Get your white fists in the air!
Category: Stoopid (page 1 of 2)
In addition to soy milk, another popular dairy-free alternative to milk is made from oats.
The Swedish word for “oats” is havre, and of course, the word for “milk” is mjölk.
So now I guess you get the humor in this, my latest Photoshop creation, featuring a picture of Harvey Milk on a carton of havremjölk.
The text on the right side next to Harvey’s face is a translation of one of his campaign slogans, “Milk has something for everybody.” Part of a complete, balanced breakfast!
1: Shit. Do all of these have alarm tags on them?
2: Why are we leaving notes for criminals on specific items? Everybody knows you might get caught if you steal things, so does this sticker mean “run faster because they’re gonna know you took something”?
3: Why are razor blades so damn expensive in the first place? Yeah, I know the Gillette story – give away the razors and make your money on the blades – but this is worse than printer ink.
4: I’m not gonna buy these, I mean the last think I want is another alarm going off in the morning.
5: I’d like to speak with the manager, please. I tried to steal this memory card which was clearly not labeled as having an alarm tag, then the sirens went off and I had to act like I was just looking at those shitty wreaths and i didn’t realize I was so close to the door.
Add your own caption in the comments below.
My favorite creepy bar in Skarpnäck, a Stockholm suburb, is this Asian restaurant/old folks’ watering hole called Hot Or Not.
My friend Moa took me there and it’s really quite a unique place. A drunk guy talked to us about Moa’s orange hair for more than a comfortable amount of time. We were pretty sure some of his mouth fluids flew into our beers. So that was cool.
An epidemic has consumed our young. Now it is set to ruin photography as a whole.
I’m speaking, of course, about girls making kissy faces and acting like models in every self-taken photo they post on the Internet. The plague has become known simply as Duckface.
Perhaps this pose was cute when Audrey Hepburn did it, but it just doesn’t have the same effect if you are holding the camera yourself, standing next to your toilet and wearing your ex-boyfriend’s high school hoodie.
What ever happened to smiling?
Some may see the death of smiling in photos as a by-product of popular culture, but I think this plague has much deeper roots.
When I was growing up in the 1970s and ’80s, it was practically unheard of to take a picture of yourself.
Not only was it expensive, but for most people who didn’t have their own darkroom, you’d have to wait several days to see the printed proof of how stupid you look.
On top of that, you couldn’t take just one picture and look at it. Believe it or not, kids, but photographs came in groups of 12 or 24 or 36, what was referred to as a “roll” of film.
After shooting a dozen or more photos, you’d then drive to the Fotomat or SupeRx drugstore, drop off your film, and come back a few days later to collect your package of photos.
Inevitably, there would be fewer prints than the number of pictures you expected because something went wrong.
After all the waiting, that highly-anticipated photo you snapped on your school trip to King’s Island of your classmate who you had a crush on, well, it just didn’t turn out. A lot of things didn’t turn out right in those days.
If a photo you really hoped for wasn’t in the envelope, you may even resort to looking through the tiny brown and orange negatives that came with your prints to see what happened or to order a reprint.
The process of needing to pay someone to develop and print your photos also meant that some strangers somewhere would inevitably see every photo you made. Film photography lacked an entirely different kind of privacy than digital photography. Someone else always saw your pictures before you did.
Certainly nobody would ever waste the kind of time and money it took to make frivolously large stacks of photographs unless they were as rich as J.R. Ewing or as indulgent as Mackenzie Phillips. But most ragers with that kind of party scratch (these are slang terms) would go the Polaroid route like Richard Pryor and Andy Warhol.
Polaroid was the instant gratification of its day and that luxury came with a premium price tag.
For generations, for the vast millions on Earth, the simple truth was that if you owned a picture of yourself it was because you had been in a room with someone else who had a camera. And that photo was taken at least several days ago.
Basically, photos were taken by friends, relatives and photographers.
These days, that’s not the case.
Today, any thuggin’ jackass or too-skinny 15-year-old suburban girl wearing too much makeup can play dress up and smooch to the camera for thousands of followers like she’s Anna Nicole Smith.
The main difference, of course, is that if you were Anna Nicole Smith, you would be surrounded by photographers instead of holding the smudged lens on your Nokia Windows phone up to your bathroom mirror.
Thanks to digital photography taking pictures has essentially become free… and limitless.
