Galley Gossip: Celebrity passenger claimed to have special powers

Tom Cruise.

It’s not often I get to start a Galley Gossip post with that name! But that’s the name several readers mentioned after I asked if they could guess which celebrity passenger offered to assist an unconscious woman with his “special powers” on the airplane. Honest to God, I wouldn’t joke about something as serious as this!

It’s interesting to note that Gary Busey, Depak Chopra, Uri Geller, and the Director General of the FBI were also mentioned as celebrities possibly possessing a very unique power. Tom Cruise, however, won the poll by a landslide with twenty-three votes. I wonder if Mr. Cruise is even aware that so many people believe him to be to powerful?!

“Tom Cruise has one power, jumping on Oprah’s couch!” said a reader named Jeff after I posed the question.

Another reader named Neil said, “It’s true. Tom Cruise had special powers over my wife at one time. She’s outgrown him though.”

Now that I’m thinking about it perhaps Tom Cruise does have – or had – special powers! Then again maybe I just have a lot in common with Neil’s wife! Whatever the case, I do know that the celebrity passenger in question was not Tom Cruise, or any one of the other people mentioned above. Unfortunately I am unable to name the passenger (I’d like to keep my job), but I will tell you exactly what happened. Just remember this is Galley Gossip, first class 767 galley gossip to be precise. That said I’m fairly certain the source is a reliable one.

THE STORY …Years ago a celebrity passenger boarded a flight in Dallas. He and his bodyguards took up the entire first class cabin. That’s twenty-two seats on a 757. At some point during boarding one of the bodyguards informed the lead flight attendant that while the celebrity usually didn’t mind signing autographs, he wasn’t feeling well that day and wanted to be left alone. He then told the flight attendant that no one in their party would be needing anything during the flight and that they didn’t want anyone passing through first class unless absolutely necessary. That included the flight attendants. I should mention here that this happened before 9/11. Later on in flight a passenger seated in coach went unconscious. As a flight attendant passed through first class to grab the medical equipment, the celebrity passenger stopped her to ask what was going on. After the flight attendant informed him of the situation, the celebrity offered his assistance, and that’s when he mentioned his special powers.

Did the unnamed celebrity really have special powers? Maybe. Maybe not. According to the flight attendant involved in the situation it was hard to tell if the unconscious passenger came to because the celebrity had touched her with his special power or because her husband had become so overly excited by such a hugely famous person trying helping his wife that he kept knocking her in the arm while exclaiming the celebrities name over and over again. Then again it could have been a combination of both. So don’t underestimate a star’s power!

Photo courtesy of Cristilive

Man accidently ejects himself from plane

This is a what NOT to do story if you’re ever in a Pilatus PC-7 Mk II. Do not, I repeat, do not, use the black and yellow handle located between your legs to steady yourself. Not even if you’re pretending to be Tom Cruise in the movie Top Gun. Pull on that handle and you’ll find yourself out of the plane before you can say, “Ooops, I shouldn’t have done that.”

That handle is what the pilots and passengers can use to activate the ejector seat in order to shoot out from the plane in case of an emergency.

In the case of this recent mishap, the passenger was on a joy ride with an expert pilot of South Africa’s Silver Falcons air display team when he pulled the lever during one of the maneuvers.

And whoosh!, there he went–the two rockets attached to the back of his chair catapulting him right out of the plane 100m up into the wide open sky.

Luckily, the ejector seat is designed to release a parachute so the man safely floated back to solid ground near the Langebaanweg airfield not far from Cape Town, South Africa.

If one could be assured that you’d land as safely as this guy did, you have to admit this does sound like it would be a blast in more ways than one.

I wonder if pilots will now post a sign in front of the passenger seat saying, “DO NOT pull the yellow and black lever. DON”T EVEN TOUCH IT. Ever.” []

*The Pilatus PC-7 in the photo is from the Royal Netherlands Air Force

Spring painting for the Eiffel Tower: It takes gallons

Every 7 years the Eiffel Tower is painted by hand. Although this icon attracts people by the droves to Paris and prompts folks like Tom Cruise to use it as a romantic backdrop for a marriage proposal, the Parisians don’t have much to do with painting it.

Actually, they don’t have anything to do with it, but probably do what they can to avoid getting paint dropped or splattered on them when they pass by.

This year, Romanians and Greeks will wield hand-held, small circular brushes to coat every bit of it with fresh paint. The specialized paint called “Eiffel Tower brown” is Norwegian.

Although the paint color has varied over the years, the painting method has remained the same ever since 1889. The color has stayed brown, however, since 1968 when it was decided that particular color works best with the skyline in Paris.

The statistics for this paint job are impressive.

According to the AP article, twenty-five people will use 66 tons of paint, 35 miles of climbing rope, and 18 months to do the job.

I’d say that the people who will be doing the painting will have an excellent view of Paris from the top as long as they don’t look down.

Vintage train stations: Where have all the trains gone?

My art car friend, Greg Phelps knows a lot about funky travel. He still talks about that crane hotel in the Netherlands that he and his girlfriend stayed in earlier this year after Gadling’s suggestion. Today he sent me a travel tidbit that led me to train stations. Here is a Web page link that takes visitors around the U.S. via a combination of vintage postcards and photographs to the train stations with art deco architecture. There is an historical overview of each place, including what became of them all.

For example, Union Terminal in Cincinnati, a truly wonderful building now houses several vibrant museums, including the Museum of Natural History. Figuring out just the right use for this gem took patience. It failed as a shopping mall. My favorite part of the building is the front. Doesn’t it look like a huge 1930s radio? Inside, there are large mosaics that depict various scenes of American work life. Here’s a bit of film trivia: in the movie “Rain Man” a scene was shot here. It is after Tom Cruise picked up Dustin Hoffman from the institution and was figuring out how to take him to California. They went to Union Terminal in hopes of catching a train. You can briefly see the mosaics in the background. Amtrak does use a portion of the building, but from what I recall, the few trains that do pass through here do so at night.

Some of these art deco stations no longer exist since they have been taken down to make room for “progress.” Browsing the stations is an interesting look at how travel in the U.S. has changed.

Suri – Photo of the Millenium

I realize that I am–like–3 days late with this warning (I gotta get better with my celebrity gossip skills) but I simply couldn’t not say anything.

All of you profit-hungry freelance photographers out there, you can apparently leave your cameras at home from now on. Those $3Million some hoped to get for that first picture of one of this year’s premier celebrity babies is gone forever. Since Suri, Tom Cruise’s and Katie Holmes’ baby has finally been photographed and published by the October issue of Vanity Fair, I am guessing that the value of any snapshots taking “in the wild” has gone down tremendously.

Well, folks, there is always wedding photography.