Photo of The Day #53

As I sit here tonight scanning my shares and connections on social media, I came across a musician friend that loves Japan more than I do if that is possible. It s been many years since Kim and I have been to Japan and I am ready to go back. If I could afford it, I would eventually retire in Japan. I love its people. its food and its culture. It is one of the countries in the world that still understands how to act with class. This photo is from my visit with my son to the Big Buddha and I love looking at this photo, as it reminds me how much I really miss Japan. Kyoto I hope you are ready because next time we are coming your way!


The Big Buddha

The Big Buddha

Why Don’t You Just Take Me Behind the Barn and Shoot me?

As most of my friends who truly know me are aware, I wear my emotions on my sleeve and can become very irate over stupid people who perform or state stupid things. I am also a member of several groups that share blog posts and generally help each other out with exposure, as we all have varied traffic levels. I was going through my process today and a post showed up that totally infuriated me. This young man, who I am sure possesses a degree and has a position with a large company, wrote about “Managing Older People”, as if we are a different species. It must be the third eye I am sporting these days.



Old But Still Employed at a Jimmy Buffett Concert in Vegas

Old But Still Employed, at a Jimmy Buffett Concert in Vegas


In the past year I have had friends that have lost their jobs strictly as a result of their age and salary. There is a huge tendency to push  the more mature crowd out the door and hire young individuals with a degree, that supposedly have as much acumen as the veterans. In one such case a dear friend had been with a company for over 40 years and had about two years left before retirement. It was a case of second generation inheriting the responsibilities of running the day to day operations and the descendant made the decision to release my friend, after the person had dedicated his life to building the business with the father. I wanted to throw up it made me so sick.


Another friend worked over 25 years for a company that I was employed with for 10 years and had a Bachelors and Masters degree. He was a very intelligent individual who moved his family many times, always at the request of “the company”. He finally received a nice promotion and salary and was considered an astute business manager by all vendors and peers. He walked in one day last year and discovered he was no longer needed. His salary and tenure had worked against him, just like many my age.


What Do I Do Now?

What Do I Do Now?


Today’s writer stated many factors that needed to be used in managing the older generations. He stated that one shouldn’t come across “too strongly”.  He is basically saying we need to be coddled and handled vastly differently than younger workers? I guess its okay to be strong with younger generations. When I was in management, age was not an issue and I managed all generations equally.


He states that a manager needs to work around the more mature workers schedule and definitely not plan social gatherings when its inconvenient for the older workers. I guess that mean no parties after 7:00 PM, since we all go to bed at 8:00 PM apparently. He talks about the (fact?) that older workers are not familiar with social media and we probably don’t have Facebook profiles, etc. Huh? I have a Twitter, Google+, Facebook. Linkedin, Pinterest page and I have my own web site. I am 63. I must be the exception.


Lover of Ecuador and Travel Blogger

Lover of Ecuador and Travel Blogger


He states that a younger manager needs to pay attention as older workers need “more benefits”. This baffles me as I would think all workers need the same benefits. He finishes by stating managing older workers is a tricky task. I sincerely hope that this “writer” never ages or faces the discrimination that is rampant in the business world for the more “Mature” population in this day and time.


Carter Vance Hinshaw

Carter Vance Hinshaw


My father was a night city editor at a large newspaper in the DFW area and was allowed to work up until he hit 70. I am amazed at how substantially our world has changed in regard to this philosophy. Funny how this phenomena parallels our economy landslide. Maybe we really do have something to contribute if given a chance!


In my younger days we were taught to respect our elders. In Japan they still have strong regard for their elders and actually endeavor to take care of them. They insure they are taken care of right up to the end. I have generally found this to be true all over the world, with the US being the only glaring exception. In the US there is a race to push my generation out to pasture as quickly as possible. Consequently I say, “Why Don’t You Just Take Me Out Behind the Barn and Shoot Me”? It might just be an easier end!

Where Did American Airlines Go?

This is a “customer complaint” I wrote to American Airlines on September 16th after I got back from my most recent visit to Ecuador. I was assigned a complaint number via Twitter, the only arm of their customer service department that apparently cares to attempt to resolve their issues.

16 Sep

We’ve received your email and have forwarded it to Customer Relations. Your confirmation number is 1-1013447298.




For over 40 years (yes I am that old and still kicking) I have been flying American Airlines. I grew up in Arlington Texas and as there has always been access to this Airline in the DFW metro area. The headquarters has been located there since 1979 . Until 1973 when the airline transferred to Dallas/Ft Worth International Airport, my flights primarily went out of Love Field in Dallas. It was an ordeal to use this airport and no one was more thankful than me when, DFW opened in early 1973.


As a buyer with Six Flags amusement parks I had the great fortune of traveling to SE Asia for two months each year and to all the major trade shows in the US annually. I used the airlines quite a lot. In fact I am approaching the million mile level with your airline and have always been treated great. I have a myriad of friends that have worked as Stewardesses and at the Ticket Desk for American Airlines over the years and was always proud that they headquartered in my backyard.


