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If you’re goin’ to San Diego. . . .

Well, actually right now I’m in Washington for an AAUP meeting, but I have to leave early (like, mid-afternoon) and head out to San Diego to the National Communication Association conference to debate Anne Neal of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni.  This should be fun!  A lot more fun than the NCA’s original plan for the event, that’s for sure.

And there’s a strange coincidence here involving a tiny tangent from last week’s trip to Nebraska with Jamie.  You’ll recall (perhaps) that I took Jamie into the mountains of Colorado and the deserts of New Mexico last month, driving around and seeing stuff.  I was trying to broaden his horizons beyond the usual trip-to-the-zoo-or-aquarium thing we’ve done so often, now that he’s more mature and willing to visit museums and mountains and things.  Well, one of the places we stopped in Santa Fe was the New Mexico Museum of Art, which was quite cool, and which for some reason kindled in him a desire to ask the people in the gift shop if they had anything “about the Sioux.” (It took Jamie six or seven tries before anyone, myself included, understood his request; he was, as always, wonderfully patient about this.) I assured him, as he picked out a book about Kachinas instead, that although the southwest was all about the Navajo and Hopi and Zuni and such, there would be plenty of stuff about the Sioux in Nebraska and South Dakota. 

Unfortunately, you really can’t get from Omaha to the good stuff in western South Dakota—Wounded Knee, Deadwood, the Badlands, Rapid City, Mount Rushmore—in one day.  The state is too damn big.  We had planned, more modestly, to drive to Sioux Falls and back for a day trip, after stopping off first at Omaha’s Durham Western Heritage Museum, which, as you can plainly see, Jamie enjoyed.  (Irony alert: it turns out that the Omaha Zoo, which we visited on Friday the 14th before seeing that hockey game, is absolutely fantastic.  Wish we’d left more time for it—we only spent two hours.) But after driving approximately forever and getting only 30 miles above Sioux City, I saw two road signs: one said “Sioux Falls 48 miles” and the other said “University of South Dakota 6 miles State Museums 7 miles.” So, after deciding I didn’t want to drive seven hours round trip in one day, and then after getting Jamie’s approval, I bailed on Sioux Falls and went to USD where we stopped in at the very tiny and very cute W. H. Over Museum.  Jamie loved this too, I’m happy to say, and you know, it had some really strange stuff, too.  Like this in a glass case and this gazing down at you from the wall and this in the children’s “discovery room.” You don’t see those every day, now, do you?

And the important thing is that we got to South Dakota at all.  Now I have only Seven Unvisited States left:  Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota, Utah, Arkansas, Mississippi, and South Carolina.  Hmmmm—wonder if there’s a pattern there somewhere.

But there wasn’t much else to see in southeastern South Dakota, save for signs like this on roads like this.  So we drove back to Omaha, where we learned that we were crossing the Mormon Trail.  Yes, the Mormon Trail—on which, as your National Park Service will tell you, “roughly 70,000 Mormons traveled from 1846 to 1869 in order to escape religious persecution before settling down in Utah and spending $20something million to make sure that gay people can’t get married in California.” Which is great, in a way, since the last time I checked in on Mormons In The News, it was all about this weird statutory rape farm in Texas.  Good to see the Church of Latter Day Saints has straightened itself out!  So to speak.

So yes, Omaha, Mormons, Proposition 8 . . . how does this have anything to do with debating Anne Neal?

Well, Proposition 8 is also one great big huge mess for the National Communication Association, as you can plainly see.  Yes, that’s right, the conference is taking place in the Manchester Hyatt, and the owner of the conference hotel, Doug “Papa Doug” Manchester (yes, his nickname really is Papa Doug.  I don’t make up stuff like that on this blog—I’m not that creative.  Is his son Baby Doug?) has dropped $125,000 of his very own money to protect heterosexual Californian marriage in its moment of maximum danger.  This was matter for controversy long before Prop 8 passed, of course—and now NCA members have to go and patronize this hotel and replenish Mr. Manchester’s pockets.  Unless, of course, they join the boycott.

