Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hello Charlotte! Got any Hotels?

 This is really more of a vent then a blog post. Please feel free not to read this
or to stop when you get bored. Thank you and enjoy the ride.

I am in middle of writing a post on travel, but I’m going to put that one on hold for a little so I can write about my adventures the past 15 hours.

I had a really nice weekend in Columbus Ohio. I went in to spend some time with my Kallah and her family for Shabbos and the last couple days of Chanukah. My parents drove in from Chicago as well. It was the first time that my parent s met her parents and it was really nice. B”H. (We even got legally married on Sunday!) Friday night we walked outside to a gorgeous display of snowflakes falling from the sky, beautifully covering the streets and sidewalks. Now, I happen not to like snow. Growing up in Chicago, I learnt to deal with it, but being in Miami for the past 7 ½ years made me appreciate not having it. But despite the fact that I don’t like snow, it is a site to see when the night is black and the snow is calmly and peacefully making its way down softly untouched covering the blacktop with a thin sheet of heaven. Then you walk outside feel the cold and the euphoria is over. Meanwhile, while I was soaking in the flurries, the northeast was getting hammered by a foot of snow or more. Schools were being cancelled, flights were getting delayed, people were stuck inside their homes, but we knew not of anything of the sort as Shabbos in Columbus was beautiful. Sunday night came so quickly but before I knew it we were on the way back to the airport to all go our own ways. My parents had pulled out just a few hours before to start their drive back to Chicago. While Leah’s flight was delayed as Baltimore was still trying to dig out, my flight read on time all day. When I arrived at the airport and looked at the monitor, it said delayed, no specific time. My flight was going to take me through Charlotte, NC on my way to Fort Lauderdale. Being the fact that the weather was great and it wasn’t snowing in Columbus, Charlotte or Fort Lauderdale, hoped for the best. My flight was scheduled to depart at 7:50 and arrive a little after 9. I then had about 1 hour to make my connection in Charlotte at depart at 10:10 to fort Lauderdale. When I got to the gate they said that the plane was late arriving and is scheduled to land at 8:30. Being that it was a small load the turnaround would be really quick and we should hopefully arrive in Charlotte at 9:50, a mere 20 minutes before my next flight. The plane connection was in the same concourse as the landing flight so it wasn’t so crazy far. The lady went as far as switching my seat to the front row so I can get off as fast as possible. I asked her what would happen if I get stuck in Charlotte, she said they would put me up in a Hotel. Well, we hit the ground in Charlotte at about 9:45. I was ready to jump grab my stuff and go as soon as that fasten seatbelt sign turned off. The plane then stopped on the tarmac and the Captain got on and said that there was a plane at our gate, but don’t worry, ground ops said it should be gone in about 15 min. Uh, my plane leaves in 13 minutes. At this point I just started to laugh. The guy next to me had a connection at 10:15 he wasn’t going to make it either. That is unless the flights were delayed. When the plane finally pulled out of our gate at about 10:12 we started to pull up to the gate. We were pulling into gate C3 and my Fort Lauderdale flight was at C17. As we pulled by C17 I saw my plane pull out of the gate. To add insult to injury, the crew that backed the previous plane out, left and we had to wait for a crew to come over and pull the Jet way up to the plane. After I got off the plane to confirm, yes, that was indeed the Fort Lauderdale flight that had pulled out of the gate just a few minutes ago. I went over to an agent to see what he can do and was informed that the entire next day was booked up solid to Fort Lauderdale, Miami and West Palm Beach. Not a single seat available. The can rebook me for Tuesday morning at 8:00 and put me on standby for Monday at 8:00. I then asked about the hotel and was informed that they don’t give hotels for weather and that the supervisor never put it in my notes and I would have to go to the Customer Service desk to see what they can do. I went over there and probably don’t need to describe to you the scene. Mayhem and madness. We’ve all seem to have been through it at least once. There were hundreds of people that just had no place to go. I waited patiently for my turn in line and when it was my turn I walked up to the desk and smiled. She asked me my name and I said “How’s your day going? I’m sure it’s been rough. I know you are really busy and I don’t want to take up to much of your time, I am sorry but I hope you can help me. I then proceeded to tell her my story how I’m stuck until possible Tuesday and the lady in Columbus said I would get a Hotel room but apparently didn’t put it in the notes. She didn’t say anything, punched a few things into her computer and said, here is your Hotel voucher. Be here by 7:30 tomorrow morning, hopefully you can make it on standby. Have a good night. Wow! Thanks a ton! I proceeded to my room for the night and sat and my bed and pointed out a few things to myself.

1. Thank G-D for the peanut butter and Jelly sandwich that my Mother-In-Law (remember, we are legally married) made and packed for me.

