Chautauqua Day 4

Still raining. Still raining hard. Emma is still sick. Her fever was up, the cough still heavy and hoarsy. Meg, Ted, and Dettie raced her off to the hospital in Mayville this morning. As of the last call, she’s come down with the croupe: an inflamation of the vocal folds and congestion which sounds something like the end of the world. Turns out, it’s not the end of the world, she’s still getting plenty of air, but she’s really, really uncomfortable. According to the docs, it’s not terribly contagious.

David Cole, professor, Georgetown Law Center, is fantastic. His talk today was on “Enemy Aliens and American Freedoms: Liberty and Security after September 11.”

After Tom Ridge, this guy is a breath of fresh air. He’s not a politician, he’s a down-in-the-trenches constitutionalist and civil libertarian. Where Ridge says things like “some illegal aliens have been held,” Cole has statistics and litigation.

I’ve done a bunch of reading today. I finally finished “Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.” Way to goCory Doctorow. It was too short, but packed with some of the most original thinking I’ve seen in Science Fiction since Heinlin. From there, I moved into “Deception Point” by Dan Brown. I’m about 500 pages into it (reading it on my Palm — it’s 2089 pages). So far, so pretty good.

Symphony tonight. This is another one of those particularly Chautauqua experiences. Outdoor, covered amphitheater, dusk, 6,000 people listening to classical music and reading, knitting, dozing, whatever. But the best part is, the people they bring in are world reknown. Tonight, the preeminent conductor Manhem Nebenhaus from Isreal is leading the Chautauqua Symphony to The Marriage of Figaro, Hayden’s Concerto for Violincello and Orchestro in D major (with guest teenage cellist Patrice Jackson), and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 in D major. We like to sit up in the back as the sun drops. About halfway through the concert, this army of bats come flying out of the hollow roof of the amphitheater: spectacular.

The Chautauqua Experience is a touch hobbled by gobs of other-people’s-family. Really, we’re staying in a place that’s too crowded with people we don’t really know and the rain is starting to make us crazy. Note to self: next time travel light.