As a result, during the past fifteen years, the total number of photographs created each day on Earth has multiplied millions of times over.
And the MySpace pose – an arm’s-length self portrait – spread like a disease on photography, even before the duckface entered the frame.
From paper to pixels
Because the Eastman Kodak company is now in bankruptcy protection, you might think the company is a victim of digital photography.
In fact, the once-dominant giant in the field of photography brought this on themselves.
Through a series of both good and bad decisions and an inability to handle increasingly aggressive competition in the fields they created, Kodak has gotten the short end of several successive sticks.
I’d like to show some compassion to Kodak, given their dire straits, however I feel I have no choice but to personally blame them for the perpetuation of the duckface.
A “roll” of film
George Eastman, the founder of Kodak, patented the roll film camera in 1888.
Prior to that, film was produced on large plates treated with chemicals. Making a photograph required time to set up the camera, position the plate, prepare some chemicals, blah blah blah. It could take an hour if everything went smoothly.
Eastman’s genius was that he figured out a way to make photo film dry and flexible. This way it could be rolled up. It not only made the film portable, but it also made it possible to take more than one photo quickly once you got the camera set up.
His company was a hit and twelve years later, he brought photography to the masses.
Take your own pictures
In 1900, Eastman Kodak introduced the Brownie, the world’s first mass-produced, portable camera.
That thing was gangbusters. The company expanded quickly as the Brownie did for photography what high-fructose corn syrup did for XXL sweatpants.
Kodak was huge, an unstoppable force in photography, and the company didn’t show signs of losing their edge for nearly 80 years.
In 1976, Kodak’s dominance comprised of 90% of US of film sales and 85% of camera sales. That’s a position any company would dream of. Essentially untouchable.
And they were vigilant to protect their stronghold when Polaroid started gaining a small market share in the seventies. Kodak was already two steps ahead.
In 1975, the company assigned a project to one of their young engineers, a 25-year-old recent graduate named Steven Sasson.
Steven Sasson is a name everyone should know. Just three years after he began work on the project, he and Kodak were issued a patent for the digital camera. It was a futuristic, game-changing device.
When Apple brought one of the first consumer digital cameras to the market in 1994 – the QuickTake – it was Kodak who was manufacturing the hardware for them.
So how is it possible that Kodak has filed for bankruptcy? The company that gave film photography to ordinary people and decades later invented film’s successor – a successor now so ubiquitous that nearly every telephone you see these days is equipped with a Kodak-derived camera – they have somehow dropped some of the world’s most valuable balls.
Shockingly, despite Kodak’s forward-looking innovation in the seventies, the company all but abandoned digital photography in the nineties. Way to go, gang.
Fearing that the inexpensive nature of digital photos would steal business away from their incredibly profitable film processing business, they doubled down on film.
Basically, they feared that if they marketed cameras that could take an infinite number of photos, it would adversely impact the money they were making by charging people for pictures one at a time.
It turns out that they were absolutely right about digital’s impact on film.
It sucks to be right
The irony of course, was that by the time they realized they were right, they had so drastically reduced their digital investment that they were no longer in a position to take advantage of the exploding market they had pioneered. All the profits had moved from the film manufacturing and processing sides of the business to the camera and electronics makers.
Kodak’s main competitor in film sales, Fujifilm, had brilliantly played both sides of the game. Through aggressive pricing on the film side, Fuji’s marketshare had been eating into Kodak’s since the company began marketing their film at disruptive prices in the United States.
The Economist reported earlier this year that Fujifilm “saw omens of digital doom as early as the 1980s. [Fuji] developed a three-pronged strategy: to squeeze as much money out of the film business as possible, to prepare for the switch to digital and to develop new business lines.”
Kodak failed to diversify fast enough, put their investments into things that didn’t work out, and the company was cast into a downward spiral as digital photography grew and the use of film declined.
As we now know, today’s reality is that most of the people in the western world have some form of a digital camera in their pocket right now. Many of them will use those Internet-connected devices to post images online several times today. Each one of those pictures – duckfaced or otherwise – represents money that Kodak isn’t making.
There really should be truckloads of money being dumped at Kodak’s headquarters in Rochester, New York, every day. Instead, unfortunately, those trucks may soon be hauling off the furniture.
