In The Atlanta Airport Swamp 

Walking from Concourse B to Concourse A at the Atlanta airport takes you through this walkway, which features leaf-like objects overhead, subdued lighting, and the sounds of a swamp.  At least, I think it’s supposed to be a swamp, complete with croaking frogs, buzzing insects, and chirping birds.  It’s a nice change of pace between bright, bustling concourses.

Just another reason to walk the big airports, rather than jamming onto generic underground trams with a hundred of your closest friends.

Ashes To Opera

The Metropolitan Opera cancelled the last act of its performance of Rossini’s classic opera Guillaume Tell on Saturday afternoon because an audience member spread what police believed were cremated remains into the orchestra pit during intermission.  The opera to be performed on Saturday night also was cancelled as a result of the incident.

facade_of_the_metropolitan_opera_house_at_lincoln_center_nyc-1477798657-6912According to the New York Times, a man in attendance told other audience members that he was at the opera to spread the ashes of his mentor.  During the second intermission, the man was seen reaching into a black bag and sprinkling a powdery substance into two parts of the orchestra pit — which caused the cancellation of the rest of the opera because the powder was viewed as a potential threat and was subjected to testing.  The man apparently has been identified through video surveillance footage, and police are trying to reach him.  A follow-up story in the Times identifies the man, who apparently has posted on his Facebook page that he plans to leave some of the ashes at every opera house he and his mentor have visited.

Apparently, spreading cremated remains in a place like the orchestra pit at the Metropolitan Opera isn’t a per se offense under New York law — at least, if you aren’t acting with criminal intent — but rather is simply a health code violation.

It’s weird to think that someone would decide that it was appropriate to spread cremated remains in the midst of an actual performance of an opera — or for that matter, any live event, whether it’s a football game or a rock concert.  It’s pretty selfish, too, when you think about it.  This guy’s mentor evidently was an opera lover, and yet the act of spreading his ashes caused opera performances to be cancelled.  If I were one of the people holding tickets to a performance that was cancelled — especially if I’d travelled from out of state to see the Met — I’d be furious.

 

 

Provocative Junk Mail “Re” Lines

We have a “junk mail” filter at work.  Most of the time, the filter just moves what is obvious spam into a “junk mail” folder without me looking at the email or doing anything to it.

donald-trump-money-worth_2015-11-16_19-44-39Sometimes, though — for reasons not known to me — particular junk mail will make it through the filter and be brought to my attention under the heading “Incoming Message Quarantined by Web Reputation Monitor.”  I’m not sure whether the filter concludes that such emails are more likely to be legitimate, or because they come from more plausible email addresses, or some other reason.  In any case, I recently got one of those messages, checked to make sure that the email wasn’t sent by somebody I know, and then stopped dead when I saw the “re” line:  “Trump reveals groundbreaking secrets to triple your income.”

Of course, I didn’t try to open that spammy email . . . but I have to admit I was sorely tempted.  Aren’t you curious about what income-tripling tips “Trump” might offer?  Tips like:  Be sure to inherit millions from your parents?  Become a reality TV show star?  Contribute to the political campaigns of every candidate for every office, regardless of their party affiliation, so you have ready access to the levers of power?  Make liberal use of the American bankruptcy laws?  Invest in “Man Tan” franchises?

Having seen the Trump income-tripling “re” line, I found myself thinking of other spam email “re” lines that would just be too tantalizing to pass up.  Here are a few that I came up with:

“Hillary Clinton’s Guide to Data Security and Personal Ethics”

“Rappers and Buddhism:  A Perfect Combination”

“Choosing A Soul Mate The Anthony Weiner Way”

“Personal Humility in the NFL”

I’m sure there are others.

Pedal Power

Last night we joined some friends on one of those pedal carts you see rolling up and down High Street in the Short North area.    We labored mightily to move the cart a few blocks, waved at passersby, slowed traffic, listened to music provided by three very nice young women dressed in Beyoncé outifits, and visited two bars as well.  It was a fun time, and you feel like you’re getting some exercise in the process, too.

Part of the fun was provided by our hostess and driver, who apparently suffered a catastrophic beer can-related forehead injury shortly before our arrival and obligingly posed for the photo above.

Anthony Weiner Turns Up, Again

Just when you think — and fervently hope — that we’ve finally heard the last of Anthony Weiner, he turns up in the news again.  He’s the proverbial bad penny on the national political scene.

160922-anthony-weiner-featureWhen the world learned recently that Weiner was “sexting” with a 15-year-old girl, I didn’t write about it because, frankly, I think enough attention has been paid to a guy who is obviously a disturbed and narcissistic loser.  He clearly wants attention of some kind or another, so why feed the creep’s ego?  But now the investigation into Weiner’s texting with an underage girl has shaken up the presidential campaign, just when we thought it was about over.  In their investigation of Weiner, the FBI seized his laptop, as well as his iPad and cell phone — and yesterday FBI director James Comey sent a letter to Congress stating that, in that unrelated investigation, the agency found emails that relate in some way to their investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email practices.  The New York Times is reporting that the FBI found tens of thousands of emails involving Huma Abedin, a long-time Hillary Clinton aide who is married to (and now estranged from) Weiner.

There’s not a lot of information about the emails on Weiner’s server.  Comey’s letter to Congress says only that he felt he needed to supplement his prior congressional testimony that the investigation into Clinton’s email server was completed, that the FBI has now learned of emails “that appear to be pertinent to the investigation,” that Comey had been briefed on the findings, and that he agreed it was appropriate for agents to determine whether they contain classified information.  The letter concluded that the FBI can’t yet assess whether the emails on Weiner’s laptop are significant, or when the FBI will finish reviewing them.  

So we don’t know much about the emails right now and, given the pace of the FBI’s prior investigation, we probably won’t know much more until after the election is over — which is why some people are criticizing the FBI director for calling attention to the issue at all.  The disclosure obviously roiled the presidential campaign at a crucial time, with less than two weeks to go.  I would note only that I appreciate the fact that the FBI director obviously takes his obligation to truthful in his testimony to Congress so seriously.

I’m not going to speculate about what might, or might not, be found in the emails.  I’m just going to groan at the fact that we have to hear about Anthony Weiner, again — and hope that we don’t learn that this creepy, apparently sex-obsessed jerk had any kind of significant national security information on his laptop.  Anthony Weiner is about the last person I’d want to have access to sensitive information.

Side By Side

I guess I’m surprised that they sell political t-shirts at Reagan National Airport — but they do.  There, side by side, you will find Hillary and Trump shirts and other paraphernalia.  So, if you haven’t already gotten your political fix just by being in D.C., you can buy a t-shirt on your way home to publicly proclaim your loyalty.

The cashier reports that the Hillary t-shirts are outselling the Trump t-shirts by a considerable margin.  

Yard Sign Vandalism

A few days ago the Washington Post carried an interesting confession by a suburban Mom in Maine.  She admitted and she and two of her friends became so enraged by the presence of a bunch of Donald Trump signs on their street that they went out one night and tore them down.  Unfortunately for them, their act of vandalism was seen by the police, and the next day she received a summons to appear in court, because the owner of the property that displayed the yard signs — who just happened to be the chairman of a Maine PAC supporting Trump — was pressing charges.

trump_yard_signsWhy did the woman suddenly engage in an act of vandalism?  Because she hates Trump, and is angry about his crass comments about women, which remind her of her own experience with a crude boss who propositioned her for sex, and she thought that the number of yard signs supporting Trump were destroying the “equilibrium” of her neighborhood.  She writes that she and her friends “felt assaulted by the number of signs. The idea of “cleansing” our streets seemed like the fastest way to restore balance and alleviate our election stress.”  Now she regrets her conduct and recognizes that she momentarily snapped — and will have to face her day in court.

As the Post article notes, this election is raising temperatures nationwide, and the hard feelings are being acted out through Facebook rants, yard sign thefts, acts of vandalism — all the way up to tossing a bomb into a Trump campaign headquarters.  It’s sad to think that this wretched campaign might bust up friendships or family relationships, and it’s even sadder when suburban Moms decide — even if only momentarily — that they have the right to trample on a neighbor’s exercise of their rights to free speech.  Whatever you might think of Trump, you have to at least acknowledge that his supporters have the right to at least express their opinions, just as you have the right to vehemently disagree with those opinions — and if you don’t acknowledge that reality, then we’re really in the process of losing something fundamental and immensely valuable about America.

But here’s the saddest thing:  the Maine Mom hasn’t even met the man whose yard signs she stole.  She didn’t try to talk to him to tell him how she and her friends felt, and he didn’t try to talk to her before deciding to press charges.  You’d like to think that neighbors could at least talk to each other and try to bridge the gap, before resorting to stealing yard signs on one side and going to court on the other.  Maybe if they’d sat down face to face they might have realized that they were dealing with a human being, acquired an understanding of how the other person felt, and perhaps changed their mind on how to proceed.

But these days, it seems, no one talks anymore, and the first response is to escalate — which is how the courts in Maine are going to be hearing a case involving a suburban Mom who stupidly stole some yard signs because she thinks Donald Trump is a jerk.