Archive for June, 2010

So I’m stuck in a city because of bad weather and the next flight won’t be available until the next day.   I end up in a fleabag hotel for the night and am so hungry (without access to a car) that I decide to order a pizza.

I call up Pappa John’s and ask for the cheapest special.   Note:  It is late, I’m hungry but won’t likely eat more than a couple of slices of pizza.

Pappa John’s “Jennifer” suggests I order the $11.99 special which is an Extra-Large Pizza with four toppings for $11.99.   I tell her that I want that special but to make the pizza a MEDIUM instead of extra large since I won’t eat but more than one or two slices anyway.

“I can’t do that sir” she says.

“What do you mean?” I ask.

“I can’t make your pizza a medium for $11.99″  she says.

“You mean you can’t make a medium pizza with four toppings for $11.99?” I ask bewildered.

“No, you need to get the extra large pizza!” she retorts.

“So even though I’m only going to eat only two slices at most and subsequently throw away 80% of the pizza, you can’t make it a medium?” I ask again.

“No, you have to get the extra large” she laments.

So I ordered the extra large pizza, end up eating 3 slices and, you guessed it, threw away the rest.

I offered to SAVE this pizza joint money but taking a smaller pizza with subsequently less toppings but Pappa John’s would have none of it.   What a strange world where the incentive is to throw away food instead of preserving it.    This is just one of the many ways I know humanity is headed for self-destruction as no other creature on earth is as wasteful as humans.

I’ve waited a while before writing this post because I didn’t want to make any unjust comments until I had thoroughly vetted my experiences with airlines recently and I can honestly say that they’ve all gone to the dogs!   Not too many years ago, air travel was a nice luxury but it’s gone down hill and there seems to be no reprieve in sight.

Over the past twelve weeks I’ve been traveling consistently all over the place and here are a few distilled observations:

Big jets – Gone.  Almost every flight I get on now is in a small regional type jet.  I’m assuming big jets are only for overseas flights now.

Food – Gone.  This has been gone every since 9/11 but you can’t even buy a meal now, just simple over priced Doritos bags.

Service – Gone.  Service is non existent as you have to mostly rely on automated kiosks to do most of the heavy lifting.  God forbid your flight gets canceled because you’ll be left in limbo.   The only saving grace I’ve had is reliance on corporate travel service for emergencies.

Blankets – Gone.   I didn’t notice it until the lady a row over asked for a blanket and was told by the attendant that they were discontinued for “sanitary” reasons.

Sanitation – Gone.  Speaking of unsanitary blankets, sanitation seems to be gone with bathroom periodically not functioning, soap and paper towels frequently missing from airplanes!

Frequent Flyer Perks – Nearly Gone!  With airlines merging what instantly happens when one buys another out is all existing “privileged” members immediately compete with the other airlines members.   So if Airline A had 100 Platinum Members which got upgraded to first class and Airline B had 100 Platinum members then A + B = 200.   So instead of being 1 in 100, you are now 1 in 200.  Brilliant?

Fees – Plenty available.   Fees for snacks, fees for bags, fees for seat selection, fees for changing your mind.

Frequent flier miles – Plenty!   If there’s one thing that keeps being printed/created faster out of thin air than US Dollars it is frequent flier miles.   These miles are worthless as it’s nearly impossible to ever book a ticket on a flight and if you do, there’s a great chance you’ll be bumped off anyway!

There are a few workarounds to the misery but that’s another post for another day.

It seems like travel is my new way of life.   I have been on the road every week for the last six weeks with only this week as a reprieve in my travel schedule.  I’ll be on the road again at least the next two weeks then I’ll be taking a vacation which will entail travel.    I’m not taking any courses this summer and I wrote that I would likely not return to the MBA program in the fall but I’m beginning to change my mind about that.    My job is fairly secure but this economy is starting to fall off the cliff again and anything can happen.

It  isn’t out of the question that layoffs arise in the near future so it’s best to be prepared.   I’ve also received a juicy award of low interest rate student loan money and it’s just too hard to pass that cheap money up.  We’ll see what happens over the next couple of months.

Although this blog is primarily focused on finance related topics, I have mentioned my side hobbies on occasion, one of which is the study of mythology, prophecy and astrophysics.   Perhaps it’s a crazy coincidence that the day of the big oil spill, a large field telescope named LUCIFER was brought online to see distant stars and galaxies.   You can read about it here.

Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) partners in the U.S, Germany and Italy announced April 21 that the first of two new innovative near-infrared cameras/spectrographs for the LBT is now available to astronomers for scientific observations at the telescope on Mount Graham in southeastern Arizona. After more than a decade of design, manufacturing and testing, the new instrument – dubbed LUCIFER 1 – provides a powerful tool to gain spectacular insights into the universe – from the Milky Way to extremely distant galaxies.

So a new powerful telescope will allow humanity to see distant stars.   Perhaps one was found that will be named Wormwood soon?   Why Wormwood?  Because according to end of days prophecy, a passage reads that a star in the heavens named Wormwood will be the harbinger of 1/3 of the water on earth becoming bitter.

Although the passage reads, “And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;  And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.”

Often, something gets lost in the translation and it may be that simply seeing the distant star’s light land upon earth’s telescope is sufficient to reveal the silliness of the things man does on the planet to seed his own destruction.  It is ironic that the new telescope is named LUCIFER after all.

Read the prior two verses and you’ll easily see global warming fit in nicely along with the recent rash of volcanic eruptions in Iceland, Guatemala and the Pacific.   I could relay more correlations but that would be too spooky…