Friendship 7

John Glenn, 1921-2016

The date was February 20, 1962.

It was less than a year since President John F. Kennedy committed the country with a goal that an American should set foot on the moon by 1970. Despite Alan Shepard’s suborbital flight on Freedom 7 a short twenty days prior to JFK’s statement, Americans landing on the moon in such a short time then seemed like a lofty goal. Then again, the Soviet Union might beat the Americans there, though the President didn’t specify we should be first.

The Russians kept getting to the milestones before the USA could. After the maiden manned space flight of Yuri Gargarin’s that beat our effort by 23 days, they sent another cosmonaut named Gherman Titov on a flight that went over a full day on August 6th. That took place a couple of weeks after Liberty Bell 7 nearly ended disastrously for Gus Grissom, as he was rescued after his capsule sunk into the Atlantic Ocean.

To catch up to the efforts of the Soviet Union, NASA took a gamble on placing a Mercury capsule on an Atlas booster, a rocket notorious more for its failures than its successes with a highlight reel of untimely explosions and bloopers. It perpetuated the myth that anything the Russians could do, the Americans couldn’t. That mystique all came to an end on that February morning and afternoon with Glenn’s three orbits of the Earth. Suddenly, the space race battle between the USA and the USSR had truly been joined. It would end with an American victory as Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon on board Apollo 11’s lunar module in 1969.

Glenn returned to orbit in the fall of 1998 at age 77 on board the space shuttle Columbia, becoming only the third standing member of government to ride into space, and breaking the record for the oldest astronaut ever to make orbit. He served Ohio as its senator for several terms, and served our country in World War II and as a test pilot before his space career began.

He passed away today at age 95, and the year of 2016 that has claimed so many household names claims at least one more.

Podcast Hunting

I’m always shuffling my podcast interests, and my recent “jam” (pun intended) is finding podcasts based on music. I stumbled upon a couple of winners (or so I think) yesterday: The Johnny Cash Radio Hour and Dead Fantasy.

The latter of the two is nothing but Grateful Dead music, about two and a hours worth a podcast. I’m 85% of the way through the first episode I’ve listened to as of this writing, and I haven’t heard any commercials. It’s just music, music, and more music.

The Johnny Cash podcast was also pretty interesting. The most recent hour-long episode that I heard dealt with nothing but all of the songs related to trains that “The Man In Black” sang in his career that spanned six decades. I thought I knew a considerable amount about Johnny, but it paled to comparison to the knowledge of the host of the program, Bill Miller.

For instance, I didn’t know that there was a 1975 version of his classic song “Hey Porter” out there, which was Johnny’s first single in 1954 with the Tennessee Two.

Lots of podcasts out there, certainly enough for everyone’s tastes.



Harry On The Pounce


I was playing with Harry this morning, and all of sudden, he saw my arm as a piece of steak and started attacking it, crashing his small body into my limb and attacking it like a competitive eater.

I yelped, “UHHH!  AHHH!  Harry, NOOO!” He attacked with such zest, I had to smack him one to get him off of me.

A few minutes later, marks started to appear on my arm.  Off to the bathroom to apply Neosporin and peroxide.

He does this occasionally. Most of the time he’s fine, but there’s that one time in 100 where he thinks he’s a tiger. The odd thing is he’ll cry a bit while he does it. Maybe he realizes the remorse he has attacking is friend…me?

Harry always has had a bit of feral cat in him, but I thought in the last week or so we had bonded better than we ever had before. Then, this happens.  Oh well, back to the drawing board.

Diary Of A Chambermaid

You mean to tell me that Netflix had a French movie without nudity in it? Why yes, yes they did. It did have a couple of sex scenes in it, but nope, no body parts went flopping around.

I’ve only seen Lea Seydoux in three movies, but it is starting to dawn on me that she’s a pretty decent actress. In this movie, she plays the role of Celestine, a maid who works in a few houses in Victorian-era France. Times are tough, but her colleagues are even tougher and rougher, including an anti-Semetic caretaker who falls in love with Seydoux’s character.

Don’t want to mention too much more, as it would give the story away. Not a bad flick, if you don’t mind reading subtitles for roughly an hour and a half.

Left News, Right News, Fake News, Real News…

Whether you are a Republican, a Democrat, or an Independent in the United States of America, can we at least agree that after the 2016 Presidential Elections, the landscape of politics will never be the same?

A good example of this is this uproar over the so called “fake news” out there. It is true that there are some sites on Facebook and Twitter that will, as Peter Finch playing Howard Beale said in the movie Network, tell you any s*** you want to hear. The world of the news has turned into that amusement park and circus the Beale character mentioned some 40 years ago.

Now, there’s the added twist of the animals having escaped from their cages, not just on the so-called “fake news” side, but on the “real news” side as well. Mr. Trump’s victory is a crushing blow to that side. So, instead of waiting for the GOP to take steps to make sure a Trump like candidate can never win again in 2020, or 2024 and beyond (and the GOP might go to a “super-delegate” system like the Democrats have anyway), they start with this fractious paradigm of what’s real news and what’s fake.

Just speaking for myself, it smacks of fascism. The best editor of what’s real and what’s fake news is YOURSELVES. Find the truths for yourselves, even if you don’t believe me, or think I’m full of beans.

Tragedy In Oakland

They went to a rave club on Friday night. They probably went for a menagerie of reasons, to blow off steam from the stresses of the week, to celebrate the weekend ahead chief among them, no doubt.

They partied at a rave club in Oakland, not knowing what was about to happen. As many of you know by now, a massive fire broke out in the club, moving faster than the people partying could escape from. As of this morning, they know of 36 people who have perished, with the toll perhaps moving higher still.

The media, as it often does, will second guess the decisions and policies the club had, though there is a lot to second guess. The incident itself has parallels to similar events in recent history, such as the Coconut Grove nightclub fire in Boston in 1942 that killed nearly 500. More recently, there was the fire at a Great White concert in Rhode Island that killed 100 at a Rhode Island nightclub in 2003.

Laws will be passed in memorial to the fallen, in an attempt to keep something like this from happening again. There will always be a chance something like this happens, though we don’t spend enough time thinking about it, or so it seems to me. The government could pass one law to change things, or a million. Doesn’t matter. Random chance will always rear its ugly head in the most tragic of ways.

I’m a believer that when it’s time for us to leave the world, it happens, no matter what we do or want to do. Sooner or later, something like this will happen again. We don’t learn from history, so we are, as the adage goes, doomed to repeat it.