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The true story of the mystery missile launch in California

By Alexandra Petri

First, UFOs in NYC! Now, missiles in California!

Without warning, a missile just goes off in the sky over California? What makes a missile just let itself go like that? Some people are saying it's a jet. But I know better. Admittedly, I'm no missile expert, but I did watch "American Beauty," so I have my theory as to how this went down.

So you're a missile. You go to your daily work of non-proliferating in your special, secure briefcase. You sit there with the other missiles, Fat Man and Little Boy, talking about your Cuban friend's mid-life crisis. "Embarrassing," you mutter, "almost going off like that."

You never go off. You aren't that kind. You aren't excited for your annual inspection -- missile inspections, for missiles, are about what colonoscopies are for people -- but you tough it out. You try to encourage yourself to develop a longer half-life by staying fit and in shape -- well, missile-shaped, anyway.

Sure, being a missile is like being an American -- not nearly so exciting as it was during the Cold War era. You used to feel big and important and only scared of the Soviets. Now you hardly feel special at all. "All the jobs are going to India," you mutter. "Or maybe Pakistan and Iran."

You sigh. "Am I rusting?" you ask your wife, Little Fat Woman, when you get back home to your silo. "Of course not, dear," she responds. She used to be Attractive Girl, but that was back in the Soviet Era, when things were different and you felt like your work had real meaning. "Are you a fully armed nuclear warhead, or are you just happy to see me?" she asks. "Neither," you respond.

"I'm going to the pub," you say. "Don't wait up." You get to the pub and regale the other missiles there with that story of the time you all showed up at a mixer for Catholic prayer books. "That was awkward," you murmur.

"Things aren't good now like they used to be," you say. Everyone agrees. "Did you read the new George W. Bush autobiography?" someone asks. "Not yet," you say. "I miss him, though. He appreciated a good missile."

"Did you see that Barbara Bush showed him her miscarried fetus in a jar when he was in his teens?" Large Dominant Male asks.

"What?" you respond. "That--I--I think my head is going to explode."

Lacking any better way of dealing with this information, you start taking shots. You and the other missiles decide to compare who has more launch capacity. Large Dominant Male starts aiming pointedly at North Korea. Your friends subdue him. You take more shots, this time injuring a womp rat who happens to be passing. You call up missile command and yell excitedly that they are not the boss of you now, and, furthermore, they have never been! "Missile command is a misnomer!" you yell. "And I demand my share of the proceeds from The Spy Who Loved Me!"

"Sure," Missile command says. You sense that they are tired of your antics and are sending people over to break it up.

"I'm a mystery missile!" you yell. You have become very excited. You run outside and get onto a launch pad.

Missile command shows up. "You're fired, Jeff," they tell you.

"Yes, I am!" you reply, launching yourself off into the night over California. "I hope you all get SMDS!"

By Alexandra Petri  | November 9, 2010; 6:16 PM ET
Categories:  Epic Failures, Petri, That's awkward  | Tags:  Missile, Star Wars  
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Re: Recent missile trail off the coast of California.

Things may have shifted from the East Coast to the West Coast. Check out if this launch was on one of the departure tracks from an airport.

These are related to TWA 800

Posted by: Bardonia | November 9, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

What a dopey post. It would be preferable if our MSM focused on why the Pentagon can't figure it out given all the high-tech hardware they have for national defense. Unless they have a reason for covering it up. But of course, the MSM won't ask the tough questions.

Posted by: ConscientiousObjector1 | November 9, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

My theory.... Chinese or NK sub launched a dummy short range missile just to prove that they could if they wanted to. Military and Gov types denying as not to freak everybody out. Of course, the debunk is that there would be debris somewhere....

Oh, cute story Alexandra, but please go home for the day.

Posted by: deltaterp | November 9, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Come on people.

