Out  of  This  World


Ben  poops  on  us  again


Copyright  ©2013




FOREWORD



As I gaze at the Moon I think of how it’s the same Moon that Aristotle, Plato and Socrates stared at. I imagine that they’re all here with me. I discuss with Socrates the constancy of the human condition. I tell Aristotle that there are more than just four basic elements, and I show him a periodic table. I tell Plato that we live in a society that is the closest to Utopia, and I show him the Constitution. I take a book of kitchen matches and strike one. They gasp with wonder. We spend the rest of the night lighting farts.


I know what you’re thinking: “Astronomy?! What the hell do you know about astronomy, Ben?” My answer: Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I have never had any interest in what happens outside of our planet. I don’t care about Mars or Venus or Neptune. And I certainly don’t want to see Uranus.

Not only don’t I care about other planets, I don’t even give a shit what happens outside of my own property. Sure, there’s crime and disease and poverty, but those things mostly affect other people. As long as I get to drink beer and watch Family Guy, the Universe is perfect.

So why did I write a book about astronomy when I know nothing about it? Well, has my ignorance ever stopped me from writing about anything before? I’ve written books about raising children, home and auto repair, and intimate relationships; do you think I know anything about those?

Astronomy is by far the largest topic anyone can write about. Nothing is larger than the Universe. It is huge. How huge? Let me put it this way: our solar system alone is almost twice the size of Rosie O’Donnell.

I’m not going to pretend that you will learn anything useful from this book (or any of my other books). Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking and many other authors have covered the subject quite well. I don’t even have any photographs to offer because I have never owned a telescope, although I did get a pair of binoculars as a bar?mitzvah present, but the only thing I ever used them for was to look in Susan Goldfarb’s window.

What this book offers that other astronomy books don’t is lots of sophomoric humor to enable you to take life less seriously. Sometimes when we look at how incredibly tiny we are compared to the cosmos, we might feel insignificant and depressed, but if we take a humorous approach, we can realize that since we are so insignificant, nothing we do really matters, and we can then laugh at our psychiatric disorders and terrible lovemaking skills. I know I do.


Chapter 1

THE  USES  OF  ASTRONOMY


An astronomer was sitting alone at a bar, buying drinks for an imaginary woman in the seat next to his. The bartender asked, “Why are you trying to seduce empty space?” The astronomer said, “Well, according to quantum physics, empty space is never truly empty. Virtual particles come into existence and vanish all the time. You never know when a woman will suddenly appear.” The bartender said, “But couldn’t you just ask out one of these women at the bar? She might say yes.” To which the astronomer laughed, “Yeah, right. How fucking likely is that to happen?”


Astronomy used to be useful hundreds of years ago, when there were no compasses, detailed maps, or electricity. People used the stars for navigational purposes, and the Moon for lighting at night. Our calendar and many maps were made with the help of astronomical observations.

Now what is astronomy? A school subject. A hobby. Yet another thing for the government to spend money on (NASA's budget exceeds $20 billion). Does anything of practical use come from looking at planets and stars through telescopes, or sending rockets into space? Has astronomy helped us get rid of crime, poverty, war, pollution, diseases or reality shows? No it hasn’t. In fact, I can safely say that I have done as much as the Space Program has done to promote world peace. I think I’ll put that on my résumé.

Call me weird, but I just can’t get excited about seeing celestial objects. On a few occasions enthusiasts who had their telescopes fixated on something invited me to look, so I did, and all I saw were vague, hazy shapes that couldn’t have been less clear if I had glaucoma.

The people who benefit most from astronomy are those who make money from it: astronomers, cosmologists, astrophysicists, and theoretical physicists. I looked up the definitions of these occupations, and as far as I can tell, astronomers, cosmologists and astrophysicists are basically the same thing. As for theoretical physicists, they do nothing more than posit bullshit theories about why the Universe behaves the way it does. They don’t produce an actual product; they merely speculate about things like “dark energy” and “string theory” and get paid for it! What if other occupations were theoretical? For example, a theoretical chef. He’d theorize about how great the food would taste if he were to actually cook some, and then put an empty plate in front of you.

Theoretical physics is a perfect job for the handicapped. If you can’t dig a ditch or operate a keyboard, then just hypothesize. A classic example is Stephen Hawking. The guy is completely paralyzed. He can’t even talk. But he has ideas that a lot of people like. So, via the use of a speech synthesizer, he can communicate and earn a living. Handicapped people are so much luckier today than they were in the past. We give them special parking spaces and wheelchair ramps, and we let them board planes first. Isn't this reverse discrimination? I mean, if we want to grant special privileges to people just because they've had some bad luck, then shouldn't all people who have had bad luck get preferential treatment? Someone who lost all his money gambling should get reduced prices in stores. A midget should get the best seat in the movie theater. A guy whose wife ran off with the gardener should get free beers at Hooters.

“Oh my god!” I hear you exclaim. “Stephen Hawking is one of the greatest minds of our time, and you’re picking on him because of his physical disability?” Actually I don’t have to focus on his physical disability in order to criticize him, because the guy is a fraud. For 30 years he claimed that black holes destroy everything that enters them. This goes against the most important principle of the Universe, which is that matter can be neither created not destroyed. Only after 30 years of battling those who disagreed with him did he finally retract his argument. One of his most vehement opponents was Leonard Susskind, a former plumber from the Bronx who later got a degree in physics. You see? For decades Hawking was revered as a genius, when in reality he wasn’t even as smart as a friggin’ plumber.

Astronomy is a good thing to major in. Most college students have majors that apply to everyday life, such as computer science, law, medicine, agriculture, criminology, etc. When they get out of school and get jobs in their areas of study, they are expected to do things that improve people’s lives. Astronomy is one of those majors where you can get a job doing the same thing you did in college (read books and write papers) and get paid for it, without having to produce anything of value to the average person. You don’t even have to leave academia; you might land a job as a professor where you can spend the rest of your life teaching students who will also become well-educated nothings. Other majors that fit this description are philosophy, liberal arts, religious studies, history, and political science. If holders of these degrees don’t spend their careers teaching, they become lobbyists, marketers, administrators, consultants, reporters, managers and politicians. You know, the kind of people you want to hit over the head with a tire iron.

You can impress a lot of people with knowledge of astronomy. Let’s say you’re a single guy at a party. There’s an attractive woman you want to impress, but you know that she would have no interest in you, inasmuch as you are not particularly attractive yourself. Also you dress like a retard. And you have very thick glasses. And gonorrhea. Never fear! You can impress her with your superior intellect by using the following time-tested method. First, remove your glasses. This lets her know that you’re about to make an important point. Next, stare pensively into space. This produces the illusion that you’re not interested in her. Finally, rattle off a bunch of technical information such as:

The morphology of spiral galaxies is most strongly influenced by gravity. The second parameter phenomenon, first described by Herb Frickowitz in 1961, acknowledges that gravity alone is not enough to describe this morphology. In particular, the outer galactic halo contains globular clusters with denser particulates than are found inside the solar circle. Analysis of radiological data reveals that the central luminosity density is restricted by electromagnetic particle waves.

After you recite all that, ask her if she’d like to go to dinner with you sometime. Unfortunately she can’t hear you because she already left with some guy in his Ferrari.

Astronomy has helped Hollywood produce some good movies and television shows. For example, Star Trek. Now, I was never a fan, but apparently millions of nerds are, and it has given them something to focus on as they live their sexless lives. They go to conventions and wear costumes and hobnob with other geeks. Tickets can cost hundreds of dollars apiece, which “Trekkies” can well afford because they tend to be engineer types with good careers, plus they have no significant others or children to spend their money on. Many fans have intimate knowledge of every episode from the original series and all the spin-offs and movies, because they’ve seen each one more than a dozen times and they don’t clutter their brains with useless information such as social and personal hygiene skills.

I view astronomy as an escape from life, like religion or philosophy. Thinking about big things such as galaxies and solar systems can make our problems seem insignificant. This doesn’t always work, however. When you’re alone it’s pretty easy to say that we shouldn’t let things upset us because we are such insignificant creatures and our lives will be over soon anyway, but try that when your wife is bitching at you.


Chapter 2

CELESTIAL  BODIES


Did you hear about the restaurant on the Moon?
It has great food but no atmosphere.


Let’s look at some of the things that the Universe contains.

Galaxy: A massive, gravitationally bound system that consists of stars. We live in the Milky Way galaxy. It contains 100,000,000,000 (one hundred billion) stars. That’s one star for every lawyer.

Black hole: When a large star runs out of fuel it can no longer support its heavy weight. The star’s massive layers of hydrogen press down, forcing the star to get smaller and smaller until it is smaller than an atom. This causes its gravity to become so powerful that nothing, not even light, can escape its pull. I married a financial black hole.

Star: A luminous ball of plasma (partially ionized gas, mostly hydrogen and helium) that is held together by gravity. The nearest star to Earth is the Sun, which gives us most of our heat, light and sunburns. It is 93 million miles from us. This shows how selective our eyesight is. I mean, I can see an object 93 million miles away, but I can’t find the friggin’ mustard in the refrigerator.

Black dwarf: A star that is either not big enough to shine, or that has burned up all of its fuel and stopped glowing. The only black dwarf we have ever seen is Gary Coleman.

Yellow star: A medium-sized star. It lives for about 10 billion years. Our Sun is a yellow star, making it quite average as stars go. If a bunch of stars were at a party, our Sun would be the one talking about his job at the bank.

Red giant: Toward the end of a yellow star’s life, as it exhausts its supply of hydrogen, there is no longer any source of heat to support the core against gravity, so it greatly expands and becomes orange or reddish. Hydrogen burning continues in a shell around the core and the star evolves into a red giant. When our Sun becomes a red giant, its atmosphere will envelop the Earth and our planet will be consumed in a fiery death. So I wouldn’t worry about the budget deficit.

White dwarf: No, not Danny DeVito. A red giant sheds its outer layers, leaving behind a small and extremely dense core.

Red dwarf: The most common type of star. A small star that burns its fuel very slowly, which makes it cooler than other stars, so it glows red instead of yellow or white. We can’t see many red dwarves because they glow too faintly. Red dwarves live much longer than other stars – perhaps trillions of years, which makes them older than Fidel Castro.

