by Mad Dog
Another big mistake happened in Japan, where some workers tried to put 35 pounds of
uranium in a 5.2-pound tank. "Whoops!" Can you say, meltdown?
|| We all make
mistakes. After all, as Alexander Pope said, "To err is human," and lord knows
if were nothing else, were human. Of course he blew the rest because forgiving
isnt even close to being divine. Chocolate truffles are divine, Ben &
Jerrys Coffee Heath Bar Crunch is divine, right now a scalp massage would be really
divine. But forgiving? Thats something were forced to do to keep peace around
It might be the alignment of the planets, but
theres been a lot of "whoops!" going on lately. The Montana Power
Co. sent the Radella family of Roscoe an electric bill for $50 billion instead of the
$35.95 it should have. "Whoops!" Someone at Lockheed confused metric with
English measurements and caused a $125 million Mars spacecraft to rendezvous a little too
close to the planet. Like right into the surface. "Whoops!"
On the face of it, it would appear that the power bill was the
bigger mistake since it was for 400 times as much. And it would have been had the Radellas
paid it, meaning the power company could act like a typical lottery winner and squander it
on double-wides for everyone in the family. But they didnt. Coming from Montana they
did what anyone else in the state would do under the circumstances: they holed up in a
cabin with a small arsenal and dared the power company to make them pay up.
So the correct answer is B) the Mars Polar Orbiter. It turns
out that because NASA measures energy using metric units called newtons, and some dolts at
Lockheed forgot and programmed it to expect pounds of force, we lost a lot of our hard
earned tax dollars as well as a spacecraft that had already traveled 415 million miles.
True, we should be happy that it got great mileage (about 30 cents per mile in space and
$10 million per mile in the cityactual results may vary) but the fact remains that
the crash landing put a bit of a dent in what was otherwise a great trip. Its like
the Griswolds driving all the way across the country to find WallyWorld is closed.
Except unfortunately Chevy Chase wasnt on the Mars Orbiter.
Moammar Khadafy unveiled what he says will
be a super-safe car that will protect passengers like no other. It should do for Libya
what the Yugo did for Yugoslavia.
|| Another big
mistake happened in Japan, where some workers tried to put 35 pounds of uranium in a
5.2-pound tank. "Whoops!" Can you say, meltdown? Its unclear
whether they were experimenting, as they claim, or rather doing their famous Homer Simpson
imitation. Doh! Either way I hope they learned their lesson and cancel next
weeks scheduled experiment to see if they can put 15.9 kilograms of uranium in a
2.4-kilogram Lockheed tank.
Luckily, most mistakes dont
have such dire consequences. This is a good thing since it would really suck if people
could get radiation poisoning just by putting too much bleach in the washer, or lose a
spacecraft because they forgot to enter a check in the check register. I already have
enough white patches on my jeans, I dont need them on my skin too.
The Army recently discovered they made a mistake and tried to
fix it. They realized that, as we enter the new millennium (a phrase I have to use because
its required by law to be inserted into every column), Trained Killer just
isnt as high on peoples list of career choices as it used to be. Thus, they
found themselves 6,300 recruits short this year. To remedy it they offered a bonus of
$6,000 to anyone who enlisted. This was is in addition to other bonuses, scholarships, and
all-expense paid trips to exotic locales like Kosovo and East Timor.
I havent heard how the promotion went, but I doubt it
did as well as they hoped. Thats because they made another mistake. This is the new
millenniumthey should have offered stock options instead of a signing bonus. (Extra
points for using the magic phrase in consecutive paragraphs!)
Sam Kineson is probably in heaven right now
screaming, "Why do you build houses on the beach when you know they get wiped away by
a hurricane every other year?!?"
|| Its good
for us to learn from our mistakes. Hell, if someone like Moammar Khadafy can do it, any of
us can. No, he hasnt learned how to spell his name, which has variously been printed
as Ghadafy, Khadafi, and Stark Raving Lunatic. What he has done is realize the error of
his ways, trading armed rockets for rockets on wheels. Thats right, hes
personally designed a car which he calls the "Rocket of the Jamahiriya"
(literally: "Stupid Idea"). He unveiled it recently, claiming it will be a
super-safe car that will protect passengers like no other. It should do for Libya what the
Yugo did for Yugoslavia.
This sets a good example, since trying
to correct your mistakes is good for the soul. To a point, anyway. You have to wonder
about the 25,000 dog owners who had their pets neutered, then realizing the error of their
ways had Neuticles, artificial testicles, implanted in place of the real ones. Apparently
their dogs are more fixed than most.
Some people just wont ever learn. Look at the new TV
season. Look at the movies in production like "Charlies Angels",
"Starsky and Hutch", and "The Courtship of Eddies Father." Look
at the thousands of people on the east coast who said "whoops!" when
their beachfront vacation homes slid into the ocean thanks to Hurricane Floyd. Sam Kineson
is probably in heaven right now screaming, "Why do you build houses on the beach when
you know they get wiped away by a hurricane every other year?!?" Probably for the
same reason people rebuild their houses in a flood plain so it will get washed away a few
I dont want to imply that Im immune to making
mistakes. In fact, a while back I sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI to
see how many of them they knew about. They claim I have no file. This certainly
doesnt mean Im an angel. What it does mean is that either they dont know
about my mistakes, dont think theyre as big as I do, lost the files, or have
me confused with Waco and are covering it up. Or possibly they sent me that form letter by
mistake. Either way its okay. Im human, I can forgive them. You know, that did
feel rather divine.
©1999 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country. Read
them while fixing your mistakes.