gates are always opening and closing

I see that I attempted to write a blog post while sitting on a Baltimore runway yesterday, so I probably should start by getting that out of the way. Here's yesterday's no-longer alive post:

While I know that traveling is supposed to be fun, there's something very un-fun about air delays -- especially the one I'm experiencing right now. My USAIR flight from Amsterdam to Philadelphia was first delayed two hours in Amsterdam, which was bad enough.

But now I'm sitting here on a runway in Baltimore, after an hour spent circling Philadelphia to no avail. They wouldn't let the poor plane land, and it was running out of fuel and had to be "diverted" to BWI airport.

No one is allowed to exit the plane, which is not at any gate, so here we sit.


I finally got back to Philadelphia, and went to sleep in a jetlagged stupor. The only thing I'd add to what I wrote yesterday is that I had to go through five lines (one of which was over an hour long) just in order to board the plane. One "entry" line, then a counter line, a long passport check line, then a security search, then another passport check line, then another security search. I'm glad to have security, but they don't do double passport checks and searches in the U.S., so I'm wondering whether this is a case of the airline not trusting the airport.....

In any case, the net result is a decline in tourism; I spoke with a good friend in Amsterdam who owns a hotel catering to American tourists, and he says business is down everywhere. I can see why. Add long lines and airport stress to terrorist attacks and (perceived) anti-American sentiment, and you can't expect hotels to be filled with Americans.

It's sad, really, because most Europeans are very polite and hospitable. And it's ironic, because on any given day, you can perceive more anti-American sentiment in any large American city than you can perceive in say, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin or Oslo. (Certainly, there seem to be more people telling Americans they're hated back here than there are over there.)

Anyway, now that I'm back to the land where so many seem so in love with self hatred, I'm catching up with vital news items such as these:

  • 1. Seattle man has sex with horse (apparently, people are meeting them over the internet).
  • 2. Blind man has sex with his seeing eye dog.
  • 3. Svengali Karl Rove (a man who owes Classical Values a small fortune by now) somehow seems to be surviving his worst scandal yet, in which he's accused of "leaking" something previously leaked. That's almost as evil as giving White House press passes to pseudonymous gay reporters. (I wonder when the Rove critics will learn that Rove has come up with a newer, almost magical form of Teflon. The old, unimproved, Teflon merely protected against scandals, while Rove's brand of Teflon turns scandals into strength.)
  • While I have not yet begun to catch up with the blogosphere, it occurred to me that there might be more on this alchemy. As usual, Glenn Reynolds did not disappoint:

    I have to say that I've been skeptical of theories that this was yet another Karl Rove "rope-a-dope" operation designed to sucker Administration opponents into discrediting themselves. But now I'm not so sure.
    I don't know whether I'd call such theories rope-a-dope (yes, rove-a-dope works too) or give-em-enough-rope, but I think it's pretty clear that these tar-babyish Rove "scandals" come with the magic NeoTeflon® already built in.

    Part of the magic is that there's something for everybody, which makes it self perpetuating:

  • Rove's enemies get to play gotcha to their hearts' content, while imagining they're opening up new Watergates.
  • Rove not only isn't damaged, but actually gains strength from the gotcha games.
  • Each time, the result is that Rove appears more demonic than ever before, and his enemies angrier than ever before. Naturally, they'll try even harder for the Next Biggest Rove Scandal, which starts the cycle again.
  • And so on.

    Speaking of scandals, I have so many photos from the trip that I really don't know what to do with them all, nor do I know where to start. I guess Amsterdam is as good a place as any.

    Here are a couple of views of the red light district:


    The red light district is no big deal; just girls displaying their wares in the windows of their "stores." And a few businesses like this:


    Many of Amsterdam's buildings like those above are built on canals, as in Venice. But there are also plenty of crooked medieval streets like this charmer:


    Most of the country is below sea level, so canals, dikes, drawbridges, and various locks are everywhere, even out in the countryside.

    Like this "water gate," which always takes its toll....


    To get it to open, you have to pay!

    Anyway, I don't mean to make light of serious news, and I'm sure there's plenty I missed.

    Or is it all just water under the bridge?

    MORE: A pro-America rally! In Denmark. (Via Glenn Reynolds.) I wasn't in Denmark that day, but it confirms what I was told by two Danes -- but which would otherwise go unreported. Not all Danes are opposed to George W. Bush.

    (I realize this will come as a shock to many here in the United States, but I heard it with my own ears while I was over there.)

    posted by Eric on 07.16.05 at 05:34 PM


    Dear Eric:

    So good to have you back! So much you wrote here, excellent photographs. Thank you. I'll try to think of some good comments worthy of your poats. As Arnold Harris of Mount Horeb, WI., would say, you are a man and a half.

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