August 10th, 2008


Something for Nothing: The National Attitude

Just flipped on CNN for a sec -- unusual since I almost never watch news on TV -- and got really annoyed at this story on airlines.

The story was all about people being an uproar about all the changes, for the worse, made at airlines. The chief concern was the implementation of fees for everything from baggage to seat reservations to pillows. "Just charge me for my flight and the rest should just be free!" was the complaint presented by consumer advocates and the slanted news team.

Now, seriously, WTF? The airlines are in the shit up to their eyeballs, due to fuel costs chiefly, and they are thinking of ways to stem the bleeding without jacking up actual airline tickets, which have indeed risen but not nearly as much as they might have. What do people expect them to do? An airline doesn't have the same sort of cost-cutting leeway as other businesses because they are highly regulated and their workforce is unionized. They can't cut out maintenance or fire chunks of workers. But people demand they get their cake and eat it too, as if cheap airfares is some sort of right (along with cheap gas for their cars).

Now excuse me, but if all the airlines suddenly said "OK, all the formerly 'free' stuff is back w/o a fee, but fares are going to DOUBLE..." I don't think the consumer advocates and bitchy people would be pleased. "Oh noes! Why can't we have our old prices? Why are the airlines gouging us? Something must be done!" Puh-leez. This is the same attitude people are spouting all the time re gas prices: "OMG, it's a conspiracy amongst the oil companies, the Bush regime, and The Man to rob us of our god-given right to cheap, copious gas!" Um, seriously folks, gas costs more because like it or not, oil is a finite resource which has passed its peak and is a lot more rare than the general public believes. It is ONLY going to get more expensive. If people had been paying a lot more for oil for the last few decades, the whole planet would be a lot better off! But no, people are so used to the low prices that they take it as a God-given right and get totally irrational if anything pops up to burst their bubble.

Is this the most conservative thing I've ever posted? Possibly. However, in case anybody thinks otherwise, no, I am decidedly NOT a Libertarian. I am just sick of people thinking they can get something for nothing! I used to be able to get RT Atlanta-Boston fares for $120. Now I consider $250 a "good deal" and even $300 something at Christmas OK. Because I face reality!
sideview, obamame_sideview


I had a very nice weekend.

Caleb was still in SC as of Friday night and Daniel was doing volleyball per usual, so Friday night I watched more Muppet Show and read and did crosswords and otherwise enjoyed myself.

Saturday I stayed home all day, which was A-OK. Finished off my web site redo, watched Muppet Show with the "Muppet Bites" turned on, read Mary Renault, had a long nap, and again, otherwise enjoyed myself. Caleb did arrive home finally but we didn't see each other, as I figured he'd just want to be alone and go to bed.

Today was rather idyllic too. Got up at 7:30, really early for a Sunday, and actually got out of bed to do the dishes, then read more Renault, showered, got dressed and did more crosswords. So Caleb calls at 9:20 about going to Alon's and I was all set. So he and Daniel and I went out, had a nice breakfast and coffee, then caught the bus back. Very efficient.

Afterward I had time to chill out again before going out to our work pool party. This was out at co-workers house somewhere in Gwinnett County, so I got a ride from another co-worker, who picked me up at a MARTA station. I must say, it was the best work get-together I've ever been to. I was pretty much the only one there w/o a spouse and/or kids but I felt right at ease with everyone. There was good food, a nice pool (where I went swimming and cannonballed off the diving board), and good conversation. No weird formal awkwardness or work talk either, which was great. I particularly enjoyed talking to my co-worker's wife Edith, who's Bavarian. She and I and a couple others got into a long conversation covering foreign language learning, food, ethnic neighborhoods, German dialects, and more. I also had fun talking to my office mate Ivey's 4-year-old, who was cracking me up. We asked him what his parents did for a living and he goes "They make money so I can buy toys!" LOL. He and his brother are super cute and sweet, like their parents :)

Once back at home I took a nice nap and then Caleb came over. I showed him the Juliet Prowse episode of The Muppet Show, because I thought he would like it, but he was kind of "Eh" on it. He did at least like the "Mahna Mahna" skit. But he just doesn't get the humor I guess. That's OK, it means I can return this DVD for the next one, now that I don't have to hold on to it so he can watch. I have the whole first season in my Netflix Queue.

And now, "Mahna Mahna":