Jewish World Review Jan. 27, 2004 / 4 Shevat, 5764
French Mars probe surrenders
Robotic arm extends white flag
The French space program took a significant step backward today as the European Space Agency announced that a much-heralded French Mars probe surrendered just moments after landing on the red planet.
The probe, which had been expected to travel extensively across the surface of Mars to collect and analyze rock samples, stunned the French nation by surrendering only eight seconds into its mission.
As millions of astonished Frenchmen watched on national TV, the probe extended a robotic arm -- designed to scoop up rocks from the surface of Mars - and raised a white flag aloft, waving it back and forth.
The probe then used a robotic shovel to dig a hole in the Martian surface before disappearing into the hole, apparently hiding.
At a press conference in Paris, French President Jacques Chirac denied that the probe had surrendered, arguing, "This mission was always intended to be eight minutes long. The probe has performed courageously and superbly."
Despite earlier announced plans for the French Mars probe to exchange information about the surface of Mars with the American Mars probes, Mr. Chirac said, "The Americans will have to go it alone."
In other news, Hollywood's annual Golden Globes celebration was disrupted Sunday night when former Vermont Governor Howard Dean took the stage to denounce the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for not naming him Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy.
After excoriating the Golden Globe voters, Mr. Dean began shouting a partial list of U.S. states in no particular order before being escorted offstage by security personnel.
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JWR Contributor Andy Borowitz, a former president of the Harvard Lampoon, is a regular humor columnist for Newsweek.com, The New Yorker, The New York Times and TV Guide. Recognized by Esquire magazine as one of the most powerful producers in television, he was the creator and producer of the hit TV series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and producer of the Oscar-nominated film Pleasantville. He is the author of the just released "Who Moved My Soap? The CEO's Guide to
Surviving in Prison and
"Trillionaire Next Door: The Greedy Investor's Guide to Day Trading" , "Rationalizations to Live By". Comments by clicking here. Visit his website by clicking here.
© 2004, Andy Borowitz