Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Take on the left side gas tank

We seem to be able to adjust to most thing even if the old English system the Americans use is antiquated. We buy milk in gallons, soda in liters, we count football fields in yards but the premier event in the Olympics is measured in meters

But one thing that gets me is that my informal study has shown is that 75% of all cars have their gas tank on the left driver side. This is convenient when the drier has to pump gas but it makes for a cluster at the pump. I pull into a station yesterday and find that there is a huge line for gas on one side of the pump while the other side was as clear as day. Now I am impatient so obviously i swing around, make a three point turn and pull in facing the opposite way as everybody else I get my gas and then have to reverse out, do a backwards pony turn, wait for the other ahold doing the same thing before I am back on the highway. Now obviously you can't force GM, Chrystler and Ford to do anything but the next time one of them comes hand in hat looking for some tax payer handout we tell them that we would on the condition that they make their fleet right side gas pump accessible.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Take on the NJ transit ticket machine

I feel for anybody who has ever had the misfortune of having to commute to the Garden State out of either Penn Station or Port Authority. I don't feel for them because of what can only be described as one of the least pleasant commutes in America with the overcrowding in these two mass transit hubs. I din't even feel for them considering when they complete this hellish commute they end up in some non descript jersey towns with about as much personality of a wet fart
Why I feel bad is that these commuters have to deal with the slowest ticket machines known to man. What should be a transaction which takes about the same amount of time as an ATM withdrawal easily takes 60 seconds. Now that may not sound like a lot but when you want to catch a 5:35 train to Manalapan it seems like an eternity
It's like they have a homing pigeon in the back of those suckers which has to literally fly back to the base station in Rahway to complete your transaction

Monday, November 28, 2011

Take on snail pace

Most of the time I find myself in a rush. I'm rushing to and from work. I rush through lunch, schedule short vacations, multitask constantly and hardly take a break so I realize that there is more than just a bit of irony in the fact I hate being rushed at a restaurant. I get that these places need turnover in order to survive but there is nothing more frustrating than having lunch and feeling like you are on the clock. I hate food not coming out together, I hate being given a check before I've finished my coffee and although I don't like sitting in front of an empty plate k hate having a waiter start to collect the place-settings, napkins and salt and pepper shakers before I am through. If I am going to drop $25 for brunch, at least allow me the dignity of not feeling like I'm being herded like a cow
So here is a big thumb-up for any restaurant which gets the snail-pace approval

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Take on the gift of booze

When my sister in law opened her presents for her super sweet 16 (x1.875) birthday party this weekend it shocked me to see how many people brought her booze. Not because she's not a fan of alcohol but because who the hell ia ever going to drink all of this. I unofficially counted 7 different bottles which if it had been a house party might seem logical but for as a present was more than a bit weird I get the idea behind a good bottle of wine or a beer of the month club but to give somebody a cheap bottle of chardonnay, a fifth of Wild Turkey, a two liter of vodka just seems odd. This kind of gift just screams regift.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Take on the tipping point

Malcolm Gladwell's book The Tipping Point speaks about the masses following the innovators when it comes to popular culture. The coolest bands are discovered in small murky clubs, the best authors start out as guys who write for a small audience and Hush Puppies are cool only when they are not.
I believe in The Tipping Point concept and feel like most things Jump the Shark pretty much as they get 'discovered' by everybody. The one exception seems to be Facebook. I was speaking with a 20 something the other day and she admitted to checking Facebook at least 20 times per day, she posts, she lurks an she comments and asking her to get off of it for 24 hours is akin to asking her to chop off her left arm
The funny thing is that unlike a traditional Tipping Point, she was part of the original Facebook army having gotten her account with her .edu email address but the irony is that she like all the other early adopters never left Facebook when it got lame while basically everybody in my generation who joined late also saw how incredibly lame it was.