Blue giant: A large, very hot star. It burns its fuel quickly so it’s very bright but has a shorter life than other stars (about 10,000 to 100,000 years). When it dies it does not shrink like a red giant does; instead, it explodes and becomes a supernova.

Supernova: When a star explodes, it gives off enough light to outshine an entire galaxy and can stay lit for months. But it still can’t find the weapons of mass destruction.

Neutron star: The smallest type of star, it forms from the core of a star that died in a supernova explosion. On average it is only 12 miles across but weighs as much as our Sun. It is so dense that one tablespoon weighs 10 billion tons. And you thought I was dense.

Pulsar: A rapidly spinning neutron star. It gets its name from the fact that it emits regular pulses of radio waves (long-wavelength electromagnetic waves). The pulse slows as the pulsar ages. That’s odd, because mine speeds up as I age, especially when I have to do something strenuous like tying my shoes.

Nebula: A gigantic cloud of gas and dust. You know, like after a Mexican lunch.

Quasar: Quasi-stellar radio source. A quasar is about the size of our solar system and produces more light and energy than 1000 galaxies. A quasar is believed to be a humongous black hole, whose mass exceeds that of a million Suns, and whose pull is swallowing gas and stars from their host galaxies. A quasar shines brightly by converting the gravitational energy of the infalling material into light. It is the brightest object we know of. Besides me, that is.

Planet: A celestial body orbiting a star. A planet is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, like Rush Limbaugh but not as irritating.

Asteroid or comet: Anything other than a planet that orbits the Sun. What’s the difference between an asteroid and a comet? A comet has a tail, and an asteroid doesn’t. Asteroids are normally frozen, but when they get close enough to the Sun, solar radiation causes volatile materials within them to vaporize and stream out of the nucleus, carrying dust away with them and thus causing a tail to form. Seems to me that the one with the tail should be called an ass-teroid.

Meteorite: A natural object originating in outer space that survives an impact with the Earth’s surface. While in space it is called a meteoroid. When it enters the atmosphere, impact pressure causes the body to heat up and emit light, thus forming a fireball, also known as a meteor or shooting star. It falls faster than a priest’s pants at a Cub Scout meeting.

Matter: This is the stuff that everything consists of. Atoms of hydrogen, helium, and more than a hundred other elements compose all of the stars, planets, life, etc. Most elements are synthesized in stars: during the late stages of stellar evolution, massive stars burn helium into carbon, oxygen, silicon, sulfur, iron, etc. Elements heavier than iron are produced in the outer envelopes of super-giant stars, and in the explosions of supernovae. While there are different elements, all atoms consist of the same subatomic particles: protons, electrons, and neutrons. So we are made of the same particles that the rest of the Universe is made of. That makes sense, because it means that Lindsay Lohan is made of the same stuff that Uranus is made of. Scientists study the nature of matter by smashing atoms together in particle accelerators. The biggest such contraption is the Large Hadron Collider, which lies in a 17-mile circular tunnel hundreds of feet below Earth’s surface near Geneva Switzerland. At $9 billion it is the most expensive experiment ever, unless you count the auto industry bailout. Or the savings and loan bailout. Or the airline industry bailout. Or the Bear Stearns bailout. Or the Fannie Mae bailout. Or the Freddie Mac bailout. Or the AIG bailout. Or the Citigroup bailout. Or the Bank of America bailout.

Space: In between all matter is space. Space is what there is when there is no matter. Huge stretches of space separate the celestial bodies. The Universe is basically a very cold, dark place dotted with stars and planets. Stars might be very hot, but the vast majority of the Universe is at absolute zero, which is defined as the temperature at which particles stop moving. It is theoretically the coldest that anything can be. This temperature, found in the deepest regions of space, as well as North Dakota, is -273.15° Celsius, or -459.67° Fahrenheit. Space doesn’t exist just between objects; it exists within objects themselves. Atomic particles orbit around each other with relatively large gaps between them, so that even apparently solid materials like lead and diamond are mostly space. Is there anything that is completely packed with particles, with no room for anything else? Yes – Oprah in coach seating.

By the way, when we look at objects in space, we see them not as they are, but as they were. Remember, they are so far away that it has taken time for their images to reach us, since light travels at a finite speed. For example, it takes 8 minutes for the Sun’s rays to reach us. That’s longer than the amount of time CBS gives me to enjoy any TV show before they interrupt it with nine commercials.


Chapter 3

THEORIES


Astronomers are considering renaming Uranus in order to put an end to people's jokes about it. The planet's new name: Urectum.


There are many theories about how the Universe works, how and when it began, and what it’s made of. None of them matter, of course; what matters is what’s happening now. For example, it is much more important to pay your electric bill or clean your toilet. However, since this book is about astronomy, I’ll describe a few theories in order to give the illusion that I’ve done some research.

One hypothesis about the structure of the Universe is something called string theory. It says that the entire Universe is composed of – are you ready? – strings! Really! I am not making this up. Theoretical physicists (who I talked about so kindly in the first chapter) tell us that everything – you, me, a dog turd – is made of tiny little strings. So I suppose we can never truthfully use the expression “no strings attached”.

An extension to string theory is M-theory, which proposes that there are 11 dimensions. Now they’re getting downright silly. I think that they just pulled a number out of an orifice in order to sound intelligent. Everyone knows that there are three dimensions. This might be why people like the number three so much. The most popular fictions in the world involve three things. Three Blind Mice. The Three Bears. The Three Little Pigs. The Holy Trinity.

Some theoretical physicists believe that about 90% of the matter in the Universe is something called dark matter. I have no desire to research this, because I flush dark matter down the toilet every morning. Anyway, theorists propose that dark matter is invisible, yet it exists. You know, like God. No one has ever proven the existence of either, yet we pay both scientists and clergymen to blather about supposed forces that are no more apparent to me than a fart.

Then there’s antimatter. This supposed material (or would it be antimaterial?) consists of antiparticles, which are the opposite of particles. For example, an electron has a negative charge, but an antielectron has a positive charge. If matter and antimatter were to collide, they’d annihilate each other. Too bad, because I’d like to live in an antimatter universe. Imagine a place where everything is the opposite of the crummy world we live in now: everybody would be honest with each other, no one would steal, the weather would always be perfect, there would be no war or hunger or disease or pollution, and American Idol would be a quality show.

The idea of another universe is actually taken seriously by some scientists. They theorize that other universes, sometimes referred to as parallel universes, make up a hypothetical set of possible universes called the multiverse. I shit you not. They (the scientists) say that we cannot see these other universes because they (the universes) exist outside of our own. Well, then, how can we know that they (the universes) exist? I’d be willing to bet that none of these “scientists” work in the private sector – they are either employed at some government agency, or university professors who live on federal grant money.

Some people believe that we live concurrently in several universes, that we keep jumping from one to the other, and that the reason we aren’t aware of this is that in each universe we are only aware of the one we are in. You and I know that this is just a load of guano, but wouldn’t it be great if we really did live in several universes? Then everyone could imagine that they’re doing better somewhere else. A person might be a pathetic loser in this universe, but maybe he or she would be successful and popular in another one. Then there’d be hope for me. But the way things really are, with only one crummy universe, I’m stuck with the life I have. And you’re stuck reading my books.

Maybe our Universe is just a tiny part of an even bigger Universe. After all, everything is relative. “All there is” is not limited by how far we can see or even how large we imagine the Universe to be. Picture a colony of tiny humans living in a Petri dish. They create tiny telescopes that cannot see outside the dish. They assume that the dish is “all there is”. But there is so much more, isn’t there? Well, maybe we are those humans living in that dish. Maybe there is much, much, much more than we can ever imagine.

I never should have dropped acid in college.

One theory of the origin of the Universe is the Big Bang Theory, which supposes that 13.7 billion years ago there was a “singularity” smaller than an atom that contained all the matter currently in the Universe. This means that everything we know of – planets, stars, Roseanne Arnold – was squished into an area smaller than the head of a pin. The singularity exploded, creating space, time and energy. Matter formed over the eons: atoms, molecules, gases, solids, and eventually life. I cannot understand how everything could fit into a tiny space or how life could form from unconscious matter. Of course, neither can you. But the fact that we can’t wrap our tiny brains around these concepts does not prove that they aren’t true, and given that the Big Bang Theory’s biggest competitor is organized religion, it’s the best we can do right now.

I want to know how astronomers determined that the Big Bang happened exactly 13.7 billion years ago. That’s some pretty nifty detective work. I wish they’d teach me their methods, because I can’t even remember how long ago I changed my furnace filter.

They also say that the earliest particles weren’t even protons, neutrons or electrons. They claim that these were formed from other particles such as neutrinos, positrons, antineutrons, photons, octagons, paragons and dodecahedrons. The earliest elements were hydrogen, helium, lithium, deuterium, oxygen, halogen, opium, aquarium and delirium.

According to astronomers, the Universe is still expanding. They make this statement based on the fact that galaxies seem to be getting farther away from us. Well, if everything is expanding, then that means that we are, too. No wonder we keep gaining weight.

How do they know that galaxies are getting farther away from us? From the Doppler effect. (You are familiar with the Doppler effect, right? If you’re not, put the book down and involve yourself in an activity that’s more suited to your education level, like perhaps picking lint off your clothing.) What happens with sound also happens with light: if an object moves toward us, the light waves it gives off will be pushed together (i.e., become shorter), causing them to appear bluer (blueshift); if an object moves away from us, its light waves will be stretched out (i.e., become longer), causing them to appear redder (redshift). Well, galaxies’ colors appear to be redshifted, which indicates that the distance between them and Earth is increasing. But if the Universe were expanding, wouldn’t the distance between everything be increasing? Aren’t we getting farther from the Sun? Shouldn’t that make the planet colder? Not according to environmental wackos, who insist that the planet is getting warmer. They claim that eventually all of the Earth’s ice will melt. Now I’m worried. I mean, how are we going to keep our beer cold? I can’t help feeling partly responsible for global warming, since I kill trees by printing books that no one will read. Anyway, if the planet’s temperature gets too high, we can always reduce it by switching from Fahrenheit to Celsius. If that doesn’t work we can put a muzzle on Al Gore.

