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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

DoN Bosses the Final Frontier

It's not that I fear change; it's just that I truly believe with all my heart that some things should be left alone. They nibble at the edges of Big Things That Matter and they just mess around with Things That Should Not Be Messed With. Let me try to explain.

I live in Ohio, a state with not much to recommend it. Our weather sucks, the stars who get inducted into our Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (and Museum!) go to a ceremony IN NEW YORK, our governor was recently in court to face criminal charges and has an approval rating of 19%, and we are the state that blushed enough to put Dubya (aka The Angel of Death) in the White House last year. We have the river that actually caught fire, too. But we do have one thing, and that is Lake Erie, a Great Lake right smack on top of us. I was raised a couple of minutes away from that lake, so in elementary school when we had to memorize the Great Lakes, I could picture Erie lapping around my ankles. Huron, Ontario, Michigan, ERIE, Superior, I memorized; H-O-M-E-S, homes. How simple. Then, in 1998 Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont proposed new legislation declaring Lake Champlain a Great Lake. He was after federal moolah for colleges and almost sneaked this by, but it didn't pass. Could you have imagined if it did? Little schoolchildren everywhere denied the simple mnemonic of HOMES; what would they use then? CHOMES? HOCMES? HOMECS? And those of us who grew up on HOMES? I shudder. All Great Lakes Staters really got pissed off, and I can't say I blame us. After all, tradition and history should count for something.

Which brings me to the topic at hand...and yes, I still have one. And it is Pluto.

Not the Disney dog (who is mysteriously allowed to be doggishly naked whilst Goofy, also a dog, is clothed; that is for another post), but the planet. Which is the issue we must wrestle with.

Apparently, there has been some backdoor dealing amid the pointyheads in the science world to delist Pluto as a planet. How did I, average person, find this out? On Comedy Central! I immediately (and accusatorially) emailed my colleague Jeremy, physics teacher extraordinaire, who emailed back that he'd "been telling people Pluto wasn't a planet for so long that it had never occurred to [him] that it was news." Well, I am devastated. When I was in 3rd grade, I did my planet report on Pluto! It most certainly was a planet! I memorized the NINE planets--count 'em--9 by the mnemonic device everyone did: My Very Elegant Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus (ha ha you said your anus), Neptune, PLUTO. Are we going to just toss yet another valuable learning tool on the scrap heap just because of a bunch of picky nerds who can't even agree what a planet IS? (Not to mention the fact that I got an 'A' on my report! And old Mrs. Fauver never gave A's in Science to anyone, believe you me!) Besides, now the Hubble telescope has found two new moons orbiting little old Pluto, who has one fine big moon already. It even has a name, Charon. This adds yet another facet to the debate. If Pluto is just a spaceberg, a big chunk of space ice, why name its moon? I really think you science types are just looking for trouble and things to argue about. I'd be glad to submit my Pluto report to any of you who cares to read it. I still have it, and it's even illustrated. In Venus brand colored pencils, no less. Venus: also a planet. SO FAR. So, leave Pluto alone. Or I'll put you all on MY list, and it's not a very nice one. So there.

The world is changing fast enough. Some of it can be...let be. If you're not sure which stuff, check with me. The Dept. of Nance stands ready to decide.

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