Recently I have noticed a complete reversal in service, attitude and courtesy among the majority of the employees. I am not sure if its the merger with US Airways or what. My most recent flight from Guayaquil to Miami, was an example of this. Its bad enough you have to get up at 2:30 AM to get to the airport, buy having transpire what happened to me was beyond belief on this flight.


Breakfast for a $949 ticket!

Breakfast for a $949 ticket!


We were served this amazing breakfast. After all I paid $949 for this ticket and it proudly announced breakfast would be served on the flight itinerary. If you count there are 3 bites of pineapple, 5 bites of watermelon,one grape, a sandwich and either jam or butter to apply to your bread. I was awestruck by the quality. After downing the fruit in about two bites, I opened the sandwich and found this.


Breakfast Sandwich for a $949 Ticket

Breakfast Sandwich for a $949 Ticket


There was one measly slice of ham that had to weigh .25 ounce and a slice of cheese that had to weigh .30 ounce I am guessing. I had to laugh to keep from exploding. After consuming this wonderful nutritious meal I was overcome with the Grand Amoeba, more commonly known as Montezuma’s Revenge. I looked to the rear of the coach and there had to be 12 or more people in line. I got up (I was in 3 or 4 rows back from first class) and went to the first class area to use the restroom. A nice young man (Steward) named Art stepped up and told me it would be two seconds before it was free, as the crew was using it.


I asked him if he was sure it was going to be two seconds and he replied well maybe three seconds. I laughed and returned to my seat squirming. When it was apparent the lavatory was free, I got up to go to the first class again and lo and behold a stewardess with short silver hair started walking to me, pointing her finger in my face and telling me I had no right to use this facility and would have to return to the rear lavatory, which now had 15 or more people in it. I was extremely upset, as this same lady had allowed no less than 10 to 12 “coach” passengers to use the first class facilities prior to me and carried on a conversation with some of them, as they waited.


As I returned to get in the massive coach line, a wonderful stewardess that had seen the entire episode apologized to me and tried valiantly to calm me down. I believe her name was Kathy. Tall lady with 29 years experience she told me, blond hair and a fantastic disposition. She helped keep me out of trouble! It helped somewhat.


My issue is that I was the only individual that this lady would not allow to use the facilities and why she chose me to discriminate against is beyond me. I am not sure if it was my age, my beard, my Hawaiian shirt or my Panama Hat, but she obviously felt compelled to reject me and only me. I was embarrassed beyond belief and cannot tell you how much I wanted to tell this lady off. I knew if I did that I would more than likely wind up in jail in Miami and chose to write you, the management about this incident.


I intentionally watched her actions, after disciplining me in front of the entire coach passenger population and she continued to allow other coach passengers to use the first class restroom. I was furious. She again stopped before the curtain and carried on a conversation with a coach passenger, then allowing him to use the first class facilities.  I am mortified that I was singled out, especially since I was very sick to my stomach and barely got to the coach restroom without having an accident in my pants!”




As of today October 9, 2013 I have received no response, no apology or no solution to my discrimination. I am perplexed and very disenchanted that American Airlines has chosen to completely ignore this situation and has made no contact with me to attempt a resolution. I am asking my travel and food bloggers friends to use social media and blast this over all your platforms, until they decide to address this issue. I appreciate any and all help. Please use the hashtag:





Thank you kindly in advance for your help and support!!!


The Hat

Before I came to Toronto for the TBEX conference, I wrote on my social media platforms that everyone should look for me with my hat, my white beard and my Hawaiian shirts. I figured that there would not be too many old geezers that had this “look”. Little did I know that my Panama hat would become an institution in my life. This was my first experience mingling with the elite of the Travel Blogger world and I wanted to try and meet as many of my new “online friends” as possible. I encouraged all to introduce themselves, as I wanted photo ops and truly like meeting new people face to face.


Nomadic Texan & Miret Padovani ( from Zurich. A Lady Blogger with Fabulous Talents

Nomadic Texan & Miret Padovani ( from Zurich. A Lady Blogger with Fabulous Talents



I really had no idea what to expect at TBEX or what the experience would teach me. I did know that I wanted to gain as much knowledge about traffic, SEO and building my brand as possible. Looking through the options on the first day I selected all the business topics from the various categories (HHMM maybe my background had something to do with this-Ha!). Of course I waited too long to get to the opening session and was frantically trying to locate the room, when I discovered and icon in the business, Johnny Jet was also a little lost. We teamed our brilliant minds together and eventually found our destination (after I mislead him–not a good start to my first meet up with Mr. Jet)!


