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Posted at 11:42 AM ET, 11/17/2010

Top 8 Leonid meteor shower conversation starters, 2010 edition

By Alexandra Petri

Are your friends watching the Leonid meteor shower? Does this prospect alarm and terrify you? Are you worried you might run out of conversation, after alluding repeatedly to Leonid the Magnificent, a contestant on the first season of America's Got Talent, thereby ending what could otherwise have been a beautiful evening?

Don't fear! I have culled the finest remarks, remarks that will make everyone around you feel impressed, then concerned! Here they are, by category:

Philosophical: Why is it that when we set up complicated equipment to stare at falling stars, it's "astronomy," and when I do the same, it's "paparazzi harassing Lindsay Lohan?"

Pop Culture reference: Usually, we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars. But with the Leonid meteor shower, that's no longer necessary!

Pick-Up Line:
You, to meteorite: Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?

Pick-Up Line:
You, to meteor: Earth? The food's not great, but the atmosphere's nice.

Ineffective Pick-Up Line:
You, to meteorite: I bet your daddy was a star, because you are a ball of space debris!

Party Killer: I know that "catch a falling star" is an idiomatic expression, but doing that was what killed the dinosaurs.

Topical: Watch a meteor shower? Who do they think we are, the TSA?

Political: These were better during the Bush administration.

By Alexandra Petri  | November 17, 2010; 11:42 AM ET
Categories:  Bad Advice, Petri, Top Lists  | Tags:  science, space  
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Comments

No wonder American society's exposition is climaxing. When a phenomenon like Leonoid meteors fall from the sky the zombie-like masses is spoon feed a blog like "Top 8 Leonoid meteor shower conversation starters". This blog reassures me that the media's entire focus is that of a 5th grade elementary student with their foot planted soundly on the bridge from childhood to adolescence and with no attempt to cross the gap. Who but a child would innocently dismiss "Godness" while comparing the likes of a universal anomaly with that of praise to the birth of the apocalypse star Lindsay Lohan. Do you not understand outside of the "little white lie" that has been spread about meteors that according to space.com these little bits of pebble are no small feat. And that in fact yes, you may be related, in a distant way, to the streaks of light that are not actually matter but "phenomenon" that grace the early morning sky each November. "These tiny bits of primordial material generated in the cataclysm that was our solar system’s birth." Yet you choose to blow off this phenomenon as nothing less than paparazzi trash. I know most of us aren't "smarter than a 5th grader" but these are "nothing more than the seeds of life, chemical precursors to biological activity that might long ago have survived inside a comet during a plunge into Earth’s initially barren womb" you know, I mean at the rate we are going it won't be long before it is once again barren. According to space.com writer Robert Roy Britt, "The Leonids are bits of comet debris, and scientists think comets formed along with the solar system’s generation, some 4.6 billion years ago, when the Sun condensed out of a cloud of hydrogen, helium and some dust. Tempel-Tuttle built itself out of some leftovers and has been looping around the Sun ever since, presumably, and its heart is pristine. The streaks of light you’ll see as these meteoroids strike the atmosphere probably represent the best glimpse you’ll ever have at the brimstone that ruled the solar system in the early days, before the planets had swept most of the leftovers up." So I am glad that at least some writers are into giving a partial glimpse of truth through comedic relief, but we must remember that in order to survive, we must take more than the Prince's wedding seriously. Swanice I. Shakir

Posted by: swaniceshakir | November 17, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Namaste Swanice,

Lighten up, oh enlightened one! You sound like a pusillanimous, pussyfooting, Perseid progressive.

I'll have you know that this most excellent column has inspired me to lie on my back outside in 35 degree weather at 4 a.m., stare up at the raindrops, and say "ooooooh" repeatedly.

Posted by: divtune | November 17, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

_Pick-Up Petri Line: Hey baby, that pair of meteors you’re packing are so hot they could melt the polar ice caps!

_Ineffective Pick-Up Petri Line: Hey baby, when I climbed the tree behind your house and saw your two puny little meteorites in the shower, I fell to earth!

Posted by: divtune | November 17, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait to view the meteor shower tonight. I've found a ton of great viewing information on this site: http://www.spacedex.com/leonids/ - I hope everyone enjoys the show!

Posted by: AllPointsHelp | November 17, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

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