Thursday, September 7

My Day. How's Your's?

It started with the morning paper telling me, in a tiny sidebar, that hospitalizations due to July 4th fireworks injuries (mostly of children) in this, the first year of Indiana's new What The Fuck, Just Go Nuts fireworks law were almost doubled. In newspaperese this is described as injuries being "on the rise". The brief note also quoted the State Department of Health, which cautioned against drawing any conclusions from the data, saying that it would need at least five years of information before any real patterns emerged. Throwing caution to the winds, like so much burning phosphorus, I drew the single conclusion that the same payoffs which reached the State Fire Marshal found their way to the Health Department, and that the contract lasts five years.

Then this evening I'm decompressing from another visit with Mom, aka Crazy Mom, and a Budweiser commercial comes on. I'd gone into the kitchen and forgot to hit the mute button, and I walked in just as the thing ended with the Budweiser Credo. It had been a while since I'd heard it, so let's all experience it together, shall we?

We know of no brand produced by any other brewer which costs so much to brew and age.

I'm guessing that perhaps, seeing as how you have enough technical knowledge to know what B-E-E-R spells, you understand this to be complete bullshit, something on par with it being legal in this country to label anything trapped in a net "Cod", provided it looks as if it might be able to swim. Are they buying extra-fancy rice to puff up their brew now? Replace the "beechwood" stainless-steel "aging" tanks with plutonium? What?

Or are they adding in the salaries of all the various Busches involved? Plus milage? The most expensive thing about a Budweiser is all the advertising they bought to keep reminding you the stuff is for drinking. But none of that involves the cost "to brew and age", unless by that you include the fact that without advertising, marketing, and arm twisting nobody'd use the stuff to shampoo a dog.

Which would still raise the question "So why does Michelob cost more?" But never mind that now, because this comes on the same day I'd watched a second news cycle about the delayed shuttle launch. Now, once again, even if you believe that 95% of the NASA budget should be diverted into something that actually benefits people who don't rely on that figure for their weekly paycheck, the odds are that you look upon NASA more kindly than I. Perhaps the pocket calculator makes your life easier, or you really, really enjoy your TANG. Even so, I think we all might be a little concerned that unless something of theirs actually blows up with Americans inside, all news from NASA is of the Gee Whiz Ain't This Technology Stuff Great variety. What I'd really like to see is a second counter, just below the Mission Clock, ticking off just how much this particular circus is costing us each minute. 'Course it would need to be a much bigger clock.

I'll bet it's even more than Budweiser.

There's a curious lack of curiosity on the part of teevee "reporters" covering the story; I seem to recall that unless NASA ups its shuttle launch rate by something like 400% and keeps it there for the rest of the decade the space station project is kaput. I'd be happy to provide you with the actual details here, except nobody on teevee thought it was any of my business, apparently.

Instead, I heard one hairdo explain that NASA might be forced to consider relaxing its safety rules and permitting a night launch. Now please explain to me how those words got into his mouth if not courtesy NASA's public affairs director and an open bar. Imagine if your surgeon explained to you that they'd decided to relax their safety rules in the interests of getting your surgery finished on time. This (I imagine you replying) does not constitute relaxation! In fact it constitutes ignoring. Ignoring to a degree which can only be described as No You Fucking Aren't.

But then, your surgeon's safety record probably isn't what NASA's is.

I think they need a credo. Maybe "NASA: Nobody Said We Wouldn't Get Our Hair Mussed."

A little while later my Poor Wife came downstairs and we watched enough of Olbermann that I got to see Richard Ben-Viniste call Tom Kean "a Great American." This, in a discussion of why Kean, co-chair of a 9/11 commission which refused to lay a glove on anyone except New York's 911 operators, is now shilling an ABC mockudrama blaming the whole thing on Bill Clinton's Penis. A Great American who now pockets some Hollywood cash for signing off on the idea that Clinton was too preoccupied with Monica Lewinsky to get bin Laden. That would be the same Bill Clinton whose failed attempt to get bin Laden was, at the time, described as an attempt to get the news off Monica Lewinsky.

Great American? Hell, in my book Tom Kean is a veritable NASA of Americans. He is to this Republic what a free press is. He's the fuckin' King of Beers, too. We salute you, Governor. Up until this week that Commission of yours was like a joke without a punchline.


the bunny said...

I hate sounding like a pedantic ass but NASA's FY 2007 request for the ISS is $1,811.3M. The "Human Habitation" request is $274.6M; The exploration (mostly human) request is $3,057.6M. Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc claims that they spent $12,414.7M in 2005. I'm not saying that there aren't cheaper ways to kill astronauts, but a lot of what NASA does is nice.
It's disgusting how they hide a lot of the money spent on astronaut killing amongst bits and pieces of other missions. How does that old saying go? Tell a engineer a lie and he'll be misled for a day. Teach an engineer to lie and people die.

Mo MacArbie said...

Of course Bud's the most gross cost. Oh, did you want a per barrel figure?

scott said...

Interesting little thing about AB: they pay *all* their employees more than decent wages. In IT for example, they haven't outsourced and offshored it. Instead, it's inhouse and it pays really well. Move to St Louis and try to find a Network Engineers position. There are some, all for pissant little outside contractors scrambling to "service" the greater metro bidness community. Said pissant contractors pay shit and get shit for employees. OTOH, AB pays really well, gets loads of people applying for jobs and is very happy with their approach. Win-win all around.

I still won't drink their crappy products.