Think You Have A Bad United Airlines Story? I Think I Can Top It

I just spent over 10 hours trapped inside a United plane at the Newark airport.

The list of reasons for the delay was, well, magnificent:

1) Food was not stocked on board

2) Needed de-icing

3) Needed de-icing again

4) Lost fuel from waiting for takeoff

5) Lost our captain

6) No new captain (stuck in traffic)

7) Lost our crew while waiting for new captain

8) Got new crew

9) Still no new captain (still stuck in traffic)

10) Got new captain

11) Lost new crew while waiting for new captain

I wish I could write comedy that well.

During the 10 hours, we got off the plane only once.

Wait, you may say, they have to let you off the plane after so many hours.  Well, not really.

They tell you that you can leave.  But if you do, they add, you need to remove all your luggage. Translation:  If this plane is ready to go, we will abandon you like a three-legged mule.

Result:  You don’t dare leave the plane.

Remember that guy United dragged off the plane not too long ago? We were longing to be him.

But United added to the experience by offering no WIFI, no water, and no food.  The food part was especially ironic given that the lack of food on the plane was the initial reason for the delay.  Turns out, they weren’t going to give it to us anyway.  Eventually, I walked to the back of the plane and snuck a glass of water from the flight attendant.  I traded away one of my children for it.

But it was all okay, because United kept me informed viatext, telling me in a series of texts that the flight would:

Depart at 3:30 pm (wrong)

Depart at 7:45 pm (wrong)

Depart at 8:45 pm (wrong)

Depart at 9:35 pm (wrong)

Depart at 10:35 pm (wrong)

Depart at 12:55 am (wrong)

Depart at 11:59 pm (wrong) (an odd shift back in time, as well)

Depart at 12:30 am (wrong)

Depart at 12:59 am (wrong)

Depart at 3:49 am (wrong)

If you’re keeping score at home, that’s a stunning 0 for 10.  A monkey taking an algebra exam could do no worse.

In fact, their updates were so consistently wrong that I started texting back to update THEM, replying to each of their updates with:

Update:  We don’t have a pilot.

Update:  Crew just left.

Update:  You literally have no idea what’s going on.

And after ten hours on board, they finally cancelled the flight at 1:30 am.

But like a good firework show, United saved the best for last.   They told us all that we would have to go to the United service desk to reschedule.

And that’s where the bad math kicked in.

Number of employees at service desk:  4

Number of people waiting for service desk:  400

So the same people who got off the plane at 1:30 a.m. had the added joy of standing in line until 5:00 am (And beyond.  Line still had 225 people in it when I left at 5:00a.m.).

The good news is that I finally got a new flight by connecting to United on Twitter.  The bad news is that the flight is not until Saturday.  Which means I need a hotel. So I’m out a few hundred more dollars.

United will tell you it’s all because of the weather.  And that’s true.

But it’s sort of like building your next house out of cardboard and blaming the rain when it disintegrates.  

I now get the United slogan – “Fly the Friendly Skies.”  The skies are friendly.  It’s their planes that suck donkey ass.

So next time you have to fly, don’t fly the friendly skies.

Fly the friendly airplane.

The New Book, The New Tour, My Old Fingers, and Elvis’s Monkey

My newest treasury, Pearls Hogs the Road, will be in stores next week.  It has 18 months’ worth of Pearls strips and contains my commentary below many of the strips.


It is the ninth Pearls treasury.  If you own them all, you have every single Pearls strip I’ve published (Well, except for the last six months or so of strips.  It takes awhile to get them into books).   For the curious, those prior eight treasuries are:  Sgt. Piggy’s Lonely Hearts Club Comic; Lions and Tigers and Crocs, Oh My; The Crass Menagerie; Pearls Sells Out; Pearls Blows Up; Pearls Freaks the #*%# Out; Pearls Falls Fast;  and Pearls Gets Sacrificed

The commentary  is often people’s favorite part of the book.  Which is not saying much for the strips.  It’s sort of like when someone compliments your shoes but adds that you’re fat.  But I am not fat.  Though I am getting there, after eating this burger with a donut for a bun in Nashville last week.


