Back home again, after an extraordinary time in Sydney. The "other side of the world" thing could not have been more cogently realized than in the extremes of weather.
In Sydney, I got a severe sunburn on hands, neck, and throat, from taking a 5-hour bike tour. It was overcast, and actually rained a bit, but the sun is so strong there, and the ozone level so thin, that my poor skin incinerated. The burn was so bad that I was happy not to go outside during the entire week of the Tallis Scholars workshop.
On the day I left Sydney it was 86 degrees. When I touched down at JFK 23 hours later, it was 19 degrees. The endless flying and jet lag settling in led to a strange state where I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone episode "The Midnight Sun," where the world seems to be burning up, but it's only a dream from someone freezing to death. (Up theme music please)
It will take me a while to catch up on things. But I'm glad I didn't miss the chance to say, Happy Birthday, Rabbie Burns! The great Scot was honored with a Google logo, just for Google UK. It references his poem, "My luv is like a red, red rose, that's newly sprung in June." I wrote a tribute to his birthday a few years ago, replete with an Al Hirschfeld anecdote and an insistence at getting one of his most famous lines right.