Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Airport Philosophy

If you’re like me, traveling alone gives your brain all kinds of time to think about the most random things. Normally, this gives me the chance to ramble on about whatever the political topic of the day is and post it to my blog.

But I already did a bit of that this morning, and I make no promises either way as to whether or not I post about something else after the next leg of my journey. But for now, I’ll take a break from politi-speak to opine on a few other things, and give you a glimpse into the chaotic mess that is my brain.

(1) Why is it that, when connecting through an airport, you never really feel like you are in the city you’re actually in? Sometimes, you can be there for hours, and in my case, I’m in Minneapolis for the next hour and a half.

The thing is, there is really no mistaking the fact that I am in Minnesota, unless someone has hijacked this city and replaced it’s citizens with an army of people that sound unmistakenly like native Minnesotans.

(Apparently “unmistakenly” is not a word according to my spellcheck. I henceforth declare it to be one. It also says "spellcheck" is not a word. A self-hating spelling checker?)

(2) Why do they use so much gray color at airports? I assume it’s to conceal dirt, but really it makes the entire air travel experience to be a muted version of itself. I think this adds to the “I’m not really there” aspect of connecting flights.

(3) The NWA WorldClub at terminal F in Minneapolis sucks. Normally, I’m quite amazed at how these membership-only clubs manage to make the airport terminal experience seem more like sitting in your living room (although maybe this has only to do with their use of color instead of yet more shades of gray)..

In this case, my amazement is only that someone would pay for access to such things. I think there is less noise and fewer people outside the club than in it. Normally, I can take solace in the fact that this is one of the few places I’ve found where I can enjoy a non-skunky Heineken.

How so? Well, they have free beer at the club (its only saving grace), and they have Miller Lite and Heineken on tap (and if you only have two things on tap, why NOT make them both nearly identical lagers?). So, even though I could care less about Heineken, I’ve enjoyed the fact that I can taste what it actually is supposed to taste like at the NWA Club in Minneapolis.

But not today--they’ve got a padlock on both of the taps. Maybe it’s because it’s only 10:30 local time, but I’ve been up since 5am local and I want my beer. Come on.

I’m also sitting about 3 feet from the “Free Wi-Fi” sign and I keep losing my signal.

(4) If you’ve been in the business world, I’m sure you’ve heard someone use the phrase “I’m out of pocket.” In case you haven’t heard this bit of business hyperbole, it means “you won’t be able to communicate with me during this time.” I hear it all the time, and I don’t think I’ve used it myself but if I have, I apologize.

My question is, where in the hell does this phrase come from? Out of pocket? What pocket? And does that mean you can only answer your phone when you are *in* someone’s pocket? Is it some bizarre football reference, a la the quarterback is out of the pocket?

You hear some pretty stupid phrases in business, and I assume most of them have root in something that makes sense, but I don’t any idea where this one comes from.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Never Too Late for a worthy cause

I almost forgot to mention (actually, I did, but someone reminded me) Amy's fund raiser for Never Too Late. It's like the Make-a-Wish foundation, but they focus on nursing home and hospice patients. It's a great cause. From her website:

I'm sure some of you are wondering what the chart is on the right side of the page. It is a fundraiser I'm doing for a group called Never Too Late. They grant wishes for the elderly in nursing homes, hospice patients and others in adult day care situations. This organization is so amazing that they try and grant one wish a day to someone! The wishes they grant are simple ones, but can end up making a profound difference in the outlook in an elderly person's life. It gives them something to look forward to, something to hope for, and in the end, something they can think back about in a positive way. I am currently trying to raise $1000 for them, so they can continue doing the wonderful work that they do.
So reach deep into those pocketbooks, and send a few bucks Amy's way, and help her reach her fund raising goal!

Gun control, illegal immigration, and 9-year-old clay pigeon champions

(Update: This article turns out to be false. The snopes page is here. This is why you can't trust everything you read!)

For those out there that think either (a) we need more gun control laws or (b) illegal immigration is not a problem that needs immediate corrective action, take a read of this article.

It seems that 11 year old Patricia Harrington was home alone when 2 illegal aliens broke into her house shortly after her father had left. One of these criminals (it was later found out), had broken into another home earlier, and left a 50-year-old man dead from stab wounds.

But young Miss Harrington had no plans of ending up dead (or kidnapped, or raped) this afternoon. As it turns out, Patricia has been a clay pigeon shooting champion since she was age 9. When she heard the break-in, she ran to her fathers room, and took his shotgun.

When the first "undocumented citizen" reached the top of the stair, Patricia opened fire (at slightly-below-the-waist level, as it turns out), and dropped the man from point blank range. When the second of these upstanding young men ran to the base of the stairs in response, Patricia took aim and dropped the second man with a shot to the shoulder. Both intruders died from their wounds.

Can you imagine what would have happened to this girl if owning a gun had been illegal, or if this had been one of these "gun free zones" ? What a story.

I found this article on Digg - if you like to digg, then digg the original to give credit where it's due. Link is here.

Barack Obama, Eminent Domain, and MySpace

Well this is a curious little tidbit, and one which surely should get chalked up into the Halls of Stupidity.

Apparently some Barack Obama supporter has been running a MySpace page for two years, with the profile name "barackobama". With the ongoing presidential campaign, the page has become quite popular, amassing over 160,000 (!!!) friends. Wow. Up until recently, the Obama campaign had actually been working with the owner of this site, as it fits right in with the grassroots, online effort that Obama has been utilizing all along.

As popular as the site has become, it's no huge surprise that the campaign wanted to bring it in-house, rather than leaving 160,000 supporters at the whim of one political webmaster (cha ching for my use of a "web 1.0" term - haha).

Some discussions took place, and the webmaster wanted $39,000 for the site. Despite having raised millions of dollars from Hollywood alone, apparently old Obama can't part with $39k to compensate this guy for 160,000 names and 2.5 years of work. Alright, fine... IF they don't want the site... BUT - what happens next?

In conjunction with MySpace, Obama seized control of the site!

That's right. Rather than pay the man, the Obama campaign went to a higher authority and just took it. Sure, in the "settlement" the previous owner gets to keep all the friends, but seriously, the site is surely linked from all over the internet, and most all of these people will just head right to the new Obama site and re-friend themselves. It's not like it's too hard to memorize http://www.myspace.com/barackobama, after all.

In recent history, various state and local governments have been utilizing Eminent Domain to seize private property from U.S. Citizens for purposes of economic development and raising tax revenue - a move which many people, myself included, feel is grossly unconstitutional.

I wonder where Mr. Obama stands on the issue, given that he himself has just gone to the "governing body", rather than pay a market price (and a cheap one, at that), for something created by a private party, just because he wanted it for himself?

Furthermore, why would a leading presidential candidate run the risk of alienating the very bloggers that support his campaign?

Links to check out:
News Article
New site of the webmaster