* On the bus to downtown yesterday was a copy of the day's paper, with a big photo of an impact crater that's being investigated by the Mars rover Opportunity. Two guys got into an, um, "discussion" about Mars that almost immediately spun into a rant about how NASA and the government are "hiding" the "truth" about the "Mars Face," and how dare they look at an impact crater and not "show me what I want" (while starting to say that the actual photo wasn't of a real Mars crater, but was obviously computer-generated; yes, we're almost into Capricorn One territory now). This degenerated into a loud conspiracy discussion between these two guys bringing up the all-seeing eye on the dollar bill (oh, which also has the phrase "New World Order" in frickin' Pig Latin (you mean like "Ew-Nay Orld-Way Order-ay"?)), space-faring Egyptians, the gas (obviously from Iraqi oil) in our bus, and -- oh dear God I wish I was kidding -- how "they" (you, know, "they," the mysterious "they" who really run the world, haven't you heard the truth??!!! (aren't you kind of worried about The Club?)(oh I hope one of you gets that reference)) will wait for the world to go to hell and then leave in their flying saucers.
I got off the bus earlier than planned.
OK, bus idiots: first off, NASA did take another look at the "Mars Face." IT'S A MESA. I actually said, early in the talk when I somehow thought they'd listen, "They did. It's a hill with some cracks." AND IT IS. NASA photographed the "face" again in 1998 and 2001; hardly "hiding" the "truth" from us. But people like these guys will cheerfully ignore facts and reality (including the amazing science being done by the Mars probes) to believe in little green men and government conspiracies.
Dudes, Stargate's a fun movie, BUT IT'S NOT A FRACKIN' DOCUMENTARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
* One more annoyance downtown yesterday: a group was displaying a banner in front of Pioneer Courthouse. The banner depicted Jesus Christ walking through a cemetary. I only saw one tombstone reading "HERE LIES BUDDHA" before I averted my eyes. Yes, folks, every non-Jesus religion is wrong, wrong, wrong and will wither away and die, and you'd better get with the Jesus Program or you're screwed. Petty, petty, petty, and my issues with religion (or, I should say, the use of religion) aside, I'VE NEVER BELIEVED IN A RELIGION THAT'S PETTY. Pettiness is a small emotion, ill-fit for a big, amazing universe. I was raised by a Christian mom whose beliefs I admire, and even one of my favorite authors, Douglas Adams, who was atheist, once summed up the start of Christianity as "one man [who] had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change." I don't believe their beliefs are making them better people. I suspect Jesus would have a message for the banner people yesterday that the banner people wouldn't have liked hearing.