<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d27964874\x26blogName\x3dFind+The+Boots\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLUE\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttps://find-the-boots.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://find-the-boots.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d9102631802386513241', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Find The Boots

Rantings from a few corporate types about life, technology, travel, guns, politics, and everything good in the world.

Business Class Monopoly

Saturday, March 31, 2007

We've written before about QANTAS (not QUANTAS, but QANTAS - Queensland and Norther Territories Aeronautical Service) and how the business class experience was substandard in a lot of ways.

Well, I just got off an eight hour flight and some parts of the poor experience were consistent.

The good:
The flight attendants were very helpful. Not particularly attractive (even the men - the purser had this strange mini-me look uniform going on) which is curious since Oz is full of very very attractive people. (And this will be more pronounced as my next let is on Singapore Air!)

The food was slightly better than I recall, but still AA cira-90's quality. Once again I punted and had the pannini, which took a long time to come, but they warned me and were very solicitious during my wait.

Good beer service. Not a problem to drink really all I should/wanted to.

The bad:

Jesus, the seats were terrible. Not cushiony and hard - mine even had a kind of cushion seam and bar under my rear (and I got plenty of padding, you may well imagine. Or not.) and they recline to about 11 degrees. So if you combine hard, smooth, and non-flat, you feel like you're sliding off. Lovely.

Beer selection = poor. For a country with a dozen or so world class beers and just as many very good beers these guys picked: Tooheys, Fosters, and Victroria Bitters (VB). VB is ok, it's the Miller Genuine Draft (MGD) of Australia. Tooheys is not to my taste, but is fairly popular. Think one of those 'boutique' beers from Budweiser. And you can't even really buy Fosters in Australia. In fact, if you want to embarrass someone from Down Under, mention that beer.

First class lounge at the airport. Sadly lacking in good quality booze (best Scotch was Johnny Walker Black or MaCallan 10) and the snacky things were pretty thin on the ground. Again, like the UK, Australia has great chips - my current favorite is Bacon and Sour Cream, or Sweet Chili, and the wife is over the moon for Thai Ginger and Lime. And they put nothing out. The beer selection mirrored the aircraft's with the exception of Hahn's, which I pretty much like.

The OK

The AVOD (Audio Visual On Demand) system was pretty good, with lots of movies and TV. I'd have given it a "good" if they'd had any first run-ish movies on it. But Oz is always 6-9 months behind, so perhaps I should have given them a pass on that.

Airbus. I'm a Boeing fan. I just trust the guys from Seattle more than a bunch of Engineers that brought us Renault. Sorry, sue me. Plus Airbus's rattle on descent, which is disconcerting. Especially in the absence of sufficient beer.


Why can they get away with this? Because they have a virtual gate and thought monopoly in Oz. I got no beef with the marketing (thought) monopoly, but this gate thing has got to go - free skys says I. Like taxi medallions, there may be no good solution to getting to infinite Wal-Mart style competition, but let's let supply float as much as possible.



AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Talking Politics

Friday, March 30, 2007

I think we all know (or should when we're sober) that talking politics in other countries is simply foolish. I've lived and worked in England for years, can correctly choose quid or pounds depending on the circumstances, and have read a LOT of Eng. Lit. But I really don't understand their political system in my bones.

But this was reinforced lately by two seperate instances:

First I was flying into India and reading Churchil's early biography when one of my fellow passengers said "You had better not let them see that in customs." Well, duh, but that never occured to me.

Second, on FlyerTalk someone started a thread about Canada having their own "No Fly" list. Predictably the most amazing mis-statements on US *and* Canadian politics started to fly.

Me, from now on I'm sticking to the superiority of baseball over cricket and why it's soccer and not football. :-)


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

John Doe

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

You may or may not have heard about the so-called Imam's who are planning to sue the passengers who complained about their pre/flight behavior in MN. If you travel or follow the ongoing war between part-of-Islam against everyone else with a jot of d*mn sense, you know what I'm talking about.

