Meetings have been going pretty well with some fascinating talks about imaging methodologies and new insights into some ways neuronal signaling may occur using nitric oxide. However, there was an interesting incident with my photography that has come up and introduced me for the first time in my life to direct government mandated censorship. I actually cannot believe this happened and am pretty hot under the collar about it.
At a break in the meeting, I decided to go out and take some photos of birds, boats and the planes flying overhead. I walked out to the parking garage here at the Ft. Lauderdale convention center, pulled out my camera, got off a few photos, got ready to take another photo of the fountain out front and was accosted by one of Broward Counties finest. He bellowed at me, telling me that I cannot take photos and then asked for my camera. I said (somewhat Jedi like I thought) “you do not need to see my camera” at which point he backed off, but informed me that the convention center was part of the Ft. Lauderdale Port Authority and under the Department of Homeland Security and that photographs were prohibited…… I was incredulous thinking to myself “What?!!? So that big fountain out front the city must have paid seven figures for, the ships loading and disgorging thousands of tourists, and the convention center itself is now a photographic censorship zone?!!!?” I asked him “when did this happen and under whose authority?” He did not say when, but for the second time like he was reciting a script, said “the convention center is now under the authority of the Ft. Lauderdale Port Authority and for our protection is under the authority of the Federal government’s Department of Homeland Security and that is a good thing”. Wow……..just wow. I cannot imagine that this sort of thing could be good for business for Ft. Lauderdale or the convention center and is yet another example of how paranoid this country has become. It just seems wrong……outrageously wrong. I fumed and perseverated over my initial reaction for a couple of hours before cooling off, but people really must know about this. They cannot possibly believe this sort of thing is acceptable. Also, given that we were searched this morning entering into the convention center, will see what tomorrow is like when 7000 Arvoids descend upon the convention center with their bags and poster tubes and cameras.
All of that said, the day finished rather well. We had dinner with Pamela and Steve at a most extraordinary Italian restaurant called Casa D’Angelos. For the antipasti, I had the polenta arrosto con funghi with a main course of bistecca alla fiorentina with white beans and surprisingly enough, raisins. It worked quite well. The wine was a Barolo from Cannubi which was quite nice. Dinner was finished off with espresso and the best tiramisu evah.
So, my friends and family, the Department of Homeland Security is the reason today why photos in this posting are lighter than they otherwise would have been. The planes practicing for the airshow were flying directly overhead and would have made some fine subjects. That said, here are the two rather unremarkable photos I was able to take in addition to the fire hydrant introductory photo which was bathed in light.
And this is the USS Laboon, an Arleigh Burke Class destroyer.