Sunday, December 2, 2012

On Writing a Book and Surprising Myself

Working can be messy!

I've found it difficult, as you may have noticed, to write as many blog posts for Robin Chapman News these past few months, as I've worked on my apricot book. It is due February 15, 2013, in the offices of the History Press and tells the story of the Lost Apricot Orchards of Silicon Valley.

There have been many days, especially in the summer when the weather around here is just how you imagine it will be in Heaven, that I have asked myself if I really needed to be doing something this difficult at this point in my life.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Airborne From the Skies of Blue


Robin writes: Screenwriter Steve Latshaw has written guest posts for us before, and he always shares his interesting perspective as a man from America's heartland working in the crazy world of Hollywood. Recently, he lost his beloved father, and since he knew I had been through this too, we talked about it on the phone. This is a significant signpost in a person's life. The result was this piece from Steve: the title is from the official song of the 82nd Airborne, in which is father served.

Don Latshaw in the countryside he loved.

Airborne From the Skies of Blue
a Guest Post
by Steve Latshaw

My father, Don Latshaw, was a great and good man. Rock solid, firm but understanding, even when he didn’t always understand me, which could be tough.  I remember, when I was a kid, about eight years old, one night, just before bed, I tried to impress him with all the stuff I knew. He pretended not to know the answers to the historical questions my single digit mind posed, just so I could show off my expertise. I asked him questions.  And he laughed as he deliberately gave the wrong answer and I called him on it.  This was after watching an old Army picture on TV.  Probably The Longest Day, one of his favorites, which he used as an opportunity to teach me about regular Americans who crossed the ocean to save the world.  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Fowl Myths About the Life of a Turkey

Vintage postcard celebrating America, the Pilgrims, and Mr. Turkey.

The people who settled in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and celebrated their first harvest in 1621, were feeling lucky to have survived that first year. They invited some of the Indians to join with them in celebration and the Indians all brought their families, as was their custom. The Pilgrims looked around and were a little worried they might not have enough food for the (now) large assembly.

The Indians could see the problem and went out hunting so there would be food for all. Thus began the tradition of sending out someone at the last minute on Thanksgiving Day to pick up more food.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Little Treasure With a Surprise Inside


I spotted the pretty little evening bag at the Cancer Society's Discovery Shop. I stop in there from time to time when I'm on a boring errand and feel the need for a treasure hunt. It is just the place to spend twenty minutes dreaming on a rainy day.

I try not to buy things I don't need. But I couldn't resist this little objet d'art.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Business of Growing Apricots

My father, Ashley Chapman, standing in the apricot lot where he built our first house.

It has turned out to be a big challenge to write a book about the apricot business in the Santa Clara Valley, while at the same time trying to maintain another writing project, i.e. my regular Robin Chapman News blog. The good news: I'm on the home stretch of the book.

An interesting thing has happened during the course of the work: I started the book as an exercise in nostalgia. I have come to realize I am writing about a business. People didn't have apricot orchards because they thought fruit trees were fun for kids like me! What a revelation. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day 2012: A Mystery as Always!

The pundits don't know it all, as Truman famously learned.

You can take all the polls you like: but you can never actually predict the outcome of an election. President Truman learned this when he went to bed the night of November 2, 1948 knowing he had lost, and waking the next day to learn that the pundits were wrong and he had won. 

The photo of Truman holding the Chicago Tribune headline has gone down in history. President Truman was a veteran, and a good man indeed.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Happiness of Halloween

My sister is disguised as a gypsy in a skirt and vest my mother made (which later came down to me). I managed to find a red, gabardine raincoat with a hood so that I could appear for the evening as Little Red Riding Hood and still wear all the warm clothing (underneath) my mother insisted on.

Halloween is still one of the best holidays going for kids. Congress hasn't been able to move it around and foul it up the way they have other holidays. It still takes place, weekday or not, on October 31. And it still means pranks and funny clothes and treats.

A good time all the way 'round.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Making the Other Guy Look Small

The final presidential debate of 2012.