Maybe the expanding Universe is how the Big Bang Theory got started: each second you go back in time, the Universe is smaller, so eventually you get down to a very tiny size. But what happened before the Big Bang? Was there a “before”? Did time not exist until after the Big Bang? How can time have a beginning? How can all of the matter in the Universe be condensed into an infinitesimally small space? Why do airplane seats have flotation devices instead of parachutes?

Theoretical physicists attempt to explain the expansion of the Universe with a hypothetical form of energy called dark energy. It supposedly permeates all of space and tends to increase the rate of expansion of the Universe. Furthermore, they claim that it accounts for more than 70% of the total mass of the Universe. Of course, these are the same theoretical physicists who tell us that 90% of the Universe is dark matter, which shows what morons these people are.

Some people believe that eventually the Universe will stop expanding, then begin collapsing, until everything gets compacted into the singularity that existed before the Big Bang. They call this the Big Crunch. Then I suppose the Big Bang will happen again, and so will the Big Crunch, and history will repeat itself, over and over, ad infinitum. Great. That means I get to go through my divorce again.

If everything is just a bunch of reactions that stemmed from an initial explosion, and we are part of that explosion, then is there any such thing as free will? If our brains are just collections of matter, then how can they do anything other than what previous events have set them in motion to do? Are we programmed robots who merely believe that we can choose? I believe that our actions are largely programmed because people act in necessary, predictable ways: when they are hungry, they eat; when they are thirsty, they drink; when they are tired, they rest; when they see me, they run away screaming.

It seems to me that the only way we can have free will is if we are able to act outside the laws of physics, and the only way we can do that is if we are not part of the physical world. If each person is a spirit, a soul, a “ghost in the machine”, then our thoughts are not organically programmed but initiated by pure will, and so we can rightfully praise or blame people for the things they do. I’d believe in souls if we were able to detach from our bodies at will. If we were really metaphysical beings, we would not be trapped inside any physical place; we would be able to go anywhere. Wouldn’t it be great if we could do that? I’m sure that some people would abuse that power, but I wouldn’t. I’d use it for good. For example, I’d jump inside Kate Moss’s body and make her eat a fucking sandwich.

Spirits/souls are the basis of many religions. People say they believe that we are not our bodies, that we are metaphysical beings who only inhabit our bodies right now, and that when our bodies expire we will go to the next world and be reconnected with our loved ones. These people are full of shit, and I will prove it with a simple example. Let’s say a loved one leaves for a job assignment in a foreign country. What is your reaction? You might cry a few bittersweet tears at the loss, but you are pretty sure you will eventually be reunited, so the pain isn’t too bad. Now let’s say that this same person dies. You’ll cry pretty hard, and for several days, weeks or months, won’t you? That’s because you know deep down that you will never be with him/her again. If you truly believed that you would be reunited with this person in another world after you leave this one, then your loved one’s death wouldn’t bring quite so much pain. In fact, murder wouldn’t even be a crime, since killing someone would transport them to a much better plane of existence where there are no worries, no taxes, and no reality shows.

A lot of Big Bang proponents believe in evolution. Although I understand the concept of natural selection, I can’t fathom how an intricate structure like an eye could have evolved, but as I said before, the inability to understand something does not disprove it. There is some evidence to support evolution. For example, basic organic life chemicals such as amino acids have been found in meteorites. Also, fossils of interim animal species have been found. However, there is also plenty of evidence that evolution has stopped or has even started to reverse itself: Britney Spears, Dan Quayle, Jesse Jackson, George W. Bush...

Many people believe that only an omnipotent being (God) could have created all the galaxies and life. After all, how could any of this have appeared from nothing? Even if the Big Bang happened, someone had to create that dense singularity from which everything sprang. A lot of these same people believe that God created the Universe so that humans would obey Him, or help Him defeat Satan, or for some other anthropocentric reason. These beliefs were created thousands of years ago by people who couldn’t see beyond their own village. Now that we know how unfathomably huge the Universe is, we can ask religious followers a few questions such as:

  1. If God’s purpose for creating everything really is centered on Man, and Man exists only on Earth, then why would He bother to create trillions of other planets? Isn’t that rather wasteful?
  2. Isn’t it rather arrogant of you to assume that you – an infinitesimally tiny part of a vast universe – have the answers to life and creation?
  3. Have you always had your head up your ass?
I don’t think that God’s so great. I mean, He didn’t create Himself; He’s always been ... well ... God. Can you take credit for existing, or for possessing the powers of reason or sight or speech? No. You were created that way. Same with God. Yeah, He’s omnipotent and omniscient, but He didn’t earn those powers – He has always just had them. And look what He does with those powers: He creates defective creatures like us, and then expects us to behave like we’re better than the way He created us. He gives us emotions like greed and lust and anger, and then we’re supposed to be generous, abstinent and nice. He also puts us in environments with limited resources so we’ll fight over them. And let’s not forget pathogenic microbes and cancer and floods and earthquakes and birth defects. Oh yeah, he’s a real gem that God. Fuck Him.

Yeah that’s right, I just swore at God. If you’re religious, you probably think that something bad’s gonna happen to me, don’t you? Well let me tell yoo sumtnnnzz. Ahvmmnawann. Oh shit.

For much of human history people believed that the Earth was flat, that it was the center of the Universe, and that the Sun revolved around it. The astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus showed that the Earth revolves around the Sun. This went directly against the Catholic Church’s view, so the Church, in a display of understanding and tolerance that it is known for, banned his work for being “false and altogether opposed to Holy Scripture.” Less than a century later they placed Galileo Galilei under house arrest for the remainder of his life for heresy because he had the audacity to follow Copernicus’s theory. They forced him to deny that the Earth revolves around the Sun under threat of torture. But you can’t keep science down forever. Thankfully, there will always be honest, hard-working folks seeking truth, and truths will come out. The more discoveries there are, the more that liars and ignoramuses have to admit that they’re wrong. Now, am I saying that religious beliefs are wrong? I don’t think that I am in any position to judge. I have no proof of anything. For all I know, Jesus was real and he performed magic. Of course, the same goes for Harry Potter. My knowledge of him is identical to my knowledge of Jesus: he is written about in books, a lot of people have heard of him, and I have no proof that he doesn’t exist. I don’t see what’s so great about Harry Potter anyway. I mean, if he's so magical, why can’t he cure his own eyesight and get laid?

Isn’t it rather silly how we lie to our kids about the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, and as soon as they’re old enough to figure out that those characters don’t exist, we introduce a new one and expect them to believe us?

Child:“Dad, there’s no Santa Claus, is there? It’s impossible for anyone to be in every house on the planet in a single night.”
Father:"You’re right. Your mother and I have been lying to you."
Child:"And there’s no Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy, is there?"
Father:"No, there isn’t."
Child:"I should have known. I’ve never seen them in person, and they would have to be supernatural to do all the things people say they do. You and Mom really got me good!"
Father:"Now that you’re old enough, it’s time to learn about Jesus."
Child:"Huh?"
Father:"Jesus is the son of God. He turned water into wine, healed the sick, and came back from the dead."
Child:"Hah! Good one!"
By the way, you know how Jesus got his name? As the three wise men entered the house of Mary and Joseph, one of them banged his head on the door frame and exclaimed, “Jesus Christ!” Mary turned to him and said, “Great idea! I was gonna call him Dave.”


Chapter 4

THE  VAST  HUGENESS  OF  THE  UNIVERSE


Astronomers do it while gazing at Uranus.


The Universe is much too enormous for our tiny little minds to comprehend. Nevertheless, I will try to describe how big it is. Then you will begin to get an idea of its vastness. Either that or your head will explode.

The best unit of scale to use in estimating the Universe’s size is the light-year, which is how far light travels in one year. One light-year equals 5,878,630,000,000 (a little under 6 trillion) miles. That in and of itself hurts to think about. I mean, it’s one mile for every three dollars of U.S. Government debt.

There are billions of galaxies in the Universe, and each one has millions or even billions of stars. To save you the trouble of getting out your calculator, that means that there are trillions or quadrillions of stars. Each of those stars could potentially have its own solar system, like our Sun does. Each of the Universe’s billions of galaxies is many light-years across. For instance, our galaxy, the Milky Way, is about 100,000 light-years across. My brain is spinning right now, and it’s not just because of the five beers I had.

Estimates of the Universe’s size vary, but the average is a hundred billion light-years across. In concrete numbers that’s 587,863,000,000,000,000,000,000 (more than 587 sextillion) miles. Don’t kid yourself that you can comprehend that number. I know I can’t. Hell, I lost track of how many books I’ve written once I got past twelve.

Hold on now. The Big Bang Theory estimates the age of the Universe to be 13.7 billion years. Even if the Universe were to be constantly expanding outward in all directions at the speed of light, it could not be more than 27.4 billion light-years across. Size estimates of 100 billion light-years would mean that the Universe is expanding at almost four times the speed of light. That’s faster than Bernie Madoff can steal an old lady’s pension. So how do we solve this problem? Well, if astronomers are correct (a big assumption), it seems that light is not the fastest thing in the Universe. What is? I’ve thought about this for a long time (which shows what a waste my life is), and I’ve come to the conclusion that the fastest thing in the Universe is a fart: it goes through your pants so fast that it doesn’t make a hole.

As you can see, we are so infinitesimally tiny compared to the Universe that it seems pointless to worry about our puny little lives, which have no impact on anything. We try to make friends and gain money and please our families and maintain our health, and what have we really accomplished? What impact have we made on anything? Why try at all? Maybe slackers have the right idea. They don’t accomplish anything, and we might criticize or ridicule them, but meanwhile we’re running around suffering from worry and stress while they’re relaxing and enjoying the moment. They don’t seem to care that they have no friends and they haven’t caused anything in the Universe to change. But enough about Obama.

The size of the Universe shows how utterly wrong religious people are when they claim that the Universe is less than 10,000 years old. Many observable stars are millions of light-years from us, which means that their light took millions of years to reach us. If everything had been created just a few thousand years ago, then the light from those stars wouldn’t have reached us yet, so we wouldn’t even know that they exist. Pinheads.

