Friday, July 22, 2011

Two Classics, One Car

I would like to introduce you all to the GREAT Margareth Dunning!!!

I found this video today and thought you guys would enjoy it.
This one thing you gotta love about parts of the US, stability, weather wise for example, that is a huge start.
Margareth bought this Packard in 1930, imagine all the weather events parts of this country have suffered, earthquakes in California, Tornadoes in the Midwest, Hurricanes in Florida. Have you stopped to think of all the wars the world has seen since 1930, in Europe and Japan for example, it devastated entire regions. The Cuban revolution! All this happening around the world all this years, but Michigan has been a haven of peace and stability that have allowed Margareth and many other people to create personal traditions such as the one shown on the video.
Can you imagine this 101 year old lady, Margareth Dunning, who bought her convertible Packard 740 in 1930 and is still driving it and keeping it in mint condition!!!
It wasn't Margareth's first car, her first car was a Ford model T, her father died when she was only 12 years old and she had to drive her mother everywhere at that early age. Her mother couldn't drive because of a disability.
Margareth has kept her awesome Packard 740 in her garage since the 1930. She is from Plymouth, Michigan.
The proud Packard owner still replaces the car's sparks, changes the oil and invite friends to help polish the car often.
Amazing if you ask me!
I wonder if I will still be driving my Ford Expedition in 70 years from now ;)



You can read more about the wonderful Margareth Dunning and her stunning 1930 Packard 740  HERE,

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

American Airlines buying 460 new Planes!!

I have been a loyal American Airlines frequent flyer since 1989

At least for those like me who are slaves of the AMERICAN AIRLINES frequent flyer program, these are great news!!! :)
I have said here before that I have been a faith full, loyal AMERICAN AIRLINES frequent flyer since 1989, and it hasn't been easy, they always sucked. Even in the days they used to serve food, TWA was much better in my opinion.
TWA used to always serve a warm, freshly baked Cherry Jelly filled croissant that was the BEST I EVER HAD!!!! TO THIS DAY!
Yes, I know, I am easy to please. But it has been around 18 years since I had one of those bad boys and I still dream about it once in a while.
Oh, how I curse the day they stopped serving Cherry Jelly Croissants and started passing us cheap tiny little bags of peanuts.

Freshly baked Cherry Jelly Filled Crossaints served at TWA

We have to THANK SOUTHWEST AIRLINES for these horrible little trend of the Airline industry, those cheap S.O.Bs started this trend. Have I told you how much I hate SOUTHWEST AIRLINES!!!! I DO and every time I am served a tiny little bag of peanuts I curse inside my mind.
It just got much worse after the 9/11 attacks and the new days of ( SOUTHWEST AIRLINES ) peanuts and the so ever repeated meals at the upper classes. Cheap, crappy, falling a part Southwest has no upper classes by the way. No way for an upgrade and no direct flights either, you have to stop in every little secondary airport around the country.
Southwest also instituted the "trend" that the customer is NOT ALWAYS right.
Classy! Way to go *Herbert D. Kelleher!!! :(    (*Southwest founder )
By the way, I love watching JET BLUE kicking Southwest's butt all the time. Nothing gives me more pleasure in the Airline world!

Typical American Airlines International First Class seat

I have to say I still have a soft spot for the freshly baked cookies, my all time favorite is English Toffee and hot fudge sundaes at First and Business Classes  :)

