Tag Archives: Air travel

Pigs in Flight

Pig FinalBy Jack Edwards

The national media paused briefly from its focus on the seemingly endless nightly unrest and rioting in the Kardashian household to cover another story of equal international importance. This involved a woman who boarded a commercial flight accompanied by her “emotional support” pig. It should come as no surprise that this created quite a stink (Ba-da-bump! I’m here all night folks!)

This story is true. You can read all about it in recent New York Post article written by Natalie O’Neill titled, “Woman Kicked Off flight after pet pig stinks up plane.” According to Ms. O’Neill’s story, passengers reported the pig “pacing around and stinking up the cabin.” The crew asked the woman and her porkly companion to disembark prior to the flight’s departure, which they did.

If you’ve ever wondered what your elected officials in D.C. have been working on during their grueling three-day work weeks, wonder no more. According to the article: “Emotional support animals — including pigs — are allowed on flights, under federal rules drafted in 2012. Monkeys, cats and even miniature horses all qualify as ‘emotional support’ animals.” (Horses, folks. These dingbats were so afraid of some noisy special interest group that they gave the go-ahead to emotional support horses!)

My first question regarding an emotion support pig on a commercial aircraft was probably the same as yours, was he in coach? I can tolerate a being treated equally to a pig in coach, but I have to draw the line at suffering the indignantly of sitting back in coach knowing that a pig is drinking champagne and wiping his hooves with hot towels up in first class.

In a story written by Bill Keveney in USA Today, a passenger reported an additional pertinent fact. The “emotional support” pig was incontinent. Mr. Keveney said that a passenger reported that the woman the pig was emotionally supporting tried to “clean up after the animal” before she got off the plane. I can only interpret the description of “tried” to mean that the pig left a souvenir for everyone to enjoy.

Adam Carolla, a long time chastiser of “support” creatures of all ilk, was quick to tweet out a link to an ABC News story to his half million followers. It contained a picture of a woman hauling a pig over her shoulder as the pig looked toward the photographer with (and I’m no expert here) a dazed look on his face.

I am usually on the same page as Corolla, and was shaking my head at the gall of somebody hauling a pig onto a flight, when I stopped and thought it through. And, frankly, I did a one-eighty. ‘Could it really get any worse?’ I asked myself. I mean the commercial coach flight experience. With or without a pig, does it really matter? I’ve sat next to plenty of people who I would have gladly traded for a moderately incontinent pig. Think about it:

1. A pig is unlikely to have a carry-on and take up overhead bin space.

2. He’s unlikely to start an inane conversation.

3. The average pig’s butt is several sizes down from any number of fellow passengers I’ve had the pleasure of flying with. (Note to the airlines: You know those metal framed units you have sitting next to the boarding gate for people to check if their carry-ons will fit in the overhead bin? Put one next to it with a sign that says, “If your behind won’t slip nicely into this space, buy another ticket.”)

All-in-all, I’ve made up my mind. Emotional support or no emotional support, I’ll take my chances sitting next to a pig.

The Happiest People on Earth


By Jack Edwards

The three happiest people on Earth are, in ascending order: #3. Lotteries winners (before the relatives find out), #2. Patients whose cancer tests have come back negative, and (in a dominant first position) #1. Airline passengers who have just landed after a long flight seated in the dreaded middle seat. Here are five rules to help you survive this ordeal:

1. Never, repeat, NEVER, travel in the middle seat. Ask the boarding agent if there is room on the exterior of the plane – someplace where you can get a good grip and increase your chance of survival. (Ask where that kid who made it to Hawaii rode. Ask for that spot.)

2. Mentally prepare yourself by studying The Pastor’s Guide to Preparing the Condemned Inmate for Execution.

3. Read one of Leo Buscaglia’s books about how to get in touch with your sensitive side. (To prepare for all that shoulder to shoulder contact with your two new best friends).

4. Upon sitting down, take both elbows, then jam them out and down like an NFL linebacker getting down into position. You own those armrests. They’re yours. It’s the least the world owes you.

5. If you know anyone with a serious illness who has access to coma inducing pills, raid their medicine cabinet and wash a handful down just prior to take-off. (Official Jocularious.com Warning: Consult with your doctor prior to doing this. If your doctor approves, consider having the following dream during the flight; it’s called: “The airline pays you to sit in the middle seat.”

