Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Among Great Minds
Saturday Otto and I went to an annual party that we have attended for decades - the birthday party of Dave Seaborg, son of the Nobel prize-winner, Glenn Seaborg. Dave himself is a noted evolutionary biologist. (Google him if you are interested.) His birthday parties used to be in the home of his parents, but in the past several years, after the death of his father, it has moved to his and his wife's home in Walnut Creek, over the hills from us. The living room of their town house is beautifully decorated - a large oriental fan with painted flowers on one wall - and, somewhat incongruously, under it both a state-of-art music system and stacked terrariums (terraria ?) with two beautiful snakes.
Dave does the inviting, and a fascinating mix of people results - scientists, poets, writers, philosophers, political activists (liberal) - you name it. Some are just people with interesting ideas. At least one time, there was a magician. The main activities are talking and eating. It is a pot-luck party, and most people bring their best recipes. The discussions are fast, animated and fascinating. I mostly listen and learn, although occasionally I get a word in edge-wise.
Dave is somewhere in the range of about six feet, four inches to about seven feet tall, very tall, and very thin. His wife tries to pull little tricks on him at these parties, and the following photo shows Dave looking chagrined as he realizes that the reason he has not been able to blow out all the candles is that she has included some that cannot be extinguished without dunking them in water - which he proceeded to do.
On the way back home, when we reached the crest of the mountain, the bay area was spread out below us, a blaze of lights on this exceptionally clear and calm night, with reflections on the water of the bay.
"Do you want to stop and take a picture?" Otto asked me. And I have been kicking myself ever since that I said, "No."
I think I was just too tired trying to digest both too much food and weighty ideas.