weekly photo challenge: object

This larger-than-life size statue of actor John Wayne at the John Wayne Airport in Irvine, California is massively impressive. Not only was I awestruck, I was also filled with patriotic pride.

I’m certain all Americans, Democrats and Republicans alike, are proud to call him their hero. What he represented on film, readily transferred to real life. John Wayne was, and still is, an All American Hero.

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Misc Aug 2010 00020

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postaday 2011 topic: best road trip

A couple of years ago I was part of a totally unexpected road trip with 3 strangers, all of us in the same “boat” when Southwest cancelled our connecting flights. All anxious to get to our destinations, mine being my daughter’s home, an hour away by air. Not one for hitch-hiking, but wanting to see her smiling face after a 5 hour flight, I threw caution to the wind. Telling my hubby, “I’m catching a ride with Larry. Talk to you later.” I happily drove off with my newfound companions, a woman, and 2 men.

God blessed our road trip because our personalities gelled. We were all soft-spoken, laughing quietly at each other’s jokes, commiserating about jobs and families. We stopped enroute for a quick bite, but hurriedly continued on our way.

Arriving at the airport where we should’ve landed, I tried to press $20 into Larry’s hand for having rented the car. He refused, saying our companionship was more than compensation on what would have been a long, solitary, 5 hour ride to his home. I hugged him, tears welling  in my eyes because I’d been helped by a truly Good Samaritan. I will never forget his kindness in helping me get to my daughter, who likened the trip to the mom in “Home Alone 2,” when she hitchiked with musicians to get home to her son, Kevin. 

good people happen when you least expect them…hugmamma. :)

lost or delayed baggage, “cha ching!?!”

The following information was posted on 41 NBC News website on 2/14/11. I thought it was important information for all travelers. Readers were invited to leave comments. Mine follows their reporting.
Last year, nearly two million bags didn’t show up on airline luggage carousels as scheduled according to the Department of Transportation, leaving many travelers desperate for every day necessities.Federal rules require airlines pay each passenger up to $3,300 in compensation for lost or delayed luggage.

 

Many people file a claim if their bag is never found, but you have the right to money even if your bag is just delayed.

Most airlines try to keep that a secret.

Sometimes consumer rights are posted; other times the details are buried on the airline’s website.

When you’re at the lost baggage counter, remember to use these words: “my legal rights”, “delayed or lost luggage“, and “compensation”.

Then ask to file a claim and make sure the airline gives you a copy.

Some airlines will give you money right at the airport to help you with necessities until your bag is found.

Others will ask you to pay and reimburse you.

Others may give vouchers for purchases at the airport.

It’s important to note, never expect money for electronics.

They are not covered, even if your bag is never found.

Good to know; not so easy to enforce. Most passengers would probably be intimidated about getting into an argument with airline reps. I’m sure they don’t make it easy to get the cash, probably making passengers “jump through hoops.” Sometimes my blood pressure and stress level are more important than a confrontation, especially since I’m 61, and trying to stave off Alzheimer’s. Money or health? Health or money? I guess it depends on what’s more important to an individual…hugmamma’s mind, body and soul.

McGarrett, no replacement

As I sit typing away at the keyboard, Steve McGarrett’s face lights up the TV screen behind me. The low, husky voice is enough to conjure up the handsome Jack Lord. I’m reminded that in “Hawaii Five-O’s” heyday, I had a crush on the actor. So while I was disappointed in his marriage to someone other than me, I took comfort in his wife’s dark-haired good-looks as indicative of Lord’s preference for exotic types.

Beyond Lord’s presence in the series, “Hawaii Five-O” was a favorite of locals because it was filmed in the islands. The production company’s home base was located a few miles from my mother-in-law’s house. Filming on location meant natives would be used not only as extras, but possibly in featured roles as well. I think one or more of McGarrett’s  detectives were island men. Not only did the series provide jobs for locals but they, along with the islands as a backdrop, gave the show authenticity. Viewing the show I could identify every place they filmed, streets, buildings, restaurants, night clubs, malls, parks, beaches, hotels, churches, temples, airports and more. It was thrilling to see local celebrities like Danny Kaleikini and Genoa Keawe perform. Don Ho also guested but wasn’t a favorite of locals, who viewed him as a cheesy rendition of the true Hawaiian artist. Besides, Ho was always seen with a drink in his hand. Islanders did not relish being dubbed as slap-happy alcoholics to an audience of television watchers.

