Tuesday, May 31, 2005

There and Back Again

My Normal Route From Lakewood to Kensington

In the spring of an early year of the 19th century Lewis and Clark set-out to cross the country and for the next two years they traversed two thousand miles across the Louisiana Purchase and made their way to the pacific coast. There are some really nice Lewis and Cark commemorative exhibits along the route we took. The best that I have seen (and it is free!) is at the rest area on I-90 just outside Chamberlain, South Dakota.

The point of this is that every time I cross the country I am left with the feeling of awe that our forbearers made it at all. Thinking of the crossing of the Great Plains with its endless miles of nothing but Great Plains (and just what is so great about the Great Plains anyway?) makes my head swim. The thought of hour-upon-hour without as much as the decaying husk of a defunct Stuckey’s makes me wonder how they got up the nerve to get up and hitch the oxen to the Conestoga every morning.

I have to say though, that travel has changed greatly since I have been traversing the country let alone since 1803.

In the sixties, my folks used to take us to Minnesota from Florida. The trip is only a couple hundred miles longer than that we made this past weekend. In the days before the interstates that trip used to take us three or four days each way. And at that we were going from major city to major city most of the way so there were pretty good US highways to follow. I cannot imagine how long that trip would have taken from here in that day and age!

Well, I guess I had best get back to getting my unpacked stuff that I dumped in the living room when I got home last light put away. I have laundry to do and some basic clean-up before I can call the most recent excursion well and truly behind me.

I hope you are having a good evening wherever you are!

Don Bergquist – 31, May, 2005 – Lakewood, Colorado

Monday, May 30, 2005

The Trip Home

On the shores of Lake Irene just outside Miltona, Minnesota there is something of a tradition for the part of Minnesota that my Dad grew-up in. Chet’s Lakeside Inn has been there since before I can remember. Dad says that it used to be a popular spot for after prom parties (his prom?) and for taking your girl on a date.

Well, last night, after visiting the family homestead and pointing out all the noteworthy spots in Parkers Prairie, we stopped at Chet’s for dinner. Chet has long since passed away, but it is still a family run establishment. Granted, the breading on the chicken can be a bit oily at times, but it is always a fun time and a good meal!

Chet's Lakeside Inn

This morning about 06:00 Central Time I finished loading the car and made coffee for Dad and Flo and me. Kathi and I said so long to my parents soon thereafter and headed southwest. The book today in the player is Tourist Season by Carl Hiaasen. It is really quite engaging. It is about a group of terrorists that want to return Miami to its natural state by kidnapping and killing tourists in the hopes that the whole of the South Florida economy will fail and everyone will move out.

The driving today was good. There was about an hour-and-a-half of fog at the outset and then again about an hour of fog at the end. There was some rain in the middle but not enough to make us stop. We made it into Denver around 20:30 and I was home just about 22:00. It was, all-in-all, a very pleasant trip. But now Saga wants me to wrap this up and get to bed so I guess I will post this when I get back to the office and upload the pictures.

I hope your holiday weekend was great, wherever you are!

Don Bergquist – 30, May, 2005 – Lakewood, Colorado

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Family Homestead

Both sides of my father’s family settled long ago in central Minnesota. The Korkowski’s (Grandma’s Relatives) settled in Millerville; the Bergquists in Parkers Prairie. The Bergquist family homestead is still in the family.

The Bergquist Family Homestead
(Established 1875)

Many of my vacations were spent here at the family homestead. I have it on good authority that my family’s original homestead was actually a couple miles south of its current location. Some day I hope to get more of the family history down and share it online with anyone who is interested.

Today, we went to the family homestead to see my Aunt and Uncle; play some cards; drink some coffee; and do the normal Minnesota things. I took Kathi around the farm showing her the outbuildings, explaining as much of the history as I can remember. It was a lovely day for a visit to the farm. The rain held off until it was time to leave.

I hope your day is lovely wherever you are!

Don Bergquist – 29, May, 2005 – Parkers Prairie, Minnesota

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Family Gathering

What kind of moron drives fourteen hours (950 miles – give or take) to attend a party? I do! C’mon! I love my family and it is not like I get to see them as often as I’d like. Besides, there are books on tape to make the trip fly by. I also had Kathi to keep me company and do some of the driving.

The party was a good one. I got to see a number of my family that I rarely get to see. There were, of course, cards and games to play; and the obligatory “Siblings” picture.

Siblings - 2005

The fist of the guests showed-up just about noon. The weather held and we had a lovely day for a party. There were tables out on the lawn for the people who wanted to sit out by the trees, there were games to be played and Auntie Jen brought some of the family scrapbooks that she has been working on!

The kids (as always) wanted to play in the hammock and have one of the “adults” push them. When Uncle Don pushes you, in the words of They Might Be Giants, you have to “…hang on tightly just to keep from being thrown to the wolves.”

Hammock Rides!

People started to drift off in the mid-afternoon, with the last of the Minnesota Long Goodbyes ending just about dusk. A curious habit of Minnesotans is that they start saying “Goodbye” long before they actually intend to leave. They may say that they have to leave around five and then slowly (while finishing a story they have been telling) locate their articles (hats, rain gear, the dish from the potluck, etc.) that need to leave with them.

While rounding-up spouses, children, pets, and the like, they may finish the coffee that they were drinking and start gravitating outside. Once there, it is obligatory that they tell you exactly how thankful they are that you held this little get-together and how nice it has been to see you again. You, being the gracious host, will reply in kind and insist that it not be so long a delay before the next time. There may be handshakes and hugs exchanged at this point.

Here, The Minnesota Long Goodbye takes one of three paths. Parents may spend a few more minutes (up to an hour) preparing their children for the car trip and have another cup of coffee in the yard while waiting for the little ones to finish their goodbyes, bathroom trips, etc. Siblings (or close friends) may exchange notes on upcoming events that they are planning on attending. (“You will be at Jeannie’s School Play next week, right? It will be in the gymnasium at noon. Jeannie is playing a tomato. She should make a real splash!” or similar discussion.) Another cup of coffee may be offered but at this point it should be, politely, refused. If the host is a farmer, this portion is likely to be crop based. If both the guest and the host are farmers, this part is guaranteed to be crop-based. (“I see you’re still using that old traveling gun irrigator… when do you think you will install a center-pivot?” or “I see you’re planting sorghum this year… I considered it but it seemed too much trouble.” and similar openers are appropriate.) If the event was held on the farm, a short tour of the crops may ensue at this point.

