Notes from a road trip to New York City and Washington, D.C., to visit my young adult children:
No establishment on America's great interstate highway system can make a decent cup of coffee. In fact, to call the stuff that's sold at most establishments swill is to be kind. (To be fair, you can buy a cactus shaped like a penis growing from a pot that looks like a hillbilly's overalls.)
Tennessee is like a movie made by a self-indulgent director: It's at least 150 miles too long. Put the state line at Knoxville, and drivers would leave Tennessee happy and feeling like they'd made some progress. Just an idea.
Why are some interstate highways free while others cost money? They're all federal highways, aren't they? Lots of states -- New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and West Virginia, to name a few I passed through -- charge money to drive on the interstate or to cross a bridge. And there's no rhyme or reason to it. You'll be driving happily along and all of sudden, blammo! -- it's toll-booth time. Want to cross this nice bridge? Three bucks, please. Want to keep going on this lovely interstate? That'll be four bucks. Thank you, and enjoy your trip. It cost me $36 in tolls just to drive from New York to D.C. Can you say TennCare?
Nobody under the age of 25 reads newspapers. WiFi laptop computers, however, are strewn about like magazines and are consulted for everything from the news to movie times to menus to crossword-puzzle answers (for the doddering father who's actually reading The New York Times). They do read magazines, though. Lots of them.
American radio is a vast wasteland of crappy music, sports talk, and Sean Hannity. Sirius Radio has a future -- at least until car makers put an Ipod dock on the dashboard.
Bruce VanWyngarden, Editor