Although FB claims to capture about 25% of te world population it really only gets three demographic groups. Do a quick search of who is an active Facebook person and I am sure it is overwhelmingly women in their 60's, new (or wanna be new) mothers and the original FB kids crowd who are now in their mid to late twenties. Out of all my male friends I only know two guys who actively post and comment. Basically everybody in
My generation left in a Moses like mass exodus but the people who stayed are very much the original members.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Take on Friday bloody Friday

My three favorite days of the year are Thanksgiving, The 4th of July and Black Friday because these are true American Holidays and in all three times you can catch fire works. Either because your aunt doesn't like your uncle's new young wife, because some nutjon is setting off M80's in his backyard or because American shoppers are psychos I have never been one of these crazies that stands online at a BestBuy at 2AM hoping to get a BluRay player for 50% off but I love watching the news that night to see people get trampled or shot as they fight over a Tickle Me Elmo doll. This is America at it's worst/best anyway you get it, people so infuriated with the man (in front of them) they take out a gun.
This year is mo different as there are already reports of a few injuries including some chick who started to pepperspray anybody who tried to come near the tablets in the electronic division at a Wall Mart
You gotta love it

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Take on the Thanksgiving game

The three things you can count on during the fourth Thursday in November is indigestion, tryptophan and people complaining about the Lions. Every year everybody complains that teams other than the Cowboys and Lions should be afforded the national exposure which they say isn't fair to other teams but really it comes down to people being annoyed that they are forced to watch a team that has sucked since I was in high School. This year is the first time in about two decades that people didn't complain the Lions were on TV and it's not because they finally started to believe in tradition. It is only because the Lions finally don't suck

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Taking on the cab to the sticks

Yesterday as I jumped into a cab in the pouring rain and told the driver to take me to the last stop in Brooklyn he -like many before him- groaned. Anybody who has lived in the boroughs has had this happened to them with cabbies acting annoyed for having to comply with the law because they will say that they will not get a return fare. Now first of all this is crap because there are plenty of people in Bensonhurst, Riverdale and Flushing who would use a yellow can but because they are like the bald eagle seem to be completely extinct

But forget servicing all the boroughs, I think long trips are actually a great deal for these guys, especially at 10pm on a Tuesday. Our entire ride did not take more than 25 minutes and after a generous tip the guy put nearly $35 in his pocket. So even if it takes him another 20 minutes to get back into lower manhattan, he has already made $35 for the hour plus he has 15 more minutes to shuttle a couple people between wall-street and TriBeCa. This dude probably made $45 during the hour he had me in a car, I'd guess that $45 is more than he sees in an hour cruising Manhattan.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

taking on the power of a win

I have a friend whose life seems to be turned upside down lately.    His wife went up and moved out of NYC to some Midwest town, his hairline went up and moved about 3 inches up his scalp, his gumline is creeping into his mustache and for the last few months he has been in total depression.   I called him a few weeks ago and felt like I was talking to somebody taking a call in a library, his voice so soft it was barely audible and honestly I am getting a bit worried.     He's a good guy with a ton of life but he also goes through these episodes where things don't seem right.   I check with mutual friends and honestly nobody has heard from him in 3 months eventhough he's got more time on his hands than anybody.   The last time I saw him was at a wedding when he looked like he was ready to plunge either his unit or his fist into the first thing that moved.    He used to be a pretty regular member of a small online forum and chat-room but even that has stopped…until

