Roissy en France

Notre histoire en couleurs

May 20: I may have said we were returning to Paris, but we were actually going to Roissy en France.

We eat breakfast at the B&B. There was a giant jukebox in the dining area with dozens of 45s. We talked to a couple from the wedding. The dancing didn’t start until 1 a.m.!

We saw Father Thomas, who was also staying at the locale. My wife drove from Tredion back to Auray, which took about an hour. We returned the rental car and stopped at the cafe we visited three days ago.

Our travel documents suggested we might take a TERTRAIN from Auray to Redon, leave at 13:05, and arrive at 14:30. Because they were doing track work, we took a bus. It was rather uncomfortable, as I couldn’t put my feet under the seat in front of me.

The TGVTRAIN from Redon to PARIS MONTPARNASSE was nice, but it took a while, from 14:50 to 18:07.

I should have used the loo on the train. The bathroom at the train station cost 50 Euro cents, but it didn’t work! Finally, we went to another level and spent another Euro in a locale with an attendant.

We still needed to get to our hotel in Roissy en France, near the airport. My wife decided we’d take a taxi. With the stop-and-go traffic, it took at least an hour, which made it a pricey choice.

After we dropped off our stuff, we went to eat. We opted against the dining choices at the hotel. Wandering into town, we found a Chinese/Thai restaurant with one of the broadest menus I’ve ever seen.

Our last day in France

After breakfast, we wandered into the charming town. We came across a series of about 40 placards describing France’s history. They were from the book  Notre histoire en couleurs, OUR STORY IN COLORS, by Xavier Mauduit.

“This book is a walk through time, a stroll through yesterday’s world where everything is suddenly in color. A unique experience for all generations!

“Let’s find our poets and our novelists, Baudelaire, Hugo, Proust or even Colette, without forgetting all the anonymous people, students, workers, peasants. Let’s walk the streets of our cities and the roads of our countryside.” This was an unexpected joy.

My wife got a hotel employee to get us to the airport. We were delivered to the right terminal, 2, but the wrong section. Fortunately, Charles De Gaulle Airport has a train system like the AirTrain to JFK.

Unlike the chaos at Delta at JFK, getting the boarding pass at Air France was simple and uncrowded. After checking through various checkpoints, we got to our gate quickly. We got some excellent airport food, which is not an oxymoron.

Our eight-hour flight – leaving at 19:30 Paris time and arriving at 21:45 NYC time, was mainly uneventful. However, I was surprised how far back the guy in front of me could push back his seat, further than anyone around him.

We deboarded the plane. I was trying my new Mobile Passport Control app, which I couldn’t send until I determined what terminal we were at. I don’t know if it helped or not. We got through two Customs checkpoints far faster than the debacle we experienced in 1999 after returning from Barbados.

One of the folks from my church choir had agreed to pick us up. Now the terminal at JFK WAS a zoo, but we found each other. Carol and I rode home in about 3.5 hours. Our daughter had waited up until 2 a.m. for us, which was very sweet.

Why I hate flying

Massive confusion

I hate flying. It’s not the part up in the air that bothers me. In fact, that’s generally a pleasant experience.

Here’s the beginning of the trip to France. We get a ride from a friend of ours to the Albany-Rensselaer train station, arriving at 10:30 for an 11:10 train to New York’s Penn Station.

The train leaves on time. I helped a young woman put her – god, that was heavy! – luggage in the overhead area. We used the Wi-Fi to check our email, and I wrote a bit.

We take the Long Island Railroad train to Jamaica, Queens. My daughter and I became experts in traveling the LIRR during her college visits. Buying the ticket at a kiosk is easy.

We’re to take the AirTrain to Terminal 4 at JFK Airport. This is a new experience for me. The one time I flew from Kennedy was as a connection between Albany and Barbados, so I’ve never had to get to that airport by land. It was pretty straightforward.

Alpha, beta, gamma…

When we get to Delta, though, it all falls apart.  Where should we go? We asked five representatives and got as many contradictory answers.

