So the latest outrage on my list is that the International Astronomical Union is acting like this girl I knew in junior high who lived for male attention. She’d stop talking to you mid-sentence if a boy sauntered by. I’m all for a little boy-craziness—okay, a lot—but what I’m trying to say is this girl had no standards. She didn’t discriminate between a pint-sized Johhny Depp and a pint-sized Jeffrey Dahmer (am I spelling that right? I don’t know, but I refuse to google Jeffrey Dahmer). She’d start orbiting around the nearest boy faster than you could say Pluto.
If these astronomical-sluts get their way it’s the end of the solar system as we know it. They’ve decided that a planet is—wait for it—a round thing orbiting a star. That’s like saying that a symphony is something you play on the piano.
There are apparently now 12 planets: we get to keep Pluto and we have to add Ceres (hello, asteroid?), Charon (the planet previously known as a moon of Pluto), and the charmingly-named UB313 (nicknamed Xena, with a moon called Gabrielle, which, okay, I even have to admit is cute).
And of course if we actually apply the new standards, assuming our backs don’t give out as we stoop down to scrape them off the floor, there are around 50 other chunks of cosmic debris out there that qualify as planets. What is this going to do to mnemonic devices everywhere? How am I supposed to take “Mother Visits Every Morning Just Stays Until Noon, Period” and make it work for 50 more planets? And what will this mean for astrology? Am I even still a Capricorn with a moon in Gemini?
Everyone was all worried about Pluto, the “darling of school kids everywhere.” How can they keep Pluto and not add all this other junk, everyone wondered? Screw Pluto, I said. It never counted and “school kids everywhere” could stand a little taste of disappointment. It’s good practice. Pluto never made sense in my mnemonic device anyway.
But, no, the IAU has gone all planet-crazy. Like a hypochondriac who sees germs everywhere, they’re busy rechristening every hunk of rock out there. Apparently the whole body is going to vote on the concept later this week. Let us hope that cooler heads prevail.