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Buh-Bye Mr. Slater

Well, I think it’s really ‘charming’ that this poor steward got his knickers in a twist. Jet Blue spared no expense in hiring the cool collected type that I know I’d want at the helm in an aeronautical emergency.

Oh–I’ve heard the testimony of other crew members as well as senior staff at Jet Blue Airlines sing the praises of Mr. Slater. They applauded his dedication and courtesy in the face of even the most demanding passenger insisting on that one more bag of peanuts. Almost unanimously they agreed that he had just been pushed too darned far.

Certainly opening the air chute and grabbing a beer on the slide down was a move of Finesse. It takes years of training (or a heck of a lot of trips to a water park) to get the hang of that maneuver….especially with a six pack in toe.

Okay, Has anyone ever seen footage–old film perhaps– of travel in the good old days (in this case, even into the early eighties)? The stewardesses (and damn, they liked being called that….) were actually attractive enough that I (hey, I’m a chick) would look twice. I mean the last crew on a flight that I flew domestically had women that looked like THEY could use a shave at the end of five hours. Boy, the good ‘ole days….Flight attendants ACTUALLY ATTENDED the flights. Hummmmmm, I mean— they would say ‘please’ and didn’t sneer indignantly at your request of sugar for your tepid cuppa.

The report is that this steward, Mr. Slater, was stressed. He demanded an apology from a passenger who cursed at him instead. Awwwww…sticks and stones. I mean he is paid for working the flight or is this some sort of occupational therapy that he’s volunteered for here…….”Stressed?” The flippin’ flight was from Pittsburgh to New York. You can barely drive from Midtown to Canal Street in rush hour in that same amount of time.

How ’bout a little of that Jet Blue spun sympathy for those of us NON UNION idiots forced to ante up for everything from Carry-On bags (That’s the ‘Spirit’) $25.00 for your overhead slot— to one piece of luggage. All for the privilege of flying hours in a seat that a yoga instructor couldn’t pose in without spraining something.

Yeah, yeah…I can understand how the guy must just be at his wits end restocking that lavatory with tissue—and those crossword/word search puzzles they all fiddle with in the galley as they eat meals compiled of anything edible that they didn’t have to part with…..are enough to make anyone violate Federal Safety Regulations.

While I find this resonant ‘esprit de corps’ quite lovely in theory, it doesn’t instill me with confidence nor does it convince me that THEY (let’s show a little solidarity….WRITE that on your facebook wall) are WELL TRAINED (much less psychologically tested) for the job at hand.

If this “steward” just can’t manage telling another passenger to ’stay seated’—– THE PRESSURE, THE PRESSURE …..(’yes, Virginia…some people actually DO remove their seatbelts when the sign IS STILL ON–Gasp), then by all means HE should do something more suited to his personality type. Maybe sand mosaics or artisan pot holders in a supportive environment.

bye, bye

Pikachu Air



All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd. (全日本空輸株式会社 Zen Nippon Kūyu Kabushiki-gaisha?, TYO: 9202, LSE: ANA), also known as Zennikkū (全日空?) or ANA, is the smaller of the two largest airlines in Japan, the other being Japan Airlines.

Okay, so P.R. pamphlet aside, business is NOT booming for airlines—Nihon included. JAL (my former Fave ride) is in an unprecedented governmental bail out–complete with the CEO resignation, blah blah blah….. But, fear not All Nippon remains.

I was, however, surprised that last time I was on ANA, I discovered that they had instituted a new option: onboard snacks for purchase (abunai!!!). While this can not compete with Ryan Air’s PAY TOILET brainstorm, it was a surprise.

In the past—even we peons flying coach—were tossed a few cursory morsels during the highly entertaining 14.5 hour flight from IAD (Washington, D.C.) to Narita (Tokyo). Okay, so we’re talking Pocky and rice crackers–you’d be surprised how thrilled everyone in seats 15-766 were to see those treats at about the ninth hour in flight. But whoa, the times they are a changin’…..

Usually by the time ‘meals on wheels’ ambles its way down the aisle to my row, I get the fare that the earlier rows declined. Pre boarding, I’ve gotten much more creative about putting a rotisserie chicken in my carry-on…..nothing like a caesar salad and two pounds of pastrami in the ‘ole croc Birkin.

However, that said, the Reason that I fly Japanese Airlines IS their pilots.

a) they are so darned cute.

b) they actually know how to fly the planes.

c) they know how to build the planes.

d) they know how to land the planes.

All of the above, but really, I’m quite happy with with ‘a.’

Very, Very Happy.

(Kokkoi desu ne?)

Therefore…..if I can’t choose between beef and chicken–and I have to ante up for ramen….well, at least I get the peace of mind knowing that my samurai pilot is absolutely, positively able to drive the bird even when it isn’t on auto pilot. (so what if the plane is decked out like a Saturday morning commercial or a breakfast cereal).

Harris’ Steakhouse

You know what it’s like when you pay a large tab to celebrate something, but the food is delicious so it makes it even more memorable?

I wish I did.

Van Ness/Pacific in San Francisco (a ‘food’-ie’s paradise as a rule) is host to one of the worst (and expensive) culinary mistakes I’ve
made in a while. ICK. (How’s that for an ‘ad’) Double ICK.

When my son, Christopher, went to kick off his freshman year at Stanford, the Ritz Carlton suggested the steak house. We all went to make sure that Chris at least had one meal NOT consisting of cheese whiz and beef jerky to embark on his first year in California.

The meal was consistent and excellent overall. We aren’t gourmets, but the service was attentive and the food was edible.

Therefore, we decided to mark the end of his undergraduate years at Stanford by a post Graduation meal at the same restaurant. TRIPLE ICK.

While I’m not a critic for Zagat….my guests and I found the food to be mediocre (Filet Mignon, Harry’s Steak (basically a New York Strip) and Prime Rib of Beef) across the board. It was not prepared to request (i.e. Medium Rare had no pink…).

The chef–and I’m using this term very loosely in this case–had a preoccupation with rosemary. It was in the onion soup, garnishing the steaks, in the scalloped potatoes…and not just ‘a little’.

I dig ‘Scarborough Fair, too’…, Dude, where’s the parsley, sage and thyme? When we mentioned it to our ’server,’ she made some comment to the effect that other patrons had mentioned it, but they couldn’t stop him from using it. Well, Why Not. Can’t someone hide it? When you place an order at Harris’ DO YOU HAVE to request it sans rosemary in advance…sort of like ordering OFF MENU? Call in an hour in advance so they can give him a dose of lithium?

I returned my soup, had to beg for utensils, received luke warm creamed spinach, no plates for bread (which was stale enough to be used as a doorstop).

Harris….San Francisco. Memorable? Yes, Truly, as one of the worst meals that I’ve NOT eaten in a long time.

Outside Harris' Steakhouse

Next time you’re in SanFran, go to Jack in The Box. The meal will be better and you’ll save $200.

Bon Appetit!

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