Saturday, January 28, 2006


Photo: The Pluto Probe begins its fantastic journey.

Photo: A United Airlines flight bound for Durango. All of the passengers were under the age of ten when they first began making a reservation. (The little girl was recently adopted).

Question: What does the the lovely ski town of Durango have in common with the planet Pluto?

The Answer: Far more than you might ever imagine ---

Recently, NASA launched a satellite probe to Pluto. The $700 million "New Horizons" mission will take ten years to reach its destination some 3 billion miles from earth. Nestled at the far reaches of our solar system, the route taken will be a bit circuitous in order to take advantage of gravitational forces from the various planets, etc. along the way.

So far, all has gone well.

Yesterday, I finally succeeded in making my reservations via United Airlines to travel from San Antonio, Texas to Durango, Colorado, which is nestled in the southwest corner of the Rocky Mountain state.

1. Like the Pluto probe, the cost of my single round-trip ticket is damn close to $700 million.

2. Like the Pluto probe, the time taken to finally secure this reservation took damn near ten years before I reached my modest objective -- the issuance of a single e-ticket. The unbelievable difficulty encountered was courtesy of both the Draconian website and the autochthonous, supposedly automated telephone system this two-bit air carrier has seen fit to install.

3. Like the Pluto probe, the route I must fly is so circuitous it will almost match the distance the "New Horizons" satellite is having to take to reach its far more demanding destination.

So far, all has gone wretchedly bad. Be sure to check back for more updates regarding this "Durango Debacle."


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