Looking down from my window seat, I could see people playing golf and shoppers streaming in to a flea market.
Those activities do not often play out in Pennsylvania in mid-November.
There is nothing like getting out of Dodge to be reminded what a big, beautiful, diverse country we are.
I hit the weather jackpot the week before last as I made a pilgrimage to my hometown of Altoona, Pa., where pizza is sold by the cut rather than the slice, and the phrase “more bars in more places” takes on old meaning.
I caught the last flecks of yellow and orange in the trees, which rhymes with cheese, which billboards there proclaim “brings families together.”
A sign in a washroom at the State College airport provided special insight for curbing swine flu. Wash your hands “fast and furious” for as long as it takes to “sing the Happy Birthday song twice,” according to no less an authority than Penn State scientists.
The actual flights involved in the adventure give you time to do some reading — and shopping.
You’ve seen the catalogs called SkyMall in the pocket of the seat in front of you.
Most of us are also familiar with the merchandise.
It is specialized.
There is the HairmaxLaser Comb, which “effectively treats hair loss and promotes hair growth.”
“You don’t have to suffer the misery of hair loss anymore,” SkyMall says. “Sixty-day money back guarantee.”
A page headlined “Gadget Universe” offers an HD Color Video Spy Camera.
There is a wall map measuring 9 feet by 13 feet made of plastic — so you and your kids can write on it and erase it time after time.
The indoor dog restroom is a mat of artificial grass positioned above a little tray that “gives dogs a place to relieve themselves when they can’t get out for respite.”
“Ideal for high-rise dwelling dogs when owners aren’t home, or even just for times of harsh weather,” SkyMall says.
The upside-down tomato garden “trains vines to grow downward, allowing tomatoes to ripen in the air — not in the ground, where they won’t rot.”
The remote-controlled inflatable dump truck has “no sharp edges to damage furniture” and “makes it easy for youngsters to hone their driving skills.”
The video-recording sunglasses have a camera that allows you to “discretely record all that you see.”
The Tape a Flying Loop lets you put a regular tape dispenser into a machine to crank out “those useful sticky loops automatically” for scrapbooks or wardrobe failures.
The Dog Ear-O-Meter blurb says: “A quick, simple touch inside poochie’s ears tell you when moisture and temperature say a painful infection may be coming on.”
A product called Safetykey emits a gentle glow and chirp after an hour if keys are not left in the correct spot.
The Money Helper is a computer add-on that reads your bank card and prints “currency” with tiny bar codes on the back. Spend it like money. Only you know the difference.
StayWarm is a scarf that tucks into a special synthetic sack for toasting in any microwave. It stores heat until you need to put on the scarf and go out in the snow.
It’s all at SkyMall.
Or is it?
Four of the items above are ones that I made up.
The last four.
The others are really in the catalog.
So is the Nutcracker Suite March porcelain egg, “reminiscent of the eggs crafted by Peter Carl Faberge from 1885-1917.”
* * *
Seen in traffic and licensed to make you smile:
CORAZON (Spanish for heart)
HI N LO
MA N PA
MTL ART (on lighting design company truck)
BG DADY 1
JUST 4 U
JM DANDE (submitted by reader Audrey Barbera)
UR 1DRFL (submitted by reader Rebecca Sumlin)
KNU HART (with a Be An Organ Donor frame)
DAWG4ME (below a University of Georgia decal)
Bonus bumper sticker: “God bless the world — no exceptions.”
Lytle is editorial page editor of the Daily News. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Call him at 263-4773. Check his blog at naplesnews.com/blogs/jefflytle