Most of the time the answer is at the bottom of the bottle, but other times…

Of course, this one fell on deaf eyes.

God DAMN, I love my job. About the only thing I don’t like about it is getting paid less than a public school teacher. $23k a year starting, if I haven’t mentioned it before. I know, the average teacher trained for seven or eight years and spent about $100k in addition to a the $60k it took to get a degree, and most classrooms hurtle through the sky at over 500mph, and if a school teacher messes something up, it could destroy a $40 million airplane and kill dozens or hundreds of people…but it still seems somehow cosmically uneven. I’m told that someday if I don’t get furloughed or the entire industry doesn’t get taxed, unioned, and regulated into nonexistence I could make some large bucks, but for now the pay is really my only complaint. Oh, and one more – sitting around listening to everybody bitch about how horrible this job is.

The complaining comes mostly from the senior guys – captains making good bucks working 2-3 weeks a month flying airplanes (which is not a difficult job about 99% of the time). I sometimes feel a need to grab folks by the shoulders and shake them while explaining that if they want to know the kind of misery that Dante himself couldn’t conjure, they need to go sit in a cubicle and take orders from a clinically retarded MBA whose ineptitude would get him exiled and/or lynched if anyone in this country had a single shred of common sense.

It’s this weird “us vs. the company” attitude that bothers me. Err’body hatin’ on the corporations these days. The same corporations that employ you, make you able to feed and clothe your kids, send said kids to college, and keep a roof over your head. I’m not championing the cause of corporate greed – just saying the shrillness of the cry should probably be dialed back a few clicks. Biting the hand that feeds us and whatnot. Like it or not, even if your opinion is that corporations don’t pay enough in taxes, they do create a shitload of tax payers, and that is much more important.

There are some interesting things that happen in this job, and a whole new set of observations to be made by jackasses like me who consider themselves astute, but don’t know what the word astute really means and are too lazy to look it up.

Back to my previous point about people being promoted well beyond their level of competency – somehow this became an initiative at Holiday Inn.

If my crappy picture is unreadable, the pillow on the left has a nifty little cozy belt around it, faux-fastened by a comically large plastic button, attached to which is a heavy gauge plastic screenprinted thing that says “Soft”. The pillow on the right, on the other hand, has a nifty little cozy belt around it, faux-fastened by a comically large plastic button, attached to which is a heavy gauge plastic screenprinted thing that says “Firm”.

Solving a problem that has plagued hotel goers and society in general, namely how we could possibly discern between a soft pillow and a firm one, has fallen to the geniuses at Holiday Inn. Sure, I could reach out and feel the pillow with my hands, but I don’t have all night. I’m just glad that the company is spending resources on the important stuff. Nobody really needs a decent internet connection.

On the subject of pillows at hotels – can we please stop the madness? There used to be a couple of normal pillows on the bed and I don’t remember starting a grassroots movement to change that. Suddenly pillows are square (my guess is that it is a normal pillow crammed into a small pillowcase to save money) and they seem to multiply like tribbles. I am looking around my room right now and there are two beds for some reason. Maybe one is soft and one is firm, but how am I to know unless they embroider a delightful belt to go around it and hang a sign from it? Between the two beds there are over 400 pillows. About 396 of them end up along with their belts and placards in a pile on that weird upholstered chair in the corner that would glow like Japan after an earthquake if you shined a spoogelight on it. Along with the pillows you will find that useless book of information you already knew about the hotel and its surrounding attractions, the phone (after I have used it to call and ask why the internet doesn’t work), and the five or so table tents on every horizontal surface encouraging me to buy movies, join the rewards club, convert to mormonism, or to throw my towels on the floor if I hate the rainforest and all of the adorable little animals that hop and prance therein.

Another stupid marketing thing. “We care about our use of water and soap because it hurts the feelings of hummingbirds and lemurs when we don’t act environmentally conscious.”

Bull. Shit. Let’s rewrite this with a little honesty –

I speak for all travelers (really, I talked to everybody who has ever traveled and they all agree) when I say that what we want in a hotel is as little foreign-ness as possible. It’s weird enough spending 4-6 days a week in a bed that is not your own. Why do we have to exacerbate the problem by using a toilet that makes a noise like the catapult on an aircraft carrier when we flush it? While your showers are no doubt water savers, the benefit is lost when I am faced with a faucet/shower head combo that looks like MC Escher learned to weld. The ten minutes spent trying to figure out how to adjust the temperature followed by the five additional minutes trying to make the water go to the shower head sort of clear cuts about an acre of rainforest.

