You can’t fire him, he quit.

The first time I flew on a plane I was 10 years old. We — my mother and sister and I — were going to the Bahamas on vacation, and my mother insisted I wear a dress. My sister wore a dress, too.

I wasn’t one of those people who flew often, and still am not. But at some point it all changed, and…

Oh, why spin it out? You all know what I’m going to talk about: Steven Slater, the awesomest flight attendant EVAHR. Faced with a jerkoff customer, he responded in kind, but with real style, cursing the jerkoff and announcing his resignation via the plane’s PA system, stopping to grab a beer from the beverage cart and then deploying the inflatable escape slide. Exit stage left! Zoom.

The following prediction hardly counts as going out on a limb, but still: I predict Slater will be the new Chesley Sullenberger. If Sully was the hero of the cockpit, Slater is the hero of the rest of the plane, filled with cranky passengers and the flight attendants who are charged with keeping them in line, at a salary right around that of a school janitor. And we’ve all know the jerkoff who finally pushed him to the breaking point — the guy who has to get up as soon as the wheels hit the runway, who has to be the guy standing in the aisle during the long taxi to the gate, who cannot take a simple request from another without dropping the F-bomb. His bag was heavy enough that when he pulled it down from the overhead, it hit Slater on the head. I know that jerkoff. (I sat behind him on the way to San Francisco a couple years back.) His bag has the weight and density of a thousand-year oak because he’d rather cut off his arm than check a bag, because he’s so important he has to be the first one off the plane, barking into his phone all the while.

As you can see, I’m on Team Slater.

The New York Daily News has more deets:

“To the f—–g a–hole who told me to f–k off, it’s been a good 28 years,” Slater, 38, purred, cops said. “I’ve had it. That’s it,” he added, a passenger said.

The News also saw fit to add that when the guy was arrested, he was already in bed “with a boyfriend.” Well, hell yes he was! This is a man who knows what he wants! Carpe some diem, mofos: Sugar, I’m home from Pittsburgh. Show me how much you missed me.

They’re charging Slater with the usual wilted bouquet of charges — criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, whatever. He’ll get a fine and community service, and some rich person will pay the fine, preferably one who will then hire Slater to work on his private jet. David Geffen, maybe, or Barry Diller.

In the meantime, I hope we’ll see him on “The Daily Show” very soon.

A few years ago, the Wall Street Journal did a piece of harrowing, heroic journalism, a tick-tock on what it was like inside a plane stranded for hours on the tarmac at Detroit Metro during an endless weather delay. I don’t use the word “harrowing” lightly, either — the description of the rising tension, heightened by the slowly fouling air and mutinous mood, was like feeling a constricting snake slowly swallow your leg. At one point there was serious discussion among the trapped passengers of deploying the exit slide and making a break for it, and frankly, I’m astonished none did so. I imagine the next time it happens, someone will. Steven Slater has shown it can be done.

I’ve never quit a job in such dramatic fashion. I go the boring, old-fashioned way — with a terse letter and two weeks’ notice. One of these days, I’ll hire a band to walk into my boss’ office and sing “Take This Job and Shove It.” But not yet. (For one thing, I’m now my own boss. It would be sort of weird.)

Other bloggage? A little:

Last night I stopped behind a pickup with two homemade signs in the back window — one a quote from Abraham Lincoln I didn’t recognize, something about the sin of doing nothing in the face of great evil, another from the Bible, ditto on not recognizing it, ditto the sentiment. “Look, a dickhead teabagger,” I said to Kate. “But you can’t say ‘dickhead.’ I just hate these guys.” Oh, well. All parents fail from time to time. But when you’re provoked like this, profanity is the only logical response. Escape slide!

Pictures of the Russian wildfires. Amazing.

OK, need to relax. Time for Daily Bunny.

And now to work.

Posted at 10:21 am in Current events |

58 responses to “You can’t fire him, he quit.”

  1. Jen said on August 10, 2010 at 10:34 am

    With all the dickheads in the world, it’s things like Daily Bunny that get me through!

    I think it’s sad that I actually have a plan for what I’m going to do if I get stuck on a plane for hours. I’m going to use my cell phone to call the police, every local newspaper and TV station and the airline’s customer service line. Except, now I’m going to add “use the exit slide to escape” once I get to the point that I really have to pee. Steven Slater, I salute you for that idea. And I don’t blame him for getting fed up. I’ve seen a lot of major jerks on commercial planes. The only thing that honestly gives me any sort of happiness when I see stuff like that is knowing that as customer services goes down people who are rich enough to charter a plane will more and more skip flying commercial and hire a charter pilot instead, which is job security for my dad.

