Saturday, August 25, 2012

Neil Armstrong dies...

Neil as taken by Buzz Aldrin.

August 25, 2012 -The reluctant hero has died.

Neil Armstrong, has died at the age of 82.  The former Navy pilot and engineer   was the first man to walk on the moon.  Hey, but you knew that...

What always struck me is that didn't really want to be a hero.  Of course, many of the astronauts were like that, they knew that they were just glorified space monkeys.  The rocket ship could be sent up without them, or with them either way it  would still get there.  The astronauts were just a small part of a large team of people getting those rockets to the moon. Indeed, a whole nation can take credit.  As Paul Simon once put it, America, was "the ship that sailed the moon." Twenty Five Billion  (1969) dollars had been spent in pursuit of the goal.

 Armstrong  was more than a space monkey-he actually had to pilot his ship,the lunar module, called  the Eagle,  to safety.   They were  having trouble with the original planned landing site, and Armstrong, ended  up having to  improvise a landing site.  The fuel supply on the Eagle was getting to the point where the landing would have to be aborted, but Armstrong finally found a good spot to land. So, he was not just a space monkey.  Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin  spent less than a day on the moon   and returned home to Earth.  The Apollo 11 mission  was  the first  of six successful landings on the moon.  

Many people who were alive then,  remember where they were  when they saw  the landing on July 20, 1969. I don't  remember exactly where I was.  I remember that sometimes they brought all the kids in school together to watch some of the space missions. Since it was summer, I was  probably watching the TV that been set up in my brother's room.  Neil actually put his foot on the moon at 9:56 PM EST. The landings were  conveyed on TV in B&W  and were  blurry, but they were  still impressive.

In light of our current day culture where you can be famous just for being famous, it is important to remember that fame is fleeting, but true  accomplishment is not. I salute Neil Armstrong and all the  brave men and women of the American Space Program!




Prince William still going bald, Bieber and Camilla object.

A prominent citizen of the commonwealth objects to Prince William's hair loss!

 Going Bald...

 I must say it's rather traumatic to see Prince William go bald.  And now, apparently he is getting grief from two of the most hated people in the world. Justin Bieber, and Camilla (the hated consort of Prince Charles) have recently suggested that something needs to be done about his hair.   Camilla says he should get a wig, and Bieber suggests that the Prince needs to take Propecia.  Bieber said, "I don't know why he doesn't just get those things, those products. You just take Propecia and your hair grows back. Have you not got it over here?" Hmm...but... I still think Kate Middleton is better looking than Selena Gomez.  And Camilla well she ain't no Lady Di!

Hot!

Ten years ago Wills  was the world's most eligible bachelor , and now he is this average looking guy with a an advancing bald spot. ( His brother, Harry still has a full head of orange hair. That's rather strange, are we sure they're related?)  One website, had the audacity to suggest that his advancing baldness is why Wills  rushed to get Kate to marry him, as if  eventually being the Queen of England wasn't enough for Kate.

 I just don't  like it when people get older, perhaps that's  because my father looked the same almost the whole time I knew him.  I find it weird when one year somebody has hair and a few years later it is all gone. I'm thinking here of Michael Stipe, or Peter Gabriel, or Bruce Willis.  Women  have a different  problem,  there always  just rushing to change their hair color. Is there  a point to this post, no not really. But I do  hope Kate won't be changing her hair color soon. 

 

 


Kate please don't dye your hair.!
Sadly, Not Hot....You might have to avert your eyes on this one!





(Update:November 2013-Kate let gray roots show in a few photos-and right away-people were demanding she dye her hair-the horror-the horror!)



AND NOW PRINCE HARRY IS GOING  BALD TOO!!!
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Jerome Bixby's man from earth...

Imagine what it would  be like to be a man that lived on Earth, but never died.   It's a concept that the late Science Fiction writer Jerome Bixby explored twice.  

His first go at this idea was in the script for the 1969 Star Trek episode, "Requiem for Methuselah".
The Enterprise encounters, Flint, a character played with eloquence by James Daly. They discover, that his character, is effectively immortal, and that over his many life times has actually been many  famous men, including, among others,"Solomon, Alexander, Lazarus, Methuselah, Merlin".

The episode itself, is flawed  by low production values, and with it's focus on a silly fight over a android female,  but the concept of an immortal man is wonderful, and  Bixby and Daly capture the  arrogance, and  grace of  a man who has seen it all.   There is some elegant dialogue in the piece, including a little noted scene at the end where, McCoy and Spock are seen  reacting to a sleeping but emotionally distraught Captain Kirk, who has become heartbroken from seeing  the android woman he loved die of confusion.  

McCoy tells Spock that  he feels more sorry for the unemotional Vulcan than  the heartbroken Captain.

"You see, I feel sorrier for you than I do for him...
because you'll never know the things that love can drive a man to :
the ecstasies, the miseries,
the broken rules, the desperate chances,
the glorious failures, the glorious victories.
All of these things you'll never know...
simply because the word "love" isn't written into your book"

But actually, Spock does understand  as he as half-human, and at the end Spock  is seen using the Vulcan mind meld, to make the Captain forget. 


The concept of an almost  immortal character, was clearly something that needed to be explored  further, and Bixby came back to it as his last project.

Right before Jerome Bixby died in 1998, he finished a script called"Man from Earth" about a similar character,  to Flint. A movie, was made of the script in 2007.  The script is actually very simple, it features a professor, named John, revealing the  secret of his near immortality  to  a group of  mostly college professor  friends.  They are quite skeptical of his claim, but nonetheless, humor John  long enough to  allow the group to explore the  idea.  It is rare for a script to just let characters sit down and talk and  analyze one idea. 

The movie has  been well received by those who have seen it,  which so far has not been  too many people, since the movie, has had only a  limited theatrical release.    I do recommend that you see this movie  if you like intellectually stimulating movies.   The movie is  of interest to  Star Trek fans since not only did Bixby write it  but also  since it stars at least four actors who have appeared in recent Star Trek series; most notably, John Billingsley (Dr.Phlox) and Tony Todd (Worf's brother)  The only irritating thing about the movie, is that has quite a atheistic slant, but that's a minor criticism.  

Additional note: Trekkies will know this of course, but Jerome Bixby was one of the most important script  writers of  the original Star Trek series , he wrote four episodes including the famous  2nd season episode,  
" Mirror Mirror" which introduced a parallel universe to the Star Trek myth, and brought us the fascinating idea of Spock with a beard.