New Strain Of Jet Lag Devastates Airline Industry

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Vol 41 Issue 34

Bush Calls For Rock Revolution In Weekly Pirate-Radio Address

WASHINGTON, DC—President Bush called for an end to corporate rock, "wuss-metal," and sellout-punk in his weekly pirate-radio address Saturday, delivered from an unlicensed mobile transmitter in the back of his presidential limo. "You don't wanna be an American idiot!" said Bush over the opening strains of "Take The Power Back" by Rage Against The Machine. "Reject Clear Channel's spoonfed bullshit! Wake up, motherfuckers!" An estimated 2,000 listeners in the District of Columbia tune in weekly to Bush's notoriously low-fi, DIY show, The Revolution Will Not Be Podcast, broadcast Saturday from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.

German Luftwaffle Chain Offers Waffles, Overwhelming Air Superiority

MUNICH—An elite force of three dozen 24-hour Luftwaffle restaurants were unveiled across Germany Monday, with free waffles for blond-haired, blue-eyed customers, discounts on Cheese SwasSticks, and the incendiary bombardment of Luftwaffle's largest competitor, the city of London. "Soon, customers will fall under the sway of my lightning-quick, piping-hot Blintzkreig," said Hans Kreuzen, Luftwaffle's founder and oberstmanager-general. "All will know the sweet, buttery taste of fear and waffles from above." Luftwaffle restaurants are expected to face ruthless competition in Germany's already crowded martial-themed eatery business, which is led by such established chains as WehrKnochwurst and Der Marzipanzerkommand.

Missing Park Ranger Found In Better-Paying Job

FLAGSTAFF, AZ—Forest Service ranger Lawrence Anderson, missing from his fire-warning post in the Coconino National Forest since mid-July, was found alive and well-off in the manager's office of a Flagstaff Home Depot Sunday. "We announce with a sense of relief that Larry is safe and financially secure," said FBI agent Donald Grasso. Anderson described his years as a ranger as "an ordeal," recounting how he was sometimes forced to subsist on root beer and prepackaged bologna-and-cheese sandwiches from the park gift shop for weeks at a time.

Leaving Hollywood

Lured away by tax breaks and other incentives, many producers have been shooting films outside of Hollywood. What do these alternate locations have to offer?

Entertainment Lawyer 'Fighting The Good Fight'

NEW YORK—Although he works long hours for less than seven figures a year, entertainment lawyer Jude Mortison said knowing that he is "one of the good guys" makes it all worth it. "I might not be one of those big fancy city-courthouse types, but I do my part," said Mortison, who tracks down song lyrics used in published works without proper permission and secures the requisite legal and penalty fees for music publishers. Mortison, who bills $800 an hour, added that the look of satisfaction on the face of Warner Brothers executives is all the additional payment he needs.

Gaza Pullout

In an effort to reinvigorate the Middle East peace process, Israel fulfilled its pledge and withdrew from the Gaza Strip. What do you think?
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New Strain Of Jet Lag Devastates Airline Industry

ATLANTA—Already hard hit by labor strife and escalating fuel costs, the commercial airline industry faces a new crisis: an epidemic of jet lag caused by a powerful strain that is highly resistant to regular remedies like catnaps.

A traveler at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport succumbs to "Super Lag."

Airlines have set up napping-triage centers in major airports in response to the "Super Lag," but are unable to keep up with the rising tide of severely weary passengers, who number in the thousands nationwide.

"Infected travelers are really tired out, whether they're on long international flights or domestic flights as short as an hour and a half," said Delta Airlines ticket agent Olivia Gage at Atlanta International Airport, which has seen some of the most advanced cases of Super Lag. "Our supplies of thin blankets and miniature pillows are running dangerously low."

FEMA, the Federal Exhaustion Management Association, has shipped army-surplus cots and urns of hot coffee to several major hubs, but airlines continue to report record dozings. Minneapolis resident Belinda Haynes, 26, is just one of tens of thousands of Americans whose travel plans are affected.

"I'm going to go to Tampa Bay and be asleep through most of my flight," Haynes said. "That means I'm at risk for catching Super Lag and being totally tired all through my sister's whole wedding."

At the Atlanta airport Tuesday afternoon, an estimated 900 Super Lag sufferers could be seen stretched across the molded seats of gate waiting areas. The infected travelers, distinguishable by their testy demeanors and heavy eyelids, argued with ticket agents, slumped listlessly in their seats, and stared blankly at Au Bon Pain pastry displays.

Untreated victims can find themselves sleeping for hours on a plane, then sleeping soundly at night, yet still performing poorly in important business meetings or feeling too fatigued to enjoy their vacations.

Dr. Robert Sanders is one of hundreds of volunteer physicians treating Super Lag sufferers at airports nationwide.

A makeshift nap-triage center in the Denver International Airport.

"Jet lag was first documented in the late '50s," Sanders said. "Over the years, we've developed band-aid solutions to combat the disorder—neck pillows, laptops, in-flight movies—but it was really only a matter of time before jet lag mutated into a more virulent strain."

Despite volunteer efforts, the burden of treating Super Lag sufferers has fallen largely on flight attendants who, with little training in this area, are reporting great difficulties.

"One passenger who sleeps through the beverage service and wakes up irritated and thirsty is bad," said Midwest Airlines flight attendant Sandy Wolchek. "You multiply that by five on a Milwaukee-to-Minneapolis flight, and you're talking about a serious disruption."

Prolonged rest is the only known remedy for Super Lag, according to Bill Ziegler of the Centers For Fatigue Control. "Victims can also alleviate their symptoms by wadding jackets or sweaters into makeshift pillows," he said. "And we're recommending that airlines loosen their restriction on reclining cabin seats during the ascent and descent phases of flights."

Scientists at the CFC are working around the clock to find a Super Lag cure, but so far, they have made little progress. For now, they recommend that air-travel passengers look out for Super Lag's warning signs: irritability, an unwillingness to engage in small talk with persons in adjoining seats, and a tendency to doze off while reading in-flight magazines.

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