Alaska Airlines and Me

What’s next, no free beer and wine on Horizon?

During my working life Alaska Airlines has done a couple good things for me. They began non-stop service between Portland and Phoenix at a time when I lived in Portland and business required travel to Arizona. Years later, when I lived in Santa Rosa California, Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Alaska, initiated flights from the Sonoma County Airport to several destinations on the West Coast. Again, helpful to me, saving the sixty-mile trip to San Francisco or Oakland airports. Alaska was always a little bit better than its competitors, with clean planes, a bit more legroom, helpful staff and food on most flights. Horizon, later re-branded as Alaska, even served complimentary wine and beer on its flights.

Airlines over the past few years have striven to make air travel ever more uncomfortable and inconvenient, Alaska has followed that path, with the apparent goal to be just like all the other airlines. They now charge for checked bags, charge for a change of itinerary, charge for food and are squeezing more seats into their aircraft. What’s next, no free beer and wine on Horizon?

Continue reading “Alaska Airlines and Me”

How Do You Know Where You Are?

Studies have demonstrated that users of paper maps have greater geographical skill than those who don’t.

The prototypical traveling salesman carried among other necessaries a Thomas Brothers Street Guide for the area he (in those days, usually a he) was working. A Thomas Guide was usually within easy reach on the front seat of the car. The guides, with their foldout maps and street indexes were especially popular in California and other western states. Businesses, government agencies, law enforcement and emergency responders used Thomas maps, including the company’s large wall maps.

Cartographer George Coupland Thomas and his two brothers founded the company in 1915. Early maps were detailed block grids with bird’s-eye three-dimensional drawings of major buildings. As the business expanded, the Thomas Company moved its headquarters from Oakland to Los Angeles.

George Thomas died in 1955. The family’s lawyer, and brother of a former Oakland mayor, purchased the company. Business continued to grow and in 1970 the company moved into a shiny new building in Irvine, south of L.A.

Continue reading “How Do You Know Where You Are?”

Is Vancouver Wash Sending Its Best Across the Border?

Three decades ago – maybe four – in the waning days of music on AM radio, the era of morning drive-time disc-jockey teams supposedly being light-hearted and humorous, a pair of funny guys on one Portland station had a running gag, blaming incompetent Washington drivers for any traffic problems. Now in 2019, a study by something called WalletHub ranks Washington motorists number 48, the worst in the continental United States. Numbers 49 and 50 are Alaska and Hawaii respectively.

Vancouver – not the British Columbia Vancouver – sits just across the Columbia River from Portland – the Oregon Portland.

Continue reading “Is Vancouver Wash Sending Its Best Across the Border?”

Before Nancy Pelosi There Was Thomas B. Reed

“The best system is to have one party govern and the other party watch.”

The current occupant of the White House, the greatest negotiator ever, the purported author of “The Art of the Deal,” met his match with Nancy Pelosi. Speaker of the House Pelosi learned her deal making from her father, a mayor of Baltimore, and later in the bruising political environment that is San Francisco. She has the current President so flustered that the best he can come up with for a denigrating nickname is an ineffectual “Nancy.” Pelosi, in turn, said that the border wall, “is like a manhood thing for him — as if manhood would ever be associated with him.”

The Speaker’s power that Nancy Pelosi is exploiting goes back more than a century when another powerful politician wielded the gavel. Thomas B. Reed was Speaker of the House from 1889-1891 and again from 1895-1899.

Continue reading “Before Nancy Pelosi There Was Thomas B. Reed”

“Lifeboat” – No, Not Alfred Hitchcock’s

“Sea-Watch is a group of volunteers who heard that people were drowning off the coast of Libya, and instead of just sitting around twiddling their thumbs, they purchased a retrofitted research vessel, motored down off the coast of Africa, and started pulling people out of the sea.”

The 1944 movie “Lifeboat” received three Academy Award nominations: Best Director (Alfred Hitchcock), Best Story (John Steinbeck) and Best Cinematography (Glen MacWilliams).

See the interesting digression below.

Continue reading ““Lifeboat” – No, Not Alfred Hitchcock’s”

Flying Over The Wall

The advertisement has been featured on the national news – CBS, CNN, Fox, USA Today – and the YouTube video has gone “viral.” Aeromexico offered discounts on flights from the U.S. to Mexico. Fares are reduced the same percentage as the passenger’s percentage of Mexican DNA.

In case you haven’t seen Aeromexico’s ad:

You won’t find it on the airline’s web site. The discounts were offered through travel agents in the southern U.S.

DHO Studios of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida produced the two-minute commercial. Founder and Creative Director Danny Holguin is a native of Colombia. He has won numerous awards for short films and documentaries in addition to DHO’s advertising work.