Out of the blue with a combination of Jay Cutler firepower, a resurgent Larry Fitzgerald, the transformer named Eric Decker Nelson and some dude named Helu the world has opened up again for my friend.   I can't say that it was a total points onslaught but it was enough because all of a sudden as if some divine intervention birds were chirping, romances were rekindled, pens were being sold and broadband was being used..  it didn't take much (and it usually doesn't when you you are competing in back to back weeks against the likes of Reggie Bush, Marquez Colston, Braylon Edwards, Brandon Jacobs and some dude named Baldwin.)   but like the first time a 11 year old boy beats entire world was (re)discovered.  
See from those who have never devoted their lives to something as important as a team there will always be snickers but what they don't realize is that by shutting themselves out of the new American pastime, they are shutting themselves out of America.   Of course there are days when it doesn't feel fair like when Adrian Peterson goes down with a high-ankle sprain early in the first half, when Peyton Manning's injury makes Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark's values moot or when you look down and see you have a team filled with Buffalo Bills but that is all part of the game.   So for those who don't quite know, there is a love out there that a man will have that is greater than that of their mother or wife, it's an addiction worse than the best Smack and it's a high better than three hours at FD's with somebody else's black-card and when things are rolling it's like nothing in the world but when you are on a three game losing streak the pain is unbearable but all it takes is one win 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Take on the Indian guy

I was talking with an acquaintance the other day about this great HP touchpad I got for $99 as part of that HP closeout sale and mentioned that i was thinking about upgrading it to the Android Honeycomb operating system. I wasn't doing it because I dislike WebOS as it's actually kind of cool but was doing it because the HP app-store is a total graveyard and with them shutting down the production of these things nobody believes that any developers have any long term plans to create software for it
Long story short is that when I was discussing it, one guy mentions that the IT guy at work could do it for me. I say "oh the indian guy Jinesh" the third guy we were talking to looked at us like we had two heads each I know he was seething and was just dying to say something like 'not all IT guys are Indian you bigot'
Except for the fact that this guy is in fact an Indian. I have known him for 10 years, seen pictures of his kids and wish him a happy Diwali so although my acquaintance thinks I paint with too broad a brush I actually just being descriptive
If I said the Russian ballerina nobody looks twice, the Japanese sushi chef is completely acceptable Now tell me why you can't refer to the Indian IT guy or the Jewish Lawyer.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Take on the Kindle app

Last week before flying out to China, I downloaded the kindle app hoping to be able to catch up on some reading I've been putting off for too long. I've schleped around too many books that I've not actually had time to read in the fear that I would be stuck somewhere with nothin to do but stare at a wall but with virtual books I could alleviate the fear without having to break my back. Sounds like a great concept except when you click on your kindle-app it doesn't actually let you download books. The way this app is set up is that you can pull any book you hbe previously bought from the Cloud but doesn't actually let you purchase a new book. For that you have to log onto amazon, buy and E-book and then log back into your kindle-app to download it from the cloud which obviously could not be less convenient

So here I am sitting in an airport waiting to take off and what should be a 2 click process becomes a complete ordeal

Thanks Kindle

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Take on the running late vendor

When we made arrangements with some event we booked on Groupon with the vendor, I knew we were in for a mess. Not because the Groupon was a rip-off but because the lady said that she'd be there at 10am as arranges as long as she didn't hit traffic. She called at 9:55 surprise surprise saying she was stuck in traffic somewhere in the Bronx Now I fully understand traffic but when you are already predicting it a week before wouldn't it make some sense to leave a bit earlier. I am not the kind of person who says that when you are being paid to be somewhere that you should be giving yourself a bit of a buffer and calling somebody 5 minutes before you are to be there saying you are in the Bronx really means you didn't leave early enough. Now if we had asked her to come at 5AM maybe you would say that being early is uncalled for and completely inconvenient but this is 10AM in Brooklyn. Worse comes to worse you get a cup of coffee and hang out for 20 minutes but when your entire thing revolves around JIT you know it won't ever really work

