Clams to Mars

Try and answer this to your nine year old:

“Dad, we’ve been to the moon, right?” he asks. “Yeah, back when I was a little kid,” I tell him.

“So we’re going to Mars next, right?”

How do I explain that we’re sort of not?

We gave up doing big things, and I’m not sure I can correlate this directly but I think a huge part of it came from when we started to become afraid. The generation that actually went to the Moon were not. They’d faced down the Depression and fought World War Two. For them, death was much more commonplace, there were outbreaks and diseases that could kill you around every corner. Today we shit our pants about the fake-assedness that is Ebola in the United States while for them thousands of kids would die annually from Polio. Whole neighborhoods would be on lockdown. It was just part of life.

We brought a car up to the Moon because America, bitches.

We brought a car up to the Moon because America, bitches.

Somehow, the American sense of fearlessness eroded and we started being afraid of everything.  All the time. Maybe the Cold War, where we spent decades not actually fighting but just existentially in horror of a devastating total nuclear war did something to our psyches. Maybe it’s harder when the enemy isn’t wearing a uniform and driving a Tiger tank but is actually our own internal need to step past limitations. Maybe the pervasiveness of video news showing the reality of horror in full color makes us retreat.

So much of our public response to threat is nothing more than theatre designed to make people feel secure without providing any actual security. The entire TSA comes to mind. Now Ebola. When our actual leaders say we need to take drastic, stupid measures that trample on the one thing this country is supposed to be about (Liberty, by the way, for those of you who said “cheap gas and Big Gulps”) exceeding the recommendations of the consensus of accomplished doctors and scientists out of “an abundance of caution” I see the problem dead in the face.

An abundance of caution. Take “E pluribus unum” off the national seal and replace it with “Ex abundanti cautela”

Right after "Bomb Shelter Yoga"

Right after “Bunker Yoga”

It’s a risk to be alive. It’s a risk to say things you believe. It’s a risk to help someone when you’re worried about yourself. It’s a fucking risk to be awesome. That, apparently, is a risk fewer and fewer of us are willing to take. You can look foolish. People will try and cut you down. You will fail and one of the creampies you’re attempting to juggle will wind up on your face and you’ll be on Buzzfeed’s list of “Top Ten Epic Fails of All Time” and dear God who could stand that?

So we do nothing.

Going to the Moon was awesome. Like, crazy-fuck off-the-charts awesome. That the only people who have ever been there are all Americans, and that should tell you something. Now we talk about our next steps in space and people say, “We have problems to take care of at home…”

Did you ever notice these are the same people who don’t actually fucking want to fix problems at home?

Solving the problem of there not being rocket chairs

Solving the problem of there not being rocket chairs

“Ok! Problems at home!” I say. “Sweet! Lets build hyperfast trains! Let’s update the energy grid! Let’s convert to solar, create a real education system for all kids rather than fako bullshit like charter schools! Let’s build bridges and clean up the environment! Let’s run fiber optic cable to every home, create big innovation centers that support entrepreneurship and let’s start training for 21st century jobs not 19th century ones! End poverty and hunger! Stamp out disease worldwide! I’m down, let’s do this! ”

You will find the answer, every fucking time, from the “space is waste” crowd will be: “Um, no.”

Those who don’t want to tackle one challenge are the same people who don’t want face ANY challenges. Mitt Romney solved a massive problem in this state, MITT FUCKING ROMNEY and helped millions of people. He had to RUN AWAY from his health care program when he ran for president. The guy solved a problem and lost the election because of it. This is the situation we’re in. I would be the last person to call ole Mittens “awesome” but you have to give the guy credit, he got something done and a lot of people were better off afterwards. Apparently that’s not what anybody wants in a President. Obama went ahead and used this exact same program to solve  the exact same problem nationally and he too helped millions of people using the same system and he gets no credit for it.

Sure he used advanced calculations to fix the deficit and climate change, but did he bring back Crystal Pepsi?

Sure he used advanced calculations to fix the deficit and climate change, but did he bring back Crystal Pepsi?

Did the economy crash? No, it’s better now. Is medical care worse? No, it’s the same as before. Remember all the pants-shitting about “Obamacare”? Did I miss when the Zombies clawed out of their graves and started gnawing on the bones of the living, or is shit just marginally better now- and just the simple gain of “no exemptions for preexisting conditions” was not in place before, so take that into your calculations.

Both of these guys solved an actual problem and got nothing but shit for it. No, it was not clean. No, the solutions were not ideal. But someone explain to me how we’re going to solve the challenges of the 21st century when two leaders can’t even solve a tangible problem using smart policy and compromise but get no credit from the majority of Americans for it? What the fucking Hell happened to us?

How we get to Mars:

I should be humans drawing dicks in the Martian soil, not robots

It should be humans drawing dicks in the Martian soil, not robots

I’m going to dare everybody for the month of November: Do something awesome. I don’t care what the fuck it is, do something. Bake an awesome cake and leave it somewhere for people to eat. Fix up a vacant lot. Write a song and play it at the commuter rail station in Chelsea (“The Saddest of the Stops”). I don’t care what, but it can’t be any of that “pay for the coffee of the person behind you in line” crap because that is not awesome, that is just stupid. I’m talking about making an instrument yourself out of scraps of wood and metal and posting a video of yourself playing it, or having an Ultimate Frisbee tournament at night in a rainstorm.

We get to Mars not by position papers and underfunded projects, but by one small act of awesome at a time. So every act in November we will call “My Step To Mars.” Most of you are doing awesome stuff anyway. Let’s hear about it.

A seventh grader sent this to space

A seventh grader sent this to space


Take us to Mars.



Nation’s Pants Shitters Gather in Washington to Strategize, Fudge Slacks

The up-and-coming Pants Shitting Party met at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the nation’s Capital this week to devise strategy around key issues facing trou-crapping voters.

Gonna wanna have these steam cleaned

Gonna wanna have these steam cleaned

Heading up the docket were Ebola, immigration, ISIS and the report from a highly reliable cousin of a customs officer that ISIS agents agents are smuggling Ebola-carrying immigrants over our borders. Besides these hot topics the over 2,000 attendees from around the country also sat in on seminars to hear speakers freak their motherfucking shit out over bullshit like GMOs, vaccines and teens getting hooked on ‘Krokodil.’

Stacy McGee who had driven 18 hours from Benton Minnesota in order to avoid airplanes where she fears sitting next to someone with the deadly hemorrhagic Ebola virus which has here at home thus far infected two health care workers in Texas out of 316 million total Americans. She says at the conference she’s found some terrific new ways to be irrationally terrified by absurdly remote, essentially non-threatening or entirely fabricated dangers.

Pants-shiitting or just a shart in the shorts? A panel debates.

Pants-shiitting or just a shart in the shorts? A panel debates.

She explained how she’d found her way to this growing movement:

“I was raised in a solidly Democratic household where we’d regularly drop a bomb in our hiphuggers over this or that. But as I got older I found myself more and more identifying with the specific elements of the Republican platform that made me scream at family members about the existential peril supposedly posed by gay marriage and Fox News fabrications like the ‘Knock-Out-Game.’ But even then I felt some party leaders like Mitt Romney weren’t fully pandering to my deeply unreasonable concerns. One day I heard Pants Shitting Party founder Newt Gingrich describe as real and probable a wholly concocted figment of his imagination regarding Iran disabling the entire United States with something called an electromagnetic pulse bomb. Since that day I’ve been a full-on Pants Shitter in mind and soul. It’s been so liberating to find an ideology that only requires me to become inconsolably terrified and then lash out without ever having to worry about solving real but boring challenges like our crumbling infrastructure or ballooning student debt.”

Pants Shitting Leaders say trajectories like McGee’s are common as the almost exclusively white, downwardly mobile, formerly middle-class membership flail impotently at dealing with the all-too-real perils of a complicated world.

“It’s much easier to blame brown people or convince yourself medical professionals are lying for some reason than to actually demand change from cultural monoliths like the financial industry,” said Pants Shitting Party Chairman Bud Radcliffe. “To do so would be mean seeking impartial information sources, demanding accountability from institutions that hold the public trust and other hard things. There is also the massive inconvenience of developing appropriately scaled responses, modifying damaging behaviors and realizing there is no such thing as a risk or harm-free life. No thank you!”

“We Pants Shitters have simply come to grips with the fact that it’s simpler to glance uncritically at something on the Internet, crap your khakis, and then generate enough hysterical online activity to cause any rational person to beg for the sun to go nova in order to burn  the stupid off our planet in a massive purifying barrage of powerful gamma radiation. We think of ourselves as pragmatists.”

Radcliffe pointed to his his lapel pin featuring the Pant’s Shitting Party logo, a keyboard caps lock button with the green light lit. “Caps Lock or Get the Fuck Off! Also: Benghaaaazi!” he shouted to cheers from around the crowded conference hall.

Media outlets have been quick to cater to this expanding demographic. No end of television segments, blog posts, social media engagements and a near epoch of talk radio time has been dedicated to help Pants Shitters take the massive drawer-dumps for which they’re known.

Attendees walk the floor between Docker Dookies.

Attendees walk the floor between Docker Dookies.

“We used to mostly cater to bullshit addicts,” said CNN Senior Executive and conference presenter Jordan Walsh. “But there are only so many royal weddings and disappearing planes, know what I mean? With Pants Shitters we can cram weeks worth of airtime full of vapid speculation and hearsay without fear of the audience getting bored and changing the channel. They’re like rats in a food pellet experiment. Better, even.”

Kiosks around the hall offered a variety products for committed Pants Shitters. At one sat sixty five year old former industrial arts teacher Gregg Gains of Shreveport Alabama, who cheerfully reports he’s been deucing in his relaxed-fit Levis since the attempted introduction of the metric system in the mid 1970’s. Arrayed on the folding table front of him were souvenirs tracing the entire history of the Pants Shitting movement from axes with “Anti Saloon League” burned into the handles to Y2K-themed hats and shirts. Anti-fluoridation souvenirs were his most resilient product line, with 60’s-era anti-communist “fluoride information” pamphlets selling as briskly as “NO!” buttons shaped like teeth, popular with activists who pooed in their skinny jeans all over Portland Oregon just this past summer.

Why do you think they called him "Goldwater"?

Why do you think they called him “Goldwater”?

Experts note that as the challenges facing our nation and even species demand a level of heightened consideration and subtly beyond what a significant portion of the electorate is willing to commit, we should expect Pants Shitting to offer an ever-more attractive alternative to constructive attempts at problem solving for the indefinite future.

This observation was borne out by this years schedule of events, which had originally included a truly chino-packing presentation from leading climate researchers. Conference organizers, however, elected not to allow it in a last-minute vote. From a prepared statement a spokesman revealed global climate change was not in the realm of Pants Shitters’ typical concerns and was at best something for their constituents to mire themselves in via a cockamamie blend of denialism and absurd, hastily-concocted conspiracy theories.

“That climate shit has real-live scientists soiling themselves all over the fucking planet,” the statement read. “It’s way out of our league.”