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boxing day miscellaney: xmas and paranoia

Happy Boxing Day to one and all!

Christmas was a wonderful day. I’m in Connecticut, with sprite’s family as usual. We slept in, which isn’t too surprising, given that we arrived early on Christmas Eve day – 6:00 am, to be precise.

Yup, we drove through the night, taking shifts on mostly empty roads, listening to XPN‘s “The Night Before”: a 24-hour marathon hosted by DJ Robert Drake. We listened to the first six hours of the broadcast, some of it over the air, most of it via the iPhone (worked like a charm on 3G connections).

After a few hours of shut-eye, I finished up my holiday shopping, which had been postponed by SNOWPOCALYPSE 2009!!!! Even though I’d been in a bit of a funk over what to get folks, it all came together in a combination of lack of sleep and time deadlines.

Anyhow, the holiday went well: presents were well received, dinner was tasty, and family visits were lovely and mellow. I’m stoked that my mom and sprite teamed up to get me The Beatles In Mono, the limited-edition box set of all the monoaural Beatles albums. sprite is stoked that she has lots of lovely new yarn to play with. And we’re both elated to have new cooking and food things to enjoy, DVDs to watch and books to read – and some precious time off from work.


Hopefully, Sarah has made it to Rome on her re-routed trip to Egypt. She’s running about 12 hours behind her original schedule, which can’t be fun. Problems with baggage and aircraft in DC caused re-routing of her flights, as well as other hassles. Good luck, Sarah!


And now I hear that, due to an attempted “pants bombing” of a Delta Air Lines flight yesterday, airport security and overall travel paranoia is back to an unreasonable high. We’re still seeing the after-effects of the failed shoe bombing attempt over five years ago, having to doff our shoes at TSA checkpoints here in the United States. Does this latest bombing attempt mean that we’ll see mandatory pants-dropping at security checks? Whatever the case, the dog-and-pony show that is the TSA security check will become even more comically absurd, still doing precious little to actually make things more secure, making travelers more grumpy, and not really removing the root causes of attacks.

And I’ve already heard that the TSA has imposed in-flight lockdowns of arriving aircraft. Air Canada is already advising passengers heading to the U.S. that, during the final hour of flight, passengers are to remain seated with carry-ons fully stowed and are not allowed to “have personal belongings or other items on their laps.”

Is this overreaction? Yes, it is. As David Bernstein (of The FredCast Cycling Podcast) reminds us, Ben Franklin put it best:

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

The TSA is instilling paranoia in order to try and control the situation. In doing so, they fail to achieve any level of security and only make themselves look absurd.

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