I’ve been seeing this poster around Stockholm for a few weeks now. I’ve been so distracted by the cute girl that it has taken me several weeks to notice what a total choade the guy on the right is.
“God, it sucks being in a popular band with a cute girl. I hate (“love”) getting my picture taken. I just want to go back to my high-tech (“low-fi”) home studio (“HP laptop”) and write meaningful (“derivative and intentionally weird”) songs about my awful fight (“tending to a Nightliner tour bus full of muffintop indie girls with bad tattoos”) against the jagged swords (“400 thread-count sheets”) of life’s bitter agony (“4-star hotels with clean showers and mints on the pillows”).”
Okay. I have to be honest. I don’t know anything about this band Crystal Castles. I just don’t like their name or the look on that guy’s face.
But in order to become a certified spokesperson on their career, for the purpose of this writing, I Googled them and spent up to one minute skimming their Wikipedia page.
As you know, Wikipedia pages are written by unbiased third parties and highly-accredited investigative journalists who have no interest in furthering the band’s hype. They only want to uncover the facts and present informations for the greater cause of expanding the realm of public knowledge.
Think of Wikipedia as the “60 Minutes” of shit nobody cares about. (Why, there’s even a Scott Ritcher page on there, regularly updated, no doubt, by people who are the go-to authorities on all matters concerning me. This means you. Go ahead. Have at it!)
A reviewer’s quote on Crystal Castles’ Wikipedia (“search engine prison”) proclaims the band’s music to be “ferocious, asphyxiating sheets of warped two-dimensional Gameboy glitches and bruising drum bombast that pierces your skull with their sheer shrill force, burrowing deep into the brain like a fever.”
Oh Jesus. I think I’m finished with this now.
August Strindberg was one of Sweden’s most famous anti-Semites and male chavinist pigs. Born in 1849, he labored for years as a writer and eventually enjoyed great success, until he finally left everyone alone (“kicked the bucket”) in 1912.
Strindberg’s work as a playwright was indisputably innovative and groundbreaking. Certainly ahead of his time, he is known for developing methods of storytelling that proved impossible to portray on stage – multiple instances of the same character, inner thoughts and monologues, non-linear storylines. Decades later and after his death, with the advent of film, these techniques could ultimately be accomplished.
It could be said that August Strindberg was one of the world’s first screenwriters, long before screens were being used for more than shadow puppets. I mean, lots of things could be said about him. I have even said some before, when discussing the Karlaplan neighborhood where he lived in Stockholm. (And just to be clear, I mean no disrespect to the fans and purveyors of shadow puppetry.)
He is still respected today as a great writer despite his unforgivable personal views on the inferiority of people who weren’t Gentiles or males.
In the event that any passers-by of his day were unaware that he was a total asshole, Strindberg grew a ridiculously stupid moustache to advertise his enormous ego. Even a common person uneducated in the arts could tell what a dick he was just by looking at him.
He also refused to smile and, anytime there was a camera present, he stared into it with a humorless death gaze of total derision.
Of all the great artists, writers, filmmakers and musicians who have made Sweden proud – you know, like Roxette, Yngwie Malmsteen, Lisbeth Salander, Elin Woods, Maria Montazami and Kalle Anka – unfortunately that wonderful work is tarnished by this certified dill-hole, August Strindberg.
While some fans or critics may cite his writings dealing with inequality of the sexes as an argument for the idea that he understood women, I have a feeling the three women who were lucky enough to divorce him (two of them after only two years of marriage) may disagree with that characterization.
Of course, I don’t know for sure, on account of never having met any of the people I’m writing about. This is all speculation, you see, since all these turkeys have been dead for a long time.
But to the point, just because you write eloquently in the voice of someone with sensitivity, that doesn’t mean it’s okay for you to be insensitive when you’re not writing. That’s putting it courteously.
If one attempts to make connections between the work of artists to explain their personal lives, there’s no reason we couldn’t arrest Stephen King or Alfred Hitchcock on suspicion of murder. Well, maybe there’s one reason we couldn’t arrest Alfred Hitchcock. Bad example.
Jeffrey Dahmer was apparently very creative in the kitchen, but…
Okay, so Strindberg was a great artist, but just like Eric Gill, what he was doin’ backstage kind of makes you want to avoid visiting his art.
