Here’s the audio of my chat earlier today with Bill Meyer over at KMED radio in Oregon! We talked about the death of Lee Iacocca and cash for not-clunkers, among other things.
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Eric – I do fly when I have to, or when (1) I have no need of mine own ride where I’m going and (2) it costs as much if not MORE to drive just myself. Of course, with the “felony intake” experience common when one deals with both the airlines and especially the TSA goons (it is their mission to hire FAT, brassy, LOUD negro females with all the manners of a drunken orangutan?), it’s not only annoying and DEGRADING, it also adds considerable time to air travel. For example, I just helped move #2 son to the Las Vegas area from Iowa, and whereas before I had to fly, as driving took 2-3 days, depending on the weather, each way, though, often with the predatory air fares to the nearby airport (Moline/Quad Cities) or even Cedar Rapids or Peoria, we got used to that drive from Chicago (Midway or O’Hare) which commonly involved getting Portillo’s Hot Dogs (one of the few upsides of Chicagoland), now it’s not only the compartive costs of driving versus flying, it’s also “door to door” times, as I can, at least during the summer and fall (until snow closes off most of the passes through the Southern Sierra Nevada range) go through on CA 4 or 120 and hook up with US 6 and then US 95 at Tonopah. It’s the same when visiting either daughter (the eldest whom lives with her family in Draper, a Salt Lake suburb, or the youngest, recently graduated and in Spanish Fork) in Utah. I can get quite a few nonstops from Sacramento to Salt Lake; but it’s at least two hours prior to flight time to get to the airport, an hour and a half actually from gate to gate, then another half hour to retrieve the luggage and get out the airport, and then, depending on how bad Utah’s longest parking lot (I-15) is congested, anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes to my final destination.
Whereas, especially when going to Spanish Fork, I just take US 50 and “Haul Ass” across Nevada, especially those stretches just east of Fallon and between Ely and Delta, Utah, where there’s typically light traffic and FEW cops, the latter I usually go no less than 90 and, in daylight, where I can see any vehicle for MILES, over a hundred…I nickname that trip the “Kowalski Run”, after Barry Newman’s character in “Vanishing Point”. Maybe, once my alimony decreases, I make than run in a “Kowalski edition late model Dodge Challenger, or, better yet, get a ’70 or ’71 White Challenger with a 440, with a “seat cover” much like those nasty chicks from Tarantino’s “Death Proof” (but I’ll skip the fate that Kurt Russell’s character endured, thank you very much, though the cigar-chomping duck hood ornament was a nice touch).
I can drive from my place in the Woods – outside of Roanoke, VA – to the Heart o Darkness (DC) in roughly the same time it takes to fly there from here.
I have made the trip by car countless times; it takes me less than four hours, door to door.
If I fly, I’d have to drive to the airport (30 minutes) then wait at the airport (an hour prior to departure). Even if the flight leaves – and arrives – on time, it’s still a tortured, slow-motion (for an airplane) heave that takes about an hour, wheels up to wheels down. Now comes the also torturously slow process of gimping to the terminal and waiting… endlessly… for the Sovietized airline to open the doors and then the slow-motion cattle call exit.
By this time, in my car, I am already usually there – and not feeling as though I just got serially raped in prison.
It chafes all the more because I can remember what flying was once like. Going to Dulles as a kid in the ’70s, to drop off or pick up my Uncle (who flew all the time) and what a neat experience it was. And experiencing it myself. Getting to the airport 15 minutes before departure and just getting onboard; settling into a nice seat in the usually a third-empty airplane, with pretty young women stewardesses. Like lots of kids who got to fly back then, I was allowed to go see the pilots up front – and once got a model 707, even.
Flying today is so stupid. Here is an example of the stupidity.
It amazes me that anyone who doesn’t have to still flies. The experience is so loathsome it renders the destination not worth the bother. Felony inmate processing at the airport. Absurd time wastage (at least one hour added to travel time for felony processing prior to flight; one used to be able to arrive at the airport minutes before departure and just board, so long as you made it to the gate, OJ style). Disgusting, cattle car accommodations in the airplane (unless you pay thousands for first class). Exhausted old hag/gay male “flight attendants” handing out warm cups of HFC soda and stale pretzels. Loud, obnoxious people. Petty charges for practically everything.
But Americans will accept anything, it seems.
Based on my observations in airports and on flights I would guess that the majority of voluntary flying is done by women followed by old people. In other words, those most accepting of security theater.
It seems that most men are flying because they have to. For work or for some other reason. I have only flown once when it wasn’t required for work. And I didn’t have a choice since the destination is an island.