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  2. MarkH said on August 10, 2010 at 10:37 am

    I know that jerkoff, too. Encountered him many times, and I don’t even fly that often either. My question is, what happened to HIM? No news story I saw talked about even tracking him down. You summed this up very nicely, Nance.

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  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 10, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Isn’t the quote from Edmund Burke? “All that is necessary for evil to triumph in the world is for enough good men (sic) to do nothing.”

    The bumper sticker probably didn’t have the sic/thus inserted, however.

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  4. nancy said on August 10, 2010 at 10:47 am

    I know my Edmund Burke, Jeff. (At least that one.) And no, it was clearly attributed to Honest Abe, and it was unfamiliar to me. However, I’m no Lincoln scholar, either. Maybe Stouder will recognize it when he checks in.

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  5. Mindy said on August 10, 2010 at 10:59 am

    My husband and I endured a huge delay in Dallas once upon a time. Seats were buckled and we were waiting to get moving when the announcement came that there was a major problem and we had to switch planes. This meant three hours in the airport waiting for the new plane to arrive and all the luggage to be boarded. American Airlines gave every passenger a fifteen dollar voucher good for meals that we had trouble spending; had an excellent lunch and used the remainder for all the cookies left at Subway. When we finally got underway on the new plane, a drink sounded like the thing to do as the beverage cart arrived. My husband told the flight attendant that the delay must have been a nightmare for the staff and hoped things would calm down. She slipped us each two little bottles of our requests and walked away quickly without waiting to be paid. Just because we weren’t assholes.

    On another flight the worst jerkoff on board had packed a large Listerine bottle with something that only looked like Listerine. He was very drunk and disorderly long before we landed. The flight attendants couldn’t handle him and even the captain made an appearance. Two officers with handcuffs were waiting for him when we landed. So he began his Hawaiian vacation in the pokey.

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  6. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 10, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Mmm — is it in this chestnut?

    I’m constantly having to send this link to conservative friends.

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  7. Dexter said on August 10, 2010 at 11:29 am

    I thought of “Network”, of course, and Peter Finch’s rant that we all know.
    I too was all thumbs up when I heard the story. I love this angle, the dramatic ending. I think it was 2, maybe 3 years ago when a machinist in a crummy factory took a coffee break, checked his lotto numbers, discovered he had just won $65 mil, and he busted out of that shit hole immediately, tool box left open, probably his work gloves and coffee thermos on his machine stand, and drove his beater pickup straight to Lansing and demanded his dough. Well, multistate only pay the host states’ portion first when you do it that way, and I remember seeing this guy,greasy work cap on, holding his giant photo-op check for about 6 million dollars, while he patiently waited (I bet for however long it took) to get Michigan’s check. Then he drove straight to Houghton Lake and bought the lakefront home he had been dreaming of for years. Just bought it. Just like that. I love that stuff.

    And back to Mr. Steven Slater, late of Jet Blue for a second…how many times did I want to pull a stunt like that? About a million times. One time I was so crazed with rage I would have driven my forklift straight to the bar if the damn gate had been open.

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  8. Dexter said on August 10, 2010 at 11:36 am

    MOLLY THE OWL live cam

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  9. nancy said on August 10, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Mmm, might have been. I don’t really have time to go spelunking in Lincoln aphorisms, but a brief fly-by brought me this gem:

    No matter how much cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens.

    Never heard that one before.

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  10. Sue said on August 10, 2010 at 11:37 am

    My two favorite last day on the job fantasies:
    When I was working in a library we had to announce closing: “The library will be closing in ten minutes. Please check out your items at this time.” Then at five minutes, same thing. Then at closing, “The library is now closed. Please check out your items at this time”. Then five minutes later, same thing, etc. etc. I wanted to grab the mic on my last day and say: “The library will be closing in ten minutes. GET. THE. HELL. OUT.”
    Then when I transferred to a secretarial job with its own set of irritations, I decided that my fantasy would be to see if I could maneuver for the inevitable small-town newspaper story about the little old lady who’s been in the same job for 150 years, loved by all, who when she is *inevitably* asked what was the best part of her job for 150 years, *inevitably* smiles sweetly and emphatically says “Oh, the people of course! I met such nice people every day!” Only I would say “Well it sure as hell wasn’t the people, let me tell you!” And then I would start to name names and tell stories.
    Sigh. That would just feel so good.
    Dave Barry wrote about flight attendants years ago, and said that he never had to pay for a drink on a flight after that:

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  11. Dexter said on August 10, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Ted Stevens of Alaska in plane crash…

    He’s out. Steven Slater has been released from jail already…$2,500 bail. My hero.

