Inclined to recline

Clearly, kerfuffles are highly contagious, especially at 30,000 feet.

Proof is in the recent proliferation of fights on flights over the once simple act of seat reclination. Yet another occurred last week on a New York-to-Florida trip in which a woman who wanted to recline got into it with the woman behind who wanted to use her pull-down tray, forcing the Delta pilot to act as schoolmarm separating two naughty kids by diverting the flight to a different airport where one passenger was "removed."

This was the third such aviation altercation in about a week. One even involved a totally rude, wedgelike gadget called the Knee Defender -- banned by many airlines -- that stops the seat in front from leaning back.

Sure, I'm often startled when the seat in front of me jolts back to nudge my nose. But the natural flow should be a kind of domino effect -- one reclines, then the one behind reclines, and so forth and so on until the person in the last row gets pushed into the lavatory.

Of course, it's all the airlines' fault for cramming in more seats. Surely they know it's a fine line between civilization and barbarism in this heart of airborne darkness. Still, we must not let the terrorists, I mean airlines, win.

I'm inclined to recline on the train.

Calming effect


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Dial it down and experience calm: Celebrate National Grandparents Day this Sunday. Whether you have grandparents in your life or not, revel in the idea of them. You know, the whole soothing, over/through-river/woods, apple-pie, learn-to-crochet thing? This is likely all pie in the sky, as most grandparents these days are taking taekwondo or building websites. But acknowledging our elders is always a sweet idea.

The official "day" was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter in 1978. There's even an official song by Johnny Prill, of Bad Axe, Michigan. It's aptly named, "A Song for Grandma and Grandpa," with such lyrics as "Going to a ballgame, fishing on the lake, eating grandma's cookies. Boy, they sure taste great!"

Feel free to sing it on the plane.

Dumb apps

Not sure Grandma would like this, and I'm still thinking it might be a joke. Yet USA Today, CNet and other legit sites cite a new app called the Somebody app that "humanizes electronic communications" by basically having someone, a total stranger, physically locate the recipient of your text to deliver it in person, a la the old singing telegram but without the singing (or with -- your choice). If real, this could go wrong in so many ways. Seems like it would feel more like being served with a subpoena.

Guess what, people: Phones have this high-tech application known as "phone calls." Give it a try.

Contact Angela Hill at ahill@bayareanewsgroup.com, or follow her on Twitter @GiveEmHill.