Sunday, June 30, 2024

Random Rants about British Airways, Dulles Airport, and the still-lousy part of travel


Let's hit British Airways first:

1.  Know how insulting it is to pay $20 for a seat in a movie theater and then be asked to sit through several commercials before the coming attractions start?  Well, imagine paying $1000 for a seat on an airplane and be forced to watch the same six commercials in a row before you're allowed to watch the film you selected from your screen.  And if you pause and look at something else and want to go resume the first thing you were watching, well, guess what?  You have to watch those same six commercials in their entirety again.  

(Oh, and if I may include a 1(b)- British Airways no longer hands out Dollar Store headphones to allow you to actually hear the film you are watching as well as see it.  Maybe you can request them, maybe you just have to bring your own- I don't know, I had my own anyway, but talk about finding a new level of miserly.)  

2.  This isn't unique to British Airways, but they are who I flew last week so I'm going to pick on them for this:  Having to hear a special "welcome" to the people in Business Class or Platinum Members or some Frequent Fliers Club from the pilot along with an "invitation" to join that Very Special Group of People for a very high price.  We already feel like extra baggage sitting over here in steerage, thanks for the reminder that we're just necessary evils to you.

3.  British Airways boards by Group Number because Capitalism, and they'll announce Groups 1 through 4 with considerable fanfare, including jokes from the guy looking at your boarding pass and passport (jokes that got old fast and were completely ignored by the frustrated, sweaty, tired mob that just wanted to get to their seat Shut Up and Scan my Stuff Already.)  If you're sitting in groups 5-9, well, you're supposed to just know when to board, if you really insist on boarding and making the plane crowded for those Special People in groups 1-4.

4.  The repeated emails trying to convince me that if I didn't sign up for an ESTA Visa within 72 hours of departure from Europe I would not be allowed back into the United States.  I'm an American, British Airways.  I don't need a Visa.    Stop trying to convince me to fill out a form and give you $21 to get back into my country.  And that's a good segue into my complaints concerning Dulles Airport:

1.  It took me longer to get home from Dulles to the Maryland Suburbs than it took for me to get from Palermo to London.  This was mainly due to the ridiculous, serpentine line I had to stand in before I could show some guy in a uniform my passport and get his permission to to re-enter my country by telling him why I left in the first place.  There were more than 30 stations but only six were open for Passport checks.  Ugh.

2.  When I got to the Baggage Claim Area, some Official Person thought it would be more convenient for everyone if all of the luggage from our flight was taken off the carousel and stacked into a giant pile for us to pick over.  I had to shove aside several large suitcases in order to dig out mine.  Yeah, this was MUCH better than just taking it off the moving belt.  Thanks, Dulles!

3.  Lack of signs pointing to the Silver Line.  I had to walk toward "Ground Transportation" for several minutes before I saw the word "Metro."  Hey Dulles, the Silver Line is a great innovation that should make use of Dulles easier for everyone.  But only if we can find it.  Who decided to limit the number of signs pointing out the Silver Line?  Was it Uber or Lyft?

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Parting gift before my vacation- another look at the US Money Reserve!


"I wanted to leave something for my children and grandchildren..."

That's a nice house you've got there, which suggests to me that you've got SOME idea of what a good investment is. Which makes me wonder why you fell for this stupid gold scam.  But then you say...

"When I first looked into gold as an investment, the first thing I saw was the president....Philip Diehl....he was manager of the Mint.  So I thought, 'this guy knows what he's doing..."

Oh, he knows what he's doing, all right.  He's taking an impressive-looking title and using it to sell a truly awful investment strategy that makes him rich off the backs of gullible seniors like the narrator.  The commercial tells us so- a YEAR after he retired from his "historic six-year term" he founded  (or sold his name to) this company that sells gold.  We are told that he was director of the mint during the 50-state quarter program, which I guess means he figured out that people still like to collect coins with pretty pictures on them, and if they'll collect pieces of tin and plastic of no real value, imagine how much they'll pay for gold!

"I lost half my money in 2008..." um, may I ask how?  Nobody lost bank deposits in 2008.  Nobody has lost bank deposits since 1933.  The only people who lost money in the stock market in 2008 were the ones who sold their stock.  Is that what you did?

"...meanwhile, the price of gold went up!"  Yeah, and what's it's value today compared to 2008? Well, I did the work so you don't have to (and, speaking to this lady, apparently didn't:  the price of gold on December 1, 2008 was $883 per ounce.  Today, it's $2350 per ounce.  Wow, it's almost TRIPLED.  Pretty impressive, huh?

Well no, not at all, actually.  This woman sneers at investing in the Stock Market.  Guess what the Dow Jones Industrial Average was on December 1, 2008?  It closed at 10,917.  The last business day before I wrote this post, the Dow closed at just under 39,000- almost QUADRUPLE what it was in 2008.  

"If I just put cash in the bank, over the time it's like it doesn't go up at all.  It's almost like nothing."  Yeah, that's called inflation and let's stop pretending this is a binary choice- stick your cash in a bank, or buy gold.  It's not.  Know what else is a good investment?  Land.  The median home price in December 2008 was $185,000.  Today it's just under $410,000.  Sounds like a real good place to put your money.  I bet even Philip Diehl owns a house.  Hell, he probably owns several- he's got well-meaning idiots like you sending him your money. 

The Work Vacation is Over- now it's time for the Real Vacation!


Every other summer (more or less) I take a big trip- the entire UK in 2013, Greece in 2016, Rome, Pompeii and Capri in 2017, and Ireland in 2022.  This year, I'm off to Sicily for an 8-day tour of the island, and will check Etna off my bucket list while visiting Roman ruins, salt mines, and a winery among other sites.  May the skies stay clear, the luggage stay unlost and all flights be on time....

