As a safety geek I take the emergency exits in airplanes very seriously. Whenever possible I sit in the exit seat. And if the exit seat is not available, the exit row. No seats in the exit row? Put me in an adjacent row.
During a flight to Atlanta Wednesday I was in the hot seat and prepared to do my duty in case we needed to evacuate the plane. All was good with the world until I looked over and saw this lady sitting in the opposite exit seat. No offense to grandma but I don’t want to count on an 85 year-old-woman to help me get out of that airplane.
When the flight attendant came over to instruct us on our duties I pointed this out to him. At 47 I haven’t quite mastered keeping my trap shut. “That woman won’t be able to handle the door,” I said.
He completely ignored me.
Just in case you’re curious there’s a full page of things the flight crew are supposed to do to make sure passengers can handle the exit. He did none of them. I don’t blame him for not wanting to create a hassle —and who knows, may that old lady is in better shape than I am. I will say this though: if it comes down to me or her it’s gonna be me.
It was a week for celebrating space milestones: landing on the moon, walking on the moon, planting the flag on the moon. But to me the biggest of these was getting the hell off the moon.
Yes, putting men on the moon was an amazing technological achievement but think about this: before Apollo 11 no lunar module had actually been tested landing on or taking off from the moon’s surface. When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin fired the rocket that would get them back to the Apollo 11 command module it was a first.
And if it hadn’t worked they’d still be sitting there.
This weighed heavily on my mind as a child. As a kid I was obsessed with space and I built a model of the Saturn V rocket. This thing was nearly three feet tall and could be disassembled into stages so you could recreate a full Apollo mission from lift-off to splashdown and everything in between. It was the most awesome toy I ever had.
When I was a slightly older and differently motivated youngster this model was systematically destroyed with firecrackers and lighter fluid as I acted out a series of terrible space disasters. That’s what happens when hormones begin kicking in.
Even if you don’t believe in luck you have to admit it’s pretty lucky to find a full beer wash up on shore. This can of Lucky Lager made landfall on Wolfe Island, Ontario recently —slightly dented and tarnished but brimming with 355ml (Canada, remember?) of golden goodness.
Lucky Lager seems to be Ontario’s answer to Milwaukee’s Best or Pabst Blue Ribbon: a working man’s brew for folks with few airs and fewer dollars. Fewer Canadian dollars.
You can’t help but wonder how it ended up in the water, eh? Maybe it fell off a fishing boat or drifted away from a vacation cottage. And where are it’s five brethren, anyway? Maybe this can of beer was involved in some sort of Great Lakes maritime tragedy —a small scale Edmund Fitzgerald involving cheap beer, a small boat, and a terrible lapse in judgment.
One thing is clear: you don’t find a can of beer labeled Lucky Lager and not drink it. So drink it I did.
I’m happy to report that the Lucky Lager held up well to its indeterminate time spent floating in Lake Ontario —and had a taste as good as you might expect in an inexpensive canned beer. Never found the other five. And believe me I spent all week looking.
In the past if you travelled to Canada or Mexico or even places like Bermuda you haven’t needed a passport. Until now. Due to new rules our family needed to get passports to avoid a hassle during our vacation this week in Ontario. But the funny thing is you don’t need a passport to get in to Canada, you need one to get out.
The Canadians are very casual about who comes into their country which these days is sort of quaint. Or could it just be that people don’t want to sneak into Canada the way they want to get into America?
Nobody will argue that the last twelve months have been a great time. People have struggled with real hardship and with fear and uncertainty. And if you watch cable news you’d think that Michael Jackson is more important than the US troops fighting in Afghanistan. Yes, we’ve got issues but today if for nothing else you should celebrate this: you still live in a country that people run to, not from. And that’s really saying something.
This Facebook status update caught my eye:
Chris Rooney doesn’t like when cars drive too fast down his street.
Have you ever heard anyone complain that they drive too slow? Of course not. We all think they drive too fast —but what are you going to do chase after them and get all up in their grill, so to speak? That may have worked for T.S. Garp but it’s not a good idea these days.
In The World According to Garp, Garp gets into the habit of chasing after cars speeding through his neighborhood. In the book he’d catch up to them at the stop sign and give them a piece of his mind. It worked. Try that today and they’ll run you over.
Years ago the town showed up and yanked out the stop signs on the corner where I live. When I complained they helpfully explained that the signs created an unsafe situation and actually encouraged people to drive faster. I don’t know about that —but I do know that as soon as the signs came down the speed of the cars went up.
