Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"What's he selling?"

The Magna Carta, a document that King George III was accused of violating and that was an inspiration for America's founding documents, is being sold . Apparently, America's only copy of the document, which dates to 1215, belongs to the Ross Perot foundation. It has been on loan to the National Archive, but the foundation has decided to take back the loan.

I saw the Magna Carta this summer while in Washington, D.C. It's faded and written in Latin (and in the type of handwriting I wouldn't be able to read even if I understood Latin), but I'm enough of a history nerd that I loved seeing a document with such significance, especially one that is nearly 800 years old.

My favorite part of the NY Times article is the last two paragraphs:

Mr. Redden arranged the Magna Carta auction quietly, so quietly that Sotheby’s did not tell its own employees why it was changing arrangements for other auctions. James Zemaitis, the director of Sotheby’s 20th-century design department, said he was asked to give up a room at Sotheby’s headquarters on York Avenue at East 72nd Street that he had reserved for a pre-auction exhibition of his own.

'All they told me was: ‘David Redden is selling this really important document, the most important document of all. Can you give up this room for us?’ ” he recalled. “And I’m like, ‘Sure, but what is he selling, the Magna Carta?''

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Back in Oregon

I've been back in Oregon for three entire days now (actually landed in Portland about 72 hours ago exactly) and am over the jet-lag and back at work at my paper. It's wonderful to be back. As much as I enjoyed Washington, D.C., I missed Oregon a lot and everything I missed about it is now what I enjoy. The weather is beautiful and I love all the trees, green grass and mountains. I'm even happy to be back in my own newsroom. It was a lot of fun to get back to work today and I enjoyed meeting the reporer who will take over my old beat.

In a way, I wish my trip home had been more difficult because it would give me a nice story, but really, it was so uneventful that it was boring. The flights arrived early (my flight into Chicago arrived so early that we had to sit on the runway for quite a long time waiting for another plane to get away from our gate). The people I sat next to on the second flight (I had the aisle) were a family, so no one talked to me. I just read and listened to music. Boring, but pleasant. There was no turbulence or anything.

Now that I'm back, I'm starting to think about the year ahead and all the work I have. It's going to be stressful, especially preparing for the idea of finding a real grownup-person job, but I'm ready. Leaving Eugene is almost inevitable, and it makes me sad, but I'm ready for it. It's going to be an exciting few months.