When you are white in America, anything is possible….

Last week, I attended the American Society of Criminology annual meetings. (Mark Kleiman,Johann Koehler, Keith Humphreys, and some others were also in attendance.) My friend Peter Reuter and I got bored and decided to take a walk. Not far from the conference, we encountered the Moscone convention center. A door was propped open. So we went inside. We spotted some sort of football-field-size convention hall at the bottom of a long escalator.

We went inside, where we encountered people setting up for a big auto show. There were maybe one hundred Porsches, Ferraris, and other fancy sports cars, classic cars from the 1930s, and more. We strolled around for about thirty minutes, taking pictures among the people polishing the cars.

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We wore our ASC conference badges, which of course had nothing to do with whatever everyone else was wearing around us who were actually supposed to be there.

We left the same way we came in. No one gave us a second look. Maybe they would have given us one of the cars, if we had only asked for the keys.

Continue Reading…

November 11

It’s still Armistice Day in Britain; officially, Victoire 1918 in France, though it’s not a day of joy.

The Menin Gate at Ypres, a British Empire Commonwealth war memorial whose walls are densely packed with 54,000 names of dead soldiers whose bodies were not recovered identifiably from the Flanders mud. Many more lie in orderly war cemeteries nearby. There are plenty of flowers stuck to the walls at Menin; Ypres is far more accessible to British visitors than the other mega-monument lost in the Somme beetfields at Thiépval. A busy road with bus routes passes through the Menin Gate, so the memorial is pleasantly integrated in the life of the town.

EUROPE FOR THE CWGC BY BRIAN HARRIS © 2006Credit New Zealand War Graves Project

The memorial includes a miniature, four-foot bronze version of itself, explained in Braille. (I didn’t check if it includes a tiny self-referential model of the emodel.) Did it take the Great War for the disabled to start being treated as citizens?

At Menin, a bugler plays the Last Post (Taps) every evening at dusk. Here is his Aussie counterpart in Anzac hat at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Bad day in the blogosphere

Kevin Drum is one of the high-candlepower sources in public deliberation.  This did not begin my day well.  My aunt succumbed to this disease fifty-odd years ago, and  one bright spot here is that Kevin’s prospects are so much better than hers. Another is Kevin’s completely unwhiny, thoughtful affect.  Get better, Kevin, and my best to Marian. And the cats.

Why we should fund medical and all science research more, I leave for another post.