I’m now thinking that wasn’t a healthy move.  So instead of flying home from Nashville to California, I ran.  It burned off almost half the calories.

My fatness aside, the commentary is often both funny and insightful, and sometimes neither.   But if you don’t like it, there’s a money back guarantee.  Not from me, but the store.  And not willingly.  You’d have to rob them.

But before you rob anyone, take a look at what a sample page looks like.  This one contains commentary about how angry people get when you kick nuns.  So kids, don’t kick nuns.


I should add that my fingers do not come with the book.  Though I suppose they could, if you were willing to pay extra and let me stay at your house.

Speaking of staying at your house, here are the 9 cities I’ll be traveling to on my upcoming book tour:

Friday, April 21, 7:30 pm — Charles M. Schulz Museum, 2301 Hardies Lane, Santa Rosa, CA

(Well, this one doesn’t really count as “traveling”, as it’s just two miles from me.  So I suppose I can just sleep at my own house for this one.  Though I have been assured by the museum that if the event goes late, I can sleep under Schulz’s desk.)

Sunday, April 23, 4:00 pm – Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing, 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd,, Beaverton, OR

(Ah, Portland.  Where I can eat even more donuts and get stoned legally.  So if you’re going to come to just one event, make it this one, as things could get interesting.)

Monday, April 24, 7:00 pm – Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 10th Avenue, Seattle, WA

(Always sunny Seattle.  Where I hear The Far Side‘s Gary Larson lives.  So if you have a connection, let me know.  Otherwise, I’ll go to that market and catch fish with everyone else.)

Wednesday, April 26, 7:00 pm – Magers and Quinn, 3038 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN

(Minnesota!  The state that gave us Charles Schulz and F. Scott Fitzgerald and a very, very large mall.  But I do not like malls.  So please, someone recommend a bar.)

Thursday, April 27, 7:00 – Dallas Morning News, 508 Young St., Dallas, TX

(Dallas!  Believe it or not, this event was almost scheduled to be at the Texas School Book Depository, the building from which Oswald killed Kennedy.  Or didn’t.  Depending on how conspiratorially-minded you are.  But no matter, it is now being held at the Dallas Morning News.  So if I bore you, you can just kick back and read a newspaper.)

Friday, April 28, 7:30 pm – Universal UClick, 1130 Walnut Street., Kansas City, MO

(If you are a comics fan, Kansas City may be the most unique opportunity.  That’s because the event is being held at my syndicate, the same syndicate that distributes Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side, Doonesbury, and many more comics.  As far as I know, this is the one and only time they have opened up the building for a public event.  More importantly, the head of my syndicate, John Glynn, will be there.  Feel free to touch him, hug him, pat him on the head.  But be careful – he has a temper, as you will see in this video.)

Sunday, April 30, 5:00 pm – The Ivy Bookshop, 6080 Falls Road, Baltimore, MD

(Baltimore!  This is one of only two cities on the tour where I have never done a book signing.  I put it on the tour because I recently drank in the Inner Harbor area and loved it (My motivations are just that shallow).  So if you don’t see me at the signing, that’s where I’ll be.  Passed out.  Perhaps floating lifeless in the water, like something out of an episode of The Wire.)

Tuesday, May 2, 7:00 pm – Quail Ridge Books, 4209-100 Lassiter Mill Road, Raleigh, NC

(Raleigh!  It’s been a few years since I’ve done a signing at Quail Ridge, but it was one of my favorites.  So I am coming back!  That is, if I survive Baltimore.  If not, please entertain yourselves.)

Wednesday, May 3, 7:00 pm – Brookline Booksmith, 279 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA

(Boston!  Along with Baltimore, one of only two cities on the tour where I have never done a signing.  While there, I will also be talking about my kids book series, Timmy Failure.  That’s all presuming I have any fans at all in Boston.  Which I may not.  So if it’s just two or three of us sitting around, we can hold hands and share intimate stories.)

