18 October 2013


by Andy Weddington
Friday, 18 October 2013

"Bums on seats."
                                                                  Eddie Rickenbacker 

No politics today.

Well, maybe a wavetop before turning attention to the title.

Distasteful these past weeks. Sickening. When citizens entrusted with grave responsibility and power to lead (our country) fail to do so, thereby opting to punish the populace (especially those who have sacrificed their service to country donning a uniform) by means of a government shutdown, there is no other conclusion than disgraceful. Their behavior akin to treason.

Words to fashion the extent of disgust escape me. The people should be outraged! That a recent Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of U. S. likely voters revealed 13% of Americans think our country is moving in the right direction signals collective outrage. Maybe.      

Ten, plus one, observations off the top of my head...

1. Thirteen percent, at least, of the population is absolutely clueless.

2. President George W. Bush is surely the happiest guy on earth. Presidents for the rest of the 21st Century will be able to charge "It's Obama's fault!" Their case will be airtight.

3. The White House is broken.

4. Congress is broken.

5. DoD is broken.

6. Government is broken.

7. Therefore, America is broken!

8. Obamacare (fielding of) is a joke. But it's no laughing matter. The President, Cabinet, Congress, et al. with their fingers in the mess should hang their heads in shame. The President owes America an apology - it's his ugly baby. Such is not likely. Further, Obamacare is strangling our economy. Great irony. There will be no economic growth, it's not possible (see Econ 101 & 102), so get used to it.

9. President Obama recently said a "cool" thing about being president is he can pick up the telephone and talk to anyone in the world. That is false. "Call anyone in the world," more like it.   

10. We're going to have to come up with something new for the first half of the closing line of our National Anthem - 'The Star-Spangled Banner.'

"___ ___ ____ __ ___ ____ and home of the brave." Note: As written by Francis Scott Key, the line reads: "O'er the land of the free." Suggestions welcome.

11. Pray!

So, for today, something completely off topic. Something on the lighter, and heavier, side...

Just when I've decided to terminate morning delivery of the newspaper something catches my eye for comment.

Two days ago on page A9 of the Business section of 'The Desert Sun' the eye-catcher was a large color photograph, with descriptor, of Southwest Airlines technicians installing "...skinnier seats on a 737...". The accompanying article's headline: 'Airlines install smaller seats, put squeeze on passengers.'

Interesting! Americans are getting bigger - thanks to improved diet (and poor) and better fitness (and no exercise). That is, the American seat, the derriere, is widening. And the airplane seat, known as a "moneymaker" in the industry, is slimming? Makes for an interesting graph - mass and area; which is already colliding.

The new seats (so there'll be more of them) are skinnier and lighter - less room and less cushion. And an inch or so of leg room goes away, too.

Passenger comfort? What does that have to do with flying and business and profit?

SRO - standing room only - is coming. 

A "slot," not a "seat," being the new "moneymaker."

After all, airlines are in the transportation business - not restaurant, lounge, hotel, entertainment, nor comfort.

And so will end Rickenbacker's description of the airline business - "Bums on seats."  

Sigh (what were once 'the friendly skies')!

Post Script

Edward "Fast Eddie" Vernon Rickenbacker (1890 - 1973) was an American World War I ace; Medal of Honor recipient; race car driver; long time head of Eastern Airlines; and more.

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