Congress is going to pass a law giving citizen response legal protection (can you imagine needing that law during WWII?) but in the meantime, let's all give a nod of thanks to Michelle Malkin:


Dear Muslim Terrorist Plotter/Planner/Funder/Enabler/Apologist,

You do not know me. But I am on the lookout for you. You are my enemy. And I am yours.

I am John Doe.

I am traveling on your plane. I am riding on your train. I am at your bus stop. I am on your street. I am in your subway car. I am on your lift.

I am your neighbor. I am your customer. I am your classmate. I am your boss.

I am John Doe.

I will never forget the example of the passengers of American Airlines Flight 93 who refused to sit back on 9/11 and let themselves be murdered in the name of Islam without a fight.

I will never forget the passengers and crew members who tackled al Qaeda shoe-bomber Richard Reid on American Airlines Flight 63 before he had a chance to blow up the plane over the Atlantic Ocean.

I will never forget the alertness of actor James Woods, who notified a stewardess that several Arab men sitting in his first-class cabin on an August 2001 flight were behaving strangely. The men turned out to be 9/11 hijackers on a test run.

I will act when homeland security officials ask me to “report suspicious activity.”

I will embrace my local police department’s admonition: “If you see something, say something.”

I am John Doe.

I will protest your Jew-hating, America-bashing “scholars.”

I will petition against your hate-mongering mosque leaders.

I will raise my voice against your subjugation of women and religious minorities.

I will challenge your attempts to indoctrinate my children in our schools.

I will combat your violent propaganda on the Internet.

I am John Doe.

I will support law enforcement initiatives to spy on your operatives, cut off your funding, and disrupt your murderous conspiracies.

I will oppose all attempts to undermine our borders and immigration laws.

I will resist the imposition of sharia principles and sharia law in my taxi cab, my restaurant, my community pool, the halls of Congress, our national monuments, the radio and television airwaves, and all public spaces.

I will not be censored in the name of tolerance.

I will not be cowed by your Beltway lobbying groups in moderate clothing. I will not cringe when you shriek about “profiling” or “Islamophobia.”

I will put my family’s safety above sensitivity. I will put my country above multiculturalism.

I will not submit to your will. I will not be intimidated.

I am John Doe.


Me too. You too, I hope.

I cross-posted this to FlyerTalk, here. Should generate a host of responses. :-)


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Top Dawg

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Wow. Color me amazed:

The audit also found that Small [Lawrence M. Small, director of the Smithsonian] charged the Smithsonian more than $1.1 million for use of his home since 2000. The housing expenses included $273,000 for housekeeping, $2,535 to clean a chandelier and $12,000 for service on his backyard swimming pool.

Booter of the year award.

Note that this cat was making about a mega-buck a year, so he's lost his job, and reputation for two years take home.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Bloviating on FlyerTalk

I was wandering amid the ding-dongs on FlyerTalk when I ran across a thread on what to do when arrested by the TSA.

I though to myself: these people must work for the public school system. - useless advice offered in an incomprehensible manner.

Useful advice: what to do to avoid getting arrested. It's simple as a pimple:

How about this - if you find yourself in an argument with the TSA people, take a deep breath, exhale, smile (this may hurt) and say: "Hey, sorry, I didn't get much sleep last night. Let's start over - how can I help you screen my stuff?"

Then, odds are, you can go on your merry way, perhaps without your rubber band ball or twelve stone baggie of makeup, but still.

I've never forgotten what my CCW instructor told me: Before you pull your gun, make sure it's worth $10K. Before you pull the trigger, make sure it's worth $100K
and your job.

Good advice.

There you go. No charge.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Airport Cars

Monday, March 26, 2007

No, not which particular crappy rental to get this week at Cincy, but the car you drive to the airport.

Hey, I promised something a bit different here!

I admit it, I used to drive a BMW 5 series to the airport (see Bill Cosby in 200mph) but felt pretty stupid at the end of a 3 year 36K mile lease when I'd put a total of 22K miles on the car. And that included post-911 commuting of 300 miles r/t to the client every week!

Anyway, then I got a mega-beater from eBay motors (which is a whole other post) for like $3K USD and drove that for a year. Sold the car for $2.7K so that is probably the cheapest ride I'll ever own.

