We Have a Winner! Congratulations to Kim Schneider of Green Bay, Wisconsin. She pockets the 200,000 AAdvantage miles in our Jim Shahin Takes a Vacation contest! Almost 2,700 people entered, and just over 25 percent of them guessed the correct destination - Tierra del Fuego. Be sure and check out the September 15 issue or www.americanway.com for Jim's story about his incredible trip.

I've always thought that getting a job as an expert would be good work if you could get it. Experts get paid to tell others what to think. And as often as not, experts are wrong. Remember, weathermen are experts.

We have a @#$%load of experts where I live.

I live on a one-way two-way street, which doesn't make sense until you realize that I live inside the Beltway.

You know the Beltway - "Oh, that's just inside-the-Beltway stuff." "Is this an issue only for folks inside the Beltway?" "Is everybody who lives in the Beltway crazy?"

The Beltway is what in any other town is called a loop. That's because it is a loop. It loops around Washington, D.C. But it is not called a loop here, because in Washington, D.C., that would make too much sense. One thing experts don't like is for things to make too much sense.

Washington, D.C., is crummy with experts because it is jam-packed with think tanks, which are, essentially, expert factories. As a result, in Washington, D.C., people do things in ways that no one anywhere else in the world does them.

Well, except for the French.

That is not just a gratuitous swipe at the French. It is a conveniently historically accurate gratuitous swipe at the French. D.C. was designed by a Frenchman, Pierre L'Enfant.

Back then, the area that was to become the nation's capital was a swamp. That is not a gratuitous metaphoric swipe at politicians. It is a geological fact conveniently serving as a gratuitous metaphoric swipe at politicians.

L'Enfant smartly intuited that a seemingly rational but in fact nutsoid street design would keep politicians in a confined area and away from neighborhoods inhabited by actual people. So roadways are blocked by buildings and parks. Two-way streets turn into one-ways. One-ways turn into one-ways going the opposite direction. Traffic circles are plunked down in the most congested areas, for maximum confusion. Amid it all, streets meant to slice diagonally through town are instead wiggly-shaped, like a garden hose left lying in your driveway.