Here in the midst of the road trip I need to take a moment to jot down some random observations before I fall asleep and they are lost to history.
--24 has now nuked Southern California twice (several seasons ago it was the Mojave desert, remember?) I read an interview a couple years ago where the writers were discussing how they realized they couldn't just sustain the ominous threat of "nuclear blast on American soil" forever, and that there would be many opportunities to play "small ball" in future plots. Small ball, I'm guessing, means something like nuclear explosions all over the place and then Jack Bauer chews off the head of Beelzebub while the heavens part and continents sink into the sea. Also, probably, a Death Star comes into the picture at some point. Or terrorists have managed to get control of a comet which will split the Earth in five pieces, which occurs within the first two hours, leaving CTU spread dangerously thin and without functioning comm between the five severed chunks of planet now in gravitational orbit around the moon.
--Possible new 24 taglines: "We don't diddle around talking about 'nuking LA.' We nuke LA, and so much more."
"24: Nuking LA repeatedly before most Americans have had their first cup of coffee."
--I went into a "bar" recently for the first time in quite a while. What struck me most, apart from the fact that bar talk has still not evolved to the Firing Line level, is the amazing proliferation of Absolut Vodka flavors. I tried "Absolut Jerky" - the martini is called the "Rawhide - and it was pretty zesty.
--Driving home from PA this afternoon I took a calculated gamble to take the "western" route rather than go back down I-95. Boy, was that a smart move. Apart from the fact the PA Turnpike to Route 15 is a pretty beautiful drive in parts, there was very little traffic. It's probably further as the crow flies, but the crow does not drive, now does he. The key trade off is, you might drive a little further, but at 4:00 pm on a weekday would you rather be just south of Frederick, MD going south on 15, or just south of Beltsville about to go west on 495. Heh. No contest. I highly recommend the western route.
--The hotel was nice but with no restaurant, so they give you chits to redeem at the Starbucks next door. I went over this morning and ordered a "large coffee" (I refuse to use their ridiculous terminology) and a tuna sandwich. As I'm paying I hand him the chit and the guy tells me, "Oh, this is for a "grande" coffee and a bagel or muffin" and sort of looks at me expectently to see if I would change my order to get the free items. "Ah, so it does not apply to these at all?" I asked ... and put it back in my pocket. I had a reason to order THOSE things. But maybe there are people who, faced with the prospect of losing out on the free lunch, would say "Yes, in that case I'll have the Orange Crush and Necco Wafers or whatever it is I get for free."
--Because this next trip is only three days and I only have to dress like a business person for two of the days, I am determined to go carry-on only. I roll up the shirts and ties and one pair of pants, wear the blazer and other pair of pants, and throw in sweatpants and a sweatshirt, and wear the shoes - and it all easily fits in a duffle bag. I should be able to cover for any accidents even if it involves spilling red wine over much of my torso and thighs (happened once). BUT: I'm bringing shaving cream, after shave gel, travel sized Head and Shoulders, and mousse. Will I get through security or end up in Guantanamo Bay? I honestly don't know, as I haven't tried this since the summer. If this blog goes dead for several days, it's safe to assume I will be expecting care packages, preferably containing nicotine gum and porn, and candlelight vigils whenever practicable.
--Reading for the trip is Steyn's America Alone (yes I'm very late to the game). I read Bruce Bawer's While Europe Slept last year on like the day after it came out and a friend said this new book gives the big picture of the same reality. I'm looking at about 12 hours in airports and planes so I should get through it unless I get sidetracked, as sometimes happens. I think I need a vacation.
--Sometimes I get no leisure time on these trips, but if I can the next venue might lend itself to some saucy, spirited photos, the kind that make you say "Yarrgh!"
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