Wednesday, October 7

On The Anodyne Qualities Of The Wicked, Squawking Box In The Living Room

LET us suppose that you suddenly find yourself a middle-aged Midwesterner at the tail end of this previous weekend, slowly being forced to admit to himself that this time, just like fifteen times before, he has not managed to fight off whatever godawful respiratory disfunction his Poor Wife brought home from public school, aka Hell's Culture Medium, with the twin amulets of zinc lozenges and vitamin C, which have, at best, somewhat lessened its effects--to that point--while making the inside of his mouth taste, and feel, as if he'd been keeping a chaw of tin foil there for thirty-six hours. That--again! Groundhog Day!--the tiny incidence of sore throat two mornings ago, the one which has steadily gotten worse, is, in fact, connected to the lethargy so profound it's even noticeable in a man not particularly given to long-term exertion in the first place, and presages a similar slow breech of the mucous-control system, like the end of Force 10 from Navarone.

You will find yourself tempted to turn on the television, because listening to the enormous clogged drain inside your skull has become tedious, but this will only make things worse. For one thing, back when the Mutual Happy Ending Broadcast Committee that determines who gets what NFL game looked at Week Four, the Green Bay/ Minnesota match-up had to look like ratings dynamite or a roadside bomb. Would perennial sportscaster Marry or Fuck? Object Brett Fah-vuh-ruh be on the Vikings roster? Or re-re-re-retired? If he was playing, could he still actually grip a football? So they split the difference and gave it to ESPN for Monday night, meaning they missed out on having the real professional fluffers do tricks on NBC Sunday night, but they got an extra day to convince football fans to watch despite the Ultimate Junior High Grudge Match PR campaign. The catch here being that it seems, on Fahrrrve's part, to have actually been some sort of grudge match against the organization which had heartlessly decided a couple years ago that it would like to stop paying him $150,000 a minute to play a kid's game, which it had been doing for the previous fifteen seasons, and go with an outstanding prospect by the name of Aaron Rodgers, thirty years Faaahve-ruh's junior, despite the fact that F*vre's father is still tragically dead.

And despite the fact that this fucks the loyal fans of Lambeau Field, who were just months ago the loyalest, heart-warmingest aficionados in all of Sport, but who, it turns out, cannot collectively move razor blades, big-screen teevees, or sodium-laden cans of soup. Oh well, at least I didn't get sick on Sunday night, when I would have been forced to listen to Professional Decent Guy and Biblical Homo Abhorrer Tony "One and Done" Dungy.

Speaking of people who are willing to turn their life's love into a professional wrestling story arc for quarters, NASA, the not-quite-crypto-military agency which hasn't found anyone to torture yet, is all set to blow up the Moon as part of the Cowboys, Pirates, and Hunky ER Doctors in Space Program. Y'know, to see if there's enough theoretical water on the place to support a massive colonization program before anyone starts asking why we need a massive colonization program, or pointing out the track record of white people invading things. I learned this shortly after throbbing sinuses, burning throat, and fawning sportscasters had driven me to explore the uncharted reaches of Stuff I Recorded A Year Ago And Never Watched, specifically some PBS deal about Life On Mars? featuring scientists from NASA's Space Junk Division asking the eternal question: Does the possibility that Life evolved on other planets mean a lifelong employment opportunity, or what?

And don't get me wrong: I'm all for basic research for its own sake, and unlike lunar real estate scams, the Mars missions at least have some small justification, assuming all these people and all those millions were just sitting around going to waste otherwise. But, please, knock off the Search for Extraterrestrial Life routine, huh? Didn't that rock with the "wormholes" thing embarrass you enough? We know the conditions under which Life began on Earth. We know how unknowably vast are Time and Space. We're trying to "find" "Life" nearby not because it means anything, but because we can, and on everyone else's dime.

Look, think archeology. There's tons of banknotes out there for "Biblical" archeology, which employs plenty of archeologists willing to look for Noah's Ark, but which counts for precisely nothing, which everyone smart enough to be involved realizes. Meanwhile, finding the money to do real archeology is like asking for divine intervention. It's one thing to hope to find liquid water on Mars, or microbes on Enceladus; it's another to be seen openly rooting for that result, on camera, in a roomful of cheering nerds all working for Uncle Sugar, when you're all smart enough to find jobs elsewhere.

Which reminds me: as long as you're at it, could you do something about a diversity program, fer chrissakes? And a cure for the common cold would be nice, too.


Narya said...

The most impressive thing about Favre's performance was that Favre was able to throw a football with a TV announcer attached by the mouth to Favre's dick.

Keifus said...

You know, when it comes to science funding, the actual military is the more common alternative, something like 52% of the 2009 federal total, with NASA a distant third at about 7%. If we throw in the nuclear stuff the DoE does, and the DHS funding, and no doubt other things, it's a higher fraction than that. Just thought it might cheer you up.

The NSF, which is the closest of all of them to wholesome science research for its own sake, as well as the agency with a science edjumication mission, is down around 3.5% of the pie.

Dave Kielpinski said...

...he said, broadcasting his opinions to the world on the descendent of ARPANET.

Science becomes militarized when it is left to the military. Increase the NSF budget to match the military research budget and there will be less incentive to get military grants.