Where we find Jonah, the USDA, and Ty’s computer travails.

While our friend Vicki did some babysitting, we took my parents to Sprague’s production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods, a life’s journey musical allegory using Brothers Grimm characters. The performances were, in a word, superb. I had my favorites, but to list them would be almost a disservice to the other actors. There wasn’t a bad cookie in the bunch. Since this was a musical, I will, however, take this opportunity to highlight Amanda Hopkins, who played Cinderella. Hers is an enchanting voice, and I would not be surprised if it were heard again on a larger stage. Indeed, were it up to me, she should go through life singing instead of talking, such a joy her voice is to behold.

Jonah’s had a cold these last few days. His coughing isn’t too bad and although his nose is running a fair amount, it’s nothing compared to the drool he’s laying down everywhere thanks to the teething. He can walk around now holding onto just one hand. We think his first independent steps may be only a week or so away.

Latest on the USDA front: Some consumers quite understandably wish to have the beef they buy tested for Mad Cow. Some slaughterhouses would like the same, both to reassure US consumers and to resume exports to countries like Japan which now require such testing. The USDA’s position? Independent testing for Mad Cow is illegal and not allowed. Since this makes no sense whatsoever—even Republicans are in favor of individual freedom and free markets—most of the present speculation is that Mad Cow may be rampant in US herds and that by controlling the only testing lab in the US (in Ames, Iowa) the USDA can continue to ring the dinner triangle for the US beef industry. That they tested less than 20,000 cattle last year out of 35 million slaughtered in the US (with some 135,000 downers) should continue to way heavily on all non-vegetarians.

I’ve sent the Compaq Presario to recycling after pulling all the usable components (CD-RW, Floppy drive, 10 GB hard drive, RAM). I talked with KFE Microsystems, a local PC vendor, and was told the Compaq’s stuff is, mildly put, crap. They had similar things to say about Dell, in case anyone wonders. So I may—with emphasis on may—try to dig up a PC case, motherboard, and processor to get a Linux box running. I’m in no rush to acquire these items, but if they fall into my lap at a price approaching free then I might see what Linux is all about. In the meanwhile, I’m plenty content with the Macintosh platform.