Thursday, April 29, 2010

Space . . . Cadet?


If there’s one thing I love, it’s space. And I’m not just talking about an open floor plan or a full-size sedan. I’m referring to outer space – the final frontier, the great unknown, the home of Martians, Vulcans, Alf and ET. The outer limits, so mysterious that we write books, make movies, form cults and sacrifice ourselves just in hopes of riding through it on a comet.

Okay, that’s just some of us.

Clearly, I’m an advocate for furthering the exploration of this great solar system we call home. I’m dying to know if there’s life on Mars or extra moons orbiting Jupiter and Saturn. So much so that I can understand pumping a few billion dollars into some galactic exploration.

But Barack, with all due respect, I’d advice we do nothing with Mars. Unless, of course, we have substantial evidence that its economy is far-exceeding our own. And perhaps let’s forget the Milky Way for a time, save it will provide actual Milky Ways (dark, preferably) for those using food stamps on Main Street while their homes are foreclosing.

And let’s steer clear of that astro belt until we know exactly what happening on our own Beltway.

Although, in the light of America’s current state, perhaps we could find some new territories – where land and resources are plentiful and the terrain in desperate want of human habitation – and claim it. For China.

In gratitude of the 6 billion we borrowed to find it.

I adore science. But Barack, fellow Americans, this seems a bit spacey.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

On Arizona, Immigration, and Costco


Beware, desert-dwellers: A new sheriff’s is town and he’s taking names. Or rather, the same sheriff is still in town and he’s taking names, ID cards and citizenship documentation.

Arizona, I’m talking to you. And since the introduction of a new law that allows officials to require identification and immigration papers of citizens (or non) on demand, “Show me your papers!” might just be the hot new sub-Utah catchphrase.

Which, naturally, got me to thinking about Costco.

I have a deep-seeded affection for the warehouse company I call my Saturday-morning home. I love its snow-capped frozen meat department, the majesty of the purple-mountain-sporting section, and the amber waves of bulk-quantity grains.

I appreciate –nay, depend upon– the provisions of groceries, prescription medications, tires, housewares and entertainment materials this concrete-wrapped Mecca provides.

To put it simply, if I could pledge allegiance to Costco, I would.

But here’s the catch: you gotta be a member to score the goods.

I know, I know, other stores are free to enter, zip to peruse, nada to purchase. No one at WalMart checks my membership status upon entering. Target doesn’t demand documentation at the pharmacy counter. And Macy’s never asks for a membership card when I’m buying a blender.

Oh, but they are not Costco, nor do they provide the high-qualitied, bulk-quantitied, low-costing products that my native warehouse does. (Nor do they provide a polish dog and coke for a buck-fifty, but I digress).

So cheer up, Arizona. We’ve got a pretty good thing going with this little country of ours. It may be inconvenient, and it may be demanding, but if we let everyone in here we’d just be another giant superstore with high prices and dirty carts.

And then where would you go when you needed to find both a kayak and a rotisserie chicken in one place?

Think about it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

An American Emblem


Fearless, bold, and free, the bald eagle invokes the firmly-planted seeds of patriotism to swell in all of our chests. After all, the distinguished bird, with its proud posture and undying determination has been our nation’s emblem for more than 200 years, gracing our currency, coins and every nook and cranny of Washington DC.

But with this hearty introduction I, with regret in my heart and sadness in my pen, suggest that this beloved bird no longer symbolize the true American.

Or at least the true American man.

Sure, the eagle is domineering, likes the beach, and is opportunistic in his every mannerism. But, I sadly concede, the bald eagle mates for life.

For life.

That means that Mr. BE (bald eagle), upon winning dozens of eagle-like sporting events, doesn’t flee his fine-feathered-(girl)friend for 10-20 be-beaked escorts.

Nor does he leave his plumaged partner in the nest with her brood of chickadees to pursue life on a reality television show.

And we know he doesn’t run for office while discreetly perfecting his “wide stance” at his favorite watering hole.

Not to mention that our favorite winged one is also known for its courting rituals, wooing the female with “elaborate calls and flight displays.” Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but I only receive elaborate calls when cell minutes are free and football season is over. And as for flights, my mother taught me long ago that there’s always expectations attached to free vacations.

Ah, the eagle. A fine testament to what Americans could be. Perhaps Ben Franklin was right about that turkey after all.