Monday, March 12, 2012

Fly me to the moon

When he first said it I thought he had lost his doogees. I’m talking about Newt Gingrich, a 2012 Republican presidential candidate, or at least he was when I started writing this column.

Gingrich said that by the end of his second term as president, he wanted to have a colony on the moon. At first I thought he might be talking about a small parcel of uninhabited tracts I haven’t heard of yet, possibly in Western Oklahoma.

Is he calling Western Oklahoma “the moon?” I asked Lola the Bulldog, my one and only granddog.

She just sort of gave me that look to assure me that Newt was, in fact, talking about the shiny orb in the sky, presumably made of cheese and a solid hurdle for jumping cows.  That Lola is one smart and politically-savvy bullpup.

Well, there has to be some explanation for this odd campaign promise.

Let me think about this, I quipped to Lola. He is speaking to a group of NASA workers in South Florida. I know NASA has been hit lately by budget cuts and many of the space programs have been shelved causing thousands of layoffs at NASA.

“You don’t think?” I asked in Lola’s direction. She was either in deep meditation or taking a nap but I’m sure she heard me. “You don’t think he was just making some outlandish promise to a bunch of out of work aerospace workers?”

Lola burped softly.

Then why would a presidential candidate say that he would try to put people on the moon no later than 2020?

Maybe it was because it’s not such a bad idea.

“What do you think, Bullpup Princess?” I asked.

She did a doggie sigh and licked her lips, obviously bored with this line of questioning.
Maybe it’s not so far-fetch at all. Maybe Mr. Gingrich has a good idea. I tried to do some research on moon life. The Internet — The Source Of All Truth — almost turned out to be a dry hole. Then I found it.

I found the blog of Leander Butkis, who is currently the moon’s only resident. I called him to get his thoughts.

Here is our conversation:

Me: Hello, Mr. Butkis.

Leander B: Please, call me Leander. What is that horrible noise in the background?

Me: Sorry. That’s Lola the Bullpup, she is sound asleep and has a tendency to snore.

LB: I see. Not a problem.

Me: Tell me a little about your background.

LB: Well, I grew up in a small town called Tupelo, Okla. I went to college to be an accountant and Life Coach but after a couple of classes at the The Southeastern Oklahoma Institute of Agriculture and Space Travel, I decided to make the final frontier my calling. I moved to the moon shortly after college in 1974.

Me: Do you ever make it back to home to Earth?

LB: Well, as you can imagine American Airlines doesn’t necessarily have non-stop service to the moon. But every now and again I hitch a ride with some Soviet fellows over on Mars. They like to go back to Earth every couple of years to restock their supply of vodka, borscht and People Magazine.

Me: What is the best thing about living on the moon?

LB: Probably the peace and quiet. I have a small cottage near the Sea of Tranquility and a little vacation spot down south just past the Sea of Vapors. It’s really quiet here. Really quiet.
Plus, you weigh less on the moon.

Me: Do you have some variety of food there?

LB: Not really. There’s the borscht, lots of borscht and I have a couple of cases of Twinkies. But mostly  I get by on the vodka. Did I mention I only weight 58 pounds.

Me: Really? How much would that be on earth?

LB: About 350 pounds, but that’s 827 on Jupiter, so it’s not too bad.

Me: That’s a lot of borscht.

LB: And vodka.

Me: And vodka. What do you think of Newt Gingrich’s plan to put a colony on the moon in the next eight years?

LB: Well, I would enjoy the company and the good Lord knows we could use a McDonald’s up here but I’m not completely sure it’s a good idea.

Me: Why’s that?

LB: I just feel like it would become so commercialized. It would start with a couple of nice neighborhoods near shopping, schools and retail and then before you know it, there would be strip malls full of donut shops, nail salons and dry cleaners. And mattress stores. How many mattress stores does one town need ... Sorry. I just get a little worked up.

Me: No problem. So overall you don’t think a colony on the moon would be a great idea?

LB: No. I don’t. Maybe the presidential candidates can focus on important things like flavored borscht and quit worrying about taking over the moon.

Maybe so, Mr. Butkis. Maybe so.

I guess if Mr. Gingrich gets his little moon colony going, I might just stay here. Watching Lola sleep has me feeling a little tired anyway. 

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