On a more positive note, try to make the best of it. General George Patton once said, “People are always asking me, ‘General, where did you muster the fortitude to conquer the Axis Forces and bring victory to the U.S.?’ Simple, I tell them. I have always made it a point to sit in the middle seat.” Harry Houdini perfected his greatest tricks by practicing escaping from the middle seat.

I have never understood why the CIA has been willing to take the heat for waterboarding terrorists, when all they had to do was make them fly from city to city strapped into the middle seat. In particular, the middle seats immediately in front of the exit row and in front of the rear toilet – because those are very special middle seats: They don’t recline those luxurious four inches!

While I’m handing out free advice, let me give a little to the money grubbing airlines who are now charging passengers for each square of toilet paper. If you bloodsuckers really want to make extra money, take a lesson from all the science fiction movies that involve space travel. Whenever the spaceship is going to travel light-years from one galaxy to the next, the humans lie down in clear Plexiglas capsules and are put into a sleep-like state. I’m not saying that airlines should install capsules between the window and aisle seats, but they could install masks which hang on the back of the seat directly in front of them that dispenses that gas that dentists use. Put a credit card swiper next to it. You’ll make a bundle. You’d have passengers begging to sit in the middle seats. Knife fights would break out over who gets to sit in the middle seat. (Okay, I know I said this advice was free, but now that I think about it, I should at least get a coupon for a coach round-trip fare).

Well, according to the captain, it’s time to stow my laptop away. We’re beginning our descent. For the third flight in this three-leg journey, I’m going to be the happiest person in the world.

My Dad’s Weekend Extravaganza

Dad's Weekend

By Jack Edwards

My daughter attends a university which is conveniently located two thousand miles away. This year, I didn’t think I’d be able to attend “Dad’s Weekend” until the last minute, which meant that scheduling flights was a challenge, but luckily, I was able to book an airline itinerary which only included 25 legs. The good news is that when I finally landed in Tulsa, it was raining.

My daughter belongs to a sorority at Oklahoma State University, the name of which I cannot disclose, but its initials are Kappa Kappa Gamma. She and her sisters took preparing for this weekend very seriously. Meetings were held. Plans were made. They agonized over how they should best use those precious final few hours on the Friday evening before their fathers arrived the next day. Then they put that plan into action. And that plan involved attending an all-night toga party.

If you look up “Dad’s Weekend” in the Encyclopedia Britannica, it says: “The visit a father makes to his child’s college, where he experiences both PTSD flashbacks and a deep longing to be a student again.”

The big day began with a complimentary lunch at the sorority house. It was a football game day, so the menu was tailgating fare. Hotdogs, hamburgers, traditional sides. It was all every tasty and lovely. At the same time, as I munched down my meal, I couldn’t help but calculate the cost of my hotdog at just north of $20,000. (But who’s counting?)

Later we attended the game. Security at Boone Pickens Stadium was tighter than a tick in a pig’s ear. The security lady at the front entrance made me lift my baseball cap. She thought I might be hiding something. I’m not kidding. She made me show her my bald spot. Though in her defense, my bald spot is getting pretty shiny these days, and I’m sure that a clever terrorist might be able to configure a chain of strategically placed middle-aged men throughout the stadium and bounce a laser beam from one bald spot to another, building up a concentration of energy that led to a horrific catastrophe.

Following the game, a traditional problem emerged. Both parent and child want to take off and recreate into the late night hours, but, for too many reasons to list, certainly not together. And that instinct is for the best. Case-in-point is a friend of mine who I will refer to as “Tom,” because his name happens to be Tom. Tom attended a Dad’s weekend at his daughter’s college in Minnesota. He decided to join in his daughter’s postgame celebratory activities. And he, being the only celebrant over the age of 21, ended up buying the beer. What happened next is best summarized in the arresting officer’s police report: “As smoke billowed out of the upper window of the apartment building and a flood of inebriated occupants fled into the night, emergency first responders heard a low crying sound emitting from the building. They strapped on their respirators and reentered the blazing structure. Once back inside, they discovered a small herd of pigmy goats trapped in a rear bathroom. All the goats were treated and released.” Tom later pled down to a misdemeanor charge of Animal Endangerment and got probation. His law license was suspended by his state Bar association for 90 days.

All kidding aside, Oklahoma State University is a first rate institution. And Kappa Kappa Gamma is, in my bias opinion, the finest sorority in the country. But I’m not kidding when I repeat that that hotdog I cost me $20,000. It’s a good thing that it went down smoothly.