Freshly baked cookies served at American Airlines upper classes

Flying became a completely different experience. A whole different animal.
I always call it "The end of the age of innocence".
When I first flew American, back in the 80's, their Airplanes were ok, not great, but ok.
I always thought ( at the time ) VARIG had better Airplanes and way better service. But VARIG only flew internationally and domestic only around Brazil and I needed/wanted to became a frequent flyer with a reliable American Airline, because I always traveled a lot inside the US. Again, thank God, because VARIG just went downhill, got much worse and went out of business, which was a great thing in my opinion.
I believe karma will get you every time. VARIG learned that the hard way.
I ended up choosing American because they had the better connections to the destinations I usually flew, which were New York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Oklahoma City and Miami.
I almost chose TWA, thank God I didn't because they went out of business sometime in the early 90's.
I liked TWA better because they had way better/friendlier customer service.
However, in the later years, I have been more and more upset with American.
First of all, American Airlines personnel became as rude and ignorant and the VARIG employees just before those jerks went out of business.
Second, their old Super 80's and most of their fleet is literally falling a part! Things like broken seats, broken seat arm rests, broken trays.  Off course I fly all the time inside the US, my international trips used to be more frequent until 2009 when I moved to a new job that required more domestic travel and less international travel.
American Airlines still had some half a$$ planes doing their international routes, but God help you if you had to fly within the US or even to Mexico, which I have to do ALL THE TIME, as in at least 3 times a month.
My biggest nightmare is my routine Boston to Los Angeles non stop flight that I have to do once a month, sometimes twice. The Airplanes are flying metal junk cages. Horrible!

Super 80 has been the working horse of the American Airline fleet

American Airlines Super 80
They do have better/bigger airplanes on the New York to Los Angeles route.

American Airlines typical Business Class on International flights and major routes such as New York to Los Angeles

 American Airlines SUCKS nowadays but with all the perks I always get from them, I didn't have the courage to move to another airlines yet, and start from scratch.
The only thing that I hate more than American Airlines is flying coach. UGH!!!!
I will sell blood, a kidney, cancel a vacation, delay that bathroom renovation but I won't give up my Business Class or First Class seat.
If you fly coach and is still not convinced. Just take a look at the seat reclining options below, I dare you not to agree with me!!! :)

American Airlines first class seat reclining options ( THIS IS NOT MY FINGER!!! )
I always thank the sweet baby Jesus for system wide upgrades, you know, just in case he really exists/existed, who knows, I am not taking my chances with this one.
I just want to be on the safe side and make sure I cover all my basis and thank every force in the Universe that allows me to get upgrades and fly Business or First Class.

Typical First Class Cabin on American non-stop flights between Boston and Los Angeles

I am so glad I have been such a coward and have put up with all the mistreatment, poor service and humiliation over the years and have procrastinated my move to another Airline.
I have flown in other airlines and saw little difference in customer service.
I think I have finally accepted that they are all bad, it depends on who you deal with and if they are having a good day or not.
If you live and fly in the American Northeast corridors, Boston, New York, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Providence you will be taking small old "propeller" shuttles by American Eagle.

Typical American Eagle Shuttles used in the US Northeast corridors

I keep praying for people in a good mood, smile and agree with everything they BARK AT tell me
They are finally starting to renovate their fleet. Not because they are nice and they want to offer cool, stylish new planes, but because their Airplanes are so OLD and energy INEFFICIENT that they will save more money now if they renovate their fleet and buy gasoline efficient planes.
American will save BILLIONS of dollar in gasoline bills with the new Airplanes.
Their order was the largest Airplane order in the history of aviation. The order of 460 Airplanes was so HUGE, no one Aircraft maker had the capacity to produce the order.
So, they had to split 260 Airplanes from European Airbus and 200 Airplanes from American Boeing.
Boeing revealed today this order alone is creating 3000 direct jobs and many more indirect jobs.
Yay for new SAFER, gasoline efficient Airplanes!!!
I might just stick with American for another 22 years or more, who knows! :)
Check out the video below from CBS news with more details.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

The 51st state

SOUTH CALIFORNIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I know, I was as shocked as you!

You heard me right, South California is an initiative in full force, just presented by Republican supervisor Jeff Stone.
The new state would have around 13 million people and would instantly be bigger than Illinois and Ohio.
Since the late 80's and mid 90's when I lived in California, I have always heard people from the North, San Francisco and Sacramento areas complain about the people from the "South", read Los Angeles, splurging on water. Precious water that according to them came from Northern California, because the South is water starved and desperately needs water, to keep lawns green, wash cars and all the other more important things we do with water to survive.

