Sunday, November 30, 2008

The 12 days of ESAS.

Drama, such is being afforded us by the Emperor and the minions, can touch not only our taxpayers pocketbooks, but can reach into our souls. Indeed, some day in the not too distant future this tragedy could be turned into a musical for the masses. Perhaps not for Broadway, but maybe for the Renaissance Theatre in Hunstville.

And since the Yuletide season is at hand, we envision a bittersweet ending revolving about an approaching wintry backdrop. Rehearsals are already taking place at the theater on E Street. Let’s drop in for a look.

The Italian Waiter, dressed as Santa, is on stage with his Chief Engineer, the lead elf. A table stands before them and drawings are visible on the table. Some rolled up, some laying flat. The Chief Engineer grabs his clipboard. A checklist is visible on it. Could it be Santa’s good and bad list? The orchestra begins to play and the Italian Waiter sings:

On the 1st day of ESAS, my Chief Engineer said to me:
I will build a brand new rocket for thee
On the 2nd day of ESAS, my Chief Engineer said to me:
We’ll build it from a shuttle SRB
On the 3rd day of ESAS, my Chief Engineer said to me:
But adding a fifth segment will be key
On the 4th day of ESAS, my Chief Engineer said to me:
And a new grain pattern will make it thrusty
On the 5th day of ESAS, my Chief Engineer said to me:
We’ll need new roll control to keep it pointed straight up like a bee
On the 6th day of ESAS, my Chief Engineer said to me:
Plus a new vibration attenuation system so that the astronauts can still go pee
On the 7th day of ESAS, my Chief Engineer said to me:
Add a new upper stage on top without giving contractor’s fee
On the 8th day of ESAS, my Chief Engineer said to me:
A new launch abort system of which to be wary
On the 9th day of ESAS, my Chief Engineer said to me:
We’ll use unqualified off-the-shelf electronics to send the first one free
On the 10th day of ESAS, my Chief Engineer said to me:
Let’s build a new launch pad configuration by the sea
On the 11th day of ESAS, my Chief Engineer said to me:
Made of band-aids, bailing wire, and duct tape it will be

By now the Waiter is grimacing at the result. But then the lights go out and the music stops. Instantly, the lights come back on and a tree is now standing center on the stage. One last verse to be sung…

On the 12th day of ESAS, my Chief Engineer said to me:
There’s a new rocket under the tree.
And its an EELV!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Grinch is Alive and Well!

Inside a snowflake like the one on your sleeve, there's happening a story you must read to believe.

Like clockwork, as the decorations are hung by our chimneys with care, the Emperor and his minions demonstrate not only their lack of holiday wardrobe, but also their lack of any holiday spirit. Once again, the "NASA family" talk takes a back seat as precious holiday time is stolen away from the contractor community and their own families to work proposals while the minions are all snug in their beds.

Oh, the Who-manity!

"The avarice never ends!" said the Grinchy Emperor. "I want golf clubs. I want ARES. I want Altair. I want a pony so I can ride it twice, get bored and sell it to make glue." The next phase in the ARES V and Altair sagas are hitting the presses and hanging, and we don't mean like mistletoe, over the contractors' holiday plans. We are sure that an extra two to four weeks of delay to let Thanksgiving and Christmas pass without additional distractions would have been too much to ask of the green man without soul.

And, Kris Kringle forbid, that the Snow Princess and her Changelings get a look at the planned procurements before they go out the door.

"Those Whos are hard to frazzle, Jeff. But, we did our worst, and that's all that matters."

Monday, November 24, 2008

Celebrating the Real Gap

It's been 50 years now since a group of 20- and 30-somethings decided to leave the nest and plant a flag on previously inaccessible turf. Almost forty years since the excitement from that accomplishment started to wane. We'd say that's the real definition of the word "gap."

If you saw us grimacing Saturday night at the "Gap Party" a.k.a. 50th Anniversary Celebration in Galveston, it probably didn't take you long to figure out why. Only the minions who gave us a bloated Orion and a bladder busting ARES could possibly engineer a dysfunctional bash of this caliber.

