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Spoor Blog: Proving once again I'm no rocket scientist

Print News's Mark Spoor had an eventful trip across the Atlantic to Southport, England, proving that some mistakes are honest ones.

By Mark Spoor, Coordinating Producer

SOUTHPORT, England -- Let's just say that the past 36 hours have not done much to disprove many people's belief that I am, in fact, "not exactly a rocket scientist."

I arrived at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta on Saturday night to begin my voyage over to jolly ol' England. After checking in and trying to calculate in my head how many frequent filer miles I would get this week (I came up with, "a lot"), I met a colleague and headed on into Houlihan's Bar and Restaurant for a drink and a bite to eat where we encountered quite possibly the slowest waitress in the history of mankind.

"Miss, I really do actually have a plane to catch. Can I PLEASE get at least, like, a menu?"

Thank goodness our flight was delayed or else that club sandwich and Sam Adams Light may have gotten me fired.

Once I got on the plane and made my way back to seat 39D, I met what presumably was a young Englishman and his daughter. I never got their names because I'm never really one to talk to anyone I don't know on a flight, especially one that lasts more than eight hours. I know people that differ with me on this point, but I think as you read on, you'll find that I probably made the right choice in this case.

Anyway, the presumed daughter is carrying a copy of "Algebra for Dummies." I immediately wonder why this girl, who looked to be at the genesis of her teenage years, is carrying an algebra book onto a plane for an eight-hour, overnight flight in the middle of the summer.

I immediately deduce that she's done it so that when she's having trouble falling asleep later, that she can read up on some complex equations to put her into dreamland.


Even before we take off, the two of them are headlong into something known as the distributive law. Once I arrived in England, I decided to look up the ol' distributive law so that I could know what the heck they were talking about. Here it is:

In the process of manipulating algebraic expressions, we often find ourselves multiplying expression wherein one or both factors are sums. The Distributive Law tells us how to properly handle products involving sums.

I still don't know what the heck they were talking about.

Anyway, we arrived in Southport mid-morning on Sunday and shuffled off to find the house that we're renting for the week. The directions we were given tell us that it will take approximately an hour to reach the house.

It took a little more. Roundabouts are complicated, especially when you have that whole driving-on-the-other-side-of-the-road challenge to contend with.

Once we got settled in, we decided to head into Southport to get some groceries, and maybe find a pub to grab a frosty beverage.

Of course, we looked for the pub first.

Anyway, we stumbled upon this establishment called "The Crown Bar." From the outside, it looked like a typical British pub, so we sauntered in. The walls in the entryway were purple, but we thought, "well, it's just stylish." Once inside, we were greeted by a collection of rainbow-colored silk-like banners hanging from the ceiling to the floor on the wall behind the small stage, big, white leather furniture and stylish round mirrors on the back wall.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Even though the atmosphere was not exactly, how shall I put this politely, our "spot of tea," we stayed for a Guinness outside in the beer garden. As the bartender, resplendent in his skin-tight white shirt, even tighter black jeans and moussed mohawk haircut, was cleaning away our glasses, he was sure to let us know about some other events happening around town -- events that were not happening at "The Crown Bar."

We appreciated his subtle hint and moved on our merry way to fill a shopping cart with Guinness, frozen pizza, soda, chips and other assorted unhealthy delights before going back to our house for the night.

After all, we're not rocket scientists.

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