Honey, I’m Home!

I’m thrilled to be back in Amsterdam – one of my favorite cities – (check the Amsterdam archives to hear me fawn over her in ’06 like a lovesick schoolboy).  A couple days here on my own (doing a little work, actually) prior to D‘s arrival as she wraps up her African safari.  The plan is some time in Paris, then back here for Picnic ’09, then to Ghent, then back here again… we’re gonna have fun.

Merry Christmas 2008

my holiday card for you: abstraction distraction

I am sitting here in Dulles, stuck, thanks to this awesome weather (and being reminded, again, why I live where I do.)

I thought I’d take this opportunity to wish y’all – with words and a photo – a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Saturnalia, Yule, Kwanzaa, and Boxing Day.

Enjoy, everyone.  Have fun and stay safe out there.

Airport Security: Theater of the Absurd

Please read this wonderful piece by Patrick Smith, a commercial airline pilot. Excerpts:

“The truth is, regardless of how many pointy tools and shampoo bottles we confiscate, there shall remain an unlimited number of ways to smuggle dangerous items onto a plane. The precise shape, form and substance of those items is irrelevant. We are not fighting materials, we are fighting the imagination and cleverness of the would-be saboteur.

Thus, what most people fail to grasp is that the nuts and bolts of keeping terrorists away from planes is not really the job of airport security at all. Rather, it’s the job of government agencies and law enforcement. It’s not very glamorous, but the grunt work of hunting down terrorists takes place far off stage, relying on the diligent work of cops, spies and intelligence officers. Air crimes need to be stopped at the planning stages. By the time a terrorist gets to the airport, chances are it’s too late.

In the end, I’m not sure which is more troubling, the inanity of the existing regulations, or the average American’s acceptance of them and willingness to be humiliated. These wasteful and tedious protocols have solidified into what appears to be indefinite policy, with little or no opposition. There ought to be a tide of protest rising up against this mania. Where is it? …

And rather than rethink our policies, the best we’ve come up with is a way to skirt them — for a fee, naturally — via schemes like Registered Traveler. Americans can now pay to have their personal information put on file just to avoid the hassle of airport security. As cynical as George Orwell ever was, I doubt he imagined the idea of citizens offering up money for their own subjugation...

Conned and frightened, our nation demands not actual security, but security spectacle.

More Security Stupidity

So, you “dump” the terminal, inconvenience a thousand passengers, delay a dozen flights, out of an “abundance of [faux] caution” and cost passengers and taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.  You still can’t find the poor guy (in the red shirt, pink hat, with the garbage bag and urn)  – so, you just let everyone go about their business.  How is this security, exactly?  Can someone explain this to me?  Oh, I know: it isn’t.  But hell, it makes Joe and Joan Six Pack feel safe, so it’s worth it.