Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Saturday Picture Show, March 31, 2018

I think it all started when Heinz started making mustard and French's turned out catsup. But now we must decide if this mixup is a total prank or a total failure to read. Either way. welcome to Mystery Condiment Night at the ballpark!
March came in like a lion, all right, but at the last minute, the lamb is demanding equal time.
I don't know where this was taken, but wherever it is, they sure have some great snowplows going on!
Who wants to try this barbeque at Frenchie's? I garrr-ohn-teeee you it is great.
This is the Rosetta Stone. I know, you're thinking Rosetta Stone was the woman who played piano for your Sunday School back in the day. Maybe so, but this one - this piece of stone found in 1799 - contained a decree issued in Egypt by King Ptolemy V in the year 196, and it has been the key to translating Egyptian hieroglyphics.
Rudderless, misguided young people often come to me seeking career advice, thereby proving just how rudderless they are. But I say unto them, the career ideal is the career with no staff meetings! Seek such a profession.
This sign at a zoo in Ireland speaks for zoos all over.
Judging from the ties, this picture dates back a few years to the day when the WB Network was all the rage. I would love to see how things are going for the young man on the far right. He seems like my kind of kid.

Friday, March 30, 2018

The King returns to Queens

From Annapolis comes word that a Midshipman 4th class (freshman) has been shown the plank after three times using a racially offensive slur about African-Americans with other members of his classes at the US Naval Academy.

That's the school on the banks of the Severn where the best and brightest and most morally upright young men and women come from all over America to become the officers of the US Navy and the Marine Corps. They are hundreds, chosen from among thousands of applicants, who receive a top-notch education over four years, and graduate as commissioned officers to lead the Navy and Marines into the future.  They command the battleships, fly the jets, and make the decisions crucial to the world's security.

That's why they don't take just any old High School Harry with a spotty attendance record and a grade point average that has kept him a stranger to the Honor Society assemblies. They want the best and they deserve the best, and frankly, they can afford to be choosy.

So maybe someone should have clued former Midshipman Ted Colter to that wisdom.  He's the one sent packing last month because he was found to be using that slur of all slurs in an online group chat, and was cautioned about it, only to use it again. When he was finally half contrite about it, as only a recalcitrant 18-year-old can be, he changed he word to "ninja."  Very clever, son, but someone complained, someone who does not care to serve as an officer with a trash-talking wise kid.

And that's going to be Colter's defense! He's hired an lawyer from Annapolis, an Academy graduate name of Jeff McFadden. His brilliant stratagem for getting Colter reinstated is to point out that the young man hails from New York City, and...

“When viewed in its proper context, the speech underlying the violations is, however facially or subjectively ‘offensive,’ simply the repartee and patois of a generation of street-tough teenagers from one of the most racially diverse parts of the country.” 

Let's look it over here.  The kid comes from Queens. To me, a racially diverse part of any town is a part of town where people treat each other with a certain regard, at least outwardly. But lawyer McFadden is going for the cheap defense (and it's really the only straw he can grasp for) that says that Colter is just using the street talk that he hears the lower classes employ, the invective of the small-minded.

The whole point of training young men and women to be leaders in the service academies is to make sure the services are led by decent people of better quality, not rakehells and ne'er-do-wells.

Cmdr. David McKinney, an academy spokesman, said,"We have high standards for dignity and respect here at the Naval Academy and Midshipman Colter did not live up to those high standards.”

McFadden replies to that by saying "Colter’s use of the word was a joke in bad taste and lacking judgment,” but “similar to the numerous other vulgar and bawdy acronyms used throughout Bancroft Hall.”

Are you like me in enjoying seeing a grown lawyer using the same defense I used when caught smoking a cigarette down behind the barn?  "A lot of other guys do it!" I hollered, to my friend Noah Vale.

I was 11, and that weak defense of "I'm not the only one" didn't get me off the hook, and it should be enough to tell Colter to tell his story walking back up to Queens, where he ought to try his language out on the streets to see how the residents of Hollis feel about it.

The Rev. Stephen Tillett, president of the Anne Arundel County branch of the NAACP , said the "n" word is always a vile slur as used by non-African-Americans. 

“You don’t get to reinterpret it and say because African-Americans in the rap industry use it, it is no longer disrespectful or pejorative,” Tillett said.

