Catfurpolitan (Catfinition): Any drink with feline fur garnishing it.


Ford Venti Super Duty Pickup

Saw my first Ford F-550 Venti Super Duty pickup yesterday. I was behind it in Medford traffic.

That traffic reminded me of the SF Bay area traffic. Thirty minutes to go two miles. Impressive. No sign of what caused the back up. It’s another mystery.

The Venti was yuuuge. Gray with chrome bumpers, the tail gate seemed as big as my SUV. Hell, it’s VENTI lettering on its tailgate was as tall as my windshield.

I remember reading that the Venti rode on special twenty-nine inch wheels, with equally special tires. Passing it later, I received a clearer idea of just how large this vehicle is. It took several seconds of motoring to clear its length. Once I got clear of it, I was surprised that it was still daylight. Sitting behind the Venti, I didn’t see the sun. It was like a Venti eclipse.

The Venti seats eight. That gives you an idea of its size. With an interior of its size, I figure it’s the perfect vehicle for self-driving, because they could convert that interior into a truck cave. Mount a sixty-five inch curved HD television, a small refrigerator, and some recliners to help pass the miles, and it’s like you never left home. It could be the almost perfect mobile office.

I’d feel safer if the Venti was self-driving, or “auto-drive.” Come on, it’s pretty amusing to call a truck an auto-drive. I’d feel safer because the person driving this behemoth seemed like a wizened elf. With all that interior room, they had the seat pulled forward so that their forehead was almost resting on the steering wheel. I don’t think they could reach the gas pedal. That might explain why they were going twenty-five in a forty-five zone. Once I passed them, there was nothing ahead of them.

Those sort of reasons are encouraging me to add one of the periscope options on my next vehicle. I was against them on principle initially. Now I see that those car periscopes can have some value. When you’re following a gigantic vehicle like the Ford Venti, you need something to raise to see ahead of it.

Starbucks is giving every new Venti owner a gift card worth one hundred dollars at most participating Starbucks. I have to admit, Ford’s marketing campaign with Starbucks over the Venti almost enticed me into plunking down the seventy grand for that vehicle. Checking that gas mileage – thirteen on the highway, seven in the city for a combined ten – stopped me.

It’s amazing that the gas mileage is so poor, even though it’s a hybrid.


Today’s Theme Music

I lifted this one off of my little sister’s FB post. It’s another that I enjoy, and I think it’s perfect to summarize me and my life approach:

Do you have the time?
To listen to me whine
About nothin’ and
Everything all at once

I am one of those
Melodramatic fools
Neurotic to the bone
No doubt about it

Sometimes I give
Myself the creeps
Sometimes my mind
Plays tricks on me

It all keeps addin’ up
I think I’m crackin’ up
And am I just paranoid?
Am I just stoned?

h/t to

I don’t get stoned, just buzzed on beer, wine, and coffee, sometimes simultaneously.

“Basket Case” by Green Day came out in nineteen ninety-four, the year before I retired from the Air Force. I instantly took to those lyrics, driving others crazy as I wandered around singing them. But you only live once, according to our current data set, so sing when you can. That’s my philosophy.


Another Fine United Airlines Experience

Okay, yes, I know we swore we would never fly United again.

It’s rare that something goes correctly when traveling with United during the past several years. It’s usually a shuffle of planes, gates, and information that prompts us to wistfully comment, “Remember when flying used to be fun?”

But the prices and flight option mirages seduce us as it always does. United claims to have wonderful flights and prices. Their prices are several hundred dollars below the other airlines. So, wincing, we think…should we trust them?

It’s like being in a bad relationship. The other swears to change. You want to believe. You take them back, and they go out and do the same damn heart-breaking things as before.

You learn, again, you can’t trust them.

On this episode of United Horror, my wife was traveling alone. The travel east, from Medford, Oregon, to Charleston, WV, went almost perfectly. Everyone was so nice, she said. This was, of course, because United had encountered another P.R. moment when a woman was forced to hold her baby for the entire flight after she’d bought a ticket for the child.

Service and pleasantness declined a little in Chicago. “Maybe they didn’t get the memo,” she said, but it was nothing major.

Now we’re set up for the return. Her first leg on her way home, to Chicago, went fine. It fell to pieces in Chicago. In line to board, the passengers were told there was a delay. Mechanical problem. The delay was for several hours; it meant my wife would miss her next leg.

She headed to customer service. Nothing can be done, she was told.

What about flights on other airlines?


What about going to Portland instead, and then catching a flight to Medford?

They would get her to Portland, but she was on her own after that, and good luck.

Well, that would leave her almost three hundred miles from her destination.

Yep, true. Good luck with that.

Well, mechanic issues happen. Food vouchers were given. She bought a vegetarian sandwich in the airport. How was the sandwich? “Well, there were vegetables.”

She was scheduled to arrive in Medford by quarter to one in the morning. Instead, she arrived in San Francisco at two in the morning. “You’re booked on the same flight as before, but delayed twenty-four hours,” the customer service supervisor told her. Instead of arriving at Medford at a quarter to one Friday morning, she’d be arriving at quarter to one on Saturday morning. “We also have put you on stand-by for an earlier flight, but the flights are full. We’re going to put you up for two nights in a hotel. Wait right here, and we’ll take care of you.”

Then they left.

Almost an hour later, my wife wandered through the SFO terminal in search of United help. Customer service was full of sleeping passengers, but no workers. Have you ever been in these terminals at three in the morning? Cleaning crews circulate while stranded passengers sprawl out or desperately occupy themselves.

Finding a customer service hotline, she called for assistance. “Just go to customer service,” she was told.

“That’s where I was. There’s no one there except sleeping passengers.”

“Well then, I don’t know what you can do,” the helpful agent replied.

Bravely continuing on her quest, my wife circulated around the United gates and customer service areas until she spied United employee. Flagging her down, she explained what had happened. To her credit, this woman took care of her.

My wife arrived at her Comfort Suites room at four in the morning.

While my wife was enduring her flying fun, another woman was furious with United for keeping her baby in an overheated aircraft for two hours.

I offered to drive down to San Francisco and pick my wife up. It’s only a four and a half hour drive, in theory. Weekend traffic and construction would probably extend that travel time. She declined. She’ll be patient and wait, not because she trusts United, but because it’s all set in motion.

An eclipse is happening on August twenty-first. Oregon is considered prime viewing territory, so we’re bracing ourselves. Hotel prices have climbed. People are renting out houses, rooms, and their yards, with bathroom privileges. These sort of total eclipses don’t happen that often. People want to be part of the scene.

Hertz has already confirmed that they’ve overbooked, and have a problem, and have begun canceling reservations. United, of course, will overbook. That’s their motto: “We overbook.” There’s a damn good chance in my mind that if you’re flying via United, you’ll end up arriving a few hours after the eclipse.

Oh, the stories people will tell.



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