Now, as a dad, I drive a econobox (with 7 airbags!) back and forth. Nice radio though.

But if you are wondering which car to get to preserve your equity, check the IntelliChoice guys. Here's a handy net-out for you budding executives:

And before someone writes in, yes, I understand that a 15% depreciation on a $20K car is a lot less money than a 10% depreciation on a $50K car.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Worlds Lamest Airline Site

Air New Zealand. Krep, total and complete krep.

First, it's hard to figure out where to login.

And then you discover that they require $50NZ (whatever the h*ll that is in real monty) to register for their frequent flyer program.

A pox on 'em - I'm not even going to link.

And I meant that to sting!


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Iraqi Civil War

Saturday, March 24, 2007

I was listening to some d*mn fool talking heads on the MSM tonight "debating" if Iraq was in a civil war.

Like it makes a difference - there are probably a hunnert guys in the military who care if the violence is civil, inter/intra sectarian, criminal, etc.

Why do I think it doesn't make a difference? Well, as a deep South southerner, I can promise you that a war prosecuted against a external and an internal enemy makes little difference. Did the people of Atlanta experience a different fire than the folks in Dresden? Did Sherman's march differ from Stalin's advance across Germany?

Did the US cause this violence? Good question, but irrelevant. Like asking *why* someone got lung cancer changes the treatment. (Ok, it might, but you get the idea.)

Wait, I have an idea, let's look around the middle east for a country with no sectarian violence. Uh, well, there's, uh, wait-a-minute, yeah, there's, no, they have it to.

Face it folks, this isn't Kansas (well, it's like Kansas/Missouri during the US Civil War) we're talking about.

Why did this come up? I'm so steamed at the Democrat party trying to mandate *another* American military defeat and create yet more genocide (see also: Cambodia, Vietnam) that I can barely see straight. Did I have the equipment, I'd be very DuToitian right now.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Bad Behavior on the Road

Friday, March 23, 2007

I was recently in Eastern Europe, in a city where, basically, anything goes. And I mean anything. You can go to after hours clubs and watch octogenarians "dance" with animals, go to a special club to sample finest Hawaiin, er, export, etc, etc.

Now, I'm no stranger to business trips where you start with the $70/bottle wine and end up drinking 30 quid shots of armangac older than your father, but this was something very different.

Perhaps I just didn't notice it when I was younger (first in the pool syndrome?) but it really struck me at this time in my life.

I staggered back to my room after one of those Indonesian 9 course meals to find pictures of my children at the fair with my in-laws.

I was instantly sober, remembering the behavior or some of my colleagues. No, not the booze. Not the (legal here) drugs. Not the career limiting "jokes" that were flying around. The girls.

All I'm saying, as I sit here looking at pictures of my son and daughter riding the bumper cars 3,000 miles away, is that if you're going to do something so potentially dangerous, it better be world-class, cerebellum exploding, married-at-17, absolutely the best thing you've ever had.

Else you'll lose the most important thing you'll ever know and you won't even have a pitiful excuse.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Let Me Not Be The First

Thursday, March 22, 2007

To criticize these inward looking idiots in freaking Manhattan who want to "live green."

Basic story: they want to have a year of low impact living (so-called "carbon neutral" - I'll get to that) so that he can write a book. Good for ya.

To give you a flavor of how stupid these people are, check this quote:

Restaurants, which are mostly out in No Impact, present all sorts of challenges beyond the 250-mile food rule. “They always want to give Isabella the paper cup with the straw, and we have to send it back,” Mr. Beavan said. “We always say, ‘We’re trying not to make any trash.’ And some people get really into that and others clearly think we’re big losers.”

Dude, when you send the cup back, where do you think they put it?

And how did the waiters and food and heat get into the 'straunt? The recycled paper in the menus was produced with what kind of power and chemicals?

Their poor daughter is going to school using a "no carbon" transport method:

Wearing, of course, clothes made in (oh so green) China, riding a scooter made in China. An aluminum scooter - which a smarter guy than me once called "electricity in solid form." Hmm, electricity.

