Tag Archives: In the News

How I learned that Cokie Roberts lives nearby

So, on Monday afternoon I got a phone call. The ID on the phone display read:


I didn’t answer, but later was curious and listened to the message. Notice that the message did not say “This is a message from your neighbor Cokie”. However, I made a note to be on the lookout for a scared looking black lab if and when I was out and about.

Katie the Missing Lab belonging to Cokie Roberts
Katie -- photo courtesy http://www.lab-rescue.org/

That evening just before I left for Alexandria (to teach a class on document accessibility the next morning) I checked the news on my phone. I have a “Bethesda, Maryland” section on Google News and noticed that the Baltimore Sun had an article about Cokie Roberts and her lost dog, Katie. I was a little amused that a newspaper like the Baltimore Sun ran an article about a lost dog. Then I was kind of excited to learn that Ms Roberts lives within a few miles of me. The article (and the message) mentioned Bradley Boulevard which is very close to me as well as Walt Whitman High School (not the one from Room 222) which is where my children went  to school.

I now wonder if perhaps I have passed her in the grocery store or cut her off while driving on Wilson Lane. Truth be told, I would not recognize her. She’d have to accidentally put her groceries in my cart and then launch into a monologue about the benefits of avocados. (I know she is on some TV news program now, but I’ve never really watched it.)

By this morning the news about Katie the dog was on at least 10 media sites including the Washington Post and Huffington Post.

While I sincerely hope that Katie is quickly and safely returned to Cokie (I can call her that, she’s my neighbor and Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs is a mouthful) I do find it amusing that it has made such news around here.

UPDATE: I am sad to report that Katie was hit by a car and killed near our local middle school.

I’m lucky it’s just low water pressure

Turned on the shower this morning and I got a trickle of water and assumed Dean was showering or running the dishwasher. I felt sorry for myself and wondered why Dean would use water when I needed it.

Turns out he wasn’t doing anything with water. The weather was — there is a massive water main break a couple of miles from us — along a road I’ve often traveled. 18 cars are stranded, according to the news reports. My mom called this morning to say it was on national news. I can hear the helicopters — probably transporting people to and from the hospital up the street.

I think these people have it a little worse than I do.

Watermain Break on River Road

What’s this woman’s problem?

LA Times OP-ed Columnist Meghan Daum has an issue with an entire generation. She complains that the media attention on baby boomers is stealing the limelight from the GenXers. She goes so far as to suggest that she’ll look forward to 2050:

“And on and on it will go until, say, 2050, when, if they’re lucky, the last of the boomers will be living out their days in the Young at Heart Chorus. Something tells me they’ll bring a little something extra to ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go?'”

I think Meghan is a whiny spoiled brat who needs to chill a little. Who gave her a pen anyway?

Stonehenge — Just a Graveyard? Say it ain’t so!

Front page. Washington Post: Researchers Say Stonehenge Was a Family Burial Ground

No ancient sacrifice?

No hooded figures chanting?

No witchcraft?

No magic?

No Duncan?

According to extensive research done by National Geographic, Stonehenge was just a cemetery for a ruling family. This news is a little shocking to me and I certainly do not agree with this statement by Mike Parker Pearson of the University of Sheffield:

“This is really exciting, because it shows that Stonehenge, from its beginning to its zenith, is being used as a place to physically put the remains of the dead.”

Sorry, Mike, but a cemetery is not exciting. Now, had National Geographic discovered that Merlin had actually lived and magicked the mammoth sarsen stones from Ireland to Salisbury Plain, that would have been exciting. Or discovering that the Druids had really used Stonehenge as a sacrificial temple would have been cool too.

But a cemetery? Pish.

Jeremy at WoodhengeI did find some of the information interesting though, like the linking of other ancient sites in the area such as Woodhenge and a place I’d not heard of, Durrington Walls.

So, thanks, National Geographic and Professor Parker Pearson, for taking the magic out of Stonehenge. Science — mutter mutter — who needs it anyway?

Jeremy at Stonehenge

A magical Stonehenge moment

Jack at Woodhenge

That guy from Spinal Tap agrees with me:

Kennywood 2007 Adventureland 1987

I stumbled upon this news as I clicked through some film related information — a new film is coming out in August called Adventureland and was filmed at Kennywood Park in Pittsburgh. I was drawn to the name Adventureland because as a child my parents took me to an amusement park of the same name. When I saw it was being filmed at Kennywood, that kept my attention.

We’ve been to Kennywood several times – including the 1980’s, the time period this film depicts. It will be fun to watch.

This YouTube clip of a news broadcast about the filming:


It seems that even more of Pittsburgh is shown in the film, such as parts of Shadyside, the area where we lived in the 1980’s. The Post-Gazette ran an article about the director’s ties to Pittsburgh.

NIU shootings

I remember my first visit to Northern Illinois University. I was an incoming Junior, transferring from a local community college. I still didn’t drive and was expected to go to orientation. My mom drove me the 45 miles to school for the orientation, I think she brought my grandmother along.  I don’t know what they did while I attended orientation, but afterwards we ate lunch at Kings Restaurant in Sycamore. That was the year the decomposed body of the girl was found on farmland in the area and the restaurant had a drawing of what she might have looked like. The restaurant had the drawing by the cash register. I remember not being able to eat much lunch, thinking about that dead girl.

I don’t remember much about the orientation, except we did a lot of walking.

NIU has a nice campus and is, or was, basically in the middle of a cornfield. There was nothing but fields of corn and farms for miles around, and there, rising high in the sky (compared to corn) was the Student Union, I think. I recall there was also a pond and once a year students would gather near the pond for a “smoke out” and openly smoke marijuana.

I remember winters at NIU. Walking from one building to another building were some of the coldest experiences I have ever had.  The cold wind would sweep across the flat land and nearly knock me down.

grotesque.jpg I never felt a real kinship with the place because I was not a resident. I lived at home and got rides with various folks, paying them gas money in exchange for a lift to school. After graduating, I rarely returned to campus. I went back a few times while my boyfriend was working on his Masters degree, once to see a play, I think — The Elephant Man. A few years ago we drove around campus to show our kids where we went to college.  I remember we took a photo of the grotesque in front of Altgeld hall. Clare liked that.

After moving away from the Midwest very few people I’d talk to knew of the school.

Today that’s changed. Today a gunman killed 6 students, including himself and wounded 15 others in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University. Today, and for a while, people will have heard of the school that sat in the middle of a cornfield.