Friday, May 12, 2006

Roundup on the Inklings Roundtable of Houston

Mary Dodson Wade is a down-to-Earth Texas lady who gently corrected me on one point: she is not really an expert on C.S. Lewis. She is a professional writer who has written 35 books, many of them as works-for-hire for educational publishers. Her market niche is for younger readers at the elementary school level. She actually has written some neat books, some of them for the older student/adult markets.

Mary's specialty is really Texas history, and she has written books on George W. Bush (when he was still Governor of Texas) and Condoleeza Rice (when she was National Security Director). Other Texas-related books include a biography of Sam Houston.

The C.S. Lewis book is part of a series of books that includes a biography. She didn't have any copies of the Tolkien book with her (someone else wrote that one) but I bought a signed copy of her C.S. Lewis book. For a self-acclaimed non-Lewis scholar, she gave a very interesting and well-considered introduction to the man. There were quite a few of us in the audience who really only knew Lewis through his Tolkien connections.

Lewis afficionados undoubtedly know already there really was a wardrobe that Lewis and his cousins played in when they were children. Mary showed us some interesting pictures and covered the high points of his life. If she gives another lecture to the Inklings Roundtable, I'll be sure to mention it again. If you ever have an opportunity to see this world-traveling lady, do so.

Jane Chance attended the dinner tonight and she was in pretty good spirits. She has expressed an interest in Salsa dancing on occasion so I've agreed to invite her to join me and my friends next week. This weekend I only have plans for Friday evening. I'll be going dancing with someone I haven't mentioned on the blog and I don't think I'll say too much right now. She is a friend I've known for a few years. When she called me to confirm the invitation this evening, she asked who else was going. I said I was tired of putting groups together. It's just the two of us. She'll have to join me from work, as she has an after-hours function to attend to.

Things heated up over at SEOMoz in one of their blog discussions. People came out of the woodwork to argue with me over imaginary statements I didn't actually make. Without getting into the details of a banal technical argument, suffice to say that as soon as I challenged the blogger on a small point, people began reading meaning into my words that was not there. This is a common fallacy of Internet discussions, and I've succumbed to it myself on a few occasions. Someone writes the equivalent of "I don't think hamburgers are pink" and a lot of other people immediately respond with, "Why do you think hotdogs are blue?"

Total disconnect.

But that's the way it goes, sometimes.

I had a lot of errands to run at lunch and so I stopped at a McDonald's near the office to grab a quick bite to eat. Apparently they were having a corporate inspection. I saw about six or seven people standing around with stop-watches and clip-boards and they were timing how fast orders were processed.

McDonald's: I would appreciate an improvement in quality of food over speed of service. I usually only eat McDonald's as a last resort. Why kids love McDonald's food is beyond me.

But the girl in the pink golf shirt was cute. I would have loved to been interviewed by her. Unfortunately, they seemed only interested in how promptly the counter-people served up orders (and how well they were made by the people in the back). The staff were obviously feeling anxious over the inspection. But I've stopped at this store before. I've never found much to complain about. Only once did they mess up an order.

Some of the other fast food restaurants in the area could use similar inspections, in my opinion. Ah well.


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