Sunday, February 21, 2010

Catch the Spirit!

By: Marc Warzecha

There's a regional airline called "Spirit" that I hope you never have a chance to fly.

Spirit puts the low in low-budget.

The tickets are cheap, and service is lousy. The seats are horribly small and uncomfortable, the planes are overcrowded.

The employees are miserable.

Sort of like the gamblers in Downtown Vegas who are no longer allowed in the nice casinos on the Strip, some ugly shit had to go down in the careers of these flight attendants for them to even be working this evil little airline. They know this. And they are taking it out on you.

One time, years ago, some co-workers and I were booked by our company to fly the red-eye from LAX to Detroit Metro. (Spirit flys this route round-trip, once daily.) When we arrived at the gate, we were told that there was a five hour delay, meaning we'd be sitting in LAX until 5:30am before we even boarded. Upon asking why, the Customer Service Representative simply told us that the Spirit flight was delayed in Detroit because the "plane was broken."

That's what she really said. The plane was broken. But now it's okay or whatever, and they are on their way to pick us up. In that plane. The one that had been, you know, "broken" just a minute ago.

I used to know a guy that owned a comedy club in Michigan. He was a wacky guy, and not the sort that I would trust my wallet with. He claimed to be a part time pilot, but I never believed him.

Until the time I got on a Spirit airlines flight back home for Christmas and that goofy motherfucker was flying the plane.

Catch the Spirit! (That's their exciting slogan.)

People ofter complain about the low-budgetness of Southwest Airlines. But after catching the Spirit just once, anyone who has ever hated on SWA will fall to their knees and be thankful for those non-seat assigning, khaki wearing, comedy flight attendant having, low-budget-Gods-of-the-sky.

Anyway, Spirit was in the news last week because some guy claimed that Spirit threw him and his family - including his pregnant wife - off a flight because they asked for water. Even though that doesn't seem like sufficient reason any airline to eject anyone, the brain-dead media ran with it as if it made sense.

This naturally prompted Spirit to release a response, and explain what really happened. No bits, this is from their real press release:

-Spirit did not deny water to anyone. Beverages were offered for purchase just as we do on all of our flights.

-The real story is that Dr. Roslin was escorted off the flight for violating federal law for interfering with a flight crew.

-He was causing a disturbance and attempted to incite other passengers to the point that another passenger started to cry in fear as a result of his behavior.

-He made verbal references to terrorism.

-His continued disturbance caused further delays to the flight.

-His escalating behavior was a safety risk to the crew and other passengers.

-His son kicked a Spirit employee in the groin.

-He had to be removed from the aircraft by law enforcement.
And so I say thank you, Dr. Roslin. You and your Spirit ball-kicking kid.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Undercover Armenian

By: Marc Warzecha

In case you don't already know me, this is what I pretty much look like:

That's from my last round of headshots, which are supposed to look natural and be a honest representation of yourself. And yes, I often hang out in front of LA's one newsstand and lean against a parking meter.

Point is, I look like a white guy. Just a normal, regular, midwest white guy.

But I'm not.

I'm an Armenian.

Forreals. See, my Mom is 100% Armenian, which makes me 50% Armenian. But since I've got my Dad's Polish looks and last name, no one ever suspects it. (Although the big-ass nose oughta be a clue.) I am an Undercover Armenian. And growing up in Michigan, it wasn't much of an issue.

No one knows what Armenian is in Michigan, as there are virtually none of us there. If fact, my family used to joke about being "Romanian" since that's what Michiganders always thought we were saying. (This was similar to the old joke we'd have at Second City - Detroit. When we told people our place of employment they'd often say, "Circuit City?" With that kind of market penetration it's a hard to imagine why SC-Detroit closed. Twice.) So it would go like this:

"What nationality are you?"



"No. Armenian."



"What is that?"

I never figured out how to answer the "what is that?" part. What is that? If you happen to be Italian, and someone said to you, "what is that?", how would you answer?

Familiarity with Armenians, however, is the least of my problems in Southwest California. You fuckers out here know exactly what Armenian is...and you hate us. I know this because I am an Undercover Armenian.

You say stuff like, "I just moved into a new building. It looked really nice at first, but as soon as I moved in I found out its full of Armenians."

And the people around you say, "Oh that's sucks, man. Sorry to hear that."

I know that you say these things because I'm standing right next to you. You're saying them to me. And this sort of thing happens often.

And I know, I know, we bring a lot of it upon ourselves. Armenians are an insulated, tribal group that are distrustful of outsiders. We even have a word, Odar, which Armenians will tell you means "non-Armenian." But if we're gonna keep it real, it kinda means "evil outsider."

But look, you can't survive as a people for thousands of years (Armenians are one of the few peoples mentioned in the Old Testament that are still around) in lands that are not your own without a strong tribal instinct. That, plus that little matter of 1.5 million killed in the Armenian genocide add up to some well-earned insulation.

Anyway, its weird to become a minority at 30 years old. Its weird to hear racist comments from people you've known for 15 years. It's weird to be an Undercover Armenian.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Old-ass Larry King

By: Marc Warzecha

One day I'll be old, and when I'm old, I hope I'm cool.

Last week, Larry King dedicated an entire hour of his show to the new highest grossing movie of all-time, Avatar.

He had on James Cameron and a bunch of the actors, including Steven Lang, who I gather plays the bad-guy-Marine-type-dude (I haven't seen the movie yet, as I have a non-conformist streak and don't really appreciate the way society is shoving this thing down my throat, okay? Plus to sit through any movie for 3-hours requires planning and the right mood. But the Pandora World or whatever it is does look cool, and the woman who played Uhura in Star Trek is hot, even when she's covered in cartoon. All right, I'll see it tonight.)

Anyway, Larry tells us that Steven Lang got to play the Jack Nicholson role in "A Few Good Men" on Broadway.

Then this happens. In fact, here's the transcript from CNN. com:

KING: Do you remember the movie, "A Few Good Men," where Jack Nicholson played that incredible part?

Well, Stephen Lang did it on Broadway and he was incredible with that -- that great line, right, you wouldn't know the truth?

LANG: You can't handle the truth.

KING: Yes!

That's right, old-ass Larry quoted it as "you wouldn't know the truth." Hilarious. He sold the shit out of it, too. He gets better. (Or worse.) Later, they showed a clip of the movie where some of the characters are flying around in a helicopter type vehicle.

Anyone who's lived on the earth for even just a few years would know that this vehicle doesn't exist in the real world, it is a fantasy movie creation. In fact, here it is:

After seeing this, Larry asked:

KING: What was it like to go flying around like that?

Larry King, you see, thinks they were REALLY FLYING AROUND IN THAT THING! And...that his viewers would like to hear about that experience, so he's asking a good question.

One day I'll be old, and when I'm old, I hope I'm cool.

You know, like Larry King.