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Buster's rants

Listed below are some things I just had to get off my chest. The Germany post is another rant of sorts.

1. Airline Etiquette.

Airline travel means being stuck on an aluminium tube for several hours with complete strangers. Don't make this into a chore, adhere to the following rules of decent social behaviour when flying:

1. Your seat is the thing you are sitting on. The seatback in front of you belongs exclusively to the person in front of you. You have absolutely no rights to this seat except the single exceptions of borrowing two features - the seat tray and the seat pocket. Remember when using these that you are using them on loan, so don't use either unnecessarily; treat both with kid gloves. Remember that the rest of the seat in front of you, you have absolutely no rights to. Don't use it to lift yourself off your seat (that's one use for your arm rests, or your seatback). Don't lean on it to lower yourself into your seat (gravity is your friend!). Don't use them as stabilisers whilst you cruise the aisle. And don't lean on it when standing in the aisle to talk to someone. Similarly, your knees have absolutely zero rights to even touch the seat in front of you. If I wanted a lumber support I would have brought one with me.

2. Remember that person behind you has the right to use the tray which is attached to your seatback. It's reasonably likely that he or she is doing so to hold food, drink, or an expensive laptop. If you want to recline your seat you have every right to but please do so slowly. And it is just plain good manners to raise your seatback whilst dinner is being served.

3. One piece of hand luggage means one piece of hand luggage. Your laptop, vanity case or handbag is not part of your anatomy; all count as extra pieces of luggage. If you insist on flirting with the rules and carrying more than one piece of luggage, fine, but you loose all rights to overhead locker space for these extra items. To be on the safe side you should store one bag in the overhead bin and hold the rest to make sure everyone else has the locker room they need for their single bag. If you're out of luck and have to store these illegal items under the seat in front of you, they should in no way impede on my foot room. If you are going to clog my limited foot space, you may as well be sitting in my seat and eating my food.

4. The usual rules of social intercourse apply in an airplane. Some people like to talk, others don't. If the person next to you does not appear to be interested in your conversation, being in the air does not give you special rights to impose your verbal diatribe. This is especially true if your conversation is motivated by your own sexual interest in the person you are boring to tears.

5. Screaming babies and small children do not belong in business class. If you insist on bringing them into business, make sure they behave like businessmen; not one single unnecessary vocal utterance is allowed. Failure to comply with this rule should mean that you and your offspring are immediately and permanently ejected to the cheap seats. If you are already in economy, as a courtesy to the 300 other people onboard, your children should be kept reasonably quiet. It is your parental obligation both before and during the flight to do everything humanly possible to ensure this, including plying them with drugs and/or alcohol if needed. A plane trip is not the time for a lesson in tough love. If you have young children, remind them of rule one, too.

6. Night flights are designed for sleeping. Sleep quality on a plane is poor at best, so don't cock it up for everyone by chatting or otherwise being noisy, for example by getting pissed with your buddies. Hint: the lights go out when the airline intends for everyone to fall asleep. It's your cue for silence. It may not always be dark out, and in this case the airlines usually pull down the window blinds. There is a good reason for this - it darkens the cabin so people can sleep, dummy - don't open them.

7. The person in the aisle seat has the right to stand up when disembarking. There is usually only just enough room for passengers from both sides of the aisle to stand up, so your traveling partner in the middle or window seat should keep his or her ass firmly planted. If you have an aisle seat you are entitled to stand up immediately opposite your seat only - this seat in no way confers rights to force yourself down the aisle towards the exit before the people in front of you have started disembarking.

8. Airplanes generally disembark from front to rear. Everyone in front of you has the right to leave before you, no exceptions. If someone is not using that right (they are clearly sitting in their seats and not making any effort whatsoever to get off the plane), then fine, you can exit first. But you should wait for anyone ahead of you who is obviously making an attempt to get off the plane.

9. Don't stop within 10 feet of the exit when disembarking. If you have to reorganise yourself within 2 minutes of picking up your hand luggage, fine, but choose an unobtrusive spot to do this. Tip: in the middle of the jetway is not unobtrusive.


2. Americanisms

As Churchill famously commented, the US and Britain are two countries divided by a common language. Whilst I can live with the fact that my email is constantly auto-corrected wrongly, and that different peoples will use different idioms, sometimes you yanks just go too far. 'Common usage' is no excuse for bad grammar and for butchering our fine language. I offer, therefore, a short dictionary of common cock-ups which I feel compelled to correct:

Americanism Correct English  
could care less couldn't care less If you could care less, this makes no sense as an escalation.
most everyone almost everyone It just doesn't make sense. It's either most people or everyone.
"out of" (as in "I'm out of NY') from Bad grammar.
at a high rate of speed quickly, fast. 'at high speed' is enough to get the message if you insist on trying to sound clever.

Verbalizations: Converting a noun to a verb is bad enough, an error you then compound by misspelling it ("ize"). But why do this when a perfectly good verb already exists? It's not big and it's not clever.

Americanism Correct English  
verbalize talk or speak  
utilize use  

Redundancy. You are the nation which perfected laziness. Why then turn a 180 when it comes to language and add unnecessary junk? It doesn't help understanding by throwing in superfluous crap:

Americanism Correct English  

Where are you at?

Don't you mean "Where are you?"? Or have you not finished? Did you mean "Where are you at home", or "at your best", perhaps?  
How do we get there from here? If I wanted to get there from somewhere other than here, I think I'd mention that.  
Paris, France. The rest of the World knows where Paris is, you morons.  
Often times The Oxford Englsih Dictionary defines 'often' as 'many times'. Just because it makes the modern American dictionary doesn't make it any more correct (just like 'righter' doesn't exist to replace 'more correct') .  

Whilst we're on the subject of the poor use of English (and this is not limited to our US friends), don't you feel compelled to at least proof-read when posting on web forums? No matter where you're from, bad grammar, poorly written or poorly structured text just makes you look like a moron, no matter how valid your argument. Or didn't you realise?


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