John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Travel Travails

1000054_10152968894735515_1628631122_nIf lottery tickets were plane seats and if being seated in the farthest row back (where there is no recline and you are positioned as a “greeter” for passengers needing the lavatory) and your seat is also in the far corner of the farthest back row.

And if you ended up in that exact seat the last three flights in a row you have been on…..

Well….it would be an awfully rare and potentially valuable lottery ticket .


Travel tips for visiting NYC.

If you are meeting three male friends who are highly educated and they ask you to meet at MOMA at 5:30pm, you may have troubles if you assume too much.

I assumed that since it was 5:30 they wanted to eat dinner, albeit a bit early.

I further assumed, rather excitedly, that my friends had suggested an Italian restaurant. Pronounced MO-MA. Like Italian, I assumed, for MAMA.

I imagined big homemade meatballs from an Italian family recipe.

Then there is the problem of asking cab drivers to take you, please, to “Moma’s restaurant.” The first taxi driver pulled away without letting me in. I assumed he thought it was only a few blocks away and wanted a bigger fare.

Finally, when my exasperated taxi driver gave up on finding a Moma’s restaurant, he dropped me off at The 21 Club. I asked the kind doorman if there was a “Moma’s restaurant” nearby and apologized for not going to 21 Club. He politely told me one block over. Finally!!

And there I saw my three friends…although running a little late and by this time quite hungry. We were outside MOMA’s–which seemed to be more than just a restaurant (in fact it was big and long and seemed to include works of art as well). “Nice!” I thought to myself.

I asked someone working beside the entrance where the restaurant was. He laughed and said, “Restaurant?! This is the Museum of Modern Art! There’s no restaurant!!” And laughed again.

I alerted my friends they had mistakenly chosen an art museum that lacked a restaurant.

The friend who suggested MOMA’s said, “Oh, I’m not hungry.”

And it was about this time that I put two and two—really more like one and one–together.

We weren’t going to an Italian restaurant with homemade meatballs like I told my wife.

We were going to the Museum of Modern Art. Which didn’t even have a concession stand.


jyb_musingsAirlines should have a SkyMiles-like program for members that rewards them with a free round-trip ticket anywhere in the US every time you miss three flights.

And a free round-trip ticket anywhere internationally if you miss the three flights within a 2 month period of time.

I’m not suggesting rewarding irresponsibility but rather persistence.


Is there a silver lining to getting re-routed from St Louis, MO airport and instead landing in Kansas City, Mo?

For three of the connecting cities for passengers on my flight it actually works out better for them flying from Kansas City, MO. They deplane and are placed on new and better connecting flight home. Pretty cool and a nice silver lining.

For the remaining passengers with connecting flights, we are flying back to St Louis airport and for eight of the connecting cities, passengers on this flight will still make their connections. Pretty cool. And a nice silver lining.

For passengers flying to Louisville and Baltimore, we have no connection that works for us in Kansas City, MO and we will miss our connection tonight by the time we arrive in St. Louis.

But…if you are from Louisville, KY at least you are not from Baltimore. MD. And that’s pretty cool. And a nice silver lining. And remember, after the merger in 2003 Louisville became the 16th largest city in the US (edging out, you guessed it…. The city with airline passengers who have really lousy luck, Baltimore, MD).

As for passengers from Baltimore, MD on this flight, maybe you’ll find a silver lining next time your flight gets re-routed. And take heart. You are still a larger city than Kansas City, MO. And will be leaving here for St Louis shortly.


Updating metaphors.In a discussion last week with a top manager he kept referring to “carrots” and “sticks” and how he needed both with his employees to achieve the results his company was pursuing.

I wanted to tell him “Carrots are OK but some employees might want something else instead — like a raise, or flex-time, more involvement in the project and better communication. Or maybe celery or edamame.

Things have changed a lot since the “carrot and stick” metaphor was invented and there are more appealing options and attention-getting threats.

Sticks can still be effective but so can shaming, alienating, lateral transfers, and bad progress reports. Or tasers. Caning can get attention much better than just an ordinary stick. Ask anyone in the advanced economy of Singapore.

Maybe we should update the “carrot and sticks” metaphor by changing it to “Edamame and Caning.” It seems to be a more appropriate and modern version of an exhausted and outdated business metaphor.

Just an idea. From 10,000 feet in the air with nothing to do except offer random and silly thoughts while waiting to get through turbulence that makes it hard to concentrate on anything serious and calls for something silly to distract myself from a bumpy plane ride.


One if the many reasons I love Louisvlle.

Leaving Kansas City this morning to go home to a city that is more secure about itself, Louisville. A city that others already know is a city and doesn’t have to include the word “city” in its name for fear it will be confused with a state.

Louisville rolls like that.


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