This old man is older. The Birthday, Round #24

Another post actually getting posted a great deal of time after the day of the event, again due to the insanity that was Midterm Month Spring 2012.  That said, this one has a great deal of photographs from the adventurous day that was my birthday this year, so consider taking a look below – the museums visited spanned pre-dinosaur to Sumeria to the founding of New Haven, all the way up until today.  Many photos there, with meticulously-done notes about each one, so please enjoy!

Peabody Museum

The first stop of the day was the famed Peabody Museum, perhaps most recognizable for the gigantic statue of a Torosaurus out in front of it on a pedestal.  We got to check out a variety of their exhibits, with the highlight being in the dinosaur room.  While the dinosaur bones themselves were pretty neat, one turned around to see an almost-comically large sea turtle of concerning proportions.  This and many of the other one-of-a-kind items on display made for an enjoyable experience; I certainly argue in favor of checking it out, if ever you visit the newest Haven.

New Haven Museum

A block further into downtown New Haven, the New Haven Museum was second on the tour Ryan and I took.  The museum is within a restored mansion of days gone by, with each room holding a very different kind of exhibit.  All of it was interesting, but arguably the main room, the one off to the left upon entering, was the best.  It started with the earliest colonization of the area and ended with the modern day; throughout the room, random (but fascinating) items from each of the periods of time between then and now; from newspaper articles commemorating Yale from its very inception, to a “toy” ship (as you’ll see in the photos, it was absolutely massive) from the 1800s, to products of the non-defunct Winchester factory down the street from my house, it was certainly informative.

Sterling Memorial Library Stacks; Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

After departing the storage building for New Haven down through the centuries, Ryan and I went over to Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library.  The library itself is a gorgeous, cathedral-like building that inspires me every time I make use of it; that said, our mission was quite a bit more focused.  After checking out the Music Library (Ryan’s job, though I had never seen it), we went exploring up in the higher, back levels of the library, for the legendary Babylonian Collection at Yale.  Upon finding it, 1) the lady working the office couldn’t believe we had actually found it (they almost NEVER get visitors); and 2) she was overjoyed to let us in to see the one-of-a-kind collection Yale has, of every imaginable kind of carving, engraving, etc from Sumeria.  A delightful visit.  We then departed for Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, where we saw everything from the oldest known Shakespeare manuscript, to a pair of huge Gutenberg Bibles, to getting to interact hands-on with a papyrus from ~79 AD (insofar as holding its glass plating without supervision is hands-on, which was SO COOL).  Need to plan a trip back there at some point: amongst other treasures, they have (for instance) Sitting Bull‘s bow, quiver, and moccasins.  Just in a box somewhere.  Beinecke is basically the closest real life occurrence of the best scene from Indiana Jones, so far as I can tell.

Gaming at home

Finally, what would any birthday be without some gaming?  Got to try out a couple of new games I got for my birthday, including Pandemic (a cooperative game involving an attempt to stop four separate disease outbreaks around the world; extremely difficult to pull off a win, and fresh each time its played) and Power Grid (as goofy as it sounds, each player represents a utilities company trying to power the greatest number of homes at the lowest cost; as a German game, it is delightfully complicated and comes with MANY different colored wooden counters).  A great end to a fantastic day.


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Preaching at St Pauls down in DC

This is certainly getting posted after the fact, having actually taken place right at the end of January this year.  I had the opportunity to go down and visit friends and professors, and also to go preach at my home church in DC.  I jumped on this chance, enjoying the train ride, and particularly enjoying my time in DC itself.  From spending time with old friends and roommates (the place I stayed all weekend belonged to a good old friend, and another guest there was a mutual old friend), to visiting with professors (and their wives and children in some cases), it was certainly good to go visit DC.  There was even a little bit of snow during my time there, which was refreshing after such a disappointing New England “winter” up until that point.  The evening before I preached featured a screening of “Last Action Hero,” which I had never seen previously and thoroughly enjoyed.  I ended up staying up far too late into the night making last minute changes and additions to the sermon because of an anecdote that I wanted to make central; a story I had experienced earlier that day, while visiting the National Zoo for the first time.   All told, an enjoyable and action-packed weekend in the District.

The text of my sermon is available here, for those who are interested.  I am pleased to report that this variation on my usual theme (generally, that although bad things do happen, it is through these experiences that we are able to grow and in fact become better) seems to have been well-received.


A couple of photos from the weekend, featuring My Old Couch (now in the hands of my good friend Chris), as well as the bulletin from the service where I preached!

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