Finally, the guests will work their way (slowly – you don’t want to appear to be in a rush to leave, do you?) to their car. A few more goodbyes and some more conversation are exchanged at this point. The car is then un-locked and loaded-up. A few more words are exchanged through the open window of the car before the keys are turned in the ignition.

The guest will usually wave out the window (though this part of the long goodbye is often omitted in inclement weather) on their way out of the drive.

But I seem to have gotten off the main point of today’s missive. In the words of every small town newspaper in Minnesota, “a good time was had by all.” It really was a lovely party and I got to see a number of people that I haven’t seen in too long a time.

Let’s not make it so long next time.

Don Bergquist – 28, May, 2005 – Kensington, Minnesota

Friday, May 27, 2005

Headed East (Different Trip)

Good morning!

We left at what I like to refer to as "Butt-Ugly-Early O'Clock" and are headed east. My dad's annual spring party is tomorrow in Minnesota and Kathi and I are headed to it.

Why leave at this ungodly hour? Well, for one thing, I prefer driving early in the day. For another, this gets us into North Platte, Nebraska before the sun rises into the area I have to stare into to drive and I am headed north for long enough to get the sun overhead. But mainly, this will put us into Minnesota at a reasonable hour and allow us to spend some time with Dad and Flo before we have to collapse.

Kathi has been a good sport about it. She didn't even complain (much) when I said what time I wanted to leave Denver. She just said that I was a complete nut case and that she planned on sleeping most of the trip. I must say, she didn't and she even noticed when the voice on the audiobook changed.

The trip through Northeastern Colorado and Nebraska was completely uneventful and it wasn't until South Dakota that we had our first noteworthy experience. (Unless you call lovely driving weather - albeit a bit windy - noteworthy.)

I can now say that I have done something on this trip that I have never done before. I have been to the corn palace in Mitchell, SD. Kathi asked "What's a Corn Palace?" as we passed the first of the eighty gajillion signs for the Corn Palace on I-80 and I explained that it was a tourist-trap that was set-up in Mitchell. (Follow the link above for pictures...) There is not a lot there. It is a building that is decorated in Corn. I have never been there because Dad never took us to South Dakota. When I started driving past it regularly it was Rampant Apathy that explains the fact that I have never stopped there. Having been there once I can say that it is interesting to "See" in much the same way that Dave Barry says you should "See" things on vacation. But only if by "See" you mean "Drive By without stopping."

We made great time on this trip (stops at Cabela's and The Corn Palace aside) because Kathi did part of the driving so I could snooze and thereby did not need my customary nap in the rest area. We arrived to a dinner that Dad had prepared of Italian Sausage and conversation. Then we all went off to our rooms to sleep. Tomorrow is the party.

I hope wherever you are, your day passed as pleasantly!

Don Bergquist - 27, May, 2005 - Kensington, Minnesota

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Family Ties

This entry is a departure from my usual general audience type blog entry. This entry is targeted at a single person. The rest of you are welcome to read it, but it is the most meaningful to the person to whom it is addressed.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

I wanted to take an opportunity on your birthday to talk about the things you have given me and the things that I am because of you. You instilled in me a love of travel. The family vacations driving from Miami to Minnesota were some of my favorite times when growing-up and pretty-much explain the reason I still love hopping in the car and driving across country.

Your sense of humour and style of writing, as if you were talking to an old friend are also a part of me. I know that I can never live-up to the casual wit that you display but I try none the less. I hope that these entries are more entertaining to the general public because you have instilled in me the love of communicating to people the things that I think.

I am also saddled with some of your quirks. I will never forget the very moment I realized that I was turning into you. I was on a camping trip twelve years ago with the Boy Scout troop that I had volunteered with back in Memphis. It was an early morning and the sun was about to rise when I started preparing the Leadership Patrol's breakfast. Being your son, of course I had the coffee made before I started anything else. One of the boys came out and asked if he could have coffee. As Tommy was one of the sons of the other leaders and I knew his father let him have coffee, I said "Sure... Help yourself."

Tommy seemed to take an awfully long time getting the coffee ready and I turned-around to make sure that he was awake enough to get his coffee ready. I watched him put six tablespoons of sugar into a cup that looked as if it contained more milk than coffee. He was making what you used to call a caffeine milk shake. "Son," I said - without a moment's hesitation, "If you can't drink that coffee with less than a pint of milk and a pound of sugar, you don't need the coffee!" I immediately looked around to see where your voice had just issued forth from!

Dad, I love you. Thank you for giving me the start on being the person I am today! Happy birthday!

Don Bergquist - 26, May, 2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

Monday, May 23, 2005

Home Again! Home Again! Jiggety-Jig!

In The Only Travel Guide You’ll Ever Need by Dave Barry Dave Barry writes that there is something about travel that makes one want to French-Kiss their doormat when they get back. I have never had an experience like that, but it is nice to get home.

I didn’t get home ‘til well after 20:00 last night due to an accident south of Fountain, another in Colorado Springs, and an inexplicable slowdown at Monument. The first thing Saga wanted to do upon returning home was to run over to the neighbors and see Peggy and Lynne. Okay, this may have something to do with the fact that Lynne gives Saga cookies whenever she comes to visit.

I was so beat last night that I basically dropped as much of my stuff as I could stand to carry in on the floor of the living room. I tripped over it this morning. I will be doing laundry tomorrow and getting ready for my trip today’s next weekend. I leave butt-ugly-early o’clock on Saturday for Minnesota.

I know what you are thinking to yourself: “Don…” (which, to paraphrase Steve Martin, is odd unless your name happens to be ‘Don.’ But I digress…) “Don, your foot must still be in the classic accelerator position… how can you be thinking of going on another road trip so soon?

Maybe as I surmised on Tuesday when I left on that trip, I am just a freak! Well, this freak needs to wash something to wear to work. I hope you have enjoyed my ramblings from my most recent trip.

I hope your day is going well, wherever you are!

Don Bergquist – Lakewood, Colorado – 23, May, 2005

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Still Driving West

I’ll be on the interstate again in a few minutes. A few minutes after I get moving again, that is! I have to take a nap! Yesterday it was rain. Today it is wind.

