Suited for space 

Dear Russian Space Agency, Having just read about the vacant tourist seat still up for grabs on the Soyuz capsule destined for the International Space Station, I'm writing to offer all the reasons why I should get to go instead of Lance Bass from 'N Sync or a supermodel, as jokingly requested by Cosmonaut Valery Korzun. I understand that this seat would normally cost millions of dollars, but I have successfully gotten people to give me things for free in the past (mostly advice, like "Who do you think you are?") and see no reason not to at least try.

Perhaps you feel someone with more expertise in rocket science, or even who knows how to drive a stick shift, might be better suited for this adventure. While I have slightly less technical know-how than one of those cats on "World's Funniest Animals" who can turn the TV off, I feel this might be an advantage. My ability to marvel at the skill of the astronauts and to say, "Wow, you must be a genius!" with genuine booster-club spunk will be a much-needed ego stroke to people who will be largely without phone calls, fan mail or even emotions -- as in ":)" means "smile face" -- for months at a stretch. People in a tight working environment always need someone to feel superior to, a Gilligan, a Ted Baxter, a moron to bond over and to be the butt of water-cooler humor.

Celestial bodies

Butt is something I feel I can provide in abundance. Speaking of, I don't know whether there have been any studies on sex in anti-gravity conditions, but I could initiate a few, which might make a pleasant sidebar to whatever else this mission is all about. This is particularly true if your space ship is stocked with the ingredients for Lemon Drops (ice-cold vodka, lemons, sugar) and a Spanish radio station. I can't promise this; after all, I don't know what any of your crew looks like. This drawback, if it is one, could be relieved with the provision of Halloween masks that look like any number of Hollywood celebrities, a list of which can be found in my diary. But, actually, a Benicio del Toro wig should about cover it. Just for kicks.

Kicks, I hate to tell you, are something space coverage is sorely lacking. The magnificence of space exploration should be an optimistic wonderland, especially compared to all the depressing and dangerous crap we are having to deal with these days. Yet, I believe any live-action space show would not draw as high a viewing audience as, say, Anna Kournikova washing her car in a cheerleading outfit. In addition to the concepts detailed above (pending availability of wig), I have a few ideas on how to bring a little more spark into space viewing, which as it is, makes some viewers bang on their TVs, thinking they're broken.

Changing orbits

First, change the name of the mission to "Temptation Station" and provide attractive models to lure astronauts away from their duties with rum drinks and hot-tub parties. People would tune in to anti-gravity hot-tub scenes. If you disagree, talk to my friends who can quote from "Blind Date" like they used to be able to from loftier sources, when they were in college and had to.

Also, there is not nearly enough catty dialogue in space, so I suggest taping some segments of the astronauts saying bitchy things about each other that only the on-board microphones and all the people on earth would hear. I have been watching MTV's "The Real World" and practicing: "Valery is, like, such a slut, and I just don't think he realizes how his behavior effects evvvverybody else on this plane. It's like, ugh."

Finally, what seems to be required here are the talents of a good road tripper, and I am that. In addition to being able to procure (or make up) books such as "Time Out: Saturn, Fodor's Van Allen Belt or Boring Space Ships on $5 a Day," I also have lots of good CDs and travel games. Plus, I would be willing to stage readings from "Ren and Stimpy" or Shakespeare.

I'm also good at asking questions, such as, "If you can expect the unexpected, doesn't the unexpected then become expected? And if so, should you still expect it?" This is something I think about while other people are talking, which also makes me a patient listener. Practical jokes are also a welcome diversion on a road trip, and I'm not above stuffing a dummy of an alien into the fridge dressed in American astronaut Peggy Whiston's underwear.

In conclusion, while I cannot bring things to the table like money, intelligence or boyband notoriety, I feel I can bring some much-needed amusement to the space show and would like to be considered for the journey. Plus, if this cruise happens during a PMS week, you could end up with two or three personalities for the price of one. Riveting television and cost effective.

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