Weekend Saving Time

This weekend we must all – except the fiercely independent folks of Arizona and Hawaii and a couple of other places – Spring Forward with boundless enthusiasm for savoring more of the glorious illumination provided by our favorite sun during warm summer months.

Sunday morning 2am becomes 3am, and just a few months later 2am jumps back to 1am as civilization decides daylight is no longer worth saving. The adjustment time of 2am was supposedly selected to minimize disruption in key life areas, like airline flights, workplace schedules, and early morning donut deliveries.

It’s time for a change! I have a proposal that I believe will provide a small amount of joy to the multitude of working folks who toil during typical 8-to-5 weekdays.

Blow off the Sunday morning thing completely. I want to replace Daylight Saving Time with Weekend Saving Time.

Let’s spring forward at 4pm Friday afternoon, get a head start on our weekend and enjoy that additional hour of daylight immediately that night.

And in the fall, we’ll roll back one hour on Monday morning at 8am. Everyone gets to enjoy an extra hour of weekend before starting their work week.

“But Steve!” you say, “this will cause massive confusion at the airports, and airline companies will have to deal with vast mobs of frustrated passengers!”

An excellent point, and an unexpected bonus upside to the Plan. I’ve flown dozens of times and can’t think of another industry more deserving of a little payback. (I once counted the number of peanuts in the tiny bag I received from Southwest Airlines: 6. No, really. I counted them twice to be sure. I balanced them on my knees which were scrunched up to eye level.)

“What about all those companies that will lose one hour of Friday afternoon work per employee every year? Won’t that bring about a horrific Economic Apocalypse? The likes of which the world has never experienced?”

Nope.

They’ll pass the costs right along to the consumer, as always. No worries.

Gotta go now, it’s beer o’clock, WST.

A Pair of Shorts and a Quote

Q Shorts

Second Act

Captain Sullenberger focused on his instruments as he rotated the aircraft skyward.  He had thousands of hours of flight experience but still piloted each takeoff as though it was his first, using careful, precise movements, maintaining constant vigilance, and monitoring critical gauges and indicators. He initiated a banking maneuver to swing the plane to the east—

“SULLY!  BIRD STRIKE!” his copilot screamed.

With a sigh he released the joystick, removed his headphones, and hit the Pause button, freezing the Xbox Flight Simulator image.

“Yes, dear. Just a minute.”

He pulled a spray bottle of Windex and a roll of paper towels from underneath the kitchen sink, put on his flip-flops and walked outside and around back to the master bedroom windows.  He wiped the fresh droppings from the glass and peered inside at his wife, reclining on the bed with a magazine.

“Friggin’ birds,” he muttered.

“Upon Further Review…Wait, What?”

I have a recommendation for the 2018 football season that I believe would improve NFL television ratings, enhance the fan experience, and possibly increase stadium attendance.

Most teams now engage in league-approved, premeditated touchdown celebrations. Many are creatively choreographed and involve multiple players.  Some of these are terrific fun, others, not so much.

My New Rule:  If a touchdown is overturned after video review, the scoring player and his supporting cast must return to the end zone and repeat their touchdown celebration performance, in reverse.

This would compensate fans for enduring long, irritating delays for official reviews,  create additional game highlights, and be great fun to watch.

Quote

“Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you do criticize him, you’ll be a mile away and have his shoes.”  — Steve Martin

 

Quest for the Double-Double

I grew up in the 1970s and in our house Saturday evening was called “burger night”. Dad would set up the Weber kettle grill late in the afternoon, neatly stack a pile of charcoal in the middle and douse it with lighter fluid. After making sure the coals were completely white-hot (“son, you don’t want the food to taste like lighter fluid!”) he would spread the briquettes around the grill in a perfect, evenly-spaced geometric pattern designed for maximum air circulation to achieve consistent heating. That was Dad.

My job was to tightly hold the cookie sheet of raw hamburger patties at a convenient height so Dad could scoop them up and place them on the grill. About ten minutes later I was back on the job as he placed the hot and nicely-seared burgers back on the tray. I held it by the edges because it would get hot in the center beneath the meat (“son, you don’t want to drop our dinner!”).

