Archive for November, 2004

london re-calling

Today, I have learned several important facts:

1. Virgin Atlantic habitually overbooks its London to New York flights by 15 to 30 passengers.

2. Virgin Atlantic closes the gates for their flights out of Heathrow half an hour sooner than they close their gates out of JFK.

3. The combination of facts #1 and #2 mean that should you arrive at Heathrow, say, 2 minutes after gate-closing for your flight, there are INSTANTLY 20 to 50 passengers ahead of you in line for a standby ticket for the next flight…and for every other departing flight that day.

4. The odds of getting a standby seat when there are 30 angry people in line ahead of you are small. Very, very small. So small that normally understated British ticket agents will use phrases like “Well… it’s possible that a miracle could happen…”

The upside to this? Two extra nights in London! Woohoo! The downside? Two extra nights in London that my employers were rather expecting me to be spending in New York City. Oops.

Allegedly, Richard Branson’s latest venture is to commercialize Space Ship One and start a private space tourism industry. After this trip (and I haven’t even gotten to how late our flight left JFK on the outbound leg), I am now 100% in favor of this, as it will afford us an actual opportunity to launch Branson into space… and leave him there.

crying into the beer of a drunk man

Well, in a few scant hours, we’re off to Merrie Olde Englande™. There may be travelogues, there will certainly be photos.

Enjoy the holiday, y’all. If you need me, I will be in a pub, somewhere in London.



In Berkeley in the mid-1960s, I used to marvel at the way friends made the world anew each day by cartwheeling down the street, moment to moment exchanging Trotskyism for anarchism for Stalinism for the occult for drugs for religion while Professors who in the 1930s were Communists and were now Freudians explained it all. In every case there was a received answer to every question, which meant that there were no questions. Everything seemed possible, and the prospect was terrifying— so “nothing is true”, one basis for “everything is possible”, was exchanged for one Truth, whatever it was. Everything was present save a critical spirit, which might have made real the great adventure in doubt that, as Descartes described it, lay behind his “Cogito, ergo sum”: his dead slogan. No doubt the mad multiplication of choice by which “the sixties” are known led straight to a surrender of choice in the next decades, a surrender to authoritarian religion, authoritarian politics- for some, freedom from doubt was always the point, peace of mind worth any price. An aide to Senator Jesse Helms, tribune of the American right, could speak of the need to go back beyond Descartes, explaining that inside all the vulgar propaganda of fetus murder and racist nightmare was a true project: the repeal of the Enlightenment, the rebuilding of a world where the affirmation of one’s own thoughts was a sin, the return of the will to God. Everyone knows history moves in circles; the surprise is how big the circles are.

—Greil Marcus, Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century

(Courtesy my dear friend Pete, who dug up the quote so I wouldn’t have to.)

always outnumbered, always outgunned

Failure is the new black.


There is not enough alcohol. In the whole damn world.

I’m going to bed. Someone wake me when we have a president.

It’s On


If anyone needs me between the hours of 9pm and 3am tonight, I will be very, very drunk.

Thank you.