A Loco Viewpoint

Expert Analysis Of The X37B

According to Cupcake, (whom, I would remind you, tends to embellish factoids about me, something I refuse to do to her) when I am reading the paper, I emit an impressive array of guttural grunting noises in response to the content of each article I have finished. She claims she can identify these visceral snorts and non-specific throaty verbalizations well enough to guess as to the opinion contained in these monosyllabic mini-editorials.

There are different grunts, she claims, depending on whether a story is intriguing, outrageous, stupid, poorly-written, surprising, worrying or that simply elicits a, “Huh!” I always thought they all sounded like, “humph” but apparently they all have their unique charms.

Recently, I must have made the, “How intriguing!” grunt because that one rarely fails to gain interest from Cupcake, even if she’s watching ‘Dancing With the Criminal Minds’ or that new Oprah-produced reality show, ‘O Brother’.

“What did you find so interesting?” she asked. “Was there another Femen protest? I know you like those.”

“Sorry, no bosom angle in this story. It is a report about an ultra-top-secret, unmanned space vehicle called the X37B,” I answered. “The scientific-minded folks at the US Air Force have built three of these things, apparently, and have one up in space at all times.”

“If it is such a super-duper secret and is on the hush-hush, QT and down-low, how come you know about it?” Cupcake asked pointedly. “I seriously doubt you have a US security clearance level higher than ‘funny-sounding foreigner’.

“Many nations monitor the skies constantly for activity, so the arrivals and departures of these mini-shuttles would have been noticed,” I conjectured. “The Air Force can’t just flat out deny what other countries can easily track when they are launched aboard bloody big rockets. They have no choice but to admit to the X37B’s existence. The fact that they come and go doesn’t tell us much about what this last one has been up to while up there for almost two whole years, though.”

“X37B, eh?” Cupcake frowned doubtfully. “It sounds like something out of a Marvin the Martian cartoon.”

“Where’s the Earth-shattering kaboom?” I said in my best Marvin impression. “There should have been an Earth-shattering kaboom!”

“Is that your Louie Armstrong impression?” she cocked her head quizzically. “Or was that your Yoda? I can never tell.”

“Very funny,” I sniffed. “At least I can do some impressions. Your only impression is the one you leave on my forehead with your wedding ring when you are gently correcting me or trying to make your point of view clearer.”

“Forget the lame impressions, why should I care about this X37B?” she asked with a twinkle in her eye; the best place for a twinkle, really. “Will it improve our satellite reception or make our living room look bigger?”

“Obviously, these X37Bs have some kind of military or spying purpose. If it was scientific, it would have been a NASA ship and we would have known what they were going to be studying in great detail,” I conjectured

“They obviously aren’t military in nature,” Cupcake intoned solemnly. “The super-powers all signed a non-militarization of space treaty ages ago. They would never stretch the bounds of a treaty, would they?”

“It was Ronald Reagan that touted a Star Wars defence system. That was a while back, wasn’t it?” I pointed out. “That sounded to me like it was fairly military, even if they swore it’s just for defense. Lots of guys say their AK-47’s are for defense, too. At least Canada’s only example of aggression in space is the new attachment on the robotic Canadarm, known as the Canadafinger.”

“It could be that each of those space ships has a clone of President Obama on it; just in case everything goes completely in the dumper down there,” Cupcake suggested. “If you watch FOX news for any length of time, you have to believe it could be any day now.”

“The clone angle is highly unlikely. If there were multiple copies of Mr. Obama, you could bank on there being a Canadian Space Administration spacecraft stuffed to the rafters with a load of Stephen Harpers,” I shot back. “There is one-upmanship with these world leader types, you know.”

“Maybe these X37Bs are to keep an eye on all those UFOs everybody is always seeing,” Cupcake offered,

“What?” I expressed surprise. “You don’t believe in UFOs do you?”

“Well, I believe they are possible,” Cupcake allowed. “But I also believe anyone who claims to have seen one is either totally mistaken or a certifiable fruit-loop.”

“So you believe in UFOs but don’t believe anyone has seen one. You do know, as illogical as those two mutually held beliefs are, they are shared by the majority of people,” I sighed.

“Then it must be true, if the majority believes it,” asserted Cupcake. “That’s democracy.”

“What if that secret space vehicle is like an insurance policy for the US?” I put in.

“What do you mean?” Cupcake’s brow furrowed. “If America kicks the bucket, their heirs get money off the space ship?”

“No, dear, I wasn’t speaking literally,” I explained. “Maybe those ships just sit up there doing nothing; just waiting for a sign of serious aggression from, say, Russia, and are designed to then swoop into action and blow up their guidance and surveillance satellites. That would be a handy thing to do to thwart an enemy, even if it only screws with their GPS.”

“Well it is all a mystery,” said Cupcake. “The biggest mystery, though, is why on Earth we would waste our time speculating on its purpose. Even if we ever guess right, we will never really know.”

“Speculating about the unknown is always fun,” I teased, “That’s why husbands enjoy spending so much time talking about their wives’ mental processes.

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