So as travelers, we are already sort of micro-traumatized by the very act of traveling. A motion detector in the ceiling that turns off the air conditioner when I leave the room is going to get someone hurt. I also don’t really want to turn on the television and have to navigate to a place where I can watch actual television. All I need out of your television is a place I can hook up an HDMI cable and Net me some Flix.

And maybe check out some internet while I exacerbate.


  1. on 18 Oct 2011 at 12:23 pm Jenny

    I think I to look at more bottlecaps..

  2. on 18 Oct 2011 at 12:24 pm Jenny

    Actually, a Sobe cap described my husband to me and it turned out to be true. “Jetta and a Ponytail.” So there’s that.

  3. on 18 Oct 2011 at 12:25 pm Jenny

    Also I love your writing and I love when I’m one of the first to comment.

  4. on 18 Oct 2011 at 12:29 pm Loamy and the Itchy Taints

    Finally, a new post! I was afraid you’d forgotten about the rest of us who still hate our jobs.

    Glad to hear you enjoy what you’re doing…

  5. on 18 Oct 2011 at 12:33 pm Nightmare

    Yeah I hear ya.

  6. on 18 Oct 2011 at 12:47 pm Tony

    As a fellow traveler…can I post the following bitch…Rosey O’Donnell…just joking. Why do they sometimes build NEW hotels, yet don’t have automatic front doors? Do they think we won’t have luggage with us? Genius…brilliant, community college educated, well-thought out planning.

  7. on 18 Oct 2011 at 12:53 pm HairMetalMistress

    Also, could y’all please refrain from leaving an unwanted newspaper outside my door every morning?! Srsly, a newsPAPER. I don’t want to think about all the $$ and sad lemurs involved there. And with a better (and preferably not $15/day) internet connection, I can read the news like a spaceman from the future.

  8. on 18 Oct 2011 at 1:28 pm Keith

    Nice post, but can you tell me where I can find a “spoogelight”? The comedic applications of this product are potentially unlimited. Especially with halloween right around the corner.

  9. on 18 Oct 2011 at 1:33 pm b0ules

    Badass treefrog? Doesn’t give a shit? Sounds like something Randall would say about the Honey Badger! Check it out on youtube if you haven’t already. I guarantee you’ll love it and pretty soon you’ll walk backwards.

    Congrats on now doing the job you love – I keep working on the plan to get there one day, hopefully sooner rather than later.

    Who do you fly for, btw? Might just be on your plane from time to time…


  10. on 18 Oct 2011 at 1:47 pm Susan


    I think all the pillows are to hide the stains on the hideously-patterned bed covers.

    And I think you should be thankful that your toilet actually flushes and your hotel room doesn’t smell like Calcutta in August, although hotel toilets still do scare me.

  11. on 18 Oct 2011 at 2:23 pm Robyn

    I like your treefrog. I was hoping for a serious explanation as to why we still get a King James bible in every room.

  12. on 18 Oct 2011 at 6:23 pm Tina

    Having just arrived home from travelling, I hear ya. LOUD and CLEAR.

    Wireless internet? $5 an hour? I paid it and THEN found out it’s actually the airport wireless hotspot that they want me to connect to!! The airport is only 2 miles from the hotel!!

    Wonder why my smart little Win 7 machine described the connection as “Poor”…

  13. on 18 Oct 2011 at 6:24 pm Tina

    P.S. Keith – if you ever find out how to get a spoogelight, let me know. I could use one of those too!

  14. on 18 Oct 2011 at 6:24 pm Linda

    Keith, spoogelight = blacklight. ‘Member those from the 60s/70s? They make fluids emitted by animals glow. I dunno why. You can find old “pet stains” using a blacklight so you can clean them up from your carpet at home — or just be grossed out in a hotel room. Endless entertainment potential!

    Not to sound like I have OCD rather than years of platinum frequent flier miles under my belt, but here are some things to totally avoid in hotel rooms if you haven’t personally santitized them: far and away #1 is the remote control, followed in general ickiness by bedspread/upholstered chairs, drinking glasses, doorknobs, toilet flush handle, in-room telephone.

    On second thought, have you considered traveling by RV? :)

  15. on 18 Oct 2011 at 7:09 pm Mike P

    Robyn, it’s in case you get a serious case of the runs, and for when 2 toilet paper rolls just aren’t enough.

    Clean your fingernails thoroughly afterwards, though.

  16. on 18 Oct 2011 at 8:25 pm Bill B

    “Spoogelight”. Great name for a band. Thanks for the post, Dusty.

  17. on 18 Oct 2011 at 11:17 pm Gin

    Oh yes. Those little signs in hotel bathrooms that attempt to use guilt to badger me in to saving a mega-hotel chain a few bucks. I love those.

