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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 21, 2007 / 7 Elul, 5767

Houston, we have an image problem

By Malcolm Fleschner


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Today most of us don't give much thought to the space shuttle - viewing it as just one of many multibillion-dollar government expenditures offering unknown benefits to the taxpayers. Yet not too long ago the space shuttle was widely considered one of NASA's most remarkable advances, rivaling in popularity other space age innovations like the zero gravity toilet and Tang.


I still recall in 1981 being corralled, along with my 7th grade classmates, into the school library to watch the live broadcast of the Shuttle Columbia's maiden launch. As the craft became airborne, a hush fell over the class, unbroken until my friend Sean Doherty, reflecting the majesty and wonder of the moment, audibly murmured, "Who gives a s**t?"


OK, so maybe not all of us were that captivated by the space shuttle. But can you blame us? After all, my generation came of age well after man had been to the moon. We'd witnessed the spectacle of the Millennium Falcon and X-wing fighters battling it out with Imperial Destroyers and the Death Star (the nerdier among us witnessed this spectacle dozens of times). Yet we were supposed to be impressed by a NASA space ship that looked like little more than an overfed DC-10?


The other problem is with the term "Space Shuttle," which misled many of us into believing that that make lengthy intergalactic travel would soon be a thing of the past.


Coworker #1: "So, what are you doing this weekend?"
Coworker #2: "Oh, Francine and I are heading out to Alpha Centauri."
Coworker #1: "Really? But isn't that a long trip?"
Coworker #2: "No, not at all, we're taking the shuttle."


Then again, who knows, maybe the shuttle does travel to the farthest reaches of the galaxy, picking up alien life forms and, in a bit of a role reversal, subjecting them to anal probes. Frankly, like most Americans, I have very little idea what the shuttle's mission usually is or what the astronauts are doing while they're up there.


As far as I can tell, a typical shuttle mission timeline goes roughly like this:


1. To much fanfare, a shuttle launch date is announced, and then immediately scrapped because of anticipated weather trouble at Cape Canaveral.


2. Despite NASA meteorologists' ongoing concerns about "patchy early morning clouds," the shuttle manages to achieve liftoff.


3. NASA officials announce that they've discovered a previously unknown structural problem with the shuttle such as faulty t


iles, defective heat shields or a "leaky oil pan." 4. The news media nervously report that the astronauts will attempt to repair the shuttle's exterior with an unplanned and potentially risky spacewalk. Luckily, the announcers add, this crew happens to include Virgil "Bondo" Bonderman, the first auto body repair shop employee to go into space.


5. Having successfully fixed whatever was wrong with the shuttle, the astronauts are cleared for reentry. However, out of fear of a cold front, a warm front or a "front that is basically room temperature" moving toward Florida, they are redirected to land at Edwards Air Force Base in California.


6. After receiving a heroes' welcome, the astronauts are dismayed to learn that they will be billed extra for dropping off the shuttle at a site different from the original rental location.


Of course, having witnessed what can happen when things really go wrong on a shuttle mission, Americans are always relieved to see the shuttle return in one piece. But NASA isn't looking to generate relief - they want to generate excitement; they want to generate enthusiasm; they want to generate more funding! And that means coming up with novel ways to capture the public's attention. Which explains the case of astronaut Lisa Nowak, who earlier this year famously drove non-stop from Houston to Orlando, possibly while wearing adult diapers, to confront and kidnap a romantic rival for a fellow astronaut's affections.


For most of us, this behavior was shocking -not the kind of thing you ever heard about from guys like John Glenn or Neil Armstrong. But this is the new space program. Where once NASA recruited astronauts who had "The Right Stuff," today the agency is cultivating more of a "stable of the unstable" - astronauts whose mastery of space travel is only exceeded by their ability to entertain the rest of us with their bizarre and erratic behavior here on earth.


So what does the future hold for the space agency? Having achieved great visibility with the love triangle story, NASA will no doubt roll out other soap opera-inspired plots. The public should anticipate soon hearing about astronauts suffering from amnesia, being kidnapped and replaced by an evil twin, returning from the dead and, this being NASA after all, becoming impregnated by a space alien.


At least with that last story line, no one would ever again wonder just what the astronauts are "doing" up there.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Malcolm Fleschner is a humor columnist for The DC Examiner. Let him know what you think by clicking here.


Previously:

08/21/07: In the heat of fashion
08/09/07: Let's get in the game
06/13/07: You gonna eat that?
05/08/07: That's disinter-tainment
05/02/07:You Are (not) Getting Sleepy...
04/18/07: No time like Father Time
03/15/07: Deface the Nation
03/08/07: More gifts? You shouldn't have
02/22/07: Relationships can be such a chore
12/05/06: Who's calling the shots?
11/09/06: I'm taking selling to a whole new level
10/27/06: Some skills are beyond repair
10/18/06: You can't tech it with you
10/04/06: Award to the wise
08/24/06: Phrased and Confused
08/09/06: We're Gonna Party Like it's $19.99
07/19/06: Just Singing in the Brain
05/24/06: Who says you can't go home again?
05/11/06: When nightly news stories go off script
04/26/06: Cents and sensibility: A thought for your pennies
03/16/06: The day the Muzak died
02/23/06: Checkbook diplomacy begins at home
02/15/06: Today's toys: Where learning means earning



© 2006, Malcolm Fleschner

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