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Spent the last week lolling around Lancaster County Pennsylvania, one of my favorite places in the world. If the twenty-four hour news media leaves you with the notion that there is nothing that America can do right, visit Lancaster County. There is a lot of tourist stuff, but there are also fields and fields of the great agricultural bounty to be found in America. Corn, beans, lettuce, you name it. Rows upon perfect rows, fading endlessly into the horizon. Sturdy stone houses and hideously expensive (but quite beautiful) hand made quilts.
I was happy to learn that almost 100% of the fertilizer is natural manure-based; which, although it can be a problem with ground water runoff if improperly managed, is still better than the Monsanto-based explosives we've relied on in the past.
We were looking at schools for my oldest child, Claudia, a high school senior who will start college next year. We toured Franklin and Marshall and Gettysburg colleges. Both are gorgeous, small and inviting; just what a liberal arts college should be.
The usual protocols prevailed, typically a slide show ‘orientation’ followed by a tour headed by one of the students. I learned that at both schools, the washing machines in the laundromat will send you a text message when your wash is finished, and that at 12:00 midnight the week of the final exams, you can get free hot chocolate at the library. When I asked about the number of technical and scientific journals each library subscribed to, nobody knew the answer.
Of course, nobody ever talks about the 8000-pound elephant in the room: “Hey, just how much is this going to cost?” For kicks, I'd typically gesture to raise my hand when it got to question and answer time, at which point my legs were vigorously kicked by my younger daughter, nervously anticipating future mortification at the hands of dad's latest déclassé question.
Gettysburg College almost did the ‘anti-orientation.’ The assistant dean of admissions just went up to the front of the auditorium and proceeded to do 30 minutes of shtick. Some of it was tedious, but a lot of it was peppered with great advice, good tips to the kids about how to write the application essay and comport themselves during the interview.
- “If you don’t know Winston Churchill personally, please don’t write about how he is a role model”
- “Make a point to provide at least 50% of the total conversation.”
- “Look me in the eyes.”
- “This is not a good time to be shy or modest.”
If you have a teenage child, you will understand the benefits of this sage advice.
Gettysburg is of course the site of a famous Civil War battle, one of two that provided the turning point in fortune for the forces fighting for the maintenance of the Union. It is also the home of The Gettysburg Address, which I was surprised to discover, was not used as a name by any of the town shops or restaurants. By the way, the restaurant eating is much better than I remember from years back.
I fancy myself a fairly knowledgeable on the battle and tactics and looked forward to driving the park and discussing the history of the battle with the kids. It was pretty rough at first, since neither child is all that much into history. Sort of like our earlier trip to Cordoba. However a trip to the new Gettysburg National Visitor Center did sort of hook them in, especially the very cool 3-D type movie narrated by Morgan Freeman, which takes you through the battle, causes and aftermath, all in the very teenager friendly time-frame of 24 minutes.
Tonight is the first of the NAP Professional Webinars, and I’m told that it is standing room only (25 people are the maximum). We are using a service called GoToMeeting that allows people to hear what I’m saying on their computer speakers, see my desktop, and ask questions. Hopefully I can get the thing under my belt by show time. I'm told that it can be 'recorded' and if so, we will make it available to doctors and other professionals.
The Connecticut Post ran a very nice article on me the other day. Unlike that terrible article in Time a while back, this reporter actually took the time to try and understand the material. Of course, the comment sections of these online articles always seems to attract a screwball or two. Like Sister Marie Francis used to tell our fifth grade class at Our Lady of Guadalupe School in Brooklyn, “Empty barrels do make the most noise.”
While on the subject of criticism, we’ve finally got round to developing a standardized response area for the myriad of articles on the Internet that are critical of all the blood type and GenoType theories. In time, we’ll just keep adding to it.
Other news: I’ve just received test batches of the skin toner, cleanser and moisturizer. People who have tried the day crème are usually pretty enthusiastic about the line, and they will probably like these as well.
About colleges, best wishes in your search....My son is finishing up at WPI, his dad's alma mater. We have most experience with western schools though. Have a son (the youngest) going to Chapman University in Orange, (please Lord, no earthquakes for a while)....my second youngest is a transfer student still looking around for engineering....he's such a introvert.
I really think he's an explorer and he's different from the "marine" and other kids.....It's a difficult process, but once they and you find a place, it will be nice. Have you looked at Bennington. My oldest son's gf just graduated there....looked like a nice school! Best wishes!
Well, now that I've cheered everyone reading this up for the day...my work here is done! It is just too bad that, when I read your lovely words about Lancaster, I don't know more about it, as my family goes way back there. I think many Americans don't know much about their family history beyond their own immediate generation and that is sad.
Fabulous news about the expansion of the standardized response to critics page. I look forward to reading any new additions.
Lovely blog Dr. D! I also love PA! Been to Philly..quite a few times. My ortho is there. I love Gettysburg and Lancaster County (Amish). My son is also starting college.. Hope the Webinar went well.
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