Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Canuck Shall Run Amok On Mars

I recently ran across a news item from Owen Sound. Owen Sound — the city whose motto is, “We are not amused by the Southern Ontario Elephant.”

The news was about a young fellow who would rather live on Mars than spend the rest of his life in Owen Sound. Here is an excerpt from the story:

OWEN SOUND, Ont. — Trevor Uitvlugt says he isn’t vying to go to Mars for fame or money.

The 22-year-old Star Trek fan from Bruce County, Ont. — one of about 3,000 Canadians who has applied so far to go on a one-way trip to Mars — says he is going to make a difference for mankind.

“I said in my application video that I would be more lonely dying here not making a difference, then there and maybe making a difference,” said Uitvlugt...

Trevor UITVLUGT??? That sounds suspiciously alien. It could be Klingon — which would explain his affinity for Star Trek. Or perhaps it is Martian in origin. Mr. Uitvlugt, like any good E.T. is just trying to return home.

The article goes on to state that Uitvlugt is a kung fu instructor and lifeguard at the Family Y.

So, despite what he says, this young man IS making a difference here on Earth. I hope he can somehow find some Martians who are in desperate need of self-defense and water-safety instruction.

During the early days of space flight, many American and Russian children dreamed of following in the zero-gravity footsteps of their astronaut and cosmonaut heroes. But these dreams were not limited to those countries alone. Many a Canadian child had similar aspirations.

“I want to be an astronaut when I grow up," said a typical ‘60s era Canadian tyke.
“But honey, Canada has no space program," came the usual discouragement from the pragmatic adult.
“No problem,” said the undaunted star-gazer. “I’ll hitch a ride with the Americans on one of their spacecraft.”

So the children became grownups and persisted in their ambitions. They approached the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for a chance to ride into that great star-dappled ocean of infinity.

“You know," said the directors at NASA, “we don’t want you just along for the ride, going “Oooooh, aaaaah” and “Look at those stars! COOL!”  We expect you to chip in and add something worthwhile to this mission.”
“We might be able to lend a hand," said the Canadians.
NASA’s firm reply was, “Well, we’re hoping you could provide more than just a hand.”

Thus was born the Canadarm.

The Canadarm made its debut in 1981, and was a very useful tool in space exploration. It was used to carry, retrieve, and maneuver various space stuff during various space missions (I hope I’m not being too technical here). If needed, the Canadarm could also be used to grab an incoming and unwelcome alien by the throat or to deliver an impressive mechanical punch to the creature’s gigantic, green, scaly, four-nostriled nose.

The Canadarm was finally retired in 2011 due to the worst case of tennis elbow in the entire Solar System.

The world is still waiting for other countries to do their part and develop a replacement. In the works are the San Marinose (the alien might turn the tables on this one), the Venezueleg, the Panamouth, and the Germaknee.

Meanwhile, Trevor Uitvlugt is well-advised to listen to Elton John's song Rocket Man, with Bernie Taupin's immortal lyrics:

"She packed my bags last night, pre-flight
Zero hour, nine a.m."
Do most astronauts have their gear readied by their spouses?

"And I'm gonna be high as a kite by then..." 
Must be Whip Whitaker at the controls of this spacecraft.

"Oh no, no, no, I'm a rocket man 
Rocket man, burning out his fuse up here alone..."
“Burning out one’s fuse” is a euphemism for lonesome, solitary space activities. I leave it to your imagination.

"Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids 
In fact it's cold as hell 
And there's no one there to raise them if you did."
I think the cold Martian air is affecting the Rocket Man’s logic: There is no one there to raise kids if you raise them there.

"And all this science, I don't understand"
We can just hear it now:
Rocket Man: Attention Ground Control. My craft is shaking like a can of paint in a hardware store.
Ground Control: You need to make some adjustment with the servo-amplifiers. Also, you may be looking at trouble with the nuclear pulse propulsion thrusters. Remember as well that electrostatic ion thrusters use the Coulomb force and accelerate the ions in the direction of the electric field, while electromagnetic ion thrusters use the Lorentz force to accelerate the ions.
Rocket Man: HUH?
Ground Control: Come on buddy. This isn't rocket science, um, I mean brain surgery.

"It's just my job five days a week..."
Does he go back home to Earth on weekends? Maybe he takes day trips to check out Saturn on Saturdays and has fun probing Uranus on Sundays.

Personally, I'd rather explore Owen Sound.


  1. HA! Love it. Yours has got to be one of the most under-appreciated blogs around. Always so witty. And since my mother's side of the family was German, maybe if and when I need replacement surgery, I can get me a pair of those Germaknees. Seems only fitting.

    1. And you will be well-equipped to help NASA in further space exploration. Hopefully you won’t be asked to fight off any aliens.
      Thank you Susan.

  2. I think Chris Hadfield would appreciate this post. He must have been, at one time, that Canadian tyke to which you refer. I am with Susan. You are always so witty. Maybe you should enter a post in Dudewrite - a weekly little contest exclusively for male bloggers. Not exactly a Pulitzer prize but it would gain you a wider audience which would be well deserved.
    I am still chuckling at the severe case of tennis elbow and the true meaning behind "blowing out one's fuse". Hilarious!

    1. Thanks Angie. I really should have mentioned Chris Hadfield — that guitar-playing, blogging, astronaut who was born in nearby Sarnia. His exploits have really put Canada on the space map. If Canadians do anything to top that, it will make the Canadarm look like a kid’s Tinkertoy project.

      I checked out Dude Write. They are retiring. Sounded like a good idea though.