Slow news day?
Has nobody checked the airline schedule of flights coming into the mainland from Hawaii?
I have not, but The same scene is in view from my house right now, a day after the big "WhoHA". I have seen it many times in the right conditions.

Posted by: learjetdoc49 | November 9, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

I had to do a double-take while reading this article. I thought I was reading The Onion. So this is what it's come to eh? This is what the Wash Post acts like when caught with their pants down!

We're asked to be horrified by the media when a non-explosive printer cartrige is removed from a plane, but when a missle launches off a small island 35 miles from LA, without the DOD, NASA, or the US Airforce's knowledge, we're asked to dismiss the incident as if it never happened. The story is minimized and explained off as the carbon emmisions of a farting pelican who had too much carp to eat.

You know something's amiss when Fox News and the Washington Post are both writting jibberish to reduce real concerns about a missle within US airspace that no one seems to know anything about.

Posted by: enigma1399 | November 9, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

as you wrote the preceding nonsense,was drool running down your chin?did you twitch between the eyeballs?
W.T.F. was happenin' ?

Posted by: thomasvesely | November 9, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

some submarine CO is in deep doo-doo right now... hahaha

Posted by: FranknErnest | November 9, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

This is not a joke subject.

If the military can not identify the source they are either lying or incompetent.

Posted by: daniel09 | November 9, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

This article is rubbish.

Posted by: indpart7 | November 9, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

I think it was a message from China: take your Navy away from Chinese shores, and protect your own. And the US Military is never going to admit that they let a Chinese nuclear sub capable of taking out LA right up to our coast without even noticing.

If I were Obama, I'd be replacing the Chiefs of Staff at this very moment.

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | November 9, 2010 11:56 PM | Report abuse

It was very likely an UFO. The aliens already created spiral over Moscow last december and then again in Australia this year. Now they seem to be targeting the US. October has seen more sightings than almost any other month. Maybe they think it is time for the truth to come out. It is the US military/intelligence community that does not want the truth about advanced aliens visiting from outer space to be revealed, since that would undermine US military and economic dominance of the world. This elaborate coverup has been going on for almost 60 years. See for more info

Posted by: Dave77 | November 10, 2010 2:29 AM | Report abuse


I had my speakers all the way up, and when your video auto-started, I thought I had a mystery, world-destroying missile blast off out of my ears. Even worse, the "missile" turned out to be Bank of America trying to talk me out of the few dollars I have left since the last time they tried to destroy the world. But I digress....

So you had to go with the colonoscopy analogy again, did you? Well I'd like to see you do a colon prep enema on a solid rocket booster! And missiles are obviously male, so forget trying to do pap smears. What our missile fleet does get are yearly prostate exams, although it's controversial whether they do any good or not.

This column was packed with more hilarious, unrelated references per column inch than I've ever seen before. So just remember, people, that when you click that "Post" button, your comment will be preserved for at least 1,000 years on Google nano-nano-cyborg-drives all over the galaxy.

When the students of the future are learning about the early writings of the legendary humorist, Alexandra Petri, they will also read these comments. And when they read the comment that says, "This article is rubbish," they'll say, "What a dweebelgorf," and that is NOT a compliment.

Posted by: divtune | November 10, 2010 3:16 AM | Report abuse

What's the matter with all you sheep? Can't you see that this missile was part of a secret weapons test by the Illuminati in conjunction with the Masons, The Learned Elders of Zion along with the international cabal of bankers, and all led by the minions of the evil Dr. Soros?

If the truth is ever revealed, we will finally hear the full story on how the Apollo program never landed a man on the moon and how George W. Bush personally flew one of those planes into the WTC with that Kenyan impostor in the White House serving as his co-pilot!

Posted by: dldbug | November 10, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse


What a dweebelgorf!

And with an exclamation point at the end, it IS a compliment. Future history will prove you right.

Posted by: divtune | November 10, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Really people? Really?!?

Can you say "Egg on your face"?

Posted by: jamesspellman | November 13, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

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