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Life As We Know It: March 4, 2013

         Be honest. I’m betting you’ve “googled” your own name just to see what’s out there on the worldwide web. When I did that, I discovered a bed and breakfast in North Carolina that intrigued me.

          Its name: the Thomas Walton Manor.

          I’m not sure who that other dude is, or was, but I thought it would be fun to spend a night there on one of our trips to see family in the South. So I inquired. No kids and no pets, they said. OK, our kids are grown and if I have to leave the boa constrictor at home, I’m alright with that.

          Besides, I thought they’d get a kick out of having a namesake stay there; maybe we’d get a discount or something. Forget it. Not only do the rates run to $375 a night, you have to stay at least two nights.

          I’d like to tell Thomas Walton what I think of his rules, but I suspect he’s not around anymore, and if he were, he’d probably look at the signature on my letter and figure it’s some kind of joke or scam.

          Coincidentally, I got an email from a travel website which listed its choices as the top 10 luxury bed and breakfasts in America. Topping the list was a place that I’m vaguely familiar with, though not because I ever stayed there. It’s the Post Ranch Inn on the Big Sur coast of California, not far from where we used to live in Monterey.

          The rates start at $895 – a night. Plus taxes. If you can afford $900 to get in the door, you can afford the taxes. Yes, the view of the Pacific is something to die for, if the bill doesn’t kill you.

          But I can get an equally spectacular view of the ocean at nearby Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park for eight bucks, and Mother Nature throws in a waterfall that plunges to the beach.

          Is it just me, or does it seem that bed and breakfasts have gotten away from their original concept – a reasonably priced place to sleep and a good breakfast the next morning before moving on? I’m just asking.

 *     *     *

          Why do the television stations feel compelled to run that list of cancelled events along the bottom of the screen every time there’s a significant winter storm? The alphabetized list takes forever to scroll from A through Z.

          There’s a foot of snow out there, the wind is howling, the roads are skating rinks, and you have to chisel the dog off a fire hydrant. So I’m thinking we can pretty much assume the Knights of the Frozen North have cancelled their bingo game.

          I don’t have any problem continuing to list school closings. What child hasn’t shrieked in delight to see on TV that his school is taking a snow day? It’s one of childhood’s grand moments, the kind of serendipitous good fortune that fortifies a kid’s faith in a greater power.

          But all that other stuff? How about simply scrolling the following message across the screen all night: YOUR EVENT IS CANCELLED. STAY HOME.

 *     *     *

          Speaking of cold, I saw one of those “extreme sports” shows on TV and it occurred to me that just because the competitors are competing outdoors in frigid weather doesn’t make it extreme. I think they should ramp this thing up if they really want to go extreme.

          How about beehive-tetherball? Now that would separate the contenders from the pretenders.

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