Sigh.  This really sucks.  Many departments are moving their events elsewhere, but the big me-and-Anne-Neal debate takes place in the Homophobe Hyatt.  Where, of course, the NCA booked me a room, as well.  Well, I canceled the room, at least, and booked one at a hotel down the street instead.  That’ll save the NCA a few bucks, and I get myself a little suite.  It’s a win-win, I suppose.  Except for gay and lesbian couples in California.

Anyway, the debate is Saturday at 11 pacific.  Wish me luck.  As for Prop 8, I note that Moloch has already granted my morning-after-Election-Day wish that Gordon Smith and Ted Stevens be returned to private life.  We’re still waiting on Coleman and 8.

Posted by on 11/21 at 06:58 AM
  1. Oh wow, Anne Neal, she who responded to “There have been no complaints of liberal faculty bias at Temple” with “See how intimidated the students are?” Too vaudevillian for me.  Although her “Our universities are islands of oppression in a sea of freedom” is more, I dunno, Noonanesque?

    At least Horowitz will be at MLA, right?

    Posted by  on  11/21  at  08:34 AM
  2. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, Josh.  Also, just because the thing she saw wasn’t there doesn’t mean there wasn’t something there that she didn’t see.  You should know that by now.

    And yes, He Who Shall Not Be Referred To By His First Initial and a Drastic Truncation of His Surname will be at the MLA.  One hopes that he will raise our awareness of Islamofascism, ‘cause Ba’al knows we need it.

    Posted by Michael  on  11/21  at  09:32 AM
  3. The Omaha Zoo is quite impressive. I spent an entire day there for an 8th grade field trip. And our science teacher had the most awful, cumbersome worksheet for us to fill out. Of course, we shared answers. smile

    Thought you might be interested in the F*NCA’s newsletter (pdf here), which I think is quite good.

    Posted by Michael Faris  on  11/21  at  10:20 AM
  4. Glad you will be there, beating back the fascists.
    Damn they are persistent, though.
    Well now I’m not so worried since we’re getting these Big Changes in Washington, ha ha.

    Posted by Hattie  on  11/21  at  10:22 AM
  5. Are you kidding me? You gotta take Jamie to Alaska. Surely you would be hailed as a conquering Pro-life Hero™.

    Mississippi sounds promising. A combination civil rights/history of the blues tour, plus barbecue? Wherever you go with Jamie, your travelogues are always entertaining. You know how Calvin Trillin wrote Travels With Alice? You could compile a Travels With Jamie book. (Though sadly, you’re not as droll as Trillin. Few of us are.)

    Will you emblazon yourself with the symbols of gay rights? A big equals sign on your lapel? A rainbow sticker on your briefcase? Will there be a dance break during the debate with a play-acted gay wedding?

    Posted by Orange  on  11/21  at  10:25 AM
  6. One argument I haven’t heard in support of Gay marriage is that the abortion rate for Gay/Lesbian couples is probably very low. (I’m not going to say zero lest Mr. Clarke pounce) As such I would think there would be a groundswell of support for G/L marriage from the pro-life side. Am I missing something?

    e.

    Posted by  on  11/21  at  11:53 AM
  7. I note that Moloch has already granted my morning-after-Election-Day wish that Gordon Smith and Ted Stevens be returned to private life. We’re still waiting on Coleman and 8.

    I assume Prop 8 would get a cushy gig at the Hoover Institute of Blowing and Sucking, but whatever would Norm Coleman do?

    Posted by  on  11/21  at  12:34 PM
  8. Someone on Daily Kos had an interesting idea: let’s go through the genealogical records and start posthumously converting Mormons to homosexuality.

    Posted by Rich Puchalsky  on  11/21  at  12:44 PM
  9. Michael, don’t you realize that all this boycott and protest and what have you over Prop 8 violates the unwritten final clause of the First Amendment?

    To wit: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Nor shall right-wingers ever have to receive any criticism whatsoever for their speech, from anyone, anywhere. Especially from The Left.

    Captcha: “ago,” as in “this might have been funny the first time, long, long ...”

