So how does record-setting skydiver Felix Baumgartner feel after successfully jumping from the edge of space? Weightless.
"I feel super light right now, like I just lost 20,000 pounds of pressure off my body," Baumgartner told USA TODAY after his record dive to Earth on Sunday.… wrapping up a five-year, privately funded space supersonic free fall that broke records for altitude and speed, then parachuting into the New Mexico desert.
Baumgartner, 43, rocketed head first for more than four minutes before deploying his chute. He hit 833.9 mph, or Mach 1.4, breaking the speed of sound on the same day that in 1947 test pilot Chuck Yaeger did it in a rocket with wings.
USAToday.com, Sunday, Oct. 15
Recently, I've come across a great many people who are absolutely glowing over the fact that Mitt Romney is on a roll and may very well become the next president of the United States.
Except that I am certain he won't be the next president.
And neither, by the way, will Barack Obama.
Because it hit me the other day: Even though no one is really talking about it, the big news isn't the presidential election at all – no, the big news is that Dec. 21, 2012 is just 65 days away, which means, unfortunately, the end of the world is also 65 days away.
So Romney may very well win the election, but it's a moot point if you think about it. The next president is to be sworn in on Jan. 20, which falls almost a month after the end of the world – so, even if he wins, Romney won't even get to sit in the chair in the Oval Office and put his feet up on the desk and pop the champagne and light up a cigar and raise his fists above his head and shout out "[Deleted]-yeah! I'm the president of the United States!"
I mean, you know – if Mormons drank champagne and smoked cigars (or cussed for that matter) – well, then, even if did do those things, he still wouldn't get to because of the end of the world.
Which really puts a damper on all this election excitement if you think about it. However, before the end of the world gets here, there are a few things I'd like to get off my mind …
Here's something I found out. It's probably the most remarkable thing I've ever learned in my entire life, and now I'd like to pass this amazing fact on to you.
Now that October is here, and all the Oktoberfest celebrations are gearing up all over town, the other day I started reading about Oktoberfest, and guess what I learned.
No, really, take a wild guess.
OK, here goes: Oktoberfest is in September.
How crazy is that? I mean, that is absolutely whack if you think about it. I know it sounds crazy, but it's true and you can look it up if you want. In Germany, Oktoberfest starts in mid-September and ends at the very beginning of October. So Oktoberfest is almost entirely in September.
I'm sorry, but that would be like if, here in America, we had the Fourth of July in June. It just doesn't make any sense no matter how you slice it.
I'll bet that, a lot of times, tourists show up in Germany at the beginning of October because they've always wanted to party at Oktoberfest, and, when they get there, they
realize that everyone in Germany is taking down the beer tents and packing up the mugs and sweeping up the trash.
And the tourists might say, "Hey, we're here for Oktoberfest," and the Germans, really hung over, would be like, "Well, why in the world are you showing up in October then?"
In a way it's funny, but in a way it's not, because I'll bet that happens all the time, and I'll bet those people who show up are really mad that they came all the way to Germany and missed it.
Speaking of things that are confusing, am I the only one who thinks it's strange that, while it's illegal to buy a 20-ounce Sprite in New York, the government has no problem whatsoever with you jumping out of a capsule tied to a balloon 24 miles above the earth, and, on the way down, breaking the sound barrier as you barrel toward the earth at over 800 miles per hour.
If that guy, after the successful jump, went to New York to celebrate with friends and ordered a 20-ounce Sprite, well, he wouldn't be able to get one because it could be hazardous to his health. Is there a disconnect in the law there somewhere?
I was listening to a podcast from Slate magazine the other day, and they were talking about gay marriage (not that there's anything wrong with that).
One of the guests on the show pointed out some of the legal problems that result from the inconsistency in the gay marriage laws from state to state.
They were talking about this one gay couple that got married in one state and then moved to a state that didn't have gay marriage. The relationship fell to pieces and one of them finally said to the other, "I want a divorce." And they went down to the courthouse but were told they couldn't get a divorce. They were told it was impossible. You couldn't get a divorce in that state no matter what because there was no such thing as gay marriage there, so there was also no such thing as gay divorce.
I guess they just had to live unhappily ever after.
I mean, it was bad enough when I went for my heterosexual divorce in this state and they said, "Well, you can get divorced – but you have to wait a year," and I was like, "A year?"
A year is a long time but at least it was possible.
By the way, when the government people told me I'd have to wait a year to get divorced, I was like, "Hey, where were all you people with all your rules and regulations when I was going into the marriage?"
Whenever I feel clueless and culturally illiterate, I just talk to other people and then I feel better about myself. Listen, here is an actual conversation I actually had with an actual human being recently.
I was talking to a guy I'd just met, and I asked him where he was from and he said Asbury Park.
I told him, "Oh, I'm a huge Bruce Springsteen fan – have you ever met him?"
He looked at me with a totally blank stare.
"Have I met who?" he asked.
"Bruce Springsteen," I said, figuring he just hadn't heard the name I had said.
When I realized that he understood what I was saying, but still had no idea who I was talking about, I said, "Bruce Springsteen – you know, one of the most famous rock and roll artists in the world."
"Oh," he said, "that explains it. I'm not much of a rock fan."
And I said, "No, no, it doesn't matter; that doesn't explain it. Springsteen is from Asbury Park. He's like a deity there. The only reason I know where Asbury Park is is because of him. He's the most famous person ever to come from there. His first album was even called 'Greetings from Asbury Park.' There is no way you don't know who I'm talking about."
And the guy still just stared at me absolutely clueless. He said: "Nope, never heard of him."
And I still haven't gotten over it. That's like meeting someone and asking him where he lives, and he answers, "Actually, I live in the Playboy Mansion," and, when you ask, "Hey, I've always wondered, what's Hugh Hefner like?" he replies, "Who's that?"