These were hamburgers, served on white-bread buns (whole-wheat goodness had not yet been invented) and dressed with the usual condiments, pickles, and tomatoes (and onions for Mom). Apparently our family was heavily influenced by the now politically-incorrect “Frito Bandito” TV commercials as we would often have Fritos and bean dip.  And Coca-Cola. As far as our family was concerned, Pepsi was the loser in the soda-pop wars.

One night Mom put a stack of individually-wrapped American “cheese food” slices on the tray with the meat. Before taking the burgers off the grill Dad and I unwrapped the cheese slices and placed them carefully on the sizzling patties for about a minute. Dad showed me how to fold and tear the slices into quarters and place two of them carefully on top of the burgers. It was okay if the cheese squares overlapped a little as long as they  fit cleanly on top of the burgers. Dad didn’t want the cheese draping over the side because it created a caramelized mess on the grill.

One awesome bite and My Life Changed Forever. I became totally hooked on cheeseburgers, my all-time favorite food.

Three and a half decades later I stood at the window in my room on the twentieth floor of the Aria hotel and casino, gazing at one of the most incredible sights one could see in Las Vegas:

A spectacular, glorious neon sign for In-N-Out Burger.

I had flown to Vegas three days earlier to spend the weekend with a long-time friend from California, our annual buddy trip. He had to be in Bakersfield for an event Monday morning and left early Sunday afternoon for the long drive home. My flight was the next morning so I had the rest of the day to myself. I purchased a ticket to see the Frank Caliendo comedy show later that night but I had several hours to kill in the meantime. And the In-N-Out Burger sign had me thinking…

I was familiar with In-N-Out from living in California many years earlier, and their “Double-Double” easily makes the top five on my list of favorite cheeseburgers. It only took a couple of seconds to decide I was going to In-N-Out for lunch. The question was whether I was going to walk in the desert heat or take a taxi. I could see the sign but not much of the actual restaurant as it was located on the other side of Highway 15, a half-mile or so west of the Strip. My short-term goal was cheeseburgers so I decided it would be a healthy decision to walk, even in triple-digit July heat.

Aria INO

I stepped out of the hotel lobby into the City Center plaza and made my way down to the Strip. I turned right and walked south to New York New York, then turned west and followed the sidewalk toward the highway. I was drenched with sweat but determined to continue my quest.

The sidewalk curved around and followed a service side road, but it was headed in the right direction so I kept walking. Soon I came to a “T” and had to choose left or right to find a highway underpass. I saw three people walking about a hundred yards ahead of me and they chose right so I did too, hoping they knew the way. I wondered if they might also be headed for In-N-Out.

Right turned out to be wrong and I met the two guys and girl as they doubled back from a dead end. They said hello and confirmed that they too were headed for burgers. We all turned back and the trio pulled away from me with a quicker pace. I took my time to fully enjoy the brutal heat. As I came back to New York New York I saw the group of three get in the taxi line just outside the casino entrance. I was soaked and miserable so I went inside the casino, toweled off in the men’s room and walked around in the air conditioning for ten minutes or so. I purchased and chugged a bottle of water, then got in line for a taxi.

The driver laughed and asked me to confirm that I really did want a ride to In-N-Out Burger which was less than a half-mile away. As we drove west on Tropicana I saw that the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street would have provided perfect access to cross the highway and get to In-N-Out. I stuck this valuable bit of knowledge in my mental “cheeseburger” file for future reference.

INO Journey

The taxi pulled in to the parking lot and stopped. A dozen taxis were ahead, slowly snaking around the restaurant, dropping people off near the door (the famous “In”) and then picking up satisfied customers on the other side of the building (“Out”). It was the “N” that was tough: ordering and eating the food.  The line of people waiting to place an order extended out the door and around the back of the restaurant. I paid the driver and joined the line.

About twenty-five minutes later I made it to the order counter. The restaurant was completely jammed with every table occupied. Some couples were actually trying to eat while standing, one person holding the tray of food and drink so the other could eat with both hands holding the burger.

The friendly employee grinned and said something like “you’re not from around here, are you?” as he looked at my sweat-soaked shirt. He told me that this particular In-N-Out was the busiest restaurant of the entire chain and the locals mostly avoided coming to that location.