    Posted by John Protevi  on  11/21  at  01:22 PM
  10. Oh, and to forestall any complaints about this “unwritten clause” business: that’s an emanation from a penumbra we can believe in, my friends.

    Captcha, and I kid you not: “hotel.”

    Posted by John Protevi  on  11/21  at  01:25 PM
  11. Cool—someone else besides members of my family counts states they’ve visited!

    Posted by Dr. Virago  on  11/21  at  02:58 PM
  12. As a native Utahn now living in South Carolina (by way of Penn State, you’ll remember), I have to say, “I’m shocked, shocked at the states you’ve thus far avoided!” I wonder if it’s possible to take in the amazing scenery of Utah while still showing solidarity with those calling for a boycott on the Beehive State. It’s also a pretty, big state so you’d at least need some extra gas tanks and sack lunches in the trunk to make it from national park to national park without spending a dime inside the Zion Curtain.  (Of course, you’d have to skip the great skiing.  I’m sure Colorado will take you though.) Who knows, maybe BYU will invite you to give a talk some day and you’ll get to mark Utah off your list!  OK, maybe not…

    Posted by Christian Anderson  on  11/21  at  03:29 PM
  13. What counts as a visit?  Mere driving through shouldn’t; purposeful checking-out as in Jamie and Michael roadtrips should.  On my last Idaho drive-through I did spend an hour looking for a legendary Basque restaurant in Mountain Home, but it turned out the place had closed.  So does it count if you’ve looked for things that weren’t there?  But should have been?  Would this help explain ACTA?

    Posted by  on  11/21  at  03:30 PM
  14. Cool—someone else besides members of my family counts states they’ve visited!

    Maybe I just run with a geeky crowd but I know lots of people who count states they’ve visited.  Michael is ahead of me—I’m at 41 (need to get to Alabama, Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Mississippi, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Vermont.)

    Speaking of full gas tanks needed to visit places out West—I once met people from England who flew to Salt Lake with the idea that it would be easy to start there and visit Rocky Mountain National Park, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Yellowstone.  Apparently they didn’t read the atlas carefully (or forgot about the miles/kilometer thing, or something).

    Posted by  on  11/21  at  05:16 PM
  15. Well if it’s map nerd confession time…

    Since the mid ‘60s I have kept a USGS base map which shows states and counties and on which I’ve tracked all the counties in the US I’ve been in. And back in the day on that same map I hand colored in the county-by-county results of the 1968 Presidential election. Quite fascinating patterns, if a bit tedious to produce. I understand there is some way to do that faster these days.

    On the state count I’ve been stupidly stuck at 49 since bagging Alaska in 1988. (Missing Hawaii. I’ve not been to Kenya either.)

    Posted by  on  11/21  at  07:07 PM
  16. Hmmm..... 11 AM?  So I have to decide to go to your panel or take my kids to the world-famous San Diego zoo?  I’m thinking the zoo will win, sorry, MB.

    Posted by  on  11/21  at  07:13 PM
  17. roads like this

    aahh thanks for the memories… The only things that makes them even less appealing is the sudden and maddening 90º turn after a four-mile straightaway, upon which you feel comfortable coasting in the 90mph range.  Well, that and the cows haphazardly crossing at random.  There are roads like those all over the state, all over North Dakota, and all over eastern Montana--okay, all over the upper Great Plains.  They go on for days. 

    But you really weren’t that far from the magnificent Corn Palace?  Just kidding.

    Posted by  on  11/21  at  11:43 PM
  18. I assume Prop 8 would get a cushy gig at the Hoover Institute of Blowing and Sucking, but whatever would Norm Coleman do?

    Oh, now that’s a clever question, taking advantage of one of my syntactical infelicities.  My guess is that Norm Coleman would go into the animation industry.

    So I have to decide to go to your panel or take my kids to the world-famous San Diego zoo?  I’m thinking the zoo will win, sorry, MB.

    Zoo win!!11!1!  Seriously, fardels old friend, don’t make my Omaha Mistake.  Forego my dog-and-pony show and take the kids to the zoo that started it all.  “It” meaning “the smart postmodern openair humane zoo phenomenon,” of course.

