Wednesday, November 6, 2013

8.8 billion Earth-like planets, worlds of possibilities

Know what news that NASA found 8.8 billion inhabitable Earth-like planets means?

It means the phrase “men are from Mars/women from Venus” may one day be less metaphorical.

There are only about 7 billion people on earth, and I say “only” in relation to the big NASA number. There’ve been evenings when I’m trying to squeak through Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill tunnel and it seems like all 7 billion of them were creeping along in front of me. 

But 8.8 million planets mean there’s a chance we could all wind up with planets of our very own -- and that some of us will even get dibs on summer vacation planets we could escape to if our own planets have nasty winters.

Let’s assume for a moment the scientists are being truthful and not acting on government orders to concoct some feel-good fairytale because they don’t want the rest of us to panic about the Vermont-sized asteroid zeroing in on North America.

My first thought was, man, maybe now there’s a place I can go where I can watch the end of a sporting event without the 7-year-old telling me I had to scram.

I often feel I’m the only man on the planet without a man cave. Sure, there’s a basement room with a nice fireplace, TV and lots of books and I like to go there and watch sports. It would be a man cave if only the 7-year-old didn’t consider it a Lucy Cave.

She keeps her doll houses, her pillow pets, her gum band loom bracelet workshop down there and believes it’s her right to march in and turn on “My Little Pony” re-runs when I’m trying to watch the conclusion of the Penguin game.

Man cave? The NASA news means there’s a better chance I can score a Man Planet.

The great thing is once we all get our own planets to fix up, there are enough planets left over to fill more niche needs for various enthusiasts.

I’d hope there’s a planet with great scenery, lots of open road and really cheap gas. I love road tripping, but Earth joy riding seems like a frivolous waste of time and gas. The odds say there’s bound to be a planet where gas is like 14-cents a gallon. It would be cool, too, if that planet had a friendly Cadillac dealership.

I’d like there to be one planet where all the people think war is always the only answer can go and kill and maim each other until their heart’s are either content or riddled with gunfire. And I hope that planet has top notch reporters to broadcast what happens there all over the universe.

General Sherman was right. Wars are hell. But they do tend to make watching the History Channel more interesting.

I’d make it a point to spend time on a planet where Jeff Probst was as absolute a ruler as he is on “Survivor.”

In Probst we trust.

I’d like to see a planet where bad days go fast and good days take about five Earth days.

Good days here end too soon. I’d like there to be a planet where we could golf in the morning, take the kids to the beach in the afternoon and Val and I could spend the rest of the evening enjoying a nice glass of wine while binge watching “Breaking Bad” all over again.

The wine glasses on that planet will have to be really, really big. 

I’m hoping there’s going to be at least one planet with a surface that’s like an enormous trampoline. There’s not a recreational activity you can name that wouldn’t be improved if it wasn’t performed on a trampoline surface.

Well, maybe Olympic high diving.

One of the things I love about satellite radio is you have these little communities of music lovers who can revel round-the-clock in great genres and acts. I’d think out of 8.8 billion we could certainly dedicate about 20 planets just for fans of Elvis, the Stones, Beatles, Kinks, Who, Springsteen and a Planet Petty where savvy travelers will know to make time for take a day trip to Wilbury Moon.

And I’d lobby for country planets for legends like Johnny Cash, Waylon and Willie, even though I understand “country planet” sounds as oxymoronic as “nation state.”

Planet Hollywood? Sorry, not in my universe.

But there would be a Planet Pittsburgh, a place that combines beauty, grit and a proud football team that only really sucks about once every 15 years.

Dire Straights has a great ’91 song called, “Planet of New Orleans,” which I love with the understanding it doesn’t go quite far enough.

In my universe, Planets of New Orleans will be like Subway restaurants here on Earth. Can’t have too much New Orleans.

The Pond, my favorite Latrobe tavern is a big part of my life, so I’d like there to be a Planet Pond. It would be a planet of great physical beauty, gorgeous weather, wonderful recreational opportunities, fine restaurants and The Pond.

And just like hear on Earth, me and the guys will just sit in The Pond all day and wonder what it would be like if we ever went any place else.

My point is with 8.8 billion inhabitable Earth-like planets out there, we will finally be able to fulfill our vast human potential.

I believe goodness is innate and that man’s promise will be realized once we are free to indulge our better instincts.

We all just need a little space.

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