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Where There's a Landfill, There's a Way

Ask me a question, and I'll give you the right answer. It won't always be the real answer. But trust me. You won't miss a thing.

For all my carrying on and huggermuggery in my last post about Lost In Translation, I forgot to say what really I wanted to say about it. Here it is.

A contemporary of J.S. Bach's, I think, said that Bach could play the pipe organ better with his feet than other organists could play with their hands. You could make the same claim for Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray. They manage to say more with their feet than other actors say with their whole bodies. Watch the movie and you'll see what I mean. (Although having bodies to go along with their feet does add emotional credibility to their performances).

I've ragged too much on Japan. Sure, the Japanese have strange fixations, like the filthiness of feet. If they accidentally throw their socks in the regular clothes washer, it's contaminated and they have to buy a new one. With universally accepted social stigmas like that, it's almost easier just to knit a hair shirt for your feet and walk from town to town, denying the flesh by offering to help people move their furniture and then dropping it on your toes. But me! I have cleanliness issues that put Japanese hoofers to shame.

I realized this during last weekend's total lunar eclipse. As I watched the Earth's shadow creep across the moon, it occurred to me that here was firsthand evidence of Earth doing something I've suspected it of doing all along. Now I know -- Earth leaves a big brown stain on the universe.

You'd think that for the billions of stars in each of the billions of galaxies out there, SETI -- the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence -- would have picked up some signals. Interstellar ultimata for us humans to stop splitting atoms before we split the universe, maybe. But no, nothing. All SETI hears are military satellites chatting up the orbiting remains of Timothy Leary. What went wrong?

Here's my theory. Any broadcasts would be made by technologically advanced societies. By their progressive nature, these societies produce lots of garbage. After just one century of human progress, think of all the landfills choked with now-useless IBM XT computers and Loverboy albums. Now for the aliens, multiply that century of progress by a thousand -- and imagine all that's come and gone. All the fads that were popular just two millennia ago, like putting on the tentacle-warmers and power-flaggellating to Richard Simmons, are out of style. Really, all those self-help books were fine while the Hive-Mind was in its larval stage -- but now they're useless to a perfect group consciousness. Alan Bloom is so much more sophisticated, don't you think? So into the collective wastebasket they go.

It's easy to see that any civilization capable of broadcasting powerful signals across thousands of light-years has already drowned in its own refuse.

Either that, or the alien garbage itself becomes the most successful life-form on the planet. Maybe that's why UFOs only abduct white trash.