I'm really really looking forward to this human global warming, if not global warming itself, krep-ola crashing. Unlike the last several times (global cooling, CFC's/Ozone, etc) we'll have a full internet record of how stupid how many people were.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

OMG: The Onion Should Be So Good

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Go. Check. It. Out.



AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Slashdottian Wisdom

From Slashdot:
You know how the NFL puts up those notices before every game saying 'This telecast is copyrighted by the NFL for the private use of our audience, and any other use of this telecast or of any pictures, descriptions or accounts of the game without the NFL's consent is prohibited?' Well, Ars Technica is reporting that Wendy Seltzer thought that that was over-reaching and posted a video of the notice on YouTube. Predictably, the NFL filed a DMCA Take Down notice on the clip. But Ms. Seltzer knows her rights, so she filed a DMCA Counter Notice. This is when the NFL violated the DMCA, by filing another Take Down notice instead of taking the issue to court — their only legitimate option, according to the DMCA. Unfortunately for the NFL, Ms. Seltzer is a law professor, an EFF lawyer, and the founder of Chilling Effects. Oops!
An army of Davids, indeed.

We at Find-The-Boots are really really in favor of property rights, but have you ever noticed that the only people inconvenienced by this DCMA crap are people who respect property rights?

You think Malaysian bootleggers care 'bout FBI warning leadins on a DVD? No, but I have to sit through the darn thing.

Bah, a plague on all their houses.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

It Takes a Lickin!

About six months ago I bought a Plantronics Discovery 640 Bluetooth headset based upon a recommendation from a friend. It's been great. It works as advertised, and is very small and lightweight -- my main criteria for a headset.

A week ago I was at my vacation cabin and misplaced it. I looked everywhere and couldn't find it. Last night I came back to the cabin, whereupon it proceeded to rain hard all night. This morning I found my headset, on the ground just outside my door. It spent the entire week outside, on the ground, in the rain.

I took it inside and put it on the charger. It fired right up. Now that's tough!

[For those of you under 30, the title was a reference to a Timex ad. They make these things called watches. Which is what people used to use before cell phones when they needed to know what time it was. Super-geeky people used to use their pagers, which is what used to ruin your home life before your boss discovered your cell phone number. ]


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

.50 Calibre Terror

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

This may take the cake as the most stupid anti-gun website I've ever seen. Let's work through a few of the "facts" that they've published:
.50 Caliber Sniper Rifles were designed to attack parked or landing aircraft, armored personnel carriers, rail tank cars, bulk fuel storage, and concrete bunkers.
Actually, they were designed as anti-personnel weapons and have both police and military applications. Their effectiveness against soft targets such as aircraft, tank cars, and bulk fuel storage is not much greater than the effectiveness of traditional dangerous game hunting rounds. To be effective against hard targets you'd have to use AP rounds, which are illegal for civilian use. And I wonder where they got the idea that even a .50 AP round could penetrate a concrete bunker? Maybe one made from cinder blocks....
* .50 Caliber sniper rifles are powerful enough to puncture armored limousines and can be used as tools for assassination.
Again, AP rounds are illegal. If the bad guys can get those, then getting the rifle isn't any harder. And yet, there hasn't been a single instance ever of a crime committed with a .50 cal, much less an assassination.
* .50 Caliber Sniper Rifles have effective ranges up to 2,000 yards, or in other words, 20 football fields laid end to end. Deer hunters generally shoot at ranges of 150 to 200 yards.
The effective range of almost any rifle in the hands of the average deer hunter is about 200 yards, because there are only a handful of people in the world that can hit targets at longer ranges. Even with a .50 cal in their hands, few people can engage targets at 2000 yards. BTW, the lethal range of a .30-06 is about 3,500 yards -- the distance at which the bullet looses its lethal effectiveness.
* Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network bought 25 Barrett .50 Caliber sniper rifles in the late 1980s.
They make it sound like OBL just walked into a Walmart and picked up 25 Barretts. In reality, those rifles were sold to the US government, who was supporting OBL at the time as he fought the Soviets. That transaction would be illegal today, because, err, he's a felon. The "In the News" section describes a news article about Iraqi terrorists getting .50 cal weapons that were sold to Iran. So how about they start asking Iran to stop supplying terrorists and leave law abiding American citizens alone? Another news story was about a man of "middle eastern descent" who tried to get into the Barrett plant. Guess what? He didn't get in. Probably couldn't get one legally so he was trying to steal one.
* .50 Caliber ammunition is the largest round available on the civilian market and highly destructive armor-piercing, incendiary, and explosive rounds are easily available.
Easily available? They're illegal. Ban the .50 cal and guess what, it will still be available.
Your safety is at stake because these weapons are so readily available.
Have they priced a Barrett recently? Well out of the range of the average citizen. I'm quite the gun nut and I've only seen a few of these things.
.50 Caliber sniper rifles are a terrorist’s dream considering the death and destruction they could inflict.
It takes years to acquire the skill to engage targets at 2,000 yards, if you've got the basic talent to start. Frankly, a 12-gauge police shotgun is more of a terrorists dream. Just walk into a shopping mall and start shooting. Of course, purchasing any gun would be illegal for most terrorists since they tend to be felons.