HERE is the L.A.Times piece with more details about the proposed division.

Some people I knew in the Sacramento area used to complain that they were water conscious while the South spent water like there was no tomorrow. I always heard that with a dash of suspicion because I always thought Los Angeles is so dry. They seem to keep their water consumption to a decent minimum.
So, when I hear about California is thinking about breaking apart and becoming two states, the first thing that came to my mind was WATER WARS! Right! WRONG! I couldn't have been further from the truth.
The biggest inspiration for the secession of the North and South is politics, and it isn't as much a South/North division as much as it is a diagonal cut across the state. Separating the sophisticated, wonderful, smart "Liberals" from the rednecks  "Conservatives", with the exception of poor little San Diego, dragged down along with the toothless folks.

HERE is another article today on Yahoo news. Experts saying this project is still a long shot.

So, here is how the new states would be divided:

California and South California proposed division!

All joking aside, the fight goes deeper, according to the L.A.Times, for example, Sacramento recently approved a new law in the state making grocery plastic bags "illegal". You might think, harmless, right! What's the big deal?
The big deal is that 4 plastic bags factories will be immediately shut down, and get this, they are ALL within the new proposed Southern California state, yes, where the rednecks "Conservatives" live.
It's no joke, millions and millions of people consuming plastic bags no more. That will put a lot of people out of work.
I just don't get it. Why are they dragging San Diego along with them? San Diego is awesome and "Liberal"!
There is a lot that I just don't get about this proposed new state.
I didn't live in California long enough to understand this any deeper.
Now, could I please ask Jim ( San Francisco ), Danielle ( Berkeley ) and Rachel ( Coronado-San Diego ) to give me a light? Anything? Guys! You are my California experts ;)
What is going on! Is this just hot air?
What else would you add to this discussion?

Thanks :)


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Children under 6 banned from Restaurants


This image gives me an instant headache :(
 Babies can't help it, it's not their fault. I do blame it ALL on the parents who can't control them.
If you can't control you young children, don't tag them along with you to torture innocent bystanders.
I have one brother and two sisters, we were all born within 4 short years, my mother had twin girls, that means we were all small kids at the same time.
I don't remember EVER, any incident where any of us cried and screamed and kicked the seat in front of us in the plane. Yes, our parents took us flying during vacations. We drove to the beach. We ate in restaurants.
We ALWAYS behaved, all of us.
Our parents weren't harsh with us. They were kind and sweet and we all got along. We we wined about wanting something we weren't supposed to have, they would sit down and explain to us why we couldn't have this or that at that specific moment, and we understood, case closed.
My mother or my father gave us "THE LOOK", and we knew we would get in trouble and we kept pushing the envelope, and that was enough.
Nowadays, I see kids throwing a fit in Airplanes and the "unprepared" parents calmly trying to tell them to behave in vain. I saw a kid on a recent plane between Los Angeles and Boston spit on his mothers face when she told him to stop kicking the seat in front of him. She turned as if nothing happened and shoved her face in a magazine WTH??? I tell you, my kid wouldn't get away with something like that...
Just today on the news, Kristen Johnston ( 3rd Rock star ) had a feud with Nadia Suleman ( Octomom ), in what was described as the flight from HELL, 12 screaming kids, on BUSINESS CLASS between Los Angeles and New York. See, Nadia Suleman was on her way to New York to be interviewed on the "Today Show" and she NBC bought them tickets on BUSINESS CLASS. UGH!!

HERE  you can see more details on the whole Airplane feud.

Recently a restaurant in North Carolina banned "screaming children" and saw a boom in business and July 16th another Restaurant in Pennsylvania has instituted a COMPLETE BAN on children under 6.
Perhaps the guy in PA saw that the restaurant in North Carolina actually had a boost in business after placing the sign banning screaming children and decided to follow the example, but being a little more radical, banning ALL children under 6.


