Some incidents in my trip to Oz earlier this month.
1. The trip over was supposed to be 38 hours. RDU - JFK - LAX - Sydney - Perth - Fremantle. It was, in fact, 46 hours. We ran out of fuel. 250k/hr headwinds, extremely rough. Had to land in Auckland, NZ. Waited on the tarmac three hours for fuel. Couldn't leave plane, because of customs non-permission. Missed connection in Sydney, had to wait until evening. I was somewhat tired, b/c I can't sleep on planes.
2. Got up, went down to the beach, looking for coffee. There was (I'm ashamed to admit) a McDonald's, right on the beach overlooking the old "Long Jetty." I ordered a coffee. Now, I could see the pot of coffee sitting there, and "coffee" was listed on the menu. The cashier kid seemed confused. Said, "Coffee? You mean, filtered coffee? Black coffee? What are you asking for?"
Me: "Um....coffee...yes....black coffee."
Kid: "Okay." Pour coffee into cup, then fills the cup last 1/4 with milk.
Me: "Um....the milk is fine....but didn't I say 'Black'?"
Kid: "Oh, black coffee comes with milk. That's how we make it."
3. My keynote speech. Great fun. My thesis was this: Mandatory recycling violates the separation of church and state, since it has no economic justification, and in fact wastes resources. In an economic activity, saving cost is the goal. But in a religious activity, increasing cost is the goal, as a sign of devotion. Since the crowd was largely people employed in the recycling industry, this message was not universally received with joy.
4. A bit of lunch, out in the display area, with Bernie and Becky. Put a couple of drinks in these folks, and they were fair dinkum mates to anyone. I really enjoyed my time with these two. Great people.