Walk and chew gum

Posted by: on Jul 26, 2010 | No Comments

As the old saying goes, the standard for being uncoordinated used to be people who couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time. Nowadays, walking has taken on a much more unsafe role in the world.

I read recently that in the past year, there have been over 1000 emergency room visits by pedestrians who were texting while walking. Several of those had suffered concussions when they walked into telephone poles and traffic signs. Holy shit…I wish I had seen one of those.

A few weeks back, I was heading to my car after work. A young woman was  on the sidewalk coming towards me, head down, busy texting. When she got about 15 feet from me, I stopped just to see what would happen.  She got closer and I was about to stick my arm out to stop her from bumping into me. Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately) she finally looked up, moved to the side and kept on moving. No smile, no “excuse me,” she just kept on doing what it is she was doing. I just chuckled to myself and thought I will have to use this moment some day.

Many people who know me (who have heard my stories or read my facebook posts), know that I like to rant against people driving while using their cell phones; talking, texting, emailing. Some of you might have heard stories of what I have done or said to those people, when given the chance. The really great thing about this new trend in pedestrian texting accidents is that the damage seems to be limited to the offender. I haven’t read or heard any stories about a person inflicting injuries onto another pedestrian because they had their head down and ran into them while they were texting.

I have often wondered if there is some greater powers in the universe? If there is, what kind of sense of humor do they have? So, at this moment, I hope there is a greater power and that they do have a sense of humor. That they will see fit to have some self-absorbed, cell phone texting abuser walk right into a large, hard, inanimate object and break both their thumbs and that I will be there to witness this event. At that point, that won’t be able to text at all and they’d even need some help to walk and chew gum at the same time.

Jews and Chinese food

Posted by: on Jul 22, 2010 | 10 Comments

There’s an old joke about Jews and Chinese food: “If it’s 5770 on the Jewish calendar and 4707 on the Chinese calendar, the difference is 1063 years or the amount of time that Jews lived without Chinese food” or something along those lines. I’m sure you get the point.

I have my own Jews and Chinese food line. My parents live in Hunters Run, a country club community in Palm Beach County Florida. There are 1600 family units. I break them down like this:  1596 Jewish units and 4 Chinese units to make dinner for everyone on Sunday night.

I wonder…where did the tradition of Jews eating Chinese food for dinner on Sunday night come from? Growing up, it seemed like every Sunday we went to August Moon in the Americana Shopping Center on Northern Blvd., at least until we discovered Bruce Ho’s, also on Northern Blvd., just closer to home. And we’d always see people we knew when we went there. If we didn’t go out, we’d bring in from Tea Village on Middle Neck Road, which always had a good crowd waiting for take out on Sundays. I hope all my GN friends are having serious Chinese food flashbacks right about now.

From 1987 thru 1992, Linda and I (and eventually Allie) lived on the upper west side of Manhattan. On Broadway between 96th and 104th were several really good Chinese food restaurants. My kingdom for Beef with 4 Flavors from Hunan Garden. During these years, Chinese food was a regular part of my diet, just not necessarily on Sundays.

However, all good things must come to an end and end they did when we moved to NJ. Yes, there are Chinese food restaurants in NJ and some of them are good but they do not reach the level of NYC Chinese food dining in quality or the quantity of quality restaurants.

I was reading the paper earlier today. Thursday is the day the Star Ledger publishes recent house sales. There were probably 8 – 10 houses sold in the Millburn/Short Hills area, at least half of those were sold to families with Asian sounding names. You’d think with the way things are going, they’d find some way to increase the quality of Chinese food dining in the area or am I reading this all wrong. Are Chinese people moving to where the Jews live just to be closer to corned beef on rye with spicey brown mustard, potato latkes and a Dr. Brown’s Black Cherry soda? If tradition dictates that Jews ate Chinese food on Sunday nights, what were the Chinese people eating? Hebrew National hot dogs with sauer kraut, a potato knish and Celray soda or an egg cream (which has no eggs or cream so don’t get me started on that one). If we like wonton soup do they like matzoh ball soup? Do Chinese people use chopsticks when eating kasha varnishkes? That’s a stupid question but I just wanted to throw kasha varnishkes in there because the name always makes me giggle.

Anyway, all this talk of food has made me hungry so I’m going to stop now. To any of my new neighbors who happen to be Chinese, just let me say I’m usually free for dinner on Sunday nights. I’ll even bring some rugelach for dessert.

Your baggage + you = Ira’s total airline weight formula

Posted by: on Jul 18, 2010 | 8 Comments

Your baggage + you = Ira’s total airline weight formula

My friend Ted and I were talking today on our way to the golf course about the problem of obesity in America, which led to a conversation about airplane travel and overweight people, which led to my facebook post in which I stated “If they charge extra for overweight baggage, why don’t they charge extra for overweight people?,” which got a whole lot of comments, which now leads to this blog post.