Keep in mind the Pennsylvania restaurant is an upscale place, they just think it's not fair that people pay a lot of money to have to put up with other people's out of control brats.
If you take a look at the comments at the end of the report, most people are supportive of the idea.
Yesterday on "The Joy Behar" Show there were discussions about an Airline that won't allow children to fly.
It starting to sound similar to the late 80's, when smoking started to be banned here, and then there, before you know it, parents with small children will have to load the minivans and take the roads to go visit grandma.
My point is not being mean to children, by many parents nowadays allow small children to get away with murder and I think it's a huge disrespect to others who either have already raised their children well, or chose not to have children all together.
I am not kidding, there is growing debate about banning children from restaurants all together.

HERE  is another example of a discussion about banning kids from restaurants.

I am in favor of a partial ban. In my opinion, you children throw a fit, you are out, zero tolerance, if you children behave well, you should not be punished along with the out of control ones.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Kids Reaction to Civil Rights Progress!

Sorry, I just couldn't resist, this video is too cute.
What do you think it might happen if your kids learn about Same Sex Marriage?
No, the world is not going to end and they won't turn gay!
If you are still not sure, we are born gay, we don't choose to be gay.
I know most of my readers are aware of this fact, but I just wanted to make that crystal clear.
Nothing negative can happen from exposing children to the subjet of equality in civil rights.
The worse that can happen is that they might invite you to play ping pong! :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

San Francisco, just days before the 1906 Quake

I have to say San Francisco is my absolute favorite city in the whole United States, hands down.
I love the people, the mentality, the weather, the hills, the views, the strong coffee, the wine, the history, you get the idea. I love everything about San Francisco, everything but the earthquakes.
I studied at UC Berkeley in 1995, and that is when I got to know the city from the inside out.
I did live in Berkeley, which is across the bay from San Francisco, but I enjoyed many weekends and many days off and lazy afternoons in this awesome American city.
I have to say I always got super nervous when driving the Bay bridge into the city and I am still traumatized by the 1989 earthquake, which I missed by a hair's-breadth.
The only factor that would prevent me from living in the area again is my personal desperation fear of earthquakes.
The video below touched something very deep within my fear of earthquakes.
See, the film historian featured on this week's 60 minutes show researched and discovered that this video was filmed just a couple of days before the big earthquake of 1906, the film maker shipped the movie off to New York by train, just "THE DAY BEFORE" the earthquake, which completely destroyed the film maker's office and would certainly have destroyed the movie along with it.
It is shocking to imagine that many of the people seen on this video only had a couple of days to live.
The film maker placed the camera on the front of a cable car and filmed a normal day on the life of San Franciscans on Market Street, the city's main thoroughfare.
If you have never been to San Francisco, you definitely need to make it a priority and get over there on the first chance you get. Also make sure to rent a car and drive up to Napa valley, you won't regret.
It was just too sad for me to watch all the innocent people completely unaware of their fate just days away, but on the other hand, the film has an incredible historic significance for the city and for our nation.
If you enjoy history as much as I do, you will LOVE this film, and if you are as emotional as I am, you might just have tears rolling down your face the entire length of this video, just like I did. ;)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Brazil Travel Tips

Blog specialized in Brazil Travel promotions, Air Tickets, Hotel and packages 

If you are in Brazil or want to travel to or around Brazil, here is a great little web site my Brazilian friends follow on a regular basis to discover awesome deals to fly around the country and travel for peanuts, they also have deals on Hotels and everything else you might need to travel around this beautiful country.

HERE is the link to the site called Melhores Destinos which in English translates to "Best Destinations".

Today's deals, you can fly Gol airlines from 33 different Brazilian cities to the beautiful island of Fernando de Noronha for as low as R$99,00.
R$198,00 from Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia & Belo Horizonte to Fernardo de Noronha(Round Trip)
A good way to enjoy a little warm and sunshine if you are living in the Brazilian south and are a little on the chilly side from this unusually cold Brazilian winter.  Enjoy! ;)


Saturday, July 9, 2011

How to survive a Brazilian Winter

Heat wave electric radiator

by Joris Laarman

Out of stock
U$ 12,000.00


This design approaches the radiator with a new mindset. Its original shape discards the old radiator design and makes it into a decorative piece that you no longer want to hide. The decoration is also functional as the increased surface area provides more radiation of heat. And if you look at the pattern very closely you may discover hidden details.

