Thursday, March 01, 2007

Dydd G
ŵyl Dewi Sant

Saint David’s Day!

Eat a leek for the
Wonder of Wales.

Fond memories of residence and holidays in fair Gwallia.



My new bumper sticker (feel free to duplicate and distribute
at will -- copyright is hereby waived)
If the only way to get to Heaven was on Air Canada, I wouldn't go.
...They'd probably just cancel the flight anyway.
I could tell the whole tale, of the four flights between February 16 and the 26th, but we'd all be asleep in short order. Let's just start with lost luggage.

February 18, PVD to YYZ:
on a Beechcraft (about 20 seats) with a total of 6 passengers. Six pieces of luggage (f
our checked, two carry-ons). My suitcase does not appear. I join the angry, seething crowd at the baggage claim desk and, while trying to file my report, am told by the Air Canada employee that "Whining will get you nowhere." There are five or six telephone calls to the baggage tracing number, one trip to the airport, and numerous attempts at the internet bag tracer. At the time of my departure for IAH on Wednesday, February 21, the bag is somewhere in limbo, waiting for customs clearance.

Departure to IAH:
Delayed because neither the flight attenda
nt nor the ramp crew notices that there's an electrical cord lying in the hatchway when they pull the door closed. The cord winds around the emergency chute, which will deploy if they open the door to get the cord out. We change planes. Our 8:40 a.m. flight leaves at 2:00 p.m., minus 14 of its passengers who didn't get seats.

Cut to Monday, February 26:
YYZ has cancelled numerous flights due to an onslou
ght of 3 or 4 inches of snow. My 5:00 p.m. flight from IAH to YYZ is filled with people who've been waiting since early morning. We depart IAH at about 8:00 p.m., and arrive YYZ just after midnight.

Not one single piece of luggage belonging to the 70 passengers emerges onto the carousel. An angry, seething crowd clusters around the baggage claim desk. It
appears that the cargo hold of the plane did not leave Houston empty (one of our fears), but the Toronto crew did forget to remove the luggage once it arrived at YYZ. All passengers eventually receive their bags and are ready to leave by 2:00 a.m.

This delay aff
ords me time to comb the rows and rows of abandoned luggage between the ten huge carousels in the international claim area. Twice. I do not find the lost bag of February 18. (But I do find heaps of bags thrown into corners, one cluster of at least forty pairs of skis-- what a great vacation those people must be having!!-- and mass disorder on an epic scale.)

I am then directed to the
domestic claim area, on the other side of a glass wall, where, I am told, a huge load of baggage has recently been cleared by customs. I exit the international area and then push my cart backwards through the exit doors to the domestic area, and begin to comb the rows of baggage there.

It's not here:

Or here:

Or here:

Or here:
The sorrowful voice of a fellow bag-pilgrim is heard nearby: "This is like a needle in a hay-stack."

I reply, "This airline is beyond embarrassment." He responds, "I agree-- and I work for them."

He wears a dark blue uniform with braid on the cap and sleeves. He is an Air Canada pilot, whose bag is also lost.
In the spirit of kindness he tells me, "If you don't find it here, there's a room, over in the corner, where there are about 200 bags. Just ask at the desk and you can look in there."

I have always known, in my heart, that somewhere there's a room.

I walk over there. No on
e pays any attention to me, so I find the room on my own, and walk in.

Nine days, with more phone-screaming and swearing and walking up and down amid piles and heaps of lost luggage than I dare relate, and at last I have found my bag. Of February 18. I arrive home, with all my luggage, 2:30 a.m., February 27.

Richard Branson could put this airline out of business in 2-3 weeks. I wish he thought it might be worth it.



Threw away a late Sunday eveni
ng recently watching the FoxNews lineup of, er, um, “ligh
t?” – “comedy?” – programming. Started with the second half of If Hollywood Ran America. A great idea, lots of fodder for mockery, comedy, or dry and biting satire. Alas—none of these to be found anywhere.

Followed by The Half-hour Newshour, Fox’s new venture into the “fake news” market now dominated by Jon Stewart’s Daily Show and Stephen Colber-r-r-r-r-e’s Colbert Report.

Jon— Stephen— a word to the wise: lie quiet and content, your jobs are secure. The best comment on The Half-hour Newshour (and I can’t hat-tip this because I don’t know who said it first) has to be that it resembled nothing less than the script which would have been produced had a bunch of rabidly left-wing bloggers and activists set out to create a satire of the type of mean-spirited, puerile show that their mean-spirited conservative enemies would think was funny. Padding out the occasional genuinely funny line or bit was a bunch of limp and lame-o pokes in the liberal eye that went from sophomoric to really offensive.

Next on the lineup was It’s Out There, Fox’s new cutting edge overview of what’s hot on the blogs and the ‘net in general. Hosted by Kirsten Powers and the often grating Michelle Malkin—a woman whose thought processes are usually on course but whose TV presence can leave me clenching my teeth. Malkin has been a blog pioneer, and has been on the receiving end of vile dirty tricks and verbal abuse (apparently there are those on the left who think that calling her a “Chink” constitutes an argument against her positions—she is, in fact, a Filipina)—so she knows the workings of the blogosphere as well as anybody. When it comes to being annoying, she’s certainly not in the Ann Coulter league (nightmare hag!), but... I dunno, sometimes she bugs me. Also assisting on It’s Out There is some guy named Griff Jenkins, a Fox roving video reporter and techno-geek. Also a little irritating—nothing I couldn’t handle.

Nevertheless: I didn’t last through the entire show. The information was less than exciting, some of it downright stale, and the inter-hostess banter was oh so lame-o.

Dear FoxNews: GIVE IT UP!!!!



And while you’re at it, lose Shepard Smith. My initial impression of him turned out to be bang-on.

Just found this on YouTube. It's more entertaining than the subject it parodies.

Gotta love that YouTube.
Thanks to Air Canada, I missed Prison Break on Monday.
Thanks to "the princess" at YouTube, I saw it anyway.