All of the People, All of the Time

Three People (2)

My bucket list is fairly short.  My number one item, of course, is the same as yours – to enter the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in New York.  In fact, not only to enter it, but win it.  The record is 68 hot dogs in ten minutes.  Child’s play.  The number two item on my list is to interview three people.  No…… Not any three people.  Three people whose audacity has left me speechless.  It doesn’t help my quest that I don’t know their names.  So I am calling on YOU, my millions of loyal readers, to help me identify them.  I want to interview them for a Jocularious.com column before Scott Pelley or that sniveling Piers Morgan get their talons into them.

First is the guy who cooked up the idea of slapping an “L” on a Toyota and calling it a Lexis.  Then tacking $10,000 onto the price of a Camry.  I want to hire that guy.  They probably have a bronze bust of him at Toyota headquarters in Japan.  Possibly a shrine.

Next is the guy who concocted the scheme to reduce the time teenagers have to return merchandise.  Here’s the scoop.  My teenage daughter recently forced me at gun point to take her to the mall.  She wanted some stuff from Forever 21.  After running my card, the Forever 21 clerk asked, “Are you familiar with our return policy?”  (FYI, the phrase “Are you familiar with our return policy?” is code for “We have a really crappy return policy.”)  My daughter turned to me (which is, as I’m sure you can understand, terribly embarrassing for her in public) and explained, “It’s 21 days.  Get it?  Forever 21?  Twenty-one days?”  Yeah, cute.  A really cute way to shave 7 days off a more reasonable 30 day period.

The last guy is the one who came up with charging airline passengers to check a bag.  Not a second bag, any bag.  The first bag!  When he first suggested this in the boardroom, he probably got threatened with immediate beheading.  Picture the chairman’s reaction, “Look, Mr. [Fill-in-the-blank], our customers are travelers.  With the exception of an occasional Al-Qaeda suicide bomber, they all have luggage.”  But this “think outside the box”, “the customer be damned” pioneer did it by golly.  He reached for the stars and achieved the laughably absurd.  He is probably the same guy who later decided to charge extra for an aisle or window seat in coach.  The real mystery is why the airlines haven’t added a “convenience fee” for that smelly seat conveniently located right next to the toilet.  Why they’re still giving ice away is a mystery to me.  And how about that free reading spotlight?

So people, send me these people’s names as soon as possible.  I’m sure Scott Pelley and Piers Morgan have their media bloodhounds out sniffing around for them as we speak.  I need to scratch this item off my bucket list, so I can dive into that stack of 69 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs!

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Attack of the Flying Chihuahua

Incoming Chihuahua!

I recently had the opportunity to speak to one of my U.S. senators.  This big shot friend of mine gave the senator a “donation.”  Enough to fill a wheelbarrow, if the wheelbarrow was as big as your house.  My friend is an oil guy.  He wears a cowboy hat too big for his head (but he’s too rich to mention this to).  And he’s the kind of guy who likes to give people a wide toothy grin and a big thumbs up anytime the situation remotely allows it.  My friend made his money the old fashioned way.  He flunked out of a second tier college, and then stumbled around drunk for a few years until his grandfather died and left him a boatload.  Anyway, he gave a bunch of money to this senator, and the next thing you know, this senator’s aide is calling my friend to set up a meeting.  Only one thing, my friend is a busy guy, and this is what led him to make the critical mistake of asking me to go instead.  He figured I was good with words and could convey his position on an “important energy issue.” Like I said, big mistake.  Almost as big as his hat.  You see he wanted me to talk about “fracking.”  Now I know all you old timers at the VFW think I’m talking about something else.  No, not that.  The fracking I’m talking about is where trained engineers shoot high pressure water or radioactive waste or something down into the earth, and then pray to God the whole place doesn’t blow to smithereens.  Then oil shoots out of the ground and makes them absurdly rich (the One Percenters the Occupy folks are always taking time out of their busy days to complain about).  You may have seen this if you ever watched the beginning of a Beverly Hillbillies episode.  I’m pretty sure it was Jed who started the whole fracking thing.

Suffice it to say, the environmentalists are all beside themselves about this and are having about one billion heart attacks a day.  In the meantime, the politicians are hiding in corners counting votes (and my friend’s money).

So, anyway, I roll into this coffee meeting at some random Starbucks.  And I failed to mention that my oil friend gives the senator absolutely no notice he’s sending me instead.  The disappointment in the senator’s eyes is almost too painful for me to bear.  So the senator recovers and jump starts the conversation by leaning forward with a deeply sincere expression (a little too close for my comfort) and asks me to pass along his gratitude to my associate.  I swear he actually used the word “associate.”  I told him that my friend was extremely disappointment to miss the meeting, but an emergency had come up (which was a bold-faced lie, but it felt right at the moment).  The senator asked me about any concerns that he should be aware of (he probably meant of my friend, but in fairness to me, he wasn’t explicit).  I dove in.

