I expect more from a hotel review by Mike Albo than this. What happened? Not sure if it got edited to death or what, but there’s potential for a travel writer to operate in the manner of a Critical Shopper column. This is not that. Too bad.
And I am very big on seat belts. I’m a seat belt absolutist, front or back, with or without seat belt laws. I have walked away from a totaled car with nothing but a bruised knee. You are an idiot if you ride without seat belts, and if you want to throw some libertarian nonsense around about your personal choice, go tell it to my old neighbor who used to have to scrape dead people off the pavement for the State Highway Administration after they’d made bad decisions in that particular area of self-expression.
(Taxicabs, it goes almost without saying, are exempt from all this, because they are protected by magic.)
As always, plenty of Francesca goodness to be found here. At a certain point, I guess we have to give up on Mike and the Mad Dog ever getting back together, so what happens now? Are we stuck with Mike forever?
Independently, I hate them, and if there’s no alternative, let’s create one. What if ESPN gave Bill Simmons a show instead of a podcast? Or put Carolla, whose podcast is also excellent, with a smart ex-athelete? Also, if this pretend show could also include a daily segment where they mocked Steve Phillips that would be great.
As a Yankee fan, Mike’s show sucks BECAUSE there is no one ribbing him about the Yankees. Part of the fun of being a Yankee fan is playing the bad guy role. It’s like wrestling. But if there’s just a heel in the ring, well, then I’m going to tune out.
So, as I mentioned before, I’ve been having trouble staying asleep. As a result, someone gave me a Lunesta that I plan on taking tonight as soon as the Cavs game is over.
I’m pretty excited to potentially get more than 4-5 hours of sleep, but even more exciting are these potential side effects listed on the Lunesta website.
-getting out of bed while not being fully awake and doing an activity youdo not know you are doing. -abnormal thoughts and behavior. Symptoms include more outgoing or aggressive behavior than normal, confusion, agitation, hallucinations, worsening of depression, and suicidal thoughts or actions. -memory loss -anxiety -severe allergic reactions. Symptoms include swelling of the tongue or throat, trouble breathing, and nausea and vomiting. Get emergency medical help if you get these symptoms after taking LUNESTA.
It would be important to note that the last time I took Ambien, about three years ago, I fell asleep while on the phone with a friend and started hallucinating big time. I explained to my friend on the line how my bed turned into a gigantic robot (think Transformers) that was keeping me from being able to move my body while taking me down a dark hallway. So, this should be fun! I may not even remember writing this tomorrow!
If your problem is STAYING asleep, you should wait until you wake up in the night to take the sleeping pill. You’re not having trouble falling asleep. That way it puts you back out for the remaining amount of time you need. (This is a good jetlag-battling technique, also).
Clearly it had been implanted in my brain, whether I remembered it or not. You don’t forget a badonk like that, from any era.
Oh, Minetta and the tres. I hate McNally restaurants because they’re so freakin’ undemocratic. VIP resy line? Gladhanding to get in? It’s all so odious. Perhaps the food is better at Minetta than Pastis or Balthazar, but, well, it makes me feel reciting John Edwards’ stump speech about “two Americas” when I think about the scrum by the hostess stand.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, instead of procuring a reservation at Minetta I have been sucked into a Jon & Kate marathon. I’ve never seen it before, and frankly, I am terrified.
“The flash entertainment system [on Jet Airways] includes power plugs, adapters, more than 100 movies, 80 TV shows, a massive virtual e-book and audio-book library, e-mail, SMS, hourly Web news, in-seat telephony, multi-player games, Berlitz Word Traveler language courses, and a 15.4-inch flat screen TV. All you need is some freshly popped popcorn, which arrives warm in a cardboard movie-style box.”—
Is it weird that I don’t totally flip my shit over AVOD like this? I want in-flight wi-fi, for sure, but a couple movies are enough. I come prepared when I travel, so it’s not like I’ll have that much of a shortage of entertainment between the iPod Touch and laptop, especially if there are also power ports. Still, on the super long-haul, I can see the appeal. Flying JFK-HKG on Cathay last fall, I watched a couple episodes of Heston Blumenthal’s BBC show somewhere around about hour 13 out of 16. I was pretty out of it by that point, but his pursuit of “the perfect Sunday chicken” was weird and entertaining and not something I would have downloaded to watch on my own.
I mentioned this briefly on Twitter, but man, is paella the most disappointing food you can order in a restaurant or what? It never lives up to my expectations, and at this point, my expectations are pretty low for paella. I would go so far to call it the Boston of food dishes. That is, they’re both conceptually great, whether it means being chockablock with colonial history and/or mollusks, but with a poor execution/end result. Alas, even I don’t find Boston as irritating as paella.
C’mon Spain, get with the program on this one. Maybe hire José Andrés to do a rethink?
Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is revered by Emiratis (residents of the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a member state) as a man of true “vision.” The vision thing was the party line even back when I visited in 2006, and likely before that. His vision is treated as all but oracular when it comes to the proper course for Dubai, the best execution of business, safely navigating the world economy, and the further re-invention and expansion of the emirate at large. At face value, this might seem like demagoguery, but it’s really something different. The reverence for Sheikh Mo is a very 21st-century thing, because it hinges on a meritocratic species of leader-worship. He has undoubtedly accomplished unprecedented things. Dubai’s transformation is often compared to the creation of Las Vegas out of the Nevada desert, but in terms of scale and speed, Dubai makes Vegas look like a village of wooden blocks. It is absolutely undeniable that the sheikh has done stuff.
