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054Here’s a past post from September 2014 with a seasonal theme that continues. (NOBODY still cares about your fantasy football team.) If you remember it, kudos to you, You’re a loyal Wedwand reader. If not, enjoy it like its new to you.

BITS AND PIECES

Now introducing a new monthly feature on Wedwand called Bits And Pieces. Three short vignettes, blips or observations that are randomly selected with a song theme.

If you wanted to take a stab at the name of this iconic (I said iconic NOT epic) band from the 60’s that inspired this week’s inaugural edition, there will be a poll at the end.

Here we go.

GLAD ALL OVER

Just got back from a Chicago to Los Angeles trip and took my first flight on Spirit Airlines. As you may know, Spirit specializes in “ala carte” air fare. That is to say, the tickets are cheap but you pay for everything else, even for carry-on luggage bigger than a back pack.

Their seats do not even recline which I think is fantastic. This prevents the A-hole in front of you from randomly shooting back his seat and jamming the cartilage in your knees or spilling your drink. It’s happened to me. I’m sure it’s happened to you.

However, their ala carte menu allows you to purchase the “big seat” which for my cross-continental flight to LA truly made me feel glad all over.

Sadly, no big seat was available for the ride home, but I did pay extra for a seat in the exit row. And, I’m pretty sure most of the passengers felt a little safer having me there with more leg room in that row.

Bottom line, if you can fit all the clothes you need for your trip in a back pack and don’t care about leg room, fly Spirit. They have good no frills fares.

BECAUSE

Wedwand would like to salute an unsung invention, an unlikely machine that is overlooked for its value and efficiency. That invention is the stapler.

This simple device keeps our papers together at work, school or play. The stapler even subtly keeps our magazines and other publications together. They come in all shapes and sizes ranging from the size of your thumb to big industrial sized staplers.

It is efficient and quite simple to use, even for one as technically challenged as I. One simple wham on the top with the hand and bang, your papers are connected.

Wikipedia tells us that the first stapler was invented for King Louis XV of France. The Staple Singers also had a number one hit called, “I’ll Take You There.” It is a poignant love song about two pieces of paper longing to get together that were finally attached.

EVERYBODY KNOWS

Football season is upon us again and you know what that means? It’s Fantasy Football time for many NFL fans. Wedwand has one piece of advice for all you Fantasy Football players out there:

NOBODY wants to know about your Fantasy Football team. Trust me on this one. I have a Fantasy Football team and even I don’t want to know about it.

I don’t care if your team has Walter Payton, Payton Manning and Tatum Channing, NOBODY wants to hear about it. Please don’t tell me about your team.

The only borderline acceptable mention is this. If you are at a football-watching-type-party with appetizers nobody should eat without a defibrillator and a touchdown is scored, you may say, “That’s my guy.” Those three words ONLY.

Nothing else. Why? because nobody cares about your Fantasy Football team.

What’s your guess for the artist of the songs referenced?

HINT: They were The band with the “Tottenham Sound”.

RANDOM FACT: The song “Bits and Pieces” reached number 4 in 1964.

ANSWER: Next week… or on request if you ask.

GE DIGITAL CAMERALast month, my wife and I took a vacation to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, thanks to a fortuitous opportunity presented by my sister and brother in law. #thankssis.

How far away July 28, 2016 seemed in May. Yet, time flashed by as it so often will and here it was high noon on the day of departure and I hadn’t even packed. #procrastination

So, I was packing light. I was packing fast. It was the final four of packing. 4 pairs of underwear, 4 pairs of socks, 4 T-shirts.

In my haste, I randomly threw four t-shirts in the suitcase. Then I stopped to consider my selection. T-shirt selection, while not vital, is something to take into account when packing for a vacation, at least in the Wedwand book of vacation travels.

Had this been the 1950’s, there would be no selection to make. Hey there Delilah, there would have been 4 plain white t-shirts in the suitcase. The kind of t-shirt that made James Dean and Marlon Brando and Arthur Fonzarelli look cool while the rest of the world just dorked around wearing the plain white back then.

