A catchy NASA acronym could lead to restrooms on Mars

(It’s my turn over at Long Awkward Pause today, where I was asked to give an update on NASA’s space program for 2015. What I discovered may shock you. Particularly if you’re reading this while wearing a wool sweater and corduroy pants…)

image When NASA director Dr. Charles F. Bolden Jr. said that this year’s mission selection process was the most difficult session in more than two decades, it got me thinking:

I wonder how Barbara Eden is doing?

After a quick Google search found her alive and well, a second thought crossed my mind:

What is the criteria for giving a space mission the green light nowadays, especially in this era of cutbacks? And, perhaps more importantly, how do they manage to come up with such cool acronyms for each one?

After calling the NASA hotline and engaging its new automated information system known as Orbital News History and Official Lunar Development (ONHOLD), I eventually spoke with an actual Programs Education and Research Specialist Operator for Newspapers (PERSON).

It was during this conversation that I discovered the frightening truth. For many years NASA utilized a two-step process in determining its mission programs. This process involved having someone from the automobile industry submit the name of a new sport utility vehicle — Voyager, Odyssey, Explorer, Pathfinder, Contour — then force NASA scientists and astrophysicists to design a mission to go along with it. (Continue reading…)

Male aversion to holiday shopping linked to survival instinct

(Today, I’m at bat over at Long Awkward Pause! Mostly because Chris really hates it when we play baseball in the office…)

Most men won't admit to being afraid of female holiday shoppers

Many men won’t admit to being afraid of female holiday shoppers. The others are still alive.

It’s an American tradition: Kicking off the holiday shopping season by spending the morning after Thanksgiving standing in line at your favorite department store, shivering in the pre-dawn hours, determined to be among the first to get through the doors before your holiday dinner bowel movement hits. It’s a calculated risk, but one we are willing to take in order to make our loved ones’ holiday dreams come true, even if it means wearing Depends Undergarments and knocking fellow shoppers unconscious with a Spongebob Squarepants beach chair.

Admittedly, the last time I participated in the madness of holiday shopping was several years ago as an observer, which is a little like trying to be an “observer” while standing in a mosh pit. One minute I was leaning on a rack of scarves; the next minute I was being used as a battering ram by two large women trying to knock over an electric cart that was blocking the video game aisle.

The women’s names were “Marge” and “Judy.” I know this because, each time before swinging me head first, I would hear the following exchange:

“Ready, Marge!”
“You bet your sweet ASS, Judy!”

After three tries the cart was cleared and I was tossed — discarded, really — onto a table of wool sweaters, where I remained in a fetal position until the three-hour sale ended… (Read more at LAP!)

Six examples of why Steve Buscemi isn’t a Disney princess

It’s my first post-surgery post! It’s also Saturday! That means instead of being with hospital staff I’m back with the staff at Long Awkward Pause for this week’s Saturday Six. Imagine my surprise when I showed up to find everyone wearing hospital gowns! Next, imagine how surprised Chris was when he realized his was on backwards! But hey, it’s the thought that counts — and you can count on me never thinking about what I saw ever again. Speaking of weird… this week’s subject is Steve Buscemi’s eyes, and what if they were put on Disney princesses?

For example:

1. Elsa In Fargo


Omawarisan: I have no idea what Frozen is about. I think you’re supposed to let something go, but that’s about it. Buscemi was great in Fargo, and then he was in the woodchipper.

BrainRants: I want to say, “For the love of god, not another ‘Frozen’ meme,” but this is an improvement.

The Hedonist:  I know your eyes are “up here” but can I just continue looking at your boobs?

Ned: I believe this is actually Elsa’s stunt double.

(What about Pocahontas? Ariel? Snow White? Yeah, it gets weirder. To see just HOW weird, join me for five more examples of Steve Buscemi eyes over at LAP by clicking HERE…)

Symmetrics that will give you a Long Awkward Pause

It’s Saturday, which means I’m over at Long Awkward Pause commenting on this week’s collection of strange, awkward or just plain weird images known as Chris DeVoss’s family photo album The Saturday Six! This week’s subject: SYMMETRY (I used all caps just to keep everything lined up nicely…)


 BrainRants: Rum and coke! Somebody’s getting naked later, and it’s not you.

Omawarisan – Is the laptop plugged in to the glass? Symmetrical ice cubes produce cold fusion.

Ned: Given the graph paper and these ice cubes, I’d say SOMEONE has an unhealthy obsession with squares. Let me guess what was for breakfast… WAFFLES maybe?!?

List of X: Is that what they call “checking in on Foursquare”?

(Do you find symmetry strangely arousing? Then straighten those pencils and meet me for more over at LAP clicking HERE..!)

SPECIAL REPORT: Ebola virus may spread faster than Brad-Angelina sex tape

image To avoid creating widespread panic with that headline, let me begin by assuring everyone there’s NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT! You did not somehow miss a Brad and Angelina sex tape that was leaked onto the Internet. However, before giving a huge sigh of relief, there’s still that whole Ebola thing going on in Texas which, as I mentioned yesterday after finding a Ronald McDonald filtration mask wedged between my Sausage McMuffin and hash brown, prompted Long Awkward Pause to fly me to Dallas for a special report on the Ebola virus threat. For those who were following this story yesterday, you’ll be happy to know I ditched the monkey. Somewhere over New Mexico I think.

For the full report, join me at LAP by CLICKING HERE

Daily Life facts worth a Long Awkward Pause

As with each Saturday, I’ve made the long drive from my home in Oregon to the office of Long Awkward Pause at an undisclosed location. In fact, they won’t even tell ME where it’s at, which means I’ll keep driving until I eventually become desperate enough to ask a gas station attendant once I reach Omaha, Neb. In the meantime — and before I run out of gas — here’s this week’s Saturday Six!

1. The Toothpaste Conundrum


BrainRants: Sooo… stop brushing.  Problem solved.  You also stop wasting money on buying dinners and drinks in the distant hope of getting lucky.

Omawarisan – Pretty similar to my gas tank. 100 miles from the first 1/4 tank. 100 miles from the second 1/4. 100 miles from the last 1/2.

Ned: That’s because each of my kids immediately squeezes the tube in the middle as hard as they can the moment they open it, then move on to another tube like locust. I’m the only one using the last 10 percent for the next four months.

(To brush up on more Daily Life Facts, join me over at Long Awkward Pause by taking This Exit…)

Group Halloween costumes worth a Long Awkward Pause

My Saturday mornings always start the same way: Wake up, kiss my wife and, 45 minutes later *ahem*, realize I’m late to the office at Long Awkward Pause for The Saturday Six! Where does the time go?!? And why does it take me 44 minutes to get ready after naughty time? Anyway, I’m here now and chiming in with the rest of the staff on this week’s collection of six images. Today’s theme? Group Halloween costumes that will give you a Long Awkward Pause…

1. Human Beer Pong


List of X: The woman on the right suddenly realized that her cup is filled with ice.

Omawarisan: I can’t think of anything. It’s just that I can’t get past how that works out at a urinal.

Calahan: Moments later, the red cups ran into a group of tobacco-spitting rednecks. Things got ugly. And drippy.

Ned: I’ll bet $100 every one of them will be leaving the party solo…

(Thirsty for more? Drink up over at Long Awkward Pause by clicking HERE!)

Kids coloring books that will give you a Long Awkward Pause

Knock! Knock!
Who’s there?
Not me! That’s because I’m with the rest of the staff over at Long Awkward Pause for this week’s Saturday Six — which is when each of us comments on six strange but loosely related things. Sort of like the Brady kids. This week’s subject? Corrupted coloring books…

1. Fire Ant?


Omawarisan: Dermatologists recommend a wide brimmed hat and sunscreen that is at least SPF 35.

List of X: I still have no idea what color is Burnt Umber, but at least now I know what color Burned Ant is.

BrainRants: Perfectly illustrates the twisted relationship between ants and magnifying glasses. A+

Ned: Maybe next time he’ll have the decency to wear some clothes and hide that third antenna.

(Trust me, it gets weirder. So bring your Crayons and meet me for more at Long Awkward Pause…)

Passive/aggressive problem solving worth a Long Awkward Pause

It’s Saturday! And as if that wasn’t enough good news, I’m with the rest of the staff over at Long Awkward Pause commenting on the Saturday Six — a weekly collection of six awkward but loosely related images that will leave you scratching your head. Unless you’re a guy, in which case you’ll probably be scratching your… uh… belly. This week’s S6 theme is those helpful passive/aggressive notes that say one thing but mean something else entirely. Think of it as kicking off the political campaign season! Here’s our first example:

1. It’s All About The Bass

 BrainRants: Code for, ‘I have to get up sometime tomorrow, so if you think that’s important, you’ll go downstairs and risk your life over this problem.‘  Passive aggressive b***h.

Omawarisan: This situation calls for fighting fire with fire, not a note. If stereo guy is coming in at three, he’s probably really sleeping well about 6:30-7. Rise up, don’t hide!

singlegirlie: Sounds like someone’s looking for treble.

Calahan: At one time, this is a note I would have left. Now that I’m a little older (and, yes, wiser) I know that the best remind myself that we Americans are free to do as we please, listen to whatever music we choose, keep what hours we want. Then, I slash the guy’s tires when I know he’s sleeping. *POP* *HISSSssssss….*

Ned: I think instead of a note, which seems childish, I would’ve taken a more mature approach by rallying my neighbors to all have excruciatingly loud monkey sex every time he closes the door to his apartment.

(Too passive? Overly aggressive? Just right if you happen to be a serial killer? We’ve got more examples over at LAP!)

It’s official: Everyone wants to be cool

(What am I doing posting on a Thursday? It’s my turn over at Long Awkward Pause and the excitement is tangible! Or maybe it’s just arrhythmia…)

George Clooney supports the "Speak Up: Save the Mimes" project and SO DO I!

George Clooney supports the “Speak Up: Save the Mimes” project and SO DO I!

A recent poll conducted by the staff at Long Awkward Pause suggests that a whopping 95 percent of Americans (living within a one-block radius of LAP headquarters) either want to be — or already consider themselves to be — really cool. And not just because of their proximity to our office. I should point out that the other five percent are moving somewhere else because they are “tired of being asked stupid questions.”

Still, unless you’re a government contractor, the numbers don’t lie. And based on the results of this small but accurate representation of America, it’s clear everyone wants to be cool. In today’s social-media driven world, that means keeping up with and joining the latest causes trending on Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler Pinterest, MySpace, posted in laundromats, etc.

Hey, anything that raises awareness on important issues is a good thing! Everyone agrees on that! (At least everyone within a one-block radius). The problem is that the coolness-by-association factor that comes with supporting an issue is becoming more important than the issue itself. Especially when there’s a celebrity involved… (Read more by joining me at LAP!)