August 24, 2006

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"Demoted on a Celestial Scale" c. Ryan Rhodes, Aug. 24, 2006

In case you missed the news last week, Pluto is no longer considered a planet. That's right, that little period at the end of our solar system is gone, relegated to "large floating rock" status. Our solar system is now the equivalent of a run-on sentence, babbling on into the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud and on into the infinity that is the universe.

"Oh, Ryan," you say. "You're exaggerating."

No I'm not, I say! I grew up believing in Pluto. I'm a card-carrying Pluto-crat! I was educated to learn the mnemonic device that explained our solar system in such a way that we would never forget it. Namely, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto were taught to me as "My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles."

Now, this little mnemonic device took me awhile to wrap my head around. I wasn't accustomed to thinking in such abstract ways. I just kind of sat there at my desk, trying to imagine my mother, on her 12th cup of coffee, hurriedly dealing out pickles to me and my nine friends during my birthday party. Why pickles, Mom? We're hungry! We need more than a pickle diet! This is the worst birthday party ever! And why are you so eager? You want my birthday to be over, don't you? You want my friends to leave! You want my friends to tell all my other classmates about my weird pickle-packing mother and my terrible birthday parties so I'll be unpopular and made fun of. Don't you?! Don't you?!

At that point, the teacher told me to pay attention and I realized we were talking about the planets in our solar system. After about a month or so, I eventually caught on to the little memory game and the solar system was, from then on, a cocaine-addled matriarch anxiously feeding a hungry throng with nine vinegar-soaked cucumbers. Who says the American educational system is in need of an overhaul?

I kid, of course, but that doesn't diminish the insult leveled at poor little Pluto. After all, having been considered a planet since the 1930s, it had accumulated a certain level of street credibility with the other planets. Jupiter was even inviting Pluto to some of the more upper crust social functions, and Saturn was considering donating one of its rings to make Pluto look a little more presentable. All and all, things were looking up for Pluto.

Then the International Astronomical Union had to step in last week and treat Pluto like a baby treats a diaper. Not only did they go and strip Pluto of its coveted planet status, they had the audacity to go and label our solar system's afterthought a "dwarf planet." A DWARF PLANET! My very eager mother did NOT serve us nine dwarf planets! I will have none of this demeaning treatment of poor Pluto. First, it's stripped of its planet status; now it's practically being deemed handicapped; all because some uppity-up body of international know-it-alls couldn't resist being prejudiced on a planetary scale.

I mean, how depressing is this? Pluto was once a proud member of the "Gang of Nine," as the planets liked to refer to themselves. It had status, prestige and enough power to accrue three of its very own moons. Oh, sure, it wasn't the Jupiter "Donald Trump" of the solar system, and it doesn't have all the methane gas found around Uranus (What? You knew I couldn't resist!), but Pluto had its own charm and influence. Now, it's just the dwarf planet at the tail end of our mighty solar system. All the other planets are now shunning Pluto. They've reformed their clique into the "Gang of Eight," leaving poor little Pluto to its mournfully cold fate, destined to swing sadly along its Neptune-intersecting orbit into infinity.

The worst part about all this is that a new mnemonic device has to be invented to adjust to the new Pluto-less solar system. It's a challenge, but I'll take a stab at it:

Most Veterans Entering Medieval Jousts Suffer Unbearable Nervousness.

Eh, it's okay, but it really needs a pickle.

Posted by Ryan at August 24, 2006 08:38 PM | TrackBack


Posted by: Kimberly at August 25, 2006 05:44 AM

BushCo did not have a celestial plan and now we've LOST A PLANET!

Damn you McChimpy!


Posted by: Rob@L&R at August 25, 2006 08:49 AM


Posted by: Ryan at August 25, 2006 09:12 AM

Most Vegas Eateries Make Jumbo Shrimp Until Noon

Posted by: DG at August 25, 2006 09:12 AM

Oooh, nice one DG! You visit Vegas recently?

Posted by: Ryan at August 25, 2006 09:54 AM

I actually did go to Vegas last year, which was fun. But I generally don't eat seafood, and I have a pretty strict policy of not eating it in any place that isn't actually, you know, near the sea.

Posted by: DG at August 25, 2006 10:15 AM
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