We were in one massive line for a time. Then an airline representative directed some of us down escalator stairs and a five-minute walk to ANOTHER place we could check in.  Good thing we had four hours before our flight.

It turned out we had more time than that. Our flight was delayed, first for one hour, then two, because of a window not sealed properly. Initially, they were going to fix it and repressurize the aircraft. Ultimately, they had to get another plane from a hangar. This is not a complaint, though being told we needed to go to three different ages was exhausting.

Finally, at 9:30 pm Eastern Daylight Time, we took off in one of those widebody vehicles that seat two, then three, then two across. We were in row 47 with lots of folks behind us.

The flight attendants spoke English, French, or both. Delta is affiliated with Air France. I watched two movies and one TV episode and got decent food. Considering it was seven hours, it was all good, although I never went to sleep as my wife did, using a light-blocking mask.

Landing at Charles DeGaulle Airport in  Roissy-en-France was a massive confusion. The line I  thought was to retrieve my luggage was to get my passport stamped. Regardless, it was long and chaotic. Occasionally, some staffers would say that if you have an American or a Canadian passport, you could go to a different line, but this was inconsistent.

Finally, we were sent to a shorter but hardly short line. The electronic scanners were down, and they were checking passports by hand. I got my passport stamped – my first on this document, which I procured in March 2022 – and I retrieved my suitcase at least an hour after getting off the plane.

We took a local train to the Luxembourg station in the Latin Quarter, walked to our first hotel, and dropped off our stuff about 24 hours after we left our house.  FINALLY, the adventure could begin.

Flying in America: it ain’t easy

There were more canceled flights originating from the Atlanta airport than any other airport in the WORLD

There were a couple stories about flying this month, one of which was very well-known, and the other which indirectly affected me personally.

Of course, the former air travel tale involved a video showing a man removed forcibly from United Airlines flight from Chicago to Louisville, and left battered and limp, after he boarded because United determined it needed a flight crew to be in Kentucky. He was, BTW, a doctor, 69, and Asian-American.

Oscar Munoz, the CEO of United, had recently been named PRWeek U.S.’s Communicator of the Year for 2017. But until he issued a stronger apology, calling the confrontation “truly horrific” and that “no one should ever be mistreated this way,” the responses from the airline were astonishingly tone deaf, using the word “re-accommodate” to describe the passenger’s removal.

Most interestingly, people used humor to define the situation more clearly.

“United! Putting the ‘hospital’ in hospitality!”

New photo of United Airlines asking for volunteers to deplane.

“United Airlines – No Inconvenience Too Large or Too Small!”

“United States contracts with United Airlines to oust Assad.” – from Michael Rivest. Assad, of course, is the Syrian dictator.

Jimmy Kimmel Creates A Brutally Honest New Commercial For United Airlines

“And he wasn’t even wearing leggings!” – a reference to some United passengers, who were related to employees and thus flying for free, recently not allowed to board because of their apparel.

There are more on Twitter.

United Breaks Guitars- Dave Carroll, a goodie from a few years back that was revived

It was also an informative time:

How airlines like United choose who to kick off a flight

The Deeper Scandal of That Brutal United Video: The footage is shocking. So is the law.

The United Story Isn’t About Customer Service. It’s About Class Warfare. “When corporations can openly beat their customers and deny them service, why would they even bother trying to be nice?”

United should have used the Asoh defense.

I found a couple apologists for the airline, suggesting that the overbooking happens all the time to keep prices down, which may be true. And yet it’s no excuse for the treatment the man received. Nor is the victim’s criminal record an issue.

The other flying problem involved Delta Airlines. There was severe weather in the Atlanta area on Wednesday, April 5. A good friend of my wife, Dee, was trying to fly to upstate New York the following Saturday with her husband and son, but their flight from Atlanta to Albany was first postponed then canceled. They tried a couple more flights – they actually had tickets for one leaving in FIVE MINUTES -but they were thwarted.

I checked the weather for ATL and it was clear, yet I hit on a website that indicated that there were more canceled flights originating from Hartsfield-Jackson than any other airport in the WORLD. The reason, I discovered, was the same as the United situation times dozens; flight crews were not where the planes were taking off, even three days after the bad weather.

