Irony, Defined

The definition of irony: drinking Fuller’s ESB (an English ale) out of a Harp (an Irish lager) pint glass made by Arcoroc (a French company, and made in France) in a hotel bar in Kentucky that doesn’t actually serve Harp.

posted on 31 August 2008 at 1941travel0 commentstrackback

The World from 33,000 Feet

Probably everyone who reads this blog regularly — all three of you — has done a fair bit of flying and has some idea of the shockingly different perspective a person can have on the world from 30-odd thousand feet above it. I’ve been a pilot since 2004, I’ve flown as a passenger literally around the globe, and I’ve spent something like 2500 hours of my life in airplanes so far.

It was a clear night tonight up at 37,000 feet in cruise from Dallas-Ft. Worth to Gulfport-Biloxi, Mississippi, and the Milky Way was very clear and bright. I love night flights over fairly dark terrain (open water is even better) because it almost feels like you could reach out and touch the stars.

As we began our initial descent into Biloxi, we crossed over I-55 at about 33,000 feet. At first, I didn’t know exactly what I was looking at, but then it dawned on me: as Hurricane Gustav bears down on Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, as mandatory evacuations have been ordered for all of New Orleans to avoid a repeat of Katrina, the entire interstate had become one solid bumper-to-bumper mass of headlights streaming north to safety.

I’m going to hop in the same airplane at 0700 tomorrow, fire up the engines, and blast off to Dallas, where I’ll have a two-hour break and eat some breakfast before going to Cincinnati. Monday morning, I’ll get up, fly back to Chicago, do an Albany (NY) turn, then fly home to Kalamazoo. Meanwhile, those thousands upon thousands of headlights will still be marching north, to wait for who knows how long. I hope when they turn around and head back home, they’ll have homes to head back to.

posted on 30 August 2008 at 2356general0 commentstrackback

Colgan Air Threatening to Fire Pilot on FBI Watch List

This is absolutely despicable. Colgan Air, a regional airline that operates primarily in the northeast US for US Airways and United, is threatening to fire one of their pilots because the government has placed him on one of the many terrorist watch lists.

Er, didn’t he go through the same background checks as everyone else Colgan (and other airlines) hired? Is Colgan admitting to themselves — and the public — that governmental background checks are inadequate? If so, I think they have a lot more people they need to fire.

I just posted about a similar situation two days ago, the main differences being the airline involved and the relative seniority of the pilot. Robinson, the mainline captain who also happens to be an FFDO, is not facing any action on the part of his airline because his airline has enough common sense to know that the TSA and FBI can’t maintain a proper watch list to save their lives.

Colgan, on the other hand, is behaving pretty fucking shamefully here. It’s not Erich Scherfen’s fault the FBI thinks a decorated 13-year military veteran might be a terror suspect. Heck, if the FBI doesn’t think a five-year-old named James Robinson should be allowed to fly simply because he’s named James Robinson, I don’t think the FBI’s opinion on these matters is valid in the first place.

Unfortunately, Colgan pilots are non-union (they rejected a vote to certify ALPA last fall, IIRC), and this is going to bite Scherfen right in the ass if his lawyers can’t get the government to remove him from the list. Airlines will find any excuse to fire pilots, believe me. And I’ll just go on the record now and say that I will never have anything to do with Colgan Air as long as I live unless they immediately back down from this ridiculous position.

Google this, you bastards.

UPDATE, 04 September: Colgan has reinstated Erich Scherfen. His lawsuit against the government continues.

posted on 22 August 2008 at 1622aviation0 commentstrackback

Paging Alan Shore

Alan Shore, in the Boston Legal episode “Nuts” (transcript, in PDF format):

I suppose youre right. One has to wonder how many Denny Cranes are out there, being denied the right to fly, who cant afford an attorney.

[He turns to the gallery.]

Do we have any with us today? If so, please stand.

[Nearly the whole room rises.]

Old people, children, even a few women. Everyone here is named Denny Crane. These are just the ones within driving distance, of course, since airplane travel was not an option.

Sadly, life imitates art yet again.

When I was a new hire at my current airline job, one of my fellow classmates in ground school was also on one of the various no-fly lists used by the TSA. I’d hazard a guess that as many as one percent of cockpit crew members at US airlines might be in the same situation, all because our government is too stupid to use a little common sense.

posted on 19 August 2008 at 1754general0 commentstrackback

Pimp My Ride

I’m just wondering…will glue-on Brembos help slow my car down after I use all those “Type R” stickers to make it go faster? Gotta have balance, you know.

posted on 12 August 2008 at 1733car0 commentstrackback

Abstract Poetry Spam

Spam is getting less and less comprehensible by the day:

Subject: hitherto royce bracken assessor childbirth

dyadic buzzer agnes? stain, swedish deportation.
deportation eyelet apropos maudlin henrietta bracken, swedish
leningrad coralline ford henrietta wilcox.

graphite bracken dirty

vulcan munificent eyelet? wolff, forwent dyadic.
sam isolate vulcan rebutting eyelet propos, deportation
radioastronomy alchemy stonecrop childbirth alchemy.

alchemy childbirth cornbread

apropos fricative vulcan? wolff, joyful rasa.

hitherto royce.

What’s the point of spam that isn’t selling something? Is this supposed to be some kind of modern performance art?

posted on 11 August 2008 at 1659computing0 commentstrackback