“The ramblings and grumblings of author Ad Hudler”

How do I love thee, airtran? Let me count the ways.
Sunday, August 29, 2010

Reason No. 1: They offer free coffee at some gates in ATL, though it is usually empty ... but the sentiment is good, right?

Reason No 2: They're not Delta, which has gone to hell in a handbasket ... although Delta still under-prices Airtran at times.

Reason No. 3: For a few bucks more you can get a better seat (more legroom or an aisle)....and you can do this at the kiosk.

Reason No. 4: They're not Delta.

Reason No. 5: For $49-$129, depending on the route, you can upgrade to business class.

Reason No. 6: They were the first to offer wi-fi on every flight.

Reason No. 7: They have the best inflight magazine published today. Very clever, lots of great info.

Reason No. 8: They let you fly stand-by without paying a fee.

Reason No. 9: They're generally nicer and happier than Delta folk.

Reason No. 10: They're not Delta.

And who can't like that small-A on the tail of the planes? I mean, it's cute and friendly and humble. I kinda wish they'd paint a face on it, though.

A quirky trait of Nashvillains
Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First of all, don't you like what they call themselves? NashVILLAINS? Kinda fun, don't you think?

After spending a great amount of time in this wonderful city, I think I finally understand the "villain" part: Honestly, most drivers in Music City are very courteous, but they do something that drives me crazy. You know how you're never supposed to block an intersection? Even if the light is green, you're supposed to stay back unless you know you can clear that intersection. Right?

Well, Nashvillains don't do that. They fill that intersection all the way with cars, blocking the cross traffic that has the green light and right of way....and you must sit there through two lights because they've done this.

Really, it's not the exception here; it's the rule. I've never seen anything like it.

Incidentally, have you noticed how many of my blogs are about peoples' driving habits? Isn't there some Obama money out there for a Driving Czar? Would someone please nominate me?

Lies, all lies, at 35,000 feet
Sunday, August 22, 2010

I've always been skeptical about airlines' claim that ANY electronic device is dangerous in flight because it can mess with the plane's navigation system. Do you know how I know this? Because my wife and I rarely turn off our cell phones. Shhhh, don't tell on us. We just don't bother. Or we forget. And the road warriors riding up front in the big seats? Ha! You know their phones are on as well.

Now, I don't know about you, but I can't recall an epidemic of planes dropping from the skies due to cell phones not being turned off. Hmmm. Maybe it happened when I was on vacation in Italy? Anyone? Did I miss this?

Now they're making us turn off our kindles (and other e-readers) until we reach 10,000 feet. So you know what I do? I take that nice copy of the free inflight magazine, open it, set my kindle right in the middle and pretend that I'm reading the magazine ... the same way I hid comic books in my textbooks in grammar school.

NOTE TO AIRLINE EXECUTIVES: Methinks you are lying. Remember when you said our phones had to be off AT ALL TIMES while we were on board? And then renegade Jetblue started flying and told passengers they were free to use their phones the second the plane's wheels hit the tarmac? And then you all had to follow suit, right?

Oh ... and now that you have wi-fi on board that you will charge us for ... suddenly, it's okay to have those browsers up and running while the plane is flying?

Off soapbox.

A note to all you bald guys (and the ladies who love them) ...
Thursday, August 19, 2010

I work out at a wellness center run by a hospital, which means I am surrounded by old people with strained hearts, bad backs, artificial hips, diabetes, you name it. My friends ask me why I don't go to a serious weight-lifters gym with younger people, but I don't want to change. First, the free-weight section is all mine. Other than those little 5-pound dumbbells, the rest of the stuff gathers dust unless I use it myself; there's never a wait for the bench press. The other reason I like my gym is because I meet the most interesting people, some of them precariously balancing on that fence that separates reality from illusion. Here's yesterday's sample:

I was outside, talking with a friend who is bald, like me. An older, stooped gentleman with yellowish skin and an oxygen tube in his nose approached us.

"You need to wear a hat," he said in some eastern-European accent. "The radiation is going to kill your brain."