I am pulled off by the side of the road to have myself a bit of a rest. All the way out of Dalhart, Texas my little car has been bouncing in the wind. It is tough driving. I am not sure that my sleep last night was as sound as I would have liked either. I have made two nap stops so far and will probably need another before I get home! Don’t get me wrong. I still love driving and would do so every chance I get. I have been listening to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire since yesterday afternoon. I am enjoying it!

Northwest New Mexico
I stopped at a turn-out because another book that I have recently read (The Roadside Geology of Colorado) has explained to me what I am looking at. Yes, I know… I am in New Mexico and not Colorado, but the geology does not end at the state line! When I moved to Colorado ten years ago, it was fascinating to learn how what I was seeing around me was brought into being. I now recognize the conical mountains in the distance (just visible beyond the ridge) as being volcanic (or pre-volcanic) in origin. Much like Capulin to the east and a little south, and the Sangre De Christos to the west, these mountains were pushed-up by rising magma.

The further evidence for this is easily seen in the huge black boulders lying in the field in the foreground. Their rough, foamy structure reveals them to be volcanic lava that cooled after being thrown out of one of the many volcanoes that litter the landscape in this area. The low ridge you see in the mid-ground is pediment of the old mountain range that was protected from eroding away with the rest of the valley by a slightly more resistant top which is probably aggregate from previous eruption or deposit. Much like the Castle Rock aggregate to the north of Raton Pass.

There is a much smaller cone-shaped off of I-25 south of Fountain that is an ancient calcium deposit which was deposited around a hot-water vent that was under water when this area was all under a shallow inland sea.

But enough of the geology lesson…

Having passed what I hope to be the last of the weather I will have, it is time to finish my pop, walk the dog and then get some lunch in Raton. I hope to be home in three hours if the weather holds.

I hope your day is going well, wherever you are!

Don Bergquist – Somewhere in Northern New Mexico – 22, May, 2005

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Driving West

It was a lovely brunch!

Sara and Elizabeth ran the kitchen while Andrew did the most important job of all: Keeping Uncle Don out of the way!

We had a pleasant last visit of the trip and then all headed our separate ways. I hit some heavy weather early on and decided that it was time for me to stop earlier than I had wanted. I had hoped not to stop until I was west of Oklahoma City. Unfortunately, the weather this morning has put be behind schedule and I decided that it was late enough for me to stop.

I decided this when, after chatting with Kathi on the phone earlier, I realized that I had completely misjudged where I was. I had thought I was through Okalahoma City – perhaps remembering when I passed through it on some other trip – but now that I am in a hotel in Midwest City I guess that I had not made as much mileage as I had hoped.

Well, I guess I will make this short and head off to bed.

I hope your day is going well, wherever you are!

Don Bergquist – Midwest City, Oklahoma – 21, May, 2005

Friday, May 20, 2005

The Big Day

What a day we have had! It was a wonderful morning. We all got together in the morning at the hotel restaurant to have breakfast and then headed over to The Bergquist’s House. We spent a pleasant morning doing this and that. I took the obligatory pictures of the graduate in her cap and gown. Damn I want a new camera!

The CCD is a bit slower than I like and I need to use a tripod for anything but the best lighting conditions. I have attached a link to my pictures of Sara in her cap and gown below. There are also pictures taken at the graduation but, again, due to the lighting, my camera did not take a number of them clearly because I wasn’t taking them with a tripod.

We had a lovely luncheon at a wonderful place that serves genuine Cajun food. I was dismayed to see that, when looking at the acoustical tiles that adorned the ceiling, although U of F and FSU were both represented on the ceiling, UCF, my alma mater, wasn’t! It is blatant favoritism. I, of course, took this as an opportunity to get a barb or two in to my brother and sister-in-law. Denis and Helen are both graduates of University of Florida and it is always a pleasure to remind them of their school’s failed attempt to annex my school. It is also nice to remind them that as of this year’s enrolment, UCF is the larger of the two schools.

Lunch Before Commencement

A fairly severe storm blew through whilst we were at lunch. At times, it was dark enough out to light the streetlights. But it blew over quickly and we made our way back to the hotel to get ready for the big activity of the afternoon.

The Main Event

The Graduate

After changing into our nice casual clothing, we all made our way to the Von Braun Center for the graduation. It was a nice ceremony and far shorter than I remember Elizabeth’s being the year-before-last. That one seemed to go on for ever! My brother confirmed this when I asked about it.

“Yes,” he said “Grissom High School is much larger than Lee High School is.” So I hadn’t imagined it. Sarah’s Graduation was far easier to sit though than Elizabeth’s. Later when eying the Grissom Tigers tee-shirt that my nephew was wearing I asked if there was any chance he wanted to transfer to Lee before he graduates in 2007. Unfortunately, I was informed that there is little-to-no chance of this happening.

After the graduation (for which I apologize – most of the pictures taken in the hall were shaky due to the lighting and the slowness of my camera chip) we went across to the park to take pictures. Those can also be seen at the link above.

We had Chinese for dinner and opened graduation gifts. It was a very nice evening. I have just gotten back from walking Saga and it is now time for bed. I am packed and can have it all back in the car in a matter of minutes so that I can get over to Denis & Helens for brunch before heading back. It should be great fun. The family will be leaving in three directions (West, North and South) after brunch tomorrow. I have about 1,500 miles ahead of me. Dad and Flo have a good two day drive that I estimate must be around 1,200 and Mary has the shortest at what must be around 800. It has been a great visit.

We do not get together often enough!

I hope wherever you are, you have your family close!

Don Bergquist – Huntsville, Alabama – 20, May, 2005

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Mood Swings

I cannot believe that it is even legal in a “Southern Cooking” restaurant to not offer Fried Green Tomatoes! Ruth and I lunched at The Cupboard, a traditional southern restaurant on Madison Avenue in Memphis. It is one of my favorites. Since two of my other favorites have closed since I left the Mid-South, I guess it is still my very favorite. Over Chicken-Fried Steak and Iced Tea (the wine of the south) Ruth and I talked over old times and discussed how the recent acquisition and the impending closure of the Memphis office is being taken in Memphis. As is to be expected, they are not happy about it. There is a bit of apprehension but I guess that everyone is about as would be expected. It was a bit depressing to think that it is the end of an era.