We expect future leaders of the armed services to know that. If they don't at age 18, it's way too late, and who knows what other indignities lie within their hearts?

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Against the grain

I'm hardly a gourmet when it comes to either cooking or eating. But I do know enough about Italian cooking to know things are more than what they seem:

  • If you order calamari, you get a flash-fried appetizer. The next day, you can go to a bait shop down near Fisherman's Creek and get a container of squid. It's the same fish, just not breaded and fried.
  • If you order polenta, you're going to pay for a lot more than you will at breakfast the next morning, when you order grits and get the same thing.
  • Same deal at a a Mexican eatery...if you go to "El Plato Grande" and order pozole. If The Big Plate serves breakfast, try the hominy.
Everyone loves calamari and everyone fishes with squid.  But how about rice?
Image result for who people don't like risotto
Try the risotto!
Image result for vacuum packed risotto
Vacuum-pak risotto

I love rice, because the concept of having thousands of something for dinner is pleasant.  However, the Italian version - risotto - was all the big deal just a few years ago.  Supermarket shelves just above the Rice-A-Roni were bulging with vacuum-packed bricks of risotto, which has grown in Southern Italy since the 14th century. It's a very starchy  roundish, medium- or short- grain white rice that takes a little more time than the standard white rice, and it gets all sticky when cooked, and it's really great to toss with meat or shellfish or veggies or cheese.

It looks like I know about risotto, but one thing I don't know about it is where to buy some!

If you Google risotto, you can see that it reached its peak in the US around 2008, judging from when all the articles on it and recipes with it were put out there.  But I ran out of risotto the other day and have been to three supermarkets around here and can't find it.
It's been replaced with quinoa, for crying out loud.  Quinoa.

At least people can say "risotto," but 1/2 the people who buy quinoa ("Keen-wah") call it "Kwin-oh-uh."

Maybe I should try teff, spelt, bulgur or farro.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Artificial Reefers

Reports recently surfaced, if you will, of a gigantic Texas-sized Island Of Garbage that is floating out in the Pacific Ocean. Once again, nature is trying to tell us to stop using oceans as trashcans, and once again, we shrug and blithely shuffle along.

And at first, hearing that old New York City subway cars - the underground vehicle where Broadway stars hang off the strap next to the indigent, where people ride on the way to and from work, where rubes lose their money on games of Three Card Monte, where the City That Never Sleeps sleeps in the subway - are being dumped into the ocean seems like a gross abuse of the ecosystem, and an affront to fish and swimmer alike.

But no! It's all good, all good for the cause and the fish as well. They become fish and coral habitats, and a great way to re-use the old subway cars.

Jeff Tinsman, of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources, calls the repurposed subway cars “luxury condominiums for fish."

What happens is, states along the coast that wish to provide cod condos and abalone apartments and halibut hideaways (I have more, but enough of this!) procure the old subway cars and clean them up, removing the greasy old undercarriages (we should all do this too!) and the doors and windows. They even steam clean the interior, which probably does not remove all the painted graffiti, but the fish don't mind. Or if they do, they don't complain.

The 20,000 pound steel boxes are then put on barges and taken to the right offshore location, where they are unceremoniously pushed overboard, settling in Davy Jones's locker on the sea floor.

The end result is an improvement for the coral ecosystem and a place for fish to swim in and out of all day, and it is helping to reverse the damage that our world has done to theirs.

Now, let's do something about all these beer cans and plastic straws...

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Deep-seated problems

I can't believe that people still go to movie theaters, where they pay $47 for a dollar's worth of popcorn, and a ton of dough for tickets to see movies that they can see at home if they're willing to wait half an hour.

And when you're sitting there, you're sitting in a darkened room with people who don't know better than to talk out loud, take and make phone calls, make predictions about the plot of the movie they're seeing and ask, "Who's that guy wearing the shirt? No not him, the guy who looks like Chris Pratt..."

You really can't enjoy the movie when the audience is carrying on, and you're more comfortable at home, sitting in your decliner and nibbling cheaper popcorn.

And then there was THIS:

In Birmingham, England, a poor unfortunate fellow died in the theater. Actually died, lost his life. He got his head lodged in the footrest of his electronic seat.
Image result for died in theatre seat
It NEVER looks like this

(Footrest? Electronic seat? I really haven't been in a theater for a while!)

