Monday, August 20, 2007

Allyson and I are headed up the Niger tomorrow to visit Djenne and Mopti. The trip (by car, not boat) will take about eight hours each way. Allyson's going on business; I'm just tagging along for the ride.

I'm looking forward to the trip. The mosque in Djenne (pronounced "jen-nay") is the largest mud-built structure in the world (it will be especially interesting to see it in the rainy season). Mopti is a major center of trade. It should be fun.

Friday, August 17, 2007

There's a story in today's Washington Post about the construction problems at new embassies, including the air-conditioning problem at the embassy here in Bamako. Click here to read it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The World’s Oldest Person has died. Yone Minagawa of Japan was 114.

Edna Parker of Shelbyville, Ind. must have mixed feelings about that. Also 114, Edna now inherits the title of World’s Oldest Person – but she’s not likely to hold it for very long. The last four World’s Oldest Persons all died within eight months of becoming the World’s Oldest Person.

Reminds me of a story I did for NPR back in 2000.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

On Saturday I happened to catch a few minutes of the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony on AFN. One of the inductees gave a long-winded speech that included this stirring line: “I’d like to thank my strength and conditioning coach.” There wasn’t a wet eye in the house.

Now, it’s not likely to happen, but if I ever get inducted into a hall of fame or win a "major award," here’s what my speech will be: “Thank you, Allyson. Thank you, Mom and Dad. Drive home safely everybody.”

No one besides your spouse/significant other and your parents need be thanked. Well, maybe God. But definitely not your high school English teacher, or your spiritual advisor, or your aerobics instructor, or the neighbor who fed the cats when you were out of town – even if they all “stayed with me through all the hard times,” “never gave up on me,” “always believed in me,” etc.

Which reminds me: The winners of the Nobel Prizes will be announced in October. Fingers crossed.