I decided to take matters into my own hands and request people slow down by yelling at them when they drove past. This did nothing to slow the cars but a number of people did return to yell back, threaten me, etc.
Now when they zip past I keep my mouth shut —instead seeking revenge by doddering along that road like an 80-year-old, driving a speed safe and reasonable for a place teeming with kids: 20 MPH.
The new campaign for the Lexus IS C shows folks mixed up in all sorts of cinematic action —but the best one of the series by far is the zombie commercial.
In this one the protagonist is dashing down the street barefoot from a crowd of what could only be zombies. And these are fast zombies like those in the 2004 re-make of Dawn of the Dead —not clumsy, slow, lurching Night of the Living Dead zombies.
The internet is full of discusions about what vehicle would be best during a zombie apocalypse but I don’t think the Lexus IS C will be on anyone’s list. I’d say you want 4-wheel drive and then it’s a matter of preference: SUV or pickup? Gas or diesel? Maybe the Hummer H3T? There are pros and cons all around.
This requires no introduction:
In Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later Britain is horrifically decimated by the outbreak of a virus —and it doesn’t merely kill people it transforms them into raging homicidal maniacs. Stephen King’s masterpiece, The Stand, also features the release of a superbug that brings civilization to its knees.
Swine flu may not be as scary as the viruses in fiction, but the outbreak is a potent reminder of how the invisible world around us is rife with danger —real and imagined. There was a quaint time when radiation was the most ominous specter we faced. The atomic age inspired works as diverse as On the Beach, Godzilla, and Attack of the 50 Foot Woman.
Of course it was frightening —but somewhere along the line microbes became our most popular boogeymen. Killer bug stories run the gamut from Michael Crichton’s science minded thriller Andromeda Strain to the over-the-top 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead.
It’s still early to say if life will imitate art and the swine flu crisis will hop the fence and become a pandemic. My advice is don’t panic —but just in case you may want to read this handy article about dealing with zombies.
My fire department pager went off and the dispatcher transmitted that it was an alarm at Hannaford. As I was running out the door, Ann shouts to me, “Could you get me some of that granola I like while you’re there?”
According to the CDC, more than 86,500 Americans visit emergency rooms every year due to falls caused by pets and pet related objects. Dogs are overwhelmingly the culprits, accounting for an average of 71,452 injuries —30% of those are caused by tripping or falling over the dog(s). On average, 27 of the incidents annually involve both a cat and a dog. Watch your step.
A Nebraska woman was killed last week when a Taco Bell sign fell 75 feet and crushed the pickup truck she was sitting in. According to police, the woman and her husband were parked waiting for a Wyoming couple who were to purchase two of their dogs. From the North Platte Bulletin:
Officials said the couples agreed to meet in North Platte about 1 p.m., “right underneath the big Taco Bell sign.”
I kinda swore that I would never coach soccer again, but guess what I’m doing this season? The soccer club sent out an appeal for volunteers last week saying they’d drop a team if they couldn’t find another coach. I was afraid I was on their sh*t list after making fun of their logo, goofing on annoying soccer parents, and bragging about my losing record, but I guess all is forgiven.
What I’ve learned from being a wiseass is that people who take something seriously take it very seriously. Michael Kinahan of Scituate, MA learned this lesson a little too late.
Maybe you heard of the tongue in cheek email Kinahan sent to the parents of his 7-year-old soccer players? It’s the one where he dubbed his team “Green Death” and said he expects the girls to play “like a Michael Vick pit bull.”
Here’s a sample of his letter:
I expect that the ladies be put on a diet of fish, undercooked red meat and lots of veggies. No junk food. Protein shakes are encouraged, and while blood doping and HGH use is frowned upon, there is no testing policy.
You can read the whole thing here. Bottom line is that some of the parents didn’t get that it was intended to be humorous and Mr. Kinahan ended up quitting.
In his resignation he explained that the email was “Meant in jest and with the goal of giving the parents a chuckle while enduring yet another round of organized youth sports. It was also meant as a satire of those who take youth sports too seriously for the wrong reasons.”
He goes on: “While I am sorry some people failed to see the humor, I do not apologize for my actions; I wrote it, I think it’s funny and I do have a distaste for the tediousness of overbearing political correctness.”
You and me both, brother.