Nobody Asked Me, But ...
I'm Gonna Tell Ya Anyway
THURSDAY, JANUARY 28, 2021 -- Nobody asked me, but ...

I'm finally going to an airport. In April. For my Covid vaccine. It's a 550-mile roundtrip drive from my home. And there are no flights. Tell me the Supreme Being doesn't have a sense of humor.

The airport is in Plattsburgh, New York. It has a United Express flight from Washington/Dulles. The best hotel in town is a Hampton Inn. But the best restaurant in town is a Nepali/Tibetan place that gets ecstatic reviews. So, you know, moaning on the drive, momo for dinner.

Nobody asked me, but ...

The EU's airline regulatory body, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, approved the Boeing 737 Max to return to the continent's commercial fleets. That's after a nearly two-year grounding and comes after the United States, Canada and Brazil have also cleared the plane.

Meanwhile, a famed lawyer who negotiated the settlement for survivors of the Lion Air 737 Max crash has apparently stolen a lot of the money. Thomas Girardi, the 81-year-old king of "toxic torts," was once part of Erin Brockovich's team. It's a sad, sorry, sordid tale. The New York Times has more details.

Nobody asked me, but ...

It was only about three years ago that American Airlines chief executive claimed "I don't think we're ever going to lose money again," he said. "I know I sound like an evangelist talking about this."

American today reported a full-year 2020 net loss of $8.9 billion. That's $18.36 per share. Praise the lord and insert your own joke here.

Nobody asked me, but ...

Kimpton Hotels, now a division of InterContinental Hotels, says it will open a hotel inside the former Samaritaine de Luxe department store building in Paris. The 149-room room property on Boulevard des Capucines, recently used as office space, is due to open in the spring. This is neither here nor there, but I spent part of my career writing about department stores, so I wanted to get it in. And we'll always have Paris, even if we can't go there.

Besides, last year at this time I was writing about Florida hotels defecting from Marriott and Accor dropping single-use bathroom amenities. Fat lot of good that did any of us.

Nobody asked me, but ...

Southwest Airlines lost $3 billion in 2020, the first time since 1972 that it registered a loss. But never let it be said Southwest wasn't gracious about it. When asked about the possibility of Coronavirus testing before domestic flights, chief executive Gary Kelly had an answer. "Why pick on air travel? If you want to test people, test them. But test them before they go to the grocery store. Test them before they go to a restaurant."

Hey, Gary, the last restaurant I was in took my temperature and my contact information before it sold me pasta. And if I don't like the amount of people in my grocery store, I walk out. Tell me how I do that in-flight. And who pays for the parachute?

Nobody asked me, but ...

Champagne sales plunged 18% in 2020. What are you people drinking in lockdown? Zima?

I mean, really, my car mechanic charged me $100 for a repair I worried could cost $1,000 and I dropped a couple bottles of Veuve Cliquot on him in gratitude. So I ask again, what are you people drinking in lockdown? Bartles and Jaymes?

Nobody asked me, but ...

John Lolos boarded a Delta Air Lines flight at Washington/National on January 8. As the plane taxis out, Lolos loudly and repeatedly shouts "Trump 2020!" The captain decides to turn the aircraft back to the gate and alert Washington police. Lolos is booted from the plane and rebooked. The cop who meets the plane recognizes him as one of the men wanted in relation to the January 6 riot at the Capitol. Lolos ends up charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct.

The New York Times has a report on Lolos' epic stupidity. CNN also has details. And you can read the government's complaint here.

Nobody asked me, but ...

Some members ask me what happened to "Scott and Zelda," the blended Chinese-American couple who escaped Shanghai last year on United's last flight out. They're still here in America and the kids are doing okay, but Scott has struggled with mental issues. They obviously haven't been back to China. Even Scott, who thought going home might help him, was justifiably frightened of being alone in the mandatory isolation China imposes even on returning citizens.

The United States this week began requiring international arrivals to have a negative Coronavirus test within 72 hours of departure. Despite the absolute haste of the rule's imposition and the confusing and incomplete nature of the requirement, I haven't heard a single complaint about the execution. But here is the "attestation" you must sign and here is the FAQ about the regulation offered by the CDC. Now all you need is the ability to fly internationally.

Nobody asked me, but ...

Sarah Huckabee Sanders says she's running for governor of Arkansas. But she lied so much as Trump's press secretary that I have no reason to believe her candidacy. And Kayleigh McEnany, Trump's final press secretary, is going to Fox News. Because, of course she is.

Meanwhile, Trump has established the Office of the Former President at Mar a Lago. A spokesperson for the office says Trump will release his health-care plan in two or three weeks and he's finally made time to meet with his Hawaii investigators about Obama's long-form birth certificate.

Nobody asked me, but ...

Joe Biden's press secretary has already been asked how Biden feels about Trump's redesigned livery for Air Force One. That they ask about, not the $5.3 billion price tag for two aircraft?

As a matter of balance, I want to make another Biden joke. But, come on, man, it's been eight days. I haven't even finished reading all his Executive Orders yet.

Nobody asked me, but ...

I'm an obsessive guy, so don't ask how many times I've listened to Buddy Holly's "Everyday" during the pandemic. It was the original B side of "Peggy Sue" and it is 2:09 of perfection. I had never heard of a celesta, the bell-like instrument that plays the solo. It looks like a piano, but sounds like a glockenspiel. You got time for stuff like this when you're not on a plane or working in a hotel room.

And lately I've been mesmerized by Bobby Banas, the lead dancer in this clip. The other dancers do a wonderful, herky-jerky, intentionally robotic routine to Shirley Ellis' infectious "Nitty Gritty." But Banas, who choreographed the dance, doesn't seem to have bones. He literally glides and slithers and bounces with a sort of manic energy that the other dancers can't match. You notice this stuff when you're not on a plane or working in a hotel room.

Nobody asked me, but ...

Sixteen states have yet to administer at least 50% of the vaccines they've received. It includes states large (California) and small (Kansas), states red (Mississippi) and blue (Massachusetts), states south (Alabama) and north (Idaho), states east (Maryland) and west (Hawaii). Yet Israel already vaccinated about a third of the entire nation. Go figure.

At least two island nations (Iceland and the Seychelles) already say vaccinated travelers can skirt the countries' respective quarantine rules. Cyprus and Romania are soon expected to do the same. Small world, isn't it? I mean that literally. It's a small world of places cleared to travel just now.