Every now and then I get a crazy, almost manic need to go on vacation.  I can rarely afford to actually go on vacation, so I try to satiate myself by watching travel documentaries.  It doesn’t really help.  Also it’s rather difficult to get travel documentaries that are actually watchable.  A lot of them don’t want to actually tell you anything about the places you’re “visiting”, choosing instead to just shoot wide panoramic shots of old buildings– or else they star Rick Steve.

 So I turned to historical documentaries, which I also think is a sure sign that I miss being in school.  My brain has started to feel mushy, and even though I’ve been reading as much as I can, I haven’t read too many “smart” books.  As Heidi very aptly put it, I read a lot of pink/yellow books i.e. “chick lit”.  I’ve gotten away from that more recently, but still feel like I’m not learning enough.  Anyway, I checked out “Russia- Land of the Tsars” from library.  Presented by The History Channel and narrated by Edward Hermann this is sure to be a well-made and informative documentary.  And it is.

 I was happily watching and learning one night after work when I realized that I already know a lot of this stuff about Peter the Great; I’ve already seen this.  How big a geek am I that I’ve already watched a four-part documentary about the history of Russia?  No matter, it’s still very well-made and entertaining and I intend to finish it– again.

 Non sequitur

 I was working at coffee shop a couple evenings ago when this guy came in.  He was wearing a pin-striped suit and seemed inordinately pleased with himself.  Typical smarmy salesman/business major type who just turn my stomach.  I hated him or sight, naturally, and happily noticed that even though his suit was obviously new, it didn’t really fit him well.  He waltzed up to the counter and I asked what I could get for him.  “What kind of really good house wine do you have?”

 I was slightly taken aback, but quickly recovered and told him to go order his wine in the wine bar area rather than in the coffee shop.  Later I saw that he was sitting with a slightly lumpy girl in pink having a conversation that seemed a little like a job interview, and also a little like her being forced to listen to him blather on about whatever fascinating things were on his mind.  Being the nosy sort, and being that they were sitting on a place where I could easily eavesdrop, I lent them my ears just in time to hear him say, “One of the most amazing sights I’ve had the privilege to see in my lifetime is St. Paul’s Cathedral.  When I saw that dome, my breath was literally taken away.”

Oooh, I do like St’ Paul’s Cathedral, I thought, Anglophile that I am.  In fact, I recently watched a documentary about the evolution and urban planning of London that included a section on the still impressive engineering prowess Christopher Wren employed in constructing that very dome.

Then he said: “Of course, when I say St. Paul’s Cathedral, I mean the cathedral in St. Paul Minnesota.”

Is this something that people do?  Randomly assign names to things that aren’t called by those names rather than the things that are?  Also, I want to know if his St. Paul’s Cathedral is actually the Basilica, or just another cathedral in St. Paul.  I’ll freely admit that I am not that familiar with the religious architecture of the Twin Cities, but if anyone can recommend a good documentary about it, I’ll certainly watch it.

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