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Vance Gilbert

Observations, Eh?

Overall Recent Life Observations:

-When your ENT looks in you nose with that black plastic thingy and says “Ewwww!! Yuck, gross!!”, you can be sure you have a sinus infection.

-See the recent advertisements for the iPad Mini? I though I already had one of those...called my old iPhone.

-Maybe I’m just not used to chocolate on my pillow in these finer hotels when I’m on the road and someone else books me into these establishments. Still, sometimes, they’re hard to see on the calico bedspread if they are wrapped in a fancy wrapper. So I climb into bed, twist covers around me like I do, and I wake up the next morn and wonder to myself “Just how bad was that General Gau’s chicken I had after the gig last night?”, as the chocolate is spread all over the blanket, sheets and pillowcase, thanks to my 98.6 body temperature...

Did I tell you I didn’t see the chocolate on my pillow when I lay down to sleep?

Airline Observations:

-Ever notice how the “place your bag underneath the seat in front of you” takes on a different meaning if you’re in the aisle seat on some planes? I guess they have to bolt the seats down somewhere, but does it seems fair that the window and center seat have about 6 - 8 sq feet where your feet go while the isle seat has a little area about the size of the box your old iPhone came in?

-“See Something, Say Something”. Yeah, I love those signs. That works. I speak from experience...I say, “See Something, Unless It’s Blinking And The Owner Has A Thumb On A Trigger, Mind Your Own Fuggin Bidness”.

-United...ahhh United. That little TV screen in front of me? The idea you stole from JetBlue? The one that, unlike Blue’s, for me to watch I have to pay for? Well, there is an option for the passenger to roll the volume down until it is turned completely off. That is until the Essential Safety Information comes on. Then all your control is overridden and your are unequivocally subjected to these directions.

Now, I have no problem with the safety directions. That’s necessary FAA safety stuff. And truthfully, anyone that knows me will know that I have no problem with the ad for the 787 Dreamliner - it is a big beautiful passenger airplane after all.

The problem I have is that the “United’s new Dreamliner 787” advertisement was attached to the Essential Safety Information that came blaring over this screen 8 inches from my face. I truly had no control, no choice. Imagine the Emergency Alert System beeping that graces our TV screens ever so occasionally to be brought to you by Chevy Trucks, and “Like A Rock..!” coming from your screen during Doc Martin..and multiply that times 3.

Is this when I can jump up outta my seat and shout to the whole plane where I am playing in the Chicago area? Oh, that’s right…..I’m strapped in. Plus, I’ve already...oh never mind.

Oh, and P.S. United - I saw one of these screens malfunction where the screen couldn’t be turned off at all. It was an overnight flight to Houston. Poor passenger was trying to sleep. Flight attendant came over and folded up an Essential Safety Information card and taped it over the screen, gave a quiet “Sorry”, and went on her way...

Other Travel Observations, Particularly Canada:

Firstly, go to Yellowknife, NWT, and the surrounding communities. It was the touring thrill of a lifetime. The landscape beautiful, foreboding, cold in November (never a day above -5 deg F), the people unbelievably loving and caring. Yeah, of course I flew and hung with the guys from the TV hit "Ice Pilots", they got a song out of it: http://youtu.be/WkHSsqBbDx0

Buffalo Joe is as crabby a shit as advertised, I DID get to ride on a DC3, and that is a serious check off of my bucket list. I love me some Canada, yet there’s stiff some things particular to Canada, that perplex me:

-Hey Canada. What’s with the coins for 1 and 2 dollars? Loonies and Twoonies? Really? Must I always feel like a cheap shit no matter how much I tip with these things, eh?

-Oh, and Hey Canada, you don’t require we take our shoes off to go through security at the airport. Is that because:

--No one is interested in trying fancy, new, inventive ways to bomb and kill your citizenry, as you have a million more square miles than the US but aprox 1/10th the population and they’re just too spread out to do any damage to any one group (truth, most of Canada's population is centered around quite bustling big cities, but still…) eh ?

