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And in a Related Story ...

By Bob Woodiwiss · October 4th, 2001 · Pseudoquasiesque

No Longer Packed Like Sardines, Passengers Actually Enjoy Air Travel
CHICAGO, OCT. 3 -- Attorney Les Tehnshun flew from Los Angeles to Chicago this morning, and, given recent events, one might expect him to deplane sweat-soaked and tense. Such is not the case.

"Hardly anyone was on board," he reports, smiling. "No jabberjaw salesman in the next seat. No weak-bladdered woman climbing over me five times to use the bathroom. I could spread out, put my feet up on the other seats." The flight's pilot, Mike Speaker, observed, "What's great is, the people not flying these days are the same ones who were such huge pains in the (expletive) before."

It's a story being echoed at airports across the country. That is, with jets booked at only a third or fourth capacity, travelers are saying they're rediscovering the joys of air travel.

"We boarded on time. Took off on time. Arrived on time," said May I. Soocher, a surgical nurse arriving here from San Francisco. "Even better, there were no senior citizens jamming up the aisles, loading and reloading their bags in the overheads, oblivious to the world. Oh, and there were no kids. Translation: There were no crying kids." Other differences? "I practically had to ask the flight attendants to leave me alone; they were almost hovering."

Delta flight attendant Rose Sharpley commented, "For now, the whole cattle car feel of air travel is gone. But the losers and morons are already trickling back into (See D-21)

Hippies, Peaceniks Change Attitude Regarding War
TORONTO, OCT 3-- In a sparsely attended press conference here today, a hodgepodge of loosely affiliated Vietnam-era draft dodgers, expatriates, hippies, Yippies and flower children put aside their dove-ish ways and announced their complete support of the United States war on terrorism.

"Vietnam was an illegal, immoral war. Granada was an act of aggression and imperialism. The Persian Gulf conflict was fought for the interests of the oil companies. This one, though, well, jeez, an armed response seems like a no-brainer." So said group spokesman Hyland "Hi" Azzaburd, a native Californian and a Canadian resident since 1968.

Azzaburd continued, "We all, of course, regret the recent attacks on the U.S., yet, at the same time, we welcome this opportunity to finally demonstrate the patriotism we've always felt in our hearts but haven't been able to express due to taking the moral high road. Starting today, though, we're ripping Old Glory off the seat of our jeans and saluting it."

The whole group appeared bathed; hair was neatly groomed (Continued on Page18)

NRA Wants Air Passengers to Pack Bags, Heat
LOS ANGELES, OCT 3 -- National Rifle Association President Charlton Heston unveiled his group's solution to airline security this afternoon: concealed weapons for passengers.

"Second Amendment rights aren't limited to land and sea but also extend into U.S. airspace," he averred. Mr. Heston said the rationale behind concealed weapons in the skies is no different from the rationale that permits them in 44 states. "It's simple: A bad guy is a lot less likely to commit a crime against someone if he thinks that someone has a gun. So, if air travelers and flight crews are allowed to carry their weapons onto their aircraft, what terrorist in his right mind is going to try a hijacking knowing that he may be outgunned?" When a reporter began to respond, Mr. Heston said, "That was rhetorical."

Mr. Heston added that such a change would also yield financial benefits. "Airport security costs would drop sharply since checkpoints would only have to scan and check for bombs." He cautioned, however, "Of course, the NRA believes high explosives, often used by hunters, are also constitutionally protected, but we're willing to waive (Continued on Page 22)

Consumer Confidence Slips, Arrogance Remains High
New York, Oct. 3 -- Newly released Treasury Department figures indicate that while American consumers generally are less confident today than they were before Sept, 11, their cockiness about their consumption compared to people in the rest of the world actually rose 3.6 percent.

"OK, so I'm going to wait-see on that new Audi I want. But I already drive a Saab, have a 5,000 square foot house with a sauna in the master suite, a 32-foot sailboat, a Mac G4 PowerBook, blah blah blah," says 37-year-old Lotta Dollas of Portland, Ore. "You get the idea. Think people are living like this in Afghanistan?"

Younger consumers have an equally prideful outlook. Says 20-year-old Rocky Marquette, of Palo Alto, Calif., "For now, I'm sitting tight, money-wise. Whaddaya wanna bet, though, I already own more video games than, like, everybody in Morocco put together."

Sociologists claim this brash lifestyle conceit is one more form of patriotic expression, a "rallying around the almighty dollar" as Duke University Professor (Continued on Page15) ©



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