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  12. Catherine said on August 10, 2010 at 11:43 am

    The economy must be improving. Another take-this-job-and-shove-it quit:

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  13. 4dbirds said on August 10, 2010 at 11:44 am

    I’ve had such a delightful laugh reading about Mr. Slater’s exit from the plane.

    Here in my state, the pentagon is slashing thousands of jobs in Southern Virginia. Our republican politicians are screaming already. I can’t help but think this is payback for our state attorney general suing the feds over health care reform. I guess those federal dollars aren’t so evil after all.

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  14. coozledad said on August 10, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Here’s another Lincoln aphorism that’s just recently come to light:

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  15. Peter said on August 10, 2010 at 11:48 am

    While I appreciate Mr. Slater, I’m kind of stunned: A flight to NY and only ONE passenger stood up and took out the bag in overhead? When I fly to NY on business the ENTIRE CABIN gets up and pulls out the bags as soon as the wheels hit the ground. And you know what? Can’t blame them. It only takes me a few minutes to get off a plane at Newark or LaGuardia, even if I’m way in the back.

    I had a project in Omaha, and it took 20 minutes easy to get off the plane, because everyone waited until the jetway was attached to the plane, and then they all still had to yak yak yak. One time the flight attendant came on the PA and told everyone to get up and out of the darn plane already, and I thought she should have been promoted right then and there.

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  16. Joe Kobiela said on August 10, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Just remember the cost of putting that slide back in operation. It is around $8000.00. I suppose for awhile this guy will be some sort of hero, but who of you would hire him to work at YOUR company. I have a feeling in a few years he will be crying no one will hire him, and if I were the airline I would fight him if he applied for unemployment.
    Pilot Joe.
    Be smarter
    Fly Charter

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  17. Snarkworth said on August 10, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Update on yesterday’s sad tale of Camden’s library closure: The cavalry, in the form of the county library system, is galloping in to save the day by taking over the city branches (or most of them).

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  18. Jeff Borden said on August 10, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Flying is such a drag these days. It now costs more to check two bags than it did for me to fly from Columbus to Newark on PeoplExpress back in the early `80s. The self-styled VIP’s who drag ridiculously large bags into the cabin are often rewarded by having them checked by a flight attendant. The bags are then sitting right on the jetway as the oafs exit.

    I posted last week that the extended family of SheWho reminded me of he cast of “Jersey Shore,” but with less class and lighter suntans. Naturally, there is yet another chapter in this circus of carnival freaks. Levi Johnston, fresh from breaking up with Bristol again, now says he will seek public office as either mayor or city council member in Wasilla as part of a proposed reality TV show. And you may have seen video of SheWho herself, confronting an angry woman in Homer, Alaska during the shooting of her cable series. The woman had posted a 30-foot long sign reading “Worst Governor Ever” –clearly, the woman has never heard of Illinois– and instead of stoically ignoring it, SheWho could not let it pass and engaged the woman. The highlight is when SheWho asks the woman what she does and the woman responds that she is a teacher. SheWho’s eye roll is worthy of a silent film star, but then again, this is a woman who loathes the educated elite, even in Homer, Alaska.

    Of all the many, many things John McCain has done wrong in his life, none will ever top his bringing this fame whore and her brood of snowbillies into the national spotlight.

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  19. Rana said on August 10, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    What I find interesting about the flight attendant story – and about the earlier story about the Russian spies – is the way that the reporter seems to have immediately run to the subject’s MySpace page to find out the backstory on the guy. No more asking around the neighbors anymore, I guess – just get the scoop from the online profile?

    Now I’m wondering how much of those profiles were private or friends-only, and, if so, how the reporters got access to them, or whether they were just general access.

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  20. Sue said on August 10, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    A few months back Bill Clinton went to Arkansas to dis the unions – sorry, help get Blanche Lincoln through a primary made tough for her by outside interests like evil unions who incorrectly thought she should be taken to task for her part in almost torpedoing the health care reform bill that will benefit all Americans, not just her constituents – and now Robert Gibbs goes off on “the professional left”.
    Damn uber-liberals, killing the Democratic party.
    I feel like I’m living in an alternate universe. Although I thought Robert Reich hit the nail on the head a few days back when he wrote in Huffington Post “Whatever the outcome of the upcoming midterm elections, the activist phase of the Obama administration has likely come to a close. The president may have a fight on his hands even to hold on to what he’s already achieved because his legislative successes have been large enough to fuel strong opposition but not big enough to strengthen his support. The result could be disastrous for him and congressional Democrats.”
    So it doesn’t matter either way. If Dems lose control of either/both houses, they’ll be lucky to keep what’s been done, and it won’t be because power-mad progressives pushed through an unrealistic agenda. They barely had a place at the table.

