The purpose of this blog is to have a little fun. It is NOT to start arguments. I don't profess to be an expert on Sci-fi, nor do I aspire to become an expert. You are welcome to comment on any and all content you find here. If my opinion differs from yours, as far as I am concerned, it's all okay. I will never say that you are wrong because you disagree with me, and I expect the same from those that comment here. Also, my audience on the blog will include some young people. Please govern your language when posting comments.

Posts will hopefully be regular based on the movies I see, the television shows I watch, and the books I read as well as what ever strikes me as noteworthy.

Spoilers will appear here and are welcome.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Dark Side of the Moon Race...

Walter Cronkite
I remember the early days of the space program.  My dad would wake me up in the wee hours of the morning whenever there was a launch on television.  We would watch and listen to Walter Cronkite as he and usually