Friday, 9 January 2004

"Scenes From A Sad Airport"

Welcome to America. Please give us the finger. Smile for the camera. Now get the hell out. (by Mark Morford, columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle’s Web site, SF Gate)

This is long, but worth reading all the way through — it gets better as it goes on:

It’s OK, come on out of that plane. Ignore the stun guns and the growling dogs. America loves you….

Welcome to America, foreign traveler. Please hold still and place your finger here and smile for the camera and enjoy your first taste of our trademark, wickedly ironic and hypocritical joke about America being the land of the free.

My usual favorite of S.F. Chronicle and SF Gate columnists, Jon Carroll , also weighs in with, Let us today take a look at the US-VISIT program, which is, as the name implies, a government program designed to discourage people from visiting the United States.

Approximately 18 percent of American have passports, although it is unclear how many have used them. That means that if you have a passport and have traveled abroad, you are already in a distinct minority. This may be why you feel so isolated in America.

So most Americans have never been anywhere. The unknown is always more scary than the known, and when the unknown is the Whole World, that’s a lot to be frightened of. Fear breeds hysteria, and now we are spending good money on policies that seem to protect us but do not in fact do so.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

[Addendum, 10 January 2004: In a more straightforward vein, yet another San Francisco Bay area newspaper, the San Jose Mercury News, had this survey of the impact of “Homeland Security” policies on inbound international tourism to the USA: Things were already rough for the tourism industry. ]

Link | Posted by Edward on Friday, 9 January 2004, 16:25 ( 4:25 PM)

A tired Grandma at an airport one night awaiting a flight to see her Grandchildren:

With several long hours
Before her flight.
She hunted for a book
In an airport shop,
Bought a bag of cookies
And found a place to drop.

She was engrossed in her book
But happened to see,
That the man sitting beside her,
As bold as could be,
Grabbed a cookie or two
From the bag in between,
Which she tried to ignore
To avoid a scene.

So she munched the cookies
And watched the clock,
As the gutsy cookie thief
Diminished her stock.
She was getting more irritated
As the minutes ticked by,
Thinking, "If I wasn't so nice,
I would blacken his eye."

With each cookie she took,
He took one too,
When only one was left,
She wondered what he would do.
With a smile on his face,
And a nervous laugh,
He took the last cookie
And broke it in half.

He offered her half,
As he ate the other,
She snatched it from him
And thought....ooh, brother!
This guy had some nerve
And he's also so rude,
Why he didn't even show
Any gratitude!

She had never known
When she had been this galled,
And sighed with relief
When her flight was called.

She gathered her belongings
And headed to the gate,
Refusing to look back
At the thieving ingrate.

She boarded the plane,
And sank in her seat,
Then she sought her book,
Which she'd almost completed.
As she reached in her baggage,
She gasped with surprise,
There was her very own bag of cookies,
Right in front of her eyes.

If mine are here,
She moaned in despair,
The others were his,
And he tried to share.
Too late to apologize,
She realized with grief,
That she was the rude one,
The ingrate, the thief!
Oh my, where would she get relief
From the guilt, the lies she had told herself?

She let out a sigh and let her heart sink into prayer;
As she had done before -- having been before a li-air!
She asked for forgiveness for her little sin
That Jesus Himself had seen her do again.

Then she rolled up her bag
Just in time to hear her gate called
It was her flight and she was off again.
Forgiven indeed just as He said he would do;
Every time that she put on her shoes.

She danced in her heart
That He would do such miracles
Made just for her
When she got tangled in an attitude
Of Christian women's circles.
Soon her humility would come to herself
Packaged in death but made right by Life
'Fessed up to Him timely -- She could now be sure of herself.

How many times have we absolutely known that something was a certain
way only to discover later that what we believed to be true.....was not?

"Always Keep An Open Mind And An Open Heart,
Because..........................You Just Never Know....

"You might just be eating someone else's cookies."

Posted by: James Theronson, 4 February 2004, 15:20 ( 3:20 PM)
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