Today, I was on a small quest to find birthday presents for the historian. I went to one store. Rumply shirts and excessive sweaters: no. I went to another store. Fancy neckties: no. Shirts made in China: not for the historian. There are criteria to be met: what will delight the historian? but also, what is the provenance? It isn't always easy to meet the criteria.
But that's not what this post is about. Tomorrow is the historian's birthday, and there are presents, and also I am making this cake for breakfast. (Shhhh!) I'm not telling you what the presents are--I know you can't keep a secret, the people, and don't try to deny it.
What this post is about is the fact that I got to hear the news cycle on NPR, like, three times, between the drive from work to the first store, the drive from the first store to the second store, the drive from the second store to the third store, and the fourth store, and finally drive from the fourth store to home.
So I am exceedingly well-informed about Leon Panetta's lifting of the ban on women serving in combat.
I heard Harry Reid praise the House Republicans for their gracious gesture of not forcing a debt ceiling crisis several times.
I heard Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton get testy with a senator (and each time I kind of loved it).
I noted that union membership in America is at its lowest point since the 1930s, noted it soberly.
I heard a couple of stories just once--there's a recreation of the sets from Friends in Beijing, where you can go and have coffee. Yep. Complete with Joey's apartment. And the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei has an exhibit of his work at the Hirshhorn called "According to What?" I wish I could go see it.
The one story of which I only caught a few threads was about the Tuareg people in Mali (and elsewhere in that region). I heard the anthropologist from Lehigh University get started, and then I turned the car off and went into store number two for yet another birthday present fail.
I could have stayed in the car and listened, but I sort of thought I'd hear it again while I was driving around. But no. Still, I had birthday presents to seek. Also, a snack to purchase. You know, a birthday present quest requires sustenance.