Unreasonable Search and Seizure

As we going into this Thanksgiving travel season, I would remind all Americans that, according to the Constitution of the United States,

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Just because I  want to get on a plane is not sufficient cause to search my person. Get a warrant, or keep your eyes off my naked body and keep your hands off my crotch.

Independence Day

DSC02756This was a very fun 4th of July. I started the day with birthday wishes from my mother-in-law. I was happy she called, but I was also very tired and realized that I was up, and that making it through the day would be no fun until I got more sleep. I met a friend of mine around 8:30. He had invited me out for some remote-controlled airplane flying. This is a very regular activity of his; he makes and flies his own planes, and does so with a group of other people who all seem to congregate at parks on weekend mornings to fly, fly, fly. I was a gorgeous morning, and I brought my camera. I thought it would be fun to snap lots of pictures in the hopes of maybe getting a few great images of planes zooming to and fro.

I wasn’t disappointed. Almost immediately after I started using my camera, two planes collided overhead in a shower of fiberglass and paint. I missed the collision with my camera by just half a second, and I was startled by the loud bang of the collision and the rain of debris. I then practiced tracking planes through the air, snapping photos. I even flew myself for a little.

I was exhausted after the morning, so I ran some errands and then went home to catch a nap. I forgot how nice napping is. I woke up 30 min. later feeling great, did some chores around the house, and then went out to meet friends for an evening of music and fireworks. We went to the Shoreline Amphitheater, where the San Francisco Symphony and guests entertained us for over and hour before the fireworks started. The highlight was a reading by George Takei, of Star Trek fame, while the Symphony performed a medley of themes from the Star Trek theme songs over the years. My favorite part of the night was a movie of the Mars rovers playing over Holst’s “Mars”.

The fireworks were fantastic. It was a great 4th of July. To all my fellow Americans, near and far, here’s to independence. Let’s make America a country worth defending.

Here are more photos from my morning at the park.

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Getting to Soudan

Our trip to Soudan began in San Francisco, hours after the TSA changed the carry-on rules for domestic and international flights. The arrest of 21 (now 24) suspects in and around London, England ignited a knee-jerk blanket ban on all liquids and gels on flights. People who didn’t wake up to NPR like me and Jodi arrived at the airport and had two choices: stow all such items in checked luggage or throw out every last one of them.

The butterfly of arrested terrorism suspects flapped its wings in England, and we felt the hurricane in the U.S. The lines to get through security “stretched across all three terminals of SFO, spanning about 1/2 mile in total”:http://steve.cooleysekula.net/photos/Soudan-Aug-2006/img000.jpeg.html. As we moved back into Terminal 1, where Northwest flights depart, we “passed small piles of beverage and toiletry containers lying about where no disposal containers were available”:http://steve.cooleysekula.net/photos/Soudan-Aug-2006/img001.jpeg.html.
What was particularly shocking about this was the number of alcoholic beverages we saw on the floor. I’m not talking about cases of fine California wine, now unable to make their way to distant dinner tables. I’m talking about single cans of Budweiser or a tall-boy of MGD, the kind of thing a person would only carry if they intended to consume it personally. And this was at 7:30 in the morning! I think that this was the most shocking part of this whole affair: a brief peeling back of the thin veneer over acceptable behavior in our society, a realization that in all of the hundreds of people in line there were a few hardcore alcoholics who couldn’t make it through one morning flight without a beer.

Our arrival in Minnesota was only delayed an hour, as our plane waited for all passengers to get through security. As Jodi and I made our way north from St. Paul to Soudan, we passed “a gas station designed by Frank Lloyd Wright”:http://steve.cooleysekula.net/photos/Soudan-Aug-2006/img002.jpeg.html. Jodi’s not a big fan of the guy, and I have to say that this is one bored architect to have designed a gas station in Minnesota.