Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Witz Pickz: Meteor Showers and Other Rare Sightings

Meteors are the emotionally abusive boyfriends of the astronomical world. They come aggressively tearing through our atmosphere, putting on a big show, but never doing any physical damage-- only one day they could go too far and kill us all. Meanwhile, we stand by at attention with justifications like, "This happens very rarely," and ultimately feel let down as our expectations fail to be met again and again.

Last night was no exception. From last Thursday through tonight, the Lyrids are in town-- which town? All of them-- it's goddamn space. Before we go any further, let's talk about how astronomers and NASA need to make Space more badass if they want people to be interested and gain funding for research. If "Lyrid" was a guy, he would be a five-foot-eight, slim framed, long haired, emo kid in girl jeans and a too tight polo shirt who is unable to fully enunciate his sadness. There's nothing badass about that.

"What are you doing tonight?"
"Me? I'm going to watch Lyrid weep." Not cool. How about naming the meteor shower something like, "The Road Warrior."

"What are you doing tonight?"
"Me? I'm going to watch The Road Warrior battle our fucking ATMOSPHERE, bro."

It's bad enough that "Meteor Shower" sounds like the last scene in a gay porn. Like Nitro said last night, "The hardest part about watching a meteor shower is telling your parents that you're gay." So let's get on the marketing path, people, and make it a little more manly to stare at the stars. Here's one time-tested approach: "SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY (through Thursday)!! METEOR STORM! LIVE IN FUCKING OUTTER SPACE! DESTRUCTOR! BLOOD VENGEANCE! THE LYRIDS! They're coming for you-- can you handle that!?" Put out some "backyard astronomy" DVDs of people drinking and doing stupid stuff while watching the stars. "World's Wildest Meteor Deaths" DVDs with shaky, zoomed in footage of meteors burning up. Stuff like that. This band gets it:

Back to last night. As we lay on the ground, watching for the promised meteor shower with some drinks, we began to suspect that we were once again going to be stood up by nature. (The following are many people talking)

"Which way to do we look?"
"Where up?"
"Up, up."
"I can see the big dipper!"
"Who fucking cares and that's the little dipper."
"No way, it's the big dipper!"
"Where's the North Star, then!?"
"I don't know!"
"Then it's not the big dipper."
"I see Orion's belt!"
"I saw one!"
"Fuck you!"
"I did!"
"Right there!"
"Perfect, then I know exactly where not to look for one again..."
"Isn't it kinda scary that meteors are like, hitting the Earth?"
"I think we all saw Deep Impact, sir."
"It's pretty scary."
"Dude, they're not that close."
"They're like light years away!"
"They are not light years away."
"Fine, thousands of miles."
"Maybe a thousand miles."
"They're very close."
"No they're not."
"Yes they are."
"Meteors are dying stars right?"
"Not even a little bit."
"Meteors are not that close." (Meteors are, in fact, that close."
"So watching a meteor shower seems a lot like just looking at the sky."
"It would appear that way."
"Look! I just saw one!"
"What? Are you sure? Maybe you're just drunk and moved your head while looking at a star."
"Nope, I saw one."
"Goddamn it."
"I am freezing."
"This is awful."
"Goddamn Lyrids."

The Lyrids were like Will Ferrell in Old School-- "We're going streaking!" they announce, but in the end it's just one overweight naked white guy embarrassing himself. Let down again by emotionally abusive space. They said they'd stop by and take us out to dinner, but they ended up just sending a lame text and making up some excuse about light pollution and the rotation of the Earth. But we'll be back next time, lying down, attention paid, hoping that this time it's the real thing. That this time he means it.**

Astronomical Failure,

In another rare sighting, my roommate CDG (insert your own airport abbreviation joke here) was at the public library the other day and saw The Pack of Middle-Aged Asian Men with Down Syndrome! This was amazing because very few people seemed to believe that they actually exist, but apparently, they both exist and utilize our tax dollars! CDG informed me, "I saw them and knew right away that it was the group you were talking about-- but you were right, I couldn't immediately figure out how I knew-- I just sensed that something was off." So there you have it-- CDG saw the pack of mentally disabled asians more times than I saw a meteor last night. Amazing.

**You know, throughout all of this, I can't help but think about how much more difficult it must be for deaf people to watch meteor showers...

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