Heat wave electric radiatorHeat wave electric radiator

Ok, now that I got your attention!!!!
U$12,000.00 freaking THOUSAND DOLLARS and get this, OUT OF STOCK!!!
Ha! I am glad those Bush tax cuts to the rich are being well used! :)
Now, if you think this is expensive, the same little electric radiator in Brazil can be purchased by R$70,000.00, and it's obviously available, no wonder it's OUT OF STOCK OVER HERE!!!!!
Now, if you can gather R$70,000,00 from the change you find in the bottom of your purse or wallet, you can go to DECAMERON DESIGN  and get one of these to warm up your Brazilian winter, because they are NOT AVAILABLE in the US at the moment.
Now, all joking aside, Brazilian winters have traditionally been under rated and have caught many unadvised expats by surprise over the years.
I will never forget the startled looks, palid faces and the goose bumps ( from cold ) on the legs on my Danish friends when they arrived in Sao Paulo in the Fall of 1988. They were coming to live in Sao Paulo for a year on a Rotary Program Exchange Student.
The Danish students were wearing Bermuda shorts and short sleeves shirts. Sao Paulo's Airport temperature at that evening was hovering between 4 C and 6 C ( 39F and 43F ), now, I don't care if you are from Florida or from Denmark, that is cold, and those poor students were shivering. We rushed them to the car and turned on the heaters trying to bring their blue lips to a regular shade of red.
Needless to say, the conversation topic was how cold it was, and how unadvised they had been about the Brazilian/Sao Paulo weather.
This was the first time in my life I understood how poorly informed most foreigners are about Sao Paulo's winter temperatures.
We were off to the Mall to purchase some heavy sweaters and proper winter gear, these poor students were told they were coming to a tropical country, and they pictured palm trees, and drinking coconut water on the beach.
Oh, boy, were they in for a big surprise, and I am just describing to you the experience of the Exchange Students that came to Sao Paulo. I can't even begin to imagine the weather shock for those going to parts of South of Brazil where snow is not unheard of, places like Curitiba, Florianopolis and other parts of the south.
Now, if you are an expat and you are living in Brazil, you already know it is not 27C ( 80F ) year round, at least not in the southern states of the country, certainly not in Sao Paulo.
Many homes in my parent's Sao Paulo neighborhood have fireplaces and most people have small space heaters but more and more homes in Sao Paulo and parts of southern Brazil are beginning to build homes with insulation and heating systems. New apartament buildings with built in fireplaces are no longer rare.
The most common heating system in Brazil still are the Air Conditioners with the HEAT function added to it, either the simple window units, or the split units ( which are more common lately ).
Other options are available if you are willing to break ground, no, literally, break your floors and install radiant floor heaters, either heated by gas or electricity, the most efficient form of heat available today, we installed it in our bathroom in Rhode Island and highly recommend it.
This is how it looks:

Radiant floor heaters can be installed under your Brazilian tile floors

HERE is a link to an UOL post today on all forms of heaters available in Brazil today, with prices and links to where to find them. Even if you are not fluent in Portuguese, you can browse thru the pictures and choose your favorite type of heating which will show a website in Brazil or a store where that specific type of heating system or heater is available for you.

Electric radiant heater being installed at Brazilian home, under floor
There are choices for every budget, from the simple space heaters to the ( crazy ) sophisticated R$70,000.00 aluminium radiator to hang on your wall. :)
If you don't want to spend the price of a new "expensive" Brazilian car to purchase a space heater, you might want to take a look at Lojas Americanas, they have small space heaters at for only R$59,90 and free delivery.
You can also find a great selection of space heaters at
So, if you are new in Brazil and are not yet familiar with your options, here are other great stores such as Buscape, the oh so popular CasasBahia, ExtraSubmarinoFast Shop and last but not least PontoFrio.
Now, if you want to install an American style home heating system in your new Brazilian home, you know,  the type you install during construction or a major renovation, you can check out ASTRO SOL for boilers, solar powered heating systems, outdoors heaters and many other options.

