Thursday, February 24, 2005


Returned home yesterday evening after a productive (albeit brief) visit to Chicargo. I’m not sure how the travel office pulled this one off, but I ended up flying the entire round trip in First Class. Whoop-de-do.

American Airlines, like most others these days, is struggling, so First ain’t what it used to be. The seat was nice, big, and comfortable, with a built-in headrest that did a nice job of cradling the Noggin d’Elisson. Even better, the seat actually reclined, despite the fact that I was in the last row. This allowed me to lay back without the guilt I normally feel when I crush the kneecaps of the poor son of a bitch sitting behind me.

There was no meal. Continental will still serve a perfunctory meal in First, but American apparently does not, at least on such a relatively short flight. But they do give you a nice little dish of warm mixed nuts. Good ones, too: cashews, filberts, pistachios, and a smattering of pecans. None of them low-rent peanuts.

Much nicer than the ubiquitous “Scrotum Snack” most airlines hand you: a sack of nuts. Or even worse, that nasty packet of Snacky Substances (“with the Pong o’ Almost Real Cheese!”) No, this was good.

It’s ridiculous to gripe about the lack of meals on most airplane flights. One could make the case that the extinction of Airline Food is a Good Thing. For the most part, it sucks, no matter whether you’re in Coach, First, or the Johnny-come-lately Business Class. Even in the ancient days when Eastern Airlines (remember them?) would serve a filet mignon on toast, they would cook that bad boy until it was grey and lifeless. Feh. So if you want to eat on the plane, pack yer own damn meal.

It would be whiny to complain that the coffee was served in a plastic cup instead of heavy china. The comfy seat more than made up for that.

My seatmate was evidently a lawyer, and he pretty much kept to himself while he knocked out a lengthy document that contained the word “Whereas” about 157 times. Meanwhile, the mid-twentyish guy sitting in front of me was having an animated conversation with the woman sitting next to him, something about music. He and his brothers (they were in my row, across the aisle) apparently were in a band that had just released a new CD after a gap of several years. Unlike their earlier stuff, the new release was independently produced - it was charting well in the U.K. and was due to come out soon in the States.

When the plane landed and we started to get off, I asked the young man why the group had gone indie. Seems that their label had moved into hip-hop big time, and no longer fit with their needs. Besides, going independent made more sense today, given the seismic shifts in how music is distributed - downloads, etc.

What brought Isaac (for that was his name) and his two brothers to Atlanta, I asked. Performing? No, just taking a break for a few days.

Isaac is 24 now, and his brothers Taylor and Zac are 21 and 19. They don’t look at all like they did ten years ago when they released their first album. Hell, they were little kids then.

Their music? Not my cup of tea, but then again, I’m 52 years old. I’ve been playing Skankin’ Pickle lately, being in a ska-punk mood all week.

But I wish ’em well. MmmBop, dudes.

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