A finite Universe size doesn’t make sense to me, no matter how large it is. What if we were to travel 587 sextillion miles (at more than four times the speed of light, of course)? Then what? Could we not then proceed forward? I mean, that would be the end of the Universe, right? What would be there? A wall? An electric fence? The Pearly Gates?

But I can’t comprehend an infinite Universe, either. It’s gotta end sometime, doesn’t it? Or does it? How can there be an infinite amount of anything? Aren’t all things finite?

My brain hurts.

The finite/infinite problem can go in the opposite direction too: is there a minimum size that a particle can be? We used to think so. The more powerful that microscopes became, the smaller the particles that we could see. First it was cells, then molecules, then atoms, then atomic particles (electrons, protons and neutrons). Many people assumed that atomic particles were the basic units of matter until experiments with particle accelerators revealed that they (the particles) were made up of even smaller units called quarks. (Actually only protons and neutrons are made of quarks; electrons are fundamental particles). Are quarks the basic units of matter, or are they in turn made up of smaller units? Are those smaller units composed of still smaller units, on and on, ad infinitum? It’s like the old half-the-distance paradox: if you go half the distance from Point A to Point B, then half the remaining distance, and so on, you will never reach Point B, even if you travel for eternity.

My brain just threw up.


Chapter 5

OUR  SOLAR  SYSTEM


What’s more useful, the Sun or the Moon? The Moon, because the Moon shines at night when you want the light, whereas the Sun shines during the day when you don't need it.


The Sun is a very ordinary yellow star. It is about 5 billion years old and will live for about another 5 billion years. It creates light, heat and energy via nuclear fusion: intense gravity compresses hydrogen atoms to make helium. Temperatures inside the Sun reach 27,000,000°F, and the surface temperature is about 10,000°F. That’s pretty hot, so if astronauts want to visit it, they should go at night.

Our solar system has eight planets. They all orbit the Sun on approximately the same plane, called the ecliptic. The inner solar system contains four rocky or terrestrial planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. The outer solar system contains four gas planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus (har!), and Neptune. Now, just what is a “gas planet”? It is a planet that is more gas than solid. For example, let’s look at Uranus. (Ha ha! That joke never gets old!) Its surface is thought to contain a mixture of toxic gases, including methane. (Hence the name Uranus.)

When I was a kid there were nine planets in our solar system. In 2006 astronomers reclassified Pluto as a “dwarf planet”. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t a “dwarf planet” still a planet? Not according to astronomers. They held some heated debates about Pluto’s classification, which shows how pathetic astronomers are: while the rest of us are partying and getting laid, astronomers are arguing over how to classify a rock.

Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun. Because of this, its evolution took a slightly different course from that of the other planets. As the Sun formed, it pushed much of the lighter gas and dust out of the inner solar system, leaving behind only heavier elements. As a result, Mercury is made out of a large percentage of heavier elements, mainly iron. Its proximity to the Sun also makes Mercury hotter than Jessica Alba in a thong.

Venus was the Roman goddess of love. In Greek her name was Aphrodite. The planet Venus’s atmosphere is far thicker than Earth’s, making it difficult for modern science to penetrate. Hmm, you’d think the goddess of love would be easy to penetrate.

Earth orbits around the Sun once every 365.242199 days. This is why we have a leap year every four years in order to add a day. Because the orbital period is not quite 365.25 days, extra days are not added in years that are multiples of 100 but not 400. This means that the year 2100 will not be a leap year even though it is divisible by 4. I plan to throw a big party that year. If I don’t, I promise to give you a million dollars.

Earth’s orbit is elliptical, with the Sun off-center. The point where Earth is closest to the Sun is called the perihelion, and the point where it’s farthest from the Sun is called the aphelion. This might seem puzzling at first, when we see from the figure below that we are closest to the Sun in winter and farthest away in summer. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? No, because seasonal change has little to do with how far Earth is from the Sun. If solar proximity caused the change in seasons, then the northern and southern hemispheres would have similar temperatures all the time. The two hemispheres’ seasons actually run opposite each other: when one is in winter, the other is in summer.

The change of seasons is due to the fact that Earth is permanently tilted 23½° vertically in relation to its orbit. In our summer the northern hemisphere leans toward the Sun and therefore the Sun’s rays have less atmosphere to go through. Less atmospheric filtration means that more heat penetrates. (Reduced filtration is also why the Sun feels stronger at midday than at dawn and dusk, although this is due to horizontal rather than vertical tilt.) In our winter the northern hemisphere leans away from the Sun and therefore there is more atmospheric filtration. The opposite is true for the southern hemisphere: it leans toward the Sun in our winter (their summer) and away from the Sun in our summer (their winter).

Earth is hot inside. Molten rock, iron and nickel flow thousands of miles beneath the surface. The core is a 12,000°F solid mass of iron and nickel. It’s solid because of the extremely high pressure. What I want to know is, how do scientists know this? No one has ever been to the center of the Earth. Apparently scientists with fancy names like geologist and seismologist use sound waves, earthquake shock waves, and theories about how the earth formed to predict the viscosity of the material in Earth’s center. At least their predictions are based on measurements of real things, as opposed to Stock Market analysts, who make their predictions by consulting their magic eight-balls.

Earth is inhabited by a wide variety of organisms, from single-celled microbes to large animals containing trillions of cells. All of these life forms evolved over the course of billions of years. Everything was fine until about 100,000 years ago, when the most destructive organism in Earth’s history evolved: the human. This creature has spent the past several millennia polluting and destroying the air, water and landscape; and killing huge numbers of animals, including themselves. Today they live pointless lives, growing fat and lazy as they eat fattening food and watch television and procreate and drink beer and adopt absurd metaphysical beliefs and work in offices and read stupid books that were written by stupid humans. It’s a good thing they’re all too stupid to realize how meaningless their lives are as they head toward their inevitable deaths.

Several planets have one or more moons. Earth has one moon called, surprisingly, the Moon. It revolves around Earth about once every four weeks. Coincidentally, this is also the approximate length of most women’s menstrual periods. Yes, I realize that most men hate to hear the word “period” unless it has to do with hockey. Speaking of which, I once dated a hockey player, and she was almost always pleasant to be with because her periods only lasted 20 minutes. Okay, that joke was bloody awful. Please don’t rag on me. And don’t ovary act. Just go with the flow. Do these jokes cramp your style? Are they too much to absorb? I’ve been cotton the act of padding this book, so I’ll stop, period.

A blue moon is the “extra” full moon in years that have 13 full moons. Most years have 12 full moons, but since a lunar cycle lasts 29½ days, which amounts to 354 days in 12 cycles, and each year has 365 or 366 days, that leaves an extra 11 or 12 days, which accumulate so that every two or three years there is an extra full moon. Hence when something happens only rarely it is said to occur “once in a blue moon”. The Moon has also inspired other expressions. “Moonstruck” can mean “crazy” or “in love”. “Moonshine” is illegally distilled liquor. “Moonlighting” refers to working a second job. To “moon” someone is to turn your back on them and drop your pants, revealing your “moons”. (I once dated a woman who was so fat that when she mooned people they turned into werewolves.)

A lot of people believe that a full moon causes more violence, suicide, murder, accidents, etc. Statistical studies have found little correlation to support this belief. The media and folklore perpetuate the myth. One might speculate that the Moon’s gravitational force affects the human body, the way it affects tides, and so affects human behavior. Well, if this is the case, then it disproves the full moon effect. You see, the Moon orbits Earth much the same way Earth orbits the Sun: in an elliptical pattern, with the Earth off-center. The point where the Moon is closest to Earth is called the perigee, and the point where it’s farthest from Earth is called the apogee. The Moon and Earth orbit the Sun together. In the diagram below (not to scale of course), the Sun in position 2 would illuminate the side of the Moon facing Earth during perigee, leading one to believe that full moons occur in conjunction with maximum lunar gravitational effect. However, the Sun in position 1 would mean that there would be no visible moon during perigee, and a full moon would appear during apogee, when the Moon has the minimum gravitational effect. So you see, the phase of the Moon has nothing at all to do with gravitational effect. Anyone who becomes violent during a full moon is just an asshole.

Some people become more romantic during a full moon. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. If a full moon causes you to want to make love with your significant other, that is probably good. But what if you’re on a blind date with some loser? Are you going to kiss or shtup this foul ball just because the Moon happens to be full? The phase of the Moon does not change the fact that you’re out with a schmuck.

The Moon rotates in such a way that the same side always faces Earth. This is how the expression “dark side of the moon” came about – there is one side that we never see. That side is not actually dark all the time, because when the Moon is between Earth and the Sun, the side we can’t see is illuminated, while the side facing us is dark. Apparently the side that we can see looks like a face to a number of people, which is why they call it the “man in the moon”. I fail to see any resemblance to a man’s face, unless they’re referring to Jay Leno.

You’ve probably heard the term eclipse. An eclipse is when one celestial object moves into the shadow of another. Sometimes there’s a solar eclipse and sometimes there’s a lunar eclipse. What’s the difference? In a solar eclipse, our Moon partially or completely blocks the sun from our view. In a lunar eclipse, Earth blocks the Sun’s rays from reaching the Moon, especially when Kirstie Alley is outdoors.

Mars is the planet that is most similar to Earth. Some speculate that it has life on it. If it does, then that life is better off than we are because it does not have to put up with Mel Gibson.

Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system. If all the other planets were the Seven Dwarves, Jupiter would be Sally Struthers.

Saturn is known for its rings. The other three planets in the outer solar system also have rings, but Saturn’s are more visible. There is nothing interesting about Saturn other than the rings she wears, kind of like Zsa Zsa Gabor.

You’ve probably noticed that I like making fun of celebrities. Hey, who doesn’t? Something about famous people makes us want to use them as the butt of our humor. Of course, I’m nobody and people make fun of me.