Saga had a pleasant afternoon in Memphis. I let her run in Ruth and John’s backyard and she helped-out by making sure that there were no squirrels unharassed in the yard. She also made an attempt at chasing some of the birds that had the bad grace to land and eye the back garden looking for anything that might be tasty. Saga also got to sit (although she did less sitting than watching the traffic go by on Central) with us on the porch as we sipped our tea and waited for the sun to start setting so that we could get out and walk in the cooling evening. We took a walk down to the cathedral and had a look around the gardens there. They have some lovely plantings. I wish I had more of an area to put in a garden.

Saga Watches Traffic in Memphis

Last night, Ruth and John and I went out to have Vietnamese food for dinner and had a pleasant conversation. We then all went out to get Lottery tickets. I checked my email today… that should tell you that I didn’t win!

Around 09:30 I headed east again and made excellent time getting the last 250 miles into Huntsville. I am thoroughly enjoying the audiobook. The plot is a bit confusing, but Robert Rankin has a way of taking complete chaos and making it make sense at the end. The first thing that I read by him; Armageddon: The Musical was very similar. It started-out as a complete mish-mash of plot devices and story lines that didn’t seem to connect but by the end I was really jazzed to read the other two books in the trilogy.

When I got into my hotel (at 13:00) I was told it would be about fifteen minutes before my room was ready. I took saga for a walk and headed back to check-in. To “Long-Story-Short” it for you, every time I checked (until I was finally allowed to check in at 15:30) I was told it would be the same fifteen minutes. At one point I sarcastically paraphrased a Douglas Adams line asking if it would fifteen real minutes or fifteen “just one minutes” which could keep me in the lobby all night.

After a quick swim, we all went to Gibson’s Barbecue. It was a wonderful time and we all had fun. Tomorrow is the graduation. I guess I had best wrap this up and get to bed. Tomorrow is likely to be a long day.

Have a great day! Stay well!

Don Bergquist – Huntsville, Alabama – 19, May, 2005

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Vacation – Still Driving East

It is about 10:00 (Mountain Time) on Wednesday morning and I have just arrived in Memphis. My drive was excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed the books and would recommend them to anyone who is looking for something to read (or listen to in their car on a trip).

Saga and I are going to be spending g a few minutes in the park here in Memphis before I go off to see Ruth and John and then go into the Memphis office. The next book queued in my player is Nostradamus Ate My Hamster by Robert Rankin.

Tomorrow I head off to Huntsville. Sorry for the short entry. It is HOT here! I am off in search of a cool drink and them am looking for some good old southern cooking!

Have a great day! Stay well!

Don Bergquist – Memphis, Tennessee – 18, May, 2005

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Vacation – Driving East

Perhaps there is something to the crackpot Biorhythm beliefs of the 60’s or 70’s. For those of you too young to remember Biorhythms, the theory goes something like this: every person inherits a set of sine waves that they cycle through endlessly throughout their lives. As far as I can remember, these cycles depended on nothing more than the time at which you were born and once started, never varied. I would rather think along these lines than think that perhaps Kathi is right and there is something fundamentally wrong with me as an individual.

Sunrise Over Colorado

I am thinking of Biorhythms and whether they explain my oddities because it is now almost 05:30 and I am somewhere south of Pueblo, Colorado watching the sunrise over the eastern planes. Raton Pass rises off to the south of me and beacons me on. I am driving east to the graduation of my second niece (Sarah’s) graduation. I love driving early. I left later than I wanted to… I was hoping to be in Raton Pass for this moment, but here I sit by the side of the road somewhere near Walsenburg.

I would rather believe that the reason that I get my love of being up to see sites like this because forty-some-odd years ago I awakened my mother at some ungodly early hour to get into this world and set in motion a steady oscillation that makes me crazy enough to find the early morning hours almost irresistibly attractive. Were I any kind of an artist, I would argue that I get up early on purely aesthetic grounds. Of course, Kathi could be entirely accurate. I could be just some kind of freak of nature that has an irrational need to leave the safety and comfort of a warm bed when rolling over and getting a few more hours sleep would be a far more sensible thing to do.

I left home a bit later than I wanted to this morning. I had intended to be driving south by 03:00 but Saga was a bit hesitant to avail herself of the grass in the park as quickly as I would have liked. I also wanted to make sure that I had not forgotten anything. I spent a few extra minutes getting some extra maps together so that I could have an alternate route should I need it. I have a long day of driving ahead of me. I hope to be east of Little Rock before I stop for the evening so I guess I had best be getting back on the road.

I have a full day of audio books queued for my listening pleasure. I will be listening to Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen and To the Stars by L. Ron Hubbard before I stop tonight.

Have a great day! Stay well!

Don Bergquist – Walsenburg, Colorado – 17, May, 2005

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Dogs in Public

I got home last night. Home!

Kathi met me at the airport and had brought some steaks to grill for dinner. I was dead tired (no, I didn’t get any sleep on the plane) so I dropped out of reality way too soon. This morning I was back at it, trying to get a bunch of stuff done before going on vacation next week. I was up early and ran into the office. I then started backing-up my computer so that it can be re-built and upgraded on Monday.

Kathy and I went out to lunch this afternoon and sat outside on a nice patio watching an unescorted kid make himself generally unwelcome on the patio. It made me think of the pubs in the United Kingdom. One of the first things I noticed was that people bring their dogs into pubs. In the US this would never, of course, happen. Health codes being what they are and all. They also bring children into the pubs, and mostly the children behave themselves. They seldom, for example, take-up one of the choice tables by themselves while the rest of the family eats inside. The kid also allowed his ice cream to melt through the mesh of the table to leave a white, creamy puddle below. In the UK most places require you to keep your dog in a lead. That would have been a good rule today for this kid.

Dogs in Pubs

With the exception of once, I have not ever seen dogs run wild in a pub. The one exception that I know if is at The Red Lion pub in Thames Ditton. Here, there is a pub dog. The publican’s black Labrador retriever is allowed the run of the bar. Any other dogs that come in are often entertained by the lab. It is a little like having both a human and a canine publican!

We went into the pub before curry Friday and there was a local visiting dog that was being entertained by the Canine Publican. Please pardon the low quality of the picture; I took it with my PDA and the lighting was not very good. It was fun to see that the dogs had made friends and were playing nicely together. I’d best get back to my preparations for vacation now.

I hope wherever you are, it is with friends.

Don Bergquist - 15-May-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Rushing Home

No pun intended, but I hope today flies by! I am so tired but have never really been able to sleep on airplanes. Why am I tired?