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  21. judybusy said on August 10, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    It always pays to be nice to airline personnel. A couple years ago, when returning from Brazil, we found there was going to be a six hour delay to switch out to a new plane. The line/process at the ticket counter to switch tickets was sloooooooow. People were crabby. We were super chipper and nice, even when we got assigned seats in the back of beyond. Later, that employee found us in line waiting to board, and moved us to row 20 or some such. The words “muito obrigada” never flew out of my mouth so fast! (We also got a voucher for the restaurant. It had a great buffet, and we bought capairinhas. They were the best we had on the trip!)

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  22. Jeff Borden said on August 10, 2010 at 12:58 pm


    Paul Krugman’s column yesterday has me despairing the future. He said pretty much everything I’ve been thinking for the past few years, namely, what the hell has happened to the American mojo? He notes how a nation always on the cutting edge of technology, infrastructure, education and ideas is now going in the opposite direction: cities turning off street lights and closing libraries for lack of funds; counties jackhammering concrete and asphalt roadways into gravel because they are easier to maintain; thousands and thousands of teachers being fired.

    His theory is that 30-years of anti-government rhetoric, aggressive tax cutting and unfunded mandates dating back to St. Ronald have now reached full flower in our national paralysis. God help us all if the Republicans gain either the House or the Senate. The top 2% will be smiling, but the rest of us will be royally screwed.

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  23. Peter said on August 10, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Jeff, while I would agree with you, I don’t think John McCain, much less anybody, could have imagined in their wildest dreams that the little lady turns out to be Snowzilla.

    For someone who most likely hasn’t read Mein Kampf, she does have the routine down: use the big lie, cry that the socialists in the capital stabbed us in the back, bring back our honor. With the WTC “mosque”, she’s even got the blame the minority thing down. Himmel, come to think of it, I better start brushing up on my deutsch. Auf Widersehen meine freunde!

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  24. Snarkworth said on August 10, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    judybusy, capairinhas? Aren’t they those enormous South American rodents?

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  25. MichaelG said on August 10, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    What I noted in the Alaskan plane crash story was that Sean O’Keefe, former NASA chief is (was?) now a big wig with EADS, a European aero-space operation. Funny how those things work.

    I’ve flown 32 trips during the last 12 months according to my account. That’s only a fair amount but it does give one a good look at flying. There are lots of people who fly several times a week. Most of my flights are the one hour shots between Sacto and SoCal so we aren’t on the plane long enough for the true awfulness of contemporary flying to set in. Also I sleep. The flights are 90% business travelers which is nice. They know the drill. I avoid flights to John Wayne (Orange County) because they’re all loaded with families going to Disney Land.

    I’ve seen all the people described and more (with the exception that I’ve never seen flight attendants have to hustle people off the plane – the folks I’ve seen need no encouragement to unass the aircraft) and several things stick out. I am amazed at the amount of pure stuff and the size of the suit cases people bring aboard. I guess SWA encourages it because the more shit pax schlep on and off the aircraft the less their people have to move and the quicker the turn around. The worst problem is on boarding where so many people want to sit in the front of the cabin and clog things up selecting their seats, settling and stowing their garbage in the overhead bins. This causes everyone else to stand in the jetway waiting for them. You also can’t believe how many people will stand in the aisle and chat, obstructing a whole line of people. I just zone out and go with the flow. Being in a hurry will only raise your blood pressure.

    It is in the nature of people to stand up the second the plane hits the jetway. There must be a gene for it. Except for Burbank where there are no jetways but people stand up anyway. This includes seasoned travelers. I don’t understand it. Also, like a reflex, they all have to call somebody on their cell phones. I’ll see many of these same urgent callers at the rental car stand so they’re not calling for a ride. Don’t know what those must make calls are about either except there seems to be an “I just flew in from out of town, aren’t I important” element involved.

    The Wednesday midafternoon flight out of Ontario always has a number of recent prison releases on board. Recent as in that day. They can put down three or four beers between ONT and SMF.

