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Belfast to the Boat by Ann Treacy
April 6, 2010, 11:09 am
Filed under: Belfast

We’re officially on vacation! It was a quickly devised plan – but a good one. We’re heading to Edinburgh. As Irish Grandma says, we’re taking the slow boat to Scotland. We started yesterday by taking the bus to Belfast. We headed into town where we saw (from a distance) and commemoration event at the GPO (General Post Office) for the 1916 Easter Rising. We could have joined the event but we were a family on a mission – lunch, new shoes and bus. It did make me think that it wasn’t so long ago that a bus trip from Dublin to Belfast during the Easter holidays might not make Fromme’s list of safest vacations.

Anyways we got to Belfast. We had about an hour left of daylight so we ran around the city center for a while. We saw the City Hall, Langan River and a bunch of empty shops. Apparently they take Easter Monday more seriously in Belfast. Even the Crown Bar was closed for a few days – the girls were bummed. (Actually they have been in the Crown Bar but they didn’t love it in the way they don’t love most pubs.) We ran into some troubles finding a restaurant that would take kids. We’ve noticed before that on the one hand Belfast pubs are generally better than Dublin pubs; on the other hand it’s tough to find a place that serves food and kids – because so many restaurants are pubs.

We ate. The girls drew a picture of their wishes. I had to add Kate’s (below). Apparently she’s not really looking forward to the boat.

We slept in our very OK but definitely right-prices hotel. We walked for about 20 minutes and went to the Stena Line launch – and that’s where we are now. We’ll take the boat to Stanraer and train to Edinburgh.

Macbeth at the Guthrie by Ann Treacy
April 5, 2010, 8:53 am
Filed under: Minneapolis

My other big activity back home with seeing Macbeth at the Guthrie. Macbeth was the shortest and bloodiest of Shakespeare’s plays. This performance was particularly bloody! It was directed by Joe Dowling who always seems to take a show as far as it can go – and then a little bit. I hadn’t seen Macbeth in years. I found it a little bit tough to follow, which I think was a sign of how tired I was. I would go into greater detail but I know I have a PG audience.

I went to the show with friends Kathleen and Bernadine. We had a very nice dinner at Spill the Wine beforehand.

Bob McChesney and John Nichols by Ann Treacy
April 5, 2010, 8:52 am
Filed under: Minneapolis

It was great to be home –mostly it was 10 days of work. Well work and really good restaurants. But one night Dad and I went to see Bob McChesney (founder of FreePress.net) and John Nichols (Washington correspondent to The Nation.)

They were in town promoting their new book: The Death and Life of American Journalism. They were interesting because of the tremendous amount or research they had clearly done and their perspective. They had a couple of points that I noted. First that the idea that the constitution was intended to be revisited every 20 years or so. That answers a lot of questions.

Second, they promoted uncensored government support of the media. They pointed out that countries that supported the media had more civic engagement and other great things that naturally I’ve forgotten. But they had an idea that each citizen should have $200 in government funding to give to a nonpartisan, nonprofit news source. I love that idea. Someone in the audience was worried that other people would give their money to the wrong resources, like to sports coverage – but they had clearly had that question before. They pointed out that sports coverage is rarely nonprofit. They added that most people would give their money to a news source – even if they never really read the news source. Because most people appreciate that access to information is essential. While the questioner looked skeptical, I think they had a goodpoint.

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