Archive for July 7th, 2009
Spurred by news of a distressing incident occurring in Jerusalem, Pharyngula announces his basic rule regarding religion.
This is something too many religious people fail to understand — you can practice your religion, other people can practice their religion, but you don’t get to tell other people that they must practice your religion.
Sounds good to me. It couldn’t be clearer. Maybe we should add it to the First Amendment for those who are having trouble understanding the existing text.
Guitarist Dave Carroll was distressed when United Airlines damaged his Taylor guitar, and wouldn’t pay for the damage. Anyone who plays music seriously knows that this is an extremely serious matter. Musicians spend years getting comfortable with their instruments and they plan on using a good instruments for a lifetime. A good instrument becomes an extension of you.
This story really hit a nerve, because I had a similar experience on American Airlines about 7 years ago. I was transporting a classical style Taylor guitar from Missouri to Maine to perform for a friend’s wedding (BTW, Taylor makes great guitars, as Dave and I both know). Out of the airplane window I saw some moron slamming my guitar case onto the top of a luggage cart on the tarmac. It was totally needless and vicious. I was outraged. When I got the guitar back in Maine, the case was banged up, a latch had been ripped from the hard shell case and the internal microphone battery had been jolted out of the internal battery-holder. Why did I entrust my guitar to the airline? Because they had told me that checking it was the ONLY way to transport my guitar.
On the way back to Missouri, I got my way and gate checked it. This episode left me with a bad feeling. Now I feel better, though, because Dave Carroll went to a lot of trouble to tell his story in detail. The song goes on for awhile (probably an indication of the intensity of his frustration), but you’ll get the idea within a minute or two. Cute video to go with the music.
Way to go, Dave!
Arianna Huffington is on vacation with her ex and their two daughters, having a great time. She is celebrating the relationship she has developed with her ex, going so far as to note the 12th anniversary of their divorce. It’s an interesting read, no doubt applicable to millions of divorced parents:
The surest sign that my ex and I have reached a better place is a newfound willingness on both our parts to not let our pet peeves get in the way of our having a good time. Even in the happiest of marriages, there are little things that each partner does that inevitably set the other one off. These annoyances are magnified ten-fold when you are no longer together as a couple — which is why making an effort to avoid them is one of the secrets of a good divorce.
What gives with these fancy hotels? [Warning: Rant thinly disguised as objective information]
My wife and I live in St. Louis Missouri. Yesterday, we decided that I should take my two daughters to Chicago in early August, so today I made some arrangements. Now time is money–I don’t want to be driving into downtown Chicago from a cheaper suburban hotel every day, wasting time sitting in traffic, when we should be spending every waking moment at Chicago’s world-class museums and aquarium. Therefore, I set out to get accommodations right in the heart of Chicago. Knowing that this could be quite expensive, however, I did a bit of shopping through some frugal travel websites. I ended up at Priceline.com, the site where William Shatner’s puffy image beckons me to come on in and save money (here I am being judgmental because Captain Kirk let himself go to pot).
At Priceline, I saw that one could pick a hotel in downtown Chicago and pay anywhere from $150 to $500 per night. None of that for me! I decided to bid on a hotel room. For those of you who have never bid on a hotel room, the Priceline system offers substantial savings to you if you’re willing to bid on a hotel room in a specific region of a city without knowing the name of the hotel that you will be assigned (assuming that your bid is high enough to purchase any hotel room at all). I indicated that I was willing to pay $100 per night for a 3 1/2 star hotel room in “zone five” of downtown Chicago. I figured that my modest bid would probably be rejected, but I was wrong.
I had successfully purchased several nights at the Drake Hotel, which is just north of the Water Tower on The Magnificent Mile. Before placing the winning bid, I didn’t know anything at all about the Drake Hotel, so I visited the Drake’s site. You’ll see lots of images of the kinds of carefree and well-to-do people who burn their money at the Drake. Many of the pictures at Drake website made me think of politicians hanging around with their mistresses.
I saw that rooms typically range in price from $250-$350 per night. Sounds like I got quite a deal, right? Actually, the Drake is doing us all a service by charging a such outrageous prices (well, charging every body else such outrageous prices). They are making sure that when we stay there, that we are safely secluded from the riffraff, because the riffraff cannot afford to stay there. Extremely clever.