You have to hand it to the US, the most magnanimous of nations. Just last week a company called Moon Express announced that the US government has given it permission to send a lander mission to the Moon. The benevolence knows no bounds. ‘Yes, of course you can land on the Moon. Peace be with you.’

I have to admit I was disturbed by the sheer effrontery. Since when has the Moon been a sovereign territory of the States? What gives then the right to ‘allow’ somebody to land on the Moon?

I’ll take any odds you like that the States didn’t try to dictate to Russia the terms by which they could send probes to Selene. I don’t think China would have taken kindly to it, either. They didn’t go cap in hand to NASA or whoever and ask if they could play in the backyard, did they?

I was under the impression that nobody owns the Moon, in the way nobody owns Antarctica, which is an international territory. I think so anyway. Do feel free to disabuse me if I’m wrong. But the rules on Antarctica are very strict, by international agreement. Nobody has dominion, and anything that gets taken onto the continent has to be taken back again. Even turds.

Let’s also be realistic, and imagine how the US intended to enforce things if they’d gone all hissyfit and said, ‘No.’ Just what would they have done, and with what justification? If Moon Express just decamp to another country, launch from there, and don’t cross US airspace, the badass bald eagle couldn’t do anything, could it? Even if MX-1E did cross airspace, what, shoot it down? There might be a bit of a to-do about that. Just as there was a brouhaha when Russia tried to stake a claim to the North Pole a couple of years ago.

Still on US generosity, and odd story from New Jersey, from the charmingly named Egg Harbor. One of its denizens popped his clogs recently, and The Press of Atlantic City published two obituaries, both supplied by the undertaker. One had been penned by the bereaved wife of Leroy ‘Blast’ Bill Black (crazy name crazy guy), and the other by his bereaved girlfriend.

Rather than get involved in a possible catfight with the two women, who already has enough to contend with, the paper generously agreed to print both versions, which were similar but not identical. No surprise there, I suppose. Nice gesture from the editor though.

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