Things I learned at Beltwide while not attending sessions

I’m stuck in the airport, awaiting a late flight home from New Orleans and transitioning from meeting mode to what passes for normal for me.

The Beltwide Cotton Conferences, as usual, were an interesting mix of information, catching up with old friends (older and older), and over-indulgence. I have enough notes to create several articles for the next issues, ideas for follow-up interviews, and a few tidbits of information on new products to watch for.

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I also picked up a few bits of information while not attending official technical Beltwide sessions, and made some observations while being bored in the airport. For instance:

• Joe Outlaw is an amusing economist. I know, amusing economist sounds like an oxymoron. Trust me. It’s accurate.

• John Robinson and Ken Lege probably should keep their day jobs, but could create a faithful following as country music troubadours in the swankiest of honkytonks.

• Raw oysters may, at some point, make me significantly sick, but until they do I plan on indulging in the slimy treat anytime I’m in the Big Easy.

• Fine dining with Steve Orr, Tony St. James, and Shawn Wade at the Bourbon House beats hotel room service by a light year or two.

• The Bourbon House makes really good milkshakes — but don’t order them for your kids.

• New Orleans street music is audible on the 14th floor of the Marriott Hotel — and that’s perfectly OK.

• It doesn’t take long to spend the night at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences.

• I think I may now be one of the oldest journalists attending the Beltwide.

• Rich food, a tad of wine, and late hours do not improve typing skills.

• I get some of my best ideas after I shut down my computer, put it in the backpack, and stow it in the overhead bin. After landing, I usually have forgotten any good ideas I may have had after stowing my computer in the overhead bin.

• I have more friends in the cotton industry than I probably deserve, but always look forward to seeing them — even my alter ego, Ron Smith, the Auburn entomologist.

To clarify, I did attend technical sessions. I took notes. I learned some stuff and will develop reports.

So far, I don’t have a cold. But the incubation period has not expired.

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