"Uhhh, well, okay, thanks very much," I said. "Wish I had your head of nice white hair and I wouldn't have to worry about that."

"I am quite serious about this. It can happen in just a few minutes. Your brain will be gone, and you won't even know it."

"Oh, okay," I said, looking at my friend with a is-this-one-of-your-friends? looks.

"Yes," the old man said. "I know about this because I used to be an American guerrilla."

"American guerrilla?" my friend asked.

"Yes, like in the Middle East only for America. I used to be all over the world. Once I was infiltrating Nazi officers, and I didn't have a gun with me, and you know what I did?"

He reached down into the V of his opened shirt. I thought for a minute that he was readjusting his oxygen tube when he pulled out a pen.

"See this?" he said, holding up the pen. "This is a weapon. I killed somebody that day with it. You know how you kill someone with this?"

I took a guess: "Poke it through their eye?"

"Yes! Right into the brain. The eye is a window into the brain. So I pretended I was having chest pains, like this," he said, patting his heart, "and instead I pulled out a pen ..." He nearly lost his balance as he simulated the unsheathing of his weapon from between his breastbones. "And I ..."

"You speared him in the eye?!"I said. "Are you serious?"

"Just like that!" he said, snapping his fingers.

"Did you kill him?" I asked.


I would have probed further, but his rent-a-nurse had gotten out of the car and walked over to us and said, "Mr. Blah-Blah, there you are. I've been looking for you."

As she lead him away he turned one more time toward us and said, anemically snapping his fingers, "Just like THAT! ... Be careful of your brains!"

Indeed, I thought. I certainly will.

We're not that stupid -- so stop it, please.
Monday, August 16, 2010

I've mentioned this before, and I'm going to mention it again. I am getting really angry at all the manufacturers who are downsizing their products to save money yet don't lower the price.
Here's my most recent example:

Remember when bars of soap used to be rectangles? Look how much they shaved off of each side -- and they took some off the bottom, too.

Ditto with Dial. And Coast.

All in the name of ergonomics, probably.


Friends have said I should switch to the kind of soap that comes in a bottle. Body wash, I guess it's called. I've tried it but don't like it. It adds another step in the bathing process, which I already find troublesome and time-consuming.

Grrrrrrrr. Guess I need another cup of coffee.

Grown-up frat party
Sunday, August 8, 2010

The best thing about our condo in downtown Nashville is the rooftop pool on the 31st floor. It's a fine place to hang out, with great views of Music City and a constant breeze that exists because we're basically in the clouds.

Yesterday, the condo association sponsored its annual pool party. There was live music and a giant cake replica of our tower. Oh, and plenty of booze. One of the attendees, who goes by Wild Bill, owns a bar downtown famous for its raspberry margaritas....and he brought gallon-size milk jugs of the stuff to share with everyone.

In no time at all, I had to go to the bathroom. And as I was complaining about having to dry off and go inside to do my duty, one guy, who will remain anonymous, said, "Why bother? I don't.
That's what chlorine's for."

And I couldn't help but wonder how many people shared his opinion and behavior. I'm guessing there are plenty of adults out there who pee in the pool. I mean, we get older, our energy ebbs, and we find ourselves taking the path of least resistance, right? It only makes sense.

Just, please ... go stand in the corner to do it, okay?

Ford's Big F---up.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Been meaning to talk about this for quite some time ... Something horrible has happened: Ford changed the tailgate of the F150 for 2010. They took the best-selling Dude Truck in American history and went all fancy on us. Here's the old tailgate:

A good, solid look with nothing ornamental or unnecessary. This is a truck that means business. There's plenty of room to paint on your construction company's or plumbing company's logo. (I don't like trucks with bed covers like this one, but that's another matter altogether.)

Now ... here's the new one:

I just don't know what to say. It looks too ... ethnic? Girlyfied? What is it with all those new details? And why did they slant the font of the F150. Ford's engineers and designers turned their truck from cotton to silk, from potato chips to caviar. Gosh dang it, they've gone and metrosexualed the F150, and I am not happy about it! Guess I'll have to buy Chevy next time.