No Shirt. No Flight.

The third guy, shirtless for easy identification, ran into Terminal 4.

Shirtless! Was he hoping to get on COPS?

melissa and charlotte smirkIt’s 10:00 PM. Helaine and I should be on a plane approaching Milwaukee. Instead, the plane is over Western Kansas and we’re in SoCal.

We were headed cheeseward on the occasion of my niece Melissa’s daughter’s naming. Grand niece, right?


She’s really adorable and I’m sure I’m already her favorite uncle. If not, please fix that.

Thank you Arizona criminals!

It all started around 2:30 at a Tempe, Arizona gas station. A fight there turned to gunplay with one man critically injured. The perps took off.

Cops quickly spotted them speeding from the scene. These guys weren’t giving up easily. They hit the gas hard until the police were forced to back off for safety.

shirtless suspectThey were next seen at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport. Two of the suspects, a man and a woman, were quickly arrested. The third guy, shirtless for easy identification, ran into Terminal 4.

Shirtless! Was he hoping to get on COPS?

Terminal 4 is where Southwest’s TPA-DEN-SMF-SNA-PHX-AUS Flight 4661 usually makes its next to last stop.

We were ready to board at John Wayne when the gate agent told us to sit, Phoenix was closed!

First Southwest delayed the flight. Then they cancelled. They pulled the trigger very quickly on what looked to be a full load. Surprising.

Within seconds nearly everyone at Gate 16 reached for their pockets. We got emails. We got texts.

I tapped in Southwest’s number.

“We can call you back in 12-17 minutes,” the not-really-a-woman on the phone said.

I pressed one for yes.

Forty five minutes later they called back.

We were stuck. Christina, Stef’s best friend, is scheduled to stay here Sunday night . This Milwaukee trip was already squeezed into the tiniest possible space.

We picked up Doppler at the sitter and came home.

sky harbor shooting arrestDay wasted!

We will reschedule soon. We’ve got a great niece to see and my folks, plus Trudi and Jeff’s three generations.

Oh, and Phoenix suspect… on behalf all the people inconvenienced by your stupid, violent act and on behalf of the poor man you sent to the hospital, don’t get your hopes up for character witnesses.


John Wayne Airport claims to be located in Santa Ana, but it’s really in a complex governmental no-man’s land. No one calls it Santa Ana, probably because Santa Ana is poor. That’s not very comforting.

The airport is commonly referred to as Orange County or John Wayne.

Because the magnetic field of the Earth changes ever so slightly from year-to-year, this summer they had to renumber runway 1R-19L and 1L-19R to 2-20 left and right. Honest.

Two Days Of Shooting In The O.C.

I’m cautiously optimistic by what I see, but I am by no means a portrait photographer.

IMG_0080.jpgWelcome to California. I am 536 photos into my trip! Long day.

Cousin Melissa and her son Cousin Max met me at the Orange County Airport. With a larger than life bronze statue of John Wayne as a sixshooter wearing cowboy in front of a larger than life American flag there was no forgetting the conservative rep The OC has claimed through my lifetime.

This is a trip all about photography. Melissa is running for office and I’m her shooter. All I can think about are the stories I heard about the friend who shot my parent’s wedding and never produced the photos! My folks have no wedding photos. Please–don’t let that be me.

The idea was to find a bunch of setups where Melissa would interact with her potential electorate. I had been schooled by my Cousin Michael who sent links to some political websites featuring candidate photos. Without naming names I can safely say some of them used a friend with a point-and-shoot or got horribly ripped off.

We took dozens of pics yesterday afternoon and then restarted the process this morning. With friends and relatives in tow we went to parks and schools and other picturesque and/or identifiable spots.

IMG_0180-1.jpgI’m not posting any of those photos. Not yet at least. We need to go through a photo culling process and some minor post processing. I’m cautiously optimistic by what I see, but I am by no means a portrait photographer.

My biggest concern and constant shot-by-shot problem is controlling the Speedlight. I’ve been using my friend Steve’s “pope hat” made of Ikea plastic shelf liner to soften the light. I’ve probably taken more flash augmented outdoor shots in full sun today than in all my previous uses of the flash!

I can tell you this. Orange County is beautiful. Though this area was desert a few decades ago it is lush, green, full of people… and vacant office space. Orange County is ground zero for America’s financial meltdown.

What’s Up With My Colon?

It’s after 3:00 AM. I am having my first thoughts of going to bed. One more spin through the channels.

TV at this time of day has little in common with what ‘normal’ people see. If infomercials aren’t the majority programming right now, they’re pretty close. It’s everything you might see during the day and more… like program length commercials for Girls Gone Wild!

One the new staples of all night TV are programs dedicated to my colon. I think three separate ones are currently running. That’s too much colonic interest for me.

More than once I’ve heard someone quote the statistics on how much fecal material was in John Wayne’s colon, postmortem. Take that Ron Popeil!

The pitch is for an herbal supplement. They don’t have to say everything. I can figure it out. If we’re getting rid of all that gook stuck inside me, I’d better not plan on any long drives in the country for a while.

The folks on the colon infomercial I favor look like a trio who washed out as carney’s. They’re on a cheesy set with a backdrop photo that seems to be Las Vegas. I’m supposed to take medical advice from them?

Can there really be that much demand for this kind of product anyway? And, if there is, is there really enough profit to promote this on an infomercial (which traditionally only work with very high markup products)?

This is even more unfair to those on the West Coast. For them, this stuff starts running three hours earlier.

I Can’t Resist an Airplane Disaster Movie

When I was a kid, I’d watch Million Dollar Movie on WOR-TV Channel 9. Million Dollar Movie (in an era when $1,000,000 was a big deal) played the same movie for a week, each and every day. When there was a good movie, I’d watch it as often as I could.

Every 4th of July they showed Yankee Doodle Dandy with James Cagney. I’m sure if I saw it today, I’d remember much of the dialog.

One of the movies they played was “The High And The Mighty”, starring John Wayne as an airline pilot with a crippled plane flying just past the ‘point of no return’ between Hawaii and San Fransisco. Flight attendants are stewardesses, passengers – geese, and the former knows the name of each of the latter.

“The High and The Mighty” was my first airplane disaster movie. I was hooked. It was obvious the plane wouldn’t crash… and still it held my interest and it still holds my affection.

I love airplane disaster movies! This sets the stage for what I watched tonight on Encore Action, one of the many 2nd run movie channels included in our basic digital package.

Who could ever forget:

Final Descent

Director: MIKE ROBE 1997

Synopsis: A jumbo jet’s crew struggles to land safely after a severe midair collision.


This is by far one of the most trite movies ever made. Every possible clich