from latraviata ‘s journal.

oh…very funny!
Important voting message:

Due to an anticipated voter turnout much larger than originally expected, the polling facilities may not be able to handle the load all at once. Therefore, Democrats are requested to vote on Tuesday, November 7, and Republicans on Wednesday, November 8. Please pass this message along and help us to make sure that nobody gets left out.

When It Rains It Snows

There’s a knock at the door that I adore, There’s a face at the window, a smiling yellow face, There’s a knock on the door, And if I were at home they’d find me there, There’s a note on the door that I would see, And the furnitures barely been moved from where it was, There’s a note on the door, And the note would say, when it rains it snows, When it rains I wonder why, And now I know that when it rains it snows, There’s a nut with a shotgun bang bang bang, There’s a doctor, a waitress, a fireman with a hat, There’s a nut with a gun, There’s enough so they’ll never know which one

from the strait dope webpage.

I plan to destroy the moon. What effect would this have on the earth?


Dear Cecil:

I thought I should consult you first before I went ahead with my plan to destroy the moon. My questions to you are simple, or maybe not. Could the earth (and the scum who inhabit it) survive without the moon? Would the lack of its gravitational sway cause any substantial damage aside from pissing off a lot of surfers? Would everyone all of a sudden have one serious mood swing? Just how important is this moving target? I won’t begin operations until I hear from you first. –Greg Angelone, via the Internet

Cecil replies:

Destroying major planetary bodies shows a lack of maturity, Greg. There are better ways of expressing your anger. Can’t you just hold your breath until you turn blue?

At the moment I can’t give you a definite answer on the effects of destroying the moon. The parties I’ve consulted so far think that either (a) nothing much will happen or (b) it’ll be the end of the world. I’m working on getting this pinned down.

One question: How do you propose to have the moon taken out? Obviously, if island-size chunks will be raining down on Cleveland, there’s going to be a significant negative impact (on Cleveland, anyway). In order not to mess up our answer, however, let’s assume you’re thinking of a simple process of vaporization.

My initial thoughts regarding the impact of lunar destruction were as follows:

(1) No more big tides, surfing, etc. Tides wouldn’t disappear entirely, since the sun would continue to tug on the oceans, causing high tides of diminished amplitude at noon and midnight. But, as one early consultant pointed out, it’s a safe bet the bottom would fall out of the tourist trade in the Bay of Fundy, noted for its tidal extremes.

(2) Dogs would have to bay at, I dunno, Alpha Centauri.

(3) Much darker at night. Duh, you say, but a fair amount of nocturnal activity among the lower orders is pegged to moonlight.

(4) The famous children’s book Goodnight Moon would require considerable rethinking.

(5) One less thing to rhyme with June.

(6) We’d have to think up another name for shoving your naked butt out the car window at passersby.

(7) No more eclipses. Incidentally, the next partial eclipse of the sun visible in North America will occur this coming Christmas Day. Wouldn’t want to miss that, so please hold off on the destruction of the moon till after the holidays.

(8) On July 20, 2069, people will say, “Neil who walked on what?”

In other words, we’d probably cope. If it were left to me I’d say go ahead, but there are a lot of scaremongers out there. A sampling of proposed fatal scenarios:

(1) Loss of the meteorite shield and resultant flaming death. Some say that if not for the moon, all those meteorites that made huge craters (150 miles and more in diameter) on the lunar surface would have flattened Nebraska instead. Like anybody would have noticed. My feeling is, while lunar shielding may have been important in the early days of the solar system, how many giant meteorites do you see crashing into the moon now? I want to know what the moon has done for me lately.

(2) End of life as we know it. In his book What If the Moon Didn’t Exist? Voyages to Earths That Might Have Been (1993), astronomer Neil Comins speculates that life would never have evolved from the primordial soup if not for the moon and accompanying tides. With weaker solar tides and thus a lesser distance between the littoral reach of high and low tides, there would have been fewer tidal pools, the petri dish for so many forms of life. As one commentator puts it, no amphibians = no land animals = no us. However, at the risk of appearing ungrateful, I have to point out that, evolutionarily speaking, we’re kinda past the lizard stage. The riposte to this is that even now tidal motion helps keep the oceans churned up, circulating nutrients and generally helping to promote life beneath the waves. No churning = no circulating nutrients = no life.

(3) Orbital instability. This has been the most controversial area of all. At first my reaction was, what orbital instability? Everybody knows that the radius of the earth’s orbit r = GM/v2, where G is the gravitational constant, M is the mass of the sun, and v is the earth’s orbital velocity. In other words, orbital radius is independent of planetary mass, so despite the loss of 1/81 of the combined terralunar bulk, orbitwise the earth would rock on. Various individuals claim, though, that earth’s orbit would become more elliptical, its axial tilt would become wobblier due to the influence of Jupiter, and who knows what else. If God had been subject to this kind of environmental impact stuff, the creation of the universe would still be in community hearings. I say let her blow. How bad could it be?

a sad note….

One of my media heroes has passed away. Here’s the press release. I love ya, Steve. There won’t be another like you for a long, long time.

Multi-talented television pioneer Steve Allen passed away suddenly Monday night October 30th at the home of his youngest son, Bill, in Encino, California.

Mr. Allen was resting after a visit with four of his twelve grandchildren when he lost consciousness and died of an apparent heart attack.

Widely recognized for his renaissance talents as an author, composer, musician, poet, playwright and performer, Allen was the creator and first host of NBC’s Tonight Show. He also won Peabody and Emmy awards for his PBS series Meeting of Minds and starred in the memorable motion picture The Benny Goodman Story. The composer of over 8,500 songs, including the popular standard This Could be the Start of Something Big and the Grammy award winning Gravy Waltz, Steve Allen was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the “most prolific composer of modern times.”

Only the day before his death Mr. Allen had performed before a sold out audience at Victor Valley College, one of the scores of music and comedy concerts he continued to give around the country each year during his seventh decade of life.

Mr. Allen was also the author of more than 50 published books including comedies and mysteries as well as more serious tomes on subjects as diverse as education, morality, China and the farm worker movement of Caesar Chavez. On the day of his death, Mr. Allen was working on the promotional plans for the December release of his 53rd book Steve Allen’s Private Joke File, and adding the final touches to his manuscript for his 54th book, Vulgarians at the Gate concerning the rising tide of violence and vulgarity in the popular media.

Steve Allen was married to television, film and stage actress Jayne Meadows for more than 46 years. Miss Meadows described Allen as “my best friend and my partner on stage and off for more than 48 years. He was the most talented man I’ve ever known and the one true love of my life.”

Steve Allen is survived by Miss Meadows, four sons, eleven grandchildren and three great grand children.

Welcome to my wall scrawls.