From the first moments of this final presidential debate, it was clear that each candidate had come to the table with a different tactic as part of a similar strategy: President Obama continued to attack his opponent, hoping to raise Romney's ire and, by forcing a mistake, make Romney look small. Romney, for his part, went out of his way to be gracious toward the president, hoping, in comparison, to make his opponent look small, for being so critical. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Abuse of Power In a Small Town Election

A report in the independently owned Palo Alto and Mid Peninsula Daily Post. 

Things aren't just nasty in national politics these days. We're having a nasty week in my little hometown, Los Altos, California, where our mayor tried to use the power of her office to get some  campaign signs removed from the window on the private property of a local business. She supports the other candidates.

Hard to believe this would happen in a town where council members are paid about $12,000 a year plus health insurance. Could there be more at stake than that? You think?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Town Hall Debate As Reality Television

October 16. 2012

Watching the second debate between the two presidential candidates, two things stood out--well there's a third thing and I'll get to that in a minute. But two general things first:

There was a lot of talk about the deficit during this debate, which took place is a faux "town hall" format (boy was that a bunch of hokum). But anyway, about the deficit. It was a charisma deficit. A humility deficit. A charm deficit. Call it what you will. The president of the United States represents America to the world. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Nuclear War That Didn't Almost Happen

President John F. Kennedy with General Curtis LeMay and the Joint Chiefs, October 1962.

Anyone who has spent any time reading the fine print of history, has known for some time that the Cuban Missile Crisis did not bring the world to the "brink" of nuclear war. From the minute President John F. Kennedy took a stand against the installation of Soviet missiles in Cuba, both sides were doing everything they could to avoid war.

Now, more than half a century after the crisis, newly declassified documents further support these facts.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Trade, Reindeer Moss, and the Cold War

The mysterious ring from Carmel.

One of the most interesting things you can do, when you shop for goods in the United States is to check the labels to see where the item you are holding in your hand was made. By doing this, you can learn a lot about American foreign policy and American trade policy--which are almost always tied very closely together. 

I did not expect any of this to come to mind as I poked through a box of my late mother's odds and ends of jewelry. It wasn't her best stuff--that had been divided up already. And it wasn't the costume jewelry--that we sold at the garage sale. It was a box of things too valuable to get rid of, yet too quirky to have found a claimant in the family circle. It was in this shoe box I spotted the ring from Carmel.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Debate a Corker: (But Still Five Weeks to Go)


The two candidates begin their debate.

A good debate is one in which important ideas are exchanged in a reasonable format and no fisticuffs break out.

So, the first U.S. presidential debate of 2012 was a really good debate. People all over the world are blowing each other up for the right to have a free exchange of ideas like that. Something we too easily forget.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

When Marnie Met Alfred Hitchcock


Winston Graham's novel "Marnie" with a movie tie-in cover.

I've often thought that Alfred Hitchcock's film Marnie (1964) was one of his most underrated. I saw it for the first time on television and have wondered since why it has never received more attention from film buffs. 

For one thing, it stars Sean Connery during the peak of his 007 fame--his only appearance in a Hitchcock film. The power of Connery's performance dominates every frame of the movie, even though the story is about Marnie.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Student Body Prez Takes the "Haupt" Train

The European Train Enthusiasts set up their exhibit. My high school friend, Stretch Andersen, is at right turning his head to the left.

I stopped by the Los Altos History Museum last evening to have a chat with a friend from high school. He and his friends at the European Train Enthusiasts are setting up a world of wonder. 

I would call it an exhibit: but it is too cool for that. It is a collection of tiny European villages connected by train tracks, on which the European trains will be running all this weekend. (Of course they will be on time, being European.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Life Lessons And Assets At a Little House

An asset can sometimes seem like a liability.

My sister and I are beginning the work of rehabilitating the little rental house we inherited. When we extricated the last tenants, whom we also inherited, it was a mess. 

No use recriminating about that. Now we are in the "going forward phase" and hoping not to foul up doing that.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Surprise Package From Ascension Island

From Long Beach, Ascension Island, South Atlantic Ocean.

Today, I got a surprise package from a woman I know--but whom I've never met. She and I have emailed one another quite a bit since my father died.

