Sunday, August 14, 2005


We've been in Chicago this weekend, staying with my mother-in-law. Yesterday we went down to Hyde Park to the Museum of Science and Industry to see the remarkable Body Worlds exhibit, a collection of plastinated human bodies. To plastinate a body, you replace all of its moisture and fat with plastic, so that it's preserved with its organs, muscles, nerves, blood vessels, etc., looking as they do in a living body. The experience of looking at these bodies is not easily described and photographs don't do it justice. The difference, it would seem, is the same as that between seeing a picture of a person and seeing the person. There is a quality of presentness in these bodies and you can't help but be fascinated by them even as they make you feel a bit queasy and voyeuristic. Two things made the experience a bit unpleasant, though. One was a pair of obnoxious medical students quizzing each other about human anatomy. The other was a wedding band playing cheesy dance music in the main hall of the museum (this was at around 8 pm on a Saturday night) providing an inappropriate accompaniment to the exhibit.

Today I went shopping at Trader Joe's (we have none in Milwaukee) and some ethnic grocers. I picked up a falafel-making gadget (not unlike this one but squatter and cheaper) at a Middle Eastern market along with some pickled turnips. The proprietor tried to sell me his falafel spice mixture but I wasn't buying. I'm the kind of guy who makes his own.


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