Why don’t you just pull over?
I don’t like the look of this neighborhood.
I just don’t like the look of it.
Would it just kill you to ask for directions? We’re already late for the party as it is.
I think it’s just a little further in this direction.
That’s what you said as we passed the planet with the rings around it.
..and as we approached the gas giant with the huge red spot.
Let’s go a little further. Zorb said it’s past a red planet and then left after a blue one.
This isn’t even our solar system.
Let’s just swing around this star and we’ll slingshot back out where we came from.
Finally you’re listening to me.
We just need to be careful. Not every civilization is going to react kindly to a spaceship a half-mile long.
I listened to their radio transmissions. They know we’re a spaceship.
I doubt that.
They named us: Oumuamua.
Oh relax. The life forms on the blue planet think this is just a big asteroid.
One guy at something called Harvard Smithsonian Center thinks it is.
Who’s gonna believe one guy? Let’s circle the star and get out of here. Ignore the tumbling.
A carbon-based lifeform walks into a bar. The end.
This article ran in the Los Angeles Times on Saturday, June 29, 2018. They had to censor some parts and cut a bit for space. I understand completely. But I decided to let loose here. You have been warned.
I wasn’t very smart when it came to dating. Or was I?
I like to think of myself as a pretty intelligent guy. Logical, analytical, able to reason things out.
If I’m not cycling around Griffith Park, I’ll spend my free time watching documentaries on YouTube about chaos theory, parallel universes and anything to do with Einstein. I have books stacked in tall piles on my bedside tables covering a bewildering array of subjects, from theories of time to the history of the Dutch people to Murakami novels filled with talking cats and disturbing passages of incest.
But when it comes to dating, my prized intellect goes completely out the window. I’ll date a guy with more red flags than a communist parade, ignoring warning signs that would cause most people in my position to move out of town and change their phone number.
“Hey, Stan, who are we shooting at this time?”
“James Bond again.”
“I have a bad feeling about this.”
“Why? We’ve got Bond outnumbered ten-to-one.”
“And every time he manages to come out on top.”
“No way! We’ve got him cornered.”
“Over by the 100 canisters of liquified oxygen and pile of oily rags.”
“I still have a bad feeling about this…” Continue reading
(A dialog between two extraterrestrials entering a new, unexplored solar system. Translated from their native Hexa-Dimensional Hru-ru)
“Captain, we examined the gas planet with the fantastic rings.”
“Yes. No biomarkers, even though it seems perfect for life: mostly hydrogen and helium, with traces of methane, ammonia and water. Temperature is minus 279 Fahrenheit, windspeeds 1,100 miles an hour.”
“Sounds like heaven. Damn! We’re were so close.”
Let’s face it. Spend months on a desolate island in the Pacific looking at the beaks of Galapagos finches and before long, you might begin to realize something is going on there. Naturalist Charles Darwin did and it led to the theory of natural selection. Those individuals with heritable traits better suited to the environment will survive.
That’s not the way my father saw things in the natural world. He had his own rules that made you worthy of passing on your genes. Continue reading
Since I’m a firm believer in science and humor, I thought I would take a different tack to all the eulogies being made across the Internet since the passing of the great physicist last Wednesday. Instead, I offer you a wonderful interview that TV funnyman John Oliver had with Steven Hawking on Last Week Tonight in 2014. Continue reading
We finished off the dinosaurs with a whopping asteroid to make way for you mammals. We tinkered with your genes and got you to come down from the trees. We taught early humans how to raise crops and domesticate animals. Gave democracy to the ancient Greeks. And pulled your sorry asses back from the brink of nuclear war on multiple occasions. You owe us extraterrestrials big time.
And how do you Judases repay us?
A few years ago, I made a trip to the Mount Wilson observatory high above Pasadena, California. It’s where some of the greatest discoveries of 20th century astronomy took place.
It’s also where we humans got taken down a peg or two from our lofty, self-awarded importance in the cosmos. Continue reading
For most people, the word vacation conjures up visions of tanned carcasses parked on comfy lounge chairs in the Caribbean, sipping tropical drinks bristling with paper umbrellas and colorful straws.
I don’t buy into that illusion. Continue reading
Richard Feynman, one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century, could look at a simple tree and see much more than some roots, a trunk, branches and leaves. He understood and marveled at where they came from. The answer isn’t what you think.
Feynman said that trees come mostly out of the air.
Before you sputter in laughter and point in ridicule, you need to know that he’s correct.
We’ve been sending radio and television signals into space for decades without giving it much thought.
Maybe we should. Continue reading
My mother never understood the wave-particle duality of electromagnetic phenomena. She had no interest in the fact that objects traveling near the speed of light shortened in their direction of motion. And she never grasped how an airplane managed to stay up in the air at all, even though her husband flew planes for a living. Continue reading
Why was actress Jodi Foster filmed at a different angle than Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs? Where is the camera usually placed when two people are talking in a Joel and Ethan Coen film? And how do you make it interesting to watch when a character in a film travels to another city? Continue reading
They’re funny, weird, brilliant and sadly, mainly forgotten. Continue reading