Philadelphia Phreedom

PHILADELPHIA — The annual conference of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists begins Friday at 8 a.m. Well, Thursday evening is the informal mixer that has become more organized over the years. Most conferees have arrived, as have some speakers, including Dave Barry.

Little thus can be reported yet. The two-flight journey from Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport began two hours late and stayed that way. This is how travel works these days, and we had it better than others.

Notes that would interest anyone are minimal. I have two possibilities.

The bottle of Aquafina purchased at Dallas-Fort Worth International shows changes in the bottled water industry. First, the “manufacturers” (God makes water and He is not at issue here) think customers have lost brain cells since they succeeded in persuading us that what flows from airport water fountains is of lesser quality.

This bottle of Pepsico product “purified drinking water” no longer lists the spring from which it was drawn, just that it has nothing besides itself, such as minerals, DDT or fish detritus. Bottled water’s identity once was all about being from this or that spring.

Last is a reassuring educational message on the Aquafina bottle:

Aquafina is a smart choice because it hydrates and is sodium-free plus every serving of water is naturally calorie-free.”

Let’s help Pepsico help the consumer:

“Aquafina is a smart choice because it hydrates (hydrates defines what water does) and is sodium-free (drinking water is not salt water) plus every serving of water is naturally calorie-free (your school chem textbook’s glossary explains water is the baseline of zero for calorie) .”

The other travel note: Signs at the Philadelphia airport invited travels to “celebrate freedom” on the Fourth of July in this city so central to America’s founding. Question: How does one celebrate freedom? Those signs indicate picnics and fireworks. Wouldn’t it make more sense to celebrate freedom by exercising a bit of it? Participate in a peaceful assembly. Worship outside the main religions. Write something obnoxious. If you can pack all that in a wicker basket and take it to the park, all the better. -30-