Strindberg is buried at Norra Begravningsplatsen in Stockholm. His grave is marked with a magnificent, gigantic, black granite cross, carved with gold-leaf lettering. You see, God is very impressed with this sort of thing.
Some of the other graves around it, like Ingrid Bergman’s for example, are very small and modest. The Lord certainly hasn’t noticed that these lesser characters have even died, much less lived in the first place.
But it’s not like a fancy, expensive Christian grave could have saved Ingrid Bergman from Strindberg’s beyond-the-grave rants anyway. I mean, she was part Jewish, and we all know how keen the Ghost of Strindberg is on those types.
Lady Bergman’s hopes of a peaceful resting place have been further complicated by the fact that she earned three Academy Awards. That just don’t sit well with the Lord’s distaste for Hollywood. So when the Ghost of Strindberg starts going off on tangents around midnight every night, it kinda sucks ’cause God has his back. Ain’t no better hype man than the Lord, y’all.
If you’re in the area of Norra Begravningsplatsen and you need to pee really bad, please stop by to pay your respects Mr. Strindberg.
A couple months ago, I started working at an awesome job with a magazine publishing company in Stockholm. The company is a huge, family-run, Swedish media empire, built over many generations. Let’s say it’s kind of like the Bingham family was in Louisville or the Hearst family in America. But much, much older.
At the office, I am a member of a stealth, futuristic team which converts print magazines into fluid, moving, living versions, to be read on Apple’s iPad. The office walls are white, the windows are big, the desks are made of natural wood, and there’s virtually no paper to be seen.
Most people expect magazines on tablet devices to be like flipping through a PDF of the print version. This couldn’t be further from the truth, at least for the ones we’re making.
These magazines on the iPad have all the beauty of full-page magazine layouts, but with the added magic of designs that move on multiple layers. Think of the newspapers in the Harry Potter movies – how they look like a regular newspaper but the pictures are alive and you can interact with them when you want to. That’s where it starts.
(Of course, I’m a grown man, so I’ve never seen any of the Harry Potter movies nor read any of the books. I’m just going by what people have told me. I have certainly never dated a girl who drove a car with Harry Potter license plates or had an awesome dog named Potter. I don’t know the first thing about Miss Granger or the Weasley brothers. Honestly, I’m not even sure what everyone’s fascination is with those dirty little wizards.)
Compared with traditional print magazines (which can be both engaging and hefty) and website versions of the same content (which can be both annoying and forgettable), the iPad represents a wonderful new incarnation for the magazine reading experience.
This is the cutting edge of publishing and you really can’t appreciate it until you see it in action or use it yourself. You really need to drop what you’re doing right now and go buy an iPad so you can finish reading this article on it.
Any time a groundbreaking piece of new technology finds its way to market, the media is abuzz with excitement and analysis about how it could change people’s lives.
What receives significantly less attention – from both the media and the developers who came up with this new gadget – is the question of how such new advancements will affect cats.
If you have ever been in the company of a cat and you tried to sprawl a newspaper out across the floor or use a laptop computer, you are no doubt aware that these two activities have long been deemed as incompatible with the cat world.
Cats view activities like reading and typing as supreme wastes of valuable time which could be better spent petting them or, frankly, doing pretty much anything else. Simply put, cats don’t understand reading and typing.
In their defense, however, if you have never taken a nap on a newspaper, or walked on your computer, you’re doing yourself a grave injustice. It actually is really fun. And if someone is also trying to use the newspaper or computer while you’re doing it, they’ll just have a devil of a time trying to ignore you.
You’ll be treated to a generous dose of what many cats crave more than rubber bands or plastic bottle safety rings – attention.
As much as cats are confused by reading, a lot of people are also dumbfounded by much of the new technology we’re being bombarded with. Researchers call these people “old.” I know all about it. I’m still trying to find the slash, the brackets, the “at” symbol and the dollar sign on my Swedish keyboard.
So if 21st Century technology seems daunting to you, keep in mind that for cats it’s the 63rd Century. You know, because of “cat years” and all.
Knowing that, if we roll back the clock many centuries, to the days of ancient Egypt – the people then were about as smart as the cats are today – even then, mankind had long recognized that cats are really, really stupid.
That ignorance, combined with softness and cuddliness, are some of the main reasons why people like them cats (and ancient Egyptians).
