Great Movies Or Faulty Memories?

Another “good old days” favorite knocked off by modern cinematic technique. Crap–it’s true. This seminal scene from “North by Northwest” is only astounding if you judge it by 1959 standards.

Intern Jacob put James Bond up against Jason Bourne in his blog earlier today. Which secret agent is cooler?

This started us on a conversation where he touted the newest Bond movie (which I’d had no desire to see until our conversation). Jacob says there’s a an aerial dogfight scene in the Bond movie. He was impressed.

I wasn’t having any of his late-to-the-party airplane talk so I opened Youtube and found the crop duster scene from Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest.” This is one of the finest action movies ever made… except this frenetic scene seems so tame by today’s standards. Youtube posted a 9:00 clip. The first five minutes was a yawner. The actual swooping crop duster wasn’t much better. I’m not sure it’s even up to the standards of 21st Century episodic TV.

This is so frustrating. Another “good old days” favorite knocked off by modern cinematic technique. Crap–it’s true. This seminal scene from “North by Northwest” is only astounding if you judge it by 1959 standards.

I remember hearing my parents talk about radio theater when I was growing up. I smiled and let them have their say knowing radio was never as good as what we then had. When they were listening in the 30s and 40s they couldn’t compare it to things that didn’t yet exist. By the time TV had come along they’d forgotten the specifics of the radio shows and only remembered how good they were in the abstract.

I had a similar conversation with my secretive friend in the San Fernando Valley this weekend. A new “Little Rascals” retrospective has been issued. Every movie Spankie and Alfalfa ever made on DVD in their original gritty black and white.

“Boring,” he said. “We watched it because that’s all that was on.”

Between my friend’s read on the Rascals and this crushing viewing of “North by Northwest,” I have become my parents. I hate when that happens.

What Am I (Not) Thinking

I am writing to you while on my butt at Gate 5 (thanks Northwest) Bradley International Airport. The wireless connection is free, but the only seats near a power outlet are taken.

I wasn’t going to write, but it’s been an eventful ride so far… and the flight is an hour off.

Last night, after I moved my reservations, I printed my boarding pases. Southwest allows you to do that 24 hours in advance. I sat the passes on my desk at work and forgot about them – even when I threw them out with the rest of my trash!

Luckily I remembered before the trash was taken.

Helaine packed the bulk of what we were taking. I packed a computer, camera, cellphone and enough chargers to choke a TSA agent. I event bought a strip plug for all the electronics.

As always I scouted the hallway, taking bags down to the car. I closed the door, Helaine got in and we were off.

A half hour down the road I turned to Helaine to ask if we’d taken everything? Good question when beyond the point of no return. She looked but could see one of the carry ons. Oh sh**.

I got off I-91, pulled into a convenience store parking lot and opened the doors. Helaine got out like the baggage assurance inspector she had become. Yes, everything was here.

On to the airport and the parking lot we use. We unloaded the car into a van and headed off to the terminal. It wasn’t until we’d checked in that I realized

I had left my computer bag, with all the electronics and chargers, in the car.

I called the parking place. Within five minutes their van had arrived with my bag! OK – they deserve a mention for service above and beyond – Thanks Roncari.

And now you’re up-to-date… except for the fact we had to walk by a non-stop for Las Vegas (full) to get to our gate for the first stop in our journey, Baltimore.

More coming from Las Vegas, if I remember everything.

Stupid Airline Tricks

We went to Bradley International Airport to pick up my folks. In spite of traffic we were early.

Helaine and I sat down near the giant DO NOT ENTER signs, waiting to see someone try and enter. It didn’t take long. This is too predictable. It is the low hanging fruit of airport entertainment.

With little to do, I moved over to the TV screens to make sure my parents’ flight was still on time. That’s where I spied today’s stupid airline trick.

On the board was Delta’s Flight 6969, service from Bozeman, MT via Minneapolis to Hartford. Right below it was Northwest Flight 1270 from Bozeman, MT, also via Minneapolis.

It was a code share. There’s no doubt about it. Instead of competing, Delta sells tickets aboard this Northwest flight as if it were its own.

I don’t like the idea because it is anti-competitive, but I understand why it happens and that it does happen with government approval.

Oh – on the board… the Delta flight was scheduled to land 10 minutes after Northwest’s. Hello! It’s the same plane.

A380 Hype

The Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger plane, took to the skies on its maiden flight Wednesday. It is an immense plane flying through a sea of hype.

Each time I’ve seen a TV package or read an article about this plane there was always the mention of its ability to fly with a gym or casino or shops or something other than 800 of your closest friends, all with their knees pressed firmly up against their chests.

It’s true. This plane can bring these incredible amenities to the sky. It won’t happen, but it’s true.

I remember American Airlines first transcontinental flight of a Boeing 747 in 1970. There, in the piano bar, was Frank Sinatra, Jr. entertaining. Hey, you can have a lounge in a 747!

MGM Grand Air flew jets with private compartments and movie star treatment between LAX and JFK. Here’s a page showing what they offered. It’s similar to the Airbus claims. Of course MGM Grand Air went out of business years ago..

When was the last time you hopped aboard a plane and found a lounge act or a private sitting room? Hell, when was the last time you hopped aboard and found food?

Any plane can be outfitted any way. There are 737s equipped for private transportation. The one pictured on the left looks pretty comfy. Wave some cash at Boeing or Airbus or any airplane manufacturer and the world is your oyster.

Unfortunately in the real world, air travel is a commodity. People shop by price and the price of flying in an airplane filled with anything other than seats is out of the question for most of us.

Last weekend at the wedding in Atlanta, I met people who traveled from Connecticut to Atlanta via Detroit! Delta has non-stops, but Northwest via DTW was a lot cheaper&#185. Price wins.

I’m not sure why Airbus has gone to such great lengths to tout a level of service few, if any, of us will ever see. Maybe it’s because they don’t want us talking about how long it will take to get on and off the A380 with 800 of your closest friends? Who wants to think about how much time it will take before 800 sets of baggage hit the carousel?

Air service is not returning to the suit and tie days of the 50s, 60s and 70s. This is going to end up a huge cattle car in the sky. Just pray it’s efficient enough to allow fares to stay as low as they are.

&#185 – I find it curious that Northwest can undercut Delta’s non-stop price considering the costs involved in flying extra miles, additional crew and aircraft time plus the expense of transferring passengers and their baggage.