Neil DeGrasse Tyson Is Kind Of An Ass

I love astrophysics.  I understand very little of it, but I do indeed love it.  Neil DeGrasse Tyson seems to be the de facto celebrity on all matters that come to astrophysics — and it’s well deserved.

He has a BA from Harvard, an MA from Texas, and a PhD from Columbia.  I’ve seen him interviewed by Stephen Colbert and seen him debate a myriad of folks on Real Time with Bill Maher.  I’ve read his multiple Reddit AMAs (consistently voted “Best Of” by Redditors everywhere), and on occasion have listened to his podcast, aptly titled “StarTalk Radio.”  I’ve watched his The Most Astonishing Fact video about a billion times, and each time I get chills and have no choice but to contemplate the meaning of life.

Unfortunately, Neil is an active member on Twitter.  And with each and every tweet, I can only think one thing:

Neil DeGrasse Tyson is kind of an ass.

This was exemplified perfectly this past weekend with Neil’s critique of the new film Gravity.  Here are a select few tweets to give you the general picture: 

The film #Gravity should be renamed “Zero Gravity”

Mysteries of #Gravity: Why Bullock’s hair, in otherwise convincing zero-G scenes, did not float freely on her head.

Mysteries of #Gravity: How Hubble (350mi up) ISS (230mi up) & a Chinese Space Station are all in sight lines of one another.

Mysteries of #Gravity: Nearly all satellites orbit Earth west to east yet all satellite debris portrayed orbited east to west.

Mysteries of #Gravity: Why we enjoy a SciFi film set in make-believe space more than we enjoy actual people set in real space.

Now, minus the obvious opinion tweets, everything he said is true–at least, I assume it’s true (I generally conclude that anyone with Harvard, Texas, and Columbia on the resume knows what he’s talking about).  But that doesn’t hide the fact that those tweets are soaked in a bath of dickishness.

Remember when you were little kid, and you’d get in trouble for hitting your sister?  And your parents would say, “You’re not allowed to touch your sister.”  So you’d wave your hands about an inch from her face and repeat several times, “I’m not touching you.  I’m not touching you.  Nananananananananana,” and then she’d go crying to your parents?  Well, that’s what Neil was essentially doing there, and this is me crying to my parents.

Neil, we get it.  You’re a genius.  The knowledge of the cosmos that you have in the tip of your pinky is more than than I’ll ever know.  But please, just let us mere mortals enjoy our scientifically incorrect works of fiction.  I can’t help but think of what The Dude says in The Big Lebowski:  “Walter, you’re not wrong, you’re just an asshole.”

Bad Advice from Steve Jobs

**Mooned by Monday is a recap of news stories from last week that may have missed mainstream coverage.**

Ballmer Leaves Microsoft; Swears He Took Drugs

In a move that’s about six years too late, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is leaving the company.  While it’s not been announced whether Ballmer is resigning on his own accord or has been forced out, the lack of positive production during his tenure cannot be ignored.  However, Ballmer swears that he took extreme measures in attempting to create innovative products.  “That Steve Jobs was full of shit,” the lame-duck executive proclaimed in a statement.  “‘Drop acid,’ he said. ‘It will open your mind,’ he said.  You know what happened when I took hallucinogenics?  Vista, that’s what happened.  Had to create the Zune just to get the bad taste out of my mouth.  Thanks a lot, Steve.”  Elsewhere, Apple CEO Tim Cook added a new room onto his home, to have a place where he can store various stacks of money when the new iPhone is released in about a month’s time.

New York Jets QBs Now Just Screwing With Us

Geno Smith threw three interceptions in the first half, Mark Sanchez injuries his shoulder in the 4th quarter (on a play that Coach Rex Ryan ironically dubbed Sanchez’s best of the preseason, no less), and now it has to be obvious to everyone that the New York Jets are just playing a huge prank on the American football-watching public.  “It’s hard to fathom any other scenario,” said an NFL analyst who wishes to remain anonymous out of fear of Rex Ryan coming to massage his feet.  “There’s no way that an NFL team could invest multiple millions of dollars into these players, only to produce two straight seasons of this under center.  Something is fishy in East Rutherford, and it’s not just Rex’s tattoos.”

