Tuesday, September 30, 2008
What else would you expect from a sport where the winner gets.......MUDDY!I was part of the registration team, and although we operated smoothly enough, at dinner the topic of discussion was ways to make improvements for next year. Of course, the smarta pantalones of the group had the brightest idea, which was to have two separate registration tables - one for people who pre-registered, and another for day-of registrations. This suggestion stemmed from her observation that often times people that had pre-registered had to wait in line as we registered new entrants. Another issue that came up was that some riders did not have their USAC license with them, which is required for racing. One memorable female (?) rider came up and said, "I don't have my license, but here is my license number - I wrote it on my hand." This begs the question: If you are willing to take the time to grab a pen, take out your license, scrupulously copy the number on your hand, then why are you not willing to stick said license in your wallet and bring it with you to the race?
It also made me wonder if at some point in history, somebody came up to a registration table and said, "Here is my license, but I forgot my bike. Here's a picture of it, though. Can I still race?"
Anyways, to avoid this problem in the future, I suggested that the registration team adopt an "airport security" mentality. Before riders approach the registration table, their license would be checked at the stairs. No license? No racing. Just like at the airport: No ID? No flying.
We'll even let them keep their shoes on.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
In the spirit of unity, I will not break up this bracket into regionals, but rather set all the participants into a single 16-player bracket, which will eventually, after four rounds, will yield a champion. (Check this out to get an idea of how the matchups will play out.) The seeds will be determined by population, with the most populous country receiving a number 1 seed and so on down the line. With that...on to the First Round!
(3) Sudan Airways v. (14) Oman Air: First of all, I was surprised to find out that Sudan had an airline, so they get some brownie points for that. However, Oman Air gets my soft spot for gold and blue and rides it to the second upset so far. Gotta love that color combination. WINNER: Oman Air.
(8) El-Al v. (9) Royal Jordanian Airlines: This is a rematch of some war or wars, so there is obviously some tension here. We have the equivalent of Auburn v. 'Bama, or Duke v. UNC. This one is heated and someone is going home very upset. I was hoping that Royal Jordanian was going to make a strong showing to avoid uncomfortable matches in subsequent rounds, but it's color scheme is too dark. When I was analyzing the color scheme I felt the same overheating one might feel on a hot summer day wearing a black T-shirt outside. "That's not going to be good for business, that's not going be good for anyone." WINNER: El-Al.
Now for the Elite 8...
(6) Yemenia v. (14) Oman Air: Although I remain a big fan of the gold and blue combination on Oman, I have come to realize that the design is a bit too erratic. There seems to be very little rhyme or reason to it. Yemenia is neat and professional. This is a white-based scheme gone right. WINNER: Yemenia.
And now, with the assistance of the internet (thank you very much) I can have the answers to those very questions.
I bring you:
FlightAware - a website that tracks flights into, out of, and around airports.
My new digs have a great view of flights arriving from the South at Albany International Airport. Now when I see a plane coming in, I quickly mozy on over to my trusty laptop, jump onto this website and figure out which of my winged friends I have the pleasure to be stalking...err watching.
So now I think I need a Blackberry (and thank you very much for that) so that I can track every plane I see. Last night on my jog, I found myself at the Joseph L. Bruno State Plaza watching a descent into ALB that I had no information about. Preposterous.
By the way, I have reached out to FlightAware to consider a joint venture called "JuliaAware."
Sunday, September 21, 2008
A topic very similar to the one first reported here is now making rounds in the mainstream media.
Check it out: Apparently, Senator McCain and his wife Cindy have 13 vehicles, and 2 of them are foreign made.
This, of course, after claiming that he only bought American-made cars AND Europe-bashing at the Convention.
And then, of course, there's the whole thing about owning 13 total cars. That's not helping.
It looks worse than I originally thought. Senator McCain's venal behaviour was not an isolated incident, but rather it was a pattern of deceit and falsehoods.
What else has the Senator from Pangea been lying about?
Note: To all my readers who are wondering why this post has been tagged under the "safety" category, it is because there is no greater in-flight (or national) security risk than voting Republican in this election.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I did not watch the Republican National Convention for my health. I was compelled by Senator McCain's story of torture in a North Vietnamese prison and felt that perhaps I should try to endure some torture myself by watching some hateful people spew their hateful message.
By the end of it, I was severely nausceated and, frankly, I felt physically ill.
I know I'm not the brightest person out there, but I did manage to pick up the main theme of the campaign: Country First.
Fine. Lovely. Wonderful.
By the way, wasn't this guy's campaign slogan also "Country First"?
Now, I have been in rehab recently because I used to have a major problem assuming things that sometimes should not be assumed. But, wouldn't you ASSUME that the candidate whose slogan is "Country First" would use a campaign plane built in said country, in this case, the US of A?
Then why is this Senator McCain's campaign plane?
An Airbus. A Frenchy, cosmopolitan, elitist Airbus.
Confidential to Senator McCain: Airbus is a European conglomerate. You know, the same Europe that Rudy and Fred and Mitt trashed during the convention.
One more thing: they are the biggest threat to Boeing in commercial aviation. You know, Boeing, that Seattle, WA-based company. In America.
Senator, I really do not care what plane you use. But do not be so assinine as to allow your thugs to bash Europe when you are the only candidate that flies around in a "Freedom" plane.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I had a meeting at the government yesterday which I had extremely low expectations for. It was with some peeps from the City Board of blah blah blah. Anyways, in the course of this meeting, one of the suits mentioned the Aviation High School in Queens.
