Thursday, July 1, 2010

Got Passports? HURRY!

In case you have delayed getting a passport, you're just about to cost yourself a healthy chunk of change - unless you move NOW! Effective Tuesday July 13th, U.S. Passport fees are going up, and in some cases way up. The basic adult passport fee, when combined with the acceptance or processing fee, is going up to $135 for ages 16 and over (1st time passport holders). Renewals are going to $110 for an adult passport, and 1st time minor passports will be $105. Some people who travel a lot need additional pages for visa stamps, and previously the State Department would give you more pages free. BON VOYAGE, free pages! Now they'll still add pages to your passport for you, but there is a processing fee of $82. Talk about a whopping increase! Pessimists look at this and say "Well, I'm not paying it. I'll just stay closer to home where I don't need a passport." Personally, I think that's the wrong way to look at things.
Here's my take:

God created a BIG WORLD, and gave us the ability and resources to see it. One of my favorite sayings is "The world is a huge book. Those who do not travel get to see only one page." How true that is! Even if there are parts of the world that don't interest you, we are fortunate enough to have some great countries very close to us, with wonderful people, great food, sights to see, and the potential to broaden your personal horizons to make you a more complete person. The reason the State Department is raising the passport rates is so they can update anti-counterfeiting technology, and help pay for the expanding role of Homeland Security is allowing ALL OF US to live and travel as safely as humanly possible. Right now, you can still get a passport at the current rates, before the increase. Do it! Every other country in the world requires it, and as advanced as the US has been in some areas, we've been 3rd- or 4th-world when it comes to our own domestic security and background checks. Here's another thought for you pessimists: Even at the new price, $135 for a passport, that is still an unbelievable bargain to be able to travel anywhere you want. An adult passport is good for 10 years - so breaking that down, increasing National Security and allowing you to travel for the next DECADE is only going to cost you $13.50 per year. That's less than $1.13 per month. Are you kidding me? Get an empty coffee can. Instead of buying that Snickers bar at the 7/11 every morning, or if you cut out one Big Mac large combo meal per week, and drop that money into the coffee can, it will pay for itself in no time. We'll all be safer, you'll get to experience things you never dreamed of, and you'll be helping to add to the security of the United States even if only in a small way. Do your part and become a traveler. NOW!

Sponge Bob. Mount Everest. Space Shuttle.
We've all seen those 4-story giant "bouncy slides" at different amusement parks or playgrounds, where kids slide down into a sea of rubber cushions, and often into a sea of other kids. Hygienically, they've got to be a parent's worst nightmare, but kids love 'em! A new one in Switzerland is causing some controversy though. The 40 foot high slide is a replica of the ill-fated luxury liner Titanic, which sank on its maiden voyage in 1912, drowning 1,517 passengers and crew. Pictured on the slide is the crippled liner sinking, with its keel raised high in the air as if it is just about to disappear under the waves. Kids slide down into a bouncy, watery grave. FUN FOR YOU AND YOUR WHOLE DANG FAMILY! Nothing like playing in a graveyard, eh? The slide's owner defends it as a new innovation in slide art. "The Titanic accident happened years ago, and those emotions have been dealt with a long time ago. It's in the past. Now people are just having fun with it." I'm guessing his next project is Captain Quint's boat The Orca, from the movie Jaws. Kids can slide down into the waiting razor-sharp teeth of a Great White Shark, while smiling parents snap a few pics of the wholesome adventure...

Remember as a kid, on the back of comic books there were always ads for novelties, such as garlic-flavored gum, fake vomit, and the ever-popular X-Ray Specs? How many boys ordered those stupid plastic glasses, thinking they could see right through (insert whatever you were trying to see through here)? My guess is it was in the millions. But alas, the Special Spectacles had the visual penetrating power of, eh, 2 plastic lenses and a boy's vivid imagination, and that was about it. WORRY NO MORE, YOUNG MEN! Now you can have the REAL DEAL! At a recent auction, a set of 3 X-rays of Marilyn Monroe's chest and pelvis, taken on a trip to the hospital in 1954, sold for $45,000. The winning bid was 15 times the original estimate, when the memorabilia auction was held at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. No matter how old they get, I guess boys' imaginations are still on a level unmatched by any other species.

1 comment:

john said...

That's true even I filled all my 32 pages my passport, with cruising only.
Loved it.