New universe, new silly acronyms

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 17, 2006

My very excellent mother can just serve us nine pizzas carrying xylophone.

It makes no sense!

But there are only 19 X words in my dictionary (granted, it&8217;s from 1995). And those 19 include Xmas and Xerox, two words I say shouldn&8217;t be in the dictionary anyway.

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So, try finding an X word to plop at the end of a sentence about pizzas. I&8217;m not sure it can be done.

Textbook writers, game makers and educators around the country have no choice but to start thinking at this point.

Thanks to the world&8217;s astronomers, the acronym that got me through grade school may not be one I can share with my children.

Pending a vote of the International Astronomical Union (sounds like a party) this week, our nine planets may become 12 &8212; two more Cs and a possible X.

Fortunately, the nickname Xena is likely to change, giving acronym-makers a little breathing room.

One of the Cs &8212; Ceres &8212; falls between Mars and Jupiter. Charon comes after Pluto and before Xena, aka, 2003 UB313.

I found 20 variations of the Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto acronym on the Internet. In addition to &8220;my very excellent mother just served us nine pizzas,&8221; there&8217;s the odd &8220;make very easy mash just squash up new potatoes,&8221; and the logical &8220;my very easy method just speeds up naming planets.&8221;

For the just plain ridiculous, try &8220;many vile earthlings make jam sandwiches under newspaper piles.&8221;

With the new letters, it&8217;s probably best to abandon the existing word games for a new acronym altogether.

It&8217;s the end of an era.

But why do we need new planets anyway? How does promoting a moon and two hunks of rock to planets affect us?

I think the astronomers are just vying for attention again.

I only hope the naming of three new planets and the IAU (remember, International Astronomical Union) convention don&8217;t cost any government dollars.

We spend too much on space as it is, we surely don&8217;t need to sink dollars into Xena the warrior princess and her closest friend Charon.

Yet, some textbook publishers, planetarium managers and teachers seem to think the addition of three new planets will spark a new interest in the solar system, encouraging children to learn about it.

For the planetariums, once they figure out where to stick the new orbs, the change means more business.

Most textbooks release revisions yearly anyway, and I&8217;m sure printing companies won&8217;t complain about having to sell a set of books all over again because of new planets.

So maybe it&8217;s all about marketing. The current campaign was aging, so shake things up a little.

Regardless, it&8217;s likely to be a decade before new books find their way into our local schools, leaving teachers to create their own acronyms, find Internet resources and make their solar models from scratch.

You try being the second-grade teacher who has to tell her students that their textbook is wrong, that will open all kinds of excuse doors when test time rolls around.

My vetoing extra masses can justify saving unicorns not playing country xylophone.

Still makes no sense!

I give up, someone else try.

Julie Finley

is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or