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May 27, 2024

Quibbles & Bits: Of Dogs, Lobsters and Legacies

We aim for timely, not timeless

By Ed Goldman

WHO’S A GOOD FREQUENT FLYER?—Proving they love their dogs as much as they disdain dentistry, the Brits last week announced the maiden flight of Bark Air, a company that places the comfort of four-legged creatures above that of cramped two-legged ones.

Actually, according to CBS News the airline Bark Air is “the second air travel service to market itself as catering to pets before human passengers, recognizing how stressful and uncomfortable commercial air travel can be for animals. United Kingdom-based public charter operator K9 jets also lets passengers’ pets travel next to them in the aircraft cabin, versus in crates in commercial aircraft cargo holds.”

Edgy Cartoon

Cur-tesy check-in

As someone who usually prefers animals to humans—unless I’m stuck on a crossword puzzle answer or require major surgery—I applaud both airlines for recognizing that most dogs are better behaved on a flight than most people are. They do tend to be a little more spontaneous, however. Had a herding dog been on that Boeing jet that lost its door, I’m afraid he would have chased after it.

I think this new service will also be a plus for flight attendants. Dogs aren’t given to complaining about legroom, beverages, snacks or headphones. They don’t really care if the oaf sitting in front of them pushes his seat back to NASA launch position or if they’ve already seen the inflight movie.

They’ll flirt with the staff no matter what their weight or sexual orientation is. And at the baggage carousel after the flight, you can bet they’ll be able to find your suitcase—especially if you’d thought to pack a Milk Bone or pimento-loaf sandwich before closing the lid.

OVER-PRAWN ACCOUNT—No, it wasn’t the late midget film star Billy Barty who brought down the Red Lobster Chain. When news reports kept blaming “the endless shrimp” for the franchise’s demise I naturally assumed they were referring to the timeless little actor who all but stole the movie version of “The Day of the Locust” from his co-stars in 1975.

But no. It was an ad campaign—the true definition of a “loss leader”—that brought down the fast-food purveyor of the fabled bottom-feeding crustacean. Red Lobster ran a lengthy all-you-can-eat shrimp promotion and found, to its shock, disgust and bankruptcy that some people could eat as many as 64 shrimp in one sitting. There really is a point in marketing blitzes of this sort where the adult in the room has to say, “That’s all you can eat.”

INHERIT THE WINDBAG—A bill making its way through the California Legislature would ban legacy admissions to private and public colleges. There go my post-graduate re-entry plans for this Fall.

Candor dictates I assure you I actually had no intention of returning to college this Fall or next Fall. Or any Fall, for that matter. What about Spring? you ask. Dream on. Night school? Go back to bed.

Candor further dictates I confess to having no legacy rights to enter (or re-enter) any college or university since my parents didn’t graduate from any. So what have we learned? Candor can be a pretty cruel dictator. It ought to rename itself Adolph, Idi or Benito. 

When I was studying journalism at Long Beach State University—wait. I was never caught actually studying. I was already working as a reporter so I just kind of showed up at journalism classes for two years and got ill for at least three final exams. But the college had a connection with the newspaper so it slid me along to graduation. I believe I had the lowest grade point average of anyone who ever graduated “cum laude.” If my diploma had said I left “dumb, loudly,” that would have been more intellectually honest. And I’d have been a good boy.

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Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).