No matter how you pronounce Uranus, it’s funny: “your-anus” or “urine-us”. While the other planets spin on an axis nearly perpendicular to the ecliptic, Uranus’s axis is almost parallel to the ecliptic. That might be why the other planets named it Uranus:

Saturn:“Look – this guy’s spinning end over end!”
Father:"Hey, weirdo, why you gotta be different?"
Earth:"What an asshole!"

Another reason for Uranus’s name might be its methane that I mentioned earlier. That would explain the “anus” part. But why Uranus? I guess the guy who discovered it thought it would be rather vain to call it Myanus.

Neptune is the furthest planet from the Sun. That’s all I know about it. What’s that? I’m lazy because I haven’t done more research? Tell me, how many books have you written? As I mentioned earlier, Pluto has been reclassified as a dwarf planet. The only reason it lost its status as a planet is its very small size. That’s ridiculous. A very small planet is still a planet, just like my very small shmekel is still a shmekel.


Chapter 6

SPACE  EXPLORATION


A little-known fact is that Walt Disney found life on another planet. That’s right – he found fleas on Pluto.


Man has wondered what lies “out there” ever since he could look upward. Other animals don’t look upward, so they have no clue about anything other than what’s ahead of or underneath them. For example, as far as my dog knows, there is nothing in the Universe other than his food bowl, a handful of humans, other dogs’ butts, and his own crotch.

The first visual aid in exploring outer space was the telescope, which was invented about 400 years ago. It wasn’t until the 1950s that satellites started being sent into space. The first one was Russia’s Sputnik. Shortly thereafter it launched Sputnik II, which contained a stray dog named Laika. She was found wandering the streets of Moscow, and Soviet scientists chose her because they assumed that she had already learned to endure conditions of extreme cold and hunger. Using that logic, why don’t we recruit homeless people to be astronauts? You might think I’m kidding, but I’m not. First of all, if there were another shuttle disaster where everyone on board gets killed, nobody would care. Also, homeless people would be better than some astronauts we’ve had. Remember Lisa Nowak? She cheated on her husband with another astronaut, William Oefelein, and when Oefelein dumped her for another woman, Colleen Shipman, Nowak packed latex gloves, a black wig, a BB pistol and ammunition, pepper spray, a hooded trench coat, a 2-pound drilling hammer, black gloves, rubber tubing, plastic garbage bags and a knife, drove from Houston to Orlando wearing an adult diaper so she wouldn’t have to stop to pee, and tried to kidnap Shipman after she landed at the airport. Below is a picture of Nowak. Now, you tell me that homeless people look any worse than she does.

You could never get me to be an astronaut. Aside from the fact that I’d never qualify because I throw up at all amusement park activities, including the food line, I would never volunteer to spend several weeks without beer or women. Well, beer anyway. Also, the weightless environment makes even simple everyday activities tricky. For example, going potty must be done in a special “space toilet” or else astronauts will find themselves living in a very unpleasant version of a snow globe.

Our government created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the late 1950s out of fear that the Russians, who had already sent at least two satellites into space, would use this new technology for military purposes. Eventually we started sending things into space – rockets, satellites, toasters – in order to show the Russian Bear that we were as technologically advanced as they were and that we were capable, via scientific achievement and courage, of wasting enormous sums of money.

Thus began the “race for space”, where the two superpowers launched lots of hardware into space, then just left it there, polluting the cosmos with tons of “space junk”. The first manned landing on another celestial body was performed by Apollo 11 in its lunar landing on July 20, 1969. I remember that day. I was 7 years old and at summer camp. A small black-and-white television was broadcasting the event. It was a memorable day at Camp Takeaweewee, not only because of the Moon landing, but also because that day in the locker room before swimming I finally got up the courage to take off my clothing in front of other kids. In fact, I rather enjoy it now.

Nowadays our government is launching bigger and more expensive things into space, spending billions of tax dollars on space shuttles and space stations and fuel and the Hubble Space Telescope, not to mention other things like bailing out failed corporations, all the while slashing school funding because education just isn’t that important anymore, seeing as no matter how much we try to teach our kids, they insist on sending each other horribly misspelled text messages.

It takes more than a million pounds of solid propellant to launch a shuttle into space. Even so, the government tries to tell us to conserve fuel by purchasing smaller vehicles, which I refuse to do as long as rednecks and soccer moms are driving pickup trucks and SUVs the size of tenement housing.

NASA has ten locations around the country. They’re located in California, Florida, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia and Maryland. I personally know some of the employees at the Maryland facility, and those people are quite lucid when they’re sober.

The Hubble Space Telescope, which is currently orbiting our planet, has enabled astronomers to see many stars and galaxies. For example, astronomers were able to see the Orion Nebula. The images were rather small, and astronomers were frustrated that this $5 billion telescope wasn’t performing as they had hoped. Turns out they were looking through the wrong end.

You might have heard the urban legend about NASA spending over a million dollars to develop a space pen that would work in zero gravity, while the Russians solved the weightlessness problem by using pencils. Although that story isn’t true, this one is: NASA also decided to use pencils. In 1965 they ordered 34 mechanical pencils from Tycam Engineering Manufacturing at an average cost of more than $125 per pencil. But they saved a lot of money by not ordering erasers.

In 2001 NASA launched a spacecraft called the Wilkinson Microwave Anistrophy Probe, which determined that less than 5% of all mass and energy consists of atoms; the rest is dark energy (72%) and dark matter (23%). It also claimed that the Universe is flat. I swear I am not making this up. Didn’t we progress beyond the idea of a flat Earth hundreds of years ago? Now scientists are trying to tell us that the entire Universe is flat? I think they’re pulling our leg. Why else would they call the spacecraft “Anistrophy”? It sounds like a gay porn award.

About a dozen people have walked on the Moon, and now there’s considerable effort to send people to Mars. What’s the big deal? I say that we do not need the Space Program in order to send people to cold, hostile places. We already have Detroit.

All of the planets in our solar system have been explored by “fly-by” missions, with a few spacecraft actually landing on Mars and Venus, but how has the information we’ve collected about them made life better for anyone except the folks employed in the space industry? It’s been a rather expensive process too. For example, two-thirds of all spacecraft destined for Mars have failed. That’s almost as bad as the failure rate of our presidents.

The Space Program has not been a total loss. It has produced some inventions that we use right here on Earth. For example, satellites are used to predict weather and to broadcast both television and radio programs. Smoke detectors, aircraft collision avoidance systems, freeze drying, cordless drills, sunglasses, firefighter breathing systems, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized axial tomography (CAT) were all developed as the result of Space Program efforts. Granted, none of these are as important as antibiotics or the beer keg, but still, the Space Program has been much more cost-effective than other government programs, like for example Social Security.

The United States is not the only country with a space agency. Dozens of countries have space agencies. Even friggin’ Uruguay has a space agency. Of course, it has no astronauts, no satellites, and no rockets. It’s basically a shell organization that’s there purely for show while doing absolutely nothing, like the United Nations.

There are also programs that explore space from right here on Earth. For example, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in New Mexico studies everything from radio galaxies to quasars to planets. It collects radio waves via 27 antennas, each with a diameter of 25 meters. They are arrayed in a Y pattern about 20 miles wide. This very large array is creatively named the Very Large Array. Although a boring name, it’s better than the old name, which was the Fucking Huge Array.


Chapter 7

EXTRATERRESTRIAL  LIFE


A Martian lands on Earth and meets a man while exploring:
Man:"Hey - are you a Martian?"
Martian:"Yes."
Man:"Do you all have these antennas?"
Martian:"Yes."
Man:"Are you all green like you are?"
Martian:"Yes."
Man:"Do you all wear these little hats?"
Martian:"Only the orthodox."


One of the big questions is: “Is there life on other planets?” It is very possible, given that amino acids – which are building blocks of life – have been found in meteorites. Of course, we can’t be sure whether those amino acids came from the meteorites or from Earth, because “experts” might have gotten them mixed up. It’s kind of like when that airliner crashed in the Polish National Cemetery and authorities recovered 12,000 bodies.

Anyway, we’re not as concerned with finding life out there as we are with finding intelligent life. I say that our efforts would be better used finding intelligent life here. I don’t know about you, but I run into stupid people all the time. They’re everywhere: on the road, at the supermarket, and even at my job. There’s a woman in my department who’s so dumb that she has to reach inside her bra to count to two.

You ever notice how most of the aliens on television are humanoid and speak English? For example, no matter what planet he landed on, Captain Kirk would always manage to score with a beautiful, well-spoken human woman aged 18-35. Meanwhile most of the women I ever dated were ignorant, arrogant, self-absorbed trolls whose relationship skills were limited to lying, bitching, and taking my money. Actually just one woman was like that. I can mention her because I haven’t named her, so no one knows who I’m talking about. Besides, my ex-wife doesn’t read my books.

If life evolved on Earth as the result of a one-in-a-million chance, then it is not unreasonable to propose that it evolved on at least a few million of the trillions of other planets in the Universe. I certainly hope that whatever intelligent life forms exist out there are better than we are. I mean, we suck. We are fearful, ignorant, petty little twerps whose idea of a meaningful existence is to buy a house and create other fearful, ignorant, petty little twerps. All we do is perpetuate selfishness and misery: we resent each other, cut each other off on the road, steal from each other, cheat on our spouses, lie to each other, kill each other, eat ourselves into obesity, pollute the environment, and die from disease. No wonder so many people turn to drugs, alcohol and religion.

Astronomers have been trying to find a planet with a climate similar to Earth’s. They look at millions of planets through expensive telescopes and try to determine, via data such as the planets’ appearance and proximity to stars, whether any of them could possibly allow life to evolve. It’s a crap shoot, really. It’s just like dating: there are lots of possibilities, but the number gets drastically pared down when you look for ones that meet certain criteria. Let’s say you’re a woman looking for a man. There are 3 billion men on the planet. 150 million live in the U.S. 75 million of those are single. 500,000 of those live within a reasonable distance. 90,000 of those are in your desired age range. 20,000 of those are nice. 5,000 of those are interesting. 3,000 of those have good jobs. 400 of those are attractive. 200 of those practice good hygiene. 50 of those will get along with your friends. 10 of those are good in bed. One of those is a good listener. So even though you start out with billions of possibilities, only one man will meet all your criteria. And he’s gay.

