Saturday, August 18, 2007


It is a testament to the horrendous state of science education in this country if people start coming to me for NASA analysis, but here you go: Endeavour and her "troubling gash" are fine. If I had to lay money on a safe return with the astronauts coming home with the vehicle in this condition, I would slap five bucks down at the betting window and order me something alcoholic and tropical.

The ding that external tank foam left on the underbelly of Endeavour is nothing different from what orbiters have been bringing home with them for twenty-five years. Why, then, did we lose Columbia? Because Columbia had a hole in her wing. The size of a suitcase. In an area which bears the brunt of the re-entry furnace. And we didn't even see it.

Endeavour's gash is far more happily placed; although the bottom of the orbiter does get rather warm, there's about a 2000 degree differential from the place where the gash is and the part of the orbiter which, due to the positioning of the orbiter and the friction of the atmosphere, becomes the hottest. Allow me to assure you that images of said gash have been zoomed upon and emailed and poured over by more men with pocket protectors than Tivo-pulled pictures of Janet Jackson's nipple.

What's at play here is balancing the risks of re-entering with the gash and making an emergency spacewalk to complete the repairs. We are, sadly, in the same frame of mind concerning spacewalks as we were twenty-one years ago for launches and five years ago for landings: That these extraordinary feats, blessedly undertaken without major incident so many times, are safe. To suit up an astronaut, stick him on the end of the Canada Arm, and position him underneath the orbiter, where he stands the risk of accidentally hitting the tiles and creating further, far more serious damage is potentially disastrous. You do realize, don't you, that all that stands between an extravehicular astronaut and the absolute vacuum of space is about three inches of fiberglass? Better to allow the very able TPS teams at Kennedy Space Center to repair the scrape in the comfort and safety of full gravity, as they have for a quarter century now.

I won't guarantee that the crew will come home safely. I can't. Because it's spaceflight. But I hereby place this decision in NASA's Folder of Good Calls.

On a horribly related note, yesterday I glanced up at the television to see a movie commercial, the CGI-flaming shuttle bits of which left me open-mouthed in its brutishness. Bite me, The Invasion. And thanks for today's very early morning nightmare trigger.

closing the cargo bay doors at:

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Most Awesomest Overheard NASCAR Race Quote Ever

"That was a really smart call by Jimmie Johnson. He saw his car was on fire, and he got out."

from a person named, apparently, "Rusty Wallace" at:

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

In Further Sickness

See, this is what happens when you work out: You get off the treadmill, and your throat immediately starts to hurt and general blech sets in. Today, however, was the first time Josh The Pilot was able to invoke his Pope Husband powers.

My mother previously served in this capacity, dispensing various family members from Mass in rare circumstances of travel and illness. When she heard me coughing into the phone this afternoon as I prepared to attend Assumption Mass, she transferred her powers to her son-in-law, who is a Protestant, and Scottish, and also married. He should make an excellent Pope.

obligation at:

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


If I were hatefully cute, I would sprightfully announce that today is the monthiversary of my marriage. Happy monthi-- oh, oh, not in even in irony. I can't be That Person. I will simply have to settle for being hateful and cute in a separate manner.

Today we celebrated by vacuuming drywall dust and discussing the habits and growth patterns of poison ivy. This was triggered when Josh The Pilot attacked our .00000000000001 acre backyard, which was overgrown to the point where when we opened the patio door, the back yard would suddenly spring, with great abundance, inside the house.

It appears that what we thought was just an audaciously tall weed is in fact an actual tree in some sort of pot, and the mass of shiny vines around that pot? Poison ivy. It had leaves that would choke Willie Nelson.

We're still dealing with the realization that we are now permitted to go about our daily lives without attaching so much Knot-approved, photographable-moment significance to everything. The day of the rehearsal dinner, Josh and I sat side by side on my parents' couch, not getting ready to leave for the church. "I know," said Josh, "that once we get up off this couch, we're going to take showers, and leave for the rehearsal dinner, and from then on everything is going to change." Normally life just kind of glacially drifts along wrapped in padding of one reheated lunch, one email at a time, and here was one of those true crossroads, bridge-leap moments, wherein we could have definitively decided to take our lives in one direction or another.

We got off the couch.

There was nothing on TV but Reba, anyway.

Two weeks later I hung one of my new husband's polo shirts in the closet. He has owned this shirt since we started dating. He has owned this shirt since Bob and Delores Hope started dating, but now it was my husband's shirt, in our closet.

Perhaps this is why newlyweds are so exhausted all the time. It's not the sex. It's that everything is so... fraught all the time, with meaning, with grasping, with drywall dust.

anyway at:

Monday, August 13, 2007

Welcome Readers

Merv is glad you're here. He'll be right back.

Or... not.

buying a vowel at:

Given The Chair

As our living space currently resembles a Levitz showroom, only tackier and with slightly more beer, today I resorted to the Official Newlywed Form of Decorating: Hurling sheets over third-hand furniture in a pathetic attempt to convince myself that this is Jackie Kennedy-level redecorating. We have a recliner that has descended from my grandfather to Julie The NephewsMama to us; I am fond of this chair, as it is the last major furniture purchase made on Grandpa's behalf. He used to bust out the tape of his golden wedding anniversary Mass, fast-forward to Communion, sit back, and play a cheerful round of "Who's Dead?"

"He's gone," he'd say as an eighth-grade classmate filed past. "Oh, her too."

My grandfather has since gone to join the rest of the Communion line, but the chair's early-90's upholstery remains. Target carried recliner covers, but they cost eighty dollars and were the color of what I found on the WetWipe the last time I changed Will The Baby Nephew's diaper.

In newlywed terms, reupholstering is a car payment and two steak knives. It remains on the ten-year plan list, somewhere between "replace carpeting with hardwood laminate" and "carry out hit on large barking dog next door." I backed the chair against the wall and threw a navy blue quilt in its general direction and hoped that Trading Spaces would just keep on driving.

reclining at:

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