Come There's Never a Space Taxi When You Need One?
by Mad Dog
This means we
won’t get to see the TV special, Celebrity Mission: Lance Bass,
which Destiny Productions was planning for the fall. It’s a real shame
too since this is the same company that brought us such entertainment
blockbusters as Battle of the Sexes on Ice.
||It looks like Lance Bass
won’t be going up into space after all. Lance, in case you’ve been
too busy scouring TV Guide searching for reruns of The Chamber,
is one of the singers in the teen heartthrob band the Backstreet Boys. I
mean, O-Town. I mean, ‘N Sync.
Lance was preparing to hand $22
million to Mircorp for a seat on a Russian space taxi which is heading
to the International Space Station next November. Hah! And you thought
you had to call a taxi way in advance. The only hitch was that all the
coach seats were sold out and he doesn’t want to pay for first class.
Just kidding. Actually the problem is that the Russian space agency
Rosaviakosmos (motto: “Finally, over 186 days without a breakdown of
the Mir”) says they don’t have a deal with Mircorp.
Mircorp, it turns out, is an
Amsterdam-based company which apparently hallucinates a lot. Maybe they
should consider spending less time smoking hash in the coffee shops and
more time in the office. They’ve been trying to develop a private
space station for the past couple of years that can accommodate three
visitors for up to 20 days at a time. Originally they wanted to build it
on Mir but—whoops!—it fall down, go boom. When they do
finally get it set up it will be pretty Spartan. There’s no room
service, no swimming pool, and no golf course within 234 miles. On the
other hand, they’ll serve a free freeze-dried continental breakfast,
supply transportation to and from the space station, and promise to
leave the lights on for you.
NASA, in a
burst of good old American Puritanism, recently issued guidelines
covering who they’ll allow to hang out on the space station.
This means we won’t get to see the TV special, Celebrity
Mission: Lance Bass, which Destiny Productions was planning for the
fall. It’s a real shame too since this is the same company that
brought us such entertainment blockbusters as Battle of the Sexes on
Ice and Battle of the Broads, which featured Nancy Kerrigan
and Tonya Harding, though not in the three-fall cage match we all hoped
it would be. But all’s not lost. They’ll probably film a replacement
special at another international outpost, the International House of
Pancakes. This could be pretty profitable considering that—True ‘N
Synch Fact Alert!—a fan once paid $1,025 for a piece of French toast
Bass had only partly eaten. Can you imagine the going rate for his
half-eaten Pigs in Blankets?
Bass obviously tried to book the
flight from the wrong company, since an American has already flown to
the space station and a South African is scheduled to take the trip in
April. They were smart and booked their flights through Priceline
because they figured William Shatner had an inside edge on anything
space related. Right, like Shatner ever had an edge. The truth is they
bought their tickets from Virginia-based Space Adventures for a
money-saving $20 million. And still got a snack and their choice of
Even if Lance had gone to Space
Adventures he might have had a problem getting through spaceport
security. NASA, in a burst of good old American Puritanism, recently
issued guidelines covering who they’ll allow to hang out on the space
station. You can’t have been delinquent or guilty of misconduct in any
employment. You can’t be a criminal, dishonest, lie, get drunk often,
or use illegal drugs. And you can’t be a member of an organization
which “adversely affects the public’s confidence in the space
station.” In other words, you can’t be a musician.
Why do all these people want to go up into space, anyway? It
could be they want to look for buried ice on Mars, measure the Van Allen
belt, or discover why Conan O’Brien will be getting an astronomical $8
million a year for the next four years.
This is, of course, the same NASA which tried to raise money a
few years back by selling ads on the side of its rockets but couldn’t
get any takers. Russia, playing the Wal-Mart card and marking down the
price, got Pizza Hut to ante up $1.5 million to put a 30-foot logo on a
Proton rocket. This is also the same NASA that couldn’t come up with a
better name for the observatory they’re planning to send up in July
than Space Infrared Telescope Facility, or SIRTF, so they held a “Name
a NASA Observatory” contest. And yes, it’s the same NASA that not
only isn’t giving the winner any prize money for coming up with the
name, but also closed the contest on December 20, 2001 and estimates
they’ll come to a decision by “late 2002.” Hey, what’s the rush?
Why do all these people want to go up
into space, anyway? It could be they want to do scientific research such
as look for buried ice on Mars, measure the Van Allen belt, or discover
why Conan O’Brien will be getting an astronomical $8 million a year
for the next four years. What does NBC think he is, a baseball player or
something? It’s also possible they want to take a good look around and
see if the universe is really beige as two astronomers from Johns
Hopkins University seem to think it is. They came up with this
conclusion not by looking, but by mixing all the colors in the visible
light from 200,000 galaxies. The result looked like baby’s first
summer. Just kidding. Actually they said it was light green but later
realized they'd made a mistake and it's actually beige. This in spite of the
fact that we all know the sky is blue.
If he’s smart, Lance Bass will
abandon Mircorp and go to a booking agent who can actually get him a
seat on the space taxi. Then he’ll take some paint chips along so he
can give us a definitive answer about the color of the universe. Then we
can sit back, relax, and wait for fall when he’ll either win a Nobel
Prize or star in the TV special, Celebrity Mission: Lance Bass and
the Freeze-Dried Pigs in Blankets. And you thought since The
Chamber was cancelled you had nothing to look forward to.
©2002 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country.
Read them while waiting for the space taxi.