Well, last night, my last evening in the UK, my coworkers and I decided to go out for Curry at the Rose in Thames Ditton. It was quite nice. I had a curried lamb with spinach, garlic and tomatoes. Everyone had a pleasant time. One of the highlights of that portion of the evening, though, was when we all started telling jokes and had to explain a majority of them to one of our party. He claimed that he could not hear us, but I think it was our accents were not the type he has. Of course, it could be that, being from Russia natively, he just didn’t see why the jokes were funny. And it wasn’t just my jokes, all of us at the table had to explain our jokes and the remaining three of us seemed to enjoy the jokes (on the whole) that the others told. Well, it was all in good fun.

Curry Still Life
I then returned to the hotel and decided I needed to back immediately. So, of course, I went to the pub. After first leaving a wake-up call, I went over to the pub for the last bitter ale of the trip. Since a number of my friends where there, an ale turned into a couple ales which turned into three when it was time for me to go and so we stayed there in the pub chatting and talking about what we should do when next I go to the UK in July. They even made sure that I left with a memento of my visit: beer glasses I didn’t already have! What can I say? I think they like me there!

Not being a total moron, when I got back to my hotel at midnight, I immediately made myself a cup of cocoa and set-about packing. I was in bed by one; everything but my shaving gear, my pajamas, and the clothing I am now wearing safely packed up and ready to go.

This morning, I was up before the wake-up call came and was in the lobby sipping my first cup of coffee when the car service arrived at 06:30. (He was not due until 07:15.) It was not as if we were in a hurry. I mean I am really looking forward to getting home and seeing Kathi who will be picking me up from the airport, and then getting home to Saga and my own place tonight! But that was no reason the car service driver had to zoom down the M25 going in excess of 100 MPH! I guess he had other fares to collect this morning, I do not know but we made it to the airport just after 07:00 and for an 11:00 flight even I think that is a little early.

The captain informs us that there is a tailwind most of the crossing so we will be getting into Cincinnati early. The travel gods appear to be grinning on me! I will be home before I know it.

Good thing too! I have already seen the movies that are scheduled to play on the crossing and I have almost finished the book that I have with me! I hope that this is a smooth flight and I hope that I will get a chance to sleep, but as I have said, I almost never am able to sleep on planes!

I hope your travels through life treat you as well and that you have a pleasant arrival at your destination!

Don Bergquist – 14-May-2005 – Somewhere Over the North Atlantic

Friday, May 13, 2005

Last Day in the UK

I have just re-read the posting from last night. I do not mean to dwell on it, but some people are really tossers!

Today is my last day here for the trip. I leave for the US early Saturday morning. Today I have meetings scheduled for most of the day and when not in meetings I have a lot of projects to complete. This will be a short entry but I will write a nice one on the plane on my way home.

I am looking forward to getting home to my friends, all the people who are special to me back home, my home, my car, my dog, everything that makes my life at home what it is. I love coming here, do not get me wrong. I just love going home too. I wish there were some way I could take everything and every one that makes this place so special to me back to Denver with me. But then, there would be some other place to fuel my wanderlust. I have always been someone who needs to travel periodically.

One last thanks then to those of you who extend your kindness and hospitality to me on my travels here and everywhere else! To those of you back home, please remember, you are what makes it home! I'll see you all soon.

I hope that wherever you are and wherever you are going you find people who make the journey worthwhile!

Don Bergquist - 13-May-2005 - Thames Ditton

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Birthday Greetings

This evening I was invited to a birthday celebration from one of my friends from the pub.

What a great country! With the exception of a notable few, everyone here has been so friendly and polite! After such a short association with the people I have met, to be invited to celebrate an auspicious event as if we were old friends makes me feel really special. I thank everyone who has been so kind to me in my time here in the UK. Thank you for making me feel at home!

So, now, back at the hotel after the birthday celebration I want to make sure that I extend one last set of birthday greetings to Stephen. Happy Birthday, guy and thanks for inviting me to the party. Many happy returns of the day! Not everyone would have invited me to take part in their celbration. Let's face it, some people are just not cool.

To those of you who are, in the words of your countrymen, complete wankers I have only this to say: Get a clue!

Those of you who have been following my blog since December may remember the post I made back then about the two rude people I met on the road to Kingston. At least they were ambiguously rude. There were ways, in some alternate reality, that what they said to me could have been taken as other than an insult. I now have no doubt that there were truly unspeakably rude people here.

One of the people at the party, granted one that has a tendency to become too drunk too often and is not at all a happy drunk, made a comment that could be taken no way as anything other than unspeakably rude and confrontational. Luckily, everyone else at the party was cool and pretty much ignored this person who, as I said can best be described as a wanker. The epiphyte "tosser" is also appropriate. But now I am slipping into wankerism.

Well, I guess I had best complete this entry and get to packing. Tomorrow is my last day here on this trip and I have an early Saturday flight so I will want to get packed so I can spend some time with people at the pub tomorrow night.

I hope wherever you are today your day is relatively wanker free!

Don Bergquist - 12-May-2005 - Hampton Court

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Bell

This evening I went to a pub in East Molesey that is too cool!

The Bell is a wonderful old building on a quiet back street across from a church. The really interesting thing about it, though, is it looks as if it is frozen in time; caught half way through complete collapse. The walls slant, the floor tilts, there are no truly square windows. The slant is not great in any single surface, but the net effect is incredible. It is just enough to notice, not enough to really be worrying.

I am certain if the building were really falling down and dangerous it would be condemned, or perhaps made a landmark and preserved. I am told that the way to tell you have had a pint too many at The Bell is when the walls and floor look normal, it is time for you to leave. When it was described to me I thought it would be like a carnival funhouse. It was fun but it was no funhouse.

Afterward we went out for Curry. It was a pleasant evening. On the whole, what a nice group of people I have fallen-in with here in the United Kingdom.

I hope wherever you are is as pleasant!

Don Bergquist - 11-May-2005 - Hampton Court

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

I am a Rain God!

I suffer from no delusions of mediocrity. I know myself to be in charge of the weather. There is no need for shock and awe, anyone able to call forth a change in the weather at will and do so repeatedly is a weather god. I came to this realization this Sunday at the pub over drinks. (C’mon! You just had to know that there was alcohol involved in this story.)

After the parade and the afternoon at the park, the group of us returned to take turns wearing historic military hats. Well, during this time the occasion arose to use one of the quotes from a movie that I use rather a lot, really: “It could be worse, it could be raining.” And within seconds, it was raining.