Friday, November 18, 2011

take on the airplane stub snub

Considering how often I fly, it's surprising how infrequently I have a problem with my SkyMiles.  100,000 miles in per year and Delta accounts for almost all of them… the problem is that they never seem to capture all  of them which is a bit tricky.    Last month I flew from Bucharest to Brussels on Brussels Air which is a SkyMile partner, before I boarded I gave them my frequent flyer number and never thought about it again.
Fast forward a month as I check out the miles I have accrued recently and I noticed that these miles are conspicuously missing..   I called up Delta to get them added and they told me that I would need to submit the ticket number, date of travel and a copy of my boarding pass.     Now getting a ticket number and date of travel is easy enough but how the hell am I to keep a boarding pass.  I fly on 50 flights per year, and most of the time I toss that little ticket the second I get on the plane.
Why in today's age do we still have to present a physical boarding pass.  Can't these airlines look into their fancy computers to see that I was on the flight. 
And what the hell does a boarding pass mean, who cares if I even flew on the flight because I paid for it.. and really it doesn't prove you actually flew it just proved that you checked in and got a boarding pass and left the airport which is really no different than showing my initial bill for the ticket which also doesn't prove I flew but does prove I paid you $500

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Take on Occupy Subway

There are rumors that the Occupy Wall Street idiots have decided to try to block the subways tonight at 5PM right when the entire city is getting ready to go home.   I really hope they are planning on protesting the $5 footlong because if they really try to shut the subway down any chance of getting public support is gone... 
My prediction is this..  they will get noticed, they will get press and they will NOT get any public sympathy.  
The nice irony of this is that the big-1%ers on wall-street aren’t taking the R train home tonight, they are probably taking a black-car service home while they are getting serviced by some exotic chick with fake out to their McMansions on the North Shore overlooking the LI Sound or to their McMansions on the south shore of Connecticut overlooking the LI Sound.      No the people who are going to be affected here are the 99%ers who are the normal hard-working blue-collar guys who just want to get home after busting their ass at some shitty job to MAKE A LIVING!!!!
Listen if you want to go and protest, more power to you but don’t fucking interfere with my commute home..   I’ve been in China for 10 days and haven’t seen my family but now your selfish crap is going to cost me an evening with my daughter..  I don’t come to your shitty tent and piss on it, leave my little world alone.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

take on the 'you'll never guess where I'm at' guy

As a seasoned traveler, I have long given up any hope of any of my friends or family members giving a crap where I am at any given time.  It's not that they don't care but when you add 100,000 miles to your total every year, there just isn't much to say about the place you go especially when you are going to the same few places over and over again and at some point it all becomes routine.   Well as I'm sitting in the Delta lounge in Tokyo today there is a dude who is on Skype on his laptop and had to call every single person in his Rolodex and started every conversation with the same "you'll NEVER guess where I am?"  

From the responses he was getting it didn't seem like anybody gave a crap especially when you consider the guy wasn't exactly calling from downtown Tokyo at at Sumo wresting event or at some awesome temple but was calling as he was waiting for a connection in the terminal.   

Each conversation went something like this

Fat Jerry"hey Jenny, you'll never guess where I am"
Disinterested Jenny  "I don't know Jerry, in Columbus?"
Fat Jerry  "I'm in Tokyo..  at the airport"
Disinterested Jenny  "wow"
Fat Jerry  "crazy right.. I'm waiting for a connection to Seoul"
Disinterested Jenny  "oh"
Fat Jerry  "log onto the webthing. so we can see each other on the computer"
Disinterested Jenny  "Jerry it is like 11pm here, I got to go to bed"
Fat Jerry  "alright..catch you on the other side of the international date line"

wash, rinse, repeat 10 times over again.

like they say to a young wide-receiver when he catches a touchdown, act like you've been there before.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

take on Penn State

I know this is like two weeks late but I have to get something off my chest..   This entire Penn State thing is absolutely ridiculous and the fact that this was allowed to go on for as long as it did just tells you once and for all that these systemic cover-ups by church and state are what are the real levels of depravity in this society.   Whether it's the Catholic Church or the Church of JoePa, there does not seem to be any accountability when the top levels are looking down a barrel of having to publicly admit that this kind of behavior happened on your watch.