It's the Vue Theater complex at Star City in Birmingham where all this tragedy took place. The man dropped his phone, and as the movie ended, he leaned down to retrieve it. He was in the Gold Class section of the movie house, where people over 18 can enjoy a full bar (another innovation new to me!)

According to Variety, "After he bent down, the reclining, electric seat’s footrest clamped down on the man’s head. He was attending the film with his partner, who reportedly became frantic as the man started to panic upon realizing he was stuck. Staff and other patrons at the cinema struggled to free him, but eventually broke him out of the entrapment."

He went into cardiac arrest, paramedics restarted his heartbeat, and he was taken to the hospital, but too late.

There are so many ways to die, and every day we add to this thanatology. It's sad to have to put it out there, but be careful, please!

I was going to add "stay home," but look at how many people fall off their own roof! Be careful everywhere!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Java Jive

For a man who cannot be considered widely traveled, I am still very interested in this big old crazy world we are spinning around on, so I subscribe to a website called Atlas Obscura, which sends me something to read about from all corners of the globe. 

(If the globe really has corners, maybe those people who say the world is flat are RIGHT!)

There was a story on there the other day about coffee vendors in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It's not just that they sell coffee, they sell "kopi joss," which is a nice hot cuppa Joe with a red hot coal dropped in it.

It's real! They say it cuts down on the acid in a cup of coffee to drop hot coal in it. It's said that the result is the coffee taking on a burned-sugar, caramel kind of taste.

They know from coffee over there. Sometimes we call coffee "Java," and that's the name of the island where Yogyakarta is found. Coffee has been a big business, and a big export, there since Dutch colonists brought coffee plants in the 17th Century.

But it wasn't until the 1960s that a man known as "Mr Man" set up shop with coffee grounds, hot water, sugar, and a hot coal dropped into the mug. Tourists and locals alike stood agape as the mix bubbled and gurgled like a hot dark Alka-Seltzer, and then once the coal was taken out, they babbled and guzzled!

A cup of Molten Java costs between 20 and 40 American cents, so it's certainly a cheap thrill, for those so inclined.

There was a restaurant in Ocean City, Maryland, where if you ordered a steak, they brought you a raw porterhouse and directed you to a big barbecue pit in the center of the room, where you got to stand alongside your fellow diners and grill it. And in Towson there was a restaurant where you sizzled your own sashimi on a hot rock they brought to your table.

I'm too demanding. I want the people in the restaurants where we dine to cook my dinner themselves and serve it to me with no flaming wood chunks in it.

I'm so old-fashioned.

Drinking a strong cup of joe on an empty stomach can be a dangerous game. For those looking to avoid a bout of acid reflux, vendors in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta claim they can neutralize coffee’s acidity with a unique trick. They plunk a piece of red-hot coal straight into glasses of the sweetened, black brew.

This is charcoal coffee, known in Indonesia as kopi (“coffee”) joss. Its name comes from the sizzling sound a burning lump of coal makes upon hitting the liquid. Some say the bubbling beverage tastes like regular coffee, while others describe a distinct caramel-y, burnt sugar taste.

Yogyakarta (also called Jogja) is located on the island that gives coffee its nickname: Java. Dutch colonists introduced the coffee plant to the Indonesian territory in the 17th century, and it came to dominate global production. By the time the island became a popular tourist destination in the 20th century, Java had become synonymous with its signature export.

In the 1960s, a local coffee-stall owner differentiated his product by using lit coal. According to legend, his name was simply “Mr. Man.” Man added the coal to a cup of hot water, coffee grounds, and sugar, then left the drink to gurgle and hiss. Once he removed the cooled nugget, customers drank up. Initially, Man’s fans were relegated to young thrill-seekers, but after (medically unsubstantiated) praise for the charcoal coffee’s health benefits spread, kopi joss gained a wider audience.

Today, several copycat stands operate in the surrounding area. Sellers still tout the drink’s ability to alleviate gastrointestinal discomfort, but most customers are attracted to the sheer novelty of watching hot coal force a tall glass of coffee to boil over.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Sunday Rerun: Shame the devil

Here's a sentence you won't see too often: Pareidolia is a type of apophenia.  

