Archive for March, 2011

Earth's most magical, minimally invasion security check?

It seems my recent rave review of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (“America’s friendliest airport”) has caused a bit of competitive rivalry.

I recently flew to Orlando International Airport (MCO) for commercial production in town, and I’m here to tell you these folks got game.

Orlando is the home of Disney World, Universal Theme Park, Sea World and more casual dining chain restaurants than you can shake a stick at (although I seriously doubt an attacking casual restaurant would back down from a shaking stick). Orlando is all about having fun and magic, and the airport security TSA team does not disappoint.

Rather than employ traditional TSA uniforms, the security personnel wear soft character costumes of large bloodhound dogs with floppy ears and three-fingered paws, female muskrats adorned in yellow bonnets and large groundhogs with M-16 rifles. The lovable characters speak in comical, approachable and engaging tones. The fluffy, furry bloodhound says,“Hello, friend, my name is Snoopy Doodles and I want to make your security screening as fun, memorable and magical as possible. Now, I am going to run my paws all over your body, being extra careful not to touch your Satanic naughty parts…”

Snoopy Doodles proceeded to glide his soft paws all over my body as he hummed a happy tune. For added comfort, the paws are heated and vibrate softly. As he gave me the once over, Snoopy Doodles began to sing to me.
“Oh, you’re so special
and I deeply care
I need to know
what’s in your underwear

My paws on your body
are to be lightly kissed
for I must make sure
you’re not a terrorist!”

When the security check was finished, Snoopy Doddles and his cohorts Maggie Muskrat and Gary Groundhog began dancing and singing.
“He has no explosive residue
he’s not bin Laden’s friend
so we bid him fond adieu
for soon he will ascend!

Next, a troop of mimes pretend to be in boxes, but suddenly become free and explore their spaces as clowns on unicycles ride in a large circle juggling metal detector wands. Everyone (save the mimes) begins to sing in unison:
“He’s an American, who’s true blue
he’s not bin Laden’s friend
so we bid him fond adieu
for soon he will ascend!”

A flock of white doves were released, as a marching band escorted me to the train for the terminal. It was quite a production and I have to say a magical experience that I’ll never forget. I even purchased the souvenir security check photo for $21.95 as a keepsake.

Impressive, MCO, very impressive! If you had Carl from Phoenix, the friendliest TSA agent I’ve ever had the pleasure of being felt-up by, I think you’d have a true blockbuster.

Send help immediately! Beam down some laughs and entertainment!!! We're dying down here!

I like to think of going to a movie in a darkened theater to be like occupying a spacecraft. The audience is your fellow crew members and the screen is our window to a brave new world.

I avoid really crowded theaters since some crew members don’t know how to act. I love theaters where the crew is small because these private screenings give the best of all worlds: a huge screen, comfy chair and precious little chance for any distractions.

I’ve just returned from a mission where there were only three crew members and our window to a new world was the largest screen at a 24-plex. I’m sorry to report the mission was an abject failure–– a steaming pile called Paul. If you’ve even contemplated going, save your money or put it through a shredder; you’ll have a more entertaining time.

Paul is an alien tale, an adult E.T. with a potty mouth who smokes, drinks and likes his doobies. He’s voiced by Seth Rogan.

While the effects of Paul speaking and moving are great, what he is saying and doing is dumb and crude. This film was written by and stars Brits Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as nerds from the U.K. exploring Comic Con and all the places of alien lore in the American west. This film wastes the considerable talents of Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Jane Lynch, Jeffrey Tambor, Sigourney Weaver and Blythe Danner playing the youngest looking 70-year old ever filmed. With all the effects of this movie, you think they could have aged her a little bit.

I suppose if one were drunk enough or high enough you could mine for laughs in the f-bombs, crotch kicks and women slugging men in the face. And if you did find yourself laughing, this would be a good indication that you’ve hit bottom and it’s time to seek professional help and twelve steps out of the cellar.

In short, this movie could not end quickly enough for my tastes. Yet, I see on IMDb this sucker got 7.5 stars out of 10. Well, you decide, but don’t say I didn’t warn you…

You're not going to believe how friendly PHX is!

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport bills itself as “America’s Friendliest Airport”, and while a cynical adman like myself usually takes self-proclaimed titles like this with a grain of salt, my recent trip through the place showed me that it’s no idle boast.

Inside my body are two titanium hip devices that make airport security scanners go all kinds of cattywonkers. Because of my metallic enhancements, I must always submit to a manual screening by a TSA agent. Usually, these are impersonal affairs with a routine body patting performed by curious and suspicious hands in latex gloves. Not so at America’s Friendliest Airport!

Here, my TSA agent was deeply concerned about my comfort. To put me in the mood for my personal examination, he lighted some patchouli and sandlewood incense. “The aroma is divine,” he said as he slipped on some soft brown kid leather gloves. “I want to put you at ease and make this special, even memorable!”

