Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sheisse the Governor of Mississippi Says

Haley Barbour: "What? Everyone
gets their own water fountain.
What's the problem?"
Move over Angela Merkel! Another jackass politician from a place famous for racism is making thoughtless comments about race! Apparently the south during the 1960's wasn't really all that bad for Haley Barbour, so maybe everybody should just stop whining about the whole segregation thing. Finally, one brave man has the courage and the rose-colored glasses to look back on a time when our nation was tearing itself apart over race and equality and say: "M'eh, I don't see what the big deal was." So thank you Haley Barbour for once again reminding us why we should all be grateful the North totally won the Civil War.

"Labor? I didn't feel a thing...
until I got the bill! Hey-O!"
So, Governor Barbour was-wait, what's that? Oh yeah. He's the Governor of Mississippi. That's right, he's in charge of a state. Sure it's Mississippi (you know, the one with the flag), but still. Anyway, he was alive during the racial strife of the 1960's and doesn't remember it being so bad. Of course, he is white (and probably was back then) so maybe just maybe he should shut the hell up. I'm not saying that a white guy can't have an opinion about history, I'm just saying that when it comes to the second-class status endured by African Americans during the 60's, 'I was alive then' isn't really the same thing as 'they turned the fire hoses on me and hit me with batons.' By his logic I could say the Bosnian War wasn't so bad because I rode it out playing Street Fighter II.

Look out Niccolo!
Alright, alright, maybe I'm being unfair. Governor Barbour was speaking about his personal recollection and not trying to pass himself off as any kind of expert. Fine. Also, he's entitled to his personal opinion, no matter how stupid. Fine. But from a strictly cynical point of view, shouldn't he have done the math? I mean, isn't he a politician?

rich white republican 
comments about race

= Concession Speech

A lot of America's shittier moments involved people being treated like second-class citizens and even property just because they have a different skin tone. Everyone knows that people work better when they work together. It worked for the Planeteers, it worked for the Power Rangers and it worked for the Union Army that totally kicked Mississippi's sorry secessionist ass during the war. So keep that in mind Haley.

The Confederate army was no match for their racial unity
...and Giant Robot Dinosaurs.
p.s. Haley Barbour really didn't say the thing about the water fountains. But he probably thought it once...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Let's Celebrate Satvrnalia!

Say Merry Christmas you
son of a bitch!
Hey, you know what's not really a thing? The War on Christmas. Yeah, that's right, I said it. Sure, every once in a while some rich, loud-mouthed white guy with a persecution complex starts flapping his jowls about how the bank teller said 'Happy Holidays' instead of 'Merry Birth of Our Lord/God Jesus,' but it's not actually a conspiracy. In fact according to this Gallup Poll, 93% of Americans celebrate Christmas. So settle down everybody, it's not going anywhere.

Yeah, so how that's coming Doc?

That said, I'd like to propose we start a War on Christmas. "Oh but why?" You say. Seriously, if you're going to keep interrupting me, we're going to have problems. But to answer your question, we're going to have to go back in time. Not literally, because they haven't invented time machines...yet.

Let us go back (again, figuratively) to ancient Rome. The ancient Romans had this Festival called Saturnalia, which according to my exhaustive research of several websites written by people who did actual exhaustive research (citation!), was awesome.
Oh, you baked Christmas cookies and watched It's a Wonderful Life?
That's nice...What did we do? Oh, we went to Mark Antony's orgy.
According to noted historians like Suetonius and Wikipedius, Saturnalia would later be adopted by early Christians who got rid of all the awesome parts and called it Christmas. Thanks guys, thanks a lot. Look, I've said it before and I'll say it again: they ruin everything. Well I think it's time we took back Saturnalia (and Dinosaurs), and here're several reasons why:

"Io, it's Saturnalia dawg!"
-Marcus Tullius Cicero, 52 B.C.
The Greeting
Often a source of irrational contention (see above), the traditional Christmas greeting is usually something like Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or if you're Brittish and/or pretentious, Happy Christmas. Bo-ring. Ancient Romans would greet each other around this time with 'Io Saturnalia,' which meant 'Wooo! Saturnalia!'-which itself is pretty great, but 'io' is pronounced 'yo' as in 'yo, s'up?' So on a very fundamental level, Saturnalia is cooler than Christmas.