Nixon Eggplant

Those terms refer to the way we fool ourselves, or allow ourselves to be fooled, by the way we perceive things.  Have you ever been in the shower and you're just SURE the phone is ringing, so you hop out of the shower, skid across the tile while leaving a watery wake like a tugboat, and, wrapping yourself in a towel, grab the phone and holler "Hello!" to a dialtone? The phone wasn't ringing at all; it hasn't rung since the day before yesterday when Aunt Mildred called to thank you for the peppermint patties you sent from Ft. Lauderdale. Certain sounds and sights can fool us. People often see the face of Jesus or Nixon on things, and you have to figure, the name of the pooch in that photo top left is "Muffin."

All of this is fun; we all enjoy seeing a cloud that looks like Bill Belichick, but you can take it too far.  And by "you," I mean Robyn Wilkins, a resident of Cordova, Tennessee with too much time and too little to do.  She is a proudly Christian mom, and worried that the occult is taking over her town.  Why, they've even got red tail lights on school buses that look like pentagrams!   And, for crying out loud, a pentagram just like those brake lights, except that it's upside down, with two points up, inside a double circle with a picture of the head of a goat inside is the logo of the Church of Satan!

Memphis’ Action News 5 says Ms Wilkins
 took a picture  of the tail lights, and lookie here!
 The lights form a five-pointed star!
And Adolf Hitler...wore a shirt!  Just like some other people all men wearing shirts are evil too!


 Pentagrams are  sacred in some faiths. Some people turn the five-pointed star upside down and ascribe evil powers to it, but to me, I see a sheriff's star, a symbol of law enforcement, where Ms Wilkins see whatever in Hell she's talking about.

“Anyone who fears a God, if not God and Jesus Christ, should be outraged,” the worried mother told the TV news.

My free advice for Ms Wilkins and her worried friends would be to read up on pentagrams, Pentatonix, pentameters, and pentathlons.

And for heaven's sake, don't fly over the Pentagon!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Saturday Picture Show, March 24, 2018

Back when the Beatles came along, it was considered hilarious for parents and others to disdain them and their "yeah yeah yeah" music. What's more, I have always been oddly fascinated by Mr Lodge, Veronica's father. He always wore a velvet smoking jacket and a silk ascot, and he always seemed to be saying, "Harrrrrumph!" But now I know who reminds me of Mr Lodge - the president's bête noire, Robt. Mueller, looks just like him.
Look at this sunset! It's an Enchanted evening in Olüdeniz, Turkey.
I'm stumped at this totem pole and I think you wood be too.
I always wonder about a person who can go to sleep at night, looking forward to another day of poaching elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns. But here's to those who figure out ways to stymie them!
This is an honor long overdue. Knighthood for Ringo Starr, henceforth known as Sir Richard Starkey.
As we have long suspected, operators of heavy machinery tend to have droll senses of humor.
This was taken during construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, in 1934. It proves once again that things built to last are built on strong foundations.
Now, THIS is one elaborate treehouse! Who wouldn't want to go hang around in there?

Friday, March 23, 2018

A knife and fork is now a "set of food consumption aids"

One of my favorite teachers from my high school days was getting married, and she told us her husband-to-be was getting in on the ground floor of the burgeoning "marketing" business, which she told us involved figuring how to package stuff for sale to people.

Now, I remember my grandmother saying she "had to do her marketing," which meant going to the farmer's market to stock up on buttermilk, Lebanon bologna, eggs, butter and cheese.

Image result for dick nixon fordThen marketing became a way to sell Fords to people who had always driven Buicks. And why not? If you have a Ford dealership, you can make more money by selling your cars to people who have hitherto not bought them. And if you can persuade someone that driving a Ford will make them more desirable to others, feel younger, go faster, save gas money, whatever you want, then all the better for the people at Dick Nixon Ford ("Where Dick's Breakin' The Law on Prices!")

And when we say "whatever you want," remember, your subconscious wants things you don't even KNOW about! Think about that.

A large part of marketing is in the nomenclature, the naming of things to give their identity a little boost in desirability.  Think of that old 40-acre lot you used to drive by on the way to that little place where they sold homemade ice cream, the scrabby half-wooded ground that was also half-swamp.

Some clever developer filled in the swamp with half a truckload of peat moss and is now building houses there, and the acreage formerly known as "O'Hoolahan's Bog" is now a development called "Flintlock Ridge," or maybe "The King's Choice."

And I'm sure he is.