Every single statement they make about the .50 cal can also be made of other high caliber rifles. After they ban the .50 cal, they'll be coming for the .375 mag, .405 Winchester, .450 Marlin, and .45-70 Government. They'll eventually work their way down to the .30-06, .308, and .30-30 -- all had military uses and are lethal against soft targets at long ranges.

The next time you hear someone say that "sniper rifles aren't for hunting game, they're for killing people", remind them that before the Barrett .50 cal, the most widely used sniper rifle in the US Military arsenal was the Remington model 700. I'll bet you've got one in your gun case -- I do, it's a great deer rifle.



AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Indian Airport Thoughts

Some thoughts about Indian airports:

No freaking shopping but getting better. Australian cookies, I kid you not, for sale in a kiosk by the gate in Bangalore. Still nothing to write home about on either side of security in Delhi or Bangalore. Makes Kansas City look like inside of Heathrow.

I counted four different types of rifle on the Indian army guys in Bangalore, but the guys in Delhi were uniformly sporting FN-FAL with plastic (think 80's Chrysler dashboard) or beat up wooden stocks. In BLR they were handling them like they weren't loaded, but in Mumbai the rifles were actually chained (zinc chain and a lock) to the soldiers waists.

Indian security is still spotty in terms of X-ray and inspection. The lady doing some sort of screening on incomming international flights in Bangalore was practically asleep. And I'm not sure what was supposed to be in my bag that is illegal between the UK and India.

The BA flight out of Mumbai was running late since the only heavy friendly runway was occupied by workers taking a lunch break during the run up to Diwali. Apparently they had to get off they tushies and move some equipment. It was 2+ hours to get that fixed - which struck me as not bad for something happening at both an airport *and* India. But what really struck me was that BA broke out the drink cart - which I thought one was not allowed to do on an airplane in Indian control.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Traffic Fines

Monday, March 19, 2007

I recently received a love letter from Avis in A Foreign Country about a traffic fine.

Yep, got busted by a speed camera, and the fine eventually wandered over to Avis who marked it up 100% and sent it to me.

I was about to pay it (seems only fair to follow the rules, you know?) when it occured to me to check the dates. Nope, not on the Avis letter. So I called Avis and after around a dozen forwardings it turned out that they didn't have any information about when the tix was issued to the car.

So I refused to pay the freight and they rolled right over. Saved 150 clamaroonies.

Put that in your deep memory bank.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Just Funny

Friday, March 16, 2007

Scottish Star Trek - just made me laugh.

Click here if you can't see it.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Meet Ben

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Michelle Malkin, the conservative hottie, put up a post about Ben.
Hi, I'm Ben, a 25-year-old white guy from rural Virginia. I used to be a directory assistance operator, but now I work at the Wal Mart in Waynesboro. I still live with my parents.
I rarely disagree with Michelle, but I'm not sure why she decide to showcase this loser. Ben's site has been up for 10 years, but he's only managed a Google Page Rank of 4. That's pretty low. Michelle has a PR of 7, making her one of the heavy hitters. Most webmasters would be willing to pay for a link from a PR 7 site -- it will definitely help him in his pathetic ranking. You'll notice I linked to Michelle's review of his site, not his site. There's no reason to give him any extra help. As a comparison, Find The Boots is a PR 3, and we've only been up for the last year and this barely consumes a part of our lives. His website appears to be the best thing Ben has going.

