Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Virtual Bardic Circle

One of my hobbies is historical recreation; one of my interests is running a bardic circle at which I try to create the illusion of a group of people sitting around a fire entertaining each other at some indefinite time and place in the medieval period. I recently created a virtual bardic circle with webbed recordings of some of my stories and poems, along with pieces by a lady who sometimes comes to the circle and performs to the delight of me and my guests.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Boarding South-Western: The Sound of One Hand Clapping

It long ago occurred to me that one way of making the process of getting on an airplane easier would be to line up the passengers in advance in the inverse order of their seats numbers (assuming you board from the front) then march them aboard. That way the passenger in seat 25 wouldn't have to wait while the passenger in seat six put his bag up. For a fancier version, one might do it by number and letter--first line up everyone with a window seat, march them in, then everyone with a middle seat, then aisle seats.

I was pleasantly suprised a few days ago, preparing to board a South-Western flight, to find that they were indeed lining passengers up in order. Indeed, they were doing it in three successive groups--A, B, C. I assumed that someone else had finally gotten the same idea I had and implemented it.

Until I realized that the number on the boarding pass had nothing to do with where you sat, since the flight was open seating--no preassigned seats.

Monday, July 07, 2008

David Friedman, Barack Obama, and the Game of Telephone

As most readers of this blog know, I posted some time back that I preferred Obama to both Hilary and McCain, expanding on that in a later post. There have now been several news articles including me in lists of conservatives who have endorsed Obama, based on that post, phone interviews with me, and random (mis?)information.

I am not, of course, a conservative but a libertarian. And describing Obama as the least bad candidate, while saying that I hope he wins but don't plan to vote for him, is quite a bit short of an endorsement.

My favorite mistake so far was an article in the London Times that said I had been brought up as a "classic liberal." What I had said, of course, was "classical liberal," i.e. libertarian. I expect part of the reason for the confusion was that "liberal" in the U.K. has retained at least some of its 19th century meaning, making the identification of libertarian with liberal less bizarre than it would be in the U.S.

I have also seen one online comment, and received one letter, identifying me as a fund raiser for Obama. I am not sure if this is merely the usual consequence of a game of telephone, where facts get inflated and distorted at each transmission, or if it is a case of mistaken identity. Googling for my name and "Obama" a while back, I noticed a list of contributors to Obama, one of whom was named David Friedman. It is not a very uncommon name.

In any case, for the curious, I am not a fundraiser for Obama, I have no connection with his campaign beyond knowing one or two of the academics associated with it, I have not endorsed him--but I would rather see him win than McCain.