Friday, December 31, 2004

Cancel the Inauguration?

As the genuinely Biblical proportions of the tsunami disaster become apparent, I have become more opposed to the idea of spending $40 million on a lame duck inauguration. At this point I don't care which party is in power, such a showy display is in despicable taste when people are starving while standing in a sea of mud and bloated bodies. If you have a strong constitution, go out on the web and find some of the amateur videos of the disaster as it played out. They will haunt your dreams.

Let's "downsize" the festivities and donate the money to tsunami relief fund and send a few dollars toward buying personal armor for our soldiers in honor of those who have fallen in service of our country. That's how a compassionate government should act.

I'm not holding my breath.

Happy New Year folks. Let's hope 2005 is vastly better across the globe.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Oh Come All Ye Cell Phones

I note with some concern that the FCC is considering lifting the cell phone ban on airplanes. Where I always felt the ban was a bit odd (supposedly the phone interfered with navigational equipment) I loved it for another reason -- relative peace and quiet despite the cranky children and chatty seatmates.

I travel a lot by plane. Not as much as some of the million milers, but my butt is in an airplane on a regular basis. Hence I have the opportunity to observe a lot of silly human behavior. A lot of this ends up being fodder for my books (you know who you are!) but most of it falls into two categories -- benign and annoying. Cell phones fall into the latter variety if the phone's owner isn't using all those gray cells they were supposedly born with.

I wouldn't mind having cell phones midflight if I didn't have to listen to my seatmates chatting about (and yes, I've heard all of this at one time or another):
1) A child's bowel habits (or lack thereof)
2) An elderly parents' bowel habits (or the lack thereof)
3) Why the woman's soon-to-be ex-boyfriend (or husband -- it was never clear)was such a dick and how she refused to listen to all his crap. This conversation went on for fifteen minutes so obviously she WAS listening to all his crap (or vice versa.)
4) Copious outpourings of numbers, figures, orders and ultimatums as delivered by various business persons (note I use the generic term here as women are just as bad.) Was the contract faxed in time? What was the response? Is Alfred in Albania and Beatrice in Boston? No, that meeting time isn't good. Does everyone understand that this HAS to happen? (This sort of stuff just makes me flashback to my own time in the corporate maw and conjures up a nasty case of indigestion.)

In short, using cell phones during flight would be grand if people weren't attached to them. I have no desire listening to intimate discussions, business meetings or other nonsense at 30,000 feet when I don't have the option to chuck the offender out the nearest door.

Please, FCC, leave 'em banned in flight. It's bad enough I have to avoid the crazies in their cars with their phones pressed to their ear and their brains in neutral. Hours in the air with these folks could easily cause 'air rage.'

Later folks....