No, seriously! The pub, which was crowded to begin with, was suddenly absolutely jam packed because people were dashing in and they were dripping. We all looked out at it and it was pouring. “Sorry.” I said, “I thought you wanted the rain here. You were complaining about the drought.” They jokingly made comments about how the rain was entirely my fault and so I played along and said that if they didn’t like the rain I’d just make it stop. And again, within a minute, stop it did.

We all just laughed it off and later as one of the gang was getting up to leave I said that they had better stay for another round or I would make it rain again. I swear that I am not making this up but, rain again it did! As I was saying it it started coming down again. My hand which was pointing out the window dropped and I turned back to the crowded table and said “do not displease the rain god or he will bring forth the hail.”

As an aside – Treavor, the new publican, asked me last night if I had been caught-out in the hail Sunday. He said he looked out the window about seven o’clock and there were ice pellets in the planter outside the kitchen window. He had been in the kitchen all day Sunday and didn’t know that we had spent most of the later part of the afternoon there. So, unless Angie, Bev, Kevin, Paul or Terry told him about the freaky coincidences that I am now relating to you, he had no reason to make-up the hail so I am guessing it actually did hail.

Everyone at the table now was a bit taken aback by the fact that I seemed to be causing weather changes by simply pointing out the window and mentioning the kind of weather that I wanted. They all asked me to make it warm and sunny. I told them that unless the pleased the rain god he would call forth S – N – O – W. They all told me to put the finger away and quit showing off. So I said “Sunny and warm” and pointed out the window.

It really is easy being a rain god if you, from where you are sitting can depend on bands of rain and sun to be passing over with some regularity. Sometimes you get lucky. Or perhaps I am a rain god.

I hope the weather where you are is pleasant; if not, let’s see what I can do about it!

Don Bergquist – 10-May-2005 – Thames Ditton

Monday, May 09, 2005


It has been said that a man wears many hats in his lifetime. If this is the case, then Kevin is more prepared than usual for life.

Kevin is a mate of mine from down at the King’s Arms. He is the one that got me into a bobby’s helmet at the parade yesterday. I had not actually ever thought about getting a bobby to let me put on his helmet until Kevin said to me “Do you want a picture of yourself with a real bobby’s helmet on?” What does one say to that?

I am fairly certain that every tourist would love to have such a picture but how many of us (at least how many of us with manners) would walk up to a stranger (even one in uniform – or should that be especially one in uniform) and ask to put on their hat? I wouldn’t!

Anyway, Kevin asked the bobby at one of the booths that he knew if I could try on the helmet, Terry took the picture and here it is.

Self Portrait with Bobby Helmet

After we got back to the King’s Arms, we all got around a table where Kevin got out his duffle bag of hats. There were Russian military hats, US, UK, and German helmets, and a couple from China and North Korea. I guess all told there were about ten to pass around. We all put them on and took our pictures. Please follow the link above to find pictures of all of us.

I hope you have a wonderful day wherever you are!

Don Bergquist – 09-May-2005 – Hampton Court

Sunday, May 08, 2005

V E Day in Bushy Park

Today is the sixtieth anniversary of the Victory in Europe. One of my mates from the King’s Arms told me about a German Chancellor who is reported to have said to a reporter when asked about the pending celebrations: “It has been sixty years, get over it!”

The weather was gorgeous! We could not have asked for a lovelier day for the festivities. A group of us met up at the pub and went over into Bushy Park to see the parade. I guess I should be honest. It was not much of a parade. It was fun, but nothing spectacular. They had a number of people in period costume, old bicycles, and a marching band.

Victory in Europe Day as Celebrated in Bushy Park

They also had a number of cars and other army vehicles that did not fit the period of the 1940’s.

I took pictures of all the groups as they came past and will post them when I get to the office. But now I am off to try on various military hats that Kevin has brought to the pub.

I hope you have a wonderful day wherever you are!

Don Bergquist – 08-May-2005 – Hampton Court

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Saturday in the Parks

What a Saturday it has been! The weather was lovely. Like many days that I have been here, the clouds have hung over the city with the threat of rain. But today with the temperatures being mild, and the air relatively dry, rather than feeling oppressive and pendulous, the clouds have given a bit of an interesting sky texturing effect.

I grabbed my cameras early and headed over to Bushy Park, last seen in the throes of the springtime bulbs; it is now colorful with a host of new and interesting flowering plants. I walked the lawns loving the interplay of the light with the surrounding greens and browns of the earth and the trees. The shadows and the reindeer in the park played hide and seek among the lawns at the base of the trees.

In the woodland gardens, there was all quiet and solitude as I walked among the paths I had discovered on my last trip and rediscovered them as clothed in new and more colorful boughs. After walking for a few hours and taking many shots of the gardens, I decided to hunt-out a secluded spot and just meditate on the loveliness of the gardens. I believe that this may have been a mistake.

Bushy Park on a Cloudy Day

This afternoon, you see, I had planned to see the British Museum. I took the train into the city and, on the suggestion of a mate of mine from the pub; I changed to the Victoria tube line at Vauxhall. This was the last set of directions I was to get today that ended with my actually arriving at my intended goal. After alighting from the tube, I asked directions. By dint of following these, I became lost. So I stopped a bobby and asked for directions again. These I repeated and attempted to make sure I had them. The problem is that the part of London where the British Museum is located is not one that lends itself easily to navigation by out-of-towners. Apparently the locals have a time with it as well.

After walking for hours, I found myself in a lovely park with shady trees and benches. I decided to sit for a while and watch the children play. Unfortunately, my earlier relaxation had primed me for enjoying a quiet, contemplative, serene… Okay, I admit it!

I fell asleep. I was so relaxed (and tired) that I just sit there, comfortably reclined on the bench and slumped into slumber. I awoke around sunset and tramped back to the nearest tube stop I could find for the trip back to Hampton Court. By the time I arrived at the pub it was after ten and I had time only to say “Hi” to the few people still there, have a quick pint and head off to the hotel. Of course, my nap means that I am not ready for bed just yet so I have time to write in my blog.

I hope you have a wonderful day wherever you are!

Don Bergquist – 07-May-2005 – Hampton Court

Friday, May 06, 2005

...in the interest of fairness...

Here is a rare second entry in the interest of fairness.

A Pleasant Day Outside

There are some truly lovely days here in Thames Ditton. It is not oppressively foggy and overcast every time I look out my window. On lovely days like today, the warfside seating area at Ye Olde Swan (in the lower right-hand corner, just beyond that wall) fills-up fast.