She was stationed on Ascension Island serving with the USAF when Dad died--and with me here and she on Ascension, she helped me arrange to donate my father's World War II Ascension Island papers to the Island Heritage Society.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dad and his Sister: Paying the Taxes Due


My father and his sister Helen in Homewood, Alabama, 1944.

My father and his sister Helen looked enough alike to be fraternal twins--tall, skinny people, they had long skinny feet, eyes the color of the sea off the coast of Scotland where their forefathers came from, and dark, dark hair that turned white, white as they grew older. They had similar, quirky senses of humor and both were stubborn. And both had very kind hearts. But not when it came to the IRS!

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Perils of Public Art (by Committee)

This is "The Creature" sculpture on the lake near my aunt's Oregon home. Taxes on new construction in the area paid for this.

I've long had a concern about public art, chosen by committee and paid for with tax dollars. I have this concern not because I hate art, but because I love it. Art, however, is subjective. One's man's treasure is another man's trash.

Thus, I think it is especially difficult for people on political committees to select appropriate--not to mention really, really good--art for public display.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Being Thankful and Saying Goodbye

Devil's Lake, Oregon, with my Uncle Joe, Aunt Ruth and five of my ten cousins. About 1981, I think.

I sometimes enjoy remembering my years in Oregon. And I sometimes don't. People were wonderful to me in Oregon. My career took off like a rocket in Oregon, and I was married in a Portland church. But there were sorrows in Portland too. Then. And now.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Start Profiling: End Jam Confiscation Now!


I had lunch with a family friend last week, an 84-year old grandmother, born in Germany, who as a child fled the Holocaust with her family and came to America just before the outbreak of World War II. At lunch in Mountain View, I gave her a couple of jars of my jam.

I urged her to eat it with her grandchildren in California before she got back on a plane and returned to Florida. "It won't make it past the TSA," I told her.

Friday, August 24, 2012

When WW II Engineers Set Down Their Slide Rules and Started Rockin' on Ascension


I just received the photo above and a note from a fellow named William Orr, principal of Hillsborough High School in Florida, whose father served on Ascension Island with the 38th Engineers at about the same time as my father. 

Orr's father was in a band some of the men formed on the island, called The Wideawakes, named after the airfield they built, Wideawake Field--still in operation today. This is the first I've heard of the band, though it makes sense, on a desert island, that men would organize something like that to while away the time.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Packard Foundation and its Apricots

Dried apricots from the hills above Los Altos, California. We call them "California Candy."

I got a postcard this week from my secret friends up in the hills above Los Altos, saying that the 2012 dried apricots were ready for sale and listing the dates and times they would be available. I've already made some apricot jam from the windfalls they let me glean this summer, so I feel doubly lucky to have made their dried 'cot mailing list.

"They" are the David and Lucille Packard Foundation. As part of their program to support conservation and retain iconic areas of the West, they operate eighty acres of apricot trees in Los Altos Hills. What a great idea!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Message of Reconciliation and Hope

Capt. W.A. Chapman during the Battle of Okinawa.

I spoke with my friend Judge Socrates Peter Manoukian this week and I was deeply moved by what he said to me about the death of his son, Capt. Matt Manoukian, who was killed last Thursday in Afghanistan.

"I don't hate those guys," he said. "If we hate them, then they have won." I realized at that moment that my friend's strength of character would see him through this difficult time. It reminded me of some things I read in my father's letters from Japan at the end of World War II.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Ghost of my Father's Hand

If you look carefully to the left of our back door, you will see the marks of my father's hand on the wall of the house.

During a Sunday pause in the painting of the exterior of my family home, I saw my father's ghostly hand near our back door this morning. It wasn't a ghost really--just the impression of his long, thin fingers. 

During the last year of his life, my father's walking became difficult and he would hold onto the stair rail at our back door steps, then reach for a grab bar my mother had installed, and then would put his left hand against the house to steady himself--the wonderful old house supporting the wonderful old man. The marks from the oil in his hands are still there.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Taking a Bullet That Was Meant For You

Capt. Matthew Patrick Manoukian, USMC.

My friend Pete lost his beloved son this week. He was killed in Afghanistan.