Eventually, our friends did fly into Newburgh, just north of New York City. They drove up to Catskill, we drove down to Catskill, and we all had a lovely meal together.

United decided to deplane a customer, by force. Delta, with a larger issue, canceled flights. Airlines are having real difficulty flying in the US this month.

Angry people: airline seats, nudies in the Cloud, tobaccoless CVS

The Puritanical “outrage” over nude pictures in the Cloud left me shaking my head.

disk_discs_compact_It’s 4:40 a.m., and if I were an independently wealthy/retired, there are any number of recent topics I might write about. But I’m not. So some scattershot thoughts before they go totally cold.

Reclining seats on planes

I’ve long hated airline travel; it’s a flying bus. The recent spate of fights over someone trying to recline his/her seat, and was inhibited by the person behind, have gotten so bad that three flights were diverted in ten days. This is inevitable, given the fact that the space between seats is getting smaller as the passengers, collectively, are getting larger. Of course, this totally screws up not only the lives of the passengers on those flights but those on connecting flights as well.

Mark Evanier reminded me that airline passengers’ occasional schmuckiness is not just a recent occurrence.

Physical music

Part of the reason I’m strapped for time, actually, is that I switched around three pieces of furniture that hold my CDs. One extremely heavy piece moved, two others replaced, which meant reorganizing almost every disc I own. I am reminded that Jaquandor recently noted that he hadn’t purchased a physical CD in four years, and Alan David Doane said the other day that he listened to an album all the way through for the first time in a long time. Whereas I, obviously an old person, listen to albums, all the way through, all the time, and purchased, or was given, maybe two dozen CDs in the past four years. Yes, I know they may deteriorate over time. Did I mention my vinyl collection?

The moving of these CDs actually made me nostalgic. When I was a new blogger eight or so years ago, Lefty Brown and some of his online cohorts (Greg Burgas and Mike Sterling and Eddie Mitchell and Gordon Dymowski, among others) put together a mixed CD exchange; those discs now have their own section in the new furniture.

There’s some comedy routine that ends with “no one understands the Cloud.” And while technically untrue, I sometimes feel that way. I’ve never been all that comfortable having my music there, and good thing; the stuff I used to have on Amazon seems to have disappeared.

Nude photos in The Cloud

And speaking of the Cloud, intellectual property lawyer/drummer Paul Rapp explains the misrepresentations about pix of Jennifer Lawrence, et al being accessed. I discovered amazingly heated conversations about this topic.

My feeling is that the hackers were – I already used schmucks this post – twerps. Others criticized the (mostly) actresses who stored the pictures and fall into a couple of subcategories: those who thought it was not safe to rely on the Cloud to keep nude photos, and those who wanted to slut-shame those who HAD nude photos of themselves. I sort of understand the former – though this should have known better talk irritated me. But the Puritanical “outrage” left me shaking my head.

As usual, Dustbury has an interesting take on the issue.

CVS bans tobacco

A month earlier than previously announced, the pharmacy CVS decided to ban the sales of cigarettes. The reaction by some baffled me “I don’t smoke, but I think it’s ridiculous. We can’t legislate everything.” Well, no, it’s not being legislated, it’s a business decision, which, in the short term will cost the company millions of dollars in sales.

The major complaint is that they aren’t banning cookies and chips and candy, which can also be bad for you. Sure, but in moderation, it won’t give one diabetes and heart disease, while cigarettes can kill even second-hand smokers. Much of the thread seem to scream about a loss of “freedom”, as though Walgreens and the corner store and thousands of other venues have begun banning them as well.

Gillibrand redux

I’ve mentioned the less-than-tasteful comments made by members of the US Congress toward Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). There are shrill calls saying she should be naming names. I don’t. 1) She’s made her point and 2) she still has to work with these guys, and even if they weren’t always using Senate decorum doesn’t mean that she should abandon same.
Evanier pretty much nailed my feelings about Joan Rivers. Before she got nasty and spent too much time doing whatever schtick she did with her daughter, she was quite funny. The term pioneer is applicable.

