• DRINK TO THE LASSES: Notes from a Woman's College Womb
    DRINK TO THE LASSES: Notes from a Woman's College Womb
    by Mary Beth Ellis
  • Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers
    Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers
    Random House Trade Paperbacks
This area does not yet contain any content.
« Belmont Update | Main | Welcome Freelance Switch Readers »


There was so very, very much to be horrified by in tonight's episode of The Bachelorette, and the worst moment wasn't even when Ellen DeGeneres ordered all the men to drop their pants, and it wasn't when one of the men given the heave-ho placidly says "She didn't reject me, she just chose other guys," and it wasn't when The Bachelorette slammingly told the story of the death of her mother in incredibly excruciating and depressing detail, and it wasn't when one of the guys announced, "I woke up this morning thinking, 'You know, she's not my kind of girl, but now I've got a case of the DeAnnas.'"

No, no, it was when DeAnna (or ABC, or Mike Fleiss, or Chris The Rose Ceremony Guy, or whoever it is to blame) bought a star for one of the men on the show and named it after his son to... show she's okay with him at some point in the past having had sex with his ex-wife for the purpose of procreation, or something? And he cried, and she slouched into her strapless dress, and it all would have been very touching IF THE CERTIFICATE MEANT ANYTHING AT ALL IN THE REALM OF ASTRONOMY.

Because that star? It's been named already, and it's not "Ty." It's RUC 9274 or something equally astronomy-ey. You can pick a star and firmly deem it "Fourth Hair Down, Seventeenth Across On My Left Buttcheek" and embroider a tea towel announcing this and it would be 100% as official.

Well, so what if it's not scientifically recognized? What's the big deal? This. This is the big deal. From Phil Plait, author of Bad Astronomy:

Imagine being an astronomer during an observatory’s public night, happily showing people the wonders of the universe through the telescope, then having someone ask you to see the star they named after their daughter who died tragically. They only have the name they gave it, not the position or any other name that might be useful. Worse, they really, honestly think that every astronomer has access to the ISR (International Star Registry) and can easily find their star. Having run many a public night myself, I can only imagine how horrible I would feel. In such cases, what do you do, tell the people they were lied to, or deceived, crushing them? Or do you keep quiet, spare their raw feelings, and perpetuate the lie by showing them some random star?

Many astronomers don’t have to imagine this. It’s happened to them.

Oh-kay. There. Now you know. ABC, will you kindly stop perpetuating crap space information? Give us something real and inspiring from the heavens, something substantive, something roaringly amazing, something affecting our daily lives. Give us broken space station toilet coverage. YES.

celestial flush at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (5)

My brother-in-law, who really is a great husband and father, in a fit of sentimentality went to the ISR website and bought not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR stars!!!!! One for each member of his family. At the time, I had this thought: "How does he have any real proof that he purchased those four stars?"

Fast forward to this weekend, which was my birthday weekend. I was feeling more than a little melancholy---which ALWAYS leads to exaggerated sentimentality (at least for me). I very nearly bought THREE stars---one for me, one for a dear friend who's fighting terminal cancer, and is nearing the end of the battle, and one for this friend's daughter.

I came to my senses and didn't make the purchase. Now I know why. If I were to ask a true astronomer, and he or she was not able to find my three stars, I would be devestated. My faith in mankind would be shattered, and I would no longer be able to look into the night sky.

Instead, I went outside last night and found three stars on my own. I named them. No one knows, no one would really understand, but I do. And that's what matters.
Thanks for reminding me that I made the right decision.

June 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWiserlemmingAZ

And those stars will have far more meaning to you because you chose them yourself and can actually see them any time you look up at night. Many ISR stars (and the same ones, I understand, are sold over and over again) aren't visible without a telescope.

Prayers to you, WiserlemmingAZ.... don't worry, God knows and understands. When we're hurting, we try to do whatever we can to deal with the pain. You've merely proven to yourself, without any help from me, that you don't have to pay $49.95 to keep your friends near and dear.

And your brother-in-law sounds like a very sweet guy.

June 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMB

Thanks, MB.

On a lighter note, for some reason now I can't get that song "Somewhere Out There" from the Disney movie "An American Tail" out of my head. Help!

My brother-in-law is indeed a very sweet guy. I think he and JTP would get on famously. He has rescued my sister from the brink of utter despair more than once. Two cute kids, a house, a career (she's a registered nurse, my b-i-l is a surgical tech), and a 45-minute commute often leave her feeling like a failure as a mom because she has so little time to spend with them. I bet the parents of the two "small-child" nephews in your family could relate.

June 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWiserlemmingAZ

Personally, I would rather buy a Black Hole, and name it after all my enemies }:-) <——— Diabolical grin

June 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterred pill junkie

This is why I love you. Not only did I not have to watch the Bachelorette but I an give a much better reason to my niece and nephew as to why I won't buy them a Shining Star doll.

Nicole told the children who are 10, 6 & 4 after thier brother died last year that if they ever wondered where Jacob was, to look up in the sky and he is the brightest star. I do that very often and it brings me comfort. I also look to the closest star near the brightest star and know my grandmother is up there watching over him. I cost absolutely and yet it makes all of us feel comfort. Like WiserlemmingAZ, I think that when you pick things yourself they mean so much more. I am sure the brightest star changes but to us, it is always Jacob and it is always easy to find.

June 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKell Belle
Comments for this entry have been disabled. Additional comments may not be added to this entry at this time.