Thursday, August 31, 2006

My Letter to Ronald

McDonald’s Corporation
2111 McDonald's Dr
Oak Brook, IL 60523

Dear McDonalds,

First of all, let me say what is probably no secret around your offices in Oak Brook – you have the best fries, hands down! I read that the congressional cafeteria in Washington got rid of the Freedom Fries and went back to French Fries. Which type do you prefer?

Anyway, I digress.

The reason I am writing has to do with your breakfast menu. I have purchased breakfast hundreds of times from your store at 6th Avenue and Virginia Street in Seattle, and have always enjoyed the ice cold orange juice that comes in the plastic cup with the foil lid.

Today, after a hiatus of many, many months away from your breakfasts, I retuned to the fold for a McMuffin product and an orange juice. But what they were passing off as orange juice wasn’t. It was in a little Ronald McDonald Happy Meal cup (I did not purchase the Happy Meal) and it wasn’t orange juice. It was TANG, or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

McDonalds, TANG is not real juice. It is orange, and sweet, but so is orange soda. Not juice. I feel misled. If I had wanted TANG, I would have ordered TANG. I encourage you to be more accurate with how you advertise your menu items. This reminds me of that fry issue you people had a few years ago with the muslims.

Make mine 100% orange juice (from concentrate)!

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Some months ago, my pal Chuck had up on his blog an analysis of his speech infulences , and I was curious as to what type of American English I speak, and how much of my Southern-speak I have lost.

I took the on-line test and here are my results:

My Linguistic Profile:
50% General American English
25% Dixie
15% Yankee
5% Upper Midwestern
0% Midwestern

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Fourth Row Center

See my comments on the movie Scoop at Fourth Row Center.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The End of Carry-On Baggage?

Last Thursday a US congressman suggested that the convenience of carrying our luggage onto commercial aircraft may be over. Can we possibly survive without carry-on luggage?

As one who flies frequently I enjoy the convenience of carrying my luggage on and off the airplane. It's fast, efficient, and I save a couple of bucks not having to tip the porter. Besides, I do not enjoy having to linger at baggage claim with a weary mob queuing for position next to the carousel, waiting for that first mis-handled suitcase to come tumbling down the metal chute.

As much as I enjoy the convenience of carrying my bag on the plane, I will be the first to say that the era of carry-on luggage has gotten way out of hand. Has anybody noticed recently that most travelers ignore the size restrictions that are imposed and supposedly enforced by the airlines? By far the majority of the huge bags, bulging at the seams, that passengers attempt (and often fail) to shove into the already packed overhead would never fit into the tiny Does Your Bag Fit? display at the gate. These people are heading out for months-long sojourns, and they don't even bother to check their suitcases!

The elevated travel restrictions imposed last week have prompted me to think in a different way.

When I traveled from Denver to Seattle last Friday, most travelers had been prepared for the ban on liquids, and by far the majority of the travelers I saw that day were empty handed. A few, like me, carried a laptop bag or handbag. Only one or two idiots still carried their kitchen sinks.

Friday's travel experience (except for the wait at the carousel at the very end) was so refreshingly pleasant for me that I have to admit I am not opposed to a ban on carry-on luggage. Purse, laptop, okay, but luggage - no.

Aside from the obvious security benefits, three things are accomplished with a ban on carry-on luggage:

1) Lines at the security checkpoints are much shorter, and the security checks themselves are quicker. Less hassle and shorter lines equals diminished frustration and an more pleasant pre-flight experience.

2) Boarding is accomplished with greater ease and speed. After the first class cabin was seated, my United flight boarded "all sections, all rows," and this very full flight was on board in minutes. Those few of us who had some kind of carry-on merely utilized the space beneath the forward seat. Without every passenger having to pound over-stuffed bags into overhead bins we were all seated and ready to go in record time. When the main cabin was seated, the open luggage bins were eerily empty, and one flight attendant said, "I've got nothing to do."

3) Finally, with little luggage in the overhead bins the plane de-boards more quickly after reaching its destination. Instead of being held up in the aisle by some slob whose ninety pound Samsonite is stuck in the bin, I was delayed ever so slightly by a half-blind woman with a cane tapping about in front of me.

I will trade a few unpleasant moments at the carousel in order to avoid being struck on the back of the head by an errant American Tourister.

The Tennis Ball Test

Today my wife is guest blogger.

