I forgot to mention something amusing from my parents' vacation. Away in some large dirt-colored western state for a week, they called for some reason every two days. One that was to report that they were going into a region without cell phone service, so in case I had to contact them it would go to voice mail. The only thing really worth mentioning while they were away was one of the people my father repairs homes for calling to say they were getting water coming in the house from some unidentified source, but it wasn't any kind of rush and they didn't want my father worried about it, so they asked me not to pass on the message. I'd mock such a blasé attitude about basic home repairs, but remember, it did take me a couple months to getting around to replacing a burned out light bulb in my living room, in Singapore, and I ultimately only replaced that because the other light burned out, and at that I took a week to get around to it.
The most exciting call -- for them, at least -- was from Las Vegas's Star Trek: The Experience, which they described as incredible. Multiple times. Apparently both my parents were very impressed with the Borg Invasion motion ride thingy, and my father took the chance to steal one of the polarized-lens 3-D eyeglasses. He says he just slipped it in his pocket and didn't realize you were supposed to turn them in when the ride was over, which is probably somewhat credible.
They were also very impressed with some kind of bar or restaurant which, my father said, included all kinds of props and sets and things taken right from the show. (I think he's talking about the Quark's Bar experience, but I don't know the details.) He was impressed with how many ordinary objects he could identify making up stage props, and gave his guesses as to which model of car gave the reflector lights used for some detrius he couldn't identify because he didn't know what role it served in the show. Also there was this habit they had of disguising everything behind Star Trek-themed names, which delighted them both. I believe either my mother or her college friend who went on the trip with them identified a multi-tone version of a cosmopolitan that they liked, but weren't sure if they were up to ordering another because it's still hard to get used to certain colors in drinks. My father tried tossing off a couple of alien names in the hopes I could identify the connection, but to be brutally honest I skipped most of Deep Space Nine when they made it clear they didn't see any need to have more than one interesting episode a season for three years running and bailed out on Voyager its third spacetime anomaly in a row (this was the third week). Many of the modern Trek references I only know through Stephen Ratliff MiSTings, which just won't help you figure out why Borellians should be tied to meat loaf.
Trivia: In April 1934 the Occult Committee, dedicated to debunking mesmerism and spiritualism of all kinds, offered a bounty of 500 guineas to anyone who would perform the Indian Rope Trick for them. It went unclaimed. Source: The Rise of the Indian Rope Trick, Peter Lamont.
Currently Reading: Food in History, Reay Tannahill.