Cats have much of the same appeal as the popular and pretty girls in your ninth-grade class. They seem to never learn anything and yet they are constantly coddled and fawned over. The smart kids just can’t catch a break at Hogwarts. I mean, school.
As compared with the cats who found their way into illustrations by ancient Egyptians – it has been said that the question mark itself was derived from the quizzical shape of a cat’s curling tail – just like us people, today’s cats have a lot more to process in their little heads.
There were no such wonders as televisions or whistling tea kettles in the days of King Tut. Just table scraps and dirt floors. Shit, they were still centuries away from high-tech advances like windows with glass in them and housing which accommodated sanitized ways of pooping indoors without that stank. Some accounts have King Tut himself undergoing a quite modest and primitive entombment, in fact, being buried in his jammies.
Whereas monkeys and even common hillbillies have some depth that includes longterm memories and basic emotions, the knowledge capacity that cats work with is stored inside of what scientists can best describe as “a tiny, cat-sized brain.” (their words, not mine)
Despite this lack of knowledge, these little fuckers are endlessly curious – something that’s true of both cats and scientists.
Researchers describe the so-called “cat’s brain” as a “cute, little bundle of two or three firing electrons.” While that may not seem to be a lot of activity, it is important to remember that those few electrons each fire up to 50 billion times a second. Squared. To the 15th power. Or more.
If you’ve ever wondered what’s going on in a cat’s head – what makes them assault the same piece of yarn for two hours, or never tire of chasing the laser pointer which obviously is a projection and ends up on top of their paws every time they try to smash it (fucking idiots!) – if you’ve ever reeeally wondered what’s going on up there in that furry little head, the answer is “practically nothing.”
Dr. Frank Davidson, one of America’s leading pussy researchers, says, “Cats are so wildly entertaining for precisely this reason. Inside their wee noggins, next to nothing is transpiring. However, that absence of activity is happening about 27,000 times every second. Their shit is quite lit’rally poppin’ off like crazy.” Bloke speaks with a Bri’ish accent to make himself seem smar’er.
Dr. Davidson’s colleague at Southern Miami University, whose name is also Dr. Frank Davidson, has helped Davidson every step of the way during six years of research into the mysterious mind of the cat.
Much of their investigation centered around viewing the “Treadmill Kittens” video numerous times, in varying states of getting baked.
During their third year intensive experimentation and inquiry, they had what they describe as “a watershed moment.” That’s when they discovered that the word “feline” also refers to cats.
However, that was small potatoes compared to what they’ve been up to lately. The doctors brim with grimalkin enthusiasm when asked about the newest and most revelatory findings.
Dr. Davidson (the second one) explains that contrary to popular belief, their latest research suggests that cats don’t actually have nine lives at all. Rather, cats’ brains are working so quickly “they are actually living the same life nine times simultaneously.” This is why they often eat so fast that they puke all over the place. They think they have to finish eating nine meals before they get full.
Despite not yet being circulated, the doctors’ controversial findings have already been met with considerable skepticism. Their full report is sure to garner even more debate when it is published in next week’s issue of “Miniature Horse Enthusiast.”
“For any normal creature, having nine lives would be an invaluable way to learn how to make each one last longer or have a higher quality than the previous. A learning curve, if you will. But cats waste all nine of ’em in pretty quick succession.”
(As a side note, the two Dr. Frank Davidsons are not related. This can be a bit unnerving, since they have the same name and they look identical. Their fellow researchers claim to have never seen the two men at the same time, however, a grad student who works in their lab, whose name is also Frank Davidson, says the older one wears glasses and the younger one works second shift.)
(As another side note, despite not being related, the two Dr. Davidsons are the same age and were born on the same day, from the same mother, but in different hospitals. The elder Dr. Davidson was born at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Orlando, while the younger was born at Saint Anthony’s near Orlando.)
A landmark study by Phil Connors, a television weatherman in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, established this theory as the Groundhog Day Effect in 1993.
But Davidson adds that even if a cat has seen that movie four or five times during six or seven of their lives, “they wouldn’t remember it any more than they remember the fact that, even after you’ve pushed it away a million times, you still don’t want their ass in your face when you’re petting them.”
“Halfway through Life #7, our feline friends seem to have just as little respect for gravity as they did in Life #2. And just as little awareness that gravity actually exists.”
