Tag: Los Angeles

Hey TSA, Let’s Ban CornNuts

I can remember flying from Auckland, New Zealand, to Los Angeles in the smoking section of the airplane. Yes, Virginia, people used to smoke on airplanes. At that time, the entire world was filled with Don Drapers, lighting up wherever and

Don Draper

Don Draper (Photo credit: Christina Saint Marche)

whenever they wanted. If you didn’t smoke that was okay, you just had to learn to smoke the second-hand way.  The flight was a twelve hours long and when the plane landed at LAX I smelled like I had spent the night at the Whiskey A Go-Go. I am not a smoker and breathing someone else’s smoke does annoy me, but it was not the worst assault on my personal space while on an airplane.

A few years back I was on a flight from Seattle to Reykjavík. The airline, who shall remain nameless, (IcelandicAir) is one of those budget numbers where nothing on the flight is free except water and air. (They do not charge to use the bathroom, but I expect that has been discussed at shareholder meetings.) On flights like this people who are even more frugal than me bring their own snack items onboard. Generally this is not a problem because most people have the good sense to bring things like candy bars and little sandwiches purchased at the airport. I don’t bring snacks. Once the plane is off the ground I throw caution to the wind and pay 10 times too much for food of questionable quality. As I recall, I had ordered a chicken curry wrap and was busy munching away when I smelled something so offensive that my nose burned: CornNuts. If you have never smelled CornNuts before then you are a lucky person, because CornNuts stink. For those of you who have not been assaulted by CornNut smell imagine being placed in a coffin, covered from head to toe in corn chips, and then buried alive for a month; that is what CornNuts smell like.

The odor of CornNuts must have some interesting chemical properties because it is the one odor that never goes away. Your nose does not adjust to the smell, your poor brain cannot delete the smell from your olfactory senses and the stink of CornNuts  only gets worse as the mouth-breathing idiot who opened the bag in the first place is now chomping away like a dog eating peanut butter.

CornNuts brand Corn nuts product samples. 3 fl...

CornNuts brand Corn nuts product samples. 3 flavors L-R: Original, Barbeque, and Ranch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The flight from Seattle to Reykjavík is eight hours. I had the pleasure of smelling those CornNuts for 7:45 hours of the flight. Had I been able to pinpoint the moron eating the CornNuts we might have had an “international incident” and I then would be writing this blog from some jail in Nova Scotia.

I am not saying that CornNuts are not a tasty treat, they are just a treat that must be enjoyed away from the general public. If you want to eat CornNuts knock yourself out, just do it outside and at least 20 feet from the entrance of a building, preferably in the rain. Anyone who choses to eat CornNuts must also brush their teeth and gargle for five minutes before being allowed back inside the building. If you wish to eat CornNuts on an international flight, you must do so while sitting on the wing of the plane. That means you will not be permitted inside the plane at all, bring a jacket because I hear it is cold out there.

Ideally the TSA would ban the use of CornNuts in airports, airplanes, airport shuttles, elevators in airports, and anywhere within 500 miles of an airport. Violators would be subject to working in a CornNut plant without a mask for a month. If they survive that they can return to civilized society only if they promise never to eat CornNuts again.

My Favorite Places: The Getty

English: The inner courtyard of the Getty muse...

I am a museum nerd. I like a nice beach as much as the next guy, but when it gets right down to it, I like a good museum a bit better. Museums don’t get sand in your butt crack, don’t insist that you reveal your pathetic body, and people rarely get sunburned while at a museum. I realize this makes me sound like I don’t like beaches, but I do and as I write about my favorite places I will include a couple beaches along the way, but not today. Today I am writing about my favorite place in LA: The Getty Museum.

LA has a few world-class museums. Yeah, that’s right, LA. The center of all things superficial and tanned has great museums. My favorite sits on top of a hillside (they would call it a mountain on the East Coast) overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the 405 freeway. It could not be more perfectly placed. It sits between everything that is wrong with LA: Traffic, cars, people, road-rage; and everything that is right about the city: the chunks of land that have not been turned into Trader Joe’s parking lots.

Getting to the Getty is a royal pain. The 405 is by far the worst freeway I have ever driven on. Instead of using the old adage “when pigs fly” people should say, “When the 405 isn’t jammed with cars traveling 20 miles per hour.” It is a horrible, horrible, horrible freeway. If you want to avoid the traffic leave around three in the morning and you should have smooth sailing, but if you insist on non-vampire hours, be prepared to get stuck in traffic.

Once arriving at the Getty there is a charge to park, but the museum itself is free. There is a large parking garage and elevators take visitors up to a tram station where they catch a ride to the museum. The ride to the top is tranquil and slow. There is no annoying Muzak on the ride to distract; it is just quiet.

The tram drops everyone off near a large courtyard and it is your job to figure out what to do next. There are the gardens, there is the art collection, there are some fantastic views of the Pacific, there is a café, and there are the courtyards made of white marble. I like to start out wandering through the gardens to get myself calmed down from the drive. The gardens are wonderful and relaxing, unless you bring your sister who is some kind of international seed stealing thief (these are personal problems that most people will not encounter.)

Then I like to check out the art collection. Mr. Getty had some cash, so he has some pretty good stuff. I am partial to the Impressionist room but so is everybody else, so getting a good long look at Van Gogh’s Irises is unlikely. There is always some couple standing in the way for far too long. There should be a five-minute maximum when standing in front of a painting. If you want to stand there longer you are a pretentious ass. Buy a poster and look at it each morning before putting your glasses on.

After the art collections, I like to find a back door and go outside. There are not very many people who find the balconies to the south of the museum, but open enough doors and you will eventually find yourself looking out over the Pacific.

For first time visitors I would suggest a three-hour visit. There are things for families to do together and enough distractions to keep even the most ADHD kids busy.

So if you are in LA and you need a break from all the chaos and noise that is LA find the Getty. It is one of my favorite places in the world.

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