Forty years ago, I was crawling around in diapers when Neil Armstrong planted his flesh-and-blood foot on the moon. The MOON!
Well, I missed the whole thing. The historical significance of the event was beyond my comprehension. Consequently, the iconic image of the earth rising over the dusty moonscape never struck me as unusual or bizarre. Years later, when I was in my teens, fiction writer James Michener opened my eyes to the marvel of it all, the risks, and the fact that until they landed, the crew of Apollo 11 half-expected to sink into six feet of powdery dust.
“NASA never understood the need for a philosopher corps,” Wolfe writes. With all of its smarts, the American space program lacks a poet, someone able to spark enough general enthusiasm for building a bridge to the stars.
Such a philosopher would find his work cut out for him. My generation is hard to impress. When was the last time you were truly floored by a scientific discovery or piece of technology? We expect daily, small-scale marvels. Turn on the news. There they are.
The last time I felt fullblown wonder at a scientific advance was in 1992. I was sitting in front of a computer, and my husband was explaining the Internet terms “gopher,” “archie” and “veronica.” He punched the return key. A tiny green star whirled on the black screen.
“Your computer is making another computer in Denmark look something up,” he said. I hardly believed him. Then text appeared, in Danish, pre-Google, like primitive paintings on the cave walls near Lascaux, France.
Western New York native Stephanie Finney is studying in London. She had a funny thing happen. In her own words . . .
(post by Steph Finney)
Okay! Here's the story.
So yesterday, I went for my haircut, which was on Portobello Road.
It's no secret that I am an automobile nerd. While I drive a humble 11-year-old Subaru with 172,000 miles on it, I always envision myself maneuvering an eight-cylinder, two-seated, rear-engined supercar with something called "sodium-cooled exhaust valves" and carbon-fiber cupholders. Unfortunately these types of cars are expensive, and I play trombone and work for public radio--both admirable pursuits, but neither going to cover the cost of even one of the two dual-overhead camshafts I so desire. Now, if you play the piano, then it's a different story! No, you'll still be a starving artist, but at least you can play one of these:
In my hours of slaving over a hot computer every day, I came across two different views of how the Chinese are taking a liking to some of our art forms. Apparently Western classical music is huge there, and so is...completely ripping off the styling of Western automobiles.
What do British people do when they get really angry about their elected officials spending hideous amounts of taxpayer money on things like life-size statues of Winston Churchill made out of Legos? They write an opera, of course.