2. When people are mad and screaming, try extra hard to be nice, you’ll stand out and get a lot further.

3. Jelly Bellys aren’t nearly as good when you’re not fighting anybody for the good ones.

4. There is nothing on TV at 1:00 on the morning.

5. Being nice and making people smile goes a long way. (The lady next to me from the same flight was screaming and yelling for a room and they didn’t give her one. I left with my room ticket while they went to get a manager brought over.)

6. Technology, when used properly, can be a really great and helpful tool. (Like I didn’t know that already.) I had sent out a text message to around 15 people as well as updated my Facebook and Twitter page saying the following: “Hello Charlotte, NC. Got any Hotels?” By the time I got to my room I had a few different places to stay at; the local Chabad, someone’s cousin, and a friend of a relative to name a few. I also had people offering to make phone calls to find a place for me for the night.

7. The Jewish community is really nice and extensive.

8. Thank G-D I have a Kallah that I can call to talk to her about my travels. It’s so great to know that you have loved ones who are concerned and care for you.

9. I was really tired. Zzzzzzzzz……….

I woke up a little after six this morning to get dressed, daven, pack up, eat some free oatmeal and take the 7:00 Shuttle back to the airport. I arrived back to mayhem and madness to a security line that was a good 30-40 minutes long. The monitors in the airport told me that the second flight out to fort Lauderdale had already been cancelled, but the first one was on time. I NEEDED to make this first flight. I was told the night before that my chances of making standby for the first flight were not really that bad as many people are missing connecting flights so there would potentially be seats that open up due to no-shows. The only problem was that it was 7:25 and with a security line like this there was a large chance I wouldn’t be able to get through security on time. I quickly walked down to the next concourse and saw the security line was quite a bit smaller, confirmed that I can get to my gate from here and proceeded through security in a mere 15 minutes. (Of course they needed to run a bag check to make sure those windshield wipers were legitimally windshield wipers. They were.) I ran over to gate D1 where they were boarding. I was informed I was number 8 on standby with only 2 seats open before no-shows. Baruch Hashem there were a lot of no-shows and I got on the plane without incident save for the massive verbal fight that the gate agent had with a traveler. I’m just happy that I made it back to Miami without a really crazy story. Thanks for letting me vent. I’m impressed you are still reading.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's That Time of Year Again Part 3

OK OK. Before there is a APB out for me for posting a Christmas video {gasp}, I want to rebut with a Chanukah video. (Although, this has its own controversy.) The official YouTube posting of this song has embedding disabled so I couldn't use it.

It's That Time of Year Again Part 2

This video speaks for itself - watch the whole thing. (This is a Christmas song but it's part Jewish so I can post it! And if it wasn't, I probably still would post it.)

It's That Time of Year Again Part 1

It's that time of year again. The time where people see to be in a more upbeat mood because of the songs they play on the radio. Or because they are about to get a lot of presents. Either way, Christmas is that holiday that makes people happy, give presents and maybe smile at a stranger. (Is that taking it too far?) Christmas starts getting celebrated roughly around the same time that the metamucil wipes your system from all that cranberry soaked turkey.

But the real amazing thing about Christmas (whether it's a good thing or not is for another time), is the fact that it takes over the holidays around it. For example, it is very rare to have a store put up a sign in April that says Happy Passover or in October Happy Succos. But it definitely isn't rare to see a store hang up a Happy Hanukkah. Only because people coucldn't have Merry Christmas signs without a Happy Hanukkah sign. Then the blacks got insulted that there was no Holiday for them, so they made their own.

One of the things I love is that there are a lot of great songs and videos out there that were made for the Seasons Holidays that could always put you in a great mood. So in honor of the holiday season, I will post some of my favorite holiday related songs and videos that I like. Feel free to send me and if I like it enough I will post it. We are going to first start off with Chanukah so I won't feel so guilty. Today I'm going to start with some old Woot Podcasts about Chanukah.

The first one is from the day before Chanukah in 2006. There is a line or two in there that is not appropriate so use your own judgment when listening to it. The second one is from 2007 and the third is from 2008.






Wednesday, December 2, 2009

World Aids Day

Yesterday as we all know was World Aids Day. According to Wikipedia it's
...dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection.

I posted on my Facebook page, Twitter Feed and Google Talk status the following:
Today is World AIDS Day. I think it should be called World Abstinence Awareness Day. #RED

Apparently some people had problems with that. So I will try to explain what I meant.