Please enjoy the archives until I get back!  

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

This bizarrely "controversial" Hormel bacon ad


1.  What is with the comment section of this ad?  A black woman comes home from work and is greeted by her husband with liquor and bacon- and?  How is this "woke?" No, it's not a "conventional" dinner, but big deal?  What's wrong with you people?  Is it about a woman being portrayed as the primary breadwinner?  Is it about the guy making dinner?  You guys know it's the 21st century, right?

2.  If this woman wanted breakfast for dinner, why didn't she just go to IHOP?  It's always 5 AM there.  Oh right- they don't serve whiskey.  That IS whiskey she's going to drink with that bacon, right?

In any case- how the hell could anyone be triggered by this ad?   Someone explain this to me in a way that doesn't make you sound like a deranged lunatic. 

Monday, June 17, 2024

This no-effort Sensodyne Ad


This stunningly beautiful young dentist recommends Sensodyne Pronamel Active Shield because it Actively Shields Enamel.  No kidding, that's what she says.  Oh, and it's a "Game Changer," which is one of those stupid throwaway lines that lost all meaning years ago and just need to please please please go away now and don't come back.   I don't even want to know what the game was at this point.  I just want to stop hearing that stupid line.

Not that anyone paid any attention to what she was saying anyway.  If she were my dentist I'd be eating candy pretty much constantly and washing it down with milkshakes.

Sunday, June 16, 2024

I can't relate to hotel commercials....


I stay at hotels for exactly two reasons:  either I'm on my way from one place to someplace else, and I need a place to rest roughly halfway between those two destinations, or there's something I need or want to do nearby that is going to take multiple days and I'd rather not sleep in the park.

In the first instance, the hotel is always going to be in Northern New Jersey or Southern New York, because I'm driving from the DC suburbs to Vermont and I'm sixty years old and my back hurts and the days of driving all day (or all night!) to get the 550 miles is just too much for me so lay off.  It's a place off the Thruway for me to recuperate from traffic and avoid driving at night.  In the second instance, the hotel is going to be in some city I'd never even think of visiting if I wasn't getting paid to do work in the area- Louisville Kentucky, or Tampa Florida, or Kansas City Missouri.  Again, it's just a place to sleep.  I didn't even turn on the tv when I was in KC last week.  The gym was really nice though, and they kept it open 24/7 for us.  Or I'm on a tour overseas- and in those cases the hotels tend to be nice-but-not-too-nice-because budget.   But I digress.  In all cases, the hotel is just a building with a bed and a pillow and a shower and that's pretty much it. 

I don't get these Celebrations of a Hotel I am Excited to Be In commercials.  At all.  I don't travel so I can stay at a hotel.  I stay at a hotel because it's kind of a requirement of travel.  These ads always make it look like families take Vacations to LaQuinta Inn or something.  Someone to explain this to me, because I find it super-bizarre.  Simply put:  In my opinion, hotels are necessities that allow you to do the stuff you really want to do.  They aren't ends in themselves.  Am I wrong?  Do these ads make sense to anyone out there?

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Kars for Kids is Kringey Krap.


(Why would I want to donate to provide cars for kids?  Should they be driving?  I don't want any of these awful children behind the wheel of something that weighs several tons and can move at high speeds, unless they promise to disengage the air bags and refrain from using seat belts at least.  Besides, I've seen enough Lexus December to Remember commercials to know that if kids this age want cars, they should just ask their mommy and daddy- errr, I mean, Santa.)

These ads will never be as loathsome on television as Joe Namath pitching terrible health insurance in the guise of "extra" Medicare benefits, but they have to be the most painful ear worm on radio.  None of these kids deserved to be exploited by their parents like this, and all of them should be eligible for the Witness Protection Program until they've aged out of being recognizable. 

I don't have kids, but I think if I did this ad would make me wish that the offer worked both ways- can I trade the kids in for a car?  I mean, "kar?"

Friday, June 14, 2024

At "BK," it's never been cheaper to kill yourself


When you feel ready for a heart attack
Drop by our place for a fatty snack
Cause common sense is what you lack
here's death that fits in your hand!

Sit in your car at the drive in window
don't think about what you're doing though
don't want your critical thinking skills to mess with your head

At B....K....
throw health away

Sunday, June 9, 2024

There's so much awful about this Audi Commercial...


...that it's still worth commenting on 11 years after it's release.

1.  This kid has a Dad, Mom and Bratty Little Sister from Central Casting.  Seriously, why is this a bad commercial and not a bad sitcom?

2.  Dad tosses the keys to the Audi and gives his son a look that I can only translate to "get laid tonight."  Ok, so dad is ready to be a grandfather?  Because I didn't see him tell the kid "there are condoms in the glove compartment."  

3.  This kid drives to the prom- by himself- looking like he's taken an entire bottle of Viagra washed down with a gallon of Liquid Testosterone.  Does he think his father feels this way every time he drives the family LookAtMeMobile to the office?  I mean come on, what the hell?

4.  The kid is so confident because he drove an Audi to the prom that he sexually assaults the prom queen.  I'd say this is So 2013 except it's really So 1983.  I mean, this was a problematic message by the turn of the century.  In 2013?  Come on.

5.  The kid himself gets assaulted by the prom king- and then just....leaves.  He drives home in the Audi, with a look of triumph on his face.  Um, triumph over what?  As near as we can tell, he drove dateless to the prom, assaulted a girl, got assaulted, and left.  What's he going to do with the rest of his night?  I'm guessing he spends it in front of the computer bleating very inflated and not very recognizable versions of his evening to the pre-Tiktok internet.  This is inspiring?

5. What, no slow clap?  Maybe this ISN'T 1983 after all.