International travelers are avoiding the U.S.

Of course, this was inevitable:

Though they may differ as to the wisdom of the move, the travel press and most travel experts are of one mind: They are currently drawing attention to an unintended consequence of the Trump-led efforts to stop many Muslims from coming to the U.S., pointing to a sharp drop in foreign tourism to our nation that imperils jobs and touristic income.

It’s known as the “Trump Slump.” And I know of no reputable travel publication to deny it.
Thus, the prestigious Travel Weekly magazine (as close to an “official” travel publication as they come) has set the decline in foreign tourism at 6.8%. And the fall-off is not limited to Muslim travelers, but also extends to all incoming foreign tourists. Apparently, an attack on one group of tourists is regarded as an assault on all.
As far as travel by distinct religious groups, flight passengers from the seven Muslim-majority nations named by Trump were down by 80% in the last week of January and first week of February, according to Forward Keys, a well-known firm of travel statisticians. On the web, flight searches for trips heading to the U.S. out of all international locations was recently down by 17%.
A drop of that magnitude, if continued, would reduce the value of foreign travel within the U.S. by billions of dollars. And the number of jobs supported by foreign tourists and their expenditures in the United States—and thus lost—would easily exceed hundreds of thousands of workers in hotels, restaurants, transportation, stores, tour operations, travel agencies, and the like.

Could it be that incidents like this

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… are leading foreigners to say, “Screw that place”?

I have noticed a difference in the quality of tourist in D.C. Far less diversity, and far more herds of sweaty overweight melanin deprived waddlers wearing American flag t-shirts and red MAGA hats.

And yes, I can see their t-shirts and sweat as I walk along the streets of Washington because it’s been hovering around 80 degrees this week in February, not just here, but in most of America, and these non-believers in global warming don’t see the irony in that.

It’s so unseasonably warm, that 5,294 daily high-temperature records were broken across the country from Feb. 1 through Feb. 20, Crouch said. In contrast, there were just 85 low-temperature records broken during that same period, making it a ratio of 62:1 of high versus low new daily- temperature records, he said.

“For every cold daily-temperature record we’ve broken in February, we’ve broken 62 warm daily-temperature records,” Crouch told Live Science. “That ratio is very high. In a normal situation, we would expect those to be a 1-to-1 ratio.”

Screenings, premieres and seeing people true stories are based on

So, I’m on my way to a baseball game, because the Washington Nationals have a deal where you can pay $75 for standing room tickets to all of the team’s home games in September. And as I’m about to go into the Metro, my brother calls and asks if I want to go to a special movie screening at the Newseum.

Let’s see: Use the $5 ticket to stand up for a nine-inning baseball game, or get in free on a movie that will cost $12 when it opens in D.C. theaters on Sept. 23. Movie it is.

But here’s where it gets strange (for me. I’m sure other people do this all the time and are used to it). It’s at the Newseum, and there’s an open bar. Free drinks!

Waiters are carrying around hors d’oeuvres. Free food!

And as we walk into the theater, there are boxes of popcorn and candy and bottled water. Free snacks!

So into the theater and head up to the cheap seats, because, like, it’s free and there’s no such thing as a cheap seat when you’re not paying anything. But someone comes along and asks us to move to one of the rows closer to the screen, because they don’t want the stars of the movie coming out to talk to empty seats up front. OK.

But before the movie, there are speeches.

So we get one from a Disney executive, since it’s a Disney movie.

Then we get one from a congresswoman from Brooklyn.

Then we get one from a congresswoman from California.

Then we get on from a senator from Delaware.

And all of them make it a point to recognize the senator from New Jersey sitting in the row in front of us.

(Is this how we do movie screenings in the nation’s capital?)

And when they’re done, they bring out two people who are the main subjects of the film, “Queen of Katwe,” based on a true story about a female Uganda chess prodigy.

And then the two stars of the movie: David Oyelowo, who was nominated for an Academy Award for playing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the movie “Selma” and Lupita Nyong’o, who won the Academy Award for “12 Years a Slave.”

Here’s the background trailer:

So this is the second time in a week that I’ve been to a performance where the subjects of the story actually show up at the event. Last week, it was at Ford’s Theatre (yeah, the place where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated) for the second night of a new musical about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. (And yes I realize how potentially tasteless that sounds, and no, the name of the musical wasn’t “Springtime for bin Laden.”)

The musical, “Come From Away,” was very good and is headed to Broadway. It’s the story of how the citizens of Gander, Newfoundland, pulled together to take care of the people on the 38 passenger jets that were rerouted to the small island community when all of the air traffic to the United States was grounded. The special appearances were by the woman who was the captain for a Paris to Dallas American Airlines flight, and a middle aged couple (Brit man, Texas woman) who met and fell in love during their five days in Newfoundland and later got married.

Following the performance there was a half hour Q&A with the playwrights and the subjects of the musical.

(Oh, by the way. The Nats lost in 10 innings.)

Is that Joseph Gordon-Levitt, or Pee Wee Herman?

If Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays drums on a subway platform, and no one is there to see it, does he make a sound? (Well, yeah. Same thing happens when a tree falls in the forest.)

And where is this, anyway. I know it’s not New York or Washington and it doesn’t look like Chicago. Is this Los Angeles? Do they have a subway in Los Angeles. If so, why are the highways so crowded?

This video raises more questions than answers.

Oh, and by the way. If I’m in the subway and Meryl Streep is singing opera, I’m not going to stop to listen, and I’m definitely not going to pay attention, because if I’m in the subway, I’m trying to get to work, and entertainers in the train or on the platform annoy the hell out of me.

Coming in for a landing … scratch that!

Just looking at videos of flights landing, and this brought back all kinds of bad memories.

Back in 2015, this American Airlines flight from New York’s JFK was making its final approach to Los Angeles International. Just stick with the flight for the first four minutes, and you’ll see the problem.

The pilot explained it very nicely. The plane in front of them didn’t get off the runway. The option was go around, or crash. Not much of a choice.

I’ve been on two flights that did this. Once, when I was a teenager, involved a TWA flight from New York to Atlanta. We were landing, then the pilot revved up the engines and we weren’t. Completely freaked me out, because the only thing I could think was there was a plane on the runway.

The second time was last year, flying from Washington to Louisville on USAir. That was at night. I’d done that route dozens of times, and things were going normally when we were almost on the ground, and then we weren’t.

Eventually, the pilot came on and said there was “insufficient separation” with the plane in front of us, a pretty bureaucratic way of saying, “Damn! There’s a plane in the way.”

This video is really reassuring, though, because everybody you hear in radio contact is extremely calm. Unlike me, clutching the armrest and scared out of my life.