Anything that can be done to make air travel less of an exercise in torture is worth trying. One of the key tension points these days is the dreaded security checkpoint, where long lines and ever-changing rules can frustrate even the most patient travelers.

A new program now being tested at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) is designed to improve the flow of traffic through security by offering separate lanes for families, casual travelers and those who consider themselves experts at negotiating the security process. Let's hope it works.

There's no way a family with a baby and two toddlers can move through security as efficiently as the frequent business traveler, and most moms and dads would rather not deal with the stress of trying.

Airports in Denver and Salt Lake City began testing self-selection in February and have since expanded the program to all security checkpoints. Other airports have had success with just two lanes -- one for experts and another for families.

Orderly Minnesotans should have no trouble making the right lane choice at MSP, although it's likely that few will want to label themselves "experts.'' We're betting the "casual'' lane will be a popular choice for understated Gophers without children.

Former governor stops by to peddle new book

You can't turn on the TV or radio these days without running into former Gov. Jesse Ventura.

Ventura has a new book to hawk, and on Thursday he brought his act to the Mall of America, where he pontificated on the U.S. Senate race (he says he still might enter), a presidential bid (he's downplaying that scenario) and the JFK assassination (he's talked with Fidel Castro about it).

"I liked how he was straightforward, and he admitted he didn't know everything,'' one Ventura fan told the Star Tribune. Said another: "He tells it the way it is.''

Nevertheless, we wonder if Minnesotans are all that interested in Ventura and his new book, "Don't Start the Revolution Without Me!'' A crowd estimated at only about 50-plus was on hand for the Thursday event.

The book doesn't seem to be in huge demand, either. Amazon was selling it for $16.47 on Friday, but you could get a copy on eBay for $9, not including shipping.

Is presidential contest really worth $1 billion?

This year's presidential campaign -- which started last year -- will be America's first $1 billion contest, noted BBC journalist Katty Kay in Minneapolis Wednesday, at the annual fundraising luncheon for womenwinning: Minnesota Women's Campaign Fund. By comparison, the most recent British national election campaign lasted for five weeks, and candidates raised and spent $73 million. "I hope you all feel you are getting your money's worth," Kay said.