    And I leave ALL the towels on the floor whether I used them or not.

    If girls can be dicks, I am one.

  18. on 19 Oct 2011 at 12:40 am Matt Mullenix

    “While [hotel] showers are no doubt water savers, the benefit is lost when I am faced with a faucet/shower head combo that looks like MC Escher learned to weld.”


  19. on 19 Oct 2011 at 8:40 am Jason

    Another wonderful gem of writing (“glow like Japan after an earthquake if you shined a spoogelight on it” had me on the floor laughing). And thanks so much for stepping out of the economically challenged cockpit to write, I felt like a 14 yr old girl waiting for Justin Beiber to arrive at the concert. I would like to book my reservation at the Honestel. Sounds like a great place to stay, with refreshing honesty. Gotta love the “save money/save the environment” marketing ploys. Saving “green” actually means saving green dollahs. Who are they tryin’ to kid? please write before February!

  20. on 19 Oct 2011 at 9:04 am Jason

    speaking of hotels…I despise those theft proof coat hangers too! You know, the ones with the weird clip. What is that all about? was there such a mass problem with coat hangers being stolen? How would these fit in your suitcase, and why would you steal them?
    Yes the bedspread has been proven to be nasty, even in luxury hotels, but the whole idea in sleeping in a bed that has seen more ass than John Holmes grosses me out as it is. Ever thought about the nastiness of the mattress pad under a mere 1/32″ of bed sheet? *shudder*

  21. on 19 Oct 2011 at 9:35 am davejase

    Great to hear from you! Dusty, what jet you driving?

    Hold on to your idealism when it comes to flying. I’ve been on the line for 15 years, and I whistle on my way in every day.

    I love the smell of Jet A in the morning!

  22. on 19 Oct 2011 at 10:01 am tolladay

    Oh, boy. Another Dusty post.

    I’m a freelancer, and I happen to work in an industry where it is common for the company to provide a free lunch. I guess the logic being that you’ll sit at your computer and eat, thus giving “the man” more of your time. To me this is awesome. Free Food! How cool is that? But invariably, everywhere I work, everyone complains about the food. But only the food that is free. If they pay for it, then they don’t complain.

    Which makes me guess that the longstanding pilots must get a lot of freebies if they complain so much.

    Good for you finding something you love Dusty. Getting it to pay well is another trick, but if I was a betting man, I’d bet a sharp guy like you will figure out a way. Eventually. Just remember, if downright fools can get paid well, so can you.

    I’m a pretty hard core LIBERAL, and I loves me the badass treefrog. More reality, less advertising. Is it really too much to ask? (sent from a computer paid for by advertising dollars)

  23. on 19 Oct 2011 at 1:45 pm Claire

    Not that I think he takes it in the right direction at the end, but you should check out Capitalism: A Love Story (by Michael Moore). I know, you’re all like “I hate that douche and I love Capitalism,” and I’m not saying you have to agree with it at all. I’m just saying you might watch it, at least the first 30, 40 minutes of it up to the point where he talks about the airline pilots’ salary plight.

    You probably won’t listen to me. I didn’t listen the first thousand times someone recommended a book or movie to me whose premise I already knew I didn’t agree with.

  24. on 19 Oct 2011 at 6:35 pm Linda

    I know how those marketeers try to make you feel guilty enough to save Mega-Tel a few bucks on hot water and detergent. But even if Mega-Tel DOES save a couple of dead presidents, I figure hey — who washes their towels every day at home? Why not hang it to dry and use it again a second day while traveling?

    So what, the corporation saves money, but the environment suffers a little less, and I don’t consider using my bath towel for two days a sacrifice. What’s to object to except for the insultingly condescending marketing BS? For pushing back on that, you gotta love Dusty’s badass tree frog!

    Hang up your towel.

  25. on 20 Oct 2011 at 3:57 pm bree

    I’m not one to be a fucking douchebag but having just lost my job this past Friday makes one a little angry. I’m glad the corporations create more tax payers but maybe I’d have to pay a little less if they paid a little more. Really, does Exxon need to make 14 quatrillion dollars profit a quarter? And since they have the 14 quartrillion to spend as they see fit, could they stop buying the politicians who then up my taxes to lower their’s? I’m sure Mexico, China and India are grateful for the jobs American Corporations are sending their way but I could be grateful as well. That is, if I ever get another job.

    But nice badass tree frog.

  26. on 22 Oct 2011 at 5:48 pm Eric p.

