Future plans for NYC, farm funding, and redheads.

Although I'd planned to stick a fork in my research-y travel plans when I'd reached the end of August (and the end of the "Year On the Road" that began for me last September), I'm still very much looking forward to a pre-planned week back out there in America in early October. That's when I'm heading back to NYC for a inspiring mix of pursuits. Included in all that was a desire to catch a few events on the last day of this year's "New Yorker Festival". This morning was the opening of trigger-pullin' time - tickets went up for sale promptly at 9am PST. I had my daughter watch my web browser refreshing as I threw together our last few things before hopping her bike and pedaling toward Seattle's crazy late schoolday start. My results? Straight up 50-50. I got the Salman Rushdie conversation with David Remnick I'd put at the top of my wish list. Rushdie's memoir Joseph Anton will rightly be on top of coveted nightstands all around the world in little more than a month. However, I didn't get the walking and eating tour that Calvin Trillin does, taking a small group looking to nosh from Greenwich Village to Chinatown. That sold out in literally one minute. If I'd reversed the order of this short list...who knows. But seriously one minute? Just goes to show that few writers still earn the love quite like Mr. Trillin.

On a totally different page, the required reboot of the Farm Bill increasingly looks to be put out to pasture by this Congress. Few pundits are yet projecting hard numbers, but I'd bet a gallon of Roundup that there are a handful of races that just might tip to the challenger if nothing gets done. The timing is just brutal for not just farmers - the current bill runs out at the end of September. That could mean a month of being home in Districts campaigning while farmers cut from all stripes unload a bit of drought-fueled frustration. I'll even predict a whole lot of YouTube-ready moments capturing that collective frustration. If you've paid no attention to this debate, no worries - not even the wonkiest seem at all engaged. But as someone who has developed a tangential interest in ag policy and who now pays more attention to how this Congress is dealing with actual requirements when it comes to legislation, I'm appalled. It's not the sausage making. It's the complete unwillingness to pick up that casing and get on with the stuffing.

Finally, I try to stay away from most of the links half-way or more down the homepage of the Huffington Post. No disrespect - they have become masters at goosing traffic from even the most tired foibles. But I got grabbed by one of their science writers today - Cara Santa Maria - playing up the "ginger fear" card. Not the "Fear the Ginger" card. Those are very different cards. Basically, she did a clever job of making fun of us redheads while supposedly reassuring us that we're not on the road to extinction. Almost makes me want to grow it all out again - show some solidarity with my not-really-threatened compatriots and all that jazz. Then again, pieces like this show how a derivative artist like M.I.A. probably gets her ideas. Hug a redhead today, won't you? We're not infectious - I promise. And, obviously, we need the love.