“Yes, there is,” I said.  He leaned in and widened his eyes.  (It felt quite conspiratorial.)  “You fly quite a bit, don’t you senator?”

“Almost every week.”

“So airline safety is important to you?”

“Why, of course.”

“Have you been noticing what’s going on with the therapy animals lately?”


“Therapy animals – dogs – they’re everywhere now.  Got’em for everything, even anxiety.  Well, they’re flying on planes with us now.”

“And…?” the senator’s face squinched up puzzled.

“Ever wonder what kind of damage a wiener dog could do incoming in at a couple hundred miles an hour?  Yeah, I know people are already holding babies on their laps, but that horse left the barn a long time ago.”


“Pet seatbelts.  Strap’em down.  Heck, strap the babies down too.  Harness them to their owners or parents, whatever.  Legislation would shoot through Congress.  Promote it as an infant/companion animal safety measure.  Do it before some nervous nelly’s Chihuahua slams into your head on an aborted take-off.”  I paused for effect.  “It’s time, senator.  It’s time.”

When my friend asked me later how it went, I nodded and said, “Mission accomplished.”  He gave me a wide toothy grin and a really big thumbs up.

Don’t You Believe in Time Travel?

Welcome to Your Time Machine

If you don’t believe in time travel, and surprisingly, many people don’t, then you haven’t flown commercially in the last thirty years.  The next time you’re standing at the ticket counter schlepping around for your picture ID and trying to convince the agent that your check-in luggage doesn’t contain a tomahawk missile, look carefully.  That dinosaur of a computer the ticket agent is hammering away at is actually one of Steve Jobs’ original Apple computers, complete with attractive off-gray plastic shell and cathode ray tube.  The agent isn’t typing those bazillion key strokes to find your reservation, she’s killing time waiting for the tube to warm up.   The airlines rely on this cutting edge 1980’s technology in order to achieve the near impossible.  That is, of course, to ensure that thousands of times per day without fail at least fifty percent of all flights are massively overbooked.   No easy task.

Few other industries that rely on a reservation system would dare try to provide this consistent level of service.  Imagine if you will the restaurant industry employing this strategy.  Say you go to Rigatonie’s Italian for a nice spaghetti dinner and are waiting for your table, then the manager steps up to the little hostess podium.  “Attention everyone!” he announces.  “Unfortunately, Rigatonie’s has overbooked its tables this evening.  We are asking for volunteers willing to reschedule their dinners to another sitting.  We have one scheduled five hours from now at 1:00 a.m.  Volunteers will receive one complementary non-seafood appetizer.  We cannot begin seating until we have sufficient volunteers.  Thank you.”  Who else gets away with this?  Nonetheless, God bless ‘em, the airlines manage to achieve their quota, day after day.

The journey back in time continues after boarding.  Fun fact: Thanks to exceptional cooperation between Boeing and Airbus, the same factory in Hoboken, New Jersey, continues to manufacture the same tried and true seatbelts originally designed for the 1957 Chevy Bel Air.  Extra Fun Fact:  Boeing even installed these loyal safeguards of the sky in every Space Shuttle.  Both Boeing and Airbus like to brag that every time a passenger lifts up on one of the seatbelt clips, a union worker in Hoboken earns his wings.

Time to use the onboard lavatory?  The journey continues.  It’s a flying toilet museum.  I am, of course, referring to the peaceful comfort of being able to place a paper seat protector down on the toilet and turn “into position” without the fear of hearing an auto-flush engage and seeing your paper shield flash from sight.  Note to helpful engineers:  Some technology has reached its zenith.  Disengage from pioneering further “advancements.”

Nothing takes us back in time so much, however, as the state-of-the-art scratchy “plug-in sound” quality.  You see, the real joy of having the airline industry lie to us about the danger of low frequency radio waves during flight is that we are able to transport ourselves to a pre-World War II entertainment experience.  It’s Jack Benny on the talkie all over again.

Here’s the nut.  The next time you hear someone mention time travel, don’t mock them and call them a science fiction dweeb.  Time travel is alive and well.  And, unfortunately, if the airlines get their way, we’ll be enjoying this portal to the past for decades to come.  So too our children, and yes, even our children’s children.