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The Death Rattles of the Himalayan Yeti

We interrupt our usual blogging for a look back at how we spent our Thanksgiving vacation. There are a bunch of photos here of Your Humble Narrator meeting some of his Imaginary Internet Friends in person on the following page. They're somewhat big files, so I'm putting in a page break to keep them off the homepage to minimize bandwidth if you're not on a peppy broadband connection.

Packing for a two week trip in two very disparate climates is quite a challenge. Fortunately, my wife approaches these things in much the same detail that Eisenhower planned continental invasions and Von Braun approached lunar landings. Multiple Excel spreadsheets and pre-flight checklists are involved. (You think I'm kidding.)

And they're needed, too, since we were about to head off to first a week on the National Review Caribbean Cruise, and then a week in South Jersey to visit my mom – and then a weekend excursion to New York before finally returning to California.

We flew out of San Jose Airport, where some bright spark has gotten the idea of placing a player piano in the parent/child waiting area just before the TSA line. Picture in your mind music by Hieronymus Bosch, and you begin the harmonic possibilities of nervous, fidgety five year olds banging on a player piano. It's just what you need to hear while you're worried about the TSA-induced small horrors to follow. You can feel the contempt of the TSA agents as you make your way through the line. They hate us – they really hate us!

Our flight from San Jose to Dallas was relatively uneventful, but the next leg, from D-FW to Miami was interesting. The stewardess had an unusually anal retentive briefing, perhaps because of how little Miami-bound tourists pay attention when it comes to opening the emergency exit in the unlikely event of a water landing. She started the briefing by referring to the Boeing 737 we were encased in as the "Lamborghini of the skies" – considering the aircraft’s high horsepower, low gas mileage and cramped leg space, I guess I can see that.

Nina has written her cruise notes, and James Lileks has plenty of notes on the NR Cruise, so I won’t rehash the trip at sea, except to provide some photos, which start on the next page.