It is really a lovely day out and although I do have work to do, I have to take just one more minute and wish I was next-door with a pint. Okay, a pint of Diet Coke... It is after all the middle of the day and I have a meeting starting in a few minutes.

I hope wherever you are you are having a great day!

Don Bergquist - 06-May-2005 - Gazing at the Thames from my office in Thames Ditton

__ U __ __ L E D

A busy day always seems to fly by. Conversely slow days are slow because you are not busy. I saw a science program at one point (I think it was a Nova episode called It’s About Time) that explained this phenomenon. I believe the explanation goes something like this:

When you are busy, your mind has no time to register time passing so when you are done with your day, your mind says “Wow, that day went fast!” When you’re not busy, your mind notes the passing of time far more often and after so many recognitions that time is passing, it gets to noticing that the time is not passing as fast as it does some time and you are left wondering if the day will ever end!

Today flew by. I had meetings to discuss the development that I am over in the UK doing, as well as meetings to discuss tangential duties I have. These last meetings were held by conference call with people back in the states so they were rather late in the day. Between the meetings, I had a couple writing assignments to complete and, oh yes, I snuck out to sit in the memorial garden at St. Nicholas’ church for a few minutes to eat some lunch. It is a lovely day out, as I notice every time I have a chance to look outside.

Nicely punctuating the day (and filling-in around the edges of some of the other projects I have had today) were the calls from one of my co-workers in this office.

“Don,” she said on one of these calls “I need a word that means: To Have Faith In.”

Believe?” I asked?

“Okay.” She said, hanging-up.

Later, she called and needed the name of A Large Group. “Cherry Poppin’ Daddies?” I suggested. “No,” she said, “one word. Preferably a short one.”

“Oh, okay. How about swarm.”

“What is A Main Port in Yemen ending in an ‘N’?”

“Are you doing a crossword puzzle?” I asked (while quickly Googleing “main port in Yemen”)

“Ah…” Came the response “It’s a slow day.”

“According to Google it is Aden.”

I really didn’t mind the clues… I wish I had been able to do more of them, but it was a busy day. On the way back from lunch I did take time to help with a puzzle that I have never worked before. It was pretty cool, actually. They take a completed crossword puzzle and divide it into twenty five even pieces with three letters to a side (nine letters in each block) and then scramble the pieces. They then give you the clues for all the horizontal words (but none of the vertical ones) by line. So it might say:

Line One: The Queen’s Seat; Early Day
Line Two: Not Big
Line Three: Mosquito-Borne Illness; Wagner’s Work

You then have to find the correct square pieces in the jumble to fine one that on line one gives you both “Throne” and “Morning” while (without moving the five pieces after you have those words) also spelling “Minute” on line two and “Malaria” and “Composer” on line three. Additionally, the completed solution cannot have any additional words on those lines and must have blank spaces after and/or before the words as placed. To further confound you, there may be more than one block of nine spaces that will fit in any single place on the grid and give you valid horizontal words for the clues but not fit so that they spell valid words vertically. It is challenging. It took me about half-an-hour to get the twenty-five pieces of the puzzle into the correct orientation.

It was only later that I discovered that over here the book these puzzles came from offered cash prizes to people who successfully completed the puzzles. I told my coworker that I wanted a cut should they win anything.

Anyway, after my last meeting of the day I took a stroll back to the hotel and sat down to get a few things done. I have now, that I have finished all the final paperwork of the day, I can get my computer shutdown. I’ll post this when I next get online. For now, it’s time to get the heck out of here and go have…

Uh… what is a three letter word that means Fermented Alcoholic Beverage Containing Malt And Hops, Similar To But Heavier Than Beer?

I hope you have a great day wherever you are today!

Don Bergquist – 05-May-2005 – Hampton Court

Thursday, May 05, 2005


It is interesting to travel to other countries to see how your country is perceived outside its own boundaries. There are the obvious slaps at the land of one’s birth that one needs to be prepared for; such as being told every day for the first week of my trip that the US President is a “Total Wanker.” (No duh, guys! Really?)

Then there are the more subtle ways that one learns how their homeland is perceived. These ways include such obscure ways as going to the pubs or watching the television. Today I give you two examples of how the United States is viewed in the United Kingdom as evidenced by 1) an overheard conversation at a pub and 2) a television program of last night.

First the conversation. I was sitting at a table reading a book on Geology last evening minding my own business and sipping on a Diet Coke when I overheard a couple sitting at the next table and deriding horribly, the nerve of an American who had come into their shop earlier that morning. From what I heard, the American had had the effrontery to suggest that the upcoming election was a chance to re-elect Tony Blaire and prove that the war was a good thing. I agree that this comment by one of my countrymen was one that I do not fully share, but please, everyone, quit painting all Americans with the same brush! We know that Blair was not elected unanimously last time! Half of us didn’t vote for our wanker president either.

Then, on the television last night, there was a history of VE Day. This Sunday is the sixtieth anniversary of the Allied Victory in the European Theatre during World War II. The coverage of the anniversary included interviews with people from there and a retrospective of the news coverage from back then. The slant of the program was one that I had not heard before. The coverage tended to blame much of the problematic history of the last sixty years on the American decision to allow the Soviet army to conquer Berlin. It was an interesting spin on the story. I am not saying it was untrue, it was just a version of the history I am not used to hearing.

Well, today is election day here in the UK and I am sure there will be many interesting and active debates tonight in pubs all over the area. I cannot wait to listen to the talk tonight to find-out what else we are responsible for.

I hope you are having a great day wherever you are!

Don Bergquist – 05-May-2005 – Thames Ditton

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Another Overcast Afternoon

It is cliché to talk about the UK and rain. I know it! But I must say at least the UK has the good grace to do most of the actual raining over night. The streets have been wet every morning when I got up, but I have not been rained on this trip. Luckily (as well) there has been lovely weather on the weekends. I hope my luck holds.

Well, that is all for today! I have been in meetings all day and want to get home. I promise a longer entry tomorrow. But since a picture is worth a thousand words, here is a thousand words from outside my office window.

I hope you’re warm and dry wherever you are!

Don Bergquist – 04-May-2005 – Thames Ditton

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


gre·gar·i·ous (gri-gâr-e-us) adj.

1) Seeking and enjoying the company of others; sociable. Synonym: Social.