While cats may be fascinated by bright, shiny, technical objects, such as the iPad or random high-definition programming on the Animal Planet network, less animated objects don’t hold the same allure. Studies have shown that even though it seems they don’t respect newspapers or books, they are entirely oblivious to the idea that some clothes are black.
Just as often as they forget that you don’t like their ass in your face, sometimes it’s almost like these li’l rascals have never even seen a spray bottle before. (What is it with these guys? How many fucking lint rollers do we have to buy this month?)
The cats in this laboratory video, for example, appear to believe that the objects displayed on the iPad’s screen are actually under the iPad. Wake up, dummy! It’s a computer!
As far as what cats actually can understand and remember, Davidson (the grad student) says, “Cats have very selective memories and they usually tend to remember just one thing: what feels good. They simply adore making biscuits and gettin’ some knucks.”
“Making biscuits” is a scientific term for the paw-kneading motion cats like to do over and over on soft pillows or your fat-ass belly. “Knucks” are the insane addiction cats have for forcibly rubbing their jaws on things.
Many cats will rub their teeth on your knuckles if you make a fist. Davidson (the one born at Saint Anthony’s) says, “It feels amazing. If you’re a cat is like crack cocaine.”
Does it ever. (Not that I’ve tried crack.)
From K Composite Magazine (2000)
Everybody knows Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon, and some even know the name of the second guy, Buzz Aldrin. But can you name the other ten guys who subsequently traversed the lunar surface? This phenomenal article will share that precious information with you, as well as many other forgotten or unknown factoids of feeble humanoids and their exploits in trying to leave Earth.
The brown nose of James Irwin
James B. Irwin – or Jimmy as I like to call him – was born in 1930 in Pittsburgh. That was a long, long time ago. Jimmy lived many places and did many things. He was a real bookworm and got all kinds of BS degrees and stuff. He got really into experimental flight and fancy flying schools. Bo-o-o-ring! But no matter what he accomplished academically or as a test pilot, all his achievements would eventually totally pale in comparison to when he became one of the few humans to ever leave the planet.
Florida: more than spring break
At the age of 41, on a beautiful Florida day, the robust man of 160 pounds boarded a rocket. July 26, 1971 was the day that some chumps in work clothes strapped James inside a little soup can by the name of Apollo 15. From the “launch pad” he “blasted off” (that’s space-talk) and traveled to the moon in very, very close quarters with two other guys. I don’t mean nothin’ by that, I’m just sayin’. A man with two first names, David Scott, was the spacecraft commander. Dave was the seventh man to walk on the moon, right in front of Jimmy. They probably planned the order before they left so they wouldn’t fight about who’s getting out first all the way to the moon.
This trip to the moon was a real adventure for these young lads. But as far as the public was concerned, Apollo 15 was small potatoes. Shits and giggles, that’s all. Previous missions had delivered the goods and the public was sufficiently wowwed as a result. Namely, Apollo 11 put the first guys on the moon. Apollo 12 proved we could do it twice, like it wasn’t just luck the first time. Apollo 13… well, you’ve seen the movie about that one. They were almost lost in space, but luckily Tom Hanks bravely made oxygen out of socks and duct tape, and saved the day.
By the time Apollo 15 rolled around in the summer of ’71, the moon was a real stinker in the PR world. Nothing new.
Sucks to be James Irwin. For the rest of your life, every time somebody mentions Neil Armstrong, you earnestly pipe in with, “He’s not all that. I was the eighth man to walk on the moon!”
They would undoubtedly give you a reassuring smile and augment it with a stock sincere line like, “Heavens, I bet that was really something,” followed shortly by the inevitable rolling of the eyes and an awkward silence while turning away and shuffling off.
Where ya headed? The moon?
Alfred Worden was also on Apollo 15. Alfred was the command module pilot. A real fancy title, but if you’re an astronaut you know that “command module pilot” is just a nice way to say “the guy who drops off the other two dudes at the moon, and then flies around the moon for a while, and then picks them up again when they’re finished having fun, and has to hear them talk all the way back to Earth about how awesome it is to walk on the moon.”
Yes, that’s right. On each one of the six trips humans have taken to the moon, three guys went there and only two of them got to get out. The other poor sucker just had to circle the moon and wait to go home.
So if you think nobody cares about the fact that you were the eighth man to walk on the moon, imagine what it would be like for that old sap Alfred Worden who went all the way to the moon and had to stay in the boat.
