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August 24, 2006


i love your (or J.'s) walmart repartee.

your book looks good, beth, and if the writing on your blog is any indication of what we can expect within its pages, i shall look forward to reading it.

I have a $25 lawn mower that you can borrow ;-)

It's such a culture shock, whenever I go or come back from the US. Grocery shopping in the middle of the night! Stores open weekend nights too! I took advantage of these, in the US, and though occasionally I find the early closing times on weekends annoying, mostly I don't miss them, when I'm here, and sometimes it's nice not to even have the option.

Throughout my childhood, stores were all shut on Sundays, except in the weeks leading up to Christmas. (I forget when it started, I think it was 3 or 4 weekends.) And then, in the early 90s, they changed the law -- stores could be open from 12-5 (or so) on Sundays. What a revelation. I was about 13 and so excited.

Thanks for this, Beth. North American travelogues fascinate me - the topography, the collisions of cultures, the distances. My own experiences of travelling in Canada & the States are few in number but vividly recalled. My great unconsumed ambition is to make that mythic journey across from East to West. One day...

Dick, I hope you can do it sometime. I've only driven across America once, in 1973, but it definitely changed me and my perception of the country. My husband and I would like to do it again, together this time, taking either a much more northern route or more southern. But of couse there is now Canada, and the possibility of a train all the way across too...I agree with you, there is something about the distance, and the change in culture and topography as you go across, that is epic, but the westward expansion is also deeply embedded in each of our psyches, I think, and the chance to retrace this (in either direction) seems to satisfy something in the North American consciousness.

As an English student in the USA during 1989-1990, I crossed America from Boston to San Francisco on Amtrak - it was so thrilling; truly a journey of a lifetime. It was minus 50 degrees or something when I left Boston in December -and 77 degrees when I arrived in California. Three days on a train, just slept in the seat, barely washed (!!!). Every day brought magnificent views (even the miles upon miles of flat prairie was a point of interest for someone who comes from a small country). Met lots of retired Americans crossing their country for the first time.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.