Friday, July 29, 2005

Back From The South: Spent last weekend in Savannah, celebrating my Mom's 80th birthday. I offered to take her anywhere and having read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil she chose Savannah (where they simply refer to it as The Book). Who's a good son, eh?

Savannah was about 4 steps beyond hot and humid, but it is a fascinating place, especially if you are into history and/or historic house and building renovation. More on that when I write it up fully.

My flights there and back, on the other hand, were 4 steps beyond annoying. Northwest flights to Savannah are on small planes operated by those two-bit, third-rate, fourth-class outfits - Mesa Airlines, Mesaba Airlines, Canadair, Assclown Airlines; I never figured out exactly which one - that seem to exist solely to employ angry, dull-normal cretins who pissed off one too many customers at Burger King.

I had reserved an aisle seat (like always) but I thought I might check at the gate if an exit row was available. The attendant was a battleaxe of a woman who was muttering hostile missives and wondering aloud why "...they blame me for everything. It's not my fault if Northwest overbooks." I gave her my best ingratiating smile as I approached. In return she glared through two-inch think lenses, thinned her lips to taught ribbons, and tossed me the kind of look that Tony Soprano reserves for someone who is late on a payment. I beat a hasty retreat, guessing she would have reassigned me to a seat next to the toilet. As it was I felt lucky to get away with only an unexplained half-hour delay sitting on the runway.

On the way home, I started with a three hour delay in the airport. Note: Small airports are usually terrific -- no problems getting there, no crowds, no traffic congestion -- but you do not want to be stranded in one, unless an afternoon shopping for souvenir spoons in a 10x10 gift shop is your idea of a ripping good time.

Once in the air, I had a new experience: a flight attendant with BO. I have encountered other passengers with BO before, but never a flight attendant. Luckily I am very skilled at positioning the overhead air conditioning fan to act as a force field against noxious odors.

Lastly, as insult to injury, we eventually make it to within 50 feet of the gate in Detroit and we have another 20 minute delay while we wait for some semi-literate Neanderthals to show up wave their red batons at the plane while it enters the gate. People had turned full-on back-flips to rearrange connecting flights to account to for delay and then still lost their connection thanks to this final atrocity.

Northwest and Detroit Metro Airport continue their slow backslide into the incompetence of a few years back.

(Admit it. You've been pining for a travel rant from me, haven't you?)
Lance Link, Secret Chimp: OK, if you understand the title to this post don't read these links; your mind is filled with way too much random stuff already.
  • This may have played by now but the graphic alone cracks me up. Tom Cruise is Nuts.

  • Back in January I pointed out that Anna Benson is the new Paris Hilton (second post from the top). Seems I was dead on accurate. My buds over at Hotel Chatter have the scoop on Anna's participation in the World Series of Poker.

    After serving a 10-minute penalty for dropping the "f-bomb," a violation of tournament rules, Benson returned and asked her dealer, "Does that mean I can't say any other word? I can say c - - t, p - - - y and c - - k, but I can't say f - - k?" Benson -- whose $10,000 entrance fee was sponsored by -- was immediately booted from the game.

    Good judgment there,

  • I've busted on Detroit before, so I have to point out this article by ESPN's Jason Whitlock which goes me one better while actually trying to praise Detroit:

    Detroit is the old high school sweetheart who landed the boy who went on to win the Heisman Trophy and put together a Hall of Fame career. Yes, she lost her hourglass figure three kids ago, and suffered through some painful public infidelity. But now, in her 40s, she's still on the arm of the man of most women's dreams, controls most of his money, and has the freedom, emotional leverage and confidence to come and go as she pleases.

    Then later we have:

    Detroit is the big, sweaty woman squeezed into a size-10 dress, daring anybody to suggest her body ain't booming.

    Somebody at City Hall should politely suggest Jason turn his attention elsewhere.

  • Think you qualify as an extra for Pirates of the Carribean III:

    Extreme characters and hideously unattractive types, ages 18-50. Odd body shapes or very lean to extremely skinny. Missing teeth, wandering eyes and serial killer looks with real long hair & beards. Wigs & makeup are not what we're looking for. We also need little people, very large sumo wrestler types, extremely tall or extremely short people, albinos, amputees. Any size or shape that is NOT average is best.

    Kind of reminds me of Bourbon Street.
I promise my next set of links will contain more for the intellect and less trashy celebrity shenanigans. But they just make it so easy.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Potted Plant: That'd be me. Have no idea why I haven't posted anything. I can't recall any specific things that have been holding me up, although I have actually had a tiny semblance of a social life the past week or so.

I am so happy to have a/c again that I have kept my place hermetically sealed and have been wallowing in the cool comfort -- especially nice since this has to have been one of the hottest, stickiest summers since dinosaurs ruled the earth. It was supposed to help me get more written since I would be able to hang around comfortably all day instead of just after dark, but like most other things that I have thought kept me from writing, the heat turned out to be more of an excuse than an actual problem. Still have hopes of getting a lot more done once I get over this playboy raconteur role I have been playing lately.

In the meantime, a plea for more sports-oriented reviews came down from the head cheese over at Blogcritics so I knocked off a quick one about an HBO special on Mickey Mantle I happened to see the day before. It amazes me how writing works. Sometimes stuff like this comes up out of the blue and I can knock off a few hundred words in an hour or so. Other times I can sit and stare at a single line of dialogue for eternity and nothing happens. It's at those times that excuses and rationalizations are my sole source of sanity.

That and alcohol.

I'd like to tell you more is coming soon, but that would likely be a lie. More is probably coming next week sometime. I just hope somebody comes by to water me until then.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

How's That For Fast?: I give you my latest New York adventure. Damn, I am a hard working guy. It's longish; lots of links and pics. Have fun.

Friday, July 08, 2005

It's Been a Long Time: And it will be longer still. I am working on the write up of my NYC trip. Should be done this weekend barring disasters. In the mean time here are a couple of interesting (non-facetious, for a change) links:
  • My good buddy Ben Stein on business travel. So very right about first class and aisle seats.

  • The more I read through the Aubrey-Maturin Patrick O'Brian series, the more I think it will go down as one of the most astounding literary achievements in history. I have to force myself to read a different book in between each installment just so I don't get completely lost in it. This article is in sync with my feelings.

  • Science magazine's top 25 scientific questions. Fascinating stuff.

  • This Flash animation, the one on the left, is mesmerizing. If she gets stuck, you can move her with your mouse.

The above mentioned NYC trip started out in Baltimore (a work thang). NYC pics will be available with the article, but for starters, take a look at these three Baltimore panoramas.

The NYC ones are much better. Back real soon (I hope).

Friday, July 01, 2005

Here’s Some Stuff For You: Just a few things before I spend the whole of the holiday weekend away from the computer.

First up, my longish essay on the state of HBO drama is up over at Blogcritics.

Second, I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this (113k pdf file) which is supposedly an actual complaint received by Continental Airlines from a recent passenger. It rings true, though. And at worst it’s fake but accurate. Funny as hell.

Funnier than hell -- in fact funnier than Mike Tyson and Russell Crowe combined -- we have the personal web site of one Andrew Bynum, a high-schooler recently drafted in the first round by the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA. I can’t summarize it. I can’t even cut out highlights, so perfect is it. It is completely loaded from top to bottom with the purest and most profound juvenile inanity ever conceived. I could not have invented this character no matter how hard I tried. You have to read it in its entirety. In fact, since I’m sure the Lords of the NBA will make him take it down as soon as they discover it, I’ve saved a copy here in case it’s gone by the time you read this. I think I laughed for twenty minutes straight. Ladies and Gentlemen, the bar has been raised.