Granted, Hurricane Ike foiled the original soiree and left the island worse for wear. In a show of unity, the minions waited until a party could again be accommodated there. While the infusion of cash from the overnight guests fearful of crossing back over the causeway in an inebriated state was a nice gift, the celebration didn't exactly help get one into the intended state(s) of mind.

Let's first take the inebriated part: it was almost impossible to end up that way. With a single bartender working a 40 minute line, one is not inclined to go back for seconds. And then there was the little problem of needing a ticket for that drink when Isaac finally was ready to pour one for you. Unfortunately, no warnings directing the required intermediate transaction were posted.

So after working one's way through the drink line twice, now with tickets in hand, appetite builds up. But, if you had a taste for some sweets, you were SOL Saturday night after the little hand pointed at nine. Not quite right for a bash that is running until midnight.

And so on...

We'll overlook the lack of any messaging beyond the posters with 50 year old pictorials. We'll even overlook having to pay more to shake a couple of astronauts hands before they climb into their coffins.

But the first (and last) rule of parties, is never, ever, run out of food and drink before the BroomHilda hour. It's no wonder the "other" gap continues to get wider with each passing day.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Curtain Call

As the days grow shorter, and night approaches earlier each day heading into the winter solstice, so to does the misbegotten reign of the Emperor come to evening twilight.

But the acting is not yet over at the E Street Theater.

Despite direction from the White House to assist and ease the transition for the Changelings, so that some outgoing positive legacy might be left behind, the Emperor continues on his own selfish path. The Playbill has been handed out to all of the minions, instructing them to turn away from the light and not cooperate with those who might bring an end to the chaos. All of the supporting cast of contractors have likewise been warned to keep data and opinions to themselves. It is a classless finish to a empty script. Such agression may perhaps be borderline illegal, like steroids, but fortunately, none who matter are paying heed to such malapropisms.

And, not that anyone's asking, but even now the man without cloth can not pass up a good opportunity to exit the stage with class. To stay in the press, the Emperor is starting to fabricate nonexistent issues, such as being forced to accept politically appointed staff, as if he might be asked to stay on (he won't) under unacceptable circumstances. Not that he hasn't already had to do that anyway.

It is time to find the hook. Bring down the curtain. Turn out the lights. Enough of our wages have been wasted going down this blind alley to watch this play without redemption. Time is up for this talentless cast of future waiters, waitresses, and bookworms. They have performed badly and the reviews are in.

This show must not go on.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Gen Y At It Again

Gen Y'ers presented their latest "slide show" at Texas A&M this weekend for the SEDS folks.

We've seen this kind of thing the turd museum. They have a lot of nice S*** there.

But who would pay to see such crap?

Taking Chances

Who would have thought that the cloth-less genius with so many degrees, who promised us a safer than shuttle CEV by 2011, would a.) miss the date by five or six years, and b.) miss the safer than shuttle part, too?

Next week, Viceroy Guyer's team will report out that CEVs flying to the space station will have a 1 in 30 chance of not coming least not with anyone alive inside. And rather than figuring out what is wrong with the design that makes it that way, that is to say, besides BroomHilda's vacuous directives, the Emperor's minions will ask for a change in the requirement to reduce the probability of the loss of crew to...take a guess...yep...1 in 30.

We hope the Snow Princess and her elfish Changelings are paying attention to this latest criminal act. The IG should have a look, too.

And maybe an American taxpayer or three.

PAO Pooh

If you watched the launch of the space shuttle Friday night on the minion channel, and happened to have the sound turned up, you would have been treated to a pretty good sample of why the shuttle should be retired ASAP.

The PAO blabbering on about the pad close-out team being professional and dedicated to quality and safety was almost incessant. That is, until, the soon to be pink-slipped crack team failed to secure the accordion-like extender that connects the white room to the shuttle. With but 15 minutes to go before launch, controllers finally noticed what the rest of us saw plainly in the video feed. Too late to send a crew to the pad, though, somehow, ignorantly, the question was asked. Eventually, the gang plank retracted, leaving the extender and the adherence to checklists dangling in the breeze.

Now, of course, we have to wonder if that same disciplined team worked the close out of the Ku antenna?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


In the now waning days of the Emperor's misbegotten reign, dirty laundry is spilling out everywhere. The IG is looking behind every door and coat rack, and those who have shrank in fear of speaking up are now easing up, seeing the dawn of a new day approaching. Guantanamo on E Street is about to end.