"For the last time Steven,
I'm not taking my top off."
Maybe it's a generational thing but there is nothing less appealing to me than the idea of jerks roaming the neighborhood belting out the same damn songs I've already had to endure everywhere I go for the last two months. Caroling combines the fun of being cold with the wholesome awkwardness of family sing-alongs. Not so in ancient Rome: To celebrate Saturnalia, people got drunk, got naked and ran around town singing and (presumably shouting) "Wooo! Saturnalia!" Think Mardi Gras, but in latin.

It's like the joke-wall from
Laugh-In except with
chocolate and patience
instead of Lily Tomlin.

The Twelve Years of Christmas
Seriously, it's time to reel it in. About twenty minutes after Halloween ends, the stores pack up the orange Kit Kats and the slutty nurse costumes and roll out Christmas. Two months of build up for only two days of actual holiday, and that's if you count Christmas Eve. Yup, Christmas is mostly filler. Saturnalia on the other hand was invented by a people who at one point had 159 holidays, so you know they weren't screwing around. At its height, it was a week long celebration. You got seven days off. Seven, not this long weekend crap, seven days where no one had to work, and you could totally show up to dinner in your casual tunic instead of your formal toga, which was the classical world equivalent of wearing a Forever Lazy. Party on Romans, party on.

Only the first 75 people through the
door get a Kinect and by extension,
their child's love.
Gift Giving (Advantage: Christmas)
Every year we spend billions of dollars on expensive crap we don't need. Hell, we even trample each other to death just to be first in line to purchase the afore mentioned crap. For Saturnalia, people just gave each other candles...hmmm...crass consumerism aside, I guess I'm going to have to give this one to Christmas. The last thing any of us want is a fatal stampede at Yankee Candle Company. The smell of Pumpkin Spice and Warm Cookies would be forever linked to panic and know, more so.

He sees you when you are sleeping,
he knows when you're awake,
he follows you to the gym, the grocery store,
I think he even goes through your trash.

Santa Clause. I'm not really clear on the origin story, but I think he was crucified by the Romans for re-gifting some myrrh or something-but who cares? Basically he's a creepy fat guy who breaks into your house and gives your kids homemade toys that suck and are probably educational. Then there's Saturn, the reason for the season in ancient Rome. He's a titan and the god of the harvest and time. Also, he once ate his children. That's right, he ate his god-damned children because he thought they were a threat. What's Santa got that can possibly top that? Flying reindeer? Saturn's got a planet named after him (but then, who doesn't?). Suck it Claus!

Let's tally up the points here...yup, that's it, war over 4-1. Saturnalia: Accomplished! Oh, and FYI: it starts on the 17th leaving you only two more shopping days to buy your candles and bake some dormice. You'd better get cracking, because you do not want to piss off Saturn. Oh, and if you're bothered by the whole ate his own children thing, don't worry, he was later tricked into puking them up, but it doesn't end there: Freshly regurgitated, Saturn's kids then castrated him and threw his titan junk into the ocean. It's a Saturnalia Miracle!

It's that time of year again!

Streaks on the china are going to matter like never before.
You're in Belvedere's house now, bitches!
Bonus Points:
Saturnalia celebrations also included a kind of social class swap wherein the household slaves would trade places with their masters. The slaves would wear their master's clothes, the head of the household would serve them dinner, and everyone would have a big laugh about slavery-it was a whole thing. While there isn't really a modern equivalent unless you have a housekeeper-that you own, it's still pretty interesting. I guess a society where something like a fifth of the population was enslaved and could revolt at any minute would be pretty interested in keeping them happy.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It really is another planet.

I bring you greetings from
the Labia Majora Sector.
Scientists have discovered microbes* in California that can incorporate arsenic into their DNA instead of the far more popular phosphorus (I'm not really a biologist but I guess this is sort of like settling for hashbrowns when Denny's is out of homefries). The cool thing is that this discovery means that we (well, not we, people in lab coats) have to expand our parameters in the search for alien life. No longer can we assume that the universe is home only to English-fluent humanoids with hilarious foreheads. Now we must broaden our definition to include things like silicon-based or even ricotta-based life forms.

I myself have recently colonized this strange alien landscape and can vouch for California's abundant alien life. Here are some examples of how they're not like us:
What? I like monkeys.

