If you head over to the Instagram machine, I suggest you add my account (@why_am_i_not_there) so you see some stunning night photography I’ve done in Venice. It will serve as an exhibit to show the city before it sinks under the weight of the tourists.
It’s time to check in on the dumbest thing bored people are doing to destroy air travel. It’s not taking their smelly shoes and socks off during the flight or random cock punches to flight stewards. It’s laser pointers.
London Heathrow saw a record 151 reported incidents in 2016 of somebody on the ground pointing a laser at a plane taking off. In 2015, there were 30. In the complete United Kingdom, 1,258 incidents were reported. That Brexit is a bitch ain’t it?
Now, here in the great U.S.A., we can’t let the brits outshine us. I reported two years ago that 3,894 incidents happened in 2014. Since then, in 2015, 7,703 incidents were reported, according to the FAA.
And the crappy year of 2016, it actually lowered 7,442. Ohhh, that’s 261 less. Also, if you look at the FAA report, 90% of those incidents were green laser pointers. 2.9% were blue. That’s great, detailed reporting.
This begs the question …
According to one FBI investigation, perpetrator Jason Stouder wanted to see “how far it goes and what it hit. The helicopter flew by and I made the decision to see if it would reach the helicopter. Obviously it did. But, in viewing the video I had no idea it illuminated the whole cockpit and blinded everybody inside.”
Multiply that by 7,442 and you can see why we are a nation of idiots.
Here’s what it looks like from inside the cockpit via CNN:
It’s gone from bad to worst and will probably continue to slide. The botched travel ban that was overturned that’s going to be re-written because if you’ve failed once, might as well fail again is harming the trillion dollar travel industry.
The Global Business Travel Association estimates that $185 million worth of booking was lost due to the ban from the seven predominantly Muslim countries. It’s not just from refugees, green card holders, and students, it’s from business travelers.
“Business travel drives lasting business growth and is a leading indicator for jobs and the economy at large,” said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA’s executive director. “Upholding the travel ban will clearly cause a rippling effect through the travel industry, ultimately hurting the economy. It also unleashes travel disruption like we saw when the order was first implemented.”
The other major factor in this shit show is how foreign travelers travelers are rethinking visiting America. I alluded to this when the then candidate Trump called for a complete Muslim ban — will people not come to the U.S. out of protest or just lack of interest.
Now, we have some evidence that there is a drop off. The World Travel & Tourism Council says that there’s between a 6 to 17 percent decline in searches from travel booking sites to major U.S. destinations since the ban was first introduced.
“Every time a story comes out about challenges at customs and border patrol, a potential tourist to the US may get cold feet,” said Jason Clampet, editor of Skift.
I would counter that us coastal elites and major cities are welcoming of all nationalities and anything that this administration does is bad PR. They don’t represent America in my opinion, so if anyone is hesitant, they shouldn’t. Or just go to Canada, it’s like America but with funnier accents and more maple syrup.
There’s always room for more beer in America, even in Columbus, OH.
The Scotland-based brewery BrewDog is best known in America for their owners, James Watt and Martin Dickie, self-titled Esquire Network show that aired for two seasons. Their beers like Punk IPA, Hardcore IPA and 5am Saint could be find sporadically in the U.S.
That’s all changing with this week’s opening of their first production facility and bar in Columbus. The BrewDog bars can be found all across the United Kingdom (30 bars) and internationally in Hong Kong, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Poland, Norway, Germany, Finland, Brazil and Japan. The BrewDogs at Clapham Common and Shoreditch were my mobile office when I was staying there.
The first U.S. location gained a bit of press when Watt and Dickie offered employees a week of “paw”-ternity leave for new pet owners to “help settle a new furry family member into their home.”
Like most of the BrewDog bars, the Columbus location will have a full-service restaurant serving burgers, salads, pizzas, bar bites and sharing boards, retro arcade games and shuffleboard. The taps will have their own beers alongside other local offerings. Also, be prepared to get blotto with some of their high APV beers that go to 16.5%. I had their Tactical Nuclear Penguin which was 32% and almost made me hurl.
This gives travelers more of a reason to travel beyond Cleveland and Cincinatti to see what else Ohio has to offer. In fact, Columbus already touts 20 breweries in the city limits.
There seems to be a story everyday about a passenger doing something crazy. The “Cash Me Outside” chick used 5 of her 15 minutes for an in-flight rant. For this story, it’s the pilot going off the rails.
Many outlets are reporting about a United Airlines pilot showed up late for a Austin-San Francisco run late and in street clothes. The unnamed captain grabbed the intercom to rant about her divorce, the past election and her “cute little uniform.” Many passengers chronicled it on social media. After watching the video, it’s more disturbing than ha ha funny.
My reaction would be to find a flight attendant and ask, “Pardon me. I’m going to open the emergency doors and deploy the slide.”
About a dozen did get off, but the police arrived and escorted the pilot off the plane. She’s been suspended pending investigation.
While there are plenty of jokes to be made, this incident is not good for anyone. A Germanwings pilot had undisclosed mental problems and downed an entire plane in 2015. In 2012, a JetBlue pilot freaked out mid-flight yelling about a bomb on the plane, had to be locked out of the cockpit and restrained.
Pilots have one of the most stressful jobs out there with the pressure to be on-time, the hours of being away from home and the burden of having 180 souls trusting your skills. I hope this is a rare incident because they are the lifeblood of a whole industry.
There are a lot of cats wondering Istanbul. Not just a few randomly, I’m talking everywhere (in the hundreds of thousands). These aren’t the singing, dancing or talking cats you see in musicals or the movies. They are feral — sometimes cute, sometimes dangerous, but they give an added layer of character to the city.
They will also scare the crap out of you. I was having a rest outside of the Grand Bazaar to look at my guidebook and one brushed up against my leg and I friggin flipped out.
Now they have their own documentary, Kedi (Nine Lives: The Cats of Istanbul), in selected theaters and soon available for download. Film-maker Ceyda Torun follows seven cats through the city and chronicles their daily lives. The cats are adopted by local neighborhoods as a communal cat to make sure their are taken care of and fed.
As you’ll see in the trailer, it’s much more than slow motion footage of cute cats doing cat things. It delves into the symbiotic connection between the animals and the ancient city. It looks like the perfect film to introduce young kids to documentaries and Istanbul.
Beyond the chicken wings, Frank Lloyd Wright house and the tailgating scene at a Bills home game (look it up … at home, not work), there’s a nothing much that’s a “must-see”. Once you get through the big draws, you can check out some early 20th century interiors while sipping a fine cup of coffee.
Buffalo was once a major industrial hub in the early 1900s. If you saw Crimson Peak, you learned this. A quick drive around the nice neighborhoods and you’ll see some perfectly preserved houses from that era.
The Hotel Lafayette was built for the Pan-American Exposition, where President McKinnley was assassinated. It went through a major facelift in 2012 to make the building a hotel, office, spa, brew pub and Public Espresso + Coffee. Getting a cappuccino gives you an excuse to wonder around and look at the retro interiors.
Behind the coffee counter, you can see the old mail room. Above the main desk is a painting of vintage air travel. Around the corner is the elevator hallway where you can picture what the joint was like back in the day. I poked my head into the Pan-American Grill & Brewery and saw all the wood fixtures and old timey hunting memorabilia.