I readily admit to being overly analytical about my Tee selection when I am on vacation. This involves choosing just the right t-shirt to represent my hometown. People do notice.

While it was a very cool, traditional, almost patriotic navy blue tee with white outlined block red letters saying RED SOX, I put that shirt back in the drawer and exchanged it for a “Black Hawks 2015 Stanley Cup Champion” shirt instead. Got to represent.

A Cubs shirt was a must, since this is the height of baseball season and for one of the few rare times in the past hundred years or so, the Cubs are doing well. I injected a little humor from my stable of Cubs shirts, opting for the “Cubs Back to Back Champions 1907 1908” shirt.

Since we would be travelling roughly over 450 miles on I80 through the state of Nebraska, I selected my Nebraska Football t-shirt just in case the shirt, along with a back-up “Go Big Red” chant would get us out of a jam or just get an extra french fry in the bag while traversing the Cornhusker State.

The 4th shirt was an In-N-Out Burger 60th anniversary t-shirt. It was a sentimental choice since it was a sharp looking shirt as well as a gift from my mom. Got to carry a little memory from her for the trip.
As it turns out, contrary to my wife’s conjecture, there were a few comments on my t-shirts, so my selective packing was not in vain.

A midnight gas station attendant at a truck stop commented that he always cheered for the other team on the south side when he was living in Chicago. He also acknowledged the Cubs great start this year, but added, “I think they’re too young to win it all.”

I simply smiled and nodded, adding, “Yeah, them Sox were good” lapsing into the country twang I invoke when I traverse to other parts of this fair nation.

On Saturday, I dropped a water bottle on the way to a mountain side concert. A teen-aged girl was kind enough to pick it up for me. She smiled and said kindly, “I’ve got it, Sir” as she picked it up from the path. Bless her heart.

As I turned to retrieve it, her boyfriend added, “Go Hawks.” I didn’t expect that in Colorado Avalanche hockey country.
On Tuesday, we took a tour of some of the natural springs in the Steamboat area. Who knew? In addition to the namesake springs, there’s also the Soda Spring, the Black Sulphur Spring and the Lithia Spring just to name a few.

By way of introduction, the tour guide was asking where people were from. When he came to me, after seeing the T-shirt logo from the popular Golden State burger joint, he confidently stated, “You must be from California.”

“No, Chicago,” I replied, dashing his conjecture, “But I do like to have me an In-N-Out burger when I’m there.”
Turned out the guide originally hailed from Chicago too. The t-shirt was a conversation starter.

While the Nebraska shirt garnered no comments on the trip, I traveled untrammeled through the Cornhusker state and just might have gotten a little extra meat on my Runza at a North Platte truck stop.

My wife thinks I’m nuts. I think I’m shrewd with this selective t-shirt vacation packing. What do you think?

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Getting ready for a vacation this week, so will post an edited rerun of a previous post related to travel while I pack my bags.

Here’s my running diary about a January airline trip from Los Angeles to Chicago in 2014. All times are AM:

Why do they abbreviate airports with three character cryptic codes? LAX for Los Angeles makes some sense. LA’s fine the sun shines most the time and the feeling is, laid back, reLAX.

ORD for Chicago, not so much. Chicago pizza is certainly not ORDinary. At least I am not flying to Sioux City, Iowa or as they call it SUX.

5:55 I was fortunate enough to get a seat on an exit aisle with actual leg room. Before we take off, a flight attendant informs me that I am seated in the exit aisle and asks if I am ready, willing, and able to assist should an emergency occur.

I assure her that if I can have this seat, I will also hand wash her uniform and spit shine her shoes. “Please please don’t make me move to the Houdini seats.” She doesn’t smile but asks my row mate the same question.

