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Jan. 17, 1997

By Mac McKinnon

Laid back attitude
enhances plane travel

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Traveling can be fun. I say "can be," except for the fact you have to
put up with people.

Most people in this world are nice and courteous. However, they seem to
undergo a change when they travel.

I like to make sure there is ample time when I travel. I try to leave
early and, if flying, get to the airport a full hour before departure as
most airlines request. I believe this is why I've never had a bag lost
or damaged on the many flights with many airlines I've made over the

I also abide by the request of airlines to limit carry-on luggage. Some
people want to get to the airport at the last minute. They don't always
have time to check their luggage or don't want to as they'd have to wait
a few minutes to claim it when they get to their destination. Those
people go wagging that luggage onto the plane, bumping into everybody
and tying up the aisles while they try to find an overhead rack big
enough or empty enough to stow it. All this time, people are waiting
behind them so they can find their seats.

This process is repeated when the plane lands, as everybody wants to
get off before the plane is even through taxiing. Then out comes the
luggage, people get pushed around and hit by the luggage.

All of this takes the fun out of traveling. There's no use to be in a
real hurry when you land, because it takes time for luggage to be
unloaded, so I usually sit there and wait until all those people who are
in such a hurry get out of my way. Then I leisurely make my way off the

And of course, some people gripe for the entire flight about how
uncomfortable the seats are, how crowded the plane is, etc. I don't
really understand this, as most trips don't last more than three to four
hours at the most unless the flight is going to another country. The
conditions aren't that bad.

People who know how hyper I am probably can't believe that I don't get
in a hurry, but when I'm in a situation where I know it doesn't do any
good to get in a hurry, I am a realist and sit back and take everything
in and relax.

Of course, it is more fun going somewhere, anticipating your
destination, rather than the return leg when the trip is all but over.
Traveling can be fun if people will just relax and not get in a hurry.

Unfortunately, those who get in a hurry make things difficult for
everyone else. And airlines do have an occasional bad employee, just
like all other businesses, who can irritate a customer.

On my most recent trip, I traveled on four flights, and one of those
flights failed to meet my connecting flight due to weather. I was among
many who had to make other arrangements. It was real interesting to
watch the different reactions on how people handled this situation. I'm
kind of a night person, so I didn't mind taking a later flight although
it threw me getting to my destination in the wee hours of the morning. I
got my sleep on the plane that was less than half full, so it was no big

Other people just about came unglued. The next time you travel, as they
say in Hawaii, hang loose.

My destination? I'll write about that next week.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Mac McKinnon is editor and publisher of the Pecos
Enterprise. His column appears on Friday.


Kentucky act shows what can be done

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Kentucky did it. Those three words should be repeated often by state
lawmakers as they prepare for the 122nd session of the Ohio General
Assembly. Yes, Kentucky, our neighbor to the south, the object of
ridicule by many an Ohioan over the years, gathered the courage to
repair the way it finances its public schools.

Sure, it did so with a legal gun pointed at its head. In 1989, the
Kentucky Supreme Court struck down the state's system of public
education, arguing the financing method was inadequate and unequal.
Lawmakers had little choice but to begin drastic repair work.

It may be that Ohio legislators require a similar incentive. The Ohio
Supreme Court is expected to rule soon on the constitutionality of the
state formula for funding public schools. Most lawmakers are doubtful
they will act without an order from the high court.

This is a shame, because whatever course the court takes, Ohio public
schools require immediate and substantial attention.

-- Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal, on financing of public schools:


Efforts at unity lesson for Japan

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The European Union must address the daunting challenge of reconciling
the diversity of its 15 member countries with the need to strengthen
unity as it confronts its two major tasks for the year: preparations for
the launch of the Economic and Monetary Union as provided for in the
Maastricht Treaty and expansion into Eastern Europe.

For more than four decades, efforts to forge European unity have
survived many crises by a process of constant adaptation to internal and
external changes. Those efforts continue to deepen and expand as Europe
endeavors to maintain its place among the political, economic and
cultural leaders in the world.

While it has often been said that the Europeans are characterized by a
respect for history and tradition, such respect cannot be equated with
conventionalism. Positive conservatism - meaning a readiness to accept
drastic changes in order to preserve cherished values - is the region's
strong point.

Although many here have tended to look down upon Europe's seemingly
slow progress during the 1970s and '80s, it has surpassed Japan in
deregulation in a number of sectors. Indeed, progress in the unity
process has stimulated competition within the European Union. The
region's patient, long-term efforts to renovate itself provide a
valuable lesson for Japan.
-- Mainichi Shimbun, Tokyo
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