We got back late last night from a trip to Massachusetts and New Hampshirefor a wedding. All in all, the trip was very smooth andenjoyable. We spent time in Boston, Somerville, Andover, Everett,Lawrence, Lexington, and Arlington in MA. In New Hampshire we visitedManchester, Hampton Beach, and Bear Brook State Park.

Heard from a Park Ranger in a New Hampshire state park:"Guaranteed it'll be closed as long as it'sopen."Was she perhaps channeling GW Bush? We ended up with a Mustang as our rental car. It appears thatvehicle was built with people no taller than 5' 10" in mind. I hadto hunch over somewhat to see out the front windshield because the roof camedown so low. Also, the head rests didn't extend high enough out of theback of the seat to stand a chance of preventing whiplash.

While we were on the East Coast, we indulged in several of the foods thatCalifornia just doesn't get right. West Coast seafood is pretty lamecompared to that of New England. Buffalo wings are completely beyondthe abilities of West Coast cooks. For some reason they just don't getit. We also stopped at Dunkin' Donuts probably more than we needed to,but just because we could.

The hotel in which we stayed on Sunday night was reasonably nice. Our room was located directly above a waterfall. We were able to leavethe glass patio door open (and the screen door closed) and listen to thewaterfall all night.

CNN has labeled this summer "Shark Attack Summer!"Whoopee. What complete and utter nonsense. The news media havedone us a great disservice by magnifying the number of shark attacksway way out of proportion. If the news media wanted to focuspublic attention on a real problem that spawns innumerabletragedies, perhaps they could look at something like highway safety. As the California Highway Patrol reported recently:- One person was killed every 2 hours and 28 minutes as a result of a trafficcollision. - For each person killed there were 81 persons injured. - One person was injured every 1 minute and 49 seconds as a result of atraffic collision. - One out of every 9,563 persons living in California was killed in atraffic collision; one out of every 118 persons was injured; and one out ofevery 59 licensed drivers was involved in a fatal or injury trafficcollision. - California has not had a day without a fatality since May 1, 1991. Remember that those statistics only consider California roads. Extrapolate those numbers across the nation and you have a problem that isalmost beyond belief. Let's examine how common shark attacks arecompared to other accidents in normal life. According to the Ichthyology Department of the Florida Museum of NaturalHistory, more people were injured by toilets (43,867) than sharks (18)in 1996. More people were bitten by squirrels in New York City (95)than were bitten by sharks (13) in 1997. In the period between 1959and 1990, 1,155 Floridians were struck by lightning. In the same timeperiod, by comparison, 180 people were attacked by sharks. That seemsto indicate that your chances of getting hit by lightning are almost anorder of magnitude higher than your chances of being attacked by a shark. Does that help to put allthis shark attack hysteria in perspective?