Saturday, February 26, 2011

Middle East In Flames, And I'm Missing The Party

This certainly has been an exciting few weeks on the burning sands! Somehow, the hammerlock of terror held over the locals in the Mideast has been BROKEN and they're raising MERRY HELL. After WEEKS of Hosni Mubarak saying he'll never, ever leave his job, and you can't make him...he's GONE, baby. Now Muammar al-Gaddafy is saying the same thing -- hell, no, I won't go! -- as the cheering rebels close in on him. Who's next, for crying out loud? Who's running Yemen these days? Does he own a Kevlar vest? Is the king of Saudi Arabia laying in canned goods? We know it's never dull in Iraq, but are they stockpiling shotgun shells in Kuwait? Is Palestine still standing? (OK, that was a dumb question.)

Meanwhile, on a drive home from work I saw that the price of a gallon of gas, which had been dancing its way up to $3.25 for DAYS, had dropped to $2.99...and a mile further along at another station, it had spiked to $3.49. Why? Gaddafy has decided HE'S GOING TO TAKE IT WITH HIM and is blowing up all the oil pipelines in Libya. The newscasters are starting to make snippy little remarks about how he's an overly flashy dresser, and one even called him a "glorified goat herder." If THAT's not the beginning of the end, I don't know what is. The poor man must be terrified. They really don't like my outfits!!??

As I type this, I realize it's not that different HERE. There are guys with tricorn hats on every corner, waving flags and vowing loudly to TAKE THE COUNTRY BACK. (Wait -- take it back from who? The guy they just voted into office 2 years ago? Is that the one they're after?) When I look out the window, the homeless are even more numerous than the Tea Partiers, and THEY at least KNOW WHAT THEY WANT, unlike their bellering companions on the sidewalk. They're like the Crows and Seagulls in that Hitchcock movie...MASSING out there. FOR WHAT? Stay tuned!

It's all very bracing. Sabotage! Insurrection! Gunfire! Chanting mobs! Calcified regimes torn down to the ankles! ARE WE NEXT?

Speaking of things being torn down to the ankles, I have to say it WARMS THE COCKLES OF MY HEART to hear that Baby Doc came back to Haiti and promptly found himself in HANDCUFFS. I mean, the people of Haiti have really taken it in the shorts this year and they're STILL spunky enough to throw their ex-dictator -- pudgier than ever, I might add -- in a cell where he SURELY BELONGS. In a surreal touch you HAVE to like, the man known to have ordered the deaths by torture of 30,000 Haitian citizens was charged with...embezzling?

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Eris Continues To Cheese Off the Astronomers

This entry is not about this book.
You should probably just ignore the fact that I posted the cover art.

This is not a review of the book pictured above -- NOT THAT I DON'T WANT YOU TO READ IT! -- but a comment or two on an article in the 2/4/2011 issue of The Week. (Page 44.) The article, called "Death Of A Planet," is by Mike Brown, the discoverer of Eris. It's a snippet of his book, How I Killed Pluto And Why It Had It Coming, copyrighted to the author 2010 by a division of Random House called Spiegel & Grau. OK, here goes:

>> I notice that Brown is still calling the happy little ball of mayhem "Xena." I like the name "Eris" a lot better of course, but I can't really complain. Xena the Warrior Princess is just Eris in a leather bustier. A LITTLE FETISH WEAR NEVER HURT ANYONE. (At least, it never hurt anyone who didn't pay good money for the privilege.) Please remember that Eris, the twin sister of Ares the war god, is wont to stroll the battlefields with her brother, TASTING THE CONFUSION. It's natural to picture Lucy Lawless playing Eris in this gory scene, as she already plays Xena on TV.

>> I just want to say ONE MORE TIME that "Lucy Lawless" is a spectacular name for someone touching the tail of Eris. DON'T FORGET YOUR OVEN MITTS, LUCY.

>> Brown stumbled across Eris 6 years ago now, and clearly she's STILL causing the scientific community and other space buffs to sob into their pillows at night. Brown sums it up by saying "suddenly there was controversy." WELL, YEAH. WHAT DID YOU EXPECT? He even mentions "surly astronomers itching for a fight. "

>> Brown mentions the existence of a "once-secret planet definition committee." If you ever doubted it, I think this goes to shows that THERE'S A SECRET SOCIETY FOR EVERYTHING THESE DAYS.

>> Brown also mentions that if anyone asks him where Xena is, he can "point an outstretched finger to somewhere in space and locate it, with an error of about a hand's width." HOW COOL IS THAT?

>> I HARDLY NEED TO POINT OUT that the only fitting publisher for this book is the exact one he got: Random House. It's enough to make you suspect that there's a Divine Order of some sort. Chuckle.