Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Chapter 1 - July 6, 2004

Just got back from a 10 day conference and then vacation in Florida. I had a great conference - learned a lot, went to some good parties, and even met E.L. Doctorow at one of them. That party, thrown by the journal the Nation, also was attended by the New Jersey librarian whose quick action saved Michael Moore's book Stupid White Men from the shredder. She was also instrumental in getting a special showing of Fahrenheit 911 as a fundraiser for several library causes. This resulted in a full house for the 2000 seat theater, and a raucously positive reception for the film. On one night, Universal Studios was booked for a librarians-only party, which meant some pretty short lines for most rides. On the whole, Epcot was the best park and Disney World was the worst. MGM Studios edged out Universal because a lot of their attractions were a salute to the art and craft of the cinema, whereas the rides in Universal were there to knock you around. I came out of the "Back to the Future" ride with back pains, but I can't say I wasn't warned - they had posted signs all the way up.

At the end of the conference, we rented a car and drove 50 miles to Cocoa Beach so my son and I could tour the Kennedy Space Center while my wife got extra beach time. At the end of the day, everyone was happy. I must be the last New Yorker in the world to visit Florida, and I honestly don't see this as somewhere that I would ever retire. The weather was so hot and humid that I felt like I was back in the Philippines. The prices for anything in the Orlando area resembled highway robbery. The theme parks were fun at times, but they were jammed even on weekdays in the off season. It was fun, but I'm glad to be back home.

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