1) You can make a U-turn...anywhere. Anywhere. Unless there's a sign explicitly forbidding making a 180 in defiance of the laws of physics, safety and reason, then by all means go for it. By this logic getting a howler monkey drunk on grain alcohol and letting him steer should be legal, since you know, there isn't a sign saying you can't (I like my reasoning specious).

I'm tired kid, let's just do a show of hands.
I'm gonna have a little lie down.
2) Ballot Propositions. Here in California, people can vote on things like new laws or changes to the state constitution. Sounds like a great idea until someone puts things like, I don't know, civil liberties up for a vote. Suddenly Congress looks like a great idea. Yup, this Prop 8 crap makes me miss the legislative process.

3) Pot isn't legal here, but it's not really illegal either. It's kind of like getting a traffic ticket, or a monkey DUI. I'm not a pot guy, but if that's your thing I say go for it, and so does the state of California (about the pot, not the monkey).

I don't know this person,
but I think I hate her.

4) People take their dogs with them everywhere they go. Like they're an accessory. Sometimes on a leash, sometimes in a purse. I can't imagine how this can possibly be comfortable for the dog, but then I don't even have plants, so what do I know? Hey ladies, here's a tip: if it shits, it doesn't go in your purse.

5) Avocados are delicious, and ubiquitous. They are the mortar of the food pyramid and I'm pretty sure you consume three or four of them a day just by breathing the air. Advantage: California.

6) Hella. It's as annoying as it sounds (p.s. the kids say 'hecka,' which is hilarious).

7) The weather is pretty nice most of the time, although because of this temperatures in the 50's are considered freezing. This is where any hope of finding common ground with these pot-smoking, avocado-breathing, purse dog carrying, u-turners is out the window. Here's where I'm from:
Vote Yes On Prop: Shut the Hell Up.
*Or maybe they didn't. It looks like some scientists (like the excellently named Rosie Redfield) prefer science to Syence.™ The difference of course is that science involves years of research, experimentation and peer-review and is you know, bo-ring. Syence™on the other hand is simple, easily understandable and brought to you by the people who gave us Sharktopus. If it shakes out that the science is truly bogus and NASA was just trying to drum up much needed $$$ and attention, I'd like to remind them that there are other ways...
"Holy crap everybody,
look what we found! Hey,
could we get some
funding over here?"
Rosie Redfield:
"Popycock I say!"

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's all over.

Wall-E: Adorable children's movie,
or chilling vision of things to come?
Well, so much for human civilization. Look upon this and despair. It's called Forever Lazy and it is concrete proof that we've reached the end and done so in total comfort. Rome had the Vandals (these ones, not these ones), dinosaurs had the asteroid, and we have Forever Lazy. Why do the end days come wrapped in 100% anti-pill polar fleece? Settle down, I'm getting there.

These dofus's (dofi?) have just out
done anything you have or ever will
First, let us consider the premise: it's a onesie for adults. A couple of geniuses from Milwaukee named Dave Hilber and Tyler Galganski thought to themselves: "Hey, you know what I miss? Infancy." And no, I am not being sarcastic when I call them geniuses. They're the Marks Zuckerberg of the shapeless people warmer industry and it is they who shall feast upon the rotting corpse of America's self-respect. What? To harsh? They just made 100 billion dollars (an approximate estimate) while you were reading this.

In the 50's, hatlessness
was a capital offense.

At first glance it's one of those so-stupid-why-didn't-I-think-of-it inventions like the snuggie (spoiler alert: it's a backwards robe), or penicillin. But the more I think about it the more I realize that these guys are on the cutting edge of people not trying anymore. They have correctly predicted the next rung on the devolutionary ladder of not giving a shit about one's appearance. In the 1950's it was suit, tie and hat. By 1975 the suit had given way to the leisure suit. By the 2000's pajama bottoms became acceptable casual wear. Dyler Hilbanski (for they are now one) have seen the future and it is flame resistant baggy unitards in four stylish colors (including grey!).

Get used to this. 

But wait, there's more! If you order now (And I mean right now, don't you waste another god damn minute) you get free matching footsies and a neck pillow. That's right, thanks to Forever Lazy, you no longer have to support your own head weight. Now, that's luxury. Of course, over time this will leave us limp necked and vulnerable to ape uprising, but hey, there are worse ways to go.