More completely readable, entertaining stuff from Mohney’s trip to Dubai. Get at it.
Good stuff. Perhaps, though, Chris should rethink his position on slavery, given how much money BlackBook owes to freelancers? (Not me, thank goodness).
Why aren’t we building a ton of wind farms? Is it purely financial? Are there any drawbacks to it besides that investment? No choice that appears this black and white is ever so easy. Where’s the catch?
Can’t we work all these NIMBY things together? Gitmo detainees go in a special prison on Yucca Mountain, with a wind farm on top. Everyone who wants to move from that area gets a house in California or something. Done and done.
“So now I’m 40 years old and I’m back living on the streets of Hollywood in a parking lot under Russ Meyer, who owned the parking lot. And I said “It’s over, man. I have no agent, I have no phone, I have no address, I have no nothing.” I had a little unemployment to go. And one day some guy came down the street with a megaphone asking my name, and I’m sitting there with the rest of the winos. I go “Yeah, what’s up, that’s me.” I hadn’t had a haircut in two months, or a shave, or whatever. He says, “They want to see you at Universal.” I go, “What for?” He goes, “You’ll find out when you get there, you want to go or not?” I go, “I’m assuming if I don’t go, your ass is gonna be in a lot of trouble, is that correct?” He goes, “That’s correct.” And we go straight to the lot in the back of the limo, straight to the office of Alfred Hitchcock. They said, “Don’t say a damn word to him, don’t even look at him. He’s gonna be 10 feet away, and he’s gonna spin around a chair in a dramatic way. He’s gonna say ‘Go away,’ or he’s gonna say ‘Sign him.’” So Hitchcock is looking at the guy standing beside him, and he says “Tell him to turn around.” So I turned around, and Hitchcock said, “Sign him.” And that was the end of it.”—Read this interview with Charles Napier (best known to people my age as Duke Phillips, of Duke Phillips’ House of Chicken and Waffles, from The Critic) on the AV Club.
Press trips are indeed icky no matter how you slice it. Unfortunately they’re pretty much critical to travel writing, since no one but the NYT, Time Inc., Conde Nast etc could actually afford firsthand reporting (or “reporting”) otherwise. Probably the worst ROI of any genre of journalism if individuals had to pay for everything they experienced on assignment. No coincidence that only large conglomerates can afford to enforce no-junket rules on staff or freelancers (assuming said media entity has regular travel coverage). Of course there’s definitely lots of contemptible behavior among travel writers, but probably no more than I’ve observed among, say, fashion writers. In either case it’s usually obvious who’s in the pocket of the covered party. The introduction of money (or comps) will always corrupt a certain percentage of anyone in any field, anyways.
All fair points. I think I’m nostalgic for a journalism world I never knew—one in which there were huge T&E budgets that allowed journalists to flit around the world at a moment’s notice. Or, say, hang around Frank Sinatra for three months.
I thought Mohney did an excellent job of 1) saying up front that he was on a press trip and 2) doing his best to make the junket report interesting reading—which it was!
As for whether travel journalists should be taking comps, consider: A business class seat for a weekend trip between JFK and DXB is current selling for $8,657. Forget the rest of a writer’s expenses and, for the sake of argument, forget actually paying the writer a dime for filing. There just aren’t many publications that are going to pay 9 large for a plane ticket.
At least one will, though: Conde Nast Traveler sent Michael Kinsley around the world in business class last fall. And, speaking of nostalgia, he’s so old school that he actually didn’t like it.
Not complaining about press trips, but who said he had to go business? Why, he can go there next month on Aeroflot for under a grand. And unless you’re Harry Evans or Michael Kinsley, even CNT doesn’t give out a big T&E budget either. Journalists fly coach these days so, you know, our outlets can continue to exist. I wish the big budget writers would do the same.
“On our third and final day, we do a round of round-table interviews. First up is Nigel Page of Emirates, the Dubai conglomerate which runs the eponymous airline and various other tourism-related concerns. A longtime Dubai expat Brit, the charming Page is, of course, bullish on the place.”—
from Mohney’s Dubai story for BlackBook. Apologies for the inside baseball, but Nigel is in every Dubai story ever. Yes, he’s the rep, but there’s no one else to quote, apparently. And yet, Chris is being generous in calling him charming.
Actually, I’m surprised they were even able to fill this trip. Tough sell these days.
it’s funny when people talk about calling a car service in manhattan and someone says, well you can call seven seven seven…seven…seven…seven…seven and i always wonder if they’re going to commit to it and say all the sevens through to the end or if someone will cut them off and be like, yeah call them.
I use them to/from the airport (which is often) and I love the gum-snapping style of the operators when I call to have them pick me up after my trip. It makes me feel home right away.
I knew something felt wrong when I woke up this morning. All three Boston teams won yesterday. Yes another problem President Obama will need to solve, because we can’t have this level of confidence in that part of New England for long without ripping a tear in the fabric of the space time continuum. Or worse, a sequel to Daredevil just ‘cause Affleck’s feeling “frisky”.
Walking to the bank the other day, I passed the following tableau: a man walking his French Bulldog, talking to a delivery man standing next to his delivery truck, leaning on a pallet of boxes about chest high. The delivery man listened intently as the dog owner said “Well, you know, he’s technically in the non-sporting group…”