    No, you’re not a douchebag. I think you are misunderstanding how things work, though. If the corporations pay more taxes, we (consumers) pay more, not less. Maybe not more taxes, but more for a gallon of gas, milk, water, etc. Regulations, taxes, and unions are the very reason said corporations are sending jobs overseas. The wealthy are wealthy in part because they are smart. Part of being smart includes figuring out how to keep others’ hands off your money, or making up for it if others do get their hands on your money – i.e. passing the expense on to the consumer,lowering employee wages, outsourcing…

    Plus, the whole debate about taxes is kind of crap anyways because all we are doing is making an already too big government even bigger. Raising taxes has never created jobs or improved an economy. In fact, if you look at the most financially solvent states in the union, they also happen to be the ones with the lowest tax rates.

  27. on 25 Oct 2011 at 1:24 pm Gavin


    Permission to reprint your treefrog message and leave it in the bathroom of every hotel I stay in with a dumb green message encouraging me not to use towels.

    Seriously, can I use that?

  28. on 27 Oct 2011 at 1:08 pm RutCry

    Dusty, I must have been travelling when you called to ask my opinion about travelling. I rack up more than my share of frequent flyer miles and while I acknowledge the veracity of your hotel complaints, my greater frustrations are always with the AIRLINES. I have never felt more unappreciated or dehumanized than when I have to fly.

    The flight crew always tries to make up for it with a few nice words, over the intercom loud enough so that no other thought or activity is possible. But at least it wakes up the fat pig lard that is spilling over into my lap from the adjoining seats.

    Dustola, I am sure you have never driven an airplane for me. I am certain I could somehow tell if it was you up front. I hope I get the privilege and I will be expecting precision somehow delivered in a humorous way. :)


  29. on 30 May 2012 at 10:51 am Allie

    Well, at least your site’s back up. What gives? Hope you and Skirt are all right!

  30. on 08 Jun 2012 at 8:59 am Loamy and the Itchy Taints

    Hello, what’s new?

  31. on 14 Jun 2012 at 10:08 am Rene

    Having worked in the hotel industry for the past 30+ years, I can relate to that…

  32. on 04 Jul 2012 at 9:59 am BynFamous

    So INCREDIBLY glad the blog is back. Now you must write in it. Bahaha.

  33. on 30 Jul 2012 at 8:21 pm Linda

    Are you ever going to write again? Please, we miss your humor!

  34. on 30 Jul 2012 at 11:11 pm John

    Glad to see the site is back up. Thanks for all the laughs, your site has always been a great source of entertainment.

  35. on 09 Aug 2012 at 9:48 pm Alan

    Wow, I was weeding out bookmarks and wondering if this one had to go, and suddenly it’s back. And just in time for me to hit the road and stay in hotels for the first time since — the first weekend of November, 2011. Spooky. I wasn’t aware my itineraries were being forwarded to you.

    I do hope you’ll be posting again. You’re a very funny guy. If not, well, at least the archive is back up. Much better than that Solyndra webhosting error message. Or whatever it was. It’s all a blur anymore.

  36. on 16 Aug 2012 at 1:17 am Matt M.

    Yay! You’re semi-back!

  37. on 01 Nov 2012 at 12:20 pm Mary Pavlovsky

    Thank God your back! Some of us cannot endure without your acerbic wit…

  38. on 05 Dec 2012 at 12:57 pm WRITE MORE


    Where are you? It’s like the internet has left us. Its just imgur and all those weirdos.

  39. on 14 Jan 2013 at 3:51 pm Nightmare

    Remember that time when you were semi employed and still learning to fly and everyone could tune in on Tuesdays and hear you? Yeah…fun times…fun times

  40. on 17 Jan 2013 at 12:37 am Andy

    Miss you.

  41. on 21 Mar 2013 at 4:26 pm Adam

    Come back to us… We your legion miss you

  42. on 18 Apr 2013 at 10:37 am Jim C.

    Dusty — You need to write more. ;-)

  43. on 07 May 2013 at 3:51 pm Chris

    Um, hello? Does anyone live here anymore?

  44. on 17 May 2013 at 4:30 pm Adam P

    Please come back Dusty. Your minions miss you

  45. on 23 May 2013 at 11:39 pm robert


    If you have some time out of schedule I was wondering if you had some time to answer some questions regarding learning to fly?

  46. on 20 Jun 2013 at 10:28 pm Heather

    Ohai. We miss you.
    that is all.

  47. on 22 Jul 2013 at 12:42 pm Sue Jarrell

    I thought about you and see you are not here. Oh well, maybe in Hawaii again? Regards to the Cat (Loved that cat)

  48. on 31 Jul 2013 at 5:30 am Valerie Fern

    Just wanted to tell you that I’m missing your wit and insight and delightful writing! You’re a true talent. I hope all is well in your life.

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