Greek Yogurt — Under There Somewhere

I’m down in Cincinnati today, meeting friends for breakfast at the Maplewood. You order at the counter, sit down, and wait for the food to be delivered. I got the Greek yogurt, figuring it would be a nice, light, nourishing choice. This enormous bowl is what I got.

I’m guessing there’s some Greek yogurt somewhere under the blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, seeds, honey, granola, and kiwi fruit. Kiwi fruit? It’s a new take on an old favorite.

A Practical Test Of The Butterfly Effect

The butterfly effect posits that small changes can eventually be amplified into large differences in an outcome — that the beating of a butterfly’s wings in Africa, for example, can eventually affect the course of a hurricane as it moves across the Atlantic.

I believe in the butterfly effect, and think it is inarguable that small changes can have a significant ultimate impact.  I believe it because I put the butterfly effect to a practical test every time I drive to Cincinnati — as I did this morning.

Let me state for the record that the drive from Columbus to Cincinnati for a 9 a.m. meeting . . . well . . . sucks.  That’s because there’s no good time to leave.  Leave too early, and you sail past the choke points with almost no traffic and arrive in Cincinnati at 7:15, with plenty of time to kill in a sleepy Queen City.  Try to time it so you arrive close to 9 a.m. and you’re bound to run into hellacious traffic jams from King’s Island until you’re in sight of the Procter & Gamble buildings.  And there’s no doubt in my mind that my decision on when to leave influences the traffic conditions that I encounter.  Simply by deciding to roll over and sleep a little later, I inevitably produce the crushing congestion that makes the trip so unpleasant.

And there’s an even more apparent practical confirmation of the butterfly effect when you’re driving, too.  Let’s say you’re mired in a traffic jam in which, contrary to common sense and all that’s holy, your car in the left, “passing” lane is at a dead stop, while the traffic in the middle lane is moving briskly past.  If you change your lane to try to start moving again, traffic in that new lane will immediately come to a halt.  Why?  The butterfly effect, and the fact that every other driver in the stuck lane saw the same traffic flow you did and switched lanes at exactly the same time.

It’s nice to know that the butterfly effect is real, but have you ever noticed that the butterfly effect always produces something bad?  Maybe we should call it the moth effect instead.

Who Are These Guys?

Pretty impressive win tonight for the Cleveland Browns — but equally clearly, a stunningly bad performance for the Cincinnati Bengals . . . and especially QB Andy Dalton.

I’m not saying the Browns are world-beaters, but they beat the Bengals thoroughly and convincingly.  The Bengals lost at home for the first time in years, and the Browns won a division game on the road for the first time in forever.  The Browns D shut down the Bengals and forced a lot of turnovers, and the offense ran the ball when out had to do so — and now the Browns are tied for first in the AFC North.  Great games for Joe Haden, Buster Skrine, the entire Browns defense, the offensive line, the running backs, and Brian Hoyer.  Oh, and the coaching staff did a pretty good job, too.

Hey, am I dreaming?  And is Andy Dalton having a nightmare?

Afternoon At The Ballpark

In Cincinnati on a beautiful day to watch the Reds play the Cubs. Great American Ballpark is a terrific venue, with downtown Cincinnati as the backdrop. The Reds have struggled of late, but they’re drubbing the Cubs today.

Going to an afternoon ballgame on a weekday is like an end-of-summer treat.

The Gods Hate A Gimp

Yesterday I learned a valuable life lesson.

I knew that heelwalking through an airport in my ugly special shoe would not be easy. Airports are among the most wide open interior spaces we encounter in our daily lives. You start at the outer ring, with parking, and then progressively work your way inward, stepping through through the vast check-in lobby, followed by the TSA security lines and fragrant food court and shopping areas, then moving to your concourse, and your gate, and finally strolling down the jetway to your plane.

IMG_20140408_181947In our rush to get to the plane, we tend not to think of the sweep of these vast spaces. At least, I didn’t — until I started walking with a short-stepped, orthopedic shuffle. Yesterday, every rampway and concourse seemed enormous and unending.

I knew it would be that way, and I was mentally prepared. What I wasn’t prepared for was this — in both the Cincinnati and Newark airports, the moving walkways that help to shuttle us along were closed for maintenance. What are the chances of that? And in both airports my planes were at gates that were at the farthest end of the concourse. Seriously? And at Newark, the taxi stand isn’t right next to the exit, but across lanes of traffic and then over past the parking and rental bus stops.

From this experience I can only conclude — the gods, and airport designers, hate a gimp.

Cincinnati’s Empty Airport

TodayIMG_20140408_182713 I have to fly out of the Cincinnati airport tonight. If you’ve never used it, it’s an eerie experience because the airport is largely deserted.

Cincinnati is one of those airports that was a bustling hub once, but is no longer. The facilities therefore are totally outsized for the flights and passengers, and you see huge empty spaces as shown in this picture I took tonight as I was walking in B Concourse, my footsteps echoing in the emptiness.

It’s like a neutron bomb went off, or you’ve suddenly been shoved into one of those post-apocalyptic episodes of The Twilight Zone. You expect to see a tumbleweed rolling down the concourse, or zombies staggering past. It adds an exciting thrill of weirdness to the pleasures of business travel.

The Bell Event Centre

IMG_4028The wedding that Kish and I attended last night was held in the Bell Event Centre in Cincinnati.  It is a stunningly beautiful facility, with an interesting history.  The ceremony was held in the former St. Paul’s Church, which is home to extraordinary stained glass windows, fabulous frescoes, a vaulted ceiling, and stunning tile work — some of which I tried to capture with my camera.  After the ceremony, the guests moved outside briefly for refreshments and hors d’oeuvres, and then returned to find that the church had been converted into a reception hall complete with a wooden dance floor.

What a neat facility!  It’s a shame that the lovely cathedral no longer functions as a church (it was decommissioned during the 1970s) but I am glad it is still being used and is available for the public to enjoy.