As you know one cannot escape Texas by air without going to Houston or Dallas. I arrived Houston for the high ride across the ocean because on this occasion I am taking United Airlines formerly known as Continental Airlines. Houston hub.When I entered the aircraft, I suddenly realized that I had never been on an airplane quite like this one. A new 787-8 Dreamliner. As I entered, it seemed extraordinarily wide. I counted the seats but no there was a 2-4-2 seating for the main cabin, not the classic 2-5-2 arrangement. Then I realized that the entrance gangway was attached to the aircraft behind first class. No more walking through first class to get seated. Perhaps the grandees have taken exception to being wondered at for paying an extra 3,0000$ for the privilege of arriving to Paris at the same time? As perceived value they get champagne and better pillows. I did some quick math: at 7$ per glass of wine nine hours isn’t enough time for me to consume 428 glasses of champagne. I concluded the preponderant benefit was the better pillows.
Once seated I noticed that each place had it’s own screen embedded in the back of the seat in front. At the moment of my arrival it was displaying advertisements. I assumed that this was yet another value added merchandising situation. I decided to ignore its pleas for my attention. Money. I wondered how long I could resist. Forty-three minutes later I found myself manipulating the controls. I found innumerable movies, games, TV shows, news and a time-flight-path chart. Overload. To my surprise, I could find a no way to pay. Free until hooked. I surveyed the movies that were classified into the usual suspect category, drama, comedy, children, action, love, and for me, the most interesting, “cult classics”. Quoi? More than one oddball flies? I found one of my old favorites to watch that I had not seen for a few years, “Dr. Strangelove”, the Stanley Kubrick classic starting Peter Sellers in three different roles. Rationale for “nuclear deterrence”. Difficult not to wonder which response: laugh at the inane logic or cry at the knowledge that this is the way that government rationalizes the irrational.
After the movie I discovered Trivia. Having a mind cluttered with useless and pointless knowledge: home. Several hours later I found myself at level 5, having dispatched levels 1,2,3 and 4 with condescending alacrity. However, in this version the computer gets to choose the category every other question. I discovered that it learns. It begins to frequent the category that a player is least successful with. It now chooses “Sports” nearly every opportunity it gets. Cheater! I lost! As consolation, I was able to enter my name in third place behind Slick and Mick. Tracy now in place three of the Trivia trellis of champions. Well at least on Flight 33U.