Arno space heater- R$161,00 MADE IN BRAZIL

Britania Space Heater- R$89,91 - MADE IN BRAZIL


You can always opt to go old school like my grandparents in true Brazilian style and forget about heaters all together.
My grandma usually just put some socks on and watch the soccer game ( Corinthians ) drinking some hot cocoa and call it a day.
My grandmas and my mother love to bake and cook a lot in the winter, principally in the mornings, for breakfasts, to warm up a cold day.

Donut shaped "Bolinhos de Chuva" dough!

"Bolinho de Chuva" is a popular Brazilian recipe and SUPER simple( great for cold mornings in my opinion )
Translates to "Small rain cakes", don't ask me how they got this name, but if I had to guess, I would say people stayed home when it rained and made "Bolinhos de Chuva", "Small rain cakes". :)
Gil tells me it's because people use a spoon to drop the dough in the frying pan and when it falls in the pan it's in the shape of a rain drop.

Frying "Bolinhos de Chuva"

But the shape varies, so that might be debatable, there are donut shaped, perfectly round shape as in donut holes and there are the typical rain drop shaped. ;)

Donut hole shaped "Bolinhos de Chuva"


-1 Cup of Flour
-1 Cup of Corn Starch ( Maizena )
-1/2 Cup of Milk
-4 Table Spoons of Sugar
-1 Table Spoon of Baking Powder ( Fermento in Portuguese )

Tradional Brazilian Bolinhos de Chuva, in the shape of a rain drop :)
How to prepare:

Beat the Sugar and the Eggs first and when they are well mixed add all the other ingredients slowly until you have a smooth dough.
Heat up a pan with your favorite oil for frying. Add the "Bolinhos de Chuva" to fry them over low heat.
You can make them into Donut Shape or Donut Holes, your pick.
When they are fried, roll them in Sugar and Cinnamon. Enjoy! :)

Or, my favorite, for cold days, my grandma prepares a "Gemada com leite e vinho do Porto" or "Gemada with warm milk and Port wine".

Gemada with warm milk and a little Port Wine-Great for cold mornings 

One Egg Yolk ( uncooked )
One Table Spoon of Sugar
Beat the sugar and the egg yolk with a fork until is well mixed and smooth ( Gil's family add cinnamon )
When your "gemada" is nice and smooth, you can add some steamy milk and a little bit of port wine, or just milk ( if you are an expat who thinks your babies will explode and evaporate in thin air if you add coffee or wine to their baby bottles).
Ha! They will survive, thrive and won't become alcoholics, I promise. I am living proof. :)
Enjoy your Brazilian winter and stay warm.

Gemada with warm milk and Cinnamon-Gil's mama's version


Friday, July 8, 2011

Don't drink and drive!

This video was originally posted at "Road to Brazil"

I always thought Brazilian ads are extremely creative, here is a great example.
I would like to remind everyone reading our blog about Brazil's "ZERO TOLERANCE" on drinking and driving policy.
The country is taking this issue very serious and they mean business. Brazil has seen a huge decrease in accidents and death from drinking and driving.
You will loose your license, get a huge fine and even end up in jail according to the alcohol level found on your blood, trust me on this, you don't want to end at a Brazilian jail.
The Brazilian police is well equipped with Breathalyzers, this has become a gold mine for them, revenue wise.
Contrary to what you may hear, it is being enforced all over the country.
It doesn't hurt to have a designated driver or just leave your car at home and take a cab, they are not expensive at all in Brazil.
Some bars and restaurants in Sao Paule and Rio even offer you a free ride home, they will pick up the cab fare for you.
Enjoy your weekend in my beautiful Brazil. I hope to join you soon ;)

TRANSLATION OF VALET TICKET ( at 1:22 of the YouTube Video below ):

"Never allow a drunk motorist to drive your car, even if the drunk motorist happens to be you!"