A lot of people believe that not only is there intelligent life out there, but also that Earth has been visited by it. Cave drawings all over the world depict flying machines and people wearing helmets and/or what appear to be space suits. These drawings predate aviation, metallurgy, and civilization as we know it. Could cultures all over the world have individually dreamed up the same ideas; or did aliens visit parts of Earth thousands of years ago, and prehistoric people drew what they saw?

Some folks point to old structures that they believe could not have been built without outside help. For example, the Great Pyramid of Egypt. More than two million blocks were used to build it, and the average weight of each block was about 2.5 metric tons. The largest block weighed close to 15 metric tons. How could ancient people have moved blocks of this size, and so many of them? In addition to the sheer size of the Great Pyramid is the precision with which it was built: the base forms a nearly perfect square, it is almost exactly level, and the interior has a number of passageways and chambers. Did alien beings help design and build this structure?

Whether or not ancient drawings or buildings were aided by aliens, I believe that there are alien beings and that some of them live among us. The following “people” are/were aliens:

There is a worldwide effort to find extraterrestrial life. Several organizations use telescopes, microwave antennas, radar, etc to search for laser beacons, radio waves, or anything that might indicate that someone out there is sending messages. Nothing has been found, although we still have plenty of people claiming to have been abducted and rectally probed by aliens, which can only mean that these creatures are freely coming and going without being detected by millions of dollars worth of sophisticated equipment. Let’s think about this. Say you were exploring space in a spaceship and you happened to find another planet with intelligent life on it. Would you:

1. broadcast a message to let them know you are friendly, then meet with their leaders in order to share knowledge and develop an intergalactic relationship based on mutual respect and understanding

or

2. sneak past their technology, kidnap some of them, and look inside their rectums

The Mars Pathfinder mission of 1996-1997 looked for life on Mars. After the spacecraft landed, it sent out a land roving vehicle. Both the lander and the rover took atmosphere and soil samples, as well as photographs. NASA scientists concluded that Mars has life on it. No, they didn’t actually find any creatures, but the CD player was stolen.

Although Venus isn’t far from Earth, it is too hot to support life. Current theories suggest that Venus and Earth may have started out alike. There might have been a lot of water on Venus, but on Venus, which is 30% closer to the Sun, the oceans boiled away and the water vapor caused massive global warming via the greenhouse effect, turning the planet into Earth’s ugly sibling – the Daniel Baldwin of our solar system.

There might be life in other solar systems, but I think that the only place in our solar system that contains life is Earth. This could change, however. Our government plans to colonize the Moon. Let’s think about this. The lack of atmosphere means that there is no protection from the heat of the Sun and the cold of space, so the moon’s surface gets hot enough to boil water during the day and drops to hundreds of degrees below zero at night. Pressurized and oxygenated domes would need to be constructed in order to keep people from suffocating. Transportation costs to and from the moon would be colossal. Another brilliant idea from bureaucrats who can’t control healthcare or even their own shmekels.

It gets worse. Congressional cretins are also considering colonizing Mars. This idea is so stupid that I don’t even know where to begin criticizing it. The extremely cold temperatures, the large amounts of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, the lethal amounts of radiation, the deadly low atmospheric pressure, the nine months it would take to travel there, and other obstacles make it an unlikely candidate for human colonization. Besides, who the hell would want to live there? Well, I suppose if someone’s life on Earth sucks, then living on another planet might seem like a good escape. People who are homeless, starving, terminally ill or in bad marriages might jump at the chance to get away from this planet once and for all. I suspect that if anyone does go to live on Mars, those people will be men. Remember, men are from Mars and women are from Venus. And politicians are from Uranus.

Many messages have been sent from Earth into space in the hope that someone out there will receive them. Not only that, there are companies that claim they will transmit your message into space for a fee. That’s a pretty good scam. How would you know whether your message actually got transmitted? It’s kind of like sponsoring a child in a starving country: how do you know that your money went specifically to that child and no one else? And even if it did, do you think that’s a good idea? Can you imagine the other kids in the village who get nothing? Your kid is eating caviar and wearing Prada, while all the others are wearing loincloths and eating gravel. I bet they jump him and beat him senseless. Nice job asshole.


Chapter 8

SPACE  AND  TIME

Copernicus as a boy:"Mom, can I have a telescope?"
Copernicus's mother:"Hey, the world doesn’t revolve around you."


We normally think of space as being three-dimensional, while time is another idea altogether. Well, nerds with advanced degrees and no social skills have proposed that space and time are not separate entities but part of the same continuum. Actually this idea came from Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, so apparently these other nerds aren’t as smart as they might appear.

The Theory of Relativity also suggests that time can slow down or speed up. I understand this. Time speeds up when I have sex with women, but it slows down when I listen to their inane stories.

The relationship between space and time, as well as the variable speed of time, are demonstrated by the fact that the faster an object moves, the more slowly time passes for it. For example, atomic clocks onboard a fast-moving space vehicle run slower than Earth-bound clocks. Hey, that gives me an idea! You know how some folks get facelifts, breast implants, Botox, etc in order to look younger? Well, instead of all this unnecessary surgery, let’s just blast these people into space. According to Einstein, the rate at which time travels is given by the formula:

where v = the object’s velocity and c = the speed of light. This means that the faster you go, the more slowly time travels. This is how I’m able to stay so young – I jog, so I’m moving and thereby slowing down my aging clock. Of course, while I’m jogging, other people are spending time with their families and getting laid, so we have to wonder just how beneficial jogging is.

The concept of “spacetime” is not new. In fact, Edgar Allan Poe wrote about it in his 1848 essay entitled Eureka, in which he stated that “space and duration are one”. He died a year later after being found delirious on the streets of Baltimore, so maybe spacetime is a dangerous concept to think about.

The idea of time’s variability in speed has been taken to fantastic extremes in which time actually goes backward or forward. Several movies and TV shows are based on this fantasy. I’ve often wondered what I’d do if I were to go back in time and meet myself, say, 30 years ago. What would I say to myself? Probably “Don’t get married.”

Time travel is, of course, an absurd idea. It’s right up there with magic and religion. I mean, let’s say you were to go back a few years. Could you really meet your then-self? How can there be two of you? There can’t. This is good news for you, because it means that there can’t be two of me.

Have you ever thought of how much better your life would be if you could go back in time and live your life over with all the knowledge you now possess? I have. I would definitely get a lot more money and sex than I’ve gotten in this life. If I knew then what I know now, I would have invested all of my disposable income in Microsoft, and I would have given in when my English teacher hit on me. He probably would have given me a better grade, too.

Some scientists theorize that space is curved. Can you believe that shit? People with advanced degrees actually think that the obviously straight path from, say, your front door to your car is really bent, as though we all live in a funhouse mirror or something. Well, some people are pretty warped, so maybe they live in curved space, but I obviously live in straight space because I’m so normal.

Curved space would enable “shortcut” travel. For example, in order to get from one side of our planet to the other, you would have to travel about 12,000 miles around the surface. However, if you were to bore through the planet, you would only have to go about 8,000 miles. If space is truly curved, then you could “bore” through curved space in order to shortcut your way. This tunnel is referred to as a wormhole. Some people believe that a wormhole would allow time travel. Is this possible? I don’t know. I have enough trouble understanding Daylight Saving Time.


Chapter 9

GRAVITY

He’s so fat that when I tried to walk away from him, I couldn’t get away from his gravitational pull.


Although gravity is more physics than astronomy, I included this chapter for two reasons: 1) The laws of gravity are used by astronomers to calculate the mass of the Sun and planets in our solar system, and by NASA when determining how to launch and land spacecraft. 2) There is no way in hell I will ever write a physics book, so this is the only book I’ll ever write in which gravity can rightfully be included. Physics is for highly intelligent people with unkempt hair and disheveled clothing who sit around discussing quantum mechanics and string theory and hadrons and mesons and leptons and basically making the rest of us want to kick their ass.

Atoms have a gravitational force. They attract each other. Without gravity, everything would just float around. In fact, that is what happens in deep space, where there are very few atoms. Dense bodies such as planets, stars and John Goodman have many atoms, which combine to create strong gravitational forces that attract other objects. The larger the body, the more gravity. For example, Earth’s gravitational pull is about 6 times that of our Moon’s. Therefore you’d weigh only one-sixth as much on the Moon as you do on Earth. This means that on the Moon, Queen Latifah would weigh only 192 pounds.

The Moon orbits us because Earth’s gravity keeps it from floating away. A valid question, then, would be: Why doesn’t the Moon crash into us? I mean, meteoroids crash into Earth, so why doesn’t the Moon? Why bodies orbit each other instead of crashing into each other is one of the mysteries of the Universe that keeps life interesting. Maybe we shouldn’t think about it. Maybe our time would be better spent exercising, or working on hobbies, or getting together with loved ones. There. I think I avoided the question pretty well.

Okay, I’ll attempt to answer the question. When one body orbits another, the non-orbiting body’s gravity pulls on the orbiting body; this is known as centripetal force. Meanwhile the orbiting body is trying to travel away from the other; this “pushing away” is known as centrifugal force. When centripetal and centrifugal forces are equal, an orbit is maintained. We see this all the time in nature. For example, in most intimate relationships the people involved are held in orbit by two opposing forces:

  1. They love each other.
  2. They drive each other crazy.

Thus people attract each other enough to remain fairly close, but they repel each other enough to function in society. All my intimate relationships have had opposing forces, which is good because if we didn’t love each other we’d never have gotten involved; and if we didn’t drive each other crazy we’d spend every moment in each other’s arms, I’d stop brewing and writing, and you’d be forced to drink mediocre beer and read intelligent literature.

