Monday, January 08, 2007

Mystery solved!

Hold onto your hats, people! The tireless investigative efforts of the Blogfoot staff have blown the lid off the mystery of the lunar outhouse previously discussed in the story below. And although I appreciate the comments and emails regarding this, no readers managed to crack the case.

Turns out the lunar outhouse is actually....a portable observatory.

Let me set the scene for you. I took my dog for a walk Saturday morning, and grabbed my camera on the way out, as I wanted to get some more pics of the object. As I walked in front of the house, the garage door started to raise up! My pulse quickened. Would this be a chance to solve the mystery?

A car backed out with an old lady in it. My dog played his role perfectly, randomly sniffing around so that I wouldn't appear conspicuous. The lady waved at me, and I seized the opportunity, raising my index finger in the universal gesture that says "Hold on a minute, lady." She rolled down her window, I asked her what is was, and she told me.

She was quite pleasant, and indeed seemed very happy to talk about it. Turns out her husband was an engineer, and actually built this thing (two of them, actually) as prototypes for the government. They were designed for "the comfortable observation of specific celestial bodies under adverse conditions." It has a seat inside and is fully insulated, and yes, it was actually used at the South Pole at a research facility, most likely the one destroyed by a malevolent, shape-shifting alien in John Carepenter's 1982 horror/sci-fi classic "The Thing." I took another picture of the side, and here you can plainly see the bulk of the telescope apparatus. She said that you would just pop a lens in the top and Bob's your uncle.

Unfortunately, she was all bundled up in her car, otherwise I would have asked to go inside and sit down (and yes, I would have resisted the urge to crap in it). But now that I've broken the ice with the nice old lady, I will get in there at some point and gaze at the stars. Stay tuned for further tales of the portable observatory.

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