The Duncan Banner
One balmy evening in the Pleistocene era, Uncle Ugh and Cousin Ogg were leaving a meeting of the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes, when they had a conversation that resonates through human history:
Ugh: Yo, dude, what’s that light up in the sky?
Ogg: C’mon, Uncle, we settled this last week — that’s the Moon. What’s the matter? Didja drink too much red berry juice at the meeting?
Ugh: Up your nose with a rubber hose, smarty pants! I know that’s the Moon. I’m talkin’ about that light to the left of it, the one that’s kinda reddish. Waddaya think that is?
Ogg: Well, the guys at Dave’s cave said that’s a new discovery. They called it a “play-net.”
Ugh: So that’s a play-net, huh? Pretty cool. Does it have a name?
Ogg: Not yet, but I heard a local radio station started a “Name the Play-net” contest. Wanna enter?
Ugh: Yeah! Let’s do it. It’s too early to go home, so let’s sit down and come up with a name. While we’re at it, I did have a little too much of the red berry juice and I’m hungry as a sabertooth. Would you pass me one of those Mars bars?
So it came to pass that Mars got its name. And for millennia, the Red Play-net has intrigued and fascinated humankind. Mars has lured us and we have answered.
In 1976, the Viking space probe sent back the first close-up pictures of Mars’ surface, but a lot of those looked like fuzzy shots from a family reunion. In 1997, the images coming back from Pathfinder were sharper and more detailed.
In 2004, we had Spirit crawling around up there. Spirit looked like it was built out of Legos, but the lil’ rover beamed back incredible snapshots of Mars’ terrain.
And now, Curiosity is on the Red Play-net sending remarkable photos and data that may lead to future exploration on Mars and beyond.
Critics and skeptics think Curiosity is a waste of money. But I say: Scoff not, ye of little imagination. As Curiosity continues its journey, we may discover answers to thousands of years of human mysteries and strange disappearances.
In fact, I figure there’s a good chance Curiosity could satisfy humanity’s thirst to know what happened to Atlantis, Eldorado and Shangri-La. It’s possible those mythic communities were actually built by exploratory Martians named Yeti, Sasquatch and The Bogeyman.
Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction we couldn’t find? Well, maybe, those puppies are on Mars, and Don Rumsfeld will dance around screaming, “See? I told you there were WMDs! I told you so! I told you so!”
On Aug. 6, 1940, Judge Joseph F. Crater walked out of his house to attend a play and was never seen again. Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan got lost trying to fly around the world in 1937. Could they all be on the Red Play-net?
Elvis is living in a trailer park somewhere in Minnesota? Ahem, hardly. Mr. Presley now runs Hunka Hunka Condos, the biggest real estate development on Mars
Jim Morrison? Writing poems about lizards in a bungalow in a Martian crater.
What was the final destination of Wilfred Brimley and the other geezers in Cocoon? We’re about to find out.
Those millions of dollars locked in Al Capone’s vault? Ha! They’re stashed in an unnumbered Martian bank account.
Jimmy Hoffa’s remains were mixed into the concrete used to build Giants Stadium in Jersey? Yeah, sure.
In 1971, D.B. Cooper hopped out of a Boeing 727 at 10,000 feet, with $200,000 ransom money in his pocket? That’s what the U.S. government wants us to believe.
Brothers and sisters, we are on the threshold of knowing the unknowable, of finding the unfindable. Thanks to the Curiosity mission, we’ll finally know the whereabouts of:
- A liberal Republican. The last one on this planet was John Anderson, who had to run as an Independent in the 1980 presidential race.
- A half-million of Kim Kardashian’s unused brain cells.
- A snow sled named “Rosebud.”
- The original lyrics of Louie, Louie.
- Another of those haunting black obelisks. The first one appeared on Earth in 2001: A Space Odyssey, then another was on the Moon in 2010 When Curiosity stumbles onto an obelisk on Mars, we’ll realize they are start-up kits for Wal-Mart stores, and there are other such obelisks on every planet in the universe.
- A kazillion unmatched socks, validating my suspicion clothes dryers are actually portholes for intergalactic travel.
And you thought funding space travel was a waste of money.
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