What really gets me is that this boy is 10 years old..   NOT 17 but 10..  and had it NOT been a boy but instead a young girl might there have been more action taken against Dirty Sandusky?   

well today Sandusky says he was just 'horsing' around with the boys in the shower as if this admonishes him from all evil because I know there were a number of times that I've horsed around with a bunch of prepubescent boys in a shower..  This type of behavior is sickening but what is almost more disgusting are the THON loving PennState fans who spent the last week overthrowing cars not because they wanted to show disappointment in their university's inaction but rather the fact that they finally took action.    They claim that firing JoePa was criminal while the fact that JoePa didn't walk over to the Sand man and knock him out is when he learned of this is what is really criminal.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Take on French water

Maybe it's the pink label, maybe it's the French snobbiness or maybe it's the price tag but there is nothing I dislike more than Evian. I never quite understood paying money for bottles water. I get that sink water may have some residual pipe flavor which you want to eliminate but to pay $3 for a bottle of H2O seems beyond idiotic. Well unless you are in a country where the water isn't exactly clean.
But out of all the water our there the one I least like is Evian. This stuff tastes stale and lifeless and drinking it makes me feel like I'm breathing air in Denver as there just seems to be something missing and the best way to describe it is that it has a flavor like it was filtered through my running socks

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Take on food

You get homesick when you travel for work. There are sleepless nights, endless days and countless hours lost because of delays. Maybe it's the adrenaline that keeps you going, maybe it's the knowledge it's only a limited amount of time or maybe it's the fear of being stuck in a bathroom afraid to move further than 40 feet at any given time
5 days in China for the second time in six months is always a challenge and although the country is interesting, the people are nice and the business is solid you realize very quickly that there is more to it than just that. See most everything is done around meals which means you do nothing but eat. You wonder how the hell these people stay so skinny if they constantly eat. It's not like the food (or anything else) in China is healthy. Everything is fried or at minimum doused in oil. There are never salads or true greens although because it hasn't been cooked you would have a hard time eating it anyway. But this is always the problem. Even when you go to some 5 star hotel you don't want to take take and it is torture as there are thousands of items that look very enticing to eat but as you want to avoid anything that is not cooked or cooked thoroughly you have to pass on salads, fruits, oysters, sashimi etc and you fill your stomach with tons of fried noodles and white rice at $50 per meal

Oh how i wish to be at home with a Big Mac in front of me

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Take in the master switch

In foreign hotels you will often have these system where one light-switch located right by the door controls the power in the entire room. It allows you to turn all the power off in your room as you walk out with a single switch and I am sure there are great advantages in terms of energy savings. The problem is that building designers and architects obviously are completely capable of working in the dark.
For example the hotel I am staying at uses this system which i'm all for except for the slight design flaw which is that the hallway light doesn't have a light of its own so the only way to turn it off is to kill all the electricity in the room. Now that doesn't bother you much while sleeping except it also means you cannot turn on your bedside light. Now even if that is something you can live with what I can't is that it also means you cannot charge your cellphone or computer at night which I found out the hard way when I grabbed my phone off the plug this morning to find it was 29% charged


Friday, November 11, 2011

Take in the sign

You gotta love China. First they smoke you out of any public home, then they feed you parts of a chicken you don't realize were edible (and still don't) and if the waterfall out of your ahole doesn't kill you maybe the carbon monoxide will. The problem isn't the fact that you want to scream but rather that nobody would care. But for all the problems the one thing you must give to them is that they are thorough. Today I walk into a bathroom and am met with this sign which might be helpful for the average waiter in NY to study also although you know if you need help with this.... Does that also mean they have a pinned up sign in the back of the Chinese FDs?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Take on phantom usage

sometimes I just can't make sense of things... 