Yes, that is the...
Turns out that students at the AHS, as I like to call it, have been working on this Boeing 727 donated by FedEx.
Maybe it's time for a site visit.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Then again, a certain amount of flight activity is inelastic, so maybe airlines do not fear a huge repercussion from their actions. It's not like a New Yorker who has an urgent meeting in Washington DC - like this New Yorker - can drive down there and be rested for the meeting. That person is going to have to fly, fees or no fees. What percentage of the market, then, might the airlines be alienating with these fees? I dunno. I'm asking you.
In light of this, here is my Top Five List* of other fees airlines might consider:
- Seat belt fee - you gotta buckle up after all, the Captain said so.
- Deplaning fee - how else are you going to get off the plane - jumping?
- Reading light fee - Note to self: talk to National Grid.
- Armrest fee - no more uncomfortable elbow touching with strangers.
- Overhead compartment property tax - a tax on the overhead "property" where you store your carry-on.
Not gonna lie - the overhead compartment property taxes will probably not be very successful because a certain governor and his allies will probably try to cap them at the lesser of 4 percent or 120 percent of the CPI.
*This was going to be a "Top Ten" list, but my attorneys advised me that doing so could lead to legal action against Airplanes I Have Known by David Letterman's production company for copyright infringement. Thanks, thanks a lot, Dave.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Here is the set-up: We have eight participants broken up into two brackets. Here are our randomly selected first round matches:
Qantas v. Air Kiribati
Polynesian Blue v. Solomon Airlines
Air New Zealand v. Air Marshall Islands
Air Nauru v. Air Vanuatu
And, NO, I did not make up these names. On to the Bracket 1's matches...
Qantas v. Air Kiribati: On paper, this match is a blowout. Qantas is the premier airline of the region AND it has a very nice color scheme to boot. I'm a fan of the kangaroo. As you recall, national symbolism is a factor to be considered in the overall analysis of the color scheme. Air Kiribati's design appears to be a sunset, which is nice, but, and this may be a stretch, most countries have sunsets so it's not very original. WINNER: Qantas.
Polynesian Blue v. Solomon Airlines: I am personally very conflicted with this match. On the one hand, Solomon Airlines looks like the Brasilian flag, and as an Argentinian you know how I feel about that. And the stars, they look like they were stenciled in by first graders learning their shapes. On the other hand, I have a deep philosophical problem with an airline having "blue" in its name and being almost entirely red. WINNER: Solomon Airlines.
And now, the Bracket Final...
Qantas v. Solomon Airlines: Maybe it was unfair to pick on Solomon Airlines' colors. After all, if you inspect the flag on the plane below the cockpit, you can see that the colors on the plane are in fact also on the country's flag. So, national symbolism also applies to Solomon Airlines, I suppose. However, the kangaroo is definitely a more imposing symbol. Also, not to be the fashion police, but the baby blue on the Solomon Airlines engines does not match the rest of the scheme. The winner advances to the Continental Final, and that will be: WINNER: Qantas.
Very compelling indeed. Now on to Bracket 2 to find out who will face off against Qantas for a spot in the big show. To the matches...
Air New Zealand v. Air Marshall Islands: If you look closely again at the Marshall Islands flag underneath the cockpit, you will see that the country's flag and the airline's color scheme are almost a carbon copy. There's a lot to be said for using your country's colors on your flag carrier, but a little creativity would be appreciated. Air New Zealand has a simple, yet compelling color scheme. I like the forward looking arrow-like design on the tail. It implies progress and moving forward. WINNER: Air New Zealand.
Air Nauru v. Air Vanuatu: In my opinion, this is the closest first round match so far. You have a tale of two approaches: the extravagant yet tasteful design on Air Vanuatu and the classy yet intriguing color scheme on Air Nauru. I lean towards Air Vanuatu's bold design here because not only is it fun to look at, but it matches. The engines match the underbelly, which match the winglets. I am probably the most unqualified person to be making judgement calls on colors matching because until recently I didn't even wear matching socks. WINNER: Air Vanuatu.
And now, let's see who will face Qantas...
Air New Zealand v. Air Vanuatu: Talk about matching. Look at the outside wheel on the Air Vanuatu plane above. MATCHES! That is attention to detail my friends. I don't even know where this Vanuatu country/islands are, or if they even exist, but by golly, they are meticulous folk. Major upset here people. WINNER: Air Vanuatu.
And now...bum bum bum, the FINAL!
Qantas v. Air Vanuatu: What a compelling Regional Tournament. We had a classic matchup pending between the regional powers (Qantas and Air New Zealand). Just like in the other regionals where fierce rivals Aerolineas Argentinas and Varig and AeroMexico and Mexicana met, I was expecting a showdown to settle the queen of the Oceania skies once and for all. It was not to be because a little guy named Air Vanuatu decided to show up and it was upset city in Bracket 2. And, now, what will happen in the final? Besides the classic kangaroo that has gotten Qantas this far, I am also a fan of the "Spirit of Australia" slogan on the fuselage. It's humble but strong. However, just like I don't like an airline whose name includes the word "blue" but whose predominant color is red, I also have a problem seeing the letter Q not followed by the letter U. Does Qantas think they are above the natural laws of grammar? If so, they should take it up with her. The upsets continue, folks. It's a stunner in Oceania. WINNER: Air Vanuatu.
Wow, that was exhausting. Time for lunch.