I can’t imagine anything more tragically funny.

How the devil does NASA lose the original video of the Apollo 11 moon landing of 1969???

You just don’t know whether to laugh or weep.

It’s been the big news item this week. They can’t find it. They think the National Archives has it, but no, the archives folks say they gave it back in the mid-70s. Someone thinks it might have been at the Smithsonian, but the museum’s curators are certain they never had it.

It’s unthinkable. Human beings for the first time in our species’ existence escaped the surly bounds of planet Earth to touch down on another celestial body. It is broadcast across the world, and the astronauts miraculously return home safely.

Shouldn’t those original tapes have been locked away in Fort Knox or something? In a lead box with armed guards?

It’s like misplacing the Declaration of Independence, or the Constitution. It’s like losing the Liberty Bell, or Old Glory.

You may not be aware of it, but there is a rather large contingency of conspiracy theorists that have always believed the moon landings never happened. While I won’t throw my hat in with those guys, I’ve listened to their case and looked at their evidence and some of it is kind of unsettling. Maybe not convincing, but can’t be easily dismissed.

These folks are now saying that the "loss" of the original data is because the video could never hold up under the scrutiny of modern computer-enhanced photographic examination and the hoax would be unveiled. So all we’re left are grainy, fuzzy copies of the originals.

Who knows? Conspiracy or hoax notwithstanding, it’s still a miserable thing that those videos are lost, hopefully just temporarily. One would expect more of a federal agency.

On the other hand, they couldn’t find New Orleans last year, either.

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Meanwhile, a federal judge refused to honor Louisiana’s request to block offshore oil leases until a larger share of royalty money is guaranteed to Louisiana to help protect our coastlines, property and lives. So the feds have gone ahead and begun opening bids for petroleum leases off our shores.

Once again, the United States Government has thumbed its nose at Louisiana and our plight, indicated that they don’t give a jolly damn what we say, do, feel or endure. Certainly there is a hopeful move afoot in Congress to have those royalties paid, but nothing is guaranteed to pass. Even the American Petroleum Institute tried to have the bids kept sealed unsuccessfully.

The feds continue to put all else in front of Louisiana, continuing a year-long tradition and policy of neglect and disdain for our plights here. We are the step-children of the entire nation, relegated to suffer our fates alone.

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Did anyone notice that the price of gas went down 10 cents this week because "speculators" – those shadowy, ghostlike individuals who play the markets and effectively steal money from you and me without fear of prosecution – were no longer worried as much about Mideast violence and other such nonsense?

Here and there I hear foreigners saying that we in America should be grateful we had cheap gas for so long, because a "liter" of gas in England costs some equivalent of like $25 bucks or something silly like that.

Here’s a news flash to our kindly neighbors abroad: That right there’s a good reason why we don’t live in your countries, and don’t use "liter" as a measurement, except for some unknown and totally ridiculous reason on soft drinks – and as Americans expect better. We’re not thankful, by the way, for having to be more like you, because we left you and your problems 500 years ago to create our own set of problems. We’ll just keep going along with our inches, quarts, feet and gallons, thank you very much, and at some point in time there’s going to be a revolution again over here and gas prices are going to come down because even Americans will only put up with so much for so long.

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By the way, FEMA continues to be a leader in the global arena of management practices by allowing tens of thousands of hurricane relief trailers to all be keyed identically so that one key could potentially open all of them.

It hit the national press this week that if someone got hold of that one key, they could theoretically open all six of those occupied trailers and steal every thing their occupants own, which they had already lost in last year’s hurricanes.

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The new cable television lineup looks nice but I got a problem with all the Spanish-speaking channels.

It continues to amaze me why everyone in the U.S.A. is bending over backwards to accommodate Spanish-speaking people who refuse to adequately learn English.

We in Acadiana have no Cajun French-speaking channels, but we have Spanish-speaking channels.

There was an e-mail thing circulating not long ago with John Wayne standing in front of a U.S. flag and asking, "Now tell me again just why the hell I have to press ‘1’ for Spanish?"

Amen, Duke. Amen.

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All of which makes it somehow appropriate to conclude with a coffee mug I saw that I just have to buy. In a word-play on the movie The Sixth Sense where young Haley Joel Osment tells his mother, "I see dead people," the coffee mug delivers a similar but more appropriate declaration:

"I see dumb people."