    Getting people on and off the A/C takes a lot of time and affects the turnaround of a fast operator like SWA. SWA is after Boeing to come up with a replacement for the 737 – a real replacement, not an upgrade. One of the things they want to work on is getting folks on and off the plane. They’re even willing to explore twin aisles for a 150 seat A/C.

    Boeing and Airbus now share the market for A/C in that class which, by the way, is the largest selling class of airliner there is. An astounding 6000 plus 737s have been sold.
    Boeing is dragging their feet on a replacement because they have huge investments in the late blooming 787 and the 747-8 freighter which they want to start recovering and because they are looking for a next generation engine which isn’t on the horizon just yet. Airbus has their own problems with huge investments in the giant A-380 and the A-400M which is a military transport. In the next few years manufacturers in Canada, Brazil, China and Russia will begin to challenge Boeing and Airbus and both are going to be forced to respond. You can bet that some of these new entries will be sold at deep discounts. Gonna be interesting.

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  26. LAMary said on August 10, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    John McCain didn’t hesitate to bring Snowzilla to Arizona to endorse him. Her obnoxious charm was too good to waste.

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  27. Jeff Borden said on August 10, 2010 at 1:14 pm


    I like that word –Snowzilla– and you are probably correct that poor, old, addled John McCain had no idea what he was unleashing. Still, I hold it against him and always will. He folded on his own principles –he wanted Joe Lieberman on his ticket– and chose a dangerously stupid demagogue as his running mate. That he still defends that choice is another strike against him.

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  28. Jen said on August 10, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    The thing that annoyed me the most the last time I flew was the fact that the airlines don’t follow their own rules regarding carry-on luggage size. Now that they made the stupid decision to charge for the first checked bag instead of just upping ticket prices for everyone, there are tons of jerks who carry on a bag the size of a refrigerator and then get it checked for free. The airlines need to demand that people stick their carry-on bags in the little sizing boxes at check in and check their bags if they don’t fit. And if they get their giant bags through security and try to carry them onto the plane when they don’t fit in the overhead bin or under their seats, they need to be charged the checked bag charge plus a penalty fee to check it. The assholes who try to carry on giant bags need to be stopped!!!

    I also hate it when people stand up the second the wheels hit the ground, but the only way I know not to do it is because I’ve flown so many times. I just pay attention to when the flight attendants open the door and then start thinking about standing up. I just figure it’s easier to let the cabin clear out a little bit before I try to maneuver with my bags and everything. But, then again, I’ve flown a lot of times and my parents taught me common sense and good manners. Go figure.

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  29. ROgirl said on August 10, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Didn’t John McCain lose his principles when he embraced Bush back in…2005?

    The assholes who try to get up and pull their bags down before the plane stops aren’t on a bus. No one is going to let them rush ahead and get off the plane first.

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  30. Julie Robinson said on August 10, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Remember when the Southwest attendants seemed to be having a really great time? The last couple of times we’ve flown SWA, we’ve observed that the general malaise of air travel has hit them too. Too bad because they did make the flights more fun.

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  31. judybusy said on August 10, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    snarkworth, I think you’re thinkng capybaras. While kinda cute, they’re no where near as tasty and resfreshing as a capairinha!

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  32. prospero said on August 10, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Sharron Angle was the guest of honor at the so-called Doctor’s Teaparty in San Diego. Of course, the fete was organized by American Asociation of Phisiacians and Surgeons, a real tiny conservative fringe group reviled or ignored by physicians in general and too whack for the AMA. So I suppose that amounts to looney squared.

    Anyway no big deal, but is anybody else as surprised as I that the event was held in what can only be a replicaa of the famous and sacred Blue Mosque.

    A fairly provocative opinion about plagiarism in NYT today.

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  33. Snarkworth said on August 10, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Just Googled caipirinhas, and boy, do they seem tasty! But the capybara is sweet as well, in its own way.

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  34. Jeff Borden said on August 10, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Damn. I thought you were talking about chupacabras!

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  35. Bob (Not Greene) said on August 10, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Update on the flight attendant saga in the New York Times.

    New revelations:

    The rude passenger was a woman.

    She had earlier (or later) in the flight slammed the door to the overhead compartment onto the flight attendant’s head, causing a gash.

    The flight attendant was at one time married.

    The alleged ex-wife of the flight attendant still talks to his mother.

    He couldn’t post bond and remains in custody.

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  36. MarkH said on August 10, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Ha! “Why activate the slide?” “It was right there.”


    Glad to see there is a tracking down of the passenger/culprit. It appears ther was an assault committed, perhaps twice, in front of witnesses. They better haul her ass into court, too.

