Foot and Mouth Disease

So what is foot and mouth disease? Besides the fact that because of it, the UK has to kill something like 2 million sheep. (Insert sheep-shagging joke here.) According to an official site in the UK…

Foot and Mouth disease is a highly infectious viral disease of cattle, pigs, sheep and goats characterized by the development of blisters in the mouth causing considerable salivation and on the feet resulting in lameness. Death is not usual but animals cease gaining weight and production in dairy cattle falls.

There, aren’t you glad I looked that up for you?

My trip back to Edinburgh was awesome. The city has really become much more cosmopolitan, more European. This to some is a good thing and others a bad thing. A lot of this change was triggered by the newly form Scottish Parliament. I saw the Parliament’s Debating Hall. A typical Scottish debate runs something like the following:

MP from John ‘o’ Groats: Yeeesssss!
MP from Kinlochewe: Nooooo!
MP from John ‘o’ Groats: Yeeesssss!

MP from Kinlochewe: Nooooo!
MP from John ‘o’ Groats: Yeeesssss!
MP from Kinlochewe: Nooooo!
MP from John ‘o’ Groats: Yeeesssss!
MP from Kinlochewe: Nooooo!
MP from John ‘o’ Groats: Yeeesssss!
MP from Kinlochewe: Nooooo!
MP from John ‘o’ Groats: Yeeesssss!
MP from Kinlochewe: Nooooo!

It is strange going back to a place that you lived in a long time ago and seeing some things have changed and others haven’t. One thing I still can’t get over the shock of is seeing Scottish women with fake tans. Yes sir, there is nothing stranger than a typically pasty-faced Scot with bright ORANGE skin. It just is unsettling.

So in the rush to leave for vacation, and my previous trips, I realize that we all missed a very important anniversary. Sometime around the end of February was the Tuesday Night List 3 Year Anniversary. Now, I know that this is short notice, but I think we all can dig deep, show up around 9:30 or so and celebrate the simple fact that another Tuesday has arrived.

Why does Texas exist?

I am in LA right now… by way of Texas. Jeez, I love this travel thing.

The following is something I wrote on a plane back from Texas to DC.

I am not going to be at Toledo tomorrow, but that’s no reason for you not to be.

i

March 1, 2001 4:33pm EST
AA DFW – IAD

I am sitting under a life raft. ? A life raft? I am at 33,000 feet in a 727. I am sitting under a life raft?

So let me get this straight…

The plane a gracefully landed on the mirror serene ocean. Calmly the stewardesses, instruct us to put on our life jackets. We sit, silently, like an obidient classroom. This lithe little ladies push the appropriate buttons (four of them) and the 42 person raft, a wadded ball of yellow plastic, drops happily from the cieling like an oversized smilie-face. We sit calmly, seatbelts still fastened.

Oh my. A bit of water is seeping through the carpet below my feet.

The stewardesses haul the single life raft to an exit row with open window over the wing.

Calmly, exactly 42 passengers, filed out of the cheerfully floating plane, on to the wing. They hop into the now inflated life raft. Off for adventure.

Meanwhile, the rest of the passengers sit silently, hands folded on their laps. And as the cold black water sneaks up over my head, I wonder if I am free to move about the cabin.

OR

The plane hits the water like a Gallager-esque sledgehammer into an overripe watermellon. First class is no where to be seen. Water is gushing in where the front of the plane used to be.

Amidst the cacophonous screaming and wailing, I hear the guy next to me say, “Hey, we’re sitting under a life raft.”

“Fuck this shit,” I yell jumping up in my seat and start mashing the buttons and pull-tabs to get the life raft out. It falls on me like the tons of bricks it is. This thing can float?!

Feeling the water at my groin, I figure that following instructions at this point will only lead to an early grave. I pull the overly labled, “Do Not Pull Until Outside” tab. The yellow hulk of plastic explodes outward as the nitrogen canister starts pumping gas into the wrapped plastic mess. The expanding boat pins me and the guy next to me under itself just inches above the waterline.

“Nice move, asshole,” says the guy next to me.

I shrug my shoudlers and start wadding out from under the now sinking semiplane.

Getting clear of the giant yellow plastic oppresor, I find that, in fact, the front of the plane is mostly not there. Somehow me and a couple of pissed off business travelers haul the still expanding yellow Big Bird-sized rubbery ducky out of the semiplane and into the open ocean.

“Well,” I say cracking open one of the $4 beers that another person in the raft salvaged, “Even with this wind, we’ll probably be late. Fuckin’ United!”