When You're In The Same Boat With Kendra and Heidi, Things Might Not Be As Good As They Seem

I'm awfully sick today, presumably from something I picked up on a 767 that has been exasperated by a lifetime of diabetes and chain smoking.  That said, it's the perfect day to set a few things straight.  I've been thinking a lot about the direction that my life is headed in, and the unexpected yet predictable changes that are about to occur.  That has led me to talk about a few things here.

Kendra Baskett was the subject of an article in the Wall Street Journal last year that made me laugh out loud, not because of its foreshadowing nature, but because she actually might be retarded (I don't know how Hank Baskett does it).  Long story made short, she's a big fan of The Olive Garden, and I don't blame her - if you ask me, it's like eating in the kitchen of a delightful Italian stereotype.  The Olive Garden wasn't terribly receptive of this stance (at the time, she was simply known as an idiot: the constantly half-naked girlfriend of the man who made sex with anybody at any time cool).  Not long before that, Heidi Pratt came out with massive support for John McCain in US Weekly.  As if Senator McCain wasn't having a hard enough time already.
How does this apply, you might ask?  Delta has constantly rebuffed Upgrd.com requests for an interview.  There are a number of SkyClub representatives and flight attendants from DL who have volunteered, but knowing Delta's stance on people speaking out of school, we have graciously declined their offers in an effort to let them keep their jobs.  No matter what Richard Anderson says at a FlyerTalk event, we can't believe that anyone from DL who comes on this podcast will be safe.
Jeff Robertson is who we have always wanted.  I've personally spoken with corporate, and they have responded, in essence, that "if we do it for you, we'll need to do it for everyone."  I'm not buying that, frankly, and I begrudgingly get in bed with Kendra and Heidi for all the wrong reasons.  If nothing else, they are listening to the podcast, and they simply don't want the endorsement of yours truly.  I can't say I blame them for anything in this case, except being dishonest with their answers.  So in all fairness and in the spirit of full disclosure - don't expect anyone of note from DL to join this podcast.  But DO expect more great people from the rest of the legacies to join in - their support of our efforts is stronger than ever.
This brings us to my next topic: my presence on the podcast.  It's important to know that we really do look at listener comments, good or bad.  Everyone here takes all of your questions and concerns very seriously.
We also look at demographics.  Why?  Because in the history of time, no product has been able to please everyone.  Some people like the New York Times, others prefer the New York Post.  Some people prefer BMW, others Mercedes, others Lexus, and so forth.  The groups that make varying product choices are often very, very different kinds of people who want different things out of all aspects of their lives.  We acknowledge that within the FlyerTalk community, the travelling community, and the world at large exist different groups of people that like different things.
It's no secret that I wasn't brought on the show to replace, or even enhance, the likes of Ben.  Ben has a depth of knowledge, specifically about United and Star Alliance, but also about travelling generally, that is exceeded by no one in the history of time.  Ben is to travelers what Ben Roethlisberger is to Steelers fans: the second coming of you-know-who.  I was brought on for a few reasons.  The least important reasons are that I have a strong knowledge of Delta, a serious axe to grind with Delta, and an allegiance to them that no one will ever understand.  No one except for me.  The more important reason that I'm here is to provide color, a little comedy, and a snake-in-the grass anger that spices things up.
It's also no secret that not everyone likes my approach.  Most people, though, (based on the research done by the crack staff at Upgrd.com) want to see something more than a group of people going on about flying stuff with no fun involved.  I'm not suggesting that any of the folks at Upgrd are less than great at what they do, and that any of them are less than great people.  Everyone at Upgrd is tops in my book.  In addition, there's not one person at Upgrd that I wouldn't give the shirt off of my back.  In my opinion, they offer the best travel information you can get, hands down.  I simply offer diversity. 
Every so often, someone sends an e-mail suggesting that I'm an asshole and that I shouldn't be on the show.  Recently, someone came up to Mike in person and said the same thing.  The truth of the matter is that I really am a jackass.  When I die, my dog will be long gone, thereby eliminating anyone who gives a damn about me from this planet.  I'll be chucked in some clay with no headstone, and that will be the end of it.  All of that being said, the show stuff is, in fact, an act.  It's beyond what I'm naturally capable of.  It's meant for your entertainment, and we have good evidence that it works on most occasions.  When you look at the statistics for views on the site, other than the main page, my page has more than twice as many views as any other one. So there's the big secret let wildly out of the bag.  I would even go so far as to say that I have jeopardized developing new clients for my business, the one that I have spent the past seven years grinding my bones in order to develop, by way of my Upgrd-styled behavior.  I do it, though, because of the strong ties that I have with the Upgrd crew and my undying efforts for them to succeed in all of their endeavors. 
While these listener and reader comments are taken seriously, they are in the minority, and hopefully attributable - in part - to my rare misfires.  Most notably, San Diego was an epic misfire.  Perhaps because I had 11 drinks prior to the show.  For that, I am sorry.  I offer my continued commitment to avoid those kinds of mistakes and to be the "good" bad guy, as opposed to the "bad" bad guy.
As a final note, and in an effort to clear the air, I want to reiterate that I do think Ben is a good guy.  He's a young man, and if I had possessed half the knowledge that he has at his age, I would be very, very proud of myself.  He's not a guy I would ever grab drinks with, but that's definitely better for him in the long run.  We are simply complete opposites of each other, outside of politics.  He has a brilliant career ahead of him, and I'm proud to say that I have had the opportunity to work with him.
Stay tuned for an amusing posting about the misery that is my life over the next couple of days, and that focuses on one of the two women that I could ever settle down with, Holly Madison.


Well stated.

Fozz October 22, 2009 at 12:30 am

Wow, I had no idea where that was going to go when I started reading it.

A) We have crack staff? B) It's a pleasure to have you on the show.

One little tidbit I learned recently. Your dear friend Mr. Robertson hails from the same brilliant minds that came up with the concept of Ted. McKinsey.

Hunter October 22, 2009 at 10:54 am

@Matthew: Thanks.
@Fozz: A) Yes, if you count Mike and I, and B) thank you. When I hear McKinsey, I'm embarassed to be a consultant. It wouldn't surprise me if they came up with Song, too, and he just jumped over when he had the chance.

HunterSFO October 23, 2009 at 06:03 pm

@Hunter - As I often tell Ben, the podcast is never as much fun to listen to when either one of you is missing. The dynamics between the two of you are really entertaining and keep the podcast from sounding preachy or like a high-school instructional film. BTW I keep forgetting to ask one of you if the upgrd podcast "themesong" is from your band. is it?

Hunter October 24, 2009 at 09:54 am

@HunterSFO - no, that's some stuff Mike picked up. He likes keeping away from an EXPLICIT rating on iTunes, so most of my band's stuff is not an option.
Thanks for the comments.

chontzy November 13, 2009 at 08:02 pm

for me, a travel noob, i get a lot more educated when information is presented in a variety of means and manners. keep up the good work hunter, one of these days i'm gonna have to fly delta and i'll be that much more prepared.