The only real flaw I can see is that they didn't take the idea far enough. You see abject laziness and comfort are great and all, but people still have to expel waste. What a pain. To take the edge off, the designers included (and I am quoting from the website): "...Zippered Hatches in Front and Back for Great Escapes When Duty Calls." What the hell does that mean? I'll tell you:
The Great Escape is a 1963 film starring Steve McQueen. It's about POWs escaping from a Nazi camp.  Duty refers to, you know, poop. This is what the French call a "bon mot." Yes, Forever Lazy's website might be rich with subtle humor, double entendres and literate metaphors, but you still have to crap like a hat-wearing barbarian.

"Now Doctor Kynes, tell me more
 about these fecal pouches."
Dune, Act I sc. III
I am taking this opportunity to announce my answer to the Forever Lazy called the Barely Alive.* Unlike the toiletless Forever Lazy, my new Barely Alive* will include a catheter and colostomy bag (for you nerds out there, think of the Stillsuit from Dune). That's right friends, no longer will you have to walk all the way to the bathroom to let "Steve McQueen" out of the "POW camp." Operators are standing by! Advantage: Me.

*patent pending

Sunday, December 5, 2010

John McCain called the troops a bunch of pussies*

Watson: "No shit Sherlock."
Holmes: "I say."

Hey, guess what? Repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell will not cause the U.S. military to self destruct according to a new study. Well, a new study, some older studies, the example of like 25 other countries and common sense. But that's not enough for President John McCain. At first he was all: "Hey, let's wait for the study to come out before we do anything!" But then when the study did come out and he didn't like what it had to say he was like; "Uh, the study is flawed, 'cause you know, it disagrees with my personal world view."

Not actually in charge, I looked it up.

Oh, wait, John McCain and folksy homophobe Sarah Palin lost the election...So why are they chiming in on this? Does the actual President support repealing DADT? Why yes, he does. What is the hold up? Oh, right, bigots. As soon as they get over their issues (or you know, get raptured or something), it's equality for everyone! God forbid we ask people to suck up and deal with the fact that their fellow Americans are entitled to their civil rights. Sorry gay people: you're less equal because some people miss the 1950's. Too bad.

And another thing: Why do some people have so little faith in our servicemen and women? I mean we ask them to go fight wars for us. Whatever you think of war (me, I'm not a fan) you've got to admit that these men and women are badass professionals. They are people who every day get shot at, diffuse explosives and battle Decepticons. I think they can handle the fact that some of there fellow soldiers are gay.
"Sgt. Henderson's gay?! Oh no, our cohesion! Run for it!"
*Yes, I realize this is a horribly sexist term. But hey, I didn't use it, John McCain did. Ok, no he didn't. But that's basically what he's saying.

Friday, November 26, 2010


Sweet! The Cassini Space Probe found oxygen on the Saturnalian...Saturnish...on one of Saturn's moons called Rhea. According to this article (from a British news site, so read it with an accent!), this is the first time oxygen has been directly detected which is a big deal apparently. I guess before this astronomers were just looking up and going: "Uhh...I don't know...argon?" But now thanks to the 3.26 billion dollar Cassini probe, NASA just licked a moon-and it tasted like oxygen.

Captain, I find this
implausible...even for us.

What's even more sciency is that it also tasted like carbon dioxide which can maybe possibly indicate the not completely out of the question possibility that there may be some sort of life-ish stuff. Not awesome life like a civilization of Wookies or Greek gods, but maybe bacteria or some kind of space algae. That would be something, the kind of something that would bring a certain underfunded space program some much needed space bucks.

Without bacteria, Jamie Lee Curtis
would have exploded years ago.
I know what you're thinking: "Big deal. We have bacteria here on Earth." It's true, we do. Why it's everywhere, killing people with infections and fermenting our many yogurts. What do we need with extraterrestrial bacteria? Well, the obvious answer is space yogurt (actually a thing!), but confirmation of life on some other planet/moon/asteroid/ringworld would be like the biggest thing ever. It would effect us all in ways we can only begin to imagine. Sure, today it's oxygen, tomorrow it's aliens. We're getting closer people, I can feel it. In preparation of first contact, I make the following predictions:

Breaking News: The Pope announced
today that he is, in fact, Catholic.
1-Panic, confusion and mass hysteria! Ok, it probably won't be that bad, but remember the time it was 'revealed' that some pro baseball players were using steroids (gasp!) and the 'news' was so shocking we had to have congressional hearings about it? Like, for days? I think it'll be like that. On some level I think we all accept that the universe is simply too big and too old to only have one planet that supports life. It's just common sense. But when we finally find proof, we're all going to need a few weeks to freak out about it.

