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Elliot: A hear and a half

BY BEAU ELLIOT | MARCH 25, 2014 5:00 AM

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OK, I admit it. Like so many Americans, I got tired — fatigued, even — of hearing about Vladimir Putin and the Russian land grab in Crimea and what the coming new Cold War might mean to humankind, not to mention their pets.

(Although I also have to admit that it was a pretty good yuk to hear Putin accuse the West of ruling with the gun. I mean, who sent whose army into the Crimea? Barack Obama? David Cameron? Does David Cameron even still have an army? I mean, with austerity and all, Britain basically has fish and chips for an economy.)

So, I got fascinated with the story of the Malaysian Boeing 777 disappearing — right along with the other 17 billion people on the planet.

Yes, yes, I know: There are not 17 billion people on the planet, which is good, because all the sewage systems in the world couldn’t handle that, um, stuff. My math was based on the number of conspiracy theories about Flight 370.

A Boeing 777 (maybe it should have been called the Boeing 666) is a lot of plane to disappear like one of those silly subatomic particles that exist for half a nanosecond and then poof, the magic dragon.

(No, I do not know what half a nanosecond feels like, exactly. Do you? I do know that listening to Rick Perry or Rand Paul [or just about any Republican] speak for three minutes feels like a year and a half. And when I first tried to type that, it came out “a hear and a half.” Fitting.)

Of course, a large plane disappearing into the night awakens something primal in us (or primeal, which is what we have before breakfast). Amelia Earhart and all that. On the other hand, zipping through the air in an aluminum skeleton really can’t be all that primal, given that humans have only been flying for 100 years or so. “Primal” in this case probably means the pilot for “Lost.”

And the speculation about what happened to Flight 370 was more fascinating than the plane’s disappearance itself.

As Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post (though you could have watched cable news and told yourself) tells us, that speculation included being vacuumed into a black hole (last I heard, there are none near our Solar System and, anyway, black holes are technologically way ahead of vacuum cleaners), vanishing into an Indian Ocean version of the Bermuda Triangle (last I heard, Bermuda is nowhere near the Indian Ocean, but it’s headed there), or landing on the island from “Lost.”

There we are, “Lost” again.

My favorite speculation was that the Chinese military hijacked the Boeing 777 and flew it to Mars in order to beat the United States to that highly sought-after planet. That the United States seems to be better poised to race to Galveston than it is poised to race to Mars in no way affects the verisimilitude of this speculation.

Also, no matter how good the Boeing 777 might be, it (or any other jet) can’t fly in space. But who needs science when you can have speculation?

Anyone up for a good game of “Lost”?


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