As a person who both travels internationally a lot and uses his cell-phone often, I'm keenly aware of the international data plans offered by the cell-phone companies and am very vigilant when using my allotted data.     This time before a 10 day trip, I signed up for a 125mb plan through AT&T for $49.99 which I figured should be more than enough being I used about 50MB the last time I made a similar trip but would always want to be safe and not feel limited as there are many dead hours in a day when checking in at home seems like the only thing you can do to keep yourself sane.     I reset the usage statistics on my IPhone 4 before landing in Asia and go about my normal business during a 2.5 hour layover in Shanghai.   When I get onto the next flight I check my usage and am stunned when it shows that I received about 7 MB but sent 136MB in the 2 hours I got to the airport eventhough I hardly used the phone since I was lugging my suitcase through the terminal, going through customs and finding the rest-room for most of the 2+ hours. 
Now I use on average about 600MB per month when state-side when I use my data-package without abandon since I have more than 2gigs per month at my disposal so the thought of having used roughly 1/4 of a 30 day period in less than 3 hours seemed ludicrous.  
I called AT&T and they confirmed the usage but could not state how it happened.   I assured them that I did not actively send out 136MB but that there might be something wrong with a setting.    Maybe there was something in an application which was constantly pushing out some data which some-how added up to 136MB but since this would also be occurring while I was home, this didn't exactly make sense.    In order to send out this much data I would have to send out about 70 high-resolution pictures and as you can only send out about 1 per minute it would have meant I spent nearly my entire time sending out pictures.
Anyway after 20 minutes, I am able to move to a 250MB plan although I'm still really shuked about this entire episode  mostly because there was a free WiFi connection at the airport....

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Take on the JFK Delta customer service rep

When the crew on the flight to Asia I was on gave various reports about the reasons for the multiple delay all of which they said would be resolved in 15 or 20 minutes but none of which seems like the real reason I was a bit annoyed. When my flight was eventually cancelled after I had already spent 4 hours on the plane, I was doubly annoyed. When they sent a herd of 400 people to the transfer desk I was tripley annoyed. But when the only option Delta could give me to get to Asia involved waiting another three hours to catch a flight to LAX which would land at 11pm with a 2AM connection to sit in the middle seat to Asia on a flight that would get in at 6AM to enable to catch my last leg which wouldn't depart until 10:30AM I was more than just a bit annoyed.
Now I get that with a plane of 400 people it is not easy to reschedule people but this is where having some friendly customer service reps might be a bit helpful. The lady at the Delta desk sitting on her throne stared down at me looking more like she was fighting through constipation than fighting to help her customers. This is where Delta makes a huge mistake by putting a woman with a terrible NY attitude in front of your customers during a time of desperation. This woman spent the entire episode making me feel like my inconvenience was a complete inconvenience to her and helping you was going to take every bit of energy she was willing to use. She refused to bring her voice above an audible level making me feel like I was the one straining to make any sense out what she was saying through her constipated breaths. Buy even that I can live with what i can't is being forced to deal with a completely incompetent rep while figuring out a creative way to get me to where I needed to get. She finally came up with something which sounded great until i had to point out to her that this involves a 20 hour layover became obviously the concept of the International Date line was beyond a airline reps comprehension. Every option I gave her with what seemed a sensible connections she shot down in between her ass pushes. She though it was completely unreasonable that i didn't want the LAX connection and when I asked her to route me through Detroit (a Delta hub with many direct flights to Asia) she complained that I was asking her to do too many thing meant 'I can only do this now.' Eventually I asked her to get me on the same flight I was on the next day as she rolled her eyes with an air of 'why did you make me try to book this another way if you were going to take that option'. Obviously she had never had an entire business trip upended although I could see her being PO'd if McDonalds ran out of fries. After a lot of fumbling, groaning, a little typing, a little laughing with a colleague from the maintenance department who sat next to her the entire time she finally got me on a flight.