"You'll never get you hands on our...
trees? Psychic pony tails?
What is it you're after again?"

2-World peace! If we learned that we were but one voice in an infinite choir of intelligent beings across the universe, we might finally learn to put aside our differences and learn to live in harmony. Of course, as soon as the kumbayas are out of the way I suspect we'll be invading a planet full of naked blue space elves in order to get our greedy hands on their rich deposits of gimmickonium. On the plus side we'll be strip-mining their planet as a united people. So there's that.

I don't care what planet you're from,
family photos are always lame.

3-Acceptance. Eventually the novelty will wear off, Progresso will start making extra chunky Plomeek soup, and everyone will eye with suspicion the Tenctonese family that just moved in next door. Not because they're aliens, but because they drive a Prius. What, do they think they're better than us or something?

"No, actually, it's not cool.
You guys are dicks."
Unfortunately for us nerds, all the alien-centered sci-fi we know and love will suddenly be rendered obsolete. It might someday seem like all the time we spent pondering hypothetical match ups between the Borg and the Replicators was in fact, wasted. Worse still is the possibility that our naive portrayals of aliens beings might actually offend the genuine article. I mean, imagine watching TV with your Insectoid Alien pal when suddenly Starship Troopers comes on. Awkward, right?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Update! Mouse: 1 Me: 0

"Go forth my minions, bring
unto me meat that I might feed."
Well played MurderMouse, well played. This morning the trap I'd set (both humane and rented) was unsprung and empty...almost empty that is. In his campaign of torment, my unwelcome guest has enlisted the aid of my old nemeses, the ants. I found the bait engulfed by the Ant Queen's thralls who, unhindered by the wire frame and too light to spring the door mechanism passed freely in to and out of the trap carrying fifty times their own weight in booty back to the Underdark from whence they came. There, in the everlasting night between drywall and insulation, they exchange meat for the protection of the great and terrible MurderMouse Mansbane, Lord of The Basement Apartment, Defiler of the Cupboard and Scourge of Surface Realm. These are black days indeed.

I find myself faced with the very real possibility that there may be no defense against this unholy alliance of rodent and insect. It's sort of like the time Lore teamed up with the Borg, but with less spandex. Between the rodent's cunning and the ant's sheer numbers I may simply be overmatched. Guess it's time to find a new apartment.
If you're getting this reference,
add a +1 modifier to your nerd role. 

Friday, November 19, 2010


Germs? Nah, you just made God angry.
Way to go kid.

There's a mouse in my apartment. In our modern age of computers and Ladies Gaga, I find myself sharing my living space with a common disease carrying rodent. What is this, medieval France? I'll tell you, it's not. Although that would be kind of rad. If for no other reason than I could invent penicillin or something and make a fortune selling it to plague victims. Losers...

Be kind to animals or this thing eats you,
or something. I don't know how it works.

Anyway, back to the mouse. I spotted it late last night and spent an hour chasing it around in the vain hope that I could catch it. I couldn't. I know what you're thinking: "Why not just kill it?" I'm right aren't I? That's what you are thinking right now. Wow, what kind of person are you? Is murder your answer for everything? Look, I don't like killing things just on the off chance that Buddism, Hinduism and Shirley MacLaine are on to something. Scoff all you like, but if you end up as a silverfish in the next life, you're going to wish you lived in my house. So yeah, I opt for a catch and release program. I've successfully evicted dozens of spiders, mosquitos and even two bats.

That's right, two bats. The last one I actually grabbed with my hand while it was sleeping and tossed it outside. That's right, I'm the goddamned Batman.


What I'm up against.


Why then, have I been foiled by this flightless flying rat? The best I could manage was to corner it in my bedroom and close the door. That's right: I gave the mouse my room and slept on the couch. Like it was a house guest. But in my defense, this is no ordinary mouse (yes it is). It moves with ridiculous speed and is possibly equipped with a cloaking device. I have given it a name and it is MurderMouse.®

Also, I don't have a forklift suit.
So much for plan B.
Of course, like any rational person in this situation, I ask myself one simple question: What would Ellen Ripley do? Blow it out an air lock. It worked in (Spoilers!) Alien, Aliens, Alien Resurrection and will likely occur in the upcoming Alien V: Electric Boogaloo (not a real thing). But unluckily for me and luckily for MurderMouse®, only a cool November drizzle lay outside my door and not the cold hard vacuum of space.