Your daughter might come home from school one day yapping, “Hey daddy, my teacher said Neil Armstrong is a hero of humanity because he was the first man to walk on the moon!”
You would respond modestly, “Oh sweetie, that’s nice, but did you know that a few years after Neil Armstrong was on the moon, your daddy went there with the seventh and eighth men who walked on the moon.”
“Wow, daddy! I didn’t know you walked on the moon! You’re my hero!”
“No, honey. I didn’t actually walk on the moon. I just sort of dropped some people off and brought them back.”
“Gosh, daddy, it’s sort of funny that you’re a taxi driver now, because that’s what you did on the moon! Maybe when you come to Career Day you can just leave out the part about you staying in the plane.”
To add insult upon injury, they spent more time on the surface than any prior mission. Just how long did glorified chauffeur Alfred Worden sit in the command module by himself doing loops around the moon while Jimmy and Dave were cruising around in the moon buggy? Twenty or thirty minutes? Try 67 hours! Holy shit! That’s almost three whole days! I guess it’s probably still a thrill to go to the moon, but man, total buzzkill, dude.
Yuri Gagarin? Never heard of him.
Maybe you’ve heard of the Soviet Union. It was a country in Asia that used to be a really big deal, but they broke up. When they were still together, they were trying at the same time to put a man on the moon. Maybe you’ve heard of this so-called “Space Race.” Who would spike the proverbial football on the moon first? The Soviets or the Americans? Anyone? Anyone?
The engineers and scientists in the Soviet space program tried really fucking hard to get a man on the moon first. In the beginning, the commies kicked some serious ass. In 1959, the Soviets were the first to hit the moon with a probe. Nice shot. Two years later, Yuri Gagarin became the first man to orbit the Earth. Five years after that, they safely landed the first unmanned thingamabob on the lunar surface. Then in 1968, the Soviets sent the first vehicle containing life into lunar orbit and returned it safely to Earth. What was it? A dog? A monkey? No, it was turtles. That’s right. Turtles.
Things dreadfully slowed down for the Reds after that. Over the next months, it became apparent that their little stunt with the turtles wasn’t gonna to cut the mustard anymore. The Americans were steppin’ on the gas. The Soviet program was disorganized and short of cash. It had been struggling since chief designer and visionary Sergei Korolyov croaked in ’66. The sluggishness and lack of direction was no match for all the money, brains, and horn-rimmed glasses at NASA. A few months after the turtle show, the Americans flew a living person around the moon, totally facing the Soviets. “Yes! Eat our moon dust!” That’s something that might have been said at the time.
Neil, did you hear something?
Despite all the serious facializing from the capitalist pigs, the commies weren’t about to give up. They were trying anything they could. They did some world class blowin’ up of expensive hardware. Some rockets exploded during lift off, while others reached the moon, but just turned into fancy fireworks when they got there.
Interestingly, an unmanned Soviet spacecraft, Luna 15, crashed into the moon during a landing attempt while the Apollo 11 astronauts were on the surface. While the world was captivated watching Neil Armstrong and crew making history, a Soviet ship was crashing somewhere else on the moon. “Neil? Did you hear that?” “Huh?”
More than a year later, in September 1970, the unmanned jalopy called Luna 16 careened wildly toward the moon and made the first successful Soviet landing. It picked up a sampling of moon rocks and dust and brought them back. Ultimately, believe it or not, a Soviet cosmonaut never walked on the moon. They were never able to pull it off. It’s kind of sad really, if you think about it. It’s really kind of sad. Kind of sad. A little sad.
In modern times, the Russians are still having a little trouble paying for the expense of exploring space. This time around there’s no race going on, a bunch of countries got together and are building a space station, in space, of course. In July 2000, the living quarters for the International Space Station were delivered to orbit after being launched from Kazakhstan. The powerful Russian Proton rocket carrying these living quarters into space placed the unit into orbit only 15 minutes after being launched… oh yes, and it had a Pizza Hut logo on the side. This is a true story. In exchange for the princely sum of $1.25 million, a 30-foot-tall Pizza Hut logo was painted on the outside of the rocket to help the Russian space agency pay for the launch and keep their program on schedule. This isn’t a new thing for the Russians. In 1996, Pepsi paid the agency five million dollars to have cosmonauts photograph one of their soda cans floating by the Mir space station. A Japanese television reporter has even flown into space courtesy of the Russians, in exchange for “green stamps” (that’s CB jargon, it means “money”).
