12 things I noticed on my trip to Nashville

12. A lot of people in Tennesse drive really, really fast.

11. You do not want to end up behind one of the people who doesn’t, as 25 cars going 85-95 miles per hour whiz around you. Avoid this.

10. Republicans had billboards everywhere, including one that said, “End Socialism; Vote Nov. 2” and one with a picture of Uncle Sam saying, “I Want YOU to kick them all out!”  The Democrats, meanwhile, have apparently decided to save money by sacrificing Tennessee completely in the fall mid-term elections.

09. Charlotte Ave. in West Nashville is one of the thrift store rows in town – Southern Thrift is overpriced; Goodwill is a great clothing score spot. (including fun boys’ clothes but you have to look in the girls’ section, too)

08. The conference chairs in the downtown Hilton suffer from a wicked enchantment that makes them appear to have soft cushioning, while in reality they are marginally less comfortable than a hospital gurney. The best strategy was to just go ahead and let your weight deaden the nerves in your bottom; at least then it didn’t hurt until you stood up (at which point one heard an audible collective groan from a roomful of folklorists regaining touch with their butts).

07. There is a 19-acre construction site in the middle of downtown Nashville, and you can watch the cranes, blasts, and other excitement from a live Webcam: http://oxblue.com/pro/open/clarkconstruction/nashvilleconventioncenter (where you can zoom in, watch particular days of work, and even do a time lapse show).

06. The people in Nashville are really, really nice. Unfailingly, from the cashier at the Salvation Army to the bagger at the grocery store, to people passing the street, folks I met had a smile and a kind word or inquiry into my day.

05. Crema (15 Hermitage Ave) is a cool local find. Great coffee (try the Cuban) and pink elephant in Nashville, TNpurveyors of locally made Olive and Sinclair chocolate (http://oliveandsinclair.blogspot.com/).

04. Speaking of billboards, I also saw a 3D tomato billboard, as well as a pink elephant with sunglasses and a giant metal dalmatian doghouse.

03. Eating kimchee before a five hour workshop on digital archiving (five hours in the afore-mentioned chairs) may not be the wisest decision.

02. The interstate highway design in the city limits is EVEN crazier than Minneapolis — as I40, I440, I65 and I24 separate at different points through town, you alternatively have to stay left, then right, then left, then right to remain on I40 (which means crossing three lanes of traffic four times). No offense, Nashville, but that is insane.

01. I got to see a cow crap out of an open truck-pulled cage at 65 mph on I40 in the middle of town. (I will leave the result to your imagination.) That was quite a Nashville moment!Dalmatian mailbox in Nashville

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