Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Kunju,

Your post made me long for Pan Am. and TWA. There was a time when America was Pan Am and Pan Am was America.

Now we have American, United, Delta. And of course, Spirit, the airline that brings your spirit down as it soars into the sky. It offers you a discount if you fly, not standby, but standing.

There’s no love lost between us and them.

Before Reaganomics, Reagan Revolution and Supply Side Economics, and David Stockman’s Trickle-Down Theory, before president Ronald Reagan de-regulated the airline industry, and before Islamic terror took grip of our psyche, and when TSA used to be just 3 syllables of the English alphabet, and not a part of our airport nightmare, air travel used to be mostly carefree, rather expensive and therefore infrequent, and you used to get a seat. A real one.

Fast forward to the future: 2017.

American, that great innovator in air travel, decided that those allergy-inducing peanuts were costing, well, more than just peanuts, and substituted them with that gourmet food called pretzels in a bag (where there was more bag than pretzels) and started charging us.

Next came the bag fees.

So folks became resourceful and instead of checking the bags, started to cram an entire week’s worth of belongings into a so-called carry-on, bulging out to the sides, on board.

It just gets better from there. To recline or not to recline. This is the question. One has to crouch, worried that one is going to elbow-bump the next seat’s already out-of-sync passenger. This is the point at which you wish you had been bumped from the flight.

So the passengers are on edge. Cabin crew is over the edge and into the deep, dealing with disgruntled passengers, irate for not being helped to stick the bulging into the overhead. ‘The Crouching Travelers become Hidden Dragons’.

And now the pilots, not to feel left out and outwitted, have joined in the action.

Airlines meanwhile are looking for additional ways to squeeze out the max for the mini (profit and comfort respectively).

So they hire Harvard MBA’s (sorry, Sushila, not you!) who do extensive and years-long research, and come up with ingenious ideas such as if you shave off a foot width from each seat, you can add 40 more passengers per row.

And as if this isn’t enough, they have us go through the upper crust cabin, where the ruling class is sitting with fluffed pillows at the back, margaritas in hand, and Ralph Lauren cotton slippers on feet, throwing pitiful glances at the Proletariat, dragging their sorry suitcases down the crammed isles.

Has anybody noticed how all this brouhaha from throwing punches never happens in first class?

A recent Washington post headline read, I kid you not, ‘Much-loved giant rabbit found dead after United flight to O’Hare’. The poor rodent (of the phylum Chordata) was most likely petrified of his Homo Sapiens fellow travelers and may have died of acute shock.

This scenario is not going to bring out the best in mankind any time soon, that’s for sure.

So I suggest we should just take to the air on ‘a wing and a prayer’. And may be JetBlue.

Happy Saturday all, from rainy New England

Once in a Blue Moon

Yesterday, as I’m sure you were aware, was Neil Armstrong’s funeral. As part of his farewell from this earth, his family asked the mourners that:
whenever we see a full moon, take a good look at it and give Neil a wink.

So don’t laugh when I say this, in the late evening, when the moon had fully emerged, right above our driveway, we went out to gaze at it, to say goodbye to Neil.

Yesterday also happened to be a ‘blue moon’ night, (when a second full moon happens in the same month of the western calendar), a cosmic event that happens only once every 2-3 years (hence the expression ‘once in a blue moon’).
So, as I looked at this resplendent object high up in the night sky, this is what came to me:
the One who ‘hung the moon’ called one of the humblest among all His creation, back ‘home’ and He also winked and said, ‘job well done, son!’.

A little-known fact about the Apollo 11 moon mission is, that Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon, had carried consecrated Eucharist to this celestial body’s surface. There was some brouhaha over this at the time, ‘separation of church and state’, and all that, but to me, it was more like a fusion of the most acute intellect and the deepest of faith.

Buzz observed it in remembrance of the ‘Prince of Peace’. These astronauts celebrating this solemn act, came bringing ‘peace for all mankind’ and to the heavens.
They left a plaque on the lunar base, ‘The Sea of Tranquility’, that simply states, ‘we came in peace for all mankind’.
I presume it’s still there. Along with the American flag.

Peace onto earth. Peace back to the heavens.

This kind of colliding of the divine and the earthly, has taken place since the beginning of time. Since the beginning of creation. Always at the right time and at the right place.
One holding the moon in His hand, and the one who was chosen to set foot on it, face to face. Up close and personal.

I got goosebumps thinking of all this and i had to share it. Don’t laugh.

“When I look at the sky, which you have made, at the moon and the stars, which you set in their places” – Psalm 8:3

In peace…