Gravity causes acceleration. As two objects near each other, the constant force becomes additive. Whatever their velocity is at a given moment, gravitational force causes them to go faster. This accelerative force can be expressed as a mathematical formula. For example, Earth’s gravity causes an accelerative force of 32 feet per second per second, or 32 ft/sec2. That is, for every second an object is in free fall, it accelerates by 32 feet per second. So after one second it falls at 32 ft/sec, after two seconds it falls at 64 ft/sec, after three seconds it falls at 96 ft/sec, etc. The object isn’t the only thing moving; Earth moves toward the object, but the Earth is so much bigger and the object’s gravitational force is so tiny that Earth moves a negligible amount. Also, as the object picks up speed, wind drag increases, and this reduces the accelerative force until eventually the object reaches terminal velocity, which is when wind drag equals acceleration, effectively preventing the object from falling any faster. The less dense the object, the more wind resistance there is per unit of mass and thereby the slower it will fall. This is why a marble will hit the ground before a beach ball will, even though they might weigh the same.

I just noticed something. That last paragraph had more than ten sentences without a joke. I’m sorry. I got caught up in technical stuff and actually provided some information. I’ll try not to let that happen again.

So, if gravity pulls objects together, then if you put two apples on a table, why don’t they roll toward each other?

Don’t you have something you should be doing right now? A floor to sweep? A relative to visit? An aerobics class? I don’t have time to answer your stupid questions – I’m writing a book here!

Speaking of apples, the law of universal gravitation was developed by Sir Isaac Newton after being inspired by an apple falling from a tree. He was heard to exclaim, "Ow! There oughta be a law!"

Scientists theorize that gravity is what curves space, and that the closer space is to a large object (which has a large gravitational field), the more it is curved. So wouldn’t the vast majority of space, which is far from heavy objects and has almost no gravity, be straight? Wouldn’t it be only the space near large bodies that is curved? You know, for nerds with advanced degrees, these scientists sure dream up a lot of dumb shit.

Some believe that gravity can actually bend light, while others believe that it is not the light but space that is bent, which only makes the light appear to be bent. My opinion on the matter is this: Who gives a shit?

Wow, I swore twice in this chapter. Fuck.

Gravity and the expanding Universe seem contradictory. The expansion of the Universe means that all objects are moving away from each other. But wouldn’t gravity bring them closer together, thus shrinking space? You see, this is the sort of thing that makes me wonder why anyone pays astronomers to propose theories and write about them. I mean, I make some ridiculous propositions and write about them, but I have to give my books away in order to get anyone to read them. I pour my heart and soul into my books, trying very hard to entertain my readers with insight and wit, while the unwashed masses are reading dry, boring dissertations that were written by uncreative, humorless drones. Not that I’m bitter.


Chapter 10

ELECTROMAGNETIC  FORCE

If electricity comes from electrons, where does morality come from?


There are other forces in the Universe besides gravity. In fact, gravity is the weakest of them. There needs to be a lot of mass in order for there to be even a little bit of gravity, kind of like our government, where there must be a lot of money in order for there to be even a little bit of progress.

The electromagnetic force is the interactive force between protons’ positive charge and electrons’ negative charge. You might think that opposite charges would repel each other because they’re different. Paradoxically, these two completely different charges attract each other to create a freakily odd pair, like Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore. Meanwhile charges that are the same actually repel each other. This is why Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston couldn’t stay together.

As its name implies, the electromagnetic force produces electricity and magnetism. How this happens is beyond the scope of this book. In fact, any information that requires research is beyond the scope of my books.

Light, electricity and magnetism are manifestations of the same thing called electromagnetic radiation. The electric and magnetic fields oscillate at right angles to each other and the combined wave moves in a direction perpendicular to both of the electric and magnetic field oscillations. (Huh?) This energy comes in many forms that are not detectable with our eyes such as infrared, radio, X-rays, ultraviolet, and gamma rays. The difference between one type and another is merely the wavelength. For example, light is defined as electromagnetic radiation we can see, which has a wavelength between roughly 380 and 750 nanometers. This is a very tiny portion of the entire electromagnetic spectrum, which means that there is much more to the Universe than we can see. So maybe all the things we don’t believe in really do exist, only we can’t see them. Maybe there really is a Santa Claus, a Tooth Fairy, an Easter Bunny and an honest lawyer.

The electromagnetic force is tremendously stronger than gravity. If you were to take a penny, separate its electrons from its protons, and put the electrons on one side of Earth and the protons on the other, the electromagnetic force between them would equal 120 tons; whereas the gravitational force between them would be undetectable. Wow. I thought Michael Moore’s gravitational force was big. Imagine his electromagnetic force. The man could provide enough power to lift his fat ass off the Academy Awards podium.


Chapter 11

NUCLEAR  FORCE

The U.S. is talking about partial nuclear disarmament. To me that's like partial circumcision.


Nuclear force is really cool. Without it we would not have our way of life. It was nuclear force that made the Japanese surrender, and as far as I’m concerned we should have used it in Iraq and Afghanis-

Oh wait. I got off track.

In physics, nuclear force acts on atoms’ nuclei. There are actually two nuclear forces: the weak force and the strong force.

The weak force is enormously stronger than gravity (but much weaker than the electromagnetic force). It somehow affects quarks and thereby determines whether a particle will be a proton, electron or neutron. I read a few Web pages about the weak force and I still can’t understand it, which shows how useless I am.

Some years ago a trio of theoretical physicists came up with a unified description of the weak force and electromagnetism, and called it the electroweak force. Just goes to show that these guys will do anything for a Nobel prize.

The strong force is the strongest force in the Universe. It holds atoms together. Remember how similar electromagnetic charges repel? Well, then what keeps an atom’s protons from separating from each other? The strong force. It overcomes the electromagnetic force. There is a large amount of energy stored in the strong force. It’s where nuclear energy comes from: when an atom’s nucleus is split, the strong force energy is released. Nothing in the entire Universe is stronger than nuclear energy, unless you count the smell of Newark in the summertime.

The strong force works only over very tiny distances. In fact, protons must touch in order for the strong force to overcome the electromagnetic force. The larger the atom, the greater the chance that there are protons that don’t touch. This can cause subatomic particles to rearrange or to escape from the atom altogether and release radioactive energy. This process is called decay. I’ve read that the weak force is somehow involved, but again I’m too stupid to understand what college kids are learning in their freshman year.

I will attempt to explain how the strong force works, but I am merely repeating what I read on the Web; I can’t even begin to understand it. It’s like when someone I’m dating asks me what she just told me in order to see if I was paying attention: I can repeat her words, but I cannot even begin to understand what she’s talking about.

The nuclear force is felt only among hadrons. A hadron is a particle made of quarks. The strong force holds these quarks together. There are two known types of hadrons: mesons (made of one quark and one antiquark) and baryons (made of three quarks). The best-known mesons are pions and kaons. (Yeah, they’re well known in my social circle.) The best known baryons are protons and neutrons. The strong force acts directly only upon elementary quark and gluon particles. The quarks and gluons affected are unobservable directly, but instead emerge as jets of newly created hadrons.

There. That’s pretty simple, right? Remember all that, because there will be a quiz later.

Since I just mentioned a bunch of particle-related terms, I’ll confuse you with some more. Mesons are bosons; a boson is a particle with integer spin. Baryons are fermions; a fermion is a particle with half-integer spin. What is “spin”, you ask? It’s not important, really. Okay, if you must know, it’s intrinsic angular momentum. Half-integer spin particles are constrained by the Pauli exclusion principle and integer spin particles are not. Aren’t you glad you asked?

It gets worse. There is the upsilon particle, the lepton, the neutrino, the positron, the pentaquark, and dozens of other types of particles. Personally I think physicists are making this shit up. Whenever their grant money runs low because they spent it on booze and hookers, they “discover” new particles and get more funding. In fact, I think I can safely say that the one thing science and religion have in common is their motto: “I have an idea; give me money.”


Chapter 12

ASTROLOGY

Woman #1:"What's your son taking up in college?"
Woman #2:"Space."
Woman #1:"Oh, astrology!"


Astrology, like religion, is a system of magical beliefs. The idea is that the position of stars relative to Earth can cause things to happen here. For example, star position at the time you were born determines certain personality traits about you. Is it true? Let’s test this theory. Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein and Ayatollah Khomeini were all born under the sign of Taurus. So obviously anyone who is a Taurus is an evil, tyrannical asshole. Other Tauruses are Tony Danza, Pope John Paul II, Audrey Hepburn, Peter Frampton, Michelle Pfeiffer, William Shakespeare and Barbra Streisand. Bastards.

Astrology is one of the many bullshit ideas that ignoramuses have concocted in order to try to explain why things are the way they are. Unlike religion, it uses things that actually exist (stars), rather than an imaginary being, as the basis for its fables.

Astrology was born thousands of years ago when people drew imaginary lines between stars to create constellations. Each star in a constellation is labeled with a Greek letter. There are 88 constellations. They exist only in our minds, because you could select any number of stars and connect the dots to make a dog or a car or a dildo. The thing is, none of the constellations even look like anything. They’re just random configurations, as though a retard drew them. For example, here is Pegasus, which was named after a mythological winged horse:

Now, you tell me that that looks like a winged horse, or any animal for that matter. It looks like a fucking kite. Ancient astrologers had thousands of stars visible with the naked eye, and this is the shit they came up with.

I know that you and I could come up with better constellations. See if you can create one from the stars below.

                                             · · · · ·            ·           · · · · · · ·
                                             ·                   ·  ·               ·
                                             · · · ·           ·  ·  ·              ·
                                             ·                ·        ·            ·
                                             · · · · ·      ·           ·           ·

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                                                    ·  ·   ·  ·         ·
                                                    ·    ·    ·         · · · ·
                                                    ·         ·         · 
                                                    ·         ·         · · · · ·

Some constellations contain two stars. I am not making this up. Astrologers actually take two stars and call it a constellation. Pardon me, but it’s TWO FUCKING STARS. Are astrologers so lazy that they can’t even draw a two-dimensional object

Part of astrology is based on a band of constellations called the zodiac. There are 13 signs in the zodiac. That’s right, 13. You’ve heard that there are 12, haven’t you? That’s because ancient astrologers divided the sky into 12 equal segments of 30 degrees each. The signs you’ve heard of are Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius and Capricorn. There’s another one called Ophiuchus, but astrologers don’t want to acknowledge a 13th sign now because they like the tidiness of 12 signs and they don’t want to change what’s been in use for thousands of years. God forbid they should base their ideas on facts.