    Captcha:  volume, as in “how do we do it?”

    Posted by Michael  on  11/22  at  03:41 AM
  19. You do realize we have no hockey here, don’t you?

    Posted by TBogg  on  11/22  at  03:42 AM
  20. All these years I’ve been reading you, TBogg.  I’ll never forget that long long long day’s-journey-into-night last year when we shepherded poor Dan Collins through his nervous breakdown about his ex from 1984.  I thought we were friends, man.  And now you tell me there’s no hockey in San Diego?

    Have you no sense of hockey, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of hockey?

    Posted by Michael  on  11/22  at  04:32 AM
  21. Don’t let him gull you, Michael.

    Wilkowich and Martin are so committed to advancing their careers that they gave up their country and moved in with strangers in a home in Temecula.

    ...
    Wilkowich and Martin are taking advantage of every moment living near San Diego. When they’re not playing hockey, they’re soaking up sun at the beach or surfing.

    If I’m not mistaken there might just be a movie in there. Maybe Billy Bob Thornton as the coach…

    Posted by  on  11/22  at  10:57 AM
  22. Wow.  I’m never going to believe anything TBogg says again, ever.  In fact, now I’m thinking that TBogg isn’t even his real name.

    Posted by Michael  on  11/22  at  12:26 PM
  23. a colleague told us about the upheaval at the communications conference. i’m just glad academics are taking a stand in their lives - very cool

    Posted by  on  11/22  at  06:00 PM
  24. Come to Fargo, my friend.  It’s actually a nicely progressive part of the state.  We’ve got all Democrats representing us in D.C. and have been getting increasingly purple as a state.  Heck, we even voted for Obama in THIS county and knocked down two draconian proposals to gut taxation statewide. 

    We even built a new hockey arena and got a semipro team just for you…

    Posted by Doc Mara  on  11/23  at  07:13 PM
  25. I am sure that it is hopelessly pedantic (and in an old-school positivist sense no less) to point out that the “Mormons” of the “statutory rape farm in Texas” are not quite the same as the “Mormons” in Utah (whose actual official name you can’t seem to be bothered to get right).  However, since pointing this out would only detract from the laudable endeavor of using delightful snark to denigrate groups of people whose political views you don’t share, what’s the point? Carry on.

    Posted by  on  11/24  at  11:01 AM
  26. For that matter, the Mormon who owns the Marriott chain wants nothing to do with Prop 8 either, Kwlarsen.  But fie, fie on me for referring to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as the Church of Latter Day Saints.  Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.  And as for my “denigration” of people who organized and spent all that money to pass Prop 8—well, it just goes to show you that liberals are the really intolerant ones, I guess.

    Posted by Michael  on  11/24  at  01:24 PM
  27. Psst. New zamboni to go with the new hockey arena and team.  I’m not sure, but I think they’ll let you take the zamboni for a spin (slide?) if you bring the family.

    Posted by Doc Mara  on  11/24  at  04:59 PM
  28. 26: yes, it’s very important to make it clear that the “mainstream Mormons” no longer believe in wacky stuff like polygamy, secession, tax evasion and the inherent inferiority of black people, but merely in sensible, everyday things like the existence of a multi-level heaven in which everyone gets to be god of a planet of his very own, the discovery and subsequent misplacing by a convicted fraudster of several hundred gold plates engraved with the Word of God somewhere in upstate New York, the inherent inferiority of women, the inherent Jewishness of the Lakota Sioux Nation* and the inherent ickiness of Women In Sensible Shoes (especially when those shoes are worn under a wedding dress).

    * As seen in “Blazing Saddles”.

    Posted by  on  11/25  at  10:42 AM
  29. wacky stuff like polygamy, secession, tax evasion and the inherent inferiority of black people, but merely in sensible, everyday things like the existence of a multi-level heaven in which everyone gets to be god of a planet of his very own, the discovery and subsequent misplacing by a convicted fraudster of several hundred gold plates engraved with the Word of God somewhere in upstate New York

    Posted by Cheap Evening Dresses  on  04/12  at  07:55 AM

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