Never Touch The Stuff

I have a theory that people only eat airline meals out of boredom — anything to relieve the tedium of a long flight — because I absolutely cannot imagine another reason for subjecting your taste buds to the bland, horrible pablum that passes for airline “food”.  And I cannot fathom why any airline would offer meals on a flight lasting less than three hours anyway, but they do.

So you can imagine my disinterest when yet another survey came out to see which airline offered the “healthiest, most nutritious / calorie-conscious  / whatever” meals on their flights.  Apparently, Alaska and Delta are at the top while at the bottom (to nobody’s surprise) comes Spirit Airlines (motto: “We invented cheap ‘n nasty travel, and we never forget to remind you of the fact”).

What amazes me is not that cheapskate Southwest Airlines (“Get where you’re going via five stops”) comes near the bottom of the list, but that they offer any food at all.  As far as I’m concerned, Southwest passengers should get free water and maybe a small pack of nuts, and count their blessings — and ditto people who fly with Spirit and all the other “budget” airlines.

As most of my travel is transoceanic ergo long-haul, I always make sure to take my own food on board, which has two features in my favor:  firstly, I can eat anytime I feel hungry and not when the airline thinks I should (e.g. 15 minutes before touchdown, the idiots), and secondly, I’m always assured that I’ll be getting food which I love to eat and is not nutritionally suspect (unless I decide to make it so, see below).  I have no dietary restrictions other than voluntary ones, so I can take pretty much whatever I like.

The only problem I have is booze, which dehydrates me anyway, and coupled with the regular dehydration of high-altitude travel therefore gives me a real chance of a painful gout attack.  So I never drink booze while flying — which kinda sucks, but waddya gonna do? — and instead, I take a couple of empty quart bottles through airport security (150ml? go fuck yourselves) and fill them up at a water fountain before boarding ($5 for a pint bottle of Dahani? go fuck yourselves, x 2).  I know, I often complain about how much I hate the (non-)taste of plain water, but I figure that I can endure pretty much anything for eight or so hours, and water isn’t the worst of those, by any means.  Additional note:  the last couple of times I flew out of London’s Heathrow, there was a promotion inside the secure area-stores which offered a free 500ml bottle of Evian with purchase of the Daily Telegraph, an excellent bargain because it provided me with in-flight water and gave me something to read while eating my pre-flight meal of a Full English breakfast / fish ‘n chips (depending on time of day or mood).

I divide my on-board food into three categories:  food, snacks and self-indulgence;  and I take one of each kind every time I fly.

The travel food is simple:  meat. Specifically, it’s 1lb of South African biltong (never American jerky because it’s too sweet and tastes like crap anyway).  I know, biltong is generally nosebleed-expensive no matter where you buy it, but a pound lasts me for both outbound and return flights.  Also, biltong (unlike jerky) is made of steak, so it’s quality meat.  Sometimes I’ll take some droëwors (another South African delicacy, pronounced “drew-uh-vorce”) which is spicy dried sausage, and I buy it and the biltong at a little shop in Grapevine.  That takes care of the protein, which is really all one needs to keep fed for 8-10 hours anyway.  (Warning:  both biltong and droëwors are highly addictive if you develop a taste for them.  I grew up eating the stuff, so I’m screwed.)

My travel snack is likewise simple:  salted cashew nuts, kept in a resealable plastic bag.  I love the damn things, and a large bag is seldom far from reach at home anyway.  (I know, they’re not as good for you as almonds, but I cannot stand the taste of almonds.)  I take nearly 2lbs of cashews when I travel simply so that I don’t have to buy them for the return flight — go ahead and see how much cashews cost in the U.K. and Europe, and you’ll see why.  Sometimes, if I remember to buy them ahead of time, I’ll also take some dried cherries, just for variation, or else I’ll buy a banana at one of the airport shops, if available.

My self-indulgence is even more simple:  a large bar of chocolate.  (I know, I know, don’t scold me.)  I have over the past three years managed to if not conquer my addiction, then at least tame it.  And if ever there’s a time when I can justify spoiling myself, it’s when I’m flying in a cramped coach-class airline seat for ten hours.  No jury would convict.  As for which specific chocolate, I leave the choice till the day of, or the day before my flight, but it’s generally drawn from Nestlé’s AeroMilky Bar or Cadbury’s Dairy Milk.  All are available at the World Market just up the road or at the Grapevine shop en route  to DFW, so it’s an easy purchase.  If I’m going to England, then I’ll forego those choices (because I can buy them Over There for the return trip), and take instead a bag of chocolate-covered cherries from Central Market on the outbound flight.

I think you’ll agree that the above yummies constitute a compelling alternative to bland, tasteless airline food.  If you disagree with me, I don’t wanna hear about it.  And please:  I know that airline meals are “free”, and if ever there’s truth in the saying that you get what you pay for, that would be it.

