(This column appeared in THE LONE STAR ICONOCLAST, Crawford, Texas, and at www.LoneStarIcon.com the week of August 28, 2006.)
Warning to all citizens of Planet Earth
The Plutonians are pissed off.
It's bad enough when General Motors and Ford employees are mercilessly "downsized" so the corporate massahs can retain their luxuriant lifestyles.
But to downsize an entire planet?
Neither was anyone at the Magic Kingdom conferred with regarding their views on the alteration in lowly Pluto's status. That's right, nobody sought out the opinions of Mickey, Donald or Goofy.
You might have thought Ludwig von Drake would have been consulted. This eminent scientific genius, the voice of authority in all disciplines, certainly would've never been snubbed back when Uncle Walt Disney was still walking around, unfrozen.
Has anyone stopped to think just how irritated Uncle Walt's going to be when he does thaw out? Then again, he's got a hell of a lot to be ticked off at, like Michael Eisner's ludicrous golden parachute; the cost of a single day admission to any Disney theme park; the scantily-clad, talent-challenged, pulchritude-enhanced 14-year-old girl "singers" the Disney incubator's been cranking out for some 20 years; the forced exit of anyone named Disney from the board of directors...
In most matters that concern the scientific community I've learned to not question the folks with the superdegrees. There are some things that regular guys like me shouldn't try to know or figure out, else our heads would flat-out explode.
Growing up in the 1950s and '60s I was fascinated with scientific stuff such as space exploration and blowing up the Planet with atomic and hydrogen bombs like most boys of the era.
There were very few kids around my neighborhood who didn't like science fiction movies and television shows; we quickly learned to discern the intelligent television sci-fi ("Science Fiction Theater") from the imbecilic ("Rocky Jones, Space Ranger").
It was fairly easy to grasp the basic ideology of how a rocket ship could be propelled into outer space, then return to Earth. We understood that it was necessary to have reflective surfaces without painted markings when heading toward the sun, otherwise there would be one doozy of a fire. The concepts of heat shields and short-term acceleration for re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere weren't very difficult to comprehend even for Catholic school students.
Although the guys in white shirts with pocket protectors were often looked down upon as social pariahs, everyone maintained at least a modicum of respect for them. Within the walls of my high school these fellows weren't subjected to rude behavior or taunting because it was accepted that they would be doing very important things one day, stuff none of the rest of us could ever be capable to accomplish.
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