I’m not sure if this has come across your radar of yet but I just learned about it on Tuesday and my world has been a little sunnier ever since.

http://rt.com/usa/faa-cell-phone-rule-031/

Essentially what this lowering of in-flight digital restrictions means is that the airlines have been lying to us since day one.  There is no threat of disaster brought on by your continuing to check your emails as you pull away from the gate.  Nor will the pilot lose communication with the tower as you catch up on your Twitter feed.  The whole thing has been a sham from the beginning.  I feel lied to.  Taken advantage of if you will.  My rights have been infringed upon.  I’m angry at the establishment.  Now I can finally relate to all of those people who watch FOX News.

Truthfully however these kind of things really do bother me.  Remember when your parents told you that you couldn’t do something when you were young and there was no logic what-so-ever for their rationale?  Malcolm Gladwell dedicates a good chunk of his latest book David & Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants to the subject of the inverse effect of authority without reason.  While the airlines fall somewhere below the British Army in Northern Ireland on the hierarchical scale of authoritarians, the fact that they restrict my access to information and pleasure at the same time, for no apparent reason, really gets under my skin – and I know I’m not alone.  I think a good majority of we travelers consciously or not stage our own boycott of our avian overlords in entirely tuning them out during all pre- and in-flight announcements.  Frankly at this point the captain could come onto the PA system and announce our immenent demise is just minutes away and I’d look up a few moments later and ask those panicking around me, “what did he say?”

As Gladwell points out, people respect authority when it is logical and consistent.  My beef is that the whole airport and airline experience checks neither of these boxes.  When passing through TSA the consistency of protocol seems to depend upon the given day’s direction of the wind.  Sometimes you need to take your belt off while other times I’ve been specifically told not to.  I’ve literally never taken my toiletries out of my carry on and I flew for a good solid five years with a pocket knife in an obscure pocket of my bag without anyone taking notice.  Similarly I’ve been on a plane where the stewardess asked me to keep the window shade up so that they & the pilot can see the outside traffic in the gate area and on the runways.  I was sitting in row 16 at the time.  If the pilot has a rearview mirror system established that incorporates looking out of my specific porthole then the more power to him, but I’m calling bullshit. 

The airline traveler is not a picky person by and large.  Full meals have been replaced with pretzels or peanuts without much of an uproar.  We want to get to where we’re going as efficiently as possible.  Don’t lie about threats or make up rules that have no substance behind them.  All we ask is to be treated like paying customers and not infants as we know the floor is not really made of lava and there are not monsters in the overhead compartments. 

It’s a dawn of a new day, and let’s hope this leads to the friendly skies becoming much more than just a marketing slogan.

Bears Prediction

So since my bragadocious escapades heading into the Washington game three weeks ago, where I announced my perfect record in picking the outcomes of this season’s Bears affairs, the team has since bucked the trend and gone out of their way to ensure the air is slowly released from my puffed-out chest.  After starting the year 6-0 I have since been on the receiving end of the lashings in going 0-3. 

Last week I silently held my tongue as I did not agree with the decision to rush Cutler back onto the field but I do understand that the Lions game was the biggest of the year and a team needs to put its best players on the field.  I get that, I really do.  My concern was more in anticipation of what actually happened as I thought at the time that the chances of him getting re-injured exceeded 50% and the trade-off in his recovery being prolonged was not worth the risk.  With that said I do not blame Cutler for the loss.  The Bears had their opportunities in any number of ways but they couldn’t make the big play when they needed it.  Whether it was a dropped pass, a blown up play, or a failure to make a stop at the right time, they just couldn’t get the job done. 

Now they find themselves behind a Detroit-styled 8-ball in the division.  They fell into this hole and they’ll have to dig their way out of it now (dig up stupid).  Unfortunately I’m not sure this is the weekend to get that done.  Something just doesn’t feel right if you know what I mean.  Per our friends who have access to a Dopler Radar it sounds like it’s going to be cold and rainy come Sunday’s game time.  I think it will be a low scoring defensive affair and at the end of the day I think the Ravens defense is in a different league than that which the Bears field.  Especially when they play a journeyman backup quarterback who’s already had his day in the sun.  

Prediction: Bears 14 – Ravens 20 (**don’t think for a second that I’m above the concept of a reverse jinx here**)

Bears Record: 5-4

Chi-Guy Record: 6-3