Friday, July 1, 2011

TSA rant!

The first thing I have to say is SHAME ON THE TSA!!!
Your pick!
I didn't need to watch the news in the past two days to know that we are NOT safer when we fly, even with all the stupid changes they have done in the TSA over the last years that have literally turned the experience of traveling by plane into a real nightmare.
First was the 95 year old grandma pat down humiliation incident , then, it was the NIGERIAN MAN WHO BLEW PASSED JFK's TSA SECURITY .

Yeap, they check inside babies diapers too!

I remember a time I used to enjoy traveling by plane, I know, that was a long time ago, we were served decent meals and were able to use real silverware, then we got nice pillows and blankets to take a nap after your meal, your seat reclined well and you had better leg room.
Now, we eat with plastic forks that break in two when you try to slice your lasagna, no pillows and forget about blankets. Unless you get an upgrade to Business or First Class, than, just than my friends, you can pretend it's 1988 again. Just remember not to light up a cigarette, those ashtrays on the edge of your armrest have been screwed shut, and that is also a good reminder that American Airlines hasn't upgraded their fleet since the 80's when people used to be allowed to smoke in the Airplane cabins and had an ashtray in every seat.
Now, I get tense, every time I know I will have to fly, I get in a bad mood, even when I am flying First or Business, which happens only when I am traveling for work, unless I get lucky and get a system wide upgrade, I even dream with those before I fly, oh, the anxiety.
Who the hell can afford U$6,000.00 to fly from Boston to Sao Paulo or U$3,000.00 between Boston and Los Angeles. I'd rather renovate my downstairs bathroom and repave my driveway in the summer, thank you very much!

There was a time when the only concerns we would have when flying was if we were lucky enough to sit away from screaming children and the occasional smoker, but that was a calculated risk, you knew if you got lucky and got an up grade to Business and First, you would be home free from children and we were kind of used to the inconvenience of the occasional smoker in the seat ahead of us anyway.
Nowadays, besides the fact that your seats only do a symbolic recline, it doesn't actually move, your leg room has been reduce by a third of what it used to be and flight attendants behave like mafia thugs with a bad attitude.
I am so afraid of flight attendants nowadays that I always agree with anything and everything they say and always, always smile and apologize to them, even if I didn't do anything or didn't understand what they are saying, no kidding, I've seen people been thrown off the plane because they didn't turn off their freaking blackberry when the THUG flight attendant told them to, I don't want to have a criminal record because I forgot to turn off my cell phone, so I remove the battery and put the phone away in my carry on, I've gotten in trouble before because my phone turned back on by itself.
I was on a Continental flight between Houston and Guadalajara, Mexico and my blackberry might have accidentally turned back on by itself, how did I find out? My phone rang when we were flying over Monterrey, Mexico. I had no idea, but the cell phone towers in Mexico allow you to have signal inside the Airplanes. In the US, after 9/11, they turned off the Cell Phone Tower signals going upwards, so the people can't use cell phones inside airplanes, but I found out the hard way, that NOT IN MEXICO, yeap, your cell phone signal will have all the bars if you are flying over MEXICO, just keep in mind that if you are flying with an American Airline company, they will still treat you like a criminal and throw you in the terrorist category for having your phone ring during a flight, so, I suggest you go the safe route and remove your Blackberry's freaking battery, better be safe than sorry.
Now, with all the hysteria surrounding flying nowadays, I perfectly understand how the Nigerian THUG went passed security with a fake Michigan University ID and a stolen Boarding Pass from a WRONG DATE, WRONG NAME and WRONG FLIGHT NUMBER, I can see that happening easily, because that ALMOST happened to me.
I was flying from Boston to Sao Paulo last year, thanking the sweet baby Jesus for a system wide upgrade, I checked in at the FIRST CLASS counter, where there are less people, the American Airlines First Class Counter Clerk gave me a WRONG BOARDING PASS, with the WRONG NAME and WRONG SEAT NUMBER, I didn't notice anything wrong. I admit partial fault for not paying attention. I was in a little hurry to get to the "Admirals Club Lounge", take advantage of my complimentary "Dry Martinis" and get comfortable :)
So, after I passed the security guard that flashes the magic BLUE LIGHT WAND over my Massachusetts Driver's License, took off my shoes, took off my over coat, sweater, laptop, blackberry, wallet, belt and re-assembled myself on the other side of all the metal detectors and the "new" sophisticated "GE" scanner that blows a jet of air on your to detect explosives and gives you a little "healthy" ;) dose of radiation. I stand up, grab my boarding pass just to check what gate I was supposed to go, just THEN I realized I had the WRONG BOARDING PASS, those bastards at the American Airlines First Class Counter PRINTED THE WRONG BOARDING PASS, with a different name, and WRONG SEATING ASSIGNMENT, I am so paranoid about getting my upgrades and making sure I fly FIRST CLASS that I didn't even realize that 3 different security check points MISSED the mistake, NOT JUST ME.

