On Traveling

Given a robust sample size of three flights in one day, I can conclusively tell you that the time most people simultaneously spring from their seat and head for the toilet is right after the pilot turns on the seatbelt sign about 30 minutes before landing. The bell dings and heads pop up like whack-a-moles.

Through close observation, I have noticed that each of these rule-breaking passengers goes through the same motions. He half rises from his seat, placing one hand on the seat back in front of him, one hand behind. He cranes his neck and looks forward and aft, trying to determine if the stewardess is looking his way. If the stewardess is nearby, his face turns furtive, trying to give the message that he is just stretching and that he has no plans to bolt. But if the stewardess is remote, he claws his way into the aisle, hikes up his trousers and legs it to the toilet, where there is usually a line.

This happens so often—I have never been on a flight where it has not—that the timing of the seat-belt-sign illumination must have a built-in safety margin. My seatmate (a stranger), after sucking down a large coffee, did this on a short haul right as we went into the approach, and the stewardess had to phone the pilot to advise delaying the landing. The pilot must have not have agreed, because I heard the stewardess say in a resigned tone,”Okay.” My seatmate made it back on time, but barely.

Apropos the TSA. I stood by one security counter for about five to eight minutes and I did not see even one person get a pat down. I did watch one young mother have her baby bottles scrutinized. One was opened and, I swear, sniffed by the gloved agent. One bottle must have spilled in the tray, because a roll of paper towels went into action.

On the subject of high-flying objects, the Daily Mail has a hard-hitting investigative report on the ghastliness of breast implants (complete with pictures, guys).

They are proudly displayed by a group I call ‘the Boob-Job Boobies’: the A-list celebrities and C-list nobodies who are forever out on the town with their big bosoms popping out over little black dresses.

I’m not sure what authority is tasked with rating celebrities, but I can understand that the Daily Mail is against these inflationary devices. As am I; though I admit my prejudices may have been shaped by what, through remarkable good fortune, life has presented me in the form of natural beauty (not my own).

The reporter says:

A woman with real class would never have a boob job. For here’s the most remarkable thing that no surgeon who takes your money will ever tell you: those big inflatables just aren’t sexy.

Indeed, quite the opposite: a boob job makes an attractive woman seem less attractive — it’s the breast equivalent of the trout pout.

To which we can only say: amen.

Abrupt segue: on that same Daily Mail page appears the link to the article, “Will The Beaver really launch Mel Gibson’s career comeback?

I admit to some jet leg, so I cannot be certain my fogged gray cells are deceiving me. But this appears to be a review of a Mel Gibson movies called The Beaver. “The Braveheart star plays a depressed man who finds solace by wearing the furry beaver hand puppet that he uses to communicate with people.”

I searched the text twice, but was unable to discover any indication that this was some kind of prank. And we’re nowhere near April 1st.

The voice over of the trailer starts: ‘ This is the story of Walter Black, a hopelessly depressed individual. The successful, loving family man he used to be has gone missing.’

Walter: ‘What’s that?’ (Younger son pulls out arts and crafts project from a bag.)

Younger son: ‘Your brain. Mom says yours got broken.’

Voice over: ‘You can see, Walter is a man who’s lost all hope.’

Walter to his beaver puppet, who becomes his alter ego: ‘I’m sick.’

I’ll probably read these words later after fully waking and realize that the movie is indeed a hoax. This will only re-prove to me that traveling takes it toll.


  1. Speed

    Airline travel in the US is so safe that most injuries happen to unsecured cabin crew.

    … the captain asked the flight attendant (F/A) if she had the beverage cart out and she replied she did. The captain informed her to suspend beverage service due to potential incoming turbulence and to be seated.

    The F/A stated that she began to put the beverage cart away as instructed by the captain and when she went to release the cart brake, the flight encountered turbulence which the flight crew later described as being moderate lasting approximately 15 seconds. The F/A reported she became airborne along with the cart and when she landed she heard a “crunch” type sound. She crawled to the intercom phone and alerted the captain that she thought she broke her ankle. Two passengers assisted the injured F/A by securing the beverage cart, and the F/A made all the required safety announcements. An emergency was declared with air traffic control and the flight proceeded to EWN and landed without further event. The F/A was transported to a hospital and was determined to have sustained compound fractures of her left tibia and fibula.

    Occasionally a paying customer will find himself on the floor.

    While on final approach to the destination airport, the airplane was in light turbulence with occasional moderate turbulence. Flight and cabin crew reports of the event indicated that several announcements had been made instructing passengers to remain seated with their seat belts fastened for the remainder of the flight and that the fasten seat belt signs were illuminated. After these instructions were given, a passenger elected to leave his seat to use the lavatory. While returning to his seat after using the lavatory, the airplane encountered moderate turbulence and the passenger fell. He suffered a broken ankle.

    According to a report by one of the cabin attendants, the captain had announced on three separate occasions to remain seated prior to the accident. She stated that the passenger left his seat to use the lavatory and she instructed him to return to his seat and fasten his seat belt. At this time the passenger complied. She stated that about 4 – 5 minutes later, the passenger again left his seat to use the lavatory. She again informed him that it was not safe to be out of his seat and that he needed to return to his seat. The passenger did not comply and entered the lavatory. When returning to his seat, the airplane encountered moderate turbulence and the passenger fell.