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  37. Jason T. said on August 10, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Man, I sometimes look at old photos of air travel — guys in hats and ties, women in gloves and dresses — and get really jealous. Nowadays, it’s like traveling by a flying Trailways bus. And that’s really unfair to Trailways.

    Part of the reason people dressed up, of course, is that flying was a lot more expensive 50 years ago. They dressed for the occasion because it was a special occasion.

    Of course, nowadays, no one dresses for anything. I had dinner last week in the dining room of a very nice hotel: Linen, silver service, crystal glasses, the works.

    Admittedly, my girlfriend and I were dressed “business casual.” But we were positively over-dressed compared to the three guys who came in wearing cut-offs and never removed their baseball caps.


    Pilot Joe wrote:

    Be smarter
    Fly Char­ter

    I’ll see you, Joe, and raise you “Pan Am Makes the Going Great” and “Go Getters Go Ozark.”

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  38. Deborah said on August 10, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    I remember dressing up to pick up my grandfather at the airport when he came to visit us every winter in Miami. Everyone dressed up, even just to meet people at the airport, much less get on an airplane. The passengers looked like a million bucks to me while I watched them walk down the steps onto the tarmac. My grandfather lived on a farm and wore overalls all the time, he looked like the old guy in the ancient TV show “The Real McCoys” (Walter Brennan I think), but he always wore a suit, tie and hat when he traveled.

    I’m an old fart too.

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  39. 4dbirds said on August 10, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Another old fart. We too dressed up just to pick people up from the airport.

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  40. Rana said on August 10, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    I don’t remember ever dressing up to travel (though my grandparents did) but dressing up to eat in a nice restaurant is something I still take as a given. Last month D and I ate out at a fancy Peruvian fusion place in Portland (for which we had to make a reservation) and we were both worried about being under-dressed, due to our traveling wardrobe. We needn’t have been concerned; at the table next to us were a couple in ratty t-shirts and shorts. It put a slight dent in the special treat aspect of the evening.

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  41. brian stouder said on August 10, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Prospero made the very point that struck me: imagine the outrage from the hard-right Angles of the world, if the president or his wife made a campaign stop in front of a blue mosque structure with all those “hidden-meaning” symbols and designs so prominently displayed. Who knows WHAT gems the bug-eyed Glen Beck (for one) would ejaculate upon his enthusiastically head-bobbing audience*?

    And by the way, I’m just plain angry about the way the blowhards on the right have relentlessly attacked the first lady, from before Day One to now. She took a week’s vacation with her daughter in August….AN OUTRAGE!! She went to Spain….A BIGGER OUTRAGE!! The US Government decided it was in the national interest to make sure she was safe from those who would do her harm….COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!!!

    But enough about that. I’m with Nance on not recognizing Lincoln in that quote. When he spoke in terms of macro-economics and/or “class”, it was generally to deride the class of people who say “You work, and I’ll eat” – and not the other way around.

    If a person wanted to expropriate a few Lincoln quotes, to buttress current day right-wing shibboleths and/or polish their prejudices, there’s “Root, hog, or die” – not original with the 16th president, but what he said with regard to the freed people, after the war (in response to the expressed fears of the southerners who thought that without their slave-drivers, the blacks and the whites would starve)

    The GOP could put that on bumper stickers with regard to the termination of Unemployment Benefits. (one can just imagine seeing such a sticker on the back of a two-seat Mercedes coupe, as I recently saw a racist sticker on the inside of the back window of such a car. The person apparently had enough of a sense of shame to remove the sticker from time to time; presumeably replacing it before going to dinner at the club)

    On the other hand, for the right-wing lunatic tee shirt crowd (the “tree of liberty/blood of patriots” types), they could pluck a few Lincolnian remarks from the Lincoln Douglas debates, which would make them more comfortable in their racism.

    I also recall reading a fairly stern letter Lincoln wrote to one of his step brothers (I think) who had requested money. IIRC, it was in the 1850’s – before he was president, and while he was racking up dollars as a successful prairie lawyer, and he lectured the fellow a bit about making a plan and then sticking with it (the step brother had said he needed money to ‘start a new life’; and Abe had seen that story before and knew how it would turn out).

    I’ll go looking for that; there might be a sweeping declaration or two in there about money and debt and responsiblity, which might resemble that bumper sticker, a little bit.