Ever played this?
It might be kinder to simply
poison the mouse...

I am left with but one option: a mouse trap. Don't worry friends of animals, I rented a humane (or mousane?) one from the pet store down the street (it's apparently a thing you can do), and stocked it with roast beef (sorry afore mentioned friends of animals). According to the girl behind the counter, mice don't actually like cheese. Cartoons, in this respect, have lied to us all. Anyway, I'll have more on this story as it develops...assuming I win. If the mouse wins, I can only hope it will continue posting updates.

p.s. To my roommate Maura, who is conveniently out of town as this epic battle of wills goes down: Hey, we've got a mouse!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Let's declare war on Space!

NASA recently discovered cracks in the foam covering the external fuel tank of the Space Shuttle Discovery thus delaying the shuttle's final's mission to deliver spare parts (important spare parts, according to NASA's website) to the International Space Station. Yup, that's the final mission for our 1.7 billion dollar shuttles, boldly delivering parts. Take that, nerdy hopes and dreams! The space program has become a glorified Radio Shack that delivers. Why? Lack of interest.

"Did someone order a ham radio
and some 'D' batteries?"

It's no wonder the program is underfunded. Maybe if the Discovery were delivering something the ISS crew actually wanted like Tang or space porn we might care. Remember Armageddon? (No? Good, it sucked.) The space shuttle in that movie went on a mission to nuke an asteroid heading towards the Earth. Does anybody really think Steven Tyler could squeeze a power ballad out of Spare Parts Run '10?

*all figures invented by me.
What? At least I'm up front about it.

I don't pretend to understand the Federal Budget (well I do, but really I don't), but depending on the pie chart, we spend 1 Kagillion more dollars on the military than we do on NASA. I'm not saying that national defense isn't important, I'm just saying that we could spend a little more on science and a little less coming up with new and interesting ways of blowing people up.

Look, bottom line: underfunding NASA is a bad idea for a number of reasons and that number is basically three. Here they are:

I like to live dangerously.
1) I used to drive a 1989 Carolla with 150,000 miles on it. One day, while driving, it just stopped. The Space Shuttle Discovery is an '84 with 142 million miles on the clock, cracked foam on the fuel tanks and was built by the lowest bidder. If it stops working there's a good chance it could do so at 22 thousand miles above the Earth. I can not imagine the epically huge Spaceballs it must take to ride something like that into orbit.

The moon? Don't we own and
play golf on that?
2) A couple of months ago, China's space agency launched another lunar probe as part of a program that will eventually lead to manned missions. Remember when we used to do cool stuff like this? No, of course you don't. Hell, your parents probably have only a hazy memory of the ' small step for man...' speech. Now the only time the space program gets mentioned is when something has gone terribly wrong. We are in grave danger of loosing the only thing we got out of the Cold War: bragging rights. Well, bragging rights and Tetris.

Ironic, isn't it?

3) Let's face it, we are going to be woefully unprepared when the aliens show up. Woefully. Our state of the art satellites allow our iPhones to tell us where we are in relation to the nearest Starbucks. Aliens have mastered interstellar travel (but not the emotion we humans call 'love'). We will be like insects compared to them. For real everybody, we have got to get on this space thing, if for no other reason than to avoid embarrassment.

Oh, he's so got it coming...
What can we do you say? Shut up, I'm getting there. I say we declare War on Space. It's the perfect way to get the funding and political will we need to get us back on top of the space exploration heap. We love declaring war on things like drug use and terror, and they're abstract concepts. So why not space? It has the advantage of being a real thing, and let's be honest, we've gone to war on flimsier pretexts. Instead of sending probes to sniff Martian rocks, let's send an invasion force. Instead of the Space Shuttle Discovery, let's send the Earth Star Cruiser Revengance on a mission of conquest. Our brave space-troops (or "Sproops" as I propose we call them) will crush any and all resistance as they plant the Earth flag on the surface of Mars. Science: Accomplished!