I think I am usually an optimistic person. I even have a sign on my desk which says "No Negativism".
However … with the current Hurricane Katrina situation in New Orleans, I'm starting to feel a little like Joe Btfsplk (no, that's not a typo), he's the character from the old "Li'l Abner" comic strip who always had a rain cloud over his head.
Case(s) in point: In the summer of 2001, my wife and I and a group of long-time friends went for a few days' visit in "The Big Apple" -- New York City. It was the first time Janet and I had ever been in New York City for more than just a day. We had a great time -- attended "The Lion King" and "Annie Get Your Gun" on Broadway, toured the city and Times Square, and, of course, attended a Yankee game at Yankee Stadium (which the Bronx Bombers, won, of course).
All in all, a great time was had by all. We have a picture of my wife and I on the ferry to Liberty Island, and in the background, situated perfectly between us, are the "Twin Towers" of the World Trade Center. Less than two months later, of course, there WAS no World Trade Center.
This past spring (April-May 2005) , as readers of the Chronicle Times may recall, Janet and I went to Memphis and NEW ORLEANS with my brother and his wife. Again, it was the first time that Janet and I had ever been to "The Big Easy" -- New Orleans, that is. Again, we had a GREAT visit. Well, a few short months later, while there is still a New Orleans, it is not quite the same as it was, and never will be quite the same. It will take years to rebuild it.
As I said, I'm generally not a pessimist, nor a fatalist. However, it makes me wonder …
Looking at the bright side --- I've been looking for a "retirement job", and I may have found it, if y'all just cooperate with me.
I think a good retirement job for me would be traveling to various spots in the world, at others' expense, and spending a few days enjoying all the scenic attractions, tourist sites, etc., and then coming back home until my next adventure.
Here's where you all can help me out. Please send me the city (or cities) you'd like to see be dealt a major economic blow, either through natural disaster or whatever means… THEN (and this is the important part) : send me enough money for two people to fly to that city, spend a week in a five-star hotel , eat at fine restaurants, and, of course, buy a lot of souvenirs and see some high-classed, high-priced entertainment.
Then, within a few months of our visit, the city in question will be visited by some kind of disaster, plague, whatever. I won't be personally delving out the disaster, of course… I'll just get to enjoy a fun week before it happens, and can say I was privileged to see (fill in the name of the city) "back when -- you know, before (fill in the disaster)."
Please write me in care of "Basic Biittner", Chronicle-Times, with your suggested cities -- they have to be places I've never been -- like Seattle, Miami, Baghdad…
(P.S. We'll be in the D.C. area from Sept. 1 -- 6, but I think they're probably safe from my "Joe Btfsplk Curse" -- I've already been there several times previously.)