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some notes flying back from iowa


Editor’s Note: In the daily observation of life around him, the author occasionally feels the need to point out ridiculously inane behavior and general thoughtlessness. These are called “Rants” and this is one of those times.

Some thoughts while flying in one of these crazy small Embraer Regional Jets over the Great Lakes on my way home.

• Iowa has very, very nice people. I’d never been before and while I don’t know that I’d want to live there (or that they’d want me to) people are real salt of the earth folks. That is a tremendous asset to any city and lacking in many cities.

• The downtown Marriott in Des Moines is very customer friendly. All Marriotts are not this way (they’re not awful mind you just sometimes not outgoing) and the Des Moines team was great.

• Tall people are really treated unfairly on regional jets. I’m short so I do fine but if you’re like 5’ 10″ or taller, you are uncomfortable from the minute you get on the plane until you get off. Somebody needs to be more equitable in their plane designs.

• This does NOT mean I want the prop planes back. I’ve been told the only reason those planes still fly commercially is to protect the pilots who only have prop plane certification. If this is true, that’s dumb. Whether or not it’s true, just get rid of the props and buy some regional jets with better head room.

• Men should not wear sandals in airports or on planes. Feet on anyone are not their most attractive body part but on men, as I’ve come to unwittingly notice, feet are especially unattractive and sandals only exacerbate the problem, not improve it. Toe nail control for men seems to be impossible and the unfortunate among us that are seated near you are disgusted. Cover your feet with sneakers or dress shoes when you fly.

• The above is not an endorsement of wearing socks with sandals (no matter how old you are). It is, to be clear, an indictment of any man wearing sandals anywhere but at a beach or pool and, depending on toe nail control, possibly not even then.

• Staying with the feet topic, when gentlemen you do act egregiously enough to wear sandals on a plane that does not give you the right to in any way remove your sandals to let your feet “breath“. Nor to rest any part of your bare, smelly, gnarly toed feet on the arm rest of the passenger in front of you (Mr. disgusting sonavafabitch in 12A).

• The above also is directed at Mr. No Socks Loafer wearer. Once uncovered, your feet are equally repugnant even though you had sense enough to wear a normal shoe

• An individual bag of cashews does not cost $3.00 anywhere but at 33,000 feet altitude. This asinine pricing is not to cover the rising cost of fuel (which is very inexpensive in Iowa, by the way) nor is it to cover the crazy high union employee wages. It IS so that the airlines can make a $2.75 profit. You and your cashews can blow it out your fuselage.

• And stop bitching about my portable electronic devices. If a laptop, a cell phone or an i-pod can bring down your plane, then you’ve built a crappy plane. Start again cause I’ve got work to do and you’re keeping me from it.

• I’ve been flying commercially since I was about 7 years old and flying used to be special. My parents would put us in jacket and tie. No one looked like they just rolled outta bed. While not advocating formality when flying today, can we at least create a rule about showering? Please?!

Happy trails!

a narrator, a sportscaster and a gentleman

Vin Scully_Voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers

I’ve always felt two of the toughest jobs in all of broadcasting were that of a news reporter/anchor and a play-by-play announcer/sportscaster.

While anchors and reports have their slow news days when they can phone it in, they always have to be prepared to report credible, accurately and succinctly on a breaking story as it happens. As soon as they “say it” the audience hears it. That’s pressure!

Play-by-play announcers are like news reporters on speed. They have to follow the action right in front of everyone and be immediately insightful in their analysis before the next play begins. And fans are never shy about their opinions.

One of the finest examples I ever witnessed of a news anchor/sports reporter was during the 1989 World Series and the earthquake that took place there. Al Michaels, who spent three years in San Francisco as an announcer for the San Francisco Giants, was nominated for an Emmy Award for news broadcasting after giving an eyewitness account of the aftermath of the earthquake at Candlestick Park. I think he should have won.

But as a pure sportscaster, someone who turned play-by-play into an art form, I don’t know if I like anybody as much as Vin Scully. I think he’s been the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers since baseball was created and he’s awesome at it.

This week, the Dodger’s play their arch rivals the San Francisco Giants…note worthy because it may be the location where Barry Bonds ties and or breaks Hank Aaron’s all time home run record.

The controversy regarding Bonds aside, for the purposes of this blog, Scully’s opportunity to possibly call the swing that ties or breaks the record is uniquely important because it was Scully who broadcast the homerun call when Aaron broke the record 33 years ago.

Kudos to the New York Times’ reporter Lee Jenkins for this timely and interesting article about Vin Scully