The only driving we did today was from our motel to to our aunt and uncle’s place in Hudson.
Once we got to Hudson, my uncle took us on a driving tour of Cuyahoga National Park: the old Ohio and Erie canal and towpath; the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, originally the Cuyahoga Valley Line, which uses vintage diesel locomotives and passenger cars; the spectacular Brandywine Falls; and, of most interest to all of us, the heron rookery. The Great Blue Herons were still on their nests, big, ungainly, awkward-looking birds perched on huge next built of sticks high up in trees. I counted nine nests in one tree, and there were at least four trees with nests in them.
At one point, my uncle and aunt and I were sitting in the car waiting for Carol, and listening to a talk given by a professor from Case Western Reserve University. She has been doing research on Internet access and broadband usage among residents of different socioeconomic classes, races, and ethnic groups in the Cleveland area. We all know that Americans have unequal access to broadband Internet service, but this professor’s research shows more precisely who has what kind of Internet access. For example, her research shows that people whose only Internet access is through a smartphone tend to be disproportionately African American or Latino. I’m going to have to track down who this woman is, and read more about her research.
In the late afternoon, Carol and I visited a small independent bookstore in Hudson called The Learned Owl Book Shop. While I was buying a new road atlas for our trip, I got into a conversation with the woman who was staffing the store that day. She said the store was doing quite well, and has a loyal following. We both said how much we hate Amazon, a soul-less corporate entity that cares only about profit, and about crushing all competitors. I told her about a post on Melville House blog (Melville House is a small independent publisher who recently released The Science Delusion: Asking the Big Questions in Culture of Easy Answers, of interest to religious liberals) that is titled “There are exactly zero defensible reasons for authors to link to Amazon.” She was amused. Carol and I spent an hour at The Learned Owl; amazingly, this is the first visit to a book store we have made on this trip.
We joined my aunt and uncle, and my cousin and her husband, for a pleasant dinner. We talked a little about education and autism, which my cousin’s work deals with, and a little about multiple sclerosis research, which relates to her husband’s work; but mostly we talked about family.
And when Carol and I got back to the motel, we watched the episode about Cleveland cuisine from Anthony Bourdain’s TV series “No Reservations.” Head cheese, chili, sausage, and postmodern midwestern cuisine — we decided we have to come back to the Cleveland area soon.