The Italian Waiter is pacing now. A bead of sweat on his brow. Some of the finest E Street Theater auditions ever are transpiring before him. Competing theater troupes are also showing off their talents. Karaoke at the Olive Garden was never this stressful.
He watches ULA's Michael Gass effectively poke holes in the oft-stated claim that EELVs can't do the job of launching Orion sooner, simpler, and safer. He sees fellow minion John Shannon show an alternative shuttle-based evolution that could do the job for not much more than half the cost of his precious Ares. And he spies the Direct folks, and only a couple of the Direct folks, just before they pull off a very professional presentation. The rest remain in hiding, fearful of retribution for trying to do the right thing.
Next week the Augustine roadshow goes off Broadway to Huntsville, AL. And it's clear that the usual stay-the-course, all-is-well, just-send-MORE-money production will look timeworn against a backdrop of new talent. If there is something the rotund one is good at, its spending money on fancy graphics, movies so real they must be, and beloved power point charts. He knows that he'll wow the crowd with the make believe stuff. He's revised the story, errr, we mean told the story a thousand times now. But he is very worried about the deeper questions that might arise from the panel conducting the auditions.
"We need to practice in front of a mock panel! We need to learn to defuse every issue they might raise! We need to be crisp with our answers! Assemble the list of questions they might ask! Get me a Sally Ride look-alike and have her ask questions that Sally would ask!"
And, no, long time readers, this time we are not writing allegorically.