2) Tending to move in or form a group with others of the same kind: gregarious bird species.

3) Botany. Growing in groups that are close together but not densely clustered or matted.

I received an email after I posted the last journal entry pointing out that I seem to always be visiting people, being invited out to their place for dinner, or inviting them to mine. I guess that is true, but it is really nothing new.

One of the few stories that my Dad tells that is more truth than exaggeration is the story of how I used to make friends when I was a kid. I have never been an introvert. As Dad tells it, I was always gregarious. That’s me a regular social butterfly. In a nutshell, Dad tells the story of one of my many early excursions this way.

A Toast to Friends!

1968, Blue Ridge Mountains

The Bergquist family awakes to find one of its members missing. In a fit of panic the eldest Bergquists, Denis and Jeanne, leaving the remaining children in the camper with strict orders not to move or for any reason leave the camper, set off in opposite directions around the campground circle. They stop at each camp site asking if anyone has seen their number two son, Donald. A six-year-old towhead who apparently wandered off from his own campsite in the early morning hours and now could be anywhere.

At each site they stop at, they get the same story: “Oh, yes! We’ve seen him, he was here earlier. We had him over for breakfast.”

They return to their site some time later to find me sitting at the picnic table waiting for them to get home and put breakfast on the table.

That is, at least the way that my Dad tells the story. He has never actually seen the problem with the way that he tells the story. He tells it in a way that leads the listener to believe that this was a fairly regular occurrence. If this was such a regular occurrence, why would they be freaked. And why would they not know I would be back?

Well, I guess the point of my story is that I have always been a social animal and will likely remain so for some time to come.

I hope that you have a great day, where ever you are and whoever you are with!

Don Bergquist – 03-May-2005 – Thames Ditton

Monday, May 02, 2005

Dinner on the Thames

One of the things about travel that I love so much is the people you meet. My recent houseguests are just two of the fabulous people I have met over here. There are also the mates of mine from the pub with whom I debate Physics and Statistics.

Even though I am a self-confessed shameless Anglophile, I will admit to not being entirely agog at the people whose island I occasionally have the pleasure of sharing. There was that rude couple from the walk into Kingston I wrote about back in December. But most of the people I have met here are great!

Les and Jen are prime examples of nice people I have met over here.

Les and Jen and I have chatted down at The King's Arms on a number of occasions. He is a brit by birth and the grace of the almighty, she an American who has seen the light and immigrated here. We have always had pleasant conversations and they seen such nice people that it was not a bit when I received an invitation to dinner when I had a chance. They invited me to join them for dinner on the Thames.

This was not to be any figurative dinner on the Thames, either but literally on the Thames! You see, Les and Jen live on a houseboat moored off a small island in the Thames a bit upstream from Hampton Court Palace. The invitation was to meet Les at the pebbly beach just by the boat hire to the south of the palace and he would shuttle me to the island in his motor boat. We met at approximately five and headed to the Island by way of Ye Olde Swan, a pub which, coincidentally, my Thames Ditton office window overlooks.

After a quick pint (or two) we boated back up the Thames, dodging the odd weekend punter or two and an ersatz stern-wheel paddleboat; making our way eventually through the locks and up to the island. On an side note, I believe this is the first time I have ever traveled through a set of locks. I have, of course, seen them before, many times. But I believe my previous experience with locks has all been of a more theoretical nature.

Sunset on the Thames

The dinner was superb and my hosts could not have been more warm and accommodating!

We arrived and had a wonderful glass of white port on the deck watching the sun set over Molesey. We then had a wonderful dinner. Onion soup with home made croutons, a lovely stew of chicken, mushrooms, and onions; and an incredible pudding filled with blackcurrants, raspberries, and blackberries. All accompanied by a wonderful red wine I had discovered at a local shop. (I couldn’t arrive empty-handed. It was a wonderful, complex red called Sangre de Torro – Bull’s Blood.)

About midnight they invited me to join them again the next time I have an evening free. Although I had a good feel of where I was and it was not a long walk, Les showed me the way back to Hampton Court. It was a very pleasant time. I cannot wait until the next time I am invited to their place.

I hope that wherever it is your day is as pleasant!

Don Bergquist – 02-May-2005 – Hampton Court

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Things Change

Wow! That was the fastest I have ever made it through Customs!

My plane was early into the UK. I made it to the head of the line at Customs less than fifteen minutes before I had left the plane. I then arrived at the carousel to see my bag already on it. With no delays, I was out into the main terminal before my car service arrived.

Armed with a couple hundred pounds in my poke, I headed to the hotel in Hampton Court. With a slight detour through the countryside to miss an accident that had the motorway snarled, it was a lovely drive. The weather here is wonderful. The wilderness has changed with the seasons. Where a month ago were the profusion of daffodils, snowdrops, and other spring flowers, there are now tall grasses interspersed with tiny yellow flowers, looking like drops of sunlight in the grass. There are also a profusion of daisies, tulips, and other flowers of the early summer. There are lovely yellow and purple flowering vines everywhere.

Hampton Court Palace: The Wilderness
But the more things change, the more they stay the same. The King’s Arms is still the pub I have come to love spending time in. Last night, after doing a few first-minute priority things, unpacking, taking a walk into Kingston, etc., I went to the pub for a pint and a conversation. The topics ranged freely from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” (in all its various incarnations), to The Simpsons, to Physics.

I cannot remember exactly how we got onto this last topic, but it was the part of the conversation that lasted the longest. We discussed physics, specifically gravity. As is (fairly) commonly known, Newton’s law of gravity states (in practical terms) that when an apple falls to the ground it is really not doing what we commonly believe. Not only is the apple being pulled to ward the earth, but the earth is (no matter how minutely) being pulled toward the apple. The amount of the pull being dictated only by the mass of the objects involved (the apple and the planet) and the inverse cube of their distances from each other. The part of the conversation that was so fascinating was whether the starting state of the apple affects the amount of the pull that the apple has on the planet.

If the apple is on the branch of a tree, does the apple still pull the earth towards it? Is there an action that imparts any inertia to the earth that must be reacted to when the apple falls? Yes, I know that it is a geeky kind of conversation to have at a bar, but this is the kind of thing my friends from the bar discuss while there. Last trip the heady conversation winner was probability. Oh well, to each his own, I guess!

I hope you are having a lovely day wherever you are!
Don Bergquist – 01-May-2005 – Hampton Court