Flying v. reading minds; talking about racism; baseball

My daughter has developed a pretty good sense about HISTORICAL racism.

Chris from Off the Shore of Orion starts off the Ask Roger Anything jamboree with:

You can only have one of these three powers: infinite strength, the ability to fly, or the ability to read minds.

Which one would you pick, why, and what would you use it for?

I decided to deconstruct this. How often have I said, “Boy, do I wish I were stronger so I can do X?” Not that often, in the grander scheme of things. Maybe during my many moves, but many hands make light work. Besides, I’d probably end up schlepping stuff for others far too often

I’ve wanted to fly since I was a child, had flying dreams and everything. It would save time, and time is a finite, not a fungible, commodity. Thought that would be it.

However, the idea of the ability to read minds was too intriguing to pass up. How often have I wondered, “What did he REALLY mean when he said that?” or “What does she REALLY want?” I can imagine trying to finally broker peace in the Middle East by knowing what the REAL bottom line is on each side! It would also come in handy when dealing with my daughter, who is not always as forthcoming about her feelings as she might be.

Then I wondered about how obtrusive it would be, to hear everyone’s thoughts, to hear the truth behind all of those white lies. Would I be able to turn OFF the noise of everyone’s mundane or petty thoughts? It’d be kind of spooky – violation of privacy and all that.

So I believe I would fly.

What would I do with the ability? Depends on the particulars: how fast could I go? If it’s hovercraft speed, then it’d just be a time saver. If I could go fast enough, I’d be inclined to visit my sisters in California and North Carolina, maybe travel to places around the world I have never seen. Hey, do I have temperature-resistant garb, or in the alternative, will the wind chill not affect me? THAT would DEFINITELY be a factor!
Tom the Mayor, who I know from the Albany YMCA and FantaCo wondered: Have you ever had a talk with Lydia about racism? It is a tough subject for a parent to talk with their children about.
To which Lisa from peripheral perceptions added: I think your answer to Thomas’ question would be very interesting. Count me in on that one.

I don’t think you have a talk with kids about racism, any more than you would have a talk about sex. You look for opportunities to point out situations where racism exists, even today – shocking, I know, but they do present themselves – and discuss what might be the motivating factors.

Now, my daughter has developed a pretty good sense of HISTORICAL racism. She came home from school one day and asked if she would have been a slave; I had to articulate that not all black people in the US were slaves and that different states had different laws. She’s amazingly well-versed in the Negro Leagues of baseball.

In some ways, racism these days is harder to explain compared with what it used to be like. Colored-only water fountains and the back of the bus are simpler to describe than banks redlining districts so no blacks can move into a given community, or Driving While Black.

Sidebar: we have been fortunate that she has gotten to go to preschool and elementary school with a wide range of types of people.
Scott, who seems to have unfortunately given up blogging for the nonce, asks a time-sensitive question:

(As always ask in the spring) Who do you think will win the World Series this year, and who will they beat?

In the AL West, the whatever-the-geography-is Angels over the Oakland As. In the AL Central, Detroit going away, though KC could be a distant second. In the AL East, Toronto over Baltimore. In the NL West, the LA Dodgers over SF Giants. In the NL Central Cincinnati Reds over the St. Louis Cardinals. In the NL East, the Braves will come in second.

I’m seeing an all-Canada WS. Toronto Blue Jays over the Montreal Expos.

What, you say Montreal moved? Several seasons ago? OK, Toronto over the FORMER Expos, the Washington Nationals.
My buddy Charles O wrote on Facebook: If time flies like the wind, do fruit flys like the fruit?

I want to fly like an eagle.

My annoying friend Broome, who I’ve known personally for over 30 years, wrote on Facebook: “You DO realize what a dangerous position you have just placed yourself, don’t you? Hmmm let me think……. “.

To which I wrote something about getting out of my comfort zone.

Then a short time later: “When did you stop beating your wife?”

May 31, 1952. Not a random date on my part, BTW.

Have more questions to answer, including for Scott. Still taking questions, too, and answering them, as well; but note: GIGO.

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