As for piling on Ben, the point that sums it all up for me is at the bottom of his "About Me" section:
Is there anything else you'd like us to know?

Vote Democratic.
Yep, that's the level of intellect. I think another quote might be good advice to Ben, from Dean Wormer:
Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.



AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Presented Without Comment

Having recently survived three different kinds of crappy (sorry) toilets in Europe plus the at-least-they're-not-Asian-style sitters in Chenai, I was amused to see this:

Yes, it is a special toliet for fat Americans. According to "The Great John Toilet Company"
150% More contact area on the seat.

  • Extra wide base with 4 anchor points on to prevent tipping.
  • “Side Wings” to prevent pinching if your fat hangs over the side of the seat.
  • Reinforced structure holds up to 2000lbs.
All I can say is: wow.

And, Ben (see next post), if you're reading this, perhaps this is a way to get out of your parents basement - they gotta have a need for a QA guy.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Stupid Shirts

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Some of the regularly scheduled pinheads at FlyerTalk make brave noise about flying with t-shirts that say "Kip Hawley is an idiot" or "I am not a Terrorist." Yeah, like they'll ever move out of their parents house and do something brave.

Partially I object because it's not imaginative, so this solves that problem: say it in binary.

Now that is George Carlin funny, and if you were ever pulled for wearing it then that would be an even funnier story - probably got busted by the MIT graduate who runs security for the Montecito in Vegas.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Slingcatcher Arrives

Being able to watch your favorite TV programs from a hotel room in Bangalore via a slingbox back in the USA has always been nice. But you're limited to your laptop screen, or even a smartphone. Which is cool. But sometimes Battlestar Galactica just needs to be seen on a larger screen.

Enter the Slingcatcher.
The premise is simple: instead of streaming your TV across the 'net to PCs (as with the SlingBox), the SlingCatcher does the opposite by streaming your PC's videos to the TV. The SlingCatcher is expected to retail for under $200 some time in the middle of 2007; it will come with HDMI and component connectors and will feature both WiFi and Ethernet for connectivity.

Throw this in the bag, hook it to the hotel TV, and you've almost got that at home experience. I so need one.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

True Dat!

Monday, March 12, 2007


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Must Have USB Gizmo

I am not as big a techie geek as BoonDoggie, but I couldn't believe this 12 G (yes, GIG!) hard drive from A-Data.

For only $125 bucks Nothing But Software.

That's enough to hold two movies. Er, I mean, backup your computer several times.

About the size of a postage stamp - check pix - it's only around 2X the size of the business end of a USB plug.

I found the 128MB key I bought my wife the middle of last year to hold pixtures from her camera. I think it was $35 or $40 bucks at the time. Do the math.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Traffic Fines

Sunday, March 11, 2007

I recently received a love letter from Avis in A Foreign Country about a traffic fine.

Yep, got busted by a speed camera, and the fine eventually wandered over to Avis who marked it up 100% and sent it to me.

I was about to pay it (seems only fair to follow the rules, you know?) when it occured to me to check the dates. Nope, not on the Avis letter. So I called Avis and after around a dozen forwardings it turned out that they didn't have any information about when the tix was issued to the car.

So I refused to pay the freight and they rolled right over. Saved 150 clamaroonies.

Put that in your deep memory bank.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Now *THAT* is an Awesome Accessory

The cool guys at Elekson have come up with an awesome PDA or Phone.

It's a cloth protective bad that includes a full size keyboard. Apparently once you get used to it (no key travel) you can type at 75% speed.

See, like BoonDoggie, I love dual purpose travel gadgets.

No price yet, but I'm not sure I care!


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

I've Been On That Flight

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Ok, looks like it's all YouTube, all day.

(Thank GOD that Google had the $3B it took to buy that vast moneymaking machine!)


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

TWA Spoof

Spoofs itself from beyond the grave. Anyone else *remember* how horrid flying used to be?



AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Not Only In India

Friday, March 09, 2007

This is a perfecly legal use of speed tape (NOT duct tape) but I think in the US the repair guys would have put up a barrier for so the passengers couldn't see it happening. Or at least I hope so.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Jetlag Kills Mice

Well, in the long term anyway. According to this study, irregular shifts and jetlag kill mice at a pretty high rate.

Money stats are:
-- The young mice were not affected
-- Just 47% of older mice whose clocks went forward each week survived
-- 68% of older mice whose clocks went back each week survived
-- 83% of older mice whose clocks did not change survived
-- Daily corticosterone levels were not affected in any of the older mice
(corticosterone levels are linked to stress, which is said to cause ill health)

So, once again, youth is wasted on the young.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Finally, Something to Buy At DFW

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I was flying through DFW this week (airport motto: feel like a walk today?) and ran across this vending machine from Sony. Yes, you can buy a $200 PSP, a $500 camera, a 10 pack of DVD-R disks, etc, etc.

You just gotta move the gravitationally challenged chick out of the way first. No, really, she just stood there for five minutes staring.



AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Roadworthy Exercise

Yes, it has been quite a while since we inflicted gadgets and gizmos on you. Fear not, brave readers, we have not been stripped of our signing powers - it's just been a dry spell.

Partially this is because I've been more focused on my spare tire (or tyre when eating in the UK) than on my spare cables, if you know what I mean. So I've been spending a lot of time on the trade off between the kreppy workout room at the Weston versus driving to the Golds six miles away in Palo Alto at 5:45 am. Or just watching HBO/Kids while in a haze of metabolizing red wine.

Anyway, this would be a cool thing now that we have to track our suitcases through baggage claim anyway: a bike that folds into a briefcase shape. No price, and more importantly, can't quite figure out how to expense the darn thing, but still an amazing gizmo.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

More NYT Foolishness

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Yes, yes, I know that is redundant, but at least they're not being traitors. This week.

Sharkey, head idjit in charge of in-air crashes and general travel foolishness writes:
... that anecdotal evidence indicates a growing number of laptops are being randomly and legally scrutinized, and some are even being seized without a reason given by customs agents when travelers return to the United States.
Allow me to translate from MSM into American: I heard a rumor in a bar in The City and am printing it as fact. Also, note that little word hiding in there: legally.

You know, like Gitmo, SWIFT, and the NSA wiretapping program.

I would also point out some useful numbers to consider: with approx 50M travelers/month (average) going through at least one airport and *perhaps* a dozen reported laptop inspection incidents to date, figure your probability of inspection is:

50M * 12 months = 60M travelers/year

20% laptop * 60M travelers = 12M laptops through security/year

12 laptops inspected / 12M laptops = 0.0001%

That is one chance in 10,000 per year of having your laptop looked at. Or, another way to think about it: every 10,000 years the TSA will ask to see your laptop.

Liberal arts should include math.



AddThis Social Bookmark Button

At Last, Oh Lord, At Last

Well, wireless USB anyway. Belkin are finally shipping wireless USB - only $199!



AddThis Social Bookmark Button

No, Really....

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

I was flying home from DFW last week and saw this chickie sit down across the aisle (sue me - I'm a guy) and almost dropped my drink when I saw her laptop:

Holy crap.

She said "everyone asks where I got it." I'm sure everyone wants to know what dose of Prozac she's taking too.

And, lest you ask, this was not a "fat chick with lots of bangles" - just a normal to above average attractive young woman wearing entry level corporate clothes.

Anyway, submitted for your approval, only $25 plus shipping from Lapstyle.

My favorite, by the way is:



AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Freaky Frequent Flyer

I have no idea if this is true, and I won't go to snopes or google to find out:

Milwaukie, Oregon - only in America can you beat a B-17 into a gas station.

Shortly after WWII a guy named Art Lacey (he had a British wife) went to Kansas to buy a surplus B-17. His idea was to fly it back to Oregon, jack it up in the air and make a gas station out of it. He paid $15,000 for it.

