December 29th, 2005

krazy koati

We all want to know what you learned today

Some more disjoint thoughts about the flight since I got in safely but don't have the energy to write back to the comments everyone posted yesterday:

  • There was a huge line at security check-in, and then another, short line. Nobody seemed to know why there were two lines, so after probing carefully I went to the short line. And that would have made all the difference, since even through the short line I got to my gate exactly at the posted start-of-boarding time, except the long line was so long that the flight crew didn't get through, so things started late but somehow got out on time anyway.
  • The security screener was garrulous to the point he was in danger of getting his own unfunny sitcom on ABC. Then I saw in a paper that in the Newest Cunning Scheme To Foil Them Very Bad Real Bad Bad Guys, agents are supposed to use small talk to trip Terrorists into carelessly revealing their Real Very Bad Bad Plans, like so:
    SCREENER: ``What d'ya figure you'll get to do in Chicago?''
    TERRORIST: ``See some family, visit the Art Institute, Museum of Science and Industry, detonate a nuclear device at the John Hancock Building because we thought that was the Sears Tower. Oh, and pictures of Wrigley.''
    Still, bad enough for us introverts to already view strangers attempting to make small talk as mysterious, intrusive, and occasionally pain-inducing alien creatures; now we find out they're also sizing us up to see if we should be arrested on suspicion of being suspects.
  • There was a CGI theme in the in-flight movies, featuring Ice Age, The Polar Express, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I realized I'd really like CGI and CGI-assisted movies to drop the video game luge run sequences. Furthermore I learned that while I'd thought I had seen all of Ice Age in random order, scenes being played on infinite loop in TV and DVD stores, in fact there were about eight minutes I'd missed, mostly involving poop jokes, which I'd also like dropped.
  • Whilst next on line at customs in Singapore, a guy came looking around, poking around as if checking something, then deposited himself in front of me. Wouldn't budge, either. Finally the family ahead of me -- which had apparently the most complicated customs issues since the Zollverin was dissolved -- got done and he jumped ahead, only to have his passport sniffed at by the inspector, and directed to go way over to another desk, and a fresh (and by that time, much longer) line.

Trivia: Congress voted Friedric von Steuben a pension of $2,500 per year in 1790. Source: The Kaiser's Merchant Ships in World War I, William Lowell Putnam.

Currently Reading: The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary, Simon Winchester.