To find out if Daddy bought the wrong size underpants, simply perform the tennis ball test:

Yup. Too big.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Using Seinfeld's Line

While traveling this week I arrived at the counter of a well-known car rental company only to be told there were no cars. I was fortunate to have been near the front of what became a long, slow, angry line.

My travel agency had made the reservation two weeks before, yet when I stepped up to the counter the lady whose nametag read "Sunshine" said, "We don't have a car on the entire lot."

"I'll take an economy. Down-grade me to your worst."

"No passenger cars at all," she said.

At this point I heard a woman with kids at the station next to me say to her attendant, "You're kidding!"

"Not even a tiny, old, crumpled car out back?" I asked.

Sunshine told me that all the sedans and SUV's on her lot were already reserved for their premium customers. I asked her if she had my name and confirmation number in her computer, and she said yes.

Then I employed a favorite line from an episode of Seinfeld: "Obviously you know how to take the reservation, but you don't know how to hold the reservation."

The comment got me nowhere. Had I not been so unnerved at her reaction at that moment, I would have snapped a photograph of Sunshine's stormy expression with my cell phone camera.

They got me into a mini-van a short time later, but I have to say that I was the only person who found humor in that great line from Seinfeld.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

My Kind of Game

Last night’s game at Safeco Field is the kind of baseball game I truly enjoy. The seats were nice, club section behind home plate. It was very warm but not hot. The company was enjoyable. My hot dog was tasty, and for the first time ever I consumed a ballgame dog with more than just yellow mustard on it. And the game was decided in the tenth.

A matched game, the Mariners and Devil Rays entered extra innings 1-1. During the bottom of the tenth, the M’s loaded the bases (with to intentional walks) and with one out Richie Sexon ended the game with a grand slam to center field on a 1-0 pitch.

The Mariners may be stumbling this season, but it's always good to win one at home. And is there a better way to win a ballgame than with a grand slam at the bottom of the tenth?

Coming up:
  • The Devil Rays are in town again tonight, third of three.
  • Beckham comes to the Emerald City for a little exposition action as Real Madrid takes on DC United at Qwest Field.
  • At Key Arena, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.
  • And a don’t-miss: The Cindy Sheehan Show is coming to the University of Washington. Tickets are $225 per person – proceeds go toward the purchase of a vacant lot across from Dick Cheney’s hunting cabin.

Monday, August 07, 2006

End of the Dog Days

In villages in China, people are dying of rabies. Sixteen in one village as of Friday.

The response? Kill all the dogs. It's been pretty ugly. (In Seattle we do something similar with Canadian geese; not because they kill people, but because they are messy.)

Persons for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are putting s stop to this massacre in China, thank goodness. They are canceling $300 worth of orders for products made in China. This clever move - truly unexpected and crippling in its financial impact - will surely pressure the Chinese into ending this horrendous practice and force them to vaccinate their canine hordes against rabies. A campaign to spay and neuter will surely be next.

Without ludicrous and ineffective symbolic gestures, this animal rights organization would have no press at all.

Coming up next: the 2008 Olympics, 100% dog free. Stay tuned!

Friday, August 04, 2006

My Bag

I saw that my friend Rick recently came into possession of a new bag. The appropriate bag is an essential accoutrement for today's mobile man. To those that don't normally carry a bag with them as part of their daily routine might look upon a bag such as mine as impedimenta; but a reliable, well-constructed bag is an extension of the modern man, a constant friend and companion.

Rick's post inspired me to introduce to my three regular readers my own well-traveled laptop bag, pictured above in the passenger seat of my car.
  • Age: 8 years
  • Cities visited: Atlanta, Seattle, Chicago, Columbia SC, Dallas, Denver, Ft. Lauderdale, Irvine, Las Vegas, Miami, Nashville, New York, Palo Alto CA, Phoenix, Portland, San Jose, St. Louis, Tampa and Toronto
  • Air miles: over 100,000
  • Contents (today as of 4:30 PM PDT): one laptop computer, two Pentel pens, a mechanical pencil, two packs of Trident gum, ear buds, one DVD (Play it Again, Sam), a Palm TX, my Treo, eleven file folders, three current magazines (Newsweek, Premiere and Esquire), one book (Discovering Solutions to Everyday Challenges), twenty-three cents in change, one coffee club card, an outdated travel itinerary, a photo of my wife, two photos of my daughter, two drawings by my daughter of our family and two walleye fillets (since removed to the refrigerator)