There are no words to express the sorrow of his family, nor the debt we owe to the young man. The story of this family is a truly American one.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Top Ten Overrated Movies

Glen Ford and Rita Hayworth in Gilda

The recent elevation, by some snooty British cineasts, of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo to the "best movie of all time"--oh come on--has caused me to do some thinking about a number of other overrated films. So, since the men are pressure-washing my house today and making a lot of noise and mess and water is leaking under my doors and I'm running around with towels plugging the leaks and I can't seem to get any other work done--I thought I might run through some of the films that have gone cult on us for no good reason. See if you agree:

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Vertigo the Best Movie Ever? Get Real.


A posh British film magazine has just produced the once-every-decade results of its Best Films of All Time poll and Vertigo now tops the list, defeating Citizen Kane which moved down a notch to number two.

What a crock! The entire poll is suspect since, of the top ten films, only three are American--in an industry which, during its entire classic period, was dominated by Hollywood. And of the American films on the list, only Citizen Kane was truly groundbreaking in its day--though I find it almost unwatchable now. With Vertigo (1958) in the number one spot, Kane (1941) at number two and John Ford's truly silly The Searchers (1956) at number seven, I must tell you I seriously beg to differ!

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Message From the Past on an Old Postcard

Vintage postcard of the foothills that surround the Santa Clara Valley.

I have seen the vintage postcard, above, several times on the Internet and it has always caught my eye. Something about it called to mind the view we used to have from our old kitchen window.

I remember admiring a little farm up there with an orchard and seeing a man on a tractor, turning over the ground in between the rows of trees. I often thought I would like to go up there to live.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The English Language and Relativity


In Florida, I got to know an architect who was a Florida native and a well-educated person. He was born in a little town east of Orlando and I enjoyed, without having to ask him about this, observing the cultural difference of two people who had been born on opposite coasts of North America. Though lots of people in Florida have a twangy accent, he did not.

America is very homogeneous, so there wasn't much of a gulf. But there was one thing he said that hit my ear like a clang: his use of the word "whenever." He seemed to use it in place of "when" for indefinite times in the past. Ouch, that really grated.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

From Millennium Dome to the Olympics

I went to see the Millennium Dome, and all I got was this paperweight.

I noticed a photograph in the paper today of a woman bicycling in London--it was part of a story about how London is promoting bicycling as a way of attempting to stave off terrible Central London traffic jams during the London Olympics.  

At the edge of the frame I caught sight of something familiar. The old Millennium Dome from London's Y2K celebration.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

New Ascension Stamp to Honor Wideawakes

My father, Colonel William Ashley Chapman, on Ascension Island in the 1980s.

I've just had the nicest email from a fellow called Tim Underwood, who works for the company that produces the stamps for the Ascension Island Post Office--famous among philatelists around the world. 

Mr. Underwood let me know that Ascension Island will be honoring the 70th Anniversary of Wideawake Field with a new stamp cover and is at present awaiting Her Majesty's approval of the design. Now that is a wonderful thing.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A New Tax Even Crazier Than California!

If this new tax idea takes off, and I remain able bodied, I can easily run errands on my bicycle. Well, it will be hard to go to the Hermes Store in San Francisco. 

Just when you think our present tax system can't get any worse, some genius out there is ready to prove you wrong.

As I read my morning newspaper I thought for a moment my hair was on fire. No, it was just the proposal from the Bay Area Metropolitain Transportion Authority that was searing into my brain. They want to study (sorry, your tax dollars at work again!) what they are calling a VMT tax. That is a tax on Vehicle Miles Traveled. I am not making this up.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Making the Most of our Assets

An asset can be seen as a liability if people don't see clearly. Maybe, with luck, we can change the way our city views this one.

Growing up in California's Santa Clara Valley, I learned so little, as I have mentioned here, about the history and economy of the region. It is as if, since we were in a sort of paradise, no one wanted to break the spell.

I think in this way, my exile from and return to the region has been a blessing. I've been able to see it anew and love it anew in all its extraordinary beauty.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Hoping Not to Crash and Burn ...


In H.G. Wells remarkable novel, War of the Worlds, the aliens are defeated, not by any weaponry invented by humans, but by disease-carry microbes to which they have no immunity. I'm presently reading about a real situation like that fictional one, that took the lives of huge numbers of indigenous people during the first century of Spanish rule in California.

