The Brancatelli File By Joe Brancatelli
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Nobody Asked Me, But ...
May 7, 2015 -- Nobody asked me, but ...

So that Ebola crisis in America never happened, eh?

I'm okay with some travelers having panicked, but politicians who stoked fear with outright lies because it seemed like another wedge issue in an election are really despicable people. But we knew that already, didn't we?

Nobody asked me, but ...

I lost track of how many title belts Floyd Mayweather won in his fight last weekend with Manny Pacquiao. I hope he didn't wear them all on his flight out of Las Vegas 'cause I feel for the average flyers in line behind him at the TSA checkpoint.

I'm sure last week's Kentucky Derby was an interesting race for the horsey set. But I couldn't get past 18 horses breaking from the starting gate. It looked like every boarding gate in America when they call Group D.

Nobody asked me, but ...

Gogo, the in-flight Internet folks, says the first quarter "take" rate was 7.2 percent, the same as 1Q 2014. But, hey, keep talking about how in-flight WiFi is a must-have amenity. Ninety-three percent of travelers don't agree with you.

I'd say Gogo's problem is that its service is slow and crappy and that it exacerbated the poor product with constant and unjustifiable price increases. Except, you know, airlines ...

Nobody asked me, but ...

Creflo Dollar, the televangelist, says his flock should buy him a $65 million private jet to replace the creaky, 30-year-old plane he's currently using. He says Jesus told him to get a new jet.

What really burns me about these money-grubbing televangelists is how they pervert the word of the Almighty. I spoke to God last night myself and he assures me that he only told Creflo to get a NetJets card.

Nobody asked me, but ...

When the world gets to be a little too much for me, I personally thank the heavens for YouTube so I can watch Stubby Kaye sing Jubilation T. Cornpone whenever I want.

There are many moments when I wish I could write as well as Johnny Mercer, who penned the lyrics for Jubilation T. Cornpone. Then I realize I always wanted to grow up to be Stubby Kaye. Now that I'm all grown up, I still want to be Stubby Kaye.

Nobody asked me, but ...

Speaking of being all grown up, I got a nice note from Carolyn W. Colvin, acting commissioner of Social Security. There was a blizzard of words and a truckload of data, but, when you boil it down, it seems to say: "Hey, you're almost 62. That makes you officially old."

I don't mind getting old. It's just that my AARP card doesn't get me any better hotel discounts than my AAA membership. That kinda seems unfair.

Nobody asked me, but ...

Did you ever notice there are no Dunkin' Donuts in hotel lobbies? When did Starbucks or its bastard child Seattle's Best get the exclusive franchise?

And how come a sandwich joint like Subway isn't selling stuff in coach cabins of flights? If the airlines are gonna peddle mystery-meat sandwiches for inflated prices, why aren't they branded?

Nobody asked me, but ...

Speaking of inflated prices, the Port Authority says it needs to replace the monorail at Newark Airport. The cost? Perhaps $2 billion. Why? The Port says the existing system is reaching its 25-year design life. Who the hell builds a monorail that only lasts 25 years? Lyle Lanley?

Meanwhile, out in Denver, the plan to finally get an airport hotel and a rail link is insanely over budget. The response of airport officials? It's not that much over budget.

Nobody asked me, but ...

The price of crude oil briefly passed $60 this week. The airlines didn't lower prices when oil prices plummeted. But you can be damned sure the pricing czars are thinking about raising fares now and blaming it on the rising cost of crude.

All things considered, the boys from Tempe, who botched the merger with US Airways, have done a pretty decent job integrating US Airways into American Airlines. Of course, the big task (switching the computers that control reservations, ticketing and other "passenger service" items) is yet to come. And there have been a few reports of trouble when travelers fly an itinerary that includes both a US Airways-marketed and American Airlines-marketed flight. So watch developments carefully.

Nobody asked me, but ...

I'm glad some of you have jumped on the 15 percent off deal for a Pono Player. (Enter the code JOESENTME15PLAYER to get your discount.) Of all my existing music that I transferred to Pono, my Dusty Springfield tracks have had the most improvement in sound.

I was surprised how many of you didn't know how much "information" you lose when you rip from a CD to a format such as MP3. And since CDs aren't all that high resolution in the first place, well, that's a lot of music to lose to compression. My suggestion is rip to a "lossless" format such as WAV (for Windows) or ALAC (for Apple). Not perfect, but better, and great when you then transfer to the Pono Player.

Nobody asked me, but ...

One of my favorite movies is 12 Angry Men, the 1957 film directed by Sidney Lumet and produced by Henry Fonda. The cast is outstanding. Besides Fonda as the mild-mannered protagonist, there are Lee J. Cobb and Ed Begley as the bigoted antagonists and E.G. Marshall as the logical, super-cool opponent. Plus wonderful turns for the (very) young Martin Balsam, Jack Warden, John Fiedler, Edward Binns, Robert Webber and Jack Klugman.

I mention this as a way to urge you to watch 12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer. It's a stunning--and sometimes shot-for-shot--recreation of the movie that simultaneously discusses (hilariously) whether Amy Schumer is "hot enough" for basic cable. Even if you don't like Amy Schumer's stuff, you have to admire the craftsmanship that went into this loving homage. And you've got to give her full marks for having the guts to wrap her material inside a remake of a (relatively) obscure 58-year-old, black-and-white art film. And, oh, yeah, it drove me to the Urban Dictionary to learn what "chub" meant.

Nobody asked me, but ...

Nick Cave, the Australian rocker, has composed an epic poem about an airsickness bag. Or so says The New York Times. Apparently, he writes on them all the time when he's flying. "I think we all do it, don't we?" he says. Ummm, no, Nick, we do not ...

American Airlines says you're now allowed to earn AAdvantage miles on any Etihad Airways flight operating to or from the United States. It no longer has to be an American code-shared flight. And, of course, American shares the Oneworld Alliance with Qatar Airways, which owns 10 percent of the parent company of British Airways, which has a joint-venture deal with American on transatlantic flights. But American Airlines hopes you remember that Gulf carriers are evil, rule-breaking, subsidized interlopers bent on destroying American jobs and the U.S. airline industry.

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