Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fried Monkey Poop

Iran has been trying to shoot a monkey into space, and Israel is feeling jumpy about it. A single monkey is one thing, but an infinite number of monkeys blasted into space with an infinite number of typewriters might succeed in producing the Koran.

Iran is a little late in the space monkey business. Unconsulted monkeys have been strapped into rockets since 1949. Ostensibly the reason for sending monkeys into space is to test the waters, as it were, for human space flight. But essentially the program is no different than what would have happened if any random group of 12-year-old boys with a lot of money had been in charge. "I know! Let's shoot a bunch of monkeys into space and see what happens!" So what happened?

Monkey one, Albert, suffocated. Not sure if they'd anticipated the oxygen thing.
Monkey two, Albert, did fine until his parachute failed.
Monkey three, Albert, blew up; Rhesus pieces orbit to this day.
Monkey four, Albert, did fine until his parachute failed.
Monkey five, Albert, did fine until his parachute failed.

After a careful analysis, the space program concluded that humans too might have low survival rates if blown up or given bum parachutes. Subsequent monkeys that were lost at sea or baked in the capsule before they could be found and rescued provided valuable additional data about the dangers of being lost at sea or baked in a hot metal can. Finally someone had the idea of sending up a monkey not named Albert, and better outcomes ensued.

The Soviet Union got some fur in the game, too, sending up unpronounceable monkeys with mixed results. The squadron of randy bonobos got everything all sticky. A Rhesus was sent out on the first spacewalk but could manage only a sort of bent-over shamble. After a quorum of monkeys had been sacrificed, someone got the capital idea of shooting men into space. In a miscalculation, they sent  up smart, talented men in fabulous shape, but the program did demonstrate the possibility that a more useful expulsion of humanity might some day be in reach.

Iran has previously sent up rockets containing a turtle, a mouse, and some worms, counting the missions as successes even though there were some mishaps owing to the confusion over which end of the worms the helmets should be strapped to. Still, they believe their monkey will have an eee-eee-eeeasy time of it. Observers world-wide express apprehension over the implications of an Iranian space monkey, suspecting that the government is working on offensive military capabilities, and well they might. No one yet knows the menace that monkey poo flung from space represents. It seems as though it could have quite an impact. "Nonsense," claim scientists at the Iranian Ape Torture Academy. "Space monkey poo would reach terminal velocity just like anything else, and in any case would burn up during re-entry, which proves we are only trying to conduct research into peaceful new energy sources." Fine, Mr. Terminal Velocity Science Guy. Even if you are correct, which my sources tell me is highly unlikely while Mercury is in retrograde, you are introducing a pall of fried monkey shit into the troposphere, with unknown consequences. An advanced civilization would never introduce quantities of shit into the atmosphere with no regard to repercussions. It simply wouldn't.


  1. Oh, my... What a delightful piece. A deft blend of facts, snark, and polite guffaws. Rhesus Pieces, indeed.

  2. "An advanced civilization would never introduce quantities of shit into the atmosphere with no regard to repercussions. It simply wouldn't."


  3. Hmmm...guess we're not part of an advanced civilization then. Or have I taken away the wrong message? Sometimes my old eye-blinkers read between the lines funny.

  4. Somewhere out there in the universe is a "Planet of the Apes"...... We may be in trouble if they decide to save their cousins from future experimentation.

  5. Well, the space race was run mostly by people who wanted to get things up! They tend not to care too much what happens afterwards. The skies deliver space debris and rocket scientists say, "Are you sure it's mine? Hey, if it doesn't fall on my doorstep, I don't care what happens to it."

    It is imperative that people learn to think about consequences. Ya gotta feel sorry for the monkeys in the meantime.

  6. Rhesus pieces. That is just wrong. Hilarious. But very VERY wrong.

  7. Finally! I've been poised on the edge of my seat waiting for fried monkey poop for days!

    And Rhesus pieces - buwahahahaha!!!! You're sick, and I hope it's catching. We need more humour like yours.

  8. That was a very clever post. Let's hope the Iranian space program remains just monkey business. I don't think we need any Jihadi terrorists in space.

    Tossing It Out
    Please see my guest post at:
    So You Want to be a Writer?

  9. Hmmm. Better monkey poop than that of some other species. Like ours?

  10. And I thought that the guys on Car Talk had taken it about as far as it could go when they had someone calculating terminal velocity of bird poop.
    Now you go and interject monkey poop into outer space. Sheese.
    As for the Rhesus pieces--kudos. I am a great lover of puns.

  11. Is this where we get the expression: "There's a lotta heavy shit goin' down."?

  12. I needed your writing to end my day. Thank you. Period.

  13. You are rapidly becoming my best read of the day—er' week, probably even months.

    Please keep posting!

  14. To quote Tom Lehrer, "Vunce de rockets go up, who cares vere dey come down -- dot's not my depahtment, says Werner von Braun." But if Tom Lehrer had thought about "Rhesus pieces," he'd have written another song! SO great! My LOLs are so few and far between, and I treasure them.

  15. LOOK! It's a bird, it's a plane, no,'s monkey poo!!!

  16. Well we all know whence it began. But do we know its final destinatination. What begins with serious concern ends up as monkey Doo by the end. Are you so sure that it shouldn't be a concern? After all, the jihadists care so little for human life, are we to expect they would have more for a primate? Where is PETA when you need them?

  17. I think monkeys were used in the early stages of the space program because they were easy to talk into it. Ask a virile adult human male back then and he would have said: "You want me to do WHAT??!!"

    But adult males also have this macho thing that makes them utter those words to their peers: "Watch this!" just before they do some dumb dangerous stunt. NASA appealed to the 'watch this' gene in those flyboys and the rest is history.

    Science footnote here, "Ham" was the first chimp sent into space by the US space program. He's now retired and living in Boca Raton.

  18. Hey Murr, they should have had badgers on the engineering teams and flight crews. I have never met a more ingenious and heroic species; we'd have been on the moon a decade earlier. Indigo

  19. Enough of the monkey business already!
    And as for "an advanced civilization would never introduce quantities of shit into the atmosphere with no regard to repercussions. It simply wouldn't," you've already proven that just isn't so. Or else certain civilizations are not as advanced as they think they are.

  20. "Rhesus pieces": so filling the cracks--or is it crack-ups--in my brain that it just may keep me out of the Halloween candy for a little while. Uh, I did buy something like that . ..

  21. "I know! Let's shoot a bunch of monkeys into space and see what happens!" Having taught 12-year-old boys, I can attest to the fact that this is absolutely what would happen.

    What a fantastic post! You sure do like words a lot. Since I like reading words, I'm glad I found this blog.