Luxury, fantasy and Mentos fuel future travel
Sometimes a slumping economy can really get a Digital Slob down. Like any sub-elite tech lover, my wants and desires for the newest gadgets constantly outpace both my wallet and my patience.
Not only am I tired of denying myself a first-gen iPhone, I can't wait until this summer when I can deny myself the second-gen one as well.
Thankfully, I have a buddy with a time machine, and a few times a year he helps me wash my present-day cares away by taking me to the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, making me feel no less poor but a little more special. Here are two sneak peeks from the mass-transit section:
Boeing Fantasia 5000a: It used to be that getting there was half the fun, but thanks to this hyper-luxurious superdeluxe aircraft of the future, it's taking over the other half as well. The Fantasia features nothing but first-class service, including beds with 1,500-thread-count hand-painted Egyptian linens, honey roasted peanuts sprinkled with flakes of gold, ample mahogany-lined legroom, individual 45-inch plasma 3-D HDTVs, chairs with marble armrests and goose-down seat cushions that can be used as flotation devices in the heated pool just south of the gourmet five-star galley.
And best of all, when you ask for a Pepsi, you'll get the whole can -- not just that one puny ice-filled cupful.
But unlike the Fantasia 5000 (the first-gen series mothballed due to rising jet-fuel costs), the 5000a model is within the reach of the average consumer, thanks to the barely noticeable absence of a few minor, cost-prohibitive particulars: wings, engines and flight decks.
Rather, the first 500 units of the Fantasia fuselages have been bought by Harrah's Casino and are set to be stacked 10 planes high, nose to tail, in the Nevada desert, surrounded by drive-in movie screens that give guests the sensation they're making "Top Gun"-style flybys of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Finally, average consumers will be able to get a truly idyllic, affordable air-travel experience by eliminating the air-travel part of that experience.
Mentos Moon Transit: Whenever I'm on the 2018 CES convention floor, I try to avoid opening my mouth. After all, who wants to be called out as just another stereotypical "time tourist"? But somewhere along the time line, there must've been an oil crisis that triggered a breakthrough in alternative energy.
How else could you explain a breath mint refined to such concentration levels that, when combined with 50,000 liters of Diet Coke, could create enough explosive thrust to make a spaceship reach terminal velocity en route to the Lunar Colonies?
Once treated as nothing more than a YouTube curiosity, a performance-art tool for weird men in plastic ponchos, the candy-carbonate mixture has been transformed into a rocket-fuel substitute with virtually no harmful ecological effects, aside from covering Cape Canaveral in a sticky film of brown goo.
I was even offered a free ride, but I declined -- mainly due to fear, but also because I heard fast-food joints on the moon can only serve lemonade or Brisk Tea.
Next week: More 2018 CES highlights.