One person wrote:
"World AIDS Day" defines the problem, for which there are multiple
solutions. Calling it "World Abstinence Awareness Day" defines Aids
only in terms of a single solution. And "World Abstinence Awareness
Day" has other meanings too, which extend far beyond the scope of the
Aids issue

My response:
You say that calling it "World Abstinence Awareness Day" defines AIDS in terms of a single solution, forgetting about the other solutions. I disagree. "World Abstinence Awareness Day" is not one solution. It is not a "solution" at allIt's prevention. While the people who have AIDS need help, I strongly believe that the larger issue at hand is the main cause of AIDS. When a person has frequent nose bleeds, of course he goes over and grabs a tissue. However his big concern will be why it's happening and how to get it to stop. I truly believe that the world should work more on prevention then they do. (More on that later.)

He then mentioned:
Many people get Aids who are not promiscuous. Married people who
have a spouse that was not monogamous, drug abusers, and babies born
with Aids. They would directly benefit from other solutions than
abstinence, and deserve to be helped.

My response:
I never said that ANYONE with AIDS doesn't "deserve to be helped". For no matter what reason they have AIDS, the bottom line is that they have it and are sick and need help. Just because people make mistakes, or had people make mistakes for them, doesn't mean that they don't "deserve to be helped". However, all the types of people could have saved from prevention and I think that's the much bigger issue.

Another person asked:
What about all the people that have contracted AIDS through blood transfusions? Should we all abstain from giving and receiving blood?

My response:
If people only got AIDS from blood transfusions, trust me they wouldn't make a big deal about it. They have World Hepatitis Day and World Pneumonia Day. They even World Malaria Day. But almost no one heard of them nor does anyone make a big deal about it. The reason why World AIDS Day is so huge is directly due to a lack of abstinence - and not abstinence of blood transfusions.

I want to add that I don't think a "World Abstinence Awareness Day" will do ANYTHING and "World AIDS Day" brings awareness to the problem. I am in no way or form against World Aids Day. However it bothers me that we are ignoring the elephant in the room. This all can be avoided in the future yet we don't say anything about it. I don't really think it should be called "World Abstinence Awareness Day", I do however feel that a part of it should be dedicated to stressing abstinence. Now the truth is, that I don't even think that will do anything, because todays society is so filthy and morally corrupt that you could scream abstinence from today until tomorrow and it will barley do anything about it. But once again, I think you can't ignore the elephant in the room and not say anything. It sort of becomes like they are approving it.

Hope that helps explain. Looking forward to hearing your comments.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Goverment Can by Tim Hawkins

The following YouTube video is great. But its great because the song is good. While its a good song (even maybe a very good song), its not a awesome song. Its your standard right wing media type song that you would hear on Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, The Schnitt Show, etc etc. However what makes this video great is Tim Hawkins. He is the guy in the video. His acting in the video is phenomenal. At first it looks a bit childish with cheesy green screen tricks, but all in all its fabulous. The key thing that I think is so unbelievable is the incredible facial expressions that Tim has. 

What I noticed in my experience of doing plays and videos is that no one really knows what makes a person laugh. You can have it all on paper and it's hilarious, but then when you show it it's a dead brick. To find that nitch that actually makes people laugh is a real talent. After seeing this video, I really believe that Tim Hawkins has some extraordinary talent. (Now whether or not he will choose to use it properly is a whole different ballgame.)

(Hey everybody! Gather 'round! I'm here to give you anything you like! You want a car, money, mortages?! Whatever you like! You have come to the right place! Why? I'll tell you why!)

Who can take your money? (Who can take your money?)
With a twinkle in their eye? (With a twinkle in their eye?)
Take it all away and
Give it to some other guy

The Government (the Government)
The Government can! (The Government can!)

Who can tax the Sun rise? (Who can watch the Sun rise?)
Who can tax the trees? (Who can touch the trees?)
Let you run a business and
Collect up all the fees


The Government can 'cause
They mix it up with lies and
Make it all taste good! (Make it all taste good!)

The Government takes
Everything we make
To pay for all of their "sollutions"
Healthcare, Climate Change, Pollution
(Throw away the Constitution)

Who can give a bailout? (Who can give a bailout?)
Tell us to behave? (Tell us to behave?)
Make the Founding Fathers
Roll over in their graves


The Government takes
Everything we make
They're power hungry
And malicious

The economics are fictitious
Soon we'll have to eat our dishes
Mmm! Delicious!

Who can be a failure? (Who can be a failure?)
In so many ways? (In so many ways?)
Instead of getting fired, HEY!
We'll give ourselves a raise!


The Government can 'cause
He mix it up with lies and
Make it all taste good! (Make it all taste good!)
And your Uncle Sam can 'cause
He mixes it with lies and
Makes it all taste good! (Makes it all taste good!)

And I feel so good
Because the Government
Says I should! Oh!...