But viruses come in all types, don't they? Now, in a new age, we have a new kind of virus that can steal, not your life, but the integrity of your computer.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Green and Golden California

California poppies around my Northern California neighborhood.

One of the many things I'm finding striking in my research about my home state of California, is how little I was taught about it in school. California history is fascinating. Its flora and fauna among the richest in North America.

The early contact between Europeans and native people, in this land so long isolated by the Pacific and the Sierras, had all the elements of a great drama. It was painful, sometimes humorous, always full of misunderstandings and missed opportunities, and ultimately tragic.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Keeping in Touch With Old Friends

A mini-reunion of my Los Altos High School Class, at the Oakland Museum.

Growing up in Los Altos, California, there were a group of kids I started out with at Loyola School (where we began in kindergarten) moved on to what was then called junior high school (seventh and eighth grade) at Covington, and then went on with to Los Altos High. We picked up new faces along the way. 

When I see any of these faces today, I feel as if I am seeing members of my family.  I can pick up the conversation, wherever we left it off, no matter how many years have gone by.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Packards Use Computer $ to Save An Orchard

Apricots drying in the Los Altos Hills orchard owned by the David and Lucille Packard Foundation.

I've been visitng the Packard Orchard in Los Altos Hills several times a year, in all seasons, since I returned to my home town. I learned about it from a girl I've known since kindergarten who told me you could buy a five-pound bag of dried apricots up there--if you called ahead. 

That quantity of locally produced dried apricots available for purchase at an affordable price--well, it is almost unheard of today.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Funny Thing Happened to Me on the Way to a Certain (Unnamed) Canadian City ...

This is the photo on which I put the caption that fouled up the lady in that certain city in a central province of Canada ...

You have to be careful about kidding on the Internet, because it can lead to a certain amount of confusion as I recently learned.

I was in Quebec for a few days earlier this month and had quite a lot of fun with the signs up there, which, by law, are all in French.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Living in the Shadow of the Rich and Famous

Race-car driver Peter Revson photographed at Laguna Seca in the 1970s by Phillip Finch.

Working journalists have access to some of the most interesting, most powerful, most famous, and most glamorous people in the world. It can sometimes turn a reporter's head. 

I've thought a lot about this as I've pondered the career of my former husband, Phillip Finch, who died in February at the age of 63.

Monday, June 18, 2012

You Can Get Anything You Want ...

My Mark Cross Book Bag is all leather in and out. Mark Cross is no longer in business. Alas.

It won't surprise those of you who know me well, to learn I have a somewhat large collection of designer handbags, which I started when I was a young reporter working in San Francisco--then, the real Paris of the West.

Here's a tale related to to one of my favorite vintage bags--and how a modern invention helped me to save it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Returning Home to Actual Work (Gasp)

The weather was cooler this morning, so I tested my mother's old Apricot Yummy recipe.

No more of this wedding fun and modeling cute hats and running around Canada trying out one's old college French on the natives. I've had to actually do some work since I've returned to Fort Chapman, California from my petites vacances

For example, besides unpacking and checking in with my California Scrub Jay friends, I had to review the contract for the book I'm planning to produce for The History Press. And I've had to begin the research. Those are two of the hard things about a writing project. The writing part isn't much work at all by comparison.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Hiding the Apricots from Mr. Squirrel

'Cots not quite ripe but warm from the sun against my hands.

The little Blenheim apricot tree my mother planted a few years before she died--I don't know exactly when, but perhaps five years ago now?--has finally produced its first real crop of 'cots. The rain didn't fall at blossom time--and that helped. I added some compost--and that helped. What else went right? I don't know. But as I've said before, it is always better to be lucky than smart.

I probably have enough beautiful apricots to fill a good-sized lug this year, if I can keep those nasty squirrels from poaching all of them. Last year, of about a dozen 'cots--I was able to save only one.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Adieu Quebec et Merci Beaucoup

At Le Clos Saint-Louis, the little hotel where I stayed in Quebec.

I found Le Clos Saint-Louis, my hotel, by cross referencing Frommer's and Fodor's guides, checking where the hotels were on the map, and doing my own version of reading between the lines of hotel reviews. And, since it is always better to be lucky than smart, I was also very lucky. 