  2. Fish lips are the WORST idea ever dreamed up by women. You can’t blame men for that.

  3. Speed

    The Beaver is an upcoming dark comedy based on an original script by screenwriter Kyle Killen. The film is directed by Jodie Foster and stars Mel Gibson, Anton Yelchin, and Foster. The Beaver follows a depressed CEO of a toy company (Gibson) who dons a beaver handpuppet to better communicate with his wife (Foster) and his two sons (Yelchin, Riley Thomas Stewart). The script by Killen topped the 2008 Blacklist, a ranking of the best unproduced screenplays. Brendon Connelly of SlashFilm called the screenplay “one of the few very best screenplays” he has “ever read.”

    No mention of June, Ward or Wally.

  4. j ferguson

    Was it Senhor Wences who used to have conversations with his hand disguised as a puppet? Seems to me there was someone else, possibly someone in the newspaper comics – Kudzu?

  5. DAV

    IIRC the 30-minute before landing rule is one of those unjustifiable 9/11 fallouts. Nothing to do with safety per se and apparently convenient to the airlines (like the comparing of ID’s to ticket name which killed the cheap ticket gray market). Previous practice was around 10-15 minutes out and I once saw the light come on during final approach inside the approach gate (often approx. 7nm out).

    I agree most women don’t need breast implants and they are frequently overdone.

    I will spare you the talking hand jokes.

  6. Briggs:

    “I can conclusively tell you that the time most people simultaneously spring from their seat and head for the toilet is right after the pilot turns on the seatbelt sign about 30 minutes before landing.”

    Next you’ll be telling us children are the thirstiest in the 30 minute period immediately after being put to bed. You stats guys are good.

    Did anyone else find it a bit troubling Wiki used a horror-film genre site source for the “best screenplay ever” quote? Well, duh!

  7. GoneWithTheWind

    It simply isn’t true that implants are unattractive. While the article feels the need to go overboard describing something in unattractive terms it makes me wonder why they don’t let them stand on their own (pun intended). I mean why should anyone care other then the owner of the enhanced breasts and the indivdual who will get to view or otherwise use the enhanced breasts. If they are happy why should anyone else care?

    Mel Gibson made inappropriate remarks while drunk! Stop the presses that’s never happened before. He also was intentionally driven to anger by his ex when he was drunk so she could tape his outbursts as “proof” he was unfit to have his child and therefore should promptly give her $20 million… Does anyone else but me see a sick disgusting criminal extortion plot here? Gibson may never live down his shame over his outbursts but compared with most famous people he doesn’t seem so bad. I’m sure glad no one had a tape recorder going when I broke my arm. I think I would have made Gibson sound pious by comparison.

  8. Luis Dias

    Mel Gibson is an insane man. You say, bad people crawl around him, well in Portugal we have a sayin’: tell me who your friends are, I’ll tell you who you are (diz-me com quem andas dir-te-ei quem és). And his religious beliefs are just even more insane. I think he told his wife she would go to hell because she didn’t belong to his right sect of christianity. His father is a well known anti-semitic holocaust denier, and the son thinks his theories are “interesting”. Well sure, Mel.

    Above all, his movies are mostly crap (except for deadly weapon which is just crazy). And that is what I find most unforgivable.

  9. Ari


    I may agree with you that Gibson has pretty much jumped as far over the crazy shark as one can, but I will say that he has quite a few fun movies.

    Lethal Weapon was always a blast, Mad Max (and its sequels) are great, and Braveheart is fun if only for its well choreographed fight scenes.

  10. Eric Dailey

    Make note: just after MG’s film which prominently featured (and exaggerated) the foreign made Beretta 9MM semi-auto side arm many (and large) law enforcement agencies changed their service weapons from American made guns to Italian Beretta 9MMs. For the job the 9MM is inferior to either 45ACP or S&W357 caliber arms. I believe the movie was part of a cultural manipulation on a grand scale.

    People who know more about the change out are the Department Armorers who did the swap for their agencies.

  11. max

    How can you forget “Payback” when talking about fun Mel Gibson films, the film that showed he could actually act?


    As for implants:

    I am reluctant to accept as an authority on the subject a man who’s wife left him for a younger woman.

    Snark aside, like all things, implants can be done well and done poorly. Merely because some poor examples exist is not a reason to denigrate the entire class of bosom enhancement. Given that the writer admits to only one intimate encounter with this miracle of modern science, it does not seem reasonable that he has enough data to form a valid judgment.

    However the no-doubt-offensive-to-M. Landesman overdone implants of, as an example only, Pamela Anderson seem not to have driven men away. While there are all kinds of people out there with a wide variety of tastes, from a statistical point of view the odds favor heterosexual men finding larger breasts attractive and a deep decolletage enticing.

    The whole “article” is a repeating example of the logical error of hasty generalization: because one man (the writer) does not like breast, no men like breasts: because one set of silicon implants was unattractive to one man, no men find any enhanced breast attractive. The article says something about the tastes of the the writer but nothing about the desirability of cosmetic mamillary modification.

  12. brett

    Should the word bosom be used as a singular or a plural term , as in, “Jane has a great bosom” or “Jane has great bosoms” or should one just sustitute the more general term ‘bust’ as in “Jane has a great bust”.

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