There is no part two, really; nothing more to add: it was a fine trip, I love the desert, and the sight of the mountains at sunset has an eerie haunting beauty that makes one realize why primitive tribes invested the very rocks with spirits, et cetera, The End.

No, one more point. I’ve had enough of that curvy guy with the flute. You know who I mean. Quezoscoital or Qwikimert or whatever his name is. The patron saint of Arizona airport gift shops. It’s fascinating to see how some cultures treat the ones they replace; usually the victors just erase the traces, but we feel compelled to keep their art alive. So you have white folks from Wisconsin in a Spanish-style house decorated with Native American art. Wasn’t always so – driving through some neighborhoods I saw evidence of an earlier migration: block after block of classic 60s ramblers, direct from California. Now they look out of place. It’s as if the land itself just said no, no, no: sorry. We’ll let you stay and fall down of your own accord, but no more of this.

And one more point. The brief trip gave me another perspective on the Bush immigration / work visa proposal. People who insist that all illegals be deported have an excellent point, and I think they’re right. And after we have deported all the illegals we can try something that’s only slightly more difficult, like walking to the moon. If we start early, we can make it by suppertime.

The illegals are everywhere. It’s very different here in Minnesota – when you go to Home Depot, you won’t find a dozen guys sitting on the lawn off to the side waiting for someone to come by and crook a finger: get in the truck, amigos. Yes, you could round them up. You could send black vans around, pick them up, drive them to the border, or put them in jail for breaking the law. Those who argue for deportation usually note that they’re breaking the law – in which case shouldn’t we jail them and then deport them? No? So if not deporting them sends the wrong message, doesn’t failing to jail them send an equally bad message? Fine, you say: let the prison building commence. Use illegal labor to build the prisons. Win win!

No. Bad idea. But let me be clear: I am not in favor of illegal immigration. I'm in favor of copious amounts of legal immigration, combined with Tupperware-tight borders and a newly remade INS whose official seal says “What the Hell Do You Think You’re Doing Here, Anyway? Oh Yeah? Prove it.” (Sounds nobler in Latin, I’m sure.) Deportation is not an option – and those who think it’s necessary need only wonder what the national media would do with mass expulsions. Our paper will run a sad story when a guy who’s been here illegally for 10 years gets deported and leaves his family behind; imagine several million such stories, complete with lovely footage of the caravan of train cars leaving for the daily dump on the Mexican border. It’s not going to happen. If anything short of that disappoints you, that’s your right. But don’t expect to be included in the conversation, anymore than people who want a return to the gold standard NOW are going to be consulted on House subcommittee hearings on eliminating the sunset provisions of the estate tax.

The INS will never show up on a bright spring morning in an Arizona subdivision, round up the gardeners and announce over a bullhorn “Cut your own damn grass! That is all.” Don't like it? Move to Mexico, and live like a king.

One more point: if you’re on an airplane, and the stews give the high-sign - “we have reached the altitude where death from mechanical failure is not likely” – you might be tempted to hit the little button on your armrest and push your seat back. You might want to turn around and ask the person behind you if that’s okay, because once you put your seat alllll the way back you make it impossible to use a laptop on the tray.

Happened to me, but I was loath to complain. Karma. Years ago on the Amtrak shuttle up to New York, I decided to reeeecline in the middle of the trip. If you know the old Amtrak pre-Acela rolling stock, you know that the seats went back quite a ways, and the gears were rather loose after 15 years of service. I shot an entire breakfast into a fellow’s lap. Cereal, eggs, milk, coffee, juice. JESUS CHRIST! I heard from behind me – the man yelled as though his breakfast had suddenly come to life and attacked him.

Ever since then I’ve never put my seat back.

Okay, one last note. It was a good flight back, for the most part. I no longer have to have a quart of everclear to get on a plane, so I don’t spent the trip in a slurry state of tamped-down terror. Why? Because turbulence when you’re half in the bag is just as bad as turbulence when you’re sober. Deal with it. Take-off I can take just fine; I count to one hundred, and if I finish the sequence I figure we’re fine. Landing unnerves me more – you get the feeling that it’s more difficult that they let on. This time we appeared to land on one set of wheels. I prefer two. But we landed and immediately leaned right, way over to the right, and you could see a gigantic hot red word balloon over everyone’s head: WE DIE NOW. Then we settled in and screeched to a stop. The pilot did not come out and say goodbye.

Smart move.

I called Hugh Hewitt’s show today to rebut the usual bushel of lies, and the conversation veered madly back in time to 1939, to the World’s Fair. I mentioned a website that had home movies – in color – of the 39/40 Fair, and Hugh asked me to post all the URLs I mentioned. So:

The Internet archive.

The collection of fabulous old video.

The World’s Fair material.

My work is done. And now I go to my reward, that being all the TV I recorded while away. Last night I took a crack at the TiVo’d wad; saw a Twilight Zone about an aging silent movie actress lost in the past – a ripoff of “Sunset Boulevard” with an unimaginative twist. But it had Martin Balsam. Whenever you see Martin Balsam you know what you’re going to get: a decent, worried, ineffectual man who will compromise his moral position, but only slightly, even though he knows in the end his insistance on drawing the line somewhere will count for nothing because he is the sort of man history will neither note nor recall. That’s our Martin!

Amazing: I recorded 10 Twilight Zones, and not one contained Burgess Meredith. What are the odds.

Okay: one more shot from the vacation. Little miss movie star.

Amazon Honor SystemClick Here to PayLearn More