Systematic Failure: The Schizophrenia of Air Travel

Maybe it’s the rose-colored nostalgia of pleasant family memories. Maybe it’s impending middle age. Or maybe, just maybe, I am not as patient as I’d like to think I am…. but I’ve decided air travel has degenerated into little more  than exhausting exercise of getting from Point A to Point B in the most frustrating way possible.

Increased security requirements aside – some of which are bizarre and seem somehow foolish, but ultimately serve to protect us all, what has really turned air travel into a patience test is all of the changing individual airline policies, and the havoc they (inadvertently) unleash.

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Twitpoll: Movies we watch over and over

This is how madness begins …

When the writing gets tough, my mind tends to wander. (Well, my mind tends to wander no matter what … but especially when the writing hits a snag. But, I digress ….) I long ago formed the habit of having the television on in the background because, well, my mind begins to wander if it’s too quiet. Of course I subsequently discovered that if I have on the news or TNT or HBO, I end up watching the television. Yes, dear readers, my mind wanders a lot.

My solution? Put a movie I love but have seen 100s of times in the DVD player and put it on a loop. Today, as I do quite often, I put in Resident Evil.

Somewhere around the third time through the zombie-with-the-axe-limping-towards-our-heroes scene I wondered exactly how many times I’ve seen the darned thing. Like any good #twitteraddict I promptly tweeted the thought out. And, yes, my mind started to wander …. #lesigh

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And the TwOscar goes to ….

Every once in a while my curiosity gets the better of me. You know – like the spooked collegian who insists on going up the darkened stairs unarmed, wearing nothing but an oversized  t-shirt, tube socks and thong to investigate the thumping noises? Yeah … that never ends well.

Yesterday was a fine example (well, minus the thong ….).

“Somehow” (*she grins*) my followers and I ended up voting in an Oscar-weekend movie poll. Actually it’s all @JeremyCShipp ‘s fault. A tweet came through my twitter stream Friday afternoon from the aforementioned offender “what are your favorite five movies?” I answered and then couldn’t get the question out of my mind.

So last night Twitter, I asked. You answered. Oh, boy, did you answer! Dozens responded to the call. In the end the individual movies mentioned as favorites topped 240. A very diverse bunch of amazing films! Everything from Finding Nemo and Aladdin, to Jaws and Jurassic Park, to The Shining and Nightmare on Elm Street.

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Saints not the only winners on Super Bowl Sunday

Honestly, what is Danica Patrick thinking?

Patrick has an impressive racing resume as the most well known female contender in the Indy Car series and the ARCA Racing Series in recent years. She was the first woman to win an Indy car race with her victory in the 2008 Indy Japan Race and her 2009 third place finish in the Indianapolis 500 was the highest finish in the event’s history for a woman. Patrick is on track to make her debut in the NASCAR Nationwide Series this coming weekend.

In that respect she is a great role model. She’s a capable, determined, gutsy lady breaking down barriers. And she and/or her managers are smart enough to market Patrick elsewhere while she’s a hot commodity.

But beside her late night talk show guest spots, most of her appearances outside the racing world – including two Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues (like this one from 2009), numerous racy photos shoots and the commercials – seem more apropos to a centerfold wannabe than a race car driver.

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Rogue’s Gallery

If recent history is anything to go by, both traditional and new media are going to be flooded with verbiage on Sarah Palin’s appearance this weekend the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville. Love or hate the former-Alaska governor, only a fool would argue the lady doesn’t have an attention-grabbing public persona.

Her supporters believe this the real Mrs. Palin. An attractive do-it-all-modern mom who shoots from the hip, holds nothing back and brushes off emotional punches like a prizefighter.

Her detractors blast her as a manipulative and dangerous talking head that spews vitriol without checking her facts first.

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Off the Edge of the Map: Russia to Arm World Against Asteroid

Every once in a while (though it seems more frequently in this oft-strange world we live in) a story comes along that, while true, seems to be the work of Hollywood writers.

Case in point: Russia’s battle plan to save earth from an asteroid collision.

In this case – unlike virtually, every single Hollywood movie (…yawn…)- it won’t be the U.S.A. that saves the day. Russian scientists have stepped forward with a (vague) plan to send a spacecraft up to bump the asteroid off course.

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Off the Edge of the Map: Peru’s Fat Killers?

Just when you think the world can’t get any weirder, a story comes along to make you question absolutely everything.

Case in point: Peru’s alleged fat harvesting gang.

In mid-November Peruvian police warned the public of a gang of killers stalking people in the Peruvian jungle for three decades to harvest fat and sell it to the European cosmetics industry. Police named the gang pishtacos – based on traditional folklore of a tall, white male in a big hat who roams the countryside stealing the fat and eyes of unsuspecting travelers. According to the allegations the killers would cut off “victims’ heads, arms and legs, remove the organs, and then suspend the torsos from hooks above candles that warmed the flesh as the fat dripped into tubs below.” Police produced suspects who claimed a gallon of the human fat was worth $60,000. Sounds like something out of a Stephen King novel, right? Uber yucky….

But then the story got worse …. Within a week or two the cops’ allegations began to unravel as medical professionals and local journalists attacked the veracity of the claims.

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Systematic Failure: A Driver’s Education

A South Korean grandmother is celebrating the attainment of a dream. After 950 attempts, the 68-year old finally managed to pass the written exam for a driver’s license.

 It took Cha Sa-soon the better part of 5 years and $4,200 in application fees, but Cha reportedly told Reuters “don’t give up your dream, like me. Be strong and do your best.” Cha, who wants a vehicle so she can better sell vegetables, still has to pass the practical road test before getting an actual license.

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Angela’s Attire Focus of Political Fashion, Again

I wonder if we are ever going to get past inane discussions about female politicians’ wardrobes as a story in the media in favor of continued focus on more important things like – oh, I don’t know – health care, nuclear nonproliferation,  the international arms trade and climate change.

 Recently German fashion designer Wolfgang Joop told a German magazine that German Chancellor Angela Merkel should don more low-cut attire, and that if anyone makes snide comments about her more revealing outfits “she can always slap them on their fingers using a fan from her clutch handbag.”

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Reasonable health care debate? Thank the Child

Hands down the best thing I’ve encountered said, written, posted or screamed about health care in recent weeks is a letter to President Obama from 12-year old Californian Nick Armitage. (So, ok, his parents probably helped him write it or a teacher put him up to it, but who cares – this kid was able to frame the argument in its most simple form; and any person of conscience can’t argue against it.)

 “Health insurance is not a privilege but a necessity,” says Armitage’s letter, as seen here on the Huffington Post.

 Finding a reasonable way to ensure all Americans have some basic coverage for medical expenses is a laudable goal —  long, long, long overdue.  If we can all agree that Mr. Armitage’s sentiment is sound, then we should be able to find a reasonable solution.

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