Obviously the nearly 100,000 miles I fly with Delta, the platinum status I have or the business class ticket I bought doesn't allow for a competent customer service rep at the airport during your most desperate time.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Take on the delay

so i was due to fly out of JFK today to Beijing through Tokyo.. Get to the airport at 10AM for a 12:40PM flight.. nothing too exciting other than the lack of edible options in the lounge..    I board the plane at 12:10PM, with three papers, 10 dowloaded podcasts, an E-Book and a ton of work to catch up on.   I order my lunch and dinner options, check out the inflight movies, download my emails and make a couple of calls before the message comes across the system saying to turn off personal electronics as they are closing the cabin doors..  by 1pm when we haven't left the gate, I'm a bit annoyed but as I have a 3 hour layover, I figure it might be a blessing.    By 1:20pm the captain comes on to say there was an issue with a cargo door and that they had already called for maintenance..  By 2:00pm he comes on to say the work is nearly completed and that we should be taking off shortly but that there is some expected tailwind which should cut an hour out of our flight so we'd be landing nearly on time.   by 2:30pm he says the work is complete and they are just putting the cargo in.  by 3:00pm they said there was one more piece that needed to be put in.  By 3:30 they say that they are filling out some paperwork and that we should be pushing off shortly.  By 3:45 they say that they have opened the door and that anybody who wants to leave is free to.   By 3:50 the entire plane of 400 people is in total panic.  by 3:55pm there is talk of a mutiny. by 4pm the pilot comes on to say that because of FFA regulations none of the pilots can fly this plane because it would have them 'on' for longer than allowed and that they are looking for another flight. 

now mind you this is not a flight to Boston but a flight to Tokyo and being a seasoned traveler (or somebody with common sense) I realize that finding this pilot is not exactly going to be easy.   As I am not 100% sure I will miss my connection I decide to deplane and as I walk off an announcement comes on to say that all passengers should get off.   I run to the transfer desk and spend the next 2 hours fighting with them to try to get me to Asia....  the problem is that it's now well past 5 and there are no more flights that leave on Monday that will get me into Asia on Tuesday.  Now I am very glad that there are regulations so that pilots must be well rested, but I do get annoyed when this all seemed very predictable 5 hours earlier...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Take on the lounge

Years ago part of the beauty of international travel was the well stocked business lounge but like extra pillows and anything other than pretzels on a flight, the lounge is going the way of the birds. I walk into ye Delta Lounge today and the only food they offer are stale carrots, tasteless celery and some prepacked hummus. The lounge is packed, the chairs are straight up and you can't find an outlet anywhere. If it wasn't for the WiFi you might as well be in the rest of the terminal. I get airlines are cutting costs but when you can't even get an import beer or a turkey wrap then all the glamor is gone.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Take on the marathon

There is nothing that makes you appreciate NYC more than marathon Sunday, 40,000 runners, a million spectator and thousands of cleanup crew. As a two time participant, I love how much the event means to the city and how much the city means to the marathon but the thought of making this a two day event is too much. Not because I don't think it'll pay for itself, not because I want to deny anybody the opportunity and not because shutting the city down for an entire weekend seems a bit ridiculous. The reason I don't want to see this thing swell to 100,000+ people is because applying for the lottery to get entry is part of it and I like the selective nature of it. I know that anybody can probably walk up and run the Kansas City marathon but that is why it's the Kansas City marathon.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

take on the caddie

Steve Williams the former TIger Woods caddie is back in the news again and not surprising it is once again for all the wrong reasons.   Obviously not content to be the most famous guy to ever carry a golf-bag, he lashed out at his old boss at some caddie award dinner by saying that 'it was (my) aim to shove it up (Tiger's) black ass" when discussing his much talked about celebration after his new boss won some golf tournament and Stevie did his best Happy Gilmore impression.  
Now the interweb is completely up in arms with charges of racism but again the TOR perspective with any of this is always that you probably shouldn't just assume racism because it's an impossible thing to get from out under.   Although I think Stevie is a jackass, I can't stand this PC American mentality which means that everyime race is mentioned, it has to be racist.    If Stevie had said that he hoped to shove it up Adam Scott Australian ass, I don't think anybody would have thought that to be a big deal since Scott is well Australian.   Now I know that there is a difference between ethnicity, race and nationality but I'm a bit sick of certain descriptive words (black, Jewish) to basically be taken off the menu.   

