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Friday, October 5, 2012

Message from the Stars

File:Stephen Hawking.StarChild.jpg
(Image of Stephen Hawking:  NASA)

I love astronomy.  Some of you (whomever you are ... I realize no one is probably ever going to read this, but I like to delude myself into believing that I have a mass readership) are probably wondering why you should give a fuck that I love astronomy.  Well, fuck you, you insouciant or downright callous readers (is it any wonder, really, that I don't have a mass readership when I am always so insistent upon insulting my non-existent mass readership?)

In any case, I developed an interest in astronomy unknowingly when I was a small child.  I would sit in a swing at a local park and stare directly into the sun, trying to visually resolve the star so that I could see the gigantic flames billowing across its impossibly bright sphere.  Don't do this.  It's terribly bad for your vision, which I was told only long after I had been doing this inadvisable activity for some time.  Also, you can't see any flames billowing across the sun's surface just by squinting at it, no matter how long you do it.

I never had a telescope as a child and was never encouraged by anyone during my lifetime that one was necessary.  Recently, a few years ago, I had the opportunity to purchase a telescope.  Since then, I developed my interest further, expanding it into an interest into astrophotography.  I have photographed star fields, planets, the Moon, the moons of Saturn and Jupiter, Saturn and Jupiter themselves, nebulae, and galaxies.  When you look at your first photograph you've taken of a galaxy, it is an experience almost incomparable in value.  (Look, sure, it's not necessarily as good as the first time you orgasmed into your fist, but I'm trying to keep this "Doomed Stuffing" blog entry uncharacteristically classy for once ... and undoubtedly failing miserably at doing so).

If you have a young son or daughter, try to interest them in this hobby before they're too old and get their minds taken away by the less-than-illuminating ventures of playing video games and smoking crack cocaine.  I have nothing against playing video games (I play them myself) or smoking crack cocaine (I just smoked a big rock myself, and I can tell you that my dealer totally fucked me over with too much baking soda ... that miserable comet-watching motherfucker!)  If you get your kid a decent telescope (they're cheaper than you think, if you read up on the free internet advice in "Sky and Telescope" magazine or "Astronomy" or on many other websites), and get him or her several amateur astronomy books (the best is "The Backyard Astronomer's Guide," and a sky atlas -- my favorite is probably "The National Audobon Society's Field Guide to the Night Sky" -- you could potentially be raising another Einstein or a Stephen Hawking, hopefully without the ALS, instead of raising just another hick who will grow up to kill a convenience store clerk while trying to rob the store for its cigarettes.

America has an enormous, almost incalculable number of stupid people.  Try to raise a smart one.

by Richard Reynolds, AKA "Mr. Doomed Stuffing"

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