world isn’t what it used to be. The other day,
I heard on the radio that they have discovered a 10th
planet in our solar system. I don’t like it.
I don’t like it one bit.
All through elementary school, high school and I college I was secure in
the knowledge that there were nine planets in our celestial family — Mercury,
Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.
Now they tell me that there are 10. It’s like an unknown, unwanted,
uninvited cousin showing up at my doorstep and declaring that from now on,
he is going to hang out with us. Who needs him? Or her. Or whatever sex a
The name of the celestial interloper is Sedna. What kind of name is that?
It certainly doesn’t belong in our family. We have planets with strong
names like Mars and Jupiter and Saturn.
Of course, there is Uranus. I’d rather not discuss that name. Couldn’t
they come up with something better than that? Evidently not, or they wouldn’t
have had to settle on Sedna for planet No. 10.
Now I have to change all my thinking and make room in my brain for Sedna.
Luckily, it is a small planet, because it is my small brain that I’ll
be working with. Don’t those scientists know that every time they change
the world, they change our lives?
If Michael Eisner, over at Disney, weren’t so busy trying to save his
job, I would have called on him to save our solar system. Pluto is an important
character in Disneyland and Disney World. Did you know he used to be a movie
star? How would Sedna fit in? We have Snow White, Porky Pig and Mickey Mouse.
Maybe Sedna would be a Mickey Mouse character. The way the scientists describe
it, it is a pretty Mickey Mouse planet, anyway.
Sedna is the coldest and most distant place known in the solar system. Let
astronomers know about it — I don’t care. If Johnny Carson were
still doing his show, at least he could still get a “How cold is it?” joke
out of it. Without Johnny, Sedna is a total waste.
Actually, Sedna is a nickname which the scientists who discovered the planet
came up with. Its real name is 2003 VB 12. Compared to that, even Uranus
sounds pretty good.
The question comes up whether Sedna is really a planet. The Internet says
that scientists don’t know what is and what is not a planet. There
are various definitions going around, and by some, Sedna is a planet and
by others it is not.
That makes me feel a little better, but by some of those definitions, Pluto
may not be a planet. Who are they kidding? Michael Eisner wouldn’t
put up with that. There are Disney theme parks in America, France and I think
Japan. Pluto is a big part of all of them. Time for action, Michael. Don’t
let them fool around with what is good and All-American. Even if it is in
France or Japan or China.
The fact that Sedna may not be a planet is good news. All my education will
not have gone to waste. Nine planets there were and nine planets there are.
Unless there are only eight.
At his point, I am going to stop giving Sedna’s characteristics. It’s
not my fault. I am getting the information from the Internet, and if I don’t
stop now I will wind up in deep water, which may be quite a feat since we
are finding out that Mars doesn’t even have deep water.
The next section on the Internet asks the question, “Is Sedna part
of the Kuiper belt?” How would I know? My first thought was to go to
some men’s store, buy a Kuiper belt and check it out. But then I read
on a little further and the Internet article tried to give me the answer.
I didn’t understand a word of it.
Lucky for me I understood that I didn’t understand what I was reading.
If I thought that I did understand it, I might have tried to explain it in
this column. I may be dumb, but I understand that I am dumb and I don’t
try to write about things that I don’t understand. Do you understand?
The bottom line is that nine planets are enough. Who said so? Me and Michael
Eisner. Only he doesn’t know he said it.
columnist Larry Miller is a former television writer who
has penned lines for Dick Van Dyke, Ed McMahon, Jack Paar
and many others, and for shows including "The Dating
Game," "Beat the Clock" and "Petticoat
Junction." In 1985, he began his weekly newspaper column
on the lighter side of getting older.