The joy of idleness

by Chris Bertram on August 7, 2004

The Guardian have “a long extract from Tom Hodgkinson’s How to be Idle”:,6761,1277111,00.html , an entertaining polemic against hard-work, time-keeping, self-improvement, and Protestant anxiety: a worthy riposte to those who think the quality of life is best measured in terms of per capita income. It also gives me an excuse to link to Paul Lafargue’s “The Right to be Lazy”: .

Vote Kerry

by Belle Waring on August 7, 2004

Could the Bush administration have burned an active al Qaeda double agent? Could they possibly have done something so stupid and/or amorally calculating? I almost can’t believe it, but this Juan Cole post (and linked Reuters article) is devastatingly convincing. I keep thinking that my estimation of the administration’s competence and good will has reached rock bottom, when a new trapdoor opens and I fall into some yet ranker underground oubliette.

Flying the Friendly Skies

by Kieran Healy on August 7, 2004

I’m nearly at the end of my few weeks of dashing around various countries by various means. Here’s an incident I witnessed this afternoon on a flight from Salt Lake City to Tucson, on a small commuter jet. I was sitting in the first row. The flight attendant was standing next to me, by the door. A tall, casually-dressed woman got on and presented a little yellow piece of paper to the flight attendant. He looked at it.

Flight Attendant: This isn’t a boarding pass.
Woman: Yes, I–
FA (Polite but confused): I’m sorry. Are you sure —
W: I’m armed.
FA: What?
W: I’m armed.
FA (looks at yellow paper again): OK. I haven’t seen this before.
W: Thanks.

Then she went and sat down. Later the Flight Attendant went and showed the piece of paper to the pilots, and they had a chat about it.