Category Archives: airlines

Indie Author John Howell!

Heeer’es Johnny! John Howell has long been one of my favorite blogging friends and I’ve been terribly negligent in supporting him as an author. This week with the re-release and .99 cent sale of the first novel in his trilogy, I thought I’d start a new weekly feature on Fridays with authors I know and like. John has recently re-released his first novel in the trilogy for an astounding .99 cents on Amazon. From John, here’s a taste of what you’ll be getting in his story:


John J. Cannon successful San Francisco lawyer takes a well-deserved leave of absence from the firm and buys a boat he names My GRL. He is unaware that his newly purchased boat had already been targeted by a terrorist group. John’s first inkling of a problem is when he wakes up in the hospital where he learns he was found unconscious next to the dead body of the attractive young woman who sold him the boat in the first place. John now stands between the terrorists and the success of their mission.

The characters from My GRL continue to His Revenge and on to Our Justice. In His Revenge, John seeks to atone the killing of Gerry Starnes, the woman who sold him My GRL. The action moves from Port Aransas to California and on to Ecuador. His enemy Matt Jacobs has a twisted idea that John would make an excellent spokesperson for the terrorist group. He figures out a way to get John to cooperate on a plan that is designed to embarrass the President and wreak havoc on the oil industry. John must pretend to go along hoping he can create a way to get revenge. The question remains who will get the revenge?

Our Justice is the final story in the trilogy. John has been keen on bringing Matt Jacobs to justice. Matt has been keen on getting John to help him in a plot to assassinate the President. He plans to use John’s hero status to get close to the President to do his duty work. Both Matt and John feel their cause is right and both want justice extracted in their favor. We must see who in fact achieves Justice, Matt, John or neither.

For .99 cents, pick up the first book in the trilogy! Who knows, you may just find your new favorite author. You may also find your new favorite blogger if you visit john’s blog. He’s always a fun read. Have a great Friday! ~Phil


The Standing Dead

No, this isn’t about the Zombie apocalypse show on AMC. It’s about airline passengers. Do I really need to capitalize Zombie? Who will be offended if I don’t, zombies? When I’m elected President, or Sexiest Man Alive, which both happen in November, I’m going to change a lot of things about how the airlines are run.

I had to travel for work this past week. In general I like traveling, but air travel definitely has it’s drawbacks. Sometimes those drawbacks are the other passengers. The passengers that particularly frustrate me are those with wildly inaacurate imaginations. These people seem to imagine that as soon as the planes wheels hit the ground that they can leap from the seat, sashay down the aisle and exit the plane to their waiting chariot. It wouldn’t be so bad if it were just one passenger who had this little exit fantasy playing in their heads. Unfortunately for the sane passengers, at least half of every planes occupants believe that they will quickly and easily exit the plane. 

What actually occurs is that as soon as the plane touches the ground at least 50 people literally leap to an upright position and the overhead compartments are flung open as they engage in a tug of war with the laws of physics to get their Mini Cooper sized bag out of the tiny overhead compartment that they had compacted it into. Then as gravity takes control they usually hit at least one fellow paasenger when the bag finally pops free and plummets to the aisle. As soon as that bag hits the floor they turn and face forward impatiently. If it was just one idiot standing at the plane door impatiently tapping his foot that would be fine. Unfortunately half the plane seems to do this and then to no one’s surprise they stand there for 20 minutes while we taxi and wait for a gate and then for the door to be open That’s why I call them The Standing Dead. They are definitely not walking anywhere at this point. If you’re a passenger wise enough to sit and wait until this airline zombie apocalypse passes you are stuck with The Standing Deads asses right at face level about a foot from your head for the interminable 20 minutes. Sure, if it’s my ass someone has to look at, 20 minutes is perfectly fine, maybe a bit short in fact, but most of these Standing Dead do not appear to have been to a Zumba class recently. 

If you enjoy my nonsense and want to read more you can follow me on Twiiter @ThePhilFactor, follow me on and you can find my novel White Picket Prisons in the Amazon Kindle bookstore and the iTunes bookstore. The Barnes and Noble Nook bookstore folks are taking their time preparing their system for the onslaught of Phil fans, but it will get there eventually too. 



Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Like the title? I made it up myself. Pretty proud of that one. I had to travel for work again this week. Just a quick, overnight trip to Richmond, Va. Traveling in the winter is always a little nerve wracking no matter how you do it, isn’t it?

So as I’m preparing to board my flight home from Richmond, the airline lackey, in a stunningly accurate impression of Charlie Brown’s teacher,  announces over the P.A. at my gate that the flight is over booked by one and they’d like to offer a $300 ticket voucher to anyone who will take a later flight. How does the airline over book by one? It’s their plane! Don’t they know how many seats it has? Or did someone just take their seat with them when they got off the plane? Do they have to have one of the flight attendants count the seats after each flight and report back to headquarters? “What? We only have 47 seats? I’d swear we had 48 when we left. Call up to the gate and tell them we’re one short. Hey, has this back row exit door been open the whole flight?”  

Now that we’re living in a computer age (yeah, just now.) shouldn’t the airlines be able to keep track of how many seats their planes have and sell only that exact amount of tickets? Or maybe they could sell two less tickets than the number of seats just in case someone somewhere makes a mistake with their abacus during the pre-flight seat count. And why do they wait until 15 minutes before your flight leaves to discover their error? That’s when the fun begins. That’s when the game of chicken/auction begins. “Since our flight is overbooked and no one took the $300 voucher we’d like to offer a $500 ticket voucher and two nights at any Marriott hotel.” You think to yourself, “Now this is getting interesting. I might take that.” All the passengers look back and forth at each other because they know that as they clock ticks down the ante goes up. After two more minutes pass Charlie Brown’s teacher clicks the mic again and says, “As we are still overbooked by one we would like to offer a $750 ticket, two nights at a Marriott and a lifetime suppy of Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco treat.”  We all eye each thinking, “now this is getting interesting, and really, is it possible they serve Rice-a-Roni in San Francisco restaurants?” They crowd is watching the auction shouting “Take it, take it!” “Door number 1”  “Wait for showcase number 2!” 

And what kind of business model is this where you can sell a service then essentially buy it back for at least 3x it’s value and then still give the customer the service albeit an hour and a half later? Have you noticed how many airlines that have gone out of business, filed for bankruptcy or merged in the last ten years? Yeah, I’m thinking that if even half the time they had an accurate seat count they could save themselves a fortune every year. It’s like they’re playing an expensive game of Native American giver.(and why did Native Americans get that unfair rep? Wasn’t it the white settlers that stole Manhattan from them for some Mardi Gras beads?).  “Um…yeah, we told you that you could have a seat, but we were lying. Will you take $1000 to get on the next flight?” I wish more businesses had this policy. “Yes, Mr. Taylor, I know we said we would sell you the Ford Focus for $17,000, but well, this is embarrassing, umm…Ford is kind of out of those right now. If you could just go away quietly and come back tomorrow we’ll give you a Cadillac Escalade with lifetime satellite radio.”  

So now, you can read the rest of this blog for more whimsical observations, but my bandwidth is full and I’ll need two readers to wait for my next blog entry. If you choose to wait for the next blog entry I’ll  throw in 4 more jokes, a free Phil Factor t-shirt and a lifetime supply of Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco treat. In the meantime if you don’t want to get bumped you can subscribe to The Phil Factor on your Amazon Kindle, follow me on Twitter @ThePhilFactor and as always, if you like click the Facebook Like button below.