Finally — and this can be important — my airline food and water supply makes me less vulnerable to long flight delays, even if overnight ones.  There’s nothing worse than being told your flight has been postponed to the next day meaning an overnight stay in the airport, and finding out that all the restaurants have closed.

It’s all part of being prepared for the worst, isn’t it?

French Revolution

As Mr. Free Market puts it, “The French have always been revolting, dear boy”, but this latest round of mayhem is outstanding, even for the French.

Violence has erupted again in Paris today as masked protesters stole an assault rifle from police, clashed with riot squads and set fire to cars and Christmas trees on the Champs-Elysées in furious demonstrations against the French government.
Riot police sprayed tear gas, fired water cannon and stun grenades and pulled out their batons to fight back against ‘Yellow Vest’ protesters who occupied the famous boulevard and graffitied the Arc de Triomphe.
Police said 80 people had been injured in clashes, including 16 security officers, and 183 people arrested as more than 5,000 demonstrators brought chaos to Paris for the second week running.
Masked and hooded protesters hurled crowd barriers at police in Paris and this evening stole an assault rifle from a police car in the city centre.
Meanwhile there were further rallies spiralling across the country, spreading to Marseilles, Biarritz and Antibes on the Mediterranean coast and even into the Netherlands.
The protests, named ‘Yellow Vest’ after drivers’ high-vis jackets, began last month amid fury over rising fuel prices but have mushroomed into an all-out challenge to Emmanuel Macron’s presidency.

Of course, they being French, there’s a certain element of style to the thing, even when burning the place down:

However, as my old buddy Erik at No Paseran! puts it, it’s more than just higher fuel prices which have got the Frogs miffed:

It is not wrong to say that the demonstrations were caused by the government’s decision to raise gas prices. What is missing is that this is just one of several draconian measures dating back half a year, i.e., ‘tis the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
For the past four to five months, the French government has done nothing but double down on bringing more and more gratuitous oppression and more and more unwarranted persecution measures down on the necks of the nation’s drivers and motorcycle riders.

Read the rest of it, because it’s quite obvious, when you follow the whole sequence of incremental governmental bastardy, just whence the burning anger came and why the French riots, unlike those pitiful pantomimes performed by our own Pantifa snowflakes, are so well supported by the French people en masse.

Good for them, I say.  Now, if I may be a little old-fashioned for a moment, let’s hope that the next scenes will show Frog politicians being carried in tumbrels to the waiting guillotines.

The Frogs always overdo things;  it’s one of their most endearing traits.

Shooting Party

Reader Brad sent me this link about bird-hunting in Britishland, with the result that I immediately emailed Mr. Free Market and told him to book me a spot in his hunting party for next year.  I don’t care where the shooting takes place;  I just want to be there.  In fact, as I told Mr. FM, I’ll even schedule Kim’s European Vacation 2019 around those dates.

Here’s Dave Carrie on the topic.

Reader Brad is a total bastard.

 

Rich Bastards Not Wanted Here

I’m not quite sure what to think of this situation:

New Zealand is set to ban foreigners buying homes after a spate of millionaires creating luxury doomsday bunkers has apparently pushed property prices up for local buyers.
It comes after purchases by PayPal founder Peter Thiel and disgraced former NBC host Matt Lauer, who lost his job after allegations of sexual misconduct.
The country’s centre-left government, led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, has blamed the wealthy expats for their major housing crisis with homelessness rates being among the highest in the developed world.
Yet David Parker, Minister for Trade and Economic Development, said the bill, for which he is responsible, isn’t only about house prices.
‘In this world of concentrating wealth, we don’t want this coterie of ultra-wealthy people overseas being able to outbid successful New Zealanders for what is our birthright, not theirs,’ he said.

From a free market perspective, it’s not right;  but on the other hand, seeing how Californians have done pretty much the same thing Over Here when fleeing their home state for other, less burdensome ones, I can sort of see the Kiwis’ point.  It’s also happened in Britishland, where wealthy Londoners have bought themselves country pieds-à-terre and have driven up real estate prices beyond the reach of the locals.

Here in north Texas, we’re facing a similar situation with regard to both Californians and Yankees moving into the area — real estate prices are constantly increasing — but there’s so much land around here for expansion that we haven’t yet reached that stage of feeling “trapped”, so to speak, by soaring prices.  That’s not the case in tiny Britain and New Zealand, of course and as I said, I can sympathize with the KiwiGov for wanting to at least arrest the phenomenon somewhat.

That said, New Zealand is prone to having some humdinger earthquakes from time to time, so the rich farts’ “doomsday bunkers” may ironically not be quite the secure bolt-holes their owners believe them to be.