Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A Hankering for Home

Somethings here in Texas are a bit strange...and do they get strange! This is the land of Texas...bigger than any other dadgum thing in the Lower 48. Better than anything in the Lower 48. Food? Better than the rest. And music? ...You've got it. Better than any other state. ...RIGHT...uh, huh.

So I go into the local Best Buy here (a thing I normally DON'T do simply because Best Buy is horrible at stocking decent music and is WAY overpriced). I go in with the specific goal to finish off the little remainder left on my gift card from some time ago for a CD that I would really like. So I scour their meager collection of CD's while listening to their blaring pop/rap garbage (BLAH!), and finally locate the small jazz section...and I mean SMALL. I go to ask the poor teenage smuck working the floor a question. "Do you know where your Pete Fountain is?" I ask, referring to the legendary New Orleanian clarinetist. All I get back is a blank stare. "Pete who?"

ARGH! What is with these people! I thought to myself. Pete Fountain, Al Hirt...don't you know?!

"What genre of music is he in?" he asks with a blank stare still on his face. "Jazz," I reply with heavy desperation. I wanted to add "you fool" to the end of it, but I restrained myself...just enough. Finally, he goes to search his computer terminal for this "phantom" artist. Sure enough, there's ol' Pete on the screen, but by that time I mused that it was quite alright and that he needn't worry. I would be able to find it elsewhere and at a better price. I grumbled as I found a decent (but a tad overpriced) Frank Sinatra CD, Sinatra Reprise: The Very Good Years, and walked out the store.

That's it...only for me!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

"The Rockets' Red Glare..."

Finally, a clear day at the launch pad! The first Independence Day manned spaceflight launch, what a sight! They couldn't have picked a better day to have to scrub to. The weather appears to be perfect and the fallen-foam problem turns out, at the first cursory glance, to be not a problem. What a great day!

"If you hear a voice within you say ' You are not a Painter' then by all means PAINT...and forever silence that voice." - Vincent van Gogh

Saturday, July 01, 2006

To the Edge and Back: The Space Shuttle & the Status of NASA

It is becoming apparent, as the days pass by, that NASA's prominence is waning. Gone are the glory years of the Space Race, where risks were taken and success was found, despite the heavy costs. Every time I listen to the news and their negative-to-a-fault discussion of this foam problem, that I am sickened at the entire problem. Similar to what 9-11 was to global politics, the Columbia accident was to the American awareness of the risks of space. While Challenger taught us as a nation not to take anything for granted, the Columbia accident has driven us to fear the unknown. However, this is not the best result for us as a nation. We must accept the inevitable and accept a certain amount of risk and do the best we can do to get what must be done actually done. Not because of some fanciful desire to fulfill someone's dream but to do what must be done, accepting danger and surmounting it. We mustn't step back from progress, but forward to the future. Simply because failure is not an option.

Godspeed to the Discovery crew in their important mission.