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Of AK-47s, Waldo and Jimmy Hoffa

The government is a real fumblefingers these days. In Afghanistan, U.S. officials have lost track of more than a third of 242,000 AK-47 assault rifles, mortars, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers bound for our Afghan allies. Some are probably in the hands of the Taliban. Oops.

In New Mexico, the Los Alamos nuclear weapons lab lost 67 computers. According to Watchdog group Project Government Oversight, officials claimed there was no classified stuff on any of them.

OK, it would be easy to find fault. But it's perfectly normal to lose stuff here and there.

Loss is a way of life in a universe moving from a state of more order to a state of less order.

Consider:

  • Bush's weapons of mass destruction.
  • More than 100 lost Russian nuclear bombs.
  • Atlantis.
  • Mu.
  • Waldo.
  • The Holy Grail.
  • The Arc of the Covenant.
  • Raphael's "Portrait of a Young Man."
  • The lost chord.
  • Enron.
  • The rest of Jerry Garcia's right middle finger.
  • James Doohan's (Scotty on "Star Trek") right middle finger.
  • Half of Rahm Emanuel's right middle finger.
  • The end of the right middle finger of actor Lee Van Cleef.
  • Astronaut "Deke" Slayton's left ring finger.
  • The seven cities of gold.
  • The lost city of Arabia (Ubar).
  • The crew of the Mary Celeste.
  • The Flying Dutchman.
  • The lost Dutchman Mine.
  • 181/2 minutes of Rose Mary Woods' Nixon tape from June 20, 1972.
  • Richard Nixon's secret 1968 plan for peace in Vietnam.
  • $23 billion missing in Iraq with little or no accounting.
  • Ernest Hemingway's Paris notebooks.
  • The second book of Aristotle's "Poetics."
  • Marx's definition of social class in Volume Three of "Capital."
  • The lost books of the Bible.
  • All the books in the Library at Alexandria.
  • Julius Caesar's collected sayings.
  • More than 80 plays by Aeschylus.
  • The word "Macbeth" spoken by an actor in a theater.
  • Any books or notebooks. that ever belonged to William Shakespeare.
  • Amelia Earhart.
  • Jimmy Hoffa.
  • Ambrose Bierce.
  • Virginia Dare.
  • Errol Flynn's son Sean.
  • Michael Rockefeller.
  • Hitler's body.
  • Janet Jackson's clothing (for 7/16ths of a second).
  • 90 percent of the matter in the universe.

(According to Big Bang cosmology and very large-scale observations, all the billions of galaxies and galaxy clusters that can be seen in the known universe probably make up only about 4 percent of total energy density. About 22 percent is thought to be mysterious dark matter than cannot be seen.)

Most of the energy in the universe.

(The remaining 74 percent of the universe is thought to be the even weirder "dark energy," which is believed to be distributed diffusely in space.)

Six gazillion unpaired socks.

And lots of other stuff, but we're out of space. Now if I can just find my keys.