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Flight Delays – The Real Story

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flightdelays

The Jimbo List recently had occasion to delve into the wonderful world of air travel and came away with some stunning revelations about flight delays. Turns out it’s not weather or poor scheduling that keeps people cooling their heels on the ground – it’s other things entirely!

THE MANDATORY FAMILY WITH A CRYING BABY IS STUCK IN TRAFFIC

RAN OUT OF STALE, TASTELESS CRACKERS

WILLIAM SHATNER SAW A DUDE IN A DOG COSTUME MESSING WITH THE WING

PILOT IS WATCHING “DOWNTON ABBEY” IN THE COCKPIT

GPS LADY THOUGHT YOU WERE GOING TO TOLEDO, NOT TORONTO

ALEC BALDWIN JUST GOT A NEW APP

TWO GRUMPY BUSINESSMEN, ONE REMAINING OVERHEAD BIN

HAD TO AVOID HUGE POCKET OF INERTIA AROUND WASHINGTON, D.C.

DRUNK GUY IN FIRST CLASS KEEPS TRYING TO PUT THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT IN A LOCKED, UPRIGHT POSITION

Safe travels, my friends.

Great Odes to the Open Road

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Oh, but the tug of the open road is contagious. We’re draw to the uncertainty, the adventure and the promise of new experiences. Any number of artists and ordinary souls have been inspired to share this excitement. These are some of my favorite examples.

ON THE ROAD

For many, Jack Kerouac’s classic story of wondering and wandering is the last word on road trips. It’s a marvel of stream-of-consciousness writing. “On the Road” perfectly conveys the intoxicating, surreal, gritty, dangerous sexiness of hitting the open road.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started a road trip and found myself warbling Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again.” It has such a pleasing lilt and sense of movement. Road trips may be grueling sometimes, but they usually start off happy.

MIDNIGHT RUN

Here’s an action movie comedy, featuring odd couple Robert DeNiro and Charles Grodin. DeNiro is a bounty hunter bringing in a mob accountant, played by Grodin, who has skipped bail. Like many great tales of the road, it’s a journey of transformation – in this case, with guns, punches and comedic slow burns.

TRAVELS WITH CHARLEY

Toward the end of his life, the great John Steinbeck directed his magnificent reporting skills and humanity to a cross-country road trip. He and his dog, Charley, traveled the highways and byways in an RV. Through brief interactions and keen observations, he painted an insightful picture of postwar America. Some critics have questioned his journalistic accuracy, but the power of his writing is unassailable.

ROADFOOD

In a way, road trips are just an excuse to search for the best slice of banana cream pie or the best plate of cheese fries. Jane and Michael Stern dug deep into the heart and soul of America’s glorious greasy spoons and dreamy diners for this gem. On a personal note, I found the best banana cream pie, ever, while traveling a mountain road in Montana.

TRAIL JOURNALS

For more than a decade, Trail Journals (www.trailjournals.com) has provided a digital home for hundreds of thousands of photographs and pieces of writing by long distance hikers around the country. The Appalachian Trail is prominent here, but there are many other trails represented, as well. The best trail journals are utterly engrossing. They tell stories of beautiful vistas, animal encounters, physical hardship, budding friendships and deep, solitary thought – all unfolding day by day.

THE FUGITIVE

I loved everything about this old TV show from the 1960s. The variety of locales, the gritty narration by William Conrad, the central storyline of a guy on the lam from the law for a murder he didn’t commit. Mostly, I loved David Janssen’s low-key, understated hero. After four seasons, “The Fugitive” ended with one of the most satisfying finales in TV history.

IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT

Hundreds of films since 1934 have attempted to recapture the chemistry and romance of Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert in “It Happened One Night.” It’s a silly story about an heiress and a newshound making their way across the country during the Great Depression, but it’s sheer bliss. Witty banter, funny supporting characters and a classic hitchhiking scene. For a different sort of road story from the Depression, there’s …

THE GRAPES OF WRATH

We return to Steinbeck for one of the great American novels. “The Grapes of Wrath” follows a family searching for work and dignity as they flee from the Oklahoma Dust Bowl. Instead, they encounter greed, poverty and indignity. It’s a harrowing journey, one that strips individuals down to their core beliefs and little else. I’ll never forget reading this book for the first time and thinking about the pure poetry of a human being deciding who and what he is.

Now let’s go a bit beyond the reach of the American road.

THE AMAZING RACE

This show actually IS amazing. You want to test a marriage/friendship/relationship? Send people halfway around the world in the middle of the night and ask them to go from the airport to some out-of-the-way local landmark as fast as they can without killing each other. It exposes every hidden grudge and emotional sore spot before the first commercial break. Want to have your mind blown? Imagine your parents as contestants.

THE WIZARD OF OZ

Best. Road. Ever.

DANCING MATT

Matt Harding, also known as “Dancing Matt,” has recorded a series of videos of himself doing a crazy, happy dance in dozens of countries around the world. Millions of people have watched these videos and been charmed by the simple joy of a goofy, global dance. That’s what I call a great road trip.

So tell me, what are your favorite road trips from pop culture?

A Modern Library of Bad Vacations

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Any summer vacation worth its saltwater has an epic quality to it. This is particularly true for bad summer vacations. Here’s what they might look like in literary form.

ONE FLEW OVER THE RENTAL CAR COUNTER

WATERSLIDE DOWN

ZEN AND THE ART OF LOST LUGGAGE MAINTENANCE

A ROOM WITH A PUGH

SOMETHING WICKER THIS WAY COMES

AS I LAY BURNING

THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING IN BEACH TRAFFIC

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S SCREAM

THE CALL OF THE WILD TODDLER IN THE SEAT BEHIND YOU

THE AGE OF JELLYFISH

TENDER IS THE BITE

THE WINNEBAGO OF OUR DISCONTENT

A FAREWELL TO CARBS

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO AARP

BLOOD AND SAND

BLEAK HOUSE

THE CONSTIPATED TOURIST

LORD OF THE FLIES, TICKS, MOSQUITOES AND THOSE SPIDERS THAT JUMP

May all of your vacations be good ones. But bring the First Aid kit anyway, just in case.