Next, he said he wanted to select some smooth music to calm my jangled nerves. He played some mellow Barry White on his Bose iPod SoundDock as he dimmed the lights. “It’s all about letting your senses chill. I want you to be present, yes, but relaxed,” he said. “I want you to enjoy our time together.”

He proceeded to give me a pat down that was attentive, caring and respectful. He ran the test on his gloves to ensure that I was not carrying explosives (I was not), and he hugged me after the tests came back negative. He said, “I knew you weren’t a terrorist. I didn’t pick up any anger issue vibes.” Then he offered to share some delicious ice cream with me to talk about my hip replacements and how I felt about having them. “I want you to share your feelings,” he said, “it must be awful to always feel you’re in a vulnerable place. You can talk with me all about it.”

Finally, to soothe me, he gave me a ride on his shoulders parading me throughout the airport. “Look how tall you are?!’ he said, “why, you could play professional basketball, oh yes you could!” We both laughed, he gave me a firm man hug and we parted ways. He was little teary eyed. He’d given me a security check that I’d never forget; one I’d always treasure.

America’s Friendliest Airport knows how to make one feel welcomed. I suggest you divert any future flights through PHX to enjoy their unique brand of hospitality.

"Get on outta here, you snakes!"

Before you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, you might want to know a few interesting things about the great man of the Emerald Isle. Prepare to have your mind blown by these lucky seven factoidish thingies.

1. St. Patrick never drank green beer
2. Although he wasn’t even Irish, St. Patrick wore a large button that read “Kiss Me I’m Irish”
3. St. Patrick wrote two hit songs, “’Tis 99 Bottles o’ Beer on The Wall” and “In Heaven There ‘tis No Beer, Ergo We Drink It Here”
4. On the first St. Patrick’s Day celebrated in Ireland, St. Patrick had the Irish Sea dyed vivid green then invented the game of beer pong
5. St. Patrick drove the snakes from Ireland and many centuries later, these same snakes were discovered on a plane by Samuel L. Jackson
6. Contrary to popular belief, St. Patrick never danced in a production of “Riverdance”
7. St. Patrick hated the scent of Irish Spring soap, feared leprechauns with their trickster ways and ironically was not a huge fan of parades, parties or crowded pubs– but you go and enjoy yourselves anyway.

The Glorious Leader takes a bride, and it is the best thing that has ever occurred on Planet Earth!

In a surprising development, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has married a vegetable in a formal state ceremony. The country’s population has been ordered to celebrate joyously.

In a formal press release issued this morning, it was reported “The Supreme Leader has taken a bride of the utmost virtue and honor. The Father Supreme will now be Groom Generalissimo to a coveted creature who is the center and sole focus of his superbly excellent love and devotion. Our Benevolent Lord will be the most perfect husband ever to this adoring bride, and as an offering to her greatness, he has pledged to never cook her in a pot of boiling water. Truly, no man has ever loved as our Master loves!”

A cynical state department official said that the move by Kim Jong Il is “a desperate attempt to grab some limelight away from Moammar Gadhafi and Charlie Sheen. The North Korean leader is deadly afraid of not being the craziest person on the planet. This vegetable stunt should get him back in the race.”

Neither Gadhafi or Sheen could be reached for comment.

Innocent-- for now!

The suspect taken into custody by Farmville authorities on Friday was released this morning.

In a prepared statement, Farmville Police Chief Maxwell “Hurly Burly” Weatherton said “The suspect hired a shiny-suited attorney who made the case for an alleged airtight alibi. I wasn’t buying it, but apparently the gullible judge was so stupid, he took the bait. Now the jailbird flies free!”

The alibi is that the suspect, Randy McNurty, lives in Second Life and has been involved with a performance art project whereby he is observed by others as he goes through the routine and drudgery of his second life. McNurty’s project has been surprisingly popular with thousands of avatars viewing his ‘life performance’ regularly on TV and are willing to vouch for the fact that the performance artist has not been in Farmville in the past year, when medical examiners determined the mass killing of 246 people took place. The horrendous gravesite was discovered in Farmville on March 3rd.

McNurty was quickly shuttled from the jail into a waiting limousine. His face was bleeding and severely bruised. Police Chief Maxwell “Hurly Burly” Weatherton said McNurty was probably clumsy and must have slipped and fell repeatedly during his stay at the Farmville crossbar hotel. The Chief was asked if authorities had any new leads or suspects in the case. “Yes,” he said gruffly, “anybody and everybody!” He walked away briskly discharging his gun into the air.

One happy byproduct of the tragedy is that the gravesite soil is rich in nutrients thanks to the decomposition of Farmville characters. Residents say the mass gravesite will be fertile ground for any crops and thus prime real estate for the upcoming planting season.