    *I never realized the real reach that Beck had achieved, until I went to that somewhat scarey Souder townhall meeting last year. Beck’s name was invoked more often than God and Obama, combined! Anyway – we now know how THAT all turned out, for Souder. Come to think of it, our congressman probably went to the lake that very night…

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  42. John G. Wallace said on August 10, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Not totally sold on the hero bit yet, but slater should have followed the interfering with a flight crew route and had the FEMALE jerk arrested.
    I was just talking with an old friend about our usually sucessful way to defraud people express.
    You used to pay on board but could use a phone menu to reserve flights. we figured out what flights would likely be oversold and reserve them, get there early and volunteer for the voucher. If the flight wasn’t oversold we would just go home.
    I once flew from newark to chicago with a disheveled scrungy male flight attendant who was wearing a ratty woolen winter hat, and a hoodie also. He declined to offer beverage service and told us it was due to potential turbulance on one of the smoothest flights of my life.
    I have found if you say please and thank you, smile, and pay attention to the safety briefing things work out. And they all seem to be gay men; I treated a guy on an embraer 135 with respect, he told me he rarely sees anyone listen to the briefing, and since I was in the oddball single seat across from the “galley,” he sent me off with food and a few cans of coke.
    My wife flew back to ft. wayne this morning and on the leg to atlanta they seated her next to another passenger’s snarling little maltese.
    Flying is very uncivilized now, I’m an old time airline buff. We also had to dress up, got cockpit visits, meals, and no regional jets. I miss seeing the Delta 727 parked overnight in ft. wayne back in the late 80’s.

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  43. John G. Wallace said on August 10, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    I have cracked facebook stuff but it only works about half the time, and seems work best on opera, firefox, or safari. has mirror servers with the us content, so a search from there sometimes yields the us user’s content, or the page itself that you have to translate, and on some it clicks through to their page.
    Haven’t tried that in a while, and hackers always ruin it for everyone so the door may be shut.

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  44. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 10, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    I’m just speculating here — it wouldn’t surprise me that turning in an unruly passenger is a career ender for a flight crew member. I doubt the airlines encourage their staff to pick up the phone and call security on a paying customer; my guess is that if the behavior doesn’t trigger the air marshal into action, the flight crew just has to take it.

    Which on that day, he didn’t.

    Brian, was that in a letter to poor old Dennis Hanks, his cousin?

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  45. MarkH said on August 10, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    I know you’re speculating, Jeff, but I would disagree, at least in this case. With either the overhead bin cover or her bag, this (presumably) woman committed a physical assault on Slater while she violated in-flight rules. And, until you get to the gate, you are in flight and must remain in your seat. Getting out of your seat just after touchdown, while still on runway roll out is not only stupid, but a huge liability issue for the airline. If the plane had to veer or stop suddenly and this woman was injured as a result, she might be the first to file a suit saying, “they didn’t make me stay in my seat!” Lawyers get rich off this stuff. If it’s a matter of where you draw the line, I think this crossed it. Be interesting to hear a flight attendant’s view on this, though.

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  46. John G. Wallace said on August 10, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    there is a less likely chance of an air marshall being on a flight that is domestic or even a regional jet, this looked like an Embraer 170 or 190, so a big regional. Just like the one in the phallic picture of him and the jet. This made my day especially his role as the chairman of the JetBlue uniform re-design committee.
    I can’t get specific and everything I know is public, at least what I’ll say anywhere online. They allocate staffing based on threats, chatter, possible probing attempts, and account for things like fuel load, passenger load.
    Look for the better dressed guy with a cool blackberry in first. Has anyone else heard specific announcements about “who ever is using a (specifc device) needs to turn it off.”
    One more hint – why are more and more states making photo id where you can’t smile…. Here in Florida they tell you, you’re in florida, it’s ok to smile”
    I did a story on the Indiana National Guard’s homeland security response team and they were on the record and honest – every major event they run facial recognition software, frequently evaluate radiation blips, which is almost always someone on chemo and radiation, and the main reason the indy airport stopped the poofy air thing was too many farmers and country people with fertilizer on their shoes or residue on clothing. I think that was in the IndyStar also.
    Now the tsa mall-cop wannabes get to take body scans and have already been in trouble for saving them. And as it always seems to be – my wife who is sweet but heavy and 5 foot tall, no super secret special screening, the pretty blonde in her late 20’s, as I walked out of the airport a female agent was sifting through her garments with two gawky guys hovering nearby.

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  47. MichaelG said on August 10, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    All those rules about sitting, standing, kneeling, genuflecting, bags, etc. on airplanes are FAA regs, not something dreamed up by Strato Lines, Inc.

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  48. brian stouder said on August 10, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    Jeff, I found, on page 323 of The Life and Writings of Abraham Lincoln, which has a wonderful subject index, that it was an 1848 letter to John D Johnston.