He asked which one was his and they said take whichever you want because there were miles of them. He didn't know how to fly a 4 engine airplane so he read the manual while he taxied around by himself

They said he couldn't take off alone so he put a mannequin in the co-pilot's seat and off he went. He flew around a bit to get the feel of it and when he went to land he realized he needed a co-pilot to lower the landing gear. He crashed and totaled his plane and another on the ground. They wrote them both off as "wind damaged" and told him to pick out another. He talked a friend into being his co-pilot and off they

They flew to Palm Springs where Lacey wrote a hot check for gas then they headed for Oregon. They hit a snow storm and couldn't find their way so they went down below 1,000 feet and followed the railroad tracks. His partner sat in the nose section and would yell, "TUNNEL" when he saw one and Lacey would climb over the mountain.

They landed safely, he made good the hot check he wrote, and they started getting permits to move a B-17 on the state highway. The highway department repeatedly denied his permit and fought him tooth and nail for a long time so late one Saturday night he just moved it himself. He got a $10 ticket from the police for having too wide a load.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thoughtfulness vs. CAIR-esque Bombast

Friday, March 02, 2007

I'm sure everyone has heard about the variously blind so-called Imam's being hauled of a US-Air flight some months ago for making everyone skeevy about praying out loud. Well, more and more information trickles out of the (good/bad/ugly) MSM.....

The best email I've seen came from the WSJ's Best Of The Web:

Recently, my wife and I were on a trip to Europe and we changed planes at Kennedy airport. When we reported for our overseas flight, we found that we were accompanied by a large number of ultra-Orthodox Jews, who are a familiar sight in New York with their beards, long sideburns, black clothing and hats. As we sat waiting for the flight, the rabbi with the Jewish men announced that they were all going to perform their normal sundown prayer early because they did not want to frighten anyone on the plane with what might, to the uninformed, have sounded like an Arabic prayer.

It is so PC that these supposed Islamic scholars have so little sensitivity to what is happening in the world that they would insist on imposing actual Arabic prayers on an airplane filled with people uninformed as to the reason or the nature of the activity?

And then you have the hyperventilating idjits and scaremongers at FlyerTalk. Oh, leavened by the occasional reasonable person, but, still.

Pah, I am feeling very Kim DuToit lately.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tourism Versus Visa Security

Thursday, March 01, 2007

I just posted a "plain" post over at FlyerTalk about tourism and business travel down in the US over security issues. You can read the article here if you like.

I think my reaction is mixed as you never like the idea of:
The World Travel Market 2006 report -- conducted by Euromonitor International -
found that total business arrivals to the United States fell by 10 percent to 7 million over the 2004-2005 period, while the number of the business visitors to Europe grew by 8 percent to 84 million over the same period.
losing 700K visitors to the US and all the money they spend. That's the downside.

But, frankly, how many of them were disappearing visitors? You know, the ones who show up for a weekend in Vegas and never check in with Immigration again? That's the upside.

I am voting for the upside. My personal preference would be a required web login every five days or so for any visitor to the US using their visa number. Then if they're ever picked up it would be easy for the cops to spot someone not following the rules.

I'm a little sensitive to foreigners in the country illegally, not being where they're supposed to be, and doing who knows what.

I'm sure CAIR, the ACLU, and gosh-knows-who-else will be against this idea. And there is probably some violation of Federal Web-Browser Cookie Rights in there somewhere. But I think it's pretty basic to ask visitors to check in.....


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

USB Charging

There is no doubt it is a great boon to be able to charge cellphones and what-not with their USB ports. I think I have about half as many chargers as I used to - and I have twice as many devices.

If I could do math that would probably make a mighty impressive number!

Here is a neat gizmo that allows you to charge USB devices with a battery. Cheap, and probably cheaply made at $7.99. And invisible if you got an expense report.

Why would you want this? Plug your phone into it at the beginning of the flight and it's charged at the end - and you don't have a power cable nest around your seat during the flight.

Also, and this is just a big maybe, you could smuggle an extra four batteries into India with it too. :-)


Bump and update - I got a very similar gadget and love it. It sits around in my roll-aboard side pocket and when I need it, I need it! I recently charged my phone and my MP3 player on the plane - all in the overhead compartment. Nice.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button