What is more striking is that the national media seems to be ignoring that Stevie might be stuck in some Freud loop because forget racism I found the entire idea of  shoving something up Tiger's ass to be the more disturbing part of those comments.   

but the question that really got me was 'there is a caddy award dinner?"   what the hell are the awarding: best selection of club, best pair of shorts or best posture while carrying Tiger's ball sack.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Take on tooth pain

I'm not entirely sure if is possible but last week I blew my nose so hard I think I dislodged a filling in my mouth. Now you would think that a filling could wear down over 10 years of wear but to have it pop out while blowing your nose seems hard to believe but then again I have met two different people who dislocates their retinas from their eyeballs during childbirth.....well to be quite honest they weren't both caused by childbirth as one them actually happened while taking a shit but you must understand he was quite constipated Anyway for a full week my mouth hasn't quite felt right but the weird thing is the discomfort is worse when I'm running as if each time my foot hit the pavement it shoots a sharp pain into my mouth.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Take on the smoking booth

While I was in Europe I cam across these smoking booths in the airport The concept is similar to the old smoking rooms or smoking sections with two major differences
Unlike smoking sections, these places are completely enclosed so there is virtually no residual smoke that enters they terminal
Unlike a typical dark back room these smoking booths are all glass so the nicotine addict is publicly shamed for his indiscretion.

Although these whiny Europeans are usually wrong I can put the TOR weight behind this concept because I do not believe in infringing on a right as long as by your right does not in turn infringe upon mine. In this case you can smoke all you want just don't do it in my air (and by the way don't expect me to support your healthcare costs)
But this gets me to thinking about NEw York's rules about smoking in public places which will always be incredibly difficult to enforce also seems a bit totalitarian if it's done on some lonely beach. I actually think it would be better served as a law on the crowded streets of the city where I feel like I'm often caught behind an 18 wheeler with the amount I secondhand smoke as opposed to not allowing it on some empty path of Prospect Park at 7AM

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Take on a deal

My buddy (and occasional relief bitcher) The Bump will often say that if somebody offers you a piece of crap at a 90% discount you are still getting a piece of shit. I have no issues with deals and happily buy $0.99 shampoo, $2 socks or $99 touchpads but when i do my expectations are realistic. As long as I don't mind dandruff, holes and the HP app store, I can't complain but there are certain things you cannot skimp on because they are more life or death and include stuff like condoms, a top QB in fantasy football and sushi cause if you skimp there you'll end up with sores on your junk, your mood in a funk and will find yourself pissing from your trunk

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

take on the greeks

This Greek bailout disaster really has me PO'd.  not just because I don't care that much about any of this stuff but mainly because the defiance these joe schmo-opolis' have when it comes to making any austerity cuts.  These guys have been living on easy-street too long, with their 50 year old retirement age, their 32 hour work-weeks, their monopoly on body hair and their laissez faire attitude about having to ever work harder.   First the entire continent bends over backwards to give you a handout and then you shoot the idea down dead on arrival by putting it in the hands of the same lazy folk who have already proven over-and-over again that they don't like paying their taxes.   If this thing was just about a bunch of gyro eating dudes with bad BO, that would be one thing but this entire mess has my 401k looking like crap again.   I get exactly that no public referendum will ever vote to cut pension funds which are the reason you can't leave this in the hands of the average guy.

These guys can't get somebody to show up to work on a given day but when they protest they all of a sudden have a million guys on the march.     
I remember when there was tongue-in-cheek talk about the Greek's selling a bunch of those Islands to pay off their debt and i'd see a bunch of greek-guys screaming that this was akin to stealing their soul and the only thing I'd ask is.. how do you expect to pay for anything if you are never willing to give anything up.   It's like trying to trade for Calvin Johnson by offering Bernard Scott and Marques Colston

you can't imagine how little these Europeans work.   My European family -who all live in a country without any debt fear - all work 30 hours per week and that's considered full-time.  

ontop of the 30 hour workweek they get 6 weeks of vacation, tons of holidays and a million personal days... it's a shock this thing has lasted as long as it has..