--Canada’s not a prime enough target as they aren’t as world-policing or as freedom-loving as the US and other allies, therefore they make fewer enemies (you may read into this as left or as right winged-ly as you like), eh ?

--Canada has machines that can scan your shoes as you walk through, they just ain’t told nobody down here they have them (When we do develop that technology so that it is inexpensive enough for all ports-of-call to have it installed, Canada will claim they had it first, get all upset, and say the U.S. bullies everyone with their products. It’s the Avro Arrow all over again. Look it up...), eh ?

--Canada knows theatre when they see it and can’t be bothered, eh?

--Our feet get too cold for that nonsense, eh?

Here’s a funny little FYI...Other countries around the world garner an “Unsafe Security Measures" (Addis Abba in Ethiopia had this rating for a while, I believe) when they don’t follow the measures touted and instituted by the FAA, and the names of these airports are often posted on signs at the entrance to security areas at international airports. Never seen Canada listed even once. Hell, North of Edmonton, you could bring a caribou, a Howitzer, an M16, or a Buick on board and as long as you can get it in the hold or under your seat, hey, they’re just happy to stay in the air..

Here’s an idea!! French fries, with brown gravy!! Whoo hoo!! OK, better yet, let’s add cheese - no wait, not the good part of the cheese, but cheese curds (cheese curds? Isn’t that the part of cheese that even respectable cheese won’t even have anything to do with? Isn’t that cheese barf or cheese poo poo?)!! Shouldn’t each tourine of this concoction be served with a number for an on-call cardiologist written on the side? You brag about that free health care, Canada...you need it with this stuff being legal. Here in NY you can’t get a sugar sweet drink in an open cup larger than 15.9 ounces, and look at what you get to do!!

Plus, the name. Really? Does it have to sound like the conquest of a 15-year old boy in a locker room to a teammate - “Hey, last night? I got some poutine...”

“Dude, really, eh?”

G’wichin Development Corp.,
Denedeh Helicopters LTD,
Great Slave Helicopters,
Sahtu Helicopters,
Denendeh Helicopters...what do all these companies have in common other than competing in helicopter transport? They are some named after an area but in all eventuality, they are named after an Aboriginal people of one sort or another in NWT, Canada. Many of these companies are principled and owned by people of these very groups, I suppose lending even greater credence to the names. Here in the States we squirm when an athletic team is named in such a fashion. Is it OK when the Aboriginal people themselves are owners of the business? Does that make it OK? Particularly to those that don’t have stock in the business? Will Henry Louis Gates not hire me for his Holiday Party if I call myself Acoustically Negroid Productions? Step ‘N Fetch Folk? JiggAcoustic LTD? (ok, I admit, the comedian in me really enjoys making them things up. I have a whole list of them vile and insulting band names that can be had for a price...). And as for the Great Slave Helicopters thing? Well, you know me and aviation themed clothing, and you’re damn-sight right I got me a baseball hat with THAT on it...

Oh, and while I have you, what do Canadians call their Black people? I asked a few audiences, and there was always some Benneton-Coke-Commercial-kumbaya-holding-hands-together-singing individual that would reply from the back “We call them Canadiens!” Yeah well, I’d want more than that. I want to be known as a people of sorts.

Nigradiens was one choice. Canadegroes was another I liked. Ah, maybe the kumbayah person was right...still, Nigradiens sounds like a cool Star Trek population.

Curling


Those people are bowling with teakettles. On ice. With a person sweeping the ice furiously in front of the sliding teakettle, being shouted at by the bowler as to how much to sweep. It’s like shuffleboard, OCD porch/walkway cleaning, and really lazy hockey all wrapped up in one.

Once, while touring in Canada or upstate NY, two of curling’s popular haunts, during the Winter Olympics, I was sound asleep in a hotel, when I heard, on the other side of a wall: “Faster!, faster!, harder!, harder!!”, followed by the sound of an announcer that that team was winning and folks cheering.

Talk about feeling inadequate.

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updated: 4 years ago