...After a brief trip to the Land of Faulkner. The weather was delightful; I was able to conclude my business in near-record time, and even AirTran managed to get me home on time, despite losing a confirmed reservation less than two hours before the flight.
Some random observations:
1) Is there anything worse than the CNN Airport Channel? Air travel these days is bad enough, but it's incredibly irritating to get off a plane, and see Wolf Blitzer on the nearest monitor, positively gleeful over President Bush's declining poll numbers. The insufferable "Situation Room" gets my vote for worst program on a cable news channel, with Keith Olberman's dreadful "Countdown" a close second. During yesterday's broadcast, Wolfie's "experts" on Iraq included Congressman John (Let's redeploy our Middle East forces to Okinawa) Murtha, and Cueball Carville. If you didn't see the show, don't worry, you didn't miss a thing, and you can probably guess what Carville and Murtha had to say.
2) AirTran's only saving grace is the free XM Satellite Radio they offer on their Boeing 717 and 737 aircraft. "Frank's Place," XM's American Standards channel, is very good, and they had the good sense to hire Jonathan Schwartz as a host and programmer. The Smooth Jazz channel ("Watercolors") is also enjoyable, and makes that cramped coach seat a bit more tolerable. I've also sampled the Bluegrass Channel (XM 14) and their classical service (Channels 110 and 113) on previous flights, and they're also worth a listen, if that's the kind of music you enjoy.
3) It's true, you can't read very much into the GOP straw vote held in Memphis over the weekend, but John McCain has a lot of work to do with the Republican base. While local favorite (Senator Bill Frist) won the vote--as expected--McCain's showing was embarassing. The Arizona Senator may be trying to sew up the GOP establishment, but rank-and-file voters still don't trust him, thanks to his support for campaign finance reform, his stand against the "torture" of terrorist detainees, and his generally chummy relations with many of the Senate's leading liberals. Without some major fence mending, the SS McCain Campaign may hit another ice berg in South Carolina in '08.
4) Worst Rental Car Currently Available: the Kia Rio. Power and acceleration comparable to a 10-speed bike. Makes the Dodge Neon look like a BMW.