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I was recently on a Southwest flight from Albuquerque to Denver. It’s a short flight, one hour. The plane doesn’t even get high enough off the ground for the masks to drop from the overhead bins should the cabin depressurize. As hard as the pilot tries, time after time he can get the plane just so high before beginning the descent into Denver.

On this recent flight, one of the flight attendants says over the loudspeaker, “Since this is such a short flight – fifty minutes – please take a look at our in-flight menu, which can be found in the pocket of the seat in front of you and have your order ready to give to your attendant. This will help us serve you quicker.”

Her statement struck me as amusing. We were told to look at the menu and choose between peanuts or pretzels? Hmm…that’s a tough one. I guess that flight attendants do spend precious time waiting on frequently indecisive flyers. In times past we got both, but on this flight, we got pretzels even when we asked for peanuts.

What didn’t strike me as amusing was the flight attendant’s statement that the flight would last only fifty minutes. Hey, I paid for a full-hour’s plane ride! Southwest gives me no more than fifty minutes?

The newspapers say that airlines are riding a peak of prosperity. Rarely have they made so much money. And how are they doing it? Evidently by saving ten minutes worth of gas per flight and feeding us pretzels. Corporate greed stops at nothing.

Icelandic Air takes it a step further. The only way you get anything to eat is by consulting a menu before the flight and tipping the gate attendant before you get on the plane. The last time I flew Icelandic I didn’t do this – I foolishly thought I could make it across the Atlantic with no more than water – and I got hungry halfway between Reykjavik, Iceland and Washington, D.C. All was not lost, though. There was a shorter menu in the pocket behind the seat in front of me that contained a selection of native Icelandic food – hangikjöt, kleinur, laufabrauð, and bollur, which translated means “peanuts and pretzels”. Pay your money to the fetching flight attendant, and he/she will go to the vending machine outside the cockpit and bring you your order.

I will continue to fly Southwest and Icelandic so long as they win the fare wars on a given flight. I can do without first-class treatment. I do like reading material, though, and on my recent flight I found a newspaper article saying that airlines are facing a shortage of pilots. More than 600,000 pilots will have to be hired over the next two decades to keep up with the demand for new routes and the retirement of older pilots. I wondered why the shortage, and then it dawned on me. Airline food…or the lack of it. Pilots need to keep up their energy levels.

But now that I think about it, the above statement may not be accurate. There is also a shortage of truck drivers, and truck drivers can stop every few miles for “Homestyle Cookin’ Like Your Mama Made.” Truck drivers can eat all they want; still, they are in short supply.

But mama’s cookin’ isn’t what it used to be. A new poll confirms what everyone knows. Many of today’s moms long ago abandoned the kitchen for takeout. The younger generation nowadays doesn’t necessarily equate mom with home-cooked meals. It’s “Granny’s Cookin’” that they want, but Granny’s in The Home eating food cooked by caregiver elves, food so bland that it tastes like pureed hangikjöt, kleinur, laufabrauð, and bollur,

Another shortage in the workforce involves people guarding the border. President Trump wants CBP (Customs and Border Protection) and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to hire a total of 15, 000 more agents to protect our borders against immigrants. Officials in both these agencies say they don’t need any more agents, but they don’t understand. Not only are the duties of agents expanding – their new job description involves bake sales to pay for the wall – but the number of immigrants from Europe is going to drastically increase.

Actually, I’m in Europe as I write this. And it’s hotter than a hot plate in The Hot Place! I mentioned Reykjavik earlier. The other day the high temperature there was 101 degrees.  They’re thinking about changing the name from Iceland to Slurpeeland. Similar highs have been reported throughout Germany, Sweden, France, Belgium, and Spain. Record high temperatures, record low rainfall, and guess what? No air-conditioning…or so little that hordes of people whose ancestors were once barbarians don’t have access.

The heat in Europe is an incredible game changer in the lives of people who think it’s really hot when the temperature hits 78 degrees. The climate is changing. And with it will come millions of Europeans fleeing to America to take advantage of our abundant air-conditioning. Especially pensioners who don’t want to sweat their last few years.

I don’t know about you, but I think this is a security crisis. The descendants of barbarians at the gate! There’s not enough air conditioning to go around. It’s also getting hotter here in the Land of Air Conditioning. We need another agency to protect our borders. The (CAIA) Central Airconditioning Intelligence Agency.

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