Trey Ratcliff Was Phenomenal

Trey Ratcliff Was Phenomenal


The opening keynote by Trey Ratcliff blew me away. This young man of StuckInCustoms is a phenomenal photographer and has vision issues in one eye. When you look at his photography you will be amazed. He was wearing his new Google glasses and told us all the finer qualities and attribute of the glasses. I was in awe! As I was  leaving the opening session a young man approached me and said “Hi Mike”. I was a little lost, thinking about my first breakout and did not recognize him at first. Turned out to be Will Castillo a friend and blogger I am trying to help out. You can follow him at IWillTravel and he is a very interesting young man, who loves South America almost as much as I do! Between the opening session and my first breakout no less than five bloggers came up and said hello. One even had me wait to meet her Mother! All because they saw “The Hat” from across the room.


A Slide from Ted Murphy's Presentation

A Slide Stating the Blogger’s Value to Direct Marketing Organizations


I headed out of the session to my first breakout “Brands, Blogger & Dollars” given by Ted Murphy. I wrote two pages of notes (I am still trying to decipher a few words–my writing is atrocious) and discovered I should have brought a tablet or I-Phone and recorded the breakouts. I couldn’t write as fast as they talked! In essence Ted’s most important factors in dealing with brands or sponsors are the following; 1) Quality of Content, 2) Relevance to Industry, 3) Personality, 4) Engagement and 5) Traffic. Ted also focused extremely deeply on the FTC guidelines and what is acceptable and what isn’t. He stated we all need to read the guidelines for sponsorship. Who knew? I was extremely excited at the information learned and stepped out to head toward my second breakout. This time it was six or seven bloggers that came up and introduced themselves and I got a few photo ops. They saw “The Hat” from across the room again. See the pattern starting to develop?


William Bakker from Think! Social Media-Brilliant Man

William Bakker from Think! Social Media-Brilliant Man


My second breakout was with William Bakker of “Think! Social Media” and his topic was Lesson Learned: “Working with Bloggers & Destinations”. This young man energized everyone in the room, even though his dutch accent was pervasive, we could interpret his talk. He gave a myriad of facts and again I couldn’t keep up and write fast enough. Did you know the #1 social media platform for determining travel is Facebook. People trust their friends feedback more than any other source.


William Tells Us What They Look For in Blogger Trips

DMO Take-Aways For Blogger Trips


William stated that bloggers are “Content Creators” or Story Tellers and we must be authentic, and honest, if we desire credibility in the profession. He gave us Think’s blogger requirements on their selection process for press trips: 1) The blogger has to value the destination of Think’s trip, 2) What is your reach-Size of Audience, 3) What are your audience demographics, 4) What is your influence in a niche (Twitter & Facebook Activity), 5) Do you have a connection to other Influencers 6) What is your Quality & Style, 7) What is your speed of communication, 8) What is your level of technology & tools use, 9) Do you have a Personality.  I could have listened to him all day, but had to grab a bite to eat.


Will Castillo of IWill_Travel (Your Eyes are Supposed to be Open Will)!

Will Castillo, of “I Will Travel” (Your Eyes are Supposed to be Open Will)!


Will had offered to buy my lunch and I am not one to turn food down! I told him at lunch that he needed to find an item like “The Hat” and establish his brand. We talked about various travel topics and it was time to get back.  After lunch I had pre-selected my friend Stephen Oddo of Walks of Italy breakout and thought I would give him a hard time. His title was “Where’s my ROI? Campaign & Strategies in Digital Marketing”. Stephen stated “Marketing is the practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from another product”. Prior to the start of the third breakout, one of my closet online friends Jill of Road Warrior, came running up to where I sat and gave me a hug. She saw “The Hat” from the back of the room. So my design or symbol became “The Hat” without any conscience effort on my part. It just transpired!


Stephen Oddo from Walks of Italy

Stephen Oddo from Walks of Italy



Stephen stated you do this with 1) Personality, 2) Set standards and follow them, 3) Be Consistent, 4) Develop a Positive Reputation. He also said that blogs are the third most influential digital resource for purchasing travel. He stated 50% of travelers changed their minds based on what they read on trusted blogs. Wow! Had no idea “The Hat” had this much responsibility!


Janice Waugh, publisher of Solo Traveler (, the blog for those who travel alone and author of The Solo Traveler's Handbook ( navigating Speed Dating

Janice Waugh, publisher of Solo Traveler (, the blog for those who travel alone and author of The Solo Traveler’s Handbook (, navigating Speed Dating


Time was flying by and my first experience in Speed Dating was staring me in the face. Was I ready. Had I gathered the correct statistics. How hard could it really be? I soon discovered. We had 10 minutes for each date and it became a whirlwind of activity and discussion and just as you got to know the vendor it was time to change and move on. This was one of the two hardest hours I have ever worked in my life. Not physically, but trying to give my presentation and communicate my niche and brand was extremely difficult in under 10 minutes. I was worn out and the night hadn’t even begun, for “The Hat”!







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Amateur Traveler Episode 471 - Travel to Austin, Texas