6:20 Crackle sound, “Uh this is your captain speaking. (Whew for a moment there, I thought we flew too high and it was God.) Welcome aboard our flight to Chicago where the temperature is five below zero Celsius. ”

OK, I get it. Not only are you the ‘way too cool guy’ who can fly an airplane, but you also know the temperature on a scale that nobody else in America refers to.

6:30 In-flight entertainment varies these days. On some flights, you get a free movie. On some, you get nothing, but they still put the headphones in the pocket in front of you just to tease you.

On this one, there are individual video screens right in front of you running live shows that STOP every five minutes the instant you are in the air.

Then, here comes the plug. For $6.99, you can watch the rest of the show or anything you want. I just paid $450.00 for this flight, I get no nuts, no pretzels, no meal and now you want seven bucks to watch TV? I pass.

6:45 The video screen runs the same ads over and over again. Something with Kevin Bacon, and by golly tart cherry juice can apparently raise the dead. Pay $6.99 for more information. I pass again.

7:00 The flight attendant brings the cart down the aisle. I was hungry and looked at the options. A hard-boiled egg, 10 grapes and a wedge of cheese. The only meat apparent is the Bacon on the screen in front of me. They want $6.99 for this too. Once more, I pass.

7:30 The beverage cart comes now. I consider a beer, but that costs … yep you guessed it, $6.99. I opt for a ginger ale. For the price of 2 beers, I can buy a whole case back home. The flight attendant also informs me there is no tart cherry juice on the cart.

7:45 The seat belt light has been off for an hour or so and while we were free to move about the cabin, only a few people dare. I am standing in the aisle, about to answer an urgent call of nature strategizing how to negotiate the 3 foot by 5 foot lavatory when a ding comes. Captain Celsius tells us, “We’ve hit a bit of turbulence, so please take your seats and fasten your seat belts.” He does not tell us the temperature.

OK, not only do I have to hold it in, I get to shake around for a while too with my belt fastened tightly around my waist. At least I have leg room. Eventually, I am free to move about the cabin and free to relieve my bladder.

8:00 There are two business clones in the aisle across from me wearing garish suits who have been looking at their computers for two hours solid and mutually nodding. One gets up to use the facilities. The other follows. Odd.

8:25 Apparently Kevin Bacon plays the role of Ryan Hardy. After 27 times through the spool I have gathered that. I briefly consider dropping $6.99 just to make the preview stop.

9:00 I check out the In Flight magazine and find a boarding pass from Hawaii (or HNL if you prefer) to LAX. I also find 3 Ohio instant lottery tickets already scratched. I check, just in case. None are winners.

9:35 The announcement comes from Captain Celsius, “We are making our arrival to Chicago. Flight attendants, prepare the cabin for arrival.”

At this announcement, all the flight attendants do nothing and instantly just sit down. Apparently, this is landing preparation.

The wing flaps start making this noise that you hope is a noise they are supposed to be making and you think, “Hey, flight attendants! Did you prepare for THAT? Did you check that right wing before you sat down? It’s shaking like crazy and making noises like when the brakes went out on my car. ARE you prepared for landing!?”

9:45 Safe landing. A well-prepared flight attendant announces, “Welcome to Chicago where the temperature is 23 degrees.” (I assume we are back in good old Fahrenheit land.)

“Please stay seated until the aircraft comes to a complete stop.” (Nobody does. Most people instantly stand at that announcement. Why? I do not know. Nobody is getting off any faster because they got their bags ready quicker.)

“Contents in the overhead bins may have shifted during flight.” (The contents of my stomach did indeed shift during that landing, so likely there was some shift in the bins. Luckily however, there was not much in my stomach because I didn’t spend $6.99. The overhead bins are stuffed tighter than a 15 pound turkey with 8 pounds of stuffing on Thanksgiving Day. Likely, nothing shifted there either.)

9:55 Home sweet home. I exit the plane and the airport wearing just a sweater and realize, damn, it’s January in Chicago. Celsius or Fahrenheit, it’s cold.

But maybe this has happened to you? Share your travel story if you dare.

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