US Air Flight 1549

As a child I was deathly afraid of airplanes. I mean, screaming, yanking, get-me-out-of-here afraid to even get on one. Then I moved to a part of New York City right in the landing pattern of JFK airport, and after seeing plane after plane — 1,000 feet up and at times once every thirty seconds, I decided to get over my fear by learning all I could about them.

That led to my morbid hobby — plane crashes. What was it that caused an airliner to fall out of the sky? I’ve read books, researched cases and found Web sites of interest. Now, I love to fly (which helped me when I was at AOL and taking two flights a week from NY to VA).

The above (poorly recorded, I know) video is of a site that tracks air traffic in real-time (Google “Passur” or “Airport Monitor 2.0”). I found US Air flight 1549 and recorded it’s track above — all 4 minutes of its flight before it crash-landed in the Hudson River today at 3:30 PM ET — a mere six blocks west of the building where I work.

And in case you were wondering, I’d go on a flight today if I could, confident that it is indeed (and statistically proven to be) the safest way to travel. After all, what are the odds of this happening again so quickly?

The Emmys, or Patting Themselves On the Back

Catching up after falling behind (wish I had a $1 for every blogger that started an entry with words to that effect), the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (what an intellectually sounding name for something that produces mostly dreck), held its 60th Primetime Emmy Awards a couple of weeks ago. I just want to comment on two things.

First, under the category of “the right things get done for the wrong reasons,” ‘Mad Men’ became the first basic cable show to win Best Drama — and well deserved, indeed. Of course, the writer’s strike led to less network product, which led to less viewership, less episodes, less to enter in the Emmy race. But, the winner was ultimately, the best of the bunch. As was ’30 Rock’ for Best Comedy, and the acting of Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin for comedy; Brian Cranston and Glenn Close for drama. All deserving winners.

Second, why all the fuss about winning an Emmy? Doesn’t everybody have one?

Emmy and Me

Emmy and Me

Opening Ceremonies, Open Wounds

You gotta hand it to the Chinese. When it comes to spectacle, they’re the best in the world.

The Games of the XXIX Olympiad opened at 08:08:08 on 08/08/08 (did I mention that the number 8 is considered to be lucky in Asian cultures?) and it was the most interesting and visually stimulating opening ceremonies ever.

I can still see the 2,008 drummers all moving, yelling and striking their drums with the precision of a synchronized swim team. It was stirring entertainment.

And yes, you can fault the Chinese government for their controlling policies, their human rights deficiencies, and their virtual strangulation of Tibet.

But sometimes you’ve even got to give the devil its due for staging a spectacle that should have the organizers of the 2010 Winter  Olympics in Vancouver wondering what they can do for an encore.

Take my advice, Canucks, don’t even try. Go the complete opposite way — Neil Young, solo, on acoustic guitar.

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