Real ID

Anenome and Star

I applied for a Real ID today. Having done so, I’m not entirely sure why I did so. Next October, everyone will need a Real ID to fly. Your normal driver’s license will no longer get you pass TSA. Alternatively, if you have a passport that will work too. I have a passport, so there was no real reason for me to get a Real ID. A Real ID allows you to fly only on domestic flights, while a passport permits both domestic and international flying. A Real ID won’t allow you to even drive to Canada. A Real ID does allow you access to military bases and Federal courthouses. So does a passport. I no longer need to go to military bases and I’ve never been in a Federal courthouse. I just hope that by applying for a Real ID, I haven’t opened myself up to Federal jury selection. A Real ID is also required to enter a nuclear power plant. This has not been a big priority of mine.

Beyond its apparent redundancy and uselessness, a Real ID is harder to get than a passport. For my passport, all I needed to show was my driver’s license and birth certificate. I’ve had a driver’s license since I was a teenager and I ordered my birth certificate online with no more ID than a credit card. For my Real ID, I flashed my license and passport and then I had to produce my social security card. I also had to have two other forms of “ID”, which in my case was a utility bill and a property tax receipt. Various fallback alternatives are also accepted. In lieu of the passport, a birth certificate, even one acquired online will do. In lieu of the social security card, any tax document that has your social on it will do. The last two documents that are supposed to determine your residency are the easiest to get. I could have substituted my tax receipt with a voter registration card. One that says on it that it is not for ID purposes or even a court summons. That last one would have been a hoot.

So, a Real ID is not as good as a passport. It is harder to get than a passport, but that added difficulty, all in the name of additional security is laughably easy to circumvent. It makes for the perfect latest addition to the kabuki theater that passes for TSA screening. All of which begs my original question, what is a Real ID good for? The bottom line is that it is cheaper, $12 versus $35 for a passport, but the passport lasts twice as long. If you ask me, I question if Real ID is really worth that difference.

Question Mark?

Question Mark Butterfly

Anne took this photo. The butterfly is called a Question Mark. Supposedly, one can see a question mark on its rear wing, but I couldn’t. I used Google Images to track down its name, but at first was put off in thinking that the image’s author had labeled it such, because they didn’t know its name. Later, I figured it out. Its angular wings are an indicator and they’re not outlined in black like the Comma.

We’re home again and likely won’t be wandering much for a while. We have company coming to town. Jay and Carl later this month and then the boys next month. That’s not to say that there won’t be a quick getaway or two, but nothing is planned and frankly, I’m getting tired of not sleeping in my own bed. Plus in addition to house guests, we also have theater tickets that we have to use. Then there are all those pesky little  home improvement projects that aren’t working themselves. Block party tonight!

Over the Rainbow

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Throughout our Shenandoah visit and while driving Skyline Drive, we have been confounded by a pair of warning signs. Some signs say, “Watch for Falling Rocks.” While the others read, “Watch for Fallen Rocks.” What’s with this past/present dichotomy? Are some sections of the road seismically active, while others once so, now dormant? And if the later is true, is it really easier to erect a sign, instead of picking up a few rocks? Our meditations on this subject, led Anne to sing a little ditty, “Catch a falling stone and put it in your pocket…” I reminded her that it is illegal to remove anything from a National Park. Her amended lyric reads, “Catch a falling stone and put it in your pocket and never let the ranger know.”

Anne’s photo is from last night, but it could have come from today. We drove back to DC in the rain. We were considering a stop at one of the many Civil War battlefields that we passed along the way. New Market and Bull Run were two of the most notable. You literally can’t spit in Virginia without it landing on hallowed ground, but we drove on and got back to the airport with plenty of time to spare before we can jet over the rainbow and land just short of Kansas.

Imagine my surprise when we got settled at the gate and found #CivilWar trending at number one on Twitter. Apparently, General Bone Spur has declared war on the Democrats. I wonder when we land in red-state Missouri, whether or not I’ll be detained as an enemy combatant? Stay tuned for his next spittle-flecked tweet.