the security people, but it wasn't a catastrophe.
There was one small snafu with the luggage. It seems that the airline has two flights from O'Hare to BWI on Monday nights, and although I was on the later flight the bag was placed on the earlier one. That's a good idea as long as the planes land in the order they're scheduled, but somehow the earlier flight had a crew scheduling problem and wound up leaving after mine did. I got my stuff, but it probably added an hour to my time at the airport.
If you go to Chicago, be aware that several of the big attractions such as the Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum are only open until about 5, even in the summer. My friend and I did manage to spend an hour in the Field Museum, then it was off to nearby Chinatown for dinner and shopping.
Then it was off to suburban Brookfield for "Brookfest", featuring a carnival and local oldies legends the Cryan' Shames and the Ides of March. Both had national hits in the 60's and early 70's - you must have heard the horn riff from "Vehicle".
Most of the rest of the time was with relatives. Yep, same people, same bull sessions, same stories, same arguments. And I can't wait for the next time.
One of my relatives brought her boyfriend. They were new graduates from a small expensive liberal arts school - she had studied English and history, and he was a philosophy major. They were raving about that abomination "Fahrenheit 9/11", but somehow hadn't heard of "Michael Moore is a Big Fat Stupid White Man". The best part was when she said that the two of them were "realists", which almost made me gag. The philosophy major's denial of the existence of objective reality was a hoot. He gave the stock lefty spiel that Communism had never been properly implemented, and I inquired what was "scientific" about "scientific socialism" - how could we know what would happen if it were implemented if in fact it never had been? No answer, of course.
Alas, it's back to the salt mines. But at least the world knows what was happening while I was gone so everyone can finally get a good night's rest.