We Are Family

November 18, 2008 -

John Heald

Just once………………just one time………………I would like to be able to sit here and tell you that my flight went well……………that I sat next to a normal person…………….or even that I sat next to nobody and that absolutely nothing happened………………….but whether it’s Murphy and his law or the big boss in heaven………….someone has obviously decided that this is never going to happen.

I thought all was going to be well as the only minor hiccup so far had come when I had put my boarding pass in my carry-on bag before it went through the X-ray machine. I was asked for it by the mall cop who when realizing that I had did not have the boarding pass in my hand shouted “no boarding pass on aisle 1.” This resulted in another officer who had obviously been best friends with the entire McBurger range asking me to “step aside.”…………….

I did and she waddled round the other side of the conveyor belt while I extracted my boarding pass. When I presented it to her, she didn’t even look at it. For all she knew it could have been out of date or a pass to my local library………………………..anyway, as she went of to get another McWhopper I sat waiting for American Airlines flight 108 to leave on time……….it did……………and I thought all would be well. I even ignored the fact that the flight attendants were as cold as an Eskimo’s nipple. It was only going to be a five and a half hour flight………….I was in Business Class…………..and I was going home.

I listened as I always do to the safety video telling me where my lifejacket was in case of a “water landing” or crash as it sometimes known. I listened to American Airlines tell me that I must not smoke while on board, or carry knitting needles or have rumpy pumpy with other passengers in the toilets.

But you are allowed, welcomed even, into the club class section of the plane even if you are accompanied by what is essentially a huge lung covered only in a light veneer of skin.

I want to state here and now that I will never………ever……….take our Thingy on a trans-Atlantic flight in business class……….. It is simply not fair to impose your screaming child on other people, people who have paid thousands of dollars for a flat bed and therefore the promise of some sleep…………….nope, Heidi and the Thingy can be at the back or we will take a Cunard trans-Atlantic crossing.

There’s talk at the moment of introducing planes with standing room for economy class passengers. Imagine the sort of seat you get in a bus shelter and you’ll grasp the idea. Fine. So why not soundproofed overhead lockers into which babies can be placed? The family at the center of this morning’s blog thingy were seated in business class in the row in front of me.

The crying began as we sipped on our welcome aboard glass of water, and built to a climax as we took off. And this was the longest climax in the history of sound. It went on, at Vesuvian volume, without hesitation, until we began the descent nearly six hours later. At which point, thanks to a change in pressure on the baby’s tiny ear holes, the noise reached new and terrifying heights. I honestly thought the plane’s windows might break. When Boss designed their “noise cancelling headphones” they probably tested them against a plane’s engines or 280 NASCAR’s at full revs. The headphones may have cancelled those noises out but against Junior’s huge lungs they were cancelling out bugger all.

And what do you suppose the mother did to calm her infant? Feed it some warm milk? Read it bedtime story? Nope. She turned her seat into a bed and tried to go to sleep.

I know full well she wasn’t actually asleep for three reasons. First, it would have been impossible. Second, no mother can sleep through the cries of her own child, and third, every time I went to take a pee I farted as I walked past her…………..nobody can sleep through one of my farts.

And so it was that I landed at Heathrow airport this morning and was met by the most beautiful sight in the world, one that I had longed to se these past four weeks and one that would melt the coldest of hearts………………………….the brand new Bugatti Veryon which was parked two places away from my car……………..oh and yes…………….Heidi was there to meet me.
Seriously, it was wonderful to see her and she is positively glowing…………and growing. The Thingy is 15 weeks old now and next week I will be going with her for her next scan. Heidi is hungry all the time and proof of that is when we stopped at the services, which is we call the restaraunt which can be found along the major motorways or freeways as y’all call them ………..are they called that in Canada?

Anyway, pre-pregnancy, when we stop at these places Heidi would normally order a skinny cappuccino and a tofu and cheese sandwich. Today she couldn’t have coffee but made up for it with two eggs, hash browns, baked beans and toast. She complained that her jeans were too tight and she needs more new clothes……………I told her to bugger off and to wear mine.

The house looks wonderful and as I sit here the candles are flickering, the fire is lit and Heidi is watching her new favorite program This Old House featuring a barn conversion somewhere in the States and once that has finished she tells me she will be watching Boston Legal starring Captain Kirk………………and so the battle for the remote control begins.

We just returned from dinner with Mum and Dad including lashings of Spotted Dick and Yorkshire pudding, which was nearly as tasty as the mystery meat I had on American Scare Lines yesterday.

It’s great to be home and as I sit here I realize how tired I am. I have been flat out since March with a new ship delivery and European trips and these past weeks have been a blur of travel and room service.

I am blessed with an incomparable family……………the one here in the UK……………..and the one scattered all over the world……………..you………….my blogger family.

Well, the meetings in Boston went well. At one point however I did think about throwing myself of the 17th floor of the Arnold building where we were meeting. This moment came when a new flurry of marketing speak was hurled at me. I had just got used to “reach out” and “gorilla marketing” when suddenly people started using words like “ladder up ” and “swankafi”……………..the final straw came when someone used the word “soup” and then another said it and then another. Now at this point I got very excited as we were in Boston and I thought we were going to break for a big bowl of New England clam thingy……………..but we didn’t ……………….that’s because the word soup means…………..well……………it’s a marketing word that means ……………. ummmmmmmmmm……….I have no bloody clue what it means…………………and honestly…………..I don’t think anyone else did either.