Image result for uber fatal accident
I thought of all this because the good folks at Uber, who are willing to send a complete stranger to your house to take you to the airport, are developing a car with no driver to do the same job, only you won't have to listen to his U2 CD on the way. But "driverless car" sounds a bit foolhardy and reckless, like "inexperienced surgeon" or "billionaire real estate magnate," so, instead, they call it an "autonomous" car.

That's the same marketing as calling used cars "pre-owned" or used DVDs "pre-viewed" or liver "meat."

You can dress it up all you like, but it's still liver.

Thursday, March 22, 2018


I have a rule about where I'll spend my money for beer or burgers...I avoid places that are based on a gimmick.

Image result for nike missile
Nike, before the shoes.
And that is why I have no personal experience at the Tilted Kilt Pub and Eatery, except that one of their franchised locations was featured on "Undercover Boss" once.  The deal is, they had women servers strutting around in tiny plaid kilts and cropped tops that hoisted their breasts to the same angle as a Nike missile.

Very classy. But you can see the appeal to those who find such apparel enchanting. Like Hooters, you're not going there for the gourmet fare.

Eat and drink where you will, but now we find that the proprietors of the TK at The Avenue at White Marsh, the jampacked outdoor mall near us, raked in the long green on St Patrick's Day last Saturday - probably the biggest night of the year for saloonkeepers - and then locked the doors forever.

Staff arriving for their shifts on Sunday found a notice on the door to the joint saying they are closed for good.

Sorry, staff. No notice.  Look for your pay in the mail, right after the Val-Pak.

“Most of us worked 12-19+ [hour] shifts yesterday and we had no idea this was going to happen,” said Sarah Davis, a bartender and assistant manager on the restaurant's Facebook page. "We spent 8 years on the Avenue. We were loved by many, and shunned by a few that didn’t like us. But we loved everyone of our guests, everyone of our regulars everyone that supported us. We are all jobless and heartbroken,”
she continued.

The owner posted, anonymously, that “We do plan to seek another location and will be actively looking in the local market. We are very sorry for all those who woke up today to find out they no longer had a job.. While we greatly respect all of the hard working employees who have given us their dedicated services, some for years, others just a short time, our hands were tied and all avenues were exhausted to keep the doors open..”

So, in other words, sorry that you lost your jobs with absolutely no notice, but his (I guess the owner was a he; few women would be so callous) mealymouthed pablum reminded me of "Godfather" turncoat Tessio asking Tom Hagen to tell Michael Corleone that "it was only business" and he always liked him.

The sad part of capitalism, to me, is how one-way the street is in many cases. These people run businesses and demand total fealty from their staff, work them for 19 hours on Saturday, fold their tents and steal away under cover of dark Sunday morning, and then bleat that they have "respect" for their people.

Nope. Respect means, you tell them, we lost our lease, our franchise is up, we're hemorrhaging money, whatever it is, and give them some heads up that they will need a new job.

I got mine, sorry about you. The new American credo.

I hope this person opens up a new place and no one goes. But, if the skirts are short and the beer is cold, they will, sad to say.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Looking back

There are websites one can surf to take you just about anywhere. I mean, no, you won't see Kim Jong Un's sock drawer, or the preparation of Big Mac sauce online, but most everything else is available.

And as someone who is still, as it was once described for me, in a sort of "homeroom of the mind," after all these years, I find it amazing that people have taken the time to upload junior high school and high school yearbooks from days of old, when knights were bold and the internet wasn't invented.

In much the same way as I flip through old LIFE magazines, enjoying the walk through the sands of time (and getting my shoes all gritty), I love to look at old yearbooks. Even from schools I didn't attend! The pictures, the senior captions - I always wonder how many of those plans really came true - the clothing people wore, the hairstyles, all of it is there for the remembering.

Look at the picture above, from a 1964 yearbook for a high school in Delaware.  Can't you just look at those faces and figure out what lay ahead for some of them?  Like James Hammond. He probably went on to play some college football (linebacker) and married his HS sweetheart, even coached Jim, Jr. in his rec league football. Debbie Gunning likely became a beautician, and still has great hair. David Gillespie has the look of a guy who had hardly gotten settled on the photographer's little stool when they snapped the picture, and you wonder if there were to be other surprises in his future.

I'm guessing Charles and Deborah Hammond were twins, and spent years wondering why David Hammond came along to bust up their yearbook juxtaposition.  Everything about the look on Charles Garey's mug says "car dealer," and we have all been stared down by Joyce Gilmore and her colleagues in the English department at high schools everywhere.