Ironically, NASA is prohibited from selling advertising on US spacesuits, but private companies have been involved in the US program for years. Shuttle missions regularly deliver privately operated satellites and commercial gear into orbit. Who would have guessed the Russians would be the first ones selling ad space on their rockets? I mean they used to be communists, right? I thought I said that.
Speaking of communists, the Chinese space program is coming right along, too. “What the…?! Did you say Chinese space program?” You bet I did! After completing a successful test launch and return of the unmanned Shenzhou capsule, China plans to put three people in it and send them into Earth orbit in 2001. Without the people in it, the capsule weighs less than 200 pounds! That’s less than most Americans! China is now becoming a playa in the elite club of people with ability to leave Earth. They’re also debating becoming involved in the International Space Station.
The dirty dozen
I suppose it’s about time I deliver the goods I promised at the beginning of the article. That is, the names of all twelve people who have walked on the moon. They are all white, American males. Just like Jesus. Here they are in order: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Charles Conrad Jr., Alan Bean, Alan Shepard, Edgar D. Mitchell, David R. Scott, James B. “Jimmy” Irwin, John Young, Charles M. Duke Jr., Eugene A. Cernan, and Harrison H. Schmitt.
The Americans went there
The US silver dollar coin has a picture of the moon on the back. Curious, isn’t it? The moon isn’t part of the United States. It doesn’t belong to anybody, or maybe it belongs to everybody. So why should we have a picture of it on one of our coins?
Since the beginning of time, creatures from dinosaurs and pteridactyls to horses, chimps, and humans have all seen the moon at night. Hundreds and thousands of years have gone by in which people looked at the moon. The moon was there the night before a primitive human invented the wheel. Moses lived with the moon in the sky. The Roman Empire grew and fell under the moon. The moon was above Johannes Gutenberg the night he created the printing press. Napoleon conquered Europe, seeing the moon light his troops each night. The telephone was invented. All of these things happened with their participants having the moon in the sky as a part of their everyday lives. But until the Americans came along, nobody had ever been there. That’s why it’s not so nuts for us to have picture of the moon on one of our coins. People from our country left the Earth and walked on the moon. Nobody from anywhere else, before or since, has done this. So for all the havoc the Americans have brought on other people in the name of democracy, capitalism, oil, and fast food – and all the shame and/or pride that comes with it – we at least have this humbling, monumental achievement to our credit.
The Romans paved the roads. The Swiss made cheese with holes in it. The Americans left the planet, landed somewhere else, and came back.
The Jimmy Irwin Story: Epilogue
After returning to Earth in 1971, Jimmy Irwin got an assignment as a backup crew member for Apollo 17. That means he would do all the training and everything like a real crew member, but he would only go on the mission if one of the dudes in the real crew got sick or couldn’t go at the last minute; like maybe he forgot his in-laws were coming in town or something. He was like the understudy.
Anyway, his backup crew position didn’t last very long because he got wrapped up in a scandalous investigation and was removed from active astronaut status. Allegedly, he and some of the other Apollo 15 guys had taken some stamps and envelopes to the moon and were busted selling them back on Earth. Pretty cool racket, but the Feds caught up with it and threw the book at ’em.
Jimmy wrote a few books in all his spare time after he got canned. “To Rule the Night” is an autobiographical piece about his career as an astronaut and some loopy “spiritual revelation” he experienced while walking the moon. As a result, he made six expeditions to Turkey in search of the remains of Noah’s Ark. Turkey, indeed.
In 1991, Jimmy Irwin died at the untimely age of 61 in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors, and no matter what, he will always be the eighth man to walk on the moon.
How the hell am I supposed to get any real news in this damn country full of liberal socialists if I can’t watch these?
Of course, I can circumvent the restriction and trick their servers by entering an American IP address into the proxy settings in my network connection preferences. That’s what I ended up doing last night to catch up on a few episodes. What a pain in the ass. Life really sucks, huh? You can’t watch free comedy any more? You poor dear.
The same situation was already the case on other major US network sites like ABC and Hulu. There are actually a quite a few television sites that are blocked outside the US or are redirected to local media partners.
So much for the “world wide” web.