While not knocking the socks off of critics, the dramatic series entertained “Hawaii Five-O” fans for years. I know my family watched it with regularity. We probably set our dinner schedule around its time slot. After all, watching the show was like witnessing real life as it unfolded on our streets, in our homes, in our work places, among our people. We weren’t watching look-a-likes, so imagining that “Hawaii Five-O” was about us wasn’t far-fetched. And Jack Lord imbued the Hawaiian spirit, if not in looks then in his love of the islands and its people. During the series and through his retirement, he and his wife lived in Honolulu, calling it home. We were as enamored of the man, as he was of Hawaii, its culture and the natives. So while another reprise of the TV series is in the offing, there’ll never be a replacement for Jack Lord, the one and only Steve McGarrett. I wonder if the theme song will be updated as well; the old one is like “comfort food.” Right now, watching the original “Hawaii Five-O”, I’m remembering the “good old days” of my youth.

they can try, but…hugmamma.

“vino, anyone?”

Have you noticed how airports around the country, and the world, have been transformed into “destinations?” Passengers who once shopped for last-minute trinkets, can now purchase Burberry coats, TUMI luggage, and Disney memorabilia for themselves. Grabbing a cold, dry ham and cheese sandwich, has been replaced by gastronomical delights like Wolfgang Puck’s 3-cheese-pizza, Sabarro’s spaghetti and meatballs, and Chinese delicacies. Bars have always been available for the business traveler in need of a “pick-me-up,” after a day of endless meetings. But according to a Journal article “Airports Blend More Spirits Into the Mix,”  “Alcohol has rarely been in short supply at airports, but some cash-strapped local governments are taking steps to open the taps further.”

Bars at Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports are open 24 hours, as are the 17 pushcart vendors selling beer and wine. A plan is in place to open a bar in the baggage claim of Las Vegas’ airport, while wine bars are expanding. “Vino Volo, a San Fransisco airport wine-bar chain that opened its first shop in 2005, plans to add its 14th location this month and hopes to have 50 in three to five years. Vino Volo, which means ‘wine flight’ in Italian, offers meals and wine-tastings and sells bottles to go from most of its locations.” HMSHost, part of Italy’s Autogrill SpA, sells bottled local wines at two California airports. The company also sells bottled wines at wine bars in several airports, and is planning to open more.

“Critics say the last thing needed in the skies is more tipsy passengers.” This week a flight, prepared to take off from Florida’s St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport, returned to the gate because of a drunken passenger. While such incidents have occurred before, Joe Tiberi, the International Association of Machinists union spokesman feels that ” ‘Making liquor more easily accessible in airports will only exacerbate the problem,’…” Rebecca Rolfes, a Chicago publishing exec, who travels from O’Hare several times a month feels pushcarts would allow tipsy drinkers to roam concourses, bringing them into contact with families and non-drinking passengers. “That could create ‘some pretty sloppy situations,’…”

The obvious benefits to increasing the availability of alcohol are providing respite for passengers other than food courts, more revenue for airports and cities, and creation of jobs. Making a plea for those like himself who may find themselves stranded overnight at the airport, electrician Ray Mazzoni feels that with bars open 24 hours “you could have a drink and a snack and watch TV.”

It’s likely that if “you build it, they will come.” The question is do we really need IT? Just because we think it, does it mean we must give it life? There might be short, and long-term, consequences which we aren’t taking into account. Dispensing more alcohol in airports doesn’t seem like a proposition worthy of our support. It’s not of medical or scientific or even human necessity. It’s a luxury most can’t afford.

in my opinion…hugmamma