Category Archives: General

Checking In

So, the Reason Weekend was great. Saw many old friends, made some new ones. Average age of the attendees was pretty high (Patricia and I no doubt contributed to that), but it’s a gathering of long-time Reason supporters, so no surprise, and there was an encouraging number of young people.

We’ve been ensconced since Sunday in a vacation rental just north of the park boundary of Smoky Mountain National Park, above Wear Valley. I’ll put up a picture of the view after I take one from our balcony. Yesterday we drove from the Gatlinburg entrance down to Cherokee, with a side trip to Clingman’s Dome. The weather up there was funky; fifties and windy, and drizzly, so we didn’t other to walk the half mile to the top for the non-view. From Cherokee we came back up I-40, back to Gatlinburg, where we had dinner. One drive down the main drag there was enough to convince us that we didn’t have to visit again, It’s a place for families with kids to be separated from their money.

Today it rained most of the day, so we cocooned and enjoyed it (even heard some thunder). Then, when it cleared up, we drove the loop around Cade’s Cove, and saw several bears. We’re heading back to Nashville tomorrow, maybe via Chattanooga, to see a little more of the state, then flying back to LA early Thursday morning.

It’s been a nice break: our first real vacation since October 2020, and our second one since the onset of the plague.

[Friday-morning update]

We did drive through Chattanooga, and went up to Lookout Mountain. It doesn’t really look like a battlefield (in the way that Gettysburg or Antietam do), but it provides an interesting perspective on the Battle Above The Clouds. We thought about seeing the cave and Ruby Falls, but didn’t really have time, so it’s an excuse to go back sometime. We did manage to get to three states, but just for brief sojourns in North Carolina south of the park, and a brush with Georgia in going up on Lookout.

Had a hectic early morning yesterday getting on the flight (American check-in at BNA was chaotic, nothing like LAX), and had to suffer through a mask for six hours, but back home now with the cats, and life getting back to normal.

P.J. O’Rourke

RIP. He will be missed.

Little-known fact: He was a big fan of space. He was on the board of The Space Foundation. He never used email, but I sent some stuff to him once via his wife, and he wrote a nice letter thanking me.

[Update late afternoon]

John Podhoretz remembers him.

[Update Wednesday morning]

This kind of thing is why he was a national treasure.

[Monday update]

Matt Labash remembers him, as does Jonathan Last.


Merry Christmas

…to all of my Christian readers, and anyone else who celebrates it. We went for a walk on the beach, and got rained on partway through, but we didn’t mind that much, because we so desperately need it.

I see that Webb is safely in space, a nice Christmas present to the astronomy community. Normally, most of the risk on a mission is retired after separation, but they’re just getting started.

And here is one of my favorite Christmas carols, by one of my favorite singers.