Random Musings about Baseball, College Students Having Sex, and Airlines.

>> Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I'd really like to say a few things about the Cliff Lee to Seattle trade, but Scott already put it out there, and as per usual, USS Mariner have it covered.

The New York Post has a newsflash: Columbia University students can now "live in sin - on their parents' dime." Because, as we know, college students would never have had premarital sex until the advent of co-ed dorm rooms. This changes everything!

The Times, of course, has a more balanced take. Rather unlike this one commenter to the Post article: "Let's keep looking into the future. How long would it take for another outrageous move, like government passing a law that would allow a brother and sister to get married?"

I thought that was already legal in some unnamed states?

Seriously, as my partner pointed out, is this really all that radical, or is Columbia simply acknowledging what has been going on informally for, well, generations? (One of the arguments in favor of co-ed rooms is that best friends can share, even if they are of the opposite sex. Had me and said partner done that 22 years ago, perhaps we would have fast-forwarded things. Probably not, that would have been living in sin! Unlike now of course.)

While speaking about sex, the mind naturally wanders to the French. I have a new favorite airline: Air France. When I moved to Holland nine years ago, I tied myself to Northwest / KLM, due in large part to NW 33 / 34, which is (was) a direct flight between SEA and AMS (and until 2003, on ancient DC-10s) Mileage programs create a seductive incentive: always fly that carrier or the carriers in their alliance, as once you get status, it's difficult to fly anything else, even if you have to pay a modest premium to remain tied to your carrier of choice. Also, living in Amsterdam made it hellishly convenient to go pretty much anywhere.

Fast forward to life in England. When Air France bought KLM, I was concerned, but more of the "better the devil you know" framework. When Delta bought Northwest, I was very concerned, especially after my grim experience flying through Atlanta this past October. So this trip, flying out of Bristol, I ended up on Air France on the outward leg (BRS-CDG-SEA-PDX) and Northwest home (PDX-SEA-AMS-BRS). It's probably cliche, but the food on Air France was terrific -- the best airline food I've had since flying Air Cubana a dozen years ago. It came with a menu. In coach. A menu that changes every couple of weeks, which is refreshing after having been fed the same crap on Northwest for two years.

Did I mention that the food was good? Fresh salmon and tomato starter, the beef ragout with mustard sauce was good, even if it came out of a microwave, the Camembert was a nice touch, and the chocolate tart for dessert was delicious. The wine kept flowing, and the flight attendant, when clearing the food service, asked me if I wanted another red wine (without my prompting) to which I said yes, of course; he then added "and I should think you want a cognac to go with that?"


This is my kind of airline. The flight attendants were, well, attentive, unlike the stoic (and downright bitter during the bankruptcy and then merger period) Northwest crews, the blunt, methodically efficient KLM crews, or the generally absent Delta crews. They even served champagne in coach, kept the wine flowing happily, and were charming and amiable.

This all made me nearly forget that my bag didn't make the connection at CDG, or that we hit a patch of the worst turbulence I've experienced (the scary bad thank god for the seatbelt and this wine oh crap is the plane really supposed to do this? sort of turbulence) that couldn't help but remind me of that Air France A330 (same type as I was on) that didn't quite make it over the Atlantic this past June.

My bag was on to something, I figure. It knew about the impending nastiness of the flight, and opted instead to remain behind in an airport bar in Paris. To Air France's credit, when I arrived in SEA, they knew my bag hadn't made it, were prepared, took my details, and it arrived here in Oregon 24 hours later. Class.

Unfortunately, Air France did not supply me with a free sample for this post.


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