Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Up like a cannonball

A couple of things caught my eye this morn as I perused my online NYT, but I’ll get to them in just a minute.


Last night on HIMYM, Ted Mosby, architect, finally got around to telling his kids the beginning of the story of how he met their mother. After a couple years wait, I might add.

I won’t go into all the funny details (in case some of you have it on your divver and haven’t watched yet) except to say Barney nails a body builder chick by accident (she calls it her cardio) and Ted Mosby, architect, meets the eyes of a woman he’s known as they wait at a crosswalk. But I say too much.

So, without giving too much away, I hope the next thing that happens is she introduces him to another woman who becomes those silent kids’ mother. Because if it’s her, I’m giving up on the show. The only thing making her his true love would do is turn Ted Mosby, architect, into Ted Mosby, total pussy push-over.

I can handle Barney having the hots for Robin, but Ted cannot fall for this woman. I’d much prefer he fall for Victoria, the baker. At least she didn’t leave him at the altar.

Ground Control to Major Tom
This article in the NYT, (Finally! He got to where he was going) about the shuttle heading to the Hubble, reminded me of my very first research paper in 7th grade about the shuttle. And by 7th grade research paper I mean copying information about the shuttle out of the library’s encyclopedia and a copy of NatGeo at home and presenting it as research.

The article got me to thinking. Do you still stop and look at the TV when a shuttle takes off? Is anyone else still amazed, and I mean deep down tingle in your stomach amazed, when you see those men and women ride a controlled bomb into, through and out of our atmosphere?

I’ll admit it, I do. If you don’t I can’t understand. Let me try something here: Imagine you’re you, and today’s still May 5, but instead of 2009, it’s 1961. Just 48 years ago. The Commie Reds have beaten the True Blue Defenders of Freedom and Right into space the month before and the defenders are now rolling the dice.

Down in Florida a young Naval Aviator, name of Alan B. Shepard Jr. is sitting high up in his 60-cubic-foot capsule (for reference, a 3x3x6-foot box is 54-cubic feet) and is waiting to blast off. To become the first American to ride a rocket toward space. The rocket in question attached to his Freedom 7 capsule is a retired Redstone missile. It's 60 feet long and about 6 feet in diameter and provides 78,000 pounds of thrust.

Pee-U-Knee. Puny by today’s standards, but it'd still kill ya.

When Atlantis launches toward Hubble next week, it will ride not only its three main engines (400,000 pounds of thrust each), but two, TWO!, solid rocket boosters. These boosters might have even scared Shepard, John Glenn, Gordo Cooper and company. (According to Mike Mullane, author of Riding Rockets, who flew the shuttle three times, they scare today’s astronauts.) Measuring in at 149 feet long and 12 feet in diameter, the SRBs together produce almost (finger to the corner of the mouth a la Dr. Evil) 6 million pounds of thrust.

Now imagine that Shepard’s back on Earth safe and sound. How do you feel? Our first steps in space were so small I’d barely dare to call them baby steps, but we’ve been there.

And we went back.

Imagine now that it’s July 20, 1969, just a little more than eight years later. We’ve gone from clawing toward the stars to walking on another planet.

July 20 is such an important day, in fact, you take your 2-month-old son from his bed and lay him in front of the black-and-white TV so that someday he can say he watched man walk on the moon for the first time.

And we’ll be back.

I don’t know about you, but if I’m near a TV next Monday, you can be sure I’ll take the eight and a half or so minutes — the time from lift-off to MECO (main-engine cut-off in orbit) — to watch man head toward the stars and inspire me one more time.


PQ said...

If it's her, I will find Ted Mosby and punch him myself.

Fearless in Toronto said...

Of course Barney has the hots for Robin - she's smoking hot AND Canadian. What's not to love?

FoggyDew said...

PQ - I'll hold him down for you...and then we can switch and beat some sense into him.

Fearless - You're right, she is one hot import. Also, you forgot she likes guns too. Or does that just go with the Canadian part?

Fearless in Toronto said...

I think that's particular to Western Canada...the only universals are beer, bacon and hockey. It says so right here on my passport.

JoLee said...

I will be watching with you, FD.

FoggyDew said...

Fearless - What about maple syrup, isn't there some type of leaf on there as well?

JoLee - Ah, another dreamer. Excellent. If they ran the thing to a tighter schedule, I'd make plans to go to Fla. to watch one take off in person.

LiLu said...

I really, REALLY need to get on this HIMYM bandwagon already.

FoggyDew said...

LiLu - First BSG and now HIMYM? What other television-based omissions in you're life do I have to correct?