Each sign of the zodiac has what’s called a duration, which is a period of the year during which that particular constellation is visible in the sky during the day. And you know what? Astrologers are wrong about that too. You see, astrology was invented more than 2000 years ago, and a change in the orientation of the Earth’s rotation axis since then has caused changes in the visibility of the stars. Here is the corrected version of the zodiac:

SignAccepted (wrong)Right
AriesMarch 21 – April 20April 19 – May 13
TaurusApril 21 – May 20May 14 – June 19
GeminiMay 21 – June 21June 20 – July 20
CancerJune 22 – July 22July 21 – August 9
LeoJuly 23 – August 22August 10 – Sept 15
VirgoAugust 23 – Sept 22Sept 16 – Oct 30
LibraSept 23 – Oct 22Oct 31 – Nov 22
ScorpioOct 23 – Nov 21Nov 23 – Nov 29
OphiuchusNonexistentNov 30 – Dec 17
SagittariusNov 22 – Dec 23Dec 18 – January 18
CapricornDec 24 – January 19January 19 – February 15
AquariusJanuary 20 – February 18February 16 – March 11
PiscesFebruary 19 – March 20March 12 – April 18

The accepted (i.e., wrong) zodiac divides the 12 signs into four groups of three. Each group is a particular “type” of sign: fire, air, earth or water. For example, Scorpio (whose symbol is a scorpion) is a water sign. Yeah, that makes sense. It’s not like scorpions live in the desert or anything.

There are other ideas in this belief system. For example, astrological houses indicate specific areas in life such as health, possessions and death. There is also the concept of rising sign, which is the sign of the zodiac that was coming up over the eastern horizon when you were born (this may differ from your sun sign, which is the part of the zodiac that the Sun was in). The planets are important too. Each one represents the manner in which activities were performed in previous lives or are likely to be performed in the present life. So be careful when Leo enters Uranus.

As you can see, astrology is a confusing fabrication designed to give idiots the false impression that they’re not wasting their brief lives. It’s basically a form of organized religion. In fact, it’s worse, because at least churches get tax breaks.

If you still need a reason to oppose astrology, how about this: the Nazis used it. They used German astrologer Wilhelm Hulff in an attempt to harness supernatural forces. Eventually Hitler had all known astrologers arrested. Wulff spent four months in a concentration camp. Many years after the war, Wulff won the German lottery. He used the money to put a statue of Hitler on his front lawn. When asked why he would want a statue of the man who had him thrown in a concentration camp, he pointed to the tattoo on his forearm and said, “He gave me the numbers.”


Chapter 13

THE  HISTORY  OF  THE  UNIVERSE  IN  A  NUTSHELL

A history teacher asks, “Who said ‘Give me liberty or give me death’?” After a long, awkward silence, a Japanese exchange student answers, “Patrick Henry, 1774.” The teacher says, “This is shameful. The only one who knew the answer is a Japanese student who has only been in our country for a month.” She turns to write something on the blackboard, and just then hears someone say, “Fuck the Japanese!” She whips around and snaps, “Who said that?” A voice from the back answers, “Harry Truman, 1945.”


The following is a timeline of various events throughout the life of the Universe, past, present and future. For all you know.

13.7 billion BC: The Big Bang.

13.6999 billion BC: The Big Cigarette.

13.6 billion BC: God breaks wind, creating matter and energy.

4.5 billion or 4004 BC (depending on whether you believe scientists or clergymen): Earth forms. Adam and Eve’s kids start inbreeding.

3571 BC: Abe Vigoda born.

2438 BC: Jewish slaves finish building pyramids. Goyim take credit.

1213 BC: Moses’s wife, after almost 40 years of wandering in the desert, tells Moses, “Gimme the #%&@ map!!”

408 BC: Democritus proposes that the Milky Way consists of stars. Catholic priests accuse him of heresy, even though Catholicism wouldn’t be invented for another 800 years.

0: Y0K bug causes sand in hourglasses to go upward.

33: Jesus crucified by the Romans. Goyim blame Jews.

185: Chinese astronomers become the first to record observations of a supernova. They celebrate with beef and broccoli.

821: Ja'far Muhammad ibn Musa ibn Shakir says that celestial objects are subject to the same laws of physics that Earth is. Duh.

1543: Nicolaus Copernicus proposes that there is no one center of all celestial objects, Earth is not the center of the Universe, and Earth revolves around the Sun. Catholic priests briefly stop sodomizing young boys in order to denounce him as a heretic.

1615: Galileo Galilei develops a mathematical formulation of the law of falling objects, discovers the parabolic arc of projectiles, publishes an account of his telescopic observations of the moons of Jupiter, and supports the Copernican theory. Catholic priests accuse him of heretical use of the word “parabolic”.

1798: Henry Cavendish measures the force of gravity between masses, yielding Earth’s mass. This leads to the gravitational constant, which is G = (6.67428 ± 0.00067) × 10-11m3kg-1s-2. He uses this equation to impress chicks and get laid.

1898: Henri Poincaré states that simultaneity is relative. Huh?

1905: Albert Einstein develops his Theory of Relativity and proclaims that E = mc2. Catholic priests accuse him of heresy.

1919: Arthur Eddington proves that light can be bent by gravity. Catholic priests search frantically for a reason to accuse him of heresy.

1927: Niels Bohr develops the uncertainty principle. No one is sure what it is, hence the name.

1929: Edwin Hubble discovers that the Universe is expanding. Market analysts predict that this will cause stock prices to rise continually for the rest of eternity. Stock Market crashes.

1932: Karl Guthe Jansky discovers radio waves from the center of the Milky Way, creating quite a stir in the astronomy field. Turns out that the noise was actually from a radio being played by his neighbor Edna Finklestein.

1967: John Wheeler coins the term “black hole”. Catholic priests burn him at the stake.

1974: Stephen Hawking calculates that black holes should thermally create and emit subatomic particles. The particles are subsequently named Hawking radiation. Later, while celebrating in a bar, he gets into a drunken brawl with the guy from My Left Foot.

1980: Initial broadcast of Carl Sagan’s television series Cosmos. He celebrates by parking in Stephen Hawking’s handicapped space.

1990: Hubble Space Telescope carried into orbit by a space shuttle. Initial attempts to collect data fail because they forgot to remove the lens cap.

2014: This book released, impressing no one.

2053: Ben Schwalb dies of aortic aneurysm. World celebrates.

2062: Halley’s Comet once again visible. Catholic priests fire nuclear missiles at it.

35,181: All technical support outsourced to the planet Nebulon.

589,832: Forensics experts determine that OJ was innocent after all. In another universe.

362,229,528,345: Weapons of mass destruction found. They were behind the couch the whole time.

100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000: The Big Standstill. The Universe stops expanding and starts contracting, causing all of history to run backwards. Investors buy five billion shares of AIG in anticipation of its eventual comeback.

199,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,876,399,997,993: Anna Nicole Smith comes back to life. World curses.

199,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,876,399,998,005: Monica Lewinsky’s dress finally clean.

200,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,013,700,000,000: Error 404: Universe not found.


Appendix

MY  THEORY  OF  THE  UNIVERSE

A boy asks his father, “What's the difference between theory and reality?” His father replies, “Ask your mother if she'd have sex with the mailman for a million dollars.” The boy goes to his mother and asks, “Mommy, would you have sex with the mailman for a million dollars?” His mother replies, “In a heartbeat.” The boy goes to his father and says, “Mommy said yes.” The father says, “Go ask your sister the same question.” The boy goes to his sister and asks, “Would you have sex with the mailman for a million dollars?” She replies, “Yes, definitely.” The boy goes to his father and says, “She said yes too.” The father says, “Go ask your brother the same question.” The boy goes to his older brother and asks, “Would you have sex with the mailman for a million dollars?” His brother replies, “I guess so.” The boy goes to his father and says, “He also said yes.” His father says, “You see, in theory we have three million dollars. In reality we’re living with two whores and a fag.”


A lot of people have concocted fantastic stories about how the Universe works and how and when it came to be. Every single one of these hypotheses – and by “hypotheses” I mean “fabrications” – is believed by many people. There is not a single idea that has made everyone who heard it say, “That’s the most enormous load of excrement that ever came out of any orifice, ever.” No matter how absurd the proposal, a certain percentage of people will believe it. This is how terrorist groups, politicians, televangelists and cult leaders recruit supporters. It’s how companies sell products. It’s the reason that people are in such a hurry to get married. An idea sounds good in a magical sort of way because people don’t stop and think about the mechanics of how this theory would actually work. They never even consider questions such as:

So, given that no matter what idea I put forth someone will believe it, the following is my theory about the Universe. I will keep it simple so your tiny little brain can understand it.

All matter and energy are composed of blerghum. Matter and energy are therefore the same thing; it is only different configurations of blerghum that make us perceive something as hot, cold, soft or solid. Blerghum can be combined or split, kind of like water. It can be split infinitely. In fact, space exploration is based on a split infinitive (“to boldly go where no man has gone before”).

Space is infinite. It is not composed of blerghum (although it contains blerghum) so infinity is possible. Meanwhile there is a fixed and finite amount of blerghum, so any time something grows, something else must shrink. For example, as your kids grow, your bank account shrinks.

Time is thought of by many as an event horizon stretching infinitely into the past and the future. This thought is wrong. The fact is that time does not exist. Time is a subjective perception that occurs only when our minds are not challenged or stimulated. For example, when you’re engrossed in work or having fun with friends, you do not notice time. This is why “time flies” in those sorts of situations. However, if you’re bored, “time drags”. This is why business meetings and worship services take so effing long.

Forces such as magnetism and gravity are also illusions. Blerghum moves according to Ben’s Universal Law of Location (BULL), and we only perceive this movement as magnetism or gravity. Everything happens as a result of BULL. When politicians promise to make your life better, that’s BULL. When advertisers tell you how great their products are, that’s BULL. BULL makes the world go ’round. If it weren’t for BULL, there’d be no religion, no politics, and no marriage.

At this point I’m sure you have a number of questions such as:

I will answer all of these questions, unless my keyboard suddenly malfunctions, but what’re the odds of that happejw%z4@k9