written Thursday 4 December 2003
|Back in the USSA, continued|
III. OK, OK, a number of things I thought of later.
American Dining: Did I mention the Indianapolis plate of ribs that, by all appearances, derived from a freaking dinosaur? This is in the same restaurant that offered a dessert with the heartbreaking name: Apple-pie-a-la-mode ice cream. The same restaurant where the barkeep, when I've ordered a beer, asks, just to be sure: "Yes, Sir--a pint...or a big one?" (Welcome back to the United States of Atherosclerosis.)
Why is America so obsessed with fighting? A figure skating championship is promoted as "ICE WARS." Wars? Rather than any possible words closer to sports: match, game, competition, tour, tourney, etc., they choose wars? Is ANYTHING less like a war than figure skating? Shame on the TV network for associating stupidity and violence ( = war) with an elegant sport, and double shame on the American public for being the sort on which such vulgar promotion succeeds.
In the lobby, intermission at the Indianapolis Opera: on the opera company table, a bowl of cough drops. Pretty clever marketing on the cough-drop company's part.
In the lobby, intermission at the Indianapolis Opera, II: A gentleman walks up and asks if I can recommend a good restaurant in the area. I answer I can't, I'm from out of town. "Oh, where from?" I hesitate. I'm moving to Chicago next year, but for now I really don't know. OK, I think, my dear bookshelves are in an apartment near Amsterdam, so that's home and that's what I say. He is shocked and answers that he is from Chicago. So of course, I ask if he can recommend a good restaurant in that area.
The hotel room TV shows the movie "Gladiator". I find it utterly antiseptic, unaffecting, full of abysmally idiotic anachronisms. Romans shooting burning arrows? Romans firing catapults? Slaves quickly becoming masters? Right, happens all the time. Well, I like Asterix better, anyway.
North of Dallas, I turned on the laptop for 5 miles of driving in the northern suburbs, near midnight. And this was with Netstumbler software running, automatically sniffing wireless networks in peoples' houses (don't worry--my firewall was on, no chance of my hacking in their computers--or vice versa). How many networks, you ask? I got IDs on 68 networks. And of those, 42 were unencrypted, uncoded, unanything...eminently hackable, by me, a spammer, anyone.
It was nice to see the car again (see road trip posts from mid-April), and I'm glad (and relieved) to see that it's still running great for you, but it's really yours now, Meg.
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