So that’s the tour. The goal of which is to make me so rich and famous that one day, just like Elvis, I can fill my home with things like this monkey, which I found on Elvis’s coffee table.


That’s all assuming I live that long.  Which, after the hamburger in Nashville, is iffy.

So please, come see me while you still can.


Stephan “Pretty Fingers” Pastis























I’m Touring Again! (Hide Your Valuables)

Good news.  Or bad.  Depending on your perspective.

I am being let out of my locked office for ten days to go on a book tour.  I’ll be visiting eight different cities.

All in support of my next treasury, which looks like this:

Hogs the Road final cover.jpg

The eight cities will be announced soon (Thus, the black strips over their names in the banner.  That’s to build suspense.  I hope you’re feeling suspensed.)

The tour will begin April 21.  This will give all of the cities the necessary  time to obtain restraining orders.

No, that’s not true.  I can go anywhere.

Except Turkey.

But that’s a discussion for another day.  So if you were planning on a big signing in Ankara, you might want to make other plans.

At each tour stop, I’ll be showing strips, reading hate mail, and signing books.   I will not be perched atop a girl’s bicycle.

And please, someone bring beer.  Even if the bookstores tell you not to.  Because, as you can see from the photo above, I’m a rebel.

Give the Gift of Failure


So for those of you who might not know, I have written a book series for kids called Timmy Failure.  It’s about a little boy who is a detective.  And is not smart.  And can’t solve any crimes.

It’s filled with lots of drawings.

4.2 (tetherball)

Contains an unethical polar bear:

12.3 (shakedown)

And has a girl in a toilet.

42.1 (molly in toilet)

There are four books in the series so far:


And you can get them at your local bookstore.  Or, if you are lazy like me, you can just get them HERE.  Or, HERE.

All four of the books are all written in the style of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Big Nate  books (meaning they’re filled with lots of drawings and are easy to read).  So if your son or daughter liked those books, they will hopefully like Timmy.

Best of all, they are written by me.  And I am funny.  According to me.

Happy Holidays,






Your Chance to Own an Original Pearls Strip

I’m often asked if I sell original Pearls strips.  And unfortunately, I don’t.

But every year or so, I auction one off for charity.  In this case, homeless kids here in my community of Santa Rosa, California.

So if you’ve always wanted to own an original strip, and would like to help a great cause in the process, there is ONE glorious day left to bid in the auction.

Just click HERE to see the wild and crazy bidding.

Your fearless cartoonist,



There Will Be No Actual Burning of Anyone

In honor of the upcoming Pearls Before Swine treasury, Pearls Gets Sacrificed, I am touring this whole angry nation.  Not to be burned at the stake (truly, that would ruin things), but to talk about ME, and to talk about Pearls, and — if someone out there brings me gin — to sign your book.

The cover of which looks like this:

pearls gets sac coverSo, you may ask, where can you meet this idiot?

Right HERE.   (And don’t worry if you’re not on Facebook — you can still view all the particulars.)

And if your town is not on the list — do not fret.  There are two cities to be named later.  Both of them will be part of the Timmy Failure tour, but on that tour, I always talk about Pearls anyways (and will even draw a Pearls character in your Timmy book).

And if all that fails — well, there’s this totally nuts idea:  Go on vacation with me.  That’s right.  A cruise in January in the Caribbean where I sign your books, talk about Pearls, and apparently, eat dinner with you.  (Believe me, you’ll want to switch tables).  But more on the cruise stuff later.

For now, join the mob and come see me on the “One Step Ahead of the Mob” tour this September (but leave the pitchforks at home).

tour promo art copy copyLove,

Your Favorite Idiot, Stephan Pastis

I Get Burned in September

A sneak peek at the cover of the next Pearls treasury, Pearls Gets Sacrificed, which contains 18 months worth of strips, Pearls stickers, and of course, my insightful commentary.  The book’s publication (and 8 city book tour) will all happen in September.

Cities to be announced soon.

pearls gets sac cover