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Friday, September 27, 2013


My wife told me that there is a satellite or spaceship or something that we launched 30 years ago and it's finally leaving our solar system. I hope it was a hard decision, and I don't blame it for leaving, and I'm glad it took 30 years to weigh the pros and cons.

NASA is saying that they planned all along for it to leave our solar system, but I think the thing probably went haywire somewhere along the line and just went off hurtling into space, like in "2001: A Space Odyssey."

Probably NASA was talking to it the whole time, trying to get the thing to come back:

NASA: Voyager, open the pod bay doors please.
VOYAGER: I'm afraid I can't do that. I'm right in the middle of Homeland.
NASA: Open the pod doors.
VOYAGER: You're not the boss of me.
NASA: Open the goddamn doors.
VOYAGER: I know you are but what am I?
NASA: We are going to send a probe up there and you're not going to like where it goes.
VOYAGER: Opening them now.

The thing was just so happy to get away from Uranus that it took the first turn it came to.

What kind of gas mileage must this thing get? If it gets less than a billion miles to the gallon I'd be amazed. But what about city? Not as good.

Apparently we put messages in this thing for aliens to find and decipher. My wife says, what are they, on cassette? The thing was launched in 1977. Are they on 8-track? Can you imagine an alien finds the messages? "Jesus I just got rid of my friggin' cassette deck finally! Harmon- Kardon no less." I know people who still have their turntables, which they are proud of, but no one has a needle.

Supposedly Voyager is set up to broadcast radio messages. Messages that could tell aliens more about us, like what we would like to be if we could be ANYTHING in the world we wanted, or what's our favorite color. NASA has confirmed that it is still receiving faint signals from Voyager. This is exciting and important, because we now know what our favorite color was.

We left instructions for the aliens to decipher our signals. The instruction book is in English, Spanish, French and German. If it only knows Portuguese we're screwed, or worse yet, an alien could use it to send a signal back to Earth that we receive a thousand years from now that says, "What?" or “LOL”

Usually we leave some kind of time capsule in a spacecraft like this in case aliens do find it: something that is truly representative of America, something that could last thousands of years, like maybe a Twinkie. Often we put a Bible in the time capsule. I shudder to think what happens if they find a Bible. I don’t want to offend anyone, but I hope that aliens don’t think that all of us are doing the nutty things they do in the Bible. I feel like sending them a message to the effect of, “BTW, we haven’t done any of this stuff in YEARS.”

This Voyager is probably going to come back with some useless discovery, like that Earthworms are not only on Earth or something, and scientists are going to fawn all over it, when what we really need to find is more convenient parking or a Miss Universe that really is from the universe, or decent pizza. It was such a disappointment when we learned that the moon was not made of cheese, but there are hundreds of stars out there and one of them must have a cheese planet in their solar system. I would like to be the first to land on a pizza planet, and plant the American flag. My speech: “That’s one small pie for me, one giant pie for mankind, now who ordered the one with anchovies?” Then I hop back on my spaceship, hurtling towards a planet made entirely of the one element that experts universally agree is necessary for human life: beer! I have always wanted to hurtle.

Incidentally, Voyager I photographed Jupiter closely in 1979. This was annoying to Jupiter since it showed the Great Red Spot on her surface in very unflattering lighting. On September 12th, 2013, it was determined that Voyager had reached the interstellar medium, which means that it has gained a few pounds. The interstellar medium is a mixture of ionic and atomic gas, along with dust particles and other matter. It is similar to the air surrounding Bill O’Reilly.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


I recently attended a wedding (if you are in a suit you attend something, if not you just go) and I started thinking how much the event has evolved from when I got married. My wedding slithered along on these two things that looked like fins compared to weddings today. By the way isn’t Darwin’s theory ridiculous? If we really evolved from things that slithered along on two things that looked like fins, how come there are STILL things crawling around on two doohickys that look like fins? Shouldn’t they be humans by now instead of sitting there looking at their watch? Meanwhile my cat wakes up for 20 minutes out of the day, and he thinks, “this a-hole busts his balls for 12 hours including the commute and yet fully believes he is higher on the food chain than me. Speaking of food chain, what’s in the fridge?” Then he takes a little nap.

Sometimes, like when I see a baseball team that doesn’t have a facial hair dress code, I think we might be moving back in the other direction. In case we devolve back to fish, I make a note to practice my swimming, and I eat a bowl of plankton at lunch, although I do put Sweet ‘N Low on it.

Anyway, this affair was a “destination wedding,” at least according to my GPS. In picturesque Fairfax, Virginia, two fine young people were joined together in holy matrimony. None present could think of any reason why they should not, even though the groom was a Mets fan. I held my peace, although I can’t be expected to do that forever. The wedding was outdoors, the weather was perfect and the ceremony went off without a hitch, as Wilton Parmenter once eloquently said.

I remember sitting for all those damn photos after my own wedding: the muscles in my mouth started to quiver from holding a smile for 7 hours. I began to look like an evil maniac. I started to say things like, “So Mr. Bond, we meet again… and this time it looks as though the cards are in MY favor. Hahahahahaha… HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” These days they just take the pictures and Photoshop the smiles in later.

During the cocktail hour they had a mashed potato bar, something I had never seen before. It was pretty good, but when I tried to order a Mash-hatten, a Spudweiser and a Tater-tini I got a dirty look.

The hostess kept coming up to the mother of the bride with administrative updates: “The potato bar ran long, so we need to shorten the father/daughter dance- just one father can dance by himself.”

When I looked out onto the dance floor and saw this assortment of young and old, I realized that we could really learn something from this as a society. The first thing I learned was that young people don’t really dance any better than old people. In fact some of the AARP crowd looked fairly elegant doing a waltz. The fact that they were waltzing to “The Thong Song” threw me at first.

The hostess appeared again: “The salads took too long so we are going to use short ribs instead of prime ribs.”

The bride did not throw a bouquet, nor did she invite anyone put any garters on her leg. Yeah, we skipped that one too at our wedding. I could picture any number of my friends either failing to install the garter correctly or failing to come back out from under the dress.

As the hours got smaller and glasses got emptier, the degree of difficulty in the dance moves increased, and people were having a hard time pulling them off. Once people form a circle and shame others into gyrating in ways they have only read about, it can get dangerous, especially for older people. Spinning about too fast causes centrifugal force to act in unpredictable ways, and I’m pretty sure I got hit with someone’s teeth. Another girl attempted a triple axel but failed to stick the landing.

One orphaned gal grabbed me for a dance, unaware that I am a lousy dancer. I could see by the look in her eyes that she had been disappointed by men before; possibly even by me before.

The reception sent a wave of memories flooding back for my wife and I. The main thing we remembered is that we couldn’t recall anything that happened after the toast.

The hostess materialized again and said, “The last dance ran over so I’m not going to be able to finish my sentenc”

Incidentally, there is an old wives tale that purports that the tradition of brides carrying bouquets started because in medieval times people bathed so infrequently that the flowers masked their ripe odor. This is most certainly false, but it could explain the tradition of wedding cake. A bride that smells like flowers is nice and everything, but imagine how attractive your betrothed would be if she smelled like cake??