Bits and bobs accumulated while I was traveling, offered up as I recover from the traumatic trip back to Chicago. (I wasn’t at Don and Crystal’s wedding, but many congratulations to the happy couple!) I had an early flight scheduled Sunday, but I was feeling lazy and unmotivated to arise at dawn to return my rental car, so I called United and asked whether I could go standby on a later flight. They indicated that there should be no problem, as the later flights had plenty of open seats. This turned out to be one of those things they believed even though they couldn’t prove, in fact even though it wasn’t true. After sitting in LAX, watching two flights to Chicago take off full without me, I finally squeezed onto a plane that was scheduled to reach O’Hare at 10:44 p.m. Of course, it took off only after an hour-and-a-half delay, and then landed safely around 12:30 a.m. Sadly, it landed not in Chicago, but in Rockford IL, since it was apparently a bit breezy in Chicago. (Windy city and all that.) After some tense moments when it appeared as if we might all climb aboard busses and drive the rest of the way, the plane did take off again, landed safely in the appropriate airport, and I endured a tense half an hour in which everyone on the flight retrieved their luggage except me. Finally mine came out, allowing me to proceed to the character-building exercise of standing in the rain for another half an hour to get a taxi. Arriving to my chilly lakeside condo at 3:30 a.m., since apparently some bozo left the window open when he left for L.A. For as much as I travel, it’s been a long time since I’ve been subjected to such delays, so I suppose I was due.
And while we were away:
- Peter Woit reports that the second- and third-year WMAP results are soon to be released, which looks to be true. My guess is that there won’t be any universe-shaking surprises, just some careful results about polarization of the CMB, which is a very tiny signal that is hard to measure.
- Grrlscientist points to a bit of culture you can only find here in Illinois: the best hamburger ever. Served, apparently, at the ballpark of minor-league baseball team the Gateway Grizzlies. What is it, you may ask, that separates this particular all-beef patty with two slices of cheddar and two strips of bacon from its artery-clogging competitors? It must be the bun, which consists of two halves of — wait for it — a Krispy Kreme Original Glazed donut. Mmm. It’s only 1000 calories, so you might want to order two.
- Alina Stefanescu , via Marginal Revolution, points to a condensed version of Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom in cartoon form. Originally published in the 1950′s in Look magazine, and distributed by General Motors. Hayek was an economist and political philosopher, popular today among libertarian-leaning types for his warnings against the horrors of collectivism. It’s interesting to me how the process of creeping loss of liberty described in The Road to Serfdom sounds these days like a warning against the excesses of our putatively-conservative administration. (At least, according to that notorious pinko sympathizer Sandra Day O’Connor.)
And now there’s a movie version!
- Occasional CV commenter John Farrell points to a slightly more conventional documentary: The Bag of Knees, about the lives and choices of nurses. You can see a preview, and it’s available for purchase on DVD.
- Continuing on the movie theme, from Orin Kerr at the Volokh Conspiracy comes perhaps the second-cutest thing ever: this somewhat unequal cat fight.
The cutest thing ever was of course already referenced here. Those darn cats.
- My interminable trip home was enlivened by a celebrity presence on the plane, one celebrated for his persistent cheerfulness: that’s right, Richard Simmons. There was a touchy moment when we were on the ground in Rockford and it looked like he was going to lead the plane in singing campfire songs. The previous evening, playing poker at an L.A. cardroom, the table behind me featured a game between Gus Hansen, Phil Ivey, and a couple of their friends. Which of these counts as a more significant celebrity sighting will depend on your personal cultural matrix.