And those who have been forced to bite their tongues knowing the technical solutions being offered are a sham, with risks piling up daily instead of being retired as they should, are also pointing at the man living a cloth free life. Consequently, pathetic phone calls are going out across the land, chastising those who seek the truth and accusing them of undermining the Emperor's pipe dreams in discussions with the Changelings. Having failed to have delivered Florida's space voters to the O'nauts, and his traitorous letter of praise for help with IKSNA gaining little notice, the Emperor has come full circle back to ground without a friend in sight.

Desperate is as desperate does. And soon, we hope, that will all be in past tense.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Mandatory IQ Tests For Senators?

We have a suggestion. Actually, it should have been part of the Constitution we think.

All Senators should have to pass a minimum grade on an IQ Test.

We are pretty sure Sen. Nelson would lose his job.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

This Bumble Won't Bounce!

As the Empire burns, a cold front is coming in from the west. The snow will clear away the soot and make the air again smell fresh and clean like evergreens on a hopeful Christmas day. Winter is upon us.

We know winter always comes before the spring. Rebirth may be around the corner, but first the Snow Princess Garver will survey what has been put asunder and draw on the elfish Changelings to compose a plan of redemption. The Emperor will be handed pink swaddling to cloak himself in as he departs the debacle and the Viceroys will likewise take leave, each carrying his head out the door in a basket of fine wicker.

The Bumble's weakness has been recognized and it is sinking. It will not bounce this time. The chief elves, Hefferen, Ladwig, Whitesides, and Monje will attempt to put Santa's workshop back together and new reindeer tryouts will immediately commence. ARES and Orion will be banished to the land of misfit toys, to be forgotten as footnotes on a misbegotten path. Not even Yukon Cornelius will rescue them from their imminent demise.

We collectively hold our breath and look forward to a favorable touch from the Snow Princess's wand. It won't be long now.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Eve of Change

Until the time machine is invented, it will not be possible to go back and start over, but we will start tomorrow to work towards a new ending.

No matter if you intend to pocket your coins, or offer back a "keep the change," in the voting booth tomorrow, one thing is for certain. Those who have egomanically taken us down in flames will not inhabit the castle when the torch is passed to light a different path.

The subdued tenor of the Viceroy's minions meeting today, as Hanley asked everyone to keep their noses down working to the stillborn plan, was bittersweet. Sad that so much leadership was misleading. Sad that so many resources have been wasted on a path that is barren of fruit. Sad that reputations of many honest, hardworking individuals have been tarnished in pursuit of a misguided and undisciplined program. But, Hanley will be relieved when the yoke of failure is removed from his neck.

And whole cloth will return to fashion on E Street.

Tomorrow we change course. Toward the second star on the right, and then straight on 'till morning.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Things Are Not Always As They Appear

Waking out of their stupor, the IG's office folk finally had a look at the process the minions said they would follow in spending the taxpayers money to get us a new space vehicle in the Emperor's image. As you may have suspected, the minions have been shortcutting the process, to our mutual detriment.

So an older, immature design of the Orion capsule is brought up for review and passes muster, when it fact it lacks many of the features a flight worthy capsule would have (e.g., a weight that would be liftable, a means of landing that won't kill the occupants) along with several that a real vehicle wouldn't have (e.g., extra amounts of hot water for BroomHilda's cauldron).

That's not the way the process is supposed to work.

Unfortunately, the IG's office, not known for their brilliance or their ethics, took the ESMD Viceroy's non-concurrence with their findings and said, "ok, so sorry to have bothered you," and moved on.

So much for checks and balances.

Of course, the story doesn't end there. Since the IG and the Viceroy are, after all, part of the Empire, they both come down on the side of blaming the contractor for all ills and recommend a modification (i.e., reduction) of fee payments for the next period. But when you point a finger, there's always four pointing back at you and it's too bad that the minions responsible for changing their minds, and their requirements, on a daily basis will never see similar punishment and have their salaries docked.

Then again, it's only a matter of time until the door hits them where the good Lord split them.