You see, in marketing meetings I believe you can just use any words in a sentence and nobody will argue………..nobody wants to look stupid so they all nod their heads and agree. …………….I decided to try this theory out so I said…….”I think we need to reach out to our guests and look at the possibilities of laddering up and producing a winning ticket using baboon scrotum tactics”………………..everyone nodded in agreement.

However, besides the fact that anyone in marketing is completely bonkers the jaw droppingly awesome folks at Arnold along with our brilliant marketing teem led by our new Chief Marketing Officer Jim Berra make the most formidable team in the industry. I can’t tell you what’s next but I can tell you that the first of the big new rollouts will be presented for the very first time on the Carnival Fantasy Blogger Cruise in February ……………….it’s going to be very exciting and how wonderful that they are allowing me to do this with some of you.

Now, talking of the Blogger Cruise………………..here is Stephanie to tell you about how to book the new and now OFFICIAL CARNIVAL DREAM BLOGGERS CRUISE.

Hi Everyone,
To book the official bloggers cruise on the Carnival Dream sailing from the great New York City on November 15, 2009 please be sure to book with the follwowing fare code: PBL.

We will have a page up very soon with additional details.

Thanks!
Stephanie

Now, obviously this is going to be a very special cruise and one that I will start to release details on soon. I can tell you that I will not be Cruise Director and this will allow me more time to show you our new flagship…………………..I hope some of you will join me.

Congratulations to Carnival’s Towel Animal theatre which today passed 1 million views…………………outstanding.

It seems many of you agreed with my basement of the latest James Bond movie while others completely disagreed stating that it’s good for 007 to have a touchy feely side. Oh no………..he can be touchy feely with the 23 women per movie he is supposed to have rumpy pumpy with………..but that’s about it.

People were asking what my favorite Bond movie is……..and for me it’s Goldfinger. Maybe it’s the Aston Martin and that ejector seat or maybe that classic line when Sean Connery rather worried that a laser beam is heading towards his meat and two veg say “Do you expect me to talk?”………and Goldfinger replies “No Mr. Bond……….I expect you to die.” OK, then just shoot the bastard you big fat idiot………..why bother with the big outlandish torture routine. If you expect him to die………..shoot him……….in the face. And then call your villainous mates down in Gotham City and tell The Penguin and The Joker that drowning Batman in a large vat of custard that will come pouring down on the caped crusader when the clock strikes midnight is not as quick as shoving a hand grenade up his bottom

Anyway………….back to Goldfinger
007 spends a long time as the humiliated captive of Oddjob, (he of the killer bowler hat) watching helplessly as the evil golf-cheat Goldfinger prepares to launch an attack on Fort Knox. There is someone else who comes to Bond’s rescue, someone else who represents the cavalry coming mincing over the brow of the hill, and that someone is one of my favorite characters in all literature.

It is the laughing, gun-wielding, gum chewing apple pie American hero……….. CIA man, Felix Leiter. He rescues Bond in Goldfinger, and as far as I can remember he helps to rescue him in Thunderball, in Dr No, and he goes on to provide invaluable assistance at critical moments throughout the series, in spite of having his arm eaten by a shark in Live and Let Die and being shot and point blank range in the Bahamas……….can’t remember which movie that was.

As a child growing up in the Cold War, it was always obvious to me that Felix Leiter was more than just a prop, a plot device. By the sheer regularity with which he rescues the British agent he is clearly intended to stand for the whole relationship between America and Britain …………..you know the Bush/Blair special relationship ………..I am not talking about the Thatcher/Reagan relationship which was special because they were having rumpy pumpy…………..allegedly.

Felix Liter is a symbol of that great guarantee offered by America – with all her power and her can-do spirit – to the rest of the world. He reminds us of the historic role of the United States: the rich, friendly relative who, having exhausted all the other options can generally be relied upon to do the right thing.

When Felix Leiter pulls Bond’s chestnuts out of the fire, as he so often does, he stands for the America that stormed Omaha Beach, the America that faced down the Russians in the Cold War and defeated what Ronald Reagan was right to call an Evil Empire……….he called Mrs. Thatcher his “Love Muffin“…………allegedly.

That’s what Felix Leiter means to me; that’s roughly what I imagine he meant to Ian Fleming; and so it was, of course, fascinating to see how he has evolved in the latest Bond film, Quantum of Solace. There are two important differences. First, in what can only be seen as sad…, the other Americans (apart from Leiter) are no longer good guys.

Leiter saves Bond’s life, as usual, but the other Americans are up to all sorts of mischief, trying to destabilise Bolivia and even trying to assassinate Bond. And the second notable divergence in Quantom of Solace is that Felix Leiter is now African American, in recognition of the way that America is changing. And therefore President Elect Barack Obama has to us Brits become Felix Leiter: he is still the guy upon whom depends British security and…………………………………… the security of the rest of the world.

Goodnight.
Your Friends
John and I am ecstatic to say………….it’s goodnight from Heidi and the Thingy as well.

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.