And the man who married Georgia Giltenboth knew exactly how she felt about every issue.

Now, I have to figure out a way to get invited to their next reunion.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Watch the future

Who doesn't like to hear about a young person with grown-up spirit and a winning way?

I mean, this guy Beau Shell from down in Athens, Georgia.  He started a mobile ice cream cart business when he was 8 years of age.  8!

Now he's 13, and he's done more in the entrepreneurial vein than many of us ever have, or will. His parents started him off with a little cart on bicycle wheels, and now he's got it going to where he has been booked for hundreds of events - parties, festivals, weddings, and the like.

He's even hired other people to work for him to cover all these bookings for ice cream service. And remember, he's 13.

And remember this as well - he has given more than $15,000 of his proceeds to charitable community organizations.  Sure, he gets himself video games and other cool stuff that 13-year-olds like, but he has another mission beyond bringing ice cream to Athens.

He wants to encourage girls to get into STEM (Science, technology, engineering and math) courses, because that's going to be good for girls and good for the world at large. Unlike most people his age, he is looking to a better future, and he knows that it will be one of today's young people who cures cancer, creates a new cell phone, builds better buildings, makes a better world.

So along comes this new movie “A Wrinkle In Time,” with Oprah Winfrey.  It's a science fiction tale from Disney, about a young girl named Meg and her little brother.They travel through space looking for their long-lost daddy.

I did say it was science fiction, right?

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Beau Shell
Beau wants to encourage girls getting into STEM, so he found a way to raise $5,000 to take 100 local girls, who were picked by their teachers, to see the picture and go to reception afterwards with dinner and a goody bag.

“I hope they feel inspired just by seeing the movie,” Shell told local television station CBS46. “And seeing Meg because she’s a strong, smart, powerful, brave character and I hope that they can relate and get a positive vibe.”

I've been saying this incessantly since the day after Valentine's Day. I feel more hopeful about the future than I ever have, because young men and women are taking charge of making it a better world.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Untied Airlines

Happy Monday to you, and unless your name is Oscar Munoz, no one in America had a worse week than you did last week.

Most of us have no idea who Oscar Munoz is, and if you guess he's a backup infielder for the Minnesota Twins, you'd be wrong, but still funny.

Oscar is the CEO of United Airlines, and man oh man, did he have himself a week.  You have to figure he went home on Monday benumbed by the horrible thing his employees did to a family's pet French bulldog. I'm sure you saw the story - a flight attendant forced the dog's family to put it in its carrier into an overhead bin in the plane, and the poor little pooch suffocated.

And remember, it hasn't even been a whole year since the world saw airport officers, at the behest of United staffers, physically dragging a passenger down an airplane's aisle.

Map shows flight path
 between Kansas and Japan.
So home he went, and figured Tuesday would be better.

Guess again, Einstein.

On Tuesday, some gozzlehead who sorts baggage for United, charged with sending a German Shepherd home to Kansas, managed to put the dog on a flight to Japan.

“We apologize for this mistake and are following up with the vendor kennel where they were kept overnight to understand what happened,” the company sputtered.

United promised to bring Ole Shep home, and wound up putting him on their corporate jet and eating the $90,000 + cost of chartering such a flight. He got home late Thursday.

Would you have blamed Oscar Munoz if he had just taken off the rest of the week?

For those of you currently studying to become Captains of Industry, please learn from the mistakes of others, and Oscar's history is dotted with errors like shells on a beach.

Last year, when United wanted to make room on a flight to Louisville for four of their employees, and not enough people took the offer of free vouchers and deplaned, they forced Dr David Dae off the jet, dragging him down the aisle screaming.  

And at first, Munoz criticized the doctor, who had to make the flight to be at work at a hospital, but soon changed his tune and made a big deal of promoting big changes in his company's customer service practices. And shortly thereafter, United started a training program called Core4, which was supposed to encourage more compassionate service.

It's hard to believe that "killing a dog" or "shipping a pet to Japan" were topics covered in that training, but I can't say for sure.

And, true to form, the company's initial reaction was to say that the flight attendant did not know there was a dog in the dog kennel she was handed by a little girl whom she asked to move her dog to the bin above. They soon backed off of that stance, though.

Perhaps United wants you to think that the baggage handler thought "Japan" was a city in Kansas.

And then people ask why I don't like to travel.