Skip to main content

Curiosity Killed the Cat

Dear Members and Constituents,
This week, the most complex and expensive Mars mission to-date successfully landed on the red planet. Some of you may have, understandably, been too distracted by the Olympic medal race between the U.S. and China to notice, so I have taken the liberty of summarizing the news (by the way, this is one of those rare occasions where the line “were you on another planet?” does not have the desired effect). NASA’s six-wheeled car-size rover made an entrance in dramatic fashion, borrowing a page from Hollywood with seven minutes of terror, during which it transformed its shape five times and stuck a landing in a routine that would make any Olympic gymnast jealous.

In an ironic twist, the first surface image to be sent by the rover –whose mission it is to search for signs of life—showed what appears to be a dead cat. During a hastily arranged press conference to explain this discovery, Dr. Fick Sho-Nahl, an exobiologist at NASA’s JPL indicated “the current hypothesis as to the unfortunate mishap involves the Martian feline being lured to the site by the heat shield’s glow, only to be smothered by the rocket engines delivering the vehicle to the surface. On the bright side, our search for life in other planets is an unqualified success.” Having discovered (and ended) life so quickly, the 17 camera array, lasers and radiation detector on board this nuclear-powered mobile lab now seem like overkill. Speaking on condition of anonymity, another source at the space agency acknowledged that “in hindsight, we have long known the red planet’s surface resembles a giant litter box, so it makes sense that cat-like creatures would evolve here –after all, they can ‘go’ wherever they please.”

Obviously, if the cat references in the preceding paragraph were true, you’d see a lot more coverage in the news. Still, wouldn’t it be cool if Curiosity did find life? (almost as cool as, say, a taxidermy cat helicopter scaring some cows to the tune of Airwolf –a must see video if you ask me). As it stands, the closest I expect we’ll get to finding life is a false positive from the Teflon in one of the instruments. And while Curiosity’s tires can’t go flat, that was unfortunately not the case for Satinder Juneja’s automobile –which explains the slight delay this morning. Fortunately, you don’t have to travel cosmic distances to find a sign of these donuts, so come grab one. While you’re at it, maybe we can chat for a bit – unless, of course, the cat ate your tongue.
Happy Friday!

Disclosure: I am admittedly not a cat person, however, no cats were harmed in the production of this message nor, to my knowledge, by NASA’s Curiosity mission.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Happy New Year!

  Friends, Happy new year (and, technically, still Friday). As many of you know, my household has a peculiar way of ringing-in the new year. We build effigies representing the old year and burn them at midnight. This year, although we made the tough call of canceling the accompanying annual party, I felt it was important to go ahead with the burning. The theme, of course, was CoVid. My kids and I developed a dozen mutations of the virus and staged them in our backyard. Then, at a quarter ‘till midnight, we proceeded to read the old year’s last will and testament (or, as might be expected for a year like this, an un-will and un-testament). Shortly thereafter they were summarily burned. We then proceeded to stay up way past my bedtime (which in part helps explain the unusual tardiness of my weekly note). In any event a couple of donuts and a day of rest have got me back to my old self. By the way, I’ve posted a public video of the Facebook live stream event on Facebook. Key markers on

THE Oasis

Friends, The book  Ready Player One  sent me down memory lane this week. The journey was not triggered by the author’s excessive references to the 1980s, which border on obsessive. Rather, it was the name of the massive virtual reality simulation used by characters in this dystopian future to escape their grim surroundings: The OASIS. You see, that was also the name of my grandfather’s country estate, the setting where a disproportionate share of my treasured childhood memories were created.  La Quinta Oasis was a bucolic old whitewashed house with a massive stone staircase, three foot thick adobe walls and wooden window shutters that, when closed at night, would submerge the residence in pitch darkness. With no running water, electricity, phone or indoor plumbing, the only modern convenience was the battery transistor radio on which my uncles would listen to “Chucho el Roto”, a radio soap opera. The Spanish fighting roosters crowed long before sunrise, making it difficult to fall back

Accidental Culinary Innovations

Friends, Have you ever inadvertently fermented spaghetti sauce? Yeah, me neither… until yesterday, that is! Imagine my surprise when the half-full bottle, sitting in the fridge from time immemorial, made a sound akin to opening a beer bottle, instantly filling the glass container with a hazy smoke. As the carbonation dissipated, I grabbed a spoon to conduct the obligatory taste test. How was it? I’m glad you asked! Let’s just say chunky carbonated tomato beer is not my thing (although I must admit that if I had been expecting it, my reaction might have been a little more… composed). Now, if you forgo the fermentation and switch the tomato paste with spicy salsa… that might be the next million dollar idea! Sparkling sriracha anyone? How about Carbonated Cholula?   Bubbly Habanero? Fizzy JalapeƱo?? I could go on, but I have a feeling Gassy Guac might not fly off the shelves. Now, if only I could stumble on a way to improve donuts. Carbonated Jelly filling… yeah, maybe not. I think I’ll