Welcome to the first installment of Mercifully Absurd—our weekly photographic look into absurdity. Each week (or sooner if we feel like it) check back for a new image capturing the absurd, as we see it. This week “Miffed Manager”. Don’t think he’s miffed? Have a closer look at that face—he’s miffed alright.
I have no idea why the Shuttle launches are not a bigger deal than they are. I mean we are shooting goddamn rockets into goddamn space here. This is one of the coolest things that our country does. It’s like a giant firecracker with a minivan strapped on the top, only slightly more technologically involved. For those of you who missed it, here it is. The launch of STS-125, Space Shuttle Atlantis.
The first video is with the folks at the Kennedy Space Center going over the final checklist and the Flight manager wishing the crew “Good Luck and Godspeed.”
This one is the real deal, starting with the removal of the vent cap from the external fuel tank and the crew putting down their visors and starting the flow of oxygen. (Skip to 2:00 if you can’t wait) It really is something to see the three engines fire up and then the boosters kick in. If you’ve got external speakers, I recommend cranking them up for the full effect. Feel free to start chanting “USA! USA! USA!” as you see what good old fashioned American horsepower really looks like—take that China!
Think about this for a second. Now that the smoke has cleared and reason has taken hold, there is little to worry over swine flu. There will be no pandemic, schools won’t be turned to hospitals and theaters to morgues. It’s just another strain of the flu. Why then did we all get so worked up over it? The answer is simple: somebody wanted that hype. Somebody created the disease, somebody named it and somebody sent the news folks to suck it all up and spread it round.
Who would do this? Shouldn’t the media be diligent and not create public alarm when there should be none? The answer is yes, unless they’ve been played—this time by the Obama administration. During the Bush II White House we saw this in the lead up to the Iraq War among other places. A story seeded here and there by administration officials to create public sentiment in favor of reacting harshly in Iraq against WMD
Interesting that Mr. Obama is just now starting to put the wheels on his healthcare reform wagon he is about to roll through The Congress. Part of that was swiping Sen. Arlen Spector from the Republicans to get his magic 60 votes in the Senate. The other piece of maneuvering done with the help of operatives in Mexico, a creative naming department and the good ole’ liberal media.
Take a desease nobody’s ever seen, but that isn’t terribly harmful in non-impoverished areas. Then give it a catchy name we can all remember. Seed it in an impoverished and call the newspapers. Creating a public that is ready for healthcare reform is that easy.
Mexico was a logical place to drop the virus: close, poor and easy to remember. This factored into a higher death toll, so the newspapers had to send reporters. It’s unknown nature let us think that it could become a dangerous pandemic for a couple of weeks until sceintists debunked it’s lethality.
Sure, now we all realize that the swine flu poses no more real danger than plain-old-flu, but we have all been reminded of what could happen. Scenes of quarrentines, people going to hospital, death from a communicable disease have contributed and made health care a top-of-mind issue for Americans (and the world). Sounds like the perfect time to try push that healthcare wagon through Congress to me, doesn’t it Mr. President?
As a non-basketball fan who has watched a surprising amount of the sport over the past few months for various reasons, I have come to realize that there is a glaring malignancy in the sport (or NBA, at least) that reaches far beyond my normal and meritorious complaint that the sport by design is boring*: that malignancy is that there exist no standards for officiating the games. It’s literally (literally, I mean exactly the definition of that word, it is not used here for effect) impossible to tell what is a foul and what is not from one play to the next. The officiating is completely arbitrary. There is a damn fine reason why that stupid bastard Tim Donaghy was an NBA official and not in the NFL, simply because he could never get away with rigging games in the NFL, or any other respectable professional sport for that matter. Or at least not without someone getting suspicious. There is also a damn fine reason why so many NBA players cry after every play, namely that the officials have either called an unwarranted foul or that they have missed a warranted one.
Are there bad/missed/blown calls in other sports? Of course there are, but nothing nearly as capriciously shitty as goes on in the NBA from game-to-game as a matter of course. I am a fairly savvy sports fan: I can explain pass interference, hockey icing and offsides, the goalie rectangle, and a balk in baseball, but I have absolutely no clue from one play to the next why one action is a foul and another is not. And that’s a major problem for a sport to have, and it is why the NBA sucks… aside from being boring.
*Seriously, just give each team 75 points and let them play for five minutes. The rest of it is pointless horseshit.