So, I walk ask a TSA agent for the HEAD OF SECURITY, when I see the man, I tell him, look, they printed me the WRONG BOARDING PASS!!! He opened his eyes like he was seeing ELVIS ALIVE in front of him!! He grabbed the WRONG BOARDING PASS from my hands, started mumbling something I couldn't possibly understand on his "Walkie Talkie" radio.
He called a Massachusetts POLICE OFFICER to escort me back to the American Airlines counter and have the proper BOARDING PASS printed, keep in mind I had already waited at the security check line for 40 minutes and would have to go back to the end of the line and go thru the gruesome process all over again.
When I arrived at the American Airlines counter, no apologies, no excuses, they were all behaving like I DID SOMETHING WRONG!!!! :(
But as an experienced traveler that I am, I kept my mouth shut, smiled all the way, prayed that they wouldn't downgrade me to coach and went back to the security screen line like a little lamb.
To add insult to injury, I was again mistreated my the security guard with the MAGIC BLUE WAND, and all the other retards at the TSA screening area.

You don't know how many times I have felt like doing this! :)
What good is it to remove your shoes, throw away your bottled water, your shampoo and your toothpaste if these bastards are not PAYING ATTENTION on what they are doing.
I can totally see how the Nigerian THUG picked up on their security gaps and blew thru TSA officers at JFK and LAX.
Forget all this crap, PROFILE, PROFILE, PROFILE the HELL out of passengers, can we please put our American political correctness spirit aside just this once, when our lives depend on it! PLEASE!!!!
My blue haired 95 year old grandma from a small town in Oklahoma, called Betty Smith, is NOT GOING to be a security threat.
Your dumb TSA agents who don't pay attention to what they are doing WILL, every time.

Need I say more! I love google images! :)
Talk to the security agents from the Israel airports, ask them "how politically correct' they are!
They will give you a crash course on racial profile, religious profiling etc.
They interview the hell out of people they profile"think" might pose a threat, no, they don't pat down the 5 year old girl and the humiliate the 95 year old grandma into removing her adult diaper, they interview suspicious individuals, you know, people who are sweating a lot and look nervous, people who might have affiliations with radical religious Muslims, and any one else who might be a real threat to all of us.
I am not saying we should profile and pick on Muslims, but we should profile on any specific group that have radical ideas and might try to harm the rest of us, include in this category: the neo-nazis, the anti-government cults, anyone associated with the Westborough Baptist Church crazies who protest at soldiers funerals, hell, I would even throw in the people who protest in front of abortion clinics, why not! They look crazy enough and pose a threat to society if you ask me.
God help us all, our guardian angels must be working overtime, that's for sure, meanwhile, I am going to drive or take the train EVERY CHANCE I GET!
Rant over!

Travel safe, and have a great 4th of July weekend :)