    The book prefaces the letter this way: His foster brother is on his neck for money. Lincoln as tactfully as possible declines to lend him eighty dollars and offers him good solid middle-class advice instead

    I don’t exactly agree with that summation, as Lincoln does indeed offer a 1:1 match, where he will give his brother dollars for each dollar he earns on his own, for five months.

    Anyway, with the name John D Johnson, I hit the google, and came up with many, many hits (presumeably one could have googled this anyway, and come up with it, but what fun would that have been?), and indeed several commercial appeals of various sorts utilize this letter….including this one:

    which ends with this footer: This was taken from The Book of Virtues – A Treasury of Great
    Moral Stories. Edited, With Commentary, by William J. Bennett. A Touchstone Book. Published by William & Schuster.

    As they say: well, isn’t that special? (“Sorry Bill, I ain’t gonna lend ya eighty thousand dollars so you can fly to Vegas and stay up all night playing the slots. You have to work hard and earn your own money, to feed those one arm bandits…” etc)

    edit: John – I seem to recall my grandmother getting on a large passenger airplane at Baer Field, and she climbed the outdoor mobile stairs and boarded a 4-engine propeller plane! Thinking back, she had probably come for the birth of my youngest brother, so it was probably 1965, and Fort Wayne didn’t have jet service.

    In my recollection, the plane was huge (like a B-29); I don’t think it was a constellation; presumeably it was whatever United was then flying into Fort Wayne.

    A further airport digression – I recall winning a free airplane ride, probably about 1973 or 74, through the Red Barn at McMillan Park. Two kids from each park in the city got to board a Delta jet (DC-8?) and fly to Detroit; have lunch at the airport, and fly back(!). I think flight time was something like 15 or 20 minutes, but it was very, very cool.

    The kicker was, before getting on the plane, they snapped a photo of all of us, and a few days later when that appeared in the News-Sentinel, the caption said something like “City’s under-privileged youth get chance to fly”. This pretty much gobsmacked my mom and dad, at the time!

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  49. Denice B. said on August 10, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    My 17 year old is convinced that her parents are brainwashing her to be a left-wing liberal. We talk about the latest Republican outrage and ask her opinion, and she accuses us forcing her to be us. I reassure her that she has to think for herself. And if she wants to be a vile, annoying, ignorant Sarah Palin wanna-be, she will be disowned. I mean loved anyway. Then disowned.

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  50. John G. Wallace said on August 11, 2010 at 12:25 am

    Likely a DC-8, the hardcore folks at would know for sure, and with less crowded skies and noise and fuel management issues 15-20 min would be right.The prop may have been the Lockheed Electra, an early turboprop, but could have been a convair or a few other things.

    there is one guy from huntington or southern wells who is the fort wayne airliner expert on that site. Still wonder why they can’t get continental to fly a regional jet route from their newark hub, instead of a turboprop from cleveland. direct service to the new york area would be a welcome thing. Or southwest….

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  51. Joe Kobiela said on August 11, 2010 at 1:33 am

    Most likely a dc-4,6,or 7 for the 4engine prop, and most likely a dc-9 for your trip to DTW. Just got back from Minniapolis via Louisville Man there was some exteme lightning in Minnisota tonight.
    If it ain’t Boeing
    I’m not going
    Pilot Joe

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  52. MarkH said on August 11, 2010 at 5:06 am

    Remember Catherine’s post #12 about the girl who emailed her resignation to the entire office using a dry erase board? A hoax, a wonderful one at that:

    BTW, I think I’m in love.

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  53. basset said on August 11, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Might have been a Lockheed Constellation, I remember going to Weir Cook in Indianapolis to pick up relatives in 1965 and seeing those triple tails sticking up over the terminal building:

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  54. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 11, 2010 at 9:55 am

    How long was it Weir Cook? My first flight out of there was 1980, and I seem to recall everyone still calling it that. Maybe it was “officially” Indy Intl’ Airport by then but people weren’t using it yet.

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  55. Dorothy said on August 11, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Nance I am curious about something. You shared a link to the Daily Bunny. It’s cute, and I know you guys must be loving Ruby. But do you miss having a dog?

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  56. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 11, 2010 at 10:18 am


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  57. nancy said on August 11, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Dorothy: Yes. Every single day. A rabbit is no dog.

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  58. LAMary said on August 11, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    I can rent one of my dogs to you. I’ll fed ex Max. Say the word. If nothing else, he might help you get over missing the company of dogs. He can be pretty obnoxious.

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