Monday, February 18, 2013

There's More To This Than Meets The Eye

Well, it’s been an exciting week for astrophysics.  Not only did we have a school-bus sized meteor encounter, we had a near miss with a much larger mass. I have to confess I was pretty amazed by the images that came outta Russia, especially the ones taken with security cams and the like. Seeing the ancillary impact was fantastic. And the hole in the ground was pretty spectacular. But more about that in a minute.

The near miss was pretty interesting, too. Asteroid 2012 DA14, passed about 27,700 km from Earth at 1:25 pm CST and that passed happened inside the ring that contains our network and weather satellites and earth itself. That’s pretty close.

Scientific types tell us the close encounter of these two bodies in motion is simply a coincidence. They came from separate directions at different rates of speed, and, at least according to one source, are probably not real close in make-up. All good things for the survival of the planet. 

However, I must admit that, as I listened to the news, I was secretly waiting for someone, anyone, to say the Russian meteor wasn't a meteor at all, but rather a nuclear launch gone awry from North Korea. When I mentioned that in response to Charles of Arabia's Face Book comment on the event, he replied, "Only if you watch Fox News."

According to Russia's Liberal party leader, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, it wasn't the North Koreans at all; it was us! It was reported in that august information organ, The Journal of the Turkish Weekly:

"Those were not meteorites, it was Americans testing their new weapons. [US Secretary of State] John Kerry wanted to warn [Russia’s Foreign Minister] Lavrov on Monday, he was looking for Lavrov, and Lavrov was on a trip. He meant to warn Lavrov about a provocation against Russia."

Not that Russia has the lock on news of the excessively weird this week. Oh, no. We do have very own set of nutballs in elected positions. This week's highly comes from the Alabama state house, where Representative Mary Sue McClurkey told the Montgomery Advertiser, another well established paragon of information, 

"When a physician removes a child from a woman, that is the largest organ in a body that’s a big thing. That’s a big surgery. You don’t have any other organs in your body that are bigger than that.

Well, if that don't beat all! I've got  couple of organs walking around! The part I don't get is if they're my organs, how is it that neither pays much attention to the orders my brain is sending out? To be sure, they're both very mature, adult organs, but'd think they'd check in with the brain every so often. 

And not to be outdone by the usual outlets of indecipherable strange, The Vatican entered the fray with the "I want to spend more time with my family" retirement announcement for Pope Benedict. At the outset, I said aloud to more than one person, "There's more here than meets the eye." 

Logic Detour: This hearkens back to HELP when Ringo says the same thing. But the movie's really about this ring stuck on Ringo's finger. At one point, the villain scientist, Professor Foot (played masterfully by the late, great Victor Spinetti) says, " With a ring like that I could - dare I say it? - rule the world. "

Which brings me back to the Pope. He's got the ring. Or at least will have it until the end of the month, at which time, he'll wave goodbye and head off into the Vatican, never to be seen again. Will he still be infallible after he retires? Will he be available for the new Pope? And perhaps the most pressing issue: If the Pope leaves the Vatican, can he be arrested for obstruction of justice in world-wide child sexual abuse cases? This is not exactly a logistical slam dunk...which makes me think there is a whole lot more than meets the naked eye. But getting Benedict the Boy Nazi outta the Shoes of the Fisherman probably isn't the worst idea on the planet. This is a guy who was a member of the Nazi Youth movement yet acts as though that period of time happened somewhere else away from wherever he was. If he can't come to grips with that, why would he take on any ownership for the sexual abuse issues?

I'm not going to speculate on what the Pope did or didn't know, what the Curia knows or doesn't know, or what Catholics think or don't think on this topic. I am just gonna say that it's too early to draw any kind of conclusion on this one, but I'm not so sure anyone is ever going to know the truth.

And keeping with this spirit of fools at play, this also happens to be Purim week, kinda like Mardi Gras without the boob displays. Instead of trick or treating, Jews do משלוח מנות... misholach manot - "sending portions" ...we deliver little surprise packages of sweets to family, friends and neighbors. The D-I-L and I did our part this week, baking Hamantaschen and getting the boxes out despite President's Day. The merriment continues until Saturday night when we will gather to read Megillat Esther (The Book of Esther) and each time Haman's name is mentioned, we shall drown it out with groggers, shouts, hisses, and boos. And a fun time will be had by one and all!

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Looking for a good costume for Purim?
Go as Vashti...She's the most fascinating of the lot!


  1. Good grief! I just 'discovered' you and am so glad I did - I feel like either I know you or am looking in a mirror. A major benefit of being a seasoned women is being able to say whatever you d*mned well please. Thanks.

  2. Two thoughts that probably aren't pertient to the blog but here goes. 1. "Help!" was somewhat of a disappointment after a "Hard Day's Night", dont you think WP? 2. I'm surprised more large meteors don't slam into the Earth. I thinks it's a big one every hundred years or so. I wonder whether future Earthlings will ponder if it was a big meteor that wiped us out or whether it was global warming? Not really relevant questions but interesting nonetheless.

    1. To be sure, A HARD DAY'S NIGHT was the more brilliant of the two, but my grandpa took me to see HELP (at Roosevelt Field for you old timers) and that made it especially great because we would whistle the songs together after that. And whilst the story was dumb, it was funny and the script was clever. And Victor Spinetti was totally terrific.

      I shan't even comment on the meteor part because, if the truth be told, it scared the stuffings outta me.

  3. Is Charles of Arabia related to Lawrence?? Just wondering....

    1. well, they both have/had motorcycles.....

  4. Really likes this blog post, it was sweet... and contained Hamantaschen, which I have not had in 40 years, and here in Nepal we don't expect getting some anytime soon :) Ah, those were the days growing up in Little Odessa near the Brooklyn Bridge.

    1. No Hamantaschen in Nepal???? Whoever heard of such a thing? They have seders in Katmandu, so I'm guessing if you pop over to the Israeli embassy or Chabad House (Gha-2-516-4 Thamel...across from the Marshyangdi Hotel) you could get some!

      But oh! Nepal! That's a place on my list.

  5. ROOSEVELT FIELD??? I knew I knew you. Worked at the Gimbel's part time when it first opened during my senior year in high school!