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Quiz Kid Donnie Smith

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04:12 pm: Names Have Been Changed to Protect the Awesome
Yesterday, I was in Milwaukee most of the day to provide logistical and transportation support to a guest session facilitator, who we will call "Judy Beethoven." Judy is the CEO of a service organization of which we are a member, but neither of us in the office had ever met her.

I was in Milwaukee bright and early to pick her up at her hotel. I then hung out for most of the seminar, which had a lot to do with fundraising tools, and Judy encouraged me to take part in the discussion, so I brought up a particular fundraising scenario for a theatrical production. She indicated that she was quite familiar with fundraising because her husband was a composer.

Judy and I actually hit it off quite well, and we had a good talk on a variety of subjects on the way from Milwaukee to Madison. She also took the time to make a couple of calls back home, including one to her husband, who we will call "Ludwig," a name that did not register as significant to me at the time.

Judy is knowledgable on an extensive amount of cool topics; most impressively she knows how to make injera, that spongy Ethiopian flatbread that is essential to east African cuisine. The lack of a sensible injera recipe has kept me from attempting Ethiopian at home, but she disabused me of a key misconception that I'd had about its traditional preparation...and now it does not seem nearly as impossible. I got the impression that not only did she enjoy cooking at least as great a variety of food as I do, but that in an Iron Chef head-to-head competition, I would be the 75-to-one longshot bet.

At one point, Judy asked me for advice on future strategies for her company, since I obviously had lots of experience in that area. Actually, I assured her, I have virtually no experience in the area in which she was asking for advice, but I did float an idea or two which she found interesting. During this conversation, I proposed a fictional scenario: let's say that you and your husband started a foundation called the Judy and Ludwig Beethoven...

The conversation continued for a minute or two as my brain made the connection.

"Wait a minute," I suddenly said. "Is your husband the Ludwig Beethoven? The one who wrote Insert Name of Famous and Amazing Twentieth Century Opera Here?"

No, no, I was told, Ludwig Van Beethoven was not her husband, but they did know the more famous composer personally, and he'd come to their house on some occasions for dinner. She described some of her husband's music, which sounded interesting, and when her explanation appeared to make sense to me (actually, it did), she even promised to mail me some CDs so I could hear some of it. (I told her later that I'd burn a copy of "Gays of Our Lives" for her. I am pretty sure I still win with a large margin in this deal.)

I took her to the airport this afternoon. So long, Judy Beethoven. It was excellent to meet you.

Current Mood: thankfulthankful


[User Picture]
Date:July 26th, 2007 10:27 pm (UTC)
She knows how to make injera bread???

Kidnap her and bring her to me NOW, appropriately supplied with Ethiopian ingredients to last several months.
[User Picture]
Date:July 26th, 2007 10:45 pm (UTC)
Are you sure you wouldn't rather lay seige to her house in Alaska? Then she will be able to make use of her extensive herb & vegetable garden.
[User Picture]
Date:July 27th, 2007 01:24 am (UTC)
Alaska... it's cool there. That sounds nice!
[User Picture]
Date:July 27th, 2007 03:27 pm (UTC)
Alaska features prominently in The Simpsons Movie. If Alaska is anything like the way it was rendered by the animators, it's a cool place indeed.
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