Live, from the 5th Circle of Hell; or From Atlanta with Love

There are a few posts from this week’s trip and you’ll be reading them in whichever order I feel like fleshing out my notes. There is also one that will be written, but not posted without the consent of the other parties involved. Barring that consent, it will remain a permanent part of my personal archive and never see the light of day. Either way, it’s there as a part of the record. You know, for 300 years from now when someone finds one of my old flash drives buried in the rubble of civilization and has to reconstruct what life was like in the 21st century based on only a handfull of snarky blog posts.

I digress, however, from the work at hand. I hate the airport at Atlanta. It’s over crowded both in terms of flight operations and the sheer number of our oblivious fellow airport patrons (did you really think I was going to use the phrase “fellow traveler?”). All the early flights are sold out, so here I sit until 7:30, when, I hope, the skies over the ALT are not full of thunderheads. It’s summer in Atlanta so I’m not holding my breath. This place is some kind of hellish business traveler’s purgatory where time takes on no actual significance.

It’s only saving grace is that it has indoor smoking if you know where to look; thus proving that even hell has its perks. Thank God I’m easy to please.

The morning after…

It’s been a long time since I hear the bell for last call… and this morning, I’m remembering why. Had a great night with old friends as well as meeting some new and interesting people. A good time was had by all… but I’m going to leave it there because I’m fairly certain that staring at this computer screen is going to make my eyes explode.

The saga continues…

OK, I’ve filed my plans (for the second time) and have all the paperwork cut, reservations made, all the appropriate notifications that I’ll be floating around the old homestead over the weekend have happened (almost). When everything is going according to schedule, my day ends at 3:30. At 3:19 I got an email that I had been “uninvited” to the DC meeting on Friday. At 3:26 another email hit my inbox that I was “reinvited.” I appreciate you boys fighting over me, I really do, but this whole plan has all the classic hallmarks of a typical government operation… no one has a damned clue what is actually going on.

As of 8:30, I’m planning to fly out tomorrow. That, of course, is subject to the requirements of the service and can change at any time before “the cabin door has been closed and customers are asked to turn off their cell phones, pagers, and other electronic devices.” If you don’t see a stark, raving post about government ineptitude by 6:00 PM eastern time tomorrow, you’ll know I’m winging my way somewhere over the Eastern half of the country. Stay tuned for developments as they happen.

Weekend update…

The best way to end your Monday is to find out you will be hitting the road again on Thursday night. As it happens, I have to be in DC for meetings on Friday and due to arcane federal regulations, I can’t technically be forced to travel outside “normal duty hours.” What that effectively means is that Uncle is going to pick up the tab for me to spend the weekend at home and that I’ll fly back here to Memphis on Monday morning.

So, cool cats and kittens, I’ll be in town sometime late Friday afternoon. Hope to see ya’ll there!


Spend enough time doing what I do and you’ll learn that flight plans are never for sure until you are taxing up to the terminal at your destination. I filed all my paperwork this morning that put Uncle’s official stamp of approval on my travel plans… Thirty minutes later I was walking to the shredder with those plans.

You should always be suspicious when the boss wanders over to you and starts the conversation with “since you’re going to be on the road Monday anyway…” So, instead of a nice quiet flight back to Memphis on Monday morning, I’m going to reroute through Atlanta for a 10 hour layover so I can take a meeting downtown before heading back to the airport to catch my newly scheduled evening flight to Memphis.

There ought to be a law against forcing someone to go through two airport screenings in one day… especially when one of them is Atlanta.

Dear Neighbor (or Another reason why I hate people)…

Dear Neighbor,

They pick up the trash in our subdivision on Wednesday. It’s customary for folks to put their trash out on Tuesday evening and then take their newly emptied trashcan off the curb when they get home Wednesday afternoon. Is it really so hard for you to get with the program? Why is your lovely green can still sitting on the curb on Saturday morning? It’s right there by your mailbox and I’ve seen you picking up your mail in the afternoons when you get home. Is it too hard for you to extend your other hand and drag your can back to the garage like every other damned person in the universe?

And another thing… Why the hell are you watering your lawn? I mean, really, why bother? You clearly hate cutting your grass because you do it so rarely… Not to mention that there are three foot tall weeds growing around every obstruction in your yard… including you house. If you’re not going to do the required maintenance, why do something that actually encourages the stuff to grow in the first place? And really, if you’re too lazy to break out the weedeater once a week, at least invest $5.00 in a bottle of Round-up and kill that shit.

Yours very sincerely,



It’s the worst kept secret in the world that organized religion and I have a general difference of opinion. I don’t have any problem with folks who embrace religion, I’m just not one of them. If I would have been interested in finding a church, or Jesus, or whatever it was I was supposed to be looking for, I would have done it by now. What I don’t need is a van-full of Baptists showing up in my driveway when I’m trying to tend to the yard – yes, I fired Paco and his lawn service, by the way… That’s a story that involves scalping the lawn and chopping the shit out of downspouts with a weedwacker, but I digress. I’m sweaty, the sprinklers are running, and I’m holding a shovel. If you’re pulling into my driveway, this is a sign that it may not be the best time to stop for a chat… especially if I don’t know you. Because quite frankly, I’m not thinking about my immortal soul at the point… I’m mentally calculating how many of you I can take out with the pointy end of a shovel before you get me… This is Memphis after all.

With that being said, don’t peddle your church door-to-door. It’s annoying. And really, assuming God really is all knowing and all powerful, He doesn’t need to be sold like encyclopedias or vacuum cleaners. That’s just tacky.

Flock of Seagulls…

I was feeling fine when I went to bed last night, but woke up around 3:30 with a cough and sinus stuff going on. All very unpleasant. Even more unpleasant, of course, is that once I’m awake, the chances of actually going back to sleep hover between slim and none. So, reaching for the book I have been working on, I decided to prop myself up with a cup of coffee and read a bit. I don’t get the uninterrupted time to read that I use to, so I am still plowing through Castles of Steel, a really well-written analysis of British versus German fleet action during World War I.

Apparently, during the Great War, the Brits were working on a program that was supposed to train seagulls to poo on U-boat periscopes, preventing them from making torpedo attacks on commercial vessels making the run between England and the Americas. I’ve been working in government for a while now and we hear a lot of dumb ideas, but I’m having a hard time figuring out how someone could walk into a room of senior admirals of what was then the world’s most well-respected navy and recommend that enemy submarines could be defeated by having a flock of seagulls drop a duce right on their eyepiece. I haven’t decided if that was wishful thinking or just plain disturbing.

Oh, and for the record, I think I’ll be staying home today. I’m a half-dozen pages into Jutland and want to see how it turns out… well, that and every time I move my head I can actually feel my brain banging around. Sinus pressure blows.


Here’s a breakdown of three recent charges on my debit card…

– DirecTV = $170.15
– Direct Insurance = $168.75
– AT&T prepaid cell phones (3) = $87.93.

The problem is mainly that none of those charges was actually mine. So, currently I have $1 in my wallet along with a debit card that is deactivated. I have a police report that I can pick up tomorrow afternoon, and Bank of America looking into the situation. Fortunately, they were nice enough to credit my account after I filled out an affidavit and faxed it back to them this morning.

I talked to a “fraud specialist” with AT&T this afternoon who was able to tell me that the charges were made by someone using the name “Jackie.” They declined to give me any more information about the individual until I fax them a copy of the police report. So, Jackie, hear this… I’m coming for you. And when I find you, I’m going to latch on like a bulldog and make your life absolutely miserable. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to loose months of frustration on a singularly deserving target.