I have decided that the airlines need to devise a new system for how they charge for baggage, which needs to include the weight of the passenger. Their theory is they can charge for baggage based on weight and my theory is they need to devise a total weight formula. For example, I weigh about 170 pounds…OK, 175…fine…180.  My last flight to Florida, my 2 bags weighed a total of about 85 pounds, making my total weight 265 pounds. Now, the guy on the aisle next to me (who’s stomach came down below his schmeckel…really, it did) very easily weighed over 300 pounds, probably closer to 350. Shouldn’t he be charged an excess baggage fee? Seriously, he had a whole lot of excess baggage. Make this guy step on a scale – with his baggage – when checking in for the flight or when he goes through security. If the airlines contend that excess weight costs them more to fly, shouldn’t the weight of the passenger be taken into consideration as well?

Based on the comments my recent facebook post received, many of you also share my opinion that people whose bodies spread over into your space should be forced to pay for more for that space.  As my friend Jennifer called it, a “width fee.” If you have ever had the unfortunate experience of sitting next to a person whose arms, legs and other body parts, extend into your seat and onto your body, all I can say is “get the hell out my space!” They don’t allow smoking on planes anymore because of the discomfort and health risks to the other passengers. Well, same thing here. More discomfort than health, unless of course the plane goes down and you have to navigate your way over some 350 blob of humanity who is now stuck in his seat.

The airlines offer seat belt extenders. Guess what? If you need one of these things than you need more than just an extension, you need another seat or maybe one in first class. It is simply not fair to the passengers sitting next to you to put them through this for even a few moments, let alone an airline flight of any duration.

So, to all you thin (or less than fat) people out there, stand up for your rights. The next time some person’s leg or arm invades your airplane seat space, hit them over the head with a piece of oversized carry on luggage.

What the hell happened to Mel Gibson?

Posted by: on Jul 13, 2010 | No Comments

There was a time when I really liked Mel Gibson. I mean Braveheart is one of my favorite movies, I even have the soundtrack.  As far as buddy movies go, hello Riggs and Murtaugh.  And Mel always had great leading ladies.

Think about some of the really good movies Mel made back in the 80s and 90s:

  • Tequila Sunrise with an oh so hot Michelle Pfeiffer
  • Mad Max(es) – loved Tina’s outfit in 3
  • Lethal Weapon – 1st one…awesome. 2nd one…not as awesome. 3rd one…hello Rene Russo
  • Ransom, Payback, Conspiracy Theory, What Woman Want – all entertaining and some fine leading ladies to boot
  • Forever Young – sorry, guilty pleasure and Jamie Lee in a nurses outfit. Nice.
  • Signs – a good M Night flick, no ladies but a fellow loon on the rise – Joaquin.

Than Mel started slipping away from us. Passion of the Christ…I get the idea but Aramaic? Really? And if we had only known what was soon to come spewing out of his mouth. Hey Mel…Jesus was Jewish!

Apocalypto…and I thought Aramaic was a bad idea. Never saw this one, doubt I ever will. Sorry to disappoint by being so narrow minded.

Now, the man has just lost it completely. Only headlines he’s making are for being a sexist, a racist, and for berating and threatening the mother of his child. Glad to see we members of the tribe aren’t the ones Mel is picking on these days.

It’s unfortunate that a man with such talent has such demons, or so it appears. Mel, it’s time to get your shit together.  If not, I hear Lindsay is looking for a cell mate.

Worst TV Commercials – Part I

Posted by: on Jul 12, 2010 | 2 Comments

For those of you that don’t know, I spent the first 11 years of my post Syracuse life working in the TV commercial production industry in NYC. Lots of stories to tell but the voice of my Com Law professor keeps screaming at me something about libel and slander, so I don’t think I’ll be posting any of those any time soon.

Always amazed me how much money was pissed away on these commercials. Same day I’ll tell you about Masters Beer. Don’t think my COM LAW professor would have any problem with me rehashing 25 year test beer commercial stories.

Today, as I sit at home watching TV, it amazes how bad some of the commercials produced really are…always have been, always will be. One that really pisses me off is the commercial for the Huntington Learning Center. Don’t know if you noticed but they used the same exact script for the current version as they did the previous version. The actors (if you can call them that) have changed but the sound remains the same. My favorite moment is when the red headed teenage girl appears to be pulling out her hair and screams “Face it, I’m not getting into college.” Apparently you didn’t get into acting class either.

My dad always tells me how much he hates the GEICO caveman, so dad, this one is for you.  TV commercials, so stupid even a caveman can write them. Enough said.

Than there’s one of my favorite TV commercial lines of all time: “If your erection persists for more than 4 hours, seek immediate medical attention.” Really? What about the person who has been the recipient of this 4 hour monster. What the fuck are they supposed to do? I’m thinking they might not some medical attention as well or some liquid valium in a very sensitive spot.

Oh, gotta go. FIOS guy just came on and I have to go punch that snotty little red headed bitch in the nose.

Please just go away

Posted by: on Jul 7, 2010 | One Comment

Lindsay Lohan is in the news again and would somebody please tell me why? Why? Why? Why?  Seems she had an interesting manicure but I wish she would just go away, never to be heard from again. I’m not talking about 90 days in jail or rehab or wherever. Lindsay, you were cute once, almost made the transition from child star to adult actress but you completely screwed that up…more than once.

Now go off on your latest stint to attempt to put your nut house in order. Personally, I don’t think 90 days will do it. I think you need several months doing hard time.  But don’t fret, I have drawn up a list of a few other wannabe or used to be celebrities that I wish would just go away and I think you should have their company.

First, please take Paris Hilton. Oh my f’in’ god has any one person got more press for having no talent and no redeeming values whatsoever (and sex tapes don’t count). Yes Paris you have lots and lots of money but if there were ever any example of the statement that money doesn’t buy you class, you are the walking and talking example of that one. You may have brains but, if you do, would be nice to put those on display every once in-a-while cuz we all think you used them for implants.

Speaking of implants, just when I thought we had heard the last of Carrie Prejean, there she is again. Just because she’s getting married?  Who gives a shit.  Girl is a complete whack job, even Donald figured that out and I don’t think he has an advanced degree in human behavior. Carrie, you had your shot and blew it (is that a pun?). Why anyone cares that you just got married is beyond me. Just shows that being a big loser doesn’t necessarily mean your 15 minutes are over. Imagine if you had just gone on to the Miss America pageant, without all the hoopla and the controversy, and lost like 48 other young ladies. We would have never heard from you again. Would have been so nice.

Now comes the big one…or the big ones as the case may be. Heidi Montag pack your bags, go away and never ever come back. I actually think that celebrity bimbettes who pride themselves on their status as bimbettes think you have completely lost your friggin’ mind, if you even had one to start. 10 plastic surgeries in one day? I’d ask what were you thinking but as I’m pretty sure you had no brains to start, that would be a silly question. And you actually think you are going to make it as an action adventure star in Hollywood. HOLY SHIT! I don’t think Angelina has anything to worry about when it comes to you replacing her.

Lindsay, I hope you like your new entourage. I tried thinking of a man to add the list but than I remembered that you’ve lost your taste for male companionship. Come to think of it, whatever “taste” you once had has pretty much gone bye, bye and we all wish you would just do the same.

Carry on luggage and carried baggage

Posted by: on Jul 3, 2010 | 5 Comments

Thanks to the promotional efforts of my wife, hopefully the flight attendant crew from Friday’s Continental Airlines flight #754 to Florida is reading this. If you are, thanks for a good flight but it wasn’t easy, was it? Yes folks, it’s another blog post regarding air travel.

First, I am happy to report that I made it through security without a problem. Seems the FAA has forgotten about my matches indiscretion or at least didn’t want to be bothered with it. Too bad, I was kind of hoping for a little action in the security area.

Second, as seems to be the rules these days, there was not enough space in the overhead bins for the carry on luggage. If there is an enterprising luggage designer out there, might I suggest you come up with a smaller piece of carry on luggage and convince the airlines that yours should be the new standard. And if the airlines are listening, you really need to figure out a way to strictly enforce the one piece in the overhead bin rule and the size restrictions, if for no other reason than to save your flight attendants the aggravation of having to deal with this issue.

I’m beginning to feel like boarding a plane is akin to the longisland expressway at rush hour and that there should be big display boards telling passengers how long the back-up is on the ramp leading from the gate to the plane.  Some time soon there is going to be a massive fight on a flight over this. Honestly, I thought there might be one on our flight when one passenger insisted in jamming his luggage into the last piece of space left in the overhead bin. I don’t think the gentleman sitting underneath that bin really appreciated his efforts, which took about 5 minutes. I’m waiting for the flight when a moment like this will come to blows. I only hope I’m there to tell everyone about it.

Speaking of size restrictions, holy shit you had to see the guy sitting in 31C. He carried his baggage from his neck down around his waist and down below his balls…and no, I’m not exaggerating. His gut came within 2 or 3 inches of the seat in front of him…and no, I’m not exaggerating. When he stood up, you couldn’t see his belt (if he was wearing one) or waistline…and no, I’m not exaggerating. I didn’t see him walking off the plane but I’m not sure how he fit down the aisle…and no…well, you get the point.

If I had been in the seat next to him, it would have been him or me. I have flown in the same row with some pretty hefty follows before but I don’t think this guy would have fit comfortably in a first class seat. I know Southworst Airlines has some sort of size restriction. After seeing this one, I just think the FAA needs to develop some sort of industry standard that if you are over a certain size, you need to have more than one seat. And don’t leave it to the flight attendants to make this call. When a 300+ pound passenger checks in or goes through security, have the TSA of FAA deal with it. Make it a safety issue because it is. I wonder if they take these types of situations into account when figuring out the load factor on the plane?

So now all you folks who feel sorry for folks with obesity issues can have at me. I don’t really really give a shit. What this guy put the person next to him through is just inhumane and I really don’t know one person who would have been comfortable sitting next to him. I know there have been skirmishes over these situations on planes before and you can’t really expect the flight attendants to have to deal with this. It’s bad enough they have to put up with the averaged size traveling asshole but when it comes supersized, that’s just not a fair fight.

If our flight crew is reading this, please post your comments and thanks for the inspiration. The next time some unruly passenger gets out of hand, I hope there’s room in the overhead bins so you can stuff them in their for the duration, as long as it’s not the guy in 31C.