I placed my order: Two double-doubles and the largest drink they had. After my long, hot journey there was no way I was going to be satisfied with only a single double-cheeseburger.

After a few minutes they called my number and I picked up my tray.  There was still no place to sit so I went outside and looked around. There were several combination bench-tables on the patio next to the parking lot and a couple were empty. I soon found out why.

I sat down and immediately stood right back up, buns toasted from the hot concrete seat. I took the stack of napkins from my tray and sat on them carefully.  It helped. A little. Finally, I was ready to eat.

Sweating like a glass of Coca-Cola in the summer sun, I took a bite and it was fantastically delicious, even better than I thought it would be. I looked across the patio and saw the folks I had met on the sidewalk, sitting at another table and enjoying their burgers. They waved, and I raised my drink cup and gave them a nod and a smile. All three raised their cups as well in a salute to pure cheeseburger joy. It felt like we just finished filming a television commercial for In-N-Out Burger.

INO Dbldbl

Careful to avoid dripping sweat onto my food I savored every bite and was sad when it was over. I smiled at the couple who came to take my table as I got up to toss the trash. I hailed one of the “Out” taxis and the ride back to Aria took only a few minutes. I was very happy that I was not walking back.

I estimated the total cost of the two cheeseburgers was close to $50 when I included the two taxi rides. The experience was worth every penny. After accepting the Call, completing the arduous Journey, battling against the deadly Heat, and successfully completing my Quest, enjoying those two Double-Doubles that hot afternoon in Las Vegas is still one of my greatest and most glorious gastronomical achievements.

Vehicular Mindslaughter

Apparently last night someone broke into my garage and taped the automotive equivalent of a “Kick Me” sign to my front bumper.  It must read “PLEASE PULL OUT IN FRONT OF ME” as this morning no less than six brave commuters believed they could put the four feet of space between me and the car ahead to better use.  I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the engineer who came up with the idea of installing braking systems in cars.

I’m driving on Riverside Parkway and thinking of George Carlin’s classic joke “park on a driveway but drive on a parkway” when Brave Commuter No. 6 pulls out in front of me driving a Hyundai Speck (one-door model).  I have come to expect this behavior so I flash my brights, give a big thumb-up wave and shout “Good Job *^$@)#!”.  My goodwill gestures go unnoticed.

I snuggle up close behind the little maggot car at the next red light and from the lofty perch in my Honda CRV I can see the driver.  Her left hand has been glued to her head by a cell phone, and her right hand carefully places a cup of coffee or something on the top of the dashboard. (Apparently a cup holder is standard equipment only for the “EX” model of the Speck.)  I see the driver clearly reflected in the rear-view mirror which she is using to touch up her face paint.

It is a long light and she reaches toward the passenger seat and her arm comes back with a white paper bag around her hand.  With a flick of her wrist she shakes off the bag and is holding a breakfast sandwich.  Her left hand is still busy so she holds the sandwich in her right hand and uses two fingers on the same hand to partially open the wrapper.  She takes a bite out of the sandwich and continues talking on her phone.  Obviously a Level 9 Master of Multi-Tasking.

The light turns green and she tosses the sandwich into the passenger seat and floors it, then remembers the coffee on the dash.  I sat motionless, transfixed by the intellectual display playing out before me.  She fails to stop the coffee’s slide but manages to catch most of the liquid with her hand and arm as it falls.  Apparently, the coffee is very hot as she swerves to the right and nearly drives into the curb.  I’m thinking she must be steering with her knees since I can see her right hand waving frantically in the air to cool off the burn while her left hand is still stuck to the side of her head. Finally she recovers enough to straighten the car and pull away, and I notice a “WWJD” fish-magnet stuck to the trunk above the back bumper.

I’m not a theologian but I have a pretty good idea what Jesus would not do.  He would not endanger his fellow commuters with a cell phone and a McMuffin, and I’m fairly certain He wouldn’t be driving a Hyundai.

From my archives.  I witnessed this actual Fidiot behavior on my morning commute on January 27, 2005 and wrote this description the same day.