There is much to brain about, but although the neurons are willing the flesh is weak. Perhaps tomorrow, but, for the nonce, here are some pictures I’ve taken. These are just random photos as I scroll through the years. Some of these I’ve posted before
Three from St. Petersburg, July 2011, during the Littorina (marine snail) meetings. Somehow I fell in with this great group of researchers, who love to have fun and hold good meetings in nice places. First: Dostoyevsky’s cigarette case, inscribed by his young daughter the day he died: “28 January. Papa died today.” He died on February 9, 1881, so I assume that the written date is the Julian calendar date. This is in his apartment home in St. Petersburg:
One of my favorite pictures I ever took, at Peter the Great’s Peterhof Palace (they took us all out there; the meeting organizers were fantastic). When I saw this scene I knew it was a Cartier-Bresson “decisive moment” with all the children posed as if in a dance. It might be better in black and white:
The locomotive and tender of the train that brought Lenin to the Finland Station from Switzerland on April 16, 1917, before the October Revolution. Not many people know this locomotive is there, and it took me nearly an hour to make myself understood that I wanted to see it. There were no English-speakers, and I finally drew a locomotive with a picture of Lenin on top to show a ticket-taker, which twigged him to my request. You have to get special permission to see it, and it’s under glass.
August, 2011. Lunch at Allen & Son, a ramshackle BBQ joint in the middle of nowhere near Chapel Hill, North Carolina. My companion was John Willis, a professor at Duke, who, like me, loves BBQ. Note the chopped North Carolina version, with slaw and hush puppies, as well as fried okra as a side dish. Banana pudding for dessert is served only on Fridays, and therefore we went on a Friday:
Alas, Allen and Son is no more. Genuine BBQ joints are an endangered species.
Chicago, September 2011:
October, 2011: What many think is America’s best pizza: the white clam pie at Pepe’s in New Haven, made with lots of garlic and fresh clams. It’s not available every day. I made my friend Fred Cohan take me there after I gave a seminar at his school, Wesleyan.
November, 2011: eating the best paella I’ve ever had, and in Valencia, of course. I gave a talk at the University, and then my best friend Kenny and his wife Jane, whose son Adam was living in Valencia, came down to take me to this joint far out in the country. An old man tends the paellas over a wood stove. Lord, was it good!
On to another seminar in Madrid, where I visited one of the most famous places to get chocolate and fresh, hot churros. (This is one of the best things about being an academic: you get local hospitality and travel as part of the job.)
The chocolate is thick and rich, and you dip the hot churros into it.
Costa Rica, January 2012 for a meeting of the officers of the Society for the Study of Evolution. (I did a lot of traveling that year!) After the meeting, I traveled around with our Secretary, Judy Stone, to act as her companion while she collected plants:
Overlooking the Pacific:
Oophaga pumilio, known as the strawberry-poison-dart frog, or “blue jeans frog”. It’s tiny (this is an adult), and I photographed one in my hand.