Carnage In the Skies

Posted in Economics, Travel on April 7th, 2008 by Дмитрий

Three airlines dead in one week.

It’s definitely time for some industry rationalization. As a frequent flier, I am totally baffled why the cost of my tickets has not gone up by 30-40% since I started doing this transcontinental commute three years ago, whilst the cost of oil has gone up 100% in the same time.

Honestly, if I hear one more whiney airline executive say “we’re losing money because fuel prices are so high and passengers want cheap tickets”, I’m gonna riot. Of course we all want cheap flights. But want in one hand, shit in the other, and see which one fills up first. Isn’t that what the airlines should be saying? Why is it our fault that they refuse to bring their prices in line with their costs? Did any of them take a standard business accounting course (you “make” money when your income exceeds your expenses)?

I’m sure people all want cheap gas, too, but that isn’t stopping oil companies from charging what they need to to maintain their margins and fund investments. I could understand maybe a 3-4-month lag in ticket price increases as oil gets dearer (more or less, depending on how well-hedged the airline is), but why have prices been fairly stagnant for three years? The only thing I can think of is that the airlines are all trying really hard to look distressed so that the government will be less likely to block consolidation attempts, or maybe some of the more dire airlines are anticipating another bailout like they got in 2001.

I think the idea that a bail-out could happen if the industry takes a total nose-dive is what keeps all the airlines from genuinely competing. Ideally, the most fiscally-sound airline would be willing to take a temporary passenger-count hit and would raise prices first (maybe only on high-fuel-usage routes and long-hauls), letting the cut-rate airlines continue to lose money on their increased passenger load whilst the financially secure airline coasts along and stays fiscally sound. Assuming that there was no imminent bail-out, the loss-making airlines would have to follow suit and raise prices or go under. The problem right now is that the major carriers are all 100% convinced that Washington would never let any of them go under.

The airlines do not need another bail-out ever again. I would rather pay the price of my fare when I buy the ticket rather than with every tax payment I make.

In related news, my masochistic habit of expensively enclosing myself in one of the above-noted tin cans on a nearly-weekly basis seems to have resulted in a severe bug which pretty much wrecked my 4-day stint at home this past weekend. How much longer can I keep this up?

Homo Wino

Posted in San Francisco, Sods on April 12th, 2008 by Дмитрий


There was just something disturbingly adorable about the two winos at the back of the bus. 


They were cuddling and nuzzling one another and whispering sweet nothings at each other - almost as if to say “We might have no furniture or teeth and we smell like pee, but at least we have each other…”

Ma Ha Ta

Posted in San Francisco, creative clASS on April 13th, 2008 by Дмитрий


Yes, Ma Ha Ta - it’s the trendy new name for Manhattan. Oh, didn’t you know? Things just aren’t edgy or interesting when you call them by their name - you have to abbreviate the name into something meaningless and stupid-sounding.

No Da in Charlotte started it, of course. It stands for “Not Dangling”, I think - maybe coz only lesbians live there…


Posted in Friends, Home on April 27th, 2008 by Дмитрий

One thing I definitely like about hanging out with my friends in North Carolina very much compared with hanging out with the California gang: we’re all home owners. In San Francisco, it was more about the many of us being jealous and envious of the few home owners in the bunch; trying to maintain an air of delighted indifference to the privileges and lifestyle differences of the home owners in the crowd whilst at the same time being incredibly jealous and disinterested in that part of their lives.

Today, David and I hung out in Charlotte with a dozen of the friends I’ve made there, all of whom, to the best of my knowledge, are fellow home owners. When the crowd shares that trait in common, it’s amazing how many new conversational dynamics exist, and how much more casual and comfortable everyday discussions of everyday life can be: no one has to feel quite like the reluctant elitist or guilty rich boy. Everyone can just be themselves.

In other words, it’s nice that home ownership here is the province of the many rather than the few. I know many San Franciscans don’t think they’re missing out on anything because they would miss many of the other aspects of the city if they were home owners in North Carolina as opposed to renters in San Francisco. Still, I guess I score coz I can be both for now.

On Becoming Polite Company…

Posted in Friends on April 28th, 2008 by Дмитрий

I have been a caustic git for many a year - most of you have followed this right here in these pages.

But I’ve noticed some gradual change in the last year, I think. Whilst I still slip and make the odd political-ideological comment now and then, one of the reasons that the absolute frequency of my entries has slipped in the past year or so is that I have tended to use this journal as a forum for getting things off my chest. Thus what was here was the pissiest and whiniest of possible Mes.

My desire to spout off politically has dwindled significantly of late. Also my desire to piss on those with whom I disagree and comment on subjects about which I have strong views has taken a nose-dive. It’s not been a conscious decision, just a gradual progression.

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