Le Clos Saint-Louis, in old Quebec City, was just what I was looking for. C'est parfait. It was perfect.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Endless Summers With the Beach Boys


The Beach Boys 2012, sounding forever young. All photos of the Beach Boys courtesy of BeachBoys.com


Robin writes: Today, a break from my tour-blogging about French Canada, and a return to something very American.  My friend, writer-director-producer, Steve Latshaw, is a big, big fan of the Beach Boys. (Hey me too!) Steve's an Illinois kid, now living in LA, who has managed to hang on to the sense of wonder he brought with him from the Midwest. So, today, when the Beach Boys released their new album, Steve was in heaven. He had an advance copy and with that in his hand, he said, it was 1976, he was seventeen years old, and he was back in Decatur, Illinois. That's how the Beach Boys worked their magic on him as he tells us in this Guest Blog Post.
By Steve Latshaw

All over the world people who have never even been to the beach, have their own special year that marks their perfect Beach Boys summer. 

These are the times when each of us has discovered the freedom of the open road (or at least borrowed the family car); days of freedom--maybe at the beach, or in my case, a Midwestern lake; nights at the drive-in (movies AND burgers); our first (or second) high school love; and, most of all, the music of the Beach Boys, which seems to underscore just about every activity and emotion we experienced.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Lower Ville And the St. Lawrence

The old port and the Lower Town (Basse-Ville) below the Hotel Frontenac in Quebec.

With the rain blown away, the old city of Quebec brightened up quite a bit. The high was a pleasant 64° F. The winds, however, were brisk--and though the Weather Channel put them at 14 mph, there were gusts near the St. Lawrence River that could just about knock you down. 

I braved it all and sampled several forms of Quebec-style transportation in my efforts to explore this delightful, historic city.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Respite From All That Sunny Weather

But officer! I'm from California! How was I supposed to know that means, "Stop?"

All around me in California there are sun and perfect weather and people speaking Hindi and Spanish and Chinese and Farsi and Arabic. Sometimes I even hear English tossed about a bit. So, coming to Quebec where it is cold and rainy and people speak French and only French, is such a nice change.

They reportedly even have language police here who make sure all the signs really are in French and no one uses ghastly Americanisms like "hot dog" and "French fries." Its chien-chaud and pommes de terre frites or you can't have any.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Feat of Wedding Feet Survival

Lena's dress was gorgeous.

Now that our family wedding is over, I can put my feet up, metaphorically and figuratively. Everyone agreed that niece Lena's dress was an absolute wow. It looked great on her and she looked mah-ve-lous in it.

It didn't even occur to me to think of what she had on her feet until I saw her on the dance floor. Shoes preoccupied everyone else, but I figured she just had on some pretty, sparkly wedding dress shoes.

Friday, June 1, 2012

My Friend, James

We've been friends for a long time. I think he is a genius.

As we were leaving the rehearsal dinner for my niece Lena's wedding this week--in which the celebration is long and Biblical in nature--I said to my sister: "That James. He and I chatted all through dinner. He is such an intelligent boy." James, by the way, is just about to turn eleven.

My sister, who has three children and five grandchildren, is a canny observer of the human condition. "You know, Robin," she said without turning around from her seat in the front of the car. "I think you have a special feeling about James." Well, yes I do. I just happen to know he is perfect!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

"May I See a Photo ID, Please?"

That is the front range of the Rockies, looming off there in the distance. Can you spot them? It means I'm in the environs of Denver.

I try not to join the growing chorus of complaints about modern travel. The security lines, with the ignominy of clothing removal and pat downs, cramped airplanes, and the obligatory packages of peanuts tossed at one by surly flight attendants. I figure, since 9/11, we can all just suck it up and pretend this is our version of ration books in WW II.

But it has gone on for more than a decade now, and it does make flying very non-fun. However--I still managed to have a good trip to Denver, and my niece's up-coming wedding. It did occur to me as I was pulling out my California Drivers License for the umpteenth time, that those loony jihadists who started this whole thing--ALL HAD VALID IDENTIFICATION! But never mind.