I spent a week in Florida and I survived. Saw more than a few Confederate flags on car licenese plate holders and hanging from rear view mirrors. Traveling with crankyjr went well. They should give a Nobel Prize for the inventor of the portable dvd player. Having the bulkhead seats right behind first class on the way down was also a big help. I had a couple of moments that normally would have made me even more crankier than normal but I was on vacation so I just had to laugh.
We ordered an airport taxi service to take us to the airport. I had a coupon for $4.00 off the fare and when we got to O'Hare I said to the driver, "How much?" He said, "$35.00." I then said, "I have a coupon for $4.00 off!" He looked at the coupon and said, "O.k. you had a stationwagon, o.k. $35.00 plus the coupon." I had to laugh. And I didn't get into an argument and paid the dude plus a $4.00 reduced tip. Then I got to the skycap guy. "How may bags?" he asked. "Three," I said. He put the tags on them and I gave him a five dollar bill. He looked at me and said, "Uh, American Airlines charges us $2.00 a bag and then you can give us whatever you want above that." I had to laugh again. What a nickel and dime rip-off this trip was becoming. So I gave him six more dollars and dragged cranky's wife and crankyjr and car seat into the terminal.
I get to the car rental agency, no names please, Hertz, and get my car. They offer two options for replacing the gas you use. You can pay $3.09 per gallon for the entire tank (around $36.00) no matter how much gas is left or you can be charged $6.79 per gallon for the actually gas needed to fill it up when you return it. My plan was to fill it up myself and return it. Of course, that assumes I am traveling alone without delays generated by dragging a three-year-old to the airport at 7 a.m. On departure day we ran behind, naturally, and I got to Hertz with a couple gallons light. That will be $6.79 a gallon sir and a charge for $15.68 was added to my bill for returing the car with 7/8 of a tank of gas left. Nothing I could do but laugh and hop on the shuttle bus to the terminal.
Gas at $3.00 a gallon seems cheap to me right now back home. But if reports of three aircraft carrier groups being placed near Iran are true we could see $6.79 a gallon at a pump near you and not just at the airport.BONUS QUOTE OF THE DAY
: From Andrew Sullivan.com
: "One thing the Bush administration says it can do with this [NSA] meta-data-[gathering] is to start tapping your calls and listening in, without getting a warrant from anyone. Having listened in on your calls, the administration asserts that if it doesn't like what it hears, it has the authority to detain you indefinitely without trial or charges, torture you until you confess or implicate others, extradite you to a Third World country to be tortured, ship you to a secret prison facility in Eastern Europe, or all of the above. If, having kidnapped and tortured you, the administration determines you were innocent after all, you'll be dumped without papers somewhere in Albania left to fend for yourself," - Matt Yglesias
, American Prospect. Apart from that, American liberty is alive and well.