High Maintenance

A woman’s seat in business class apparently wasn’t working, so British Air upgraded her to the one empty first class seat. She then took over a bin meant for two, made incessant demands, and acted like some member of the royal family (thought I believe they are actually quite polite). I can’t imagine what she’s like to be with. This was an 11-hour flight, and she hit the lottery, then complained about the game.


I Know What’s Best (for Those I Don’t Agree With)

This is HL Mencken: “Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong.” There’s a certain revulsion one acquires on social media reading about how politicians (of the “other” party) should be held to higher standards, expected to be perfect, thrown out of office for lying—all of this pontification from people who cheat on their taxes, speed on the highways, …


Perfectionism and Hobbies

If you’re a perfectionist, it’s hard to have a hobby. Everything would have to be exact, accurate, and precise. There could be no flaws. You’d have to guard against imperfection constantly. In other words, it’s just more work and no fun at all. My electric trains crash and derail. The models I build have paint defects and an occasional missing part. My cars have a few nicks and aren’t always spotlessly clean. In other words, like real life.


Want to Race Me?

So now we have a “non-judgmental” gym in Scottsdale, which doesn’t provide any scales. We’ve had schools abandon “top ten” lists for scholars, and end the practice of valedictorians. Then there are kids who get “participation awards” for just showing up, irrespective of contribution or talent. Why not abandon all accountability, all indicators of excellence, all the positive outcomes of competition? We could stop keeping score at athletic events, shrug off the trains not being on time, forget about the …


If You Want Privacy, Keep It To Yourself

Among the great hypocrisies of the day is that so many people crave privacy and object to cameras, recordings, and disclosure of their lives, the same lives which they display in often revolting detail on social media. Hospitals have to abide by HIPAA privacy laws, yet people feel free to post photos of themselves complete with wounds, tubes, and incisions on Facebook. When we say to someone we meet, “How are you?” we usually don’t mean it.


Work This Out

I work out three times a week, once with a female trainer and twice with a male trainer. They are both excellent, though there are times I want to drop a weight on their feet. While I’m struggling with a lift this morning, the woman says to me, “I’d never let my husband work out with a female trainer.” I leaped on the obviousity between grunts, and said, “Well, what are WE doing here?” “I don’t know,” she said, “it …


Coffee, Tea, or Incompetence? Or: It’s Hard to Get Good Help These Days

At the local Dunkin’ Donuts the dogs and I go in the drive-through lane. I order at the speaker coffee for me, tea for my wife (who’s home sleeping), and a donut for the dogs. The person inside asks me to repeat the order, I do, and then he repeats it accurately. At the window, there’s no donut. So the woman there places that order again, charges me additional money, makes change, hands me a donut, while the line of …


Weak Links

Some guy on Linkedin sends me what’s obviously a mass message indicating he’d like to interview me for his “tens of thousands” of listeners, and if I sign up now I can avoid the charge to be interviewed beginning soon! A charge to be interviewed! Why hasn’t anyone invented a key to send a mild electric shock over the internet to morons who don’t respect anyone else’s intelligence? (Or maybe not so mild….)


It’s the Service Level, Stupid

I tried to place an $800 order yesterday on the website for TrainWorld in Brooklyn, where I’ve purchased trains in person before. The site hung up at the final pay option, repeatedly. I called and a bored woman told me to read me the order with catalog numbers and descriptions. I told her it would take 20 minutes, why not just find out what was wrong with the site? She put me on hold. When she returned, she told me …


Reporting the Facts

The New York Daily News screamed that the horrible attack at the Annapolis Star was caused by right-wing extremism against the media. Sean Hannity, responding to the event, who is a conservative commentator, said that he predicted liberal Congressional Representative Maxine Waters would create extremism from the left with her reckless calls for action against President Trump. (He now denies this.) The violence was apparently from a man who had a long standing grudge against the newspaper and who had filed defamation …