2007-02-24 0 comments

Best ... and worst ... airports

Did you know it takes about 14 hours to fly from Bradley International Airport outside of Hartford, Connecticut to Yeager Airport in Charleston, West Virginia? It's true. (Well, if you fly Delta, it is.)

I was jotting some stuff down in my travel journal while waiting to board a plane at Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta, and two things occurred to me: 1) I'd been to enough airports and been on enough airplanes to actually make a relatively comprehensive list of the best and worst airports our great country has to offer, and 2) I'd been either sitting in a terminal or on an airplane so long, burning through at least three magazines, a novel, several playlists on my MP3 player and wandering aimlessly that the only thing left to do was actually write said comprehensive list.

It's late right now, and I can't sleep. I'm also craving some candy -- I gave up sweets, soft drinks, etc., for Lent -- and I need something to take my mind off it. Thus, this list which, if you're needing to take a flight anytime soon -- and, really, I'd suggest finding some other method of travel; walk if you have to -- might come in handy. Call it my act of public service of the week, if you will. You're welcome.

First, a few ground rules. I've disqualified Columbus International Airport in Ohio because A) it was from CMH that I took my first flight, and I was sufficiently excited (I was 16 at the time) to render any critique of the place moot. It could have been LaGuardia and I would have thought it cool (OK, so maybe not); and, B) I didn't include Barajas International Airport in Madrid, Spain, for much the same reason: it was my first time overseas, and I was just thrilled that a man at baggage claim could understand my broken Spanish. Again, it could have been a dump and I wouldn't have cared, I was too busy grinning from ear to ear that I was in another country.

So, without further ado -- except to say that on my next long business trip (in three weeks to New York City for a few days), I'm taking Amtrak ... seriously -- here's my list of the best and worst airports I've ever had the misfortune of setting foot in. Drumroll, please ...

17) Washington-Dulles International Airport.
Pros: Um, well ...
Cons: I've never flown from IAD on time, the last time I flew there the plane almost crashed (I'm not kidding), the tiny terminal at which all planes to or from my home airport (CRW) is so small there's literally nothing to do other than walk around in circles. I just hate the place.

16) Newark-Liberty International Airport
Pros: See Washington-Dulles
Cons: Security lines are monstrosities, everyone is as rude as a Parisian waiter serving an American from the South, air traffic is so bad you can't get anywhere on time, the hallways are narrow, the bathrooms are dirty ... I could go on.

15) Detroit-Wayne County
Pros: See Newark-Liberty
Cons: It's old, dirty and getting to baggage claim is like navigating Pan's Labyrinth.

14) Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Atlanta
Pros: It's big enough that there's plenty of places to eat, get a cold drink, a magazine, etc.
Cons: It's the busiest airport in the East, so good luck getting anywhere on time. No one seems to know what they're doing. Your departure gate will change at least five times ... if you're lucky. The hallways are pretty wide, but there are so many people there's still nowhere to walk. ATL is just too, too busy.

13) New York-LaGuardia
Pros: Flying in and out is always a treat, just for the views of the city.
Cons: Very, very dirty, and the hallways are more narrow than Nicole Richie's waist.

12) Roy Rogers International Airport (Oklahoma City)
Pros: Very wide hallways. Very quiet, and not at all busy so you can get away from people.
Cons: Security there is as tight as anywhere I've been, which isn't a bad thing until it takes you an hour to get through. If you're hungry, you have a choice of ... well, very little, in fact. I think there are two restaurants, and both serve cold food. Yum.

11) Chicago-O'Hare International Airport
Pros: I've been to large shopping malls that have fewer stores. Hallways are wide, and there are lots of places to sit.
Cons: It's as busy as ATL.

10) Bradley International Airport, Hartford
Pros: It's small, laid back. In the Delta terminal there are these great comfortable sofas that are fantastic for napping.
Cons: The in-terminal airport staff are so clueless, I had to tell a guy at the Delta terminal at what airports to look for additional flights to get me on when mine was cancelled. He apparently doesn't know what a computer is.

9) Providence/T.F. Green International Airport
Pros: Again, it's small, laid back.
Cons: Bring a book. There's nothing else to do when you get there.

8) Syracuse-Hancock International Airport
Pros: Another small, quiet airport.
Cons: The weather can be brutal, making for some rough flights in and out.

7) Philadelphia International Airport
Pros: Ground transportation is really convenient. The city views flying in and out are pretty cool.
Cons: It's another busy, busy airport.


Have a heart

I don't know why this is bothering me so badly -- perhaps it's knowing, as a song by Casting Crowns puts it, that there's a storm raging inside this young woman's soul. I've been there, when the soul is stirred not by the gentle ebbs and flows of daily life, but swirling in a storm whose only logical conclusion is misery.
See that poor girl there? She's hurting. Somewhere along the way, her life has taken a dangerous turn, and you know what our response is? To glance at pictures of her plastered across magazines as we wait to buy our gallon of milk, rubber-necking just as at a car wreck, hoping to see a tragedy. Our wish is being granted. That tragedy is happening right now, in real time. Shame on all of us for licking our chops as it happens.
Watch this video, via YouTube (I'd embed it directly here, but I've been having some problems doing so lately.) It's late night talk show host Craig Ferguson, describing the storm that once raged in his life and his admirable decision to not poke fun at Britney Spears.
What's it hurt?, you say. Hey, she asked for it, right? Wanted to be famous. Made herself a target by making stupid decisions, parading half-naked for the paperazzi (sp?) and then having the audacity to be upset when the press turned ugly. OK, so maybe all of that is true. But, as Ferguson points out in his monologue, Britney Spears is, what, 25 years old? "She's a baby herself," he says.
This isn't the thing I normally write about, but for some reason I'm heartbroken over what has happened to this young woman. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I've been there, where she is, and was fortunate enough not to have the national media following me around and pontificating on what a bad person I was each time I screwed up. Truth be told, I screwed up probably more than Britney Spears.
So here's the thing: stop reading about her. Stop talking about her. Don't gawk at her pictures in the tabloids. Don't crinkle your nose and say to your friends, "Did you see how bad she looked in that picture?" Or, "She's such a terrible mother." If you see her newly bald head on your television screen, turn the channel (you shouldn't be watching "Access Hollywood" or "Entertainment Tonight" anyway). Don't buy "People" magazine if there's even so much as a mention of her.
I'm begging you to do two things: first, pray for her. Ask God to reveal Himself to her, to soothe her spirit, to help her find the truth of love. Not love from whatever deadbeat who wants to exploit her, but the love of Christ, the only person who can heal her spirit.
And, second, just leave the poor girl alone.
2007-02-16 0 comments

For week ending 2-17-07

That's very true, although I'm sure she and I would disagree on what that means. For instance, she says that her recent concert performance, which includes a scene where she is mounted on a large cross, is all about Christ's message of "loving thy neighbor and tolerance (emphasis mine)."

Why is it most people want to define "tolerance" as turning a blind eye to sin?

Be thankful that you won't be attacked when leaving Sunday School this week.

Bottom line? The best hope for reducing recidivism in inmates is the hope found in Christ. I suppose we should stick with outdated paradigms of prisoner rehabilitation. Since that's working so well.



Just been takin' a short break ... lots of work travel, sick kids and the like.

Stay tuned ... same Bat time, same Bat channel.