After 10 Years Of Employment, Man Still Doesn’t Understand 401k

Despite witnessing portions of his paycheck being taken out for no apparent reason, a veteran of a mid-size company admits he has no idea what a 401k is.  “I’m told that I’ll get this money back someday, but who the hell really knows?  You know what I do know, though?  I’d like to have a new TV, that’s what I know.”  After his yearly, two-hour session explaining the in’s and out’s of the defined contribution pension plan, the man responded “So it’s called 401k because you’re going to give me $401,000, right?”  He was then offered him some complimentary cupcakes–which he readily accepted–and was thanked him for his time.

Spiritual Experiences at Starbucks

The other day I was sitting at Starbucks, enjoying a nice cup of coffee, when all of a sudden this young kid–couldn’t have been more than fifteen years old–came and sat directly across from me. He stared deeply into my eyes, as if trying to take a peak at my soul. I sat in silence, looking directly back at him. I felt the urge to ask him a question, but I wasn’t sure what that question was. Finally, he took a sip of his coffee, and began to speak:

“This is not a physical universe,” the fifteen year old said. “There are no solids, no liquids, no gases. Only energy. Our interactions with those around us are nothing more than molecules bouncing around without order. But that’s not to say there can’t be order. With just a little bit of work, you can control these molecules, and harness that energy to build your life however you see fit.”

This fifteen-year-old kid took another sip of his coffee and continued. “Align your thoughts with what you desire, and watch as this realm begins to shift in your favor.” And with that, this fifteen-year-old kid calmly stood up, grabbed his coffee, and headed for the door.

It took me a second to regain my composure, for what I had just witnessed was other-worldly. I closed my eyes, took a few deep breaths, and finally realized the question that had been bugging me from the moment he sat down. And such a great, powerful question it was. I had to know the answer, or else how could I continue my life’s journey?

I looked. He was mere inches from the exit. Time was running out. I quickly jumped to my feet and shouted at him, “Who the hell drinks coffee when they’re fifteen?!” That kid’s an idiot.

Congressional Lessons in Geography

**Mooned by Monday is a recap of news stories from last week that may have missed mainstream coverage.**

Congress Has Trouble Locating Egypt On Map

With the tensions in Egypt running high, members of the United States Congress wanted to figure out the best course of action.  However, due to reasons beyond their control, the legislative branch had difficulty determining which squiggly-looking recatangular-maybe-a-triangle thing was actually Egypt.  Acting quickly–as they always do–a subcommittee was formed with the intention of discovering a new map that would better be fit for the IQ levels of the members.  “We’ve looking at some various options,” said Speaker John Boehner, “but unfortunately, there is always a lot of bureaucracy that goes into these things.  We hope to have located the country by the end of 2014.”

Ryan Dempster To Be Elected President Of MLB Players Association

The crowd cheered, Twitter exploded, and now Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster is well on his way to becoming MLB Players Association President.  After throwing pitch after pitch directly at Yankees 3rd baseman Alex Rodriguez, Dempster finally connected with one.  The response has been a bit overwhelming, as players from around the league are already planning on voting him President, whether he likes it or not.  “Baseball has been waiting for a hero like this to come around,” said teammate David Ortiz.  We reached out to Rodriguez for comment, but he was crying in the shower, wiping his tears away with $100 bills.

Damn the Definition to Hell!

George Carlin is the 3rd greatest comedian of all time, right behind Dave Chappelle and Richard Pryor. His early years gave us some of the funniest jokes and observations about our society, including the famous “Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television.” As he got older, he turned into quite the curmudgeon and his acts mainly consisted of him complaining about how awful everything was. Of course, the audience would laugh and critics would praise, because once you receive the genius tag, it takes a lot to have it revoked.

But in his mindless ranting towards the end of his life, Carlin did have one line that is truer than any before. A line so profound that Aristotle, John Locke, and Confucius would weep in joyous revelation if they were to hear it. That line, of course, was:

People are f@!#ing dumb.

George shared this wisdom with us in 2005, but it was more of a prophecy than observation. Because I can comfortably say that now, in 2013, we have achieved a level of stupidity that was previously unimaginable.

By chance, have you happened to look up the definition of the word “literally” lately? You haven’t? Well then, let me educate you:

Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 9.10.42 PM

Look at the second definition listed.  It literally says that “literally” means “not literally.”  I feel as though this bears repeating:  in today’s world, the word literally no longer means literally.  Now, I’ve never tripped balls on mushrooms before, but I’m beginning to wonder what kind of weird, through-the-looking-glass realm am I living in.  We, as a society, used and abused this poor word in the wrong context until we literally changed its meaning. We Ludovico’d it until it could no longer stand on its own. It gave up, and submitted to our demands.

But where does this madness end?  If we’re not careful, we’ll end up with this:  up is down, left is right, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!

Now, wait a second.  Let’s think about what’s really happening here:  We, as a society, have changed the definition of a word.  Not only that, we changed it to literally mean the opposite of what it’s supposed to mean.  That’s incredible!  I’m so proud to have been a resident of this fantastic planet during a time of such powerful change.  Sorry, George, we aren’t f@!#ing dumb; we’re f@!#ing brilliant! Can you imagine what we could accomplish if we all put our minds together in similar fashion on other issues?  I bet we could send someone to the moon!  And if we could, I would volunteer Chris Traeger, who has literally been our “literally leader” since the beginning.  Literally.

Breaking Bad: Worst Finale Ever?

With Breaking Bad now in the final throes of its amazing run, we have to wonder what approach they will take for the series finale.  There’s been several television shows throughout history that people have considered “the best,” and Breaking Bad seems to be the most recent show gunning for that title.  So let’s take a look at how some of those other shows ended and how Vince Gilligan and crew could potentially follow suit.

They could do it the style of The Sopranos, where Walter is sitting with his family and the screen just fades to black.  This will lead to several years of fans discussing the symbolism and if Walter was killed right after, when really the writers just said, “There’s no easy way to do this, so let’s just pretend the power went out.”

There’s always the Seinfeld approach:  Walter and Jesse are in court, and every witness called is a character from seasons past who testifies about how awful the duo treated him or her.  We, the audience, sit with great anticipation waiting for the episode to become, you know, good, like it’s supposed to be.  But then Walt and Jesse are sent to prison and that’s that.  We all just turn to each other and say, “Really?  That was it?” But showrunner Gilligan didn’t drop out two seasons earlier only to come back and write a bad finale, so no worries here.

Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about Breaking Bad taking the Friends approach to closing out.  That would require the show running an extra six seasons beyond its expiration date, leading to terrible and completely out-of-character storylines.  Just imagine the horror of Jesse, now married to Marie, telling some woman “Please give us your baby.  My wife’s a mother without a child!” Hard to even thinking, isn’t it?  He would ride these ridiculous arcs as long as it could, only to wither across the finish line like a dying snail.

Now, they could get wild and go for something along the lines of Lost:  It turns out that every terrible thing Walt has done over the last few years have been nothing more than an illusion, and his family, friends, and enemies are all just chillin’, waiting for him to move on.  If they take this route, it’ll be hard to match the genius level of Lost‘s producers, as they were able to convince their fan base that the series was made so much better by having such a shitty ending that answered absolutely zero questions (several Losties still defend it to this day).  Brilliant, I tell you.  Brilliant.

But how could we forget about the series finale of M*A*S*H?  The beautifully crafted, heartwarming, utterly flawless finale to one of the greatest achievements ever put on television.  The Breaking Bad finale would be so amazingly perfect that thirty years from now, I’ll be telling my children about how Breaking Bad was this beyond amazing show–a mesmerizingly radiant display of human creativity–and they will have no idea what I’m talking about.  Because they’ve never seen the show nor will they have any desire to watch it.  Thus, they will go write on their stupid blog about how they have no idea why their parents won’t stop talking about this show called M*A*S*H, excuse me, Breaking Bad.

Ultimately, here’s the thing:  Breaking Bad is the greatest television series ever.  And it’s been so good up to this point that the amount of pressure to live up to expectations on these last 8 episodes (well, 7 episodes now) is at a level that would cause nightmares for even the most hardened of drug kingpins.  Nearly every show that has ever been considered “great” has failed to produce an equally worthy finale.  But I’m convinced that Vince Gilligan and company will deliver, simply because they always have.

Of course, if it fades to black, I’ve  got my torch and pitchfork ready.  Who’s with me?