Monday, December 28, 2009
Underpants Never Strike Twice
If the foiled terrorist on flight 253 had tried to light his underpants on fire during the middle part of the trip, I wonder if they'd now be making us stay in our seats with our hands in our laps for that hour? In eight-and-a-half years of watching our crack security professionals' attempts to keep from happening the thing that just happened this one wins the prize. Some guy fiddles in his lap with some odds and ends he brought on board and nearly detonates explosives sewn into his underpants. If this were truly a viable way to bring down an airplane you'd think that people who are paid to sit around and think about these things would have thought that might be a possibility and put these restrictions in place before somebody actually tried it. It's not like it was a brilliant or unlikely scenario. Here's a not-so-brilliant and likely guess at how that conversation went at the TSA:
"Somebody could hide this powder in their underpants and detonate it on their approach into a major US airport."
"Yea, we know. Let's wait until it happens and then then make sure it doesn't happen again. At least not on the approach"
"What if someone tries it at the beginning of a flight?"
"We'll deal with that when it happens. It's not our job to prevent these specific things. It's our job to prevent these specific things from happening twice in a row. Relax. Have donut."
So now we'll all sit with our hands folded neatly over our throbbing bladders like a bunch of school kids for the last hour of a flight for no good reason except to demonstrate with what precision the people in charge of our safety can recognize what it was they missed the first time. Speaking strictly for myself this does not make me feel safer. This makes me feel like the people we're counting on to watch our backs have no idea what they're doing, or where this thing is heading next.
Travel well. And safe.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Let it Snow
A classic Nor'easter is bearing down on New England. Unlike our urban brethren to the east and south who listen to the grave tones of their weathercasters' voices and crouch behind their snow shovels, Vermonters like this sort of thing. Kids dust off the sleds, skis get fresh wax, chairlifts lurch into action across the Green Mountains and town road crews start adding up the overtime. The only disappointment we're likely to feel in this most recent "historic event" is that the really big accumulations will peter out before they get here leaving us with a measly six or ten inches.
The downside is that my older son comes home from Seattle tomorrow via a series of eastern airports all likely to be closed by midnight tonight. That part's not so great, but he's young and resilient and I know I'll see him soon -- even if he does have the patterns of airport seating etched into his lovely face.
This week leading up to Christmas is always one of tender domestics and nostalgia. Cooking smells and rustling garland will conjure childhood memories thought lost. More innocent times project from every colored light. This is why it's called a season of joy and this is also why people get depressed at this time of year. Here's to more of the former and less of the last.
I will part with some shameless commerce. 'Tis the season, I suppose. Just in time for Christmas my publisher has released a new retrospective collection of mine called, It's Just Like I Told You; 25 Years of Comments and Comic Pieces. You can read about it on the home page, or just go buy and download it at any number of online sellers: iTunes, audible.com, Random House Audio and others. Thanks for coming around like this. I enjoy these little chats of ours.