In 1917, on Mt. Wilson, in California, a 100-inch reflecting telescope was built which increased the magnification of celestial objects by twenty times that of any previous optical device. I'm sure you can imagine the scientific leap such an instrument represented. Not only did it serve to clarify the heavens, but it helped all humankind to bring into better focus its own place in the universe. Later, in 1948, on Mt. Palomar, also in California, astronomy made another enormous advance with the construction of the Hale Observatory which housed a 200-inch telescope. With the mirror alone weighing in at 13 metric tons, certainly no one could doubt the tremendous boon this was not only to astronomy but to the disciplines of architecture, metallurgy, and engineering. Now, as impossible as it may seem, if there were some way to actually place the Mt. Wilson telescope inside the Mt. Palomar telescope, you still would not be able to see my interest in journal awards.
The Oscars™, however, are another matter. There is something intrinsically odd about taking make-believe so seriously, and that alone is enough to pique my curiosity, but the main reason for the interest is that box office receipts, because of Viv's job, translate directly to income for my family. So I play, and play hard. When my people don't win I curse the Academy, wishing an everlasting itchy rash on those who cannot see Obvious Truth and Beauty. When my people win I exhale in relief at how far Hollywood has come.
The popularity contest that is the most crucial to me, however, is the California Primary today. I'm just about to slip out of my pj bottoms and into my Super Tuesday best to cast my ballot at the church down the street. Oooh, here, feel my palms.
Usually Viv, Amy, and I go down to the polling place together, but I'm going solo this afternoon. Viv flew off this morning to spend a few days in Paris, well, okay, Paris the hotel in Las Vegas, where she's attending ShoWest, a big movie gangbang, and this leaves me once again a freewheeling bachelor boy, father, cook, butler, tutor, chauffeur. So rather than having Amy on my hip as I turn the rascals out, I'm doing it while she's in school. Besides, there's a bunch of stuff on the schedule and it's easier this way blah blah blah. I know including children in the thrills of the electoral process helps build strong bodies 12 ways, but today, nah, I'll just do it alone and save myself the trouble of having to supervise a wee one.
(insert voting music here)
Okay, I'm back from the polls, all goosepimply. With my tiny punch-outs I have saved the schools, cleaned the waters, and torn marriage asunder. You're welcome.
I must tell you that the first paragraph up there about telescopes is a paraphrasing of an anecdote belonging to George S. Kaufman. I've heard it in various forms in various places, but the credit for its origin belongs to him. Dang, he was good.
"There's No Business Like Show Business" -- Ethel Merman -- MUSIC FROM THE MOTION PICTURE LITTLE VOICE
self-approving hour whole years outweighs
- Alexander Pope