February 17, 2019

.comment: Cold Turkey - page 4

Holiday Paradise -- Day One

  • July 5, 2001
  • By Dennis E. Powell

Stand out in the sun long enough and your face and other exposed parts will come to feel as if they had been plunged into boiling water. I'm so sunburned that next week my face will be peeling in much the fashion of the remains of Mabel Douglass, Lake Placid's famous dead body. She went swimming in 1933 without remembering to untie the boat anchor she had attached by rope to her neck. Divers in 105 feet of water 30 years later found her, seemingly perfectly preserved, but the trip to the surface took its toll, with her arms and head falling off. It's still widely discussed here, and the pamphlet written about it all in 1985 is still a local best seller, chiefly to tourists like me.

Many experienced riders look as if their skin has been replaced by a brownish, leathery material, and I've taken the first step toward achieving this questionable goal: I am sunburned to a faretheewell. I haven't sailed to any extent for awhile, so my ability to withstand the sun has diminished, and at 2,000 feet (the altitude at the horse show) there's less air to act as a filter. Right now, the cool water at the bottom of Lake Placid sounds soothing. There's still a mystery as to why Mabel jumped out of her rowboat, but I think I know the answer: she might have been seeking relief from the pain of roasted skin.

The day begins with rain, which transforms much of the dusty show area into mud; there are times when if one were granted a single wish, it would be for dry socks, and this is such a time. Worse, the sun then comes out, producing a humid, stinking, bug-infested atmosphere. The thought of sitting mushroomlike in my little office, with cool, dry air, no bugs, running water, and online amusement, seems very attractive indeed.

Even more so at day's end, when I return to the suite and turn on the television. Neil Cavuto, Fox News Channel's top-notch business reporter, is complaining that he alone among business reporters had been denied an interview with Bill Gates following yesterday's court ruling. He repeatedly flashes the email address and phone number of the Microsoft PR guy on the screen, while complaining that Microsoft was being unfair. Cavuto is a very sharp guy, but -- duh! What have we been saying, all along, for years now? Microsoft is governed solely by what's in Microsoft's best interests. Microsoft will not countenance any exposure that it has not itself choreographed. Microsoft resembles organized crime but for the fact that it's far more organized than the mob ever was. Will Cavuto become the first person with a broad audience who realizes this? I doubt it. I want to drop him a note via email, but I can't.

The next story on Cavuto's show is even more interesting to me: some backwater car rental outfit in New Haven, Connecticut, name of Acme (really -- must be where Wiley Coyote rents cars) uses hidden GPS receivers to determine now fast their vehicles are being driven, and if they are found to have exceeded the speed limit tacks $150 onto the bill for each incident of speeding. (Can you say "I told you so?" I thought that you could.) Unasked on the Cavuto show, but asked by me: How long before the government joins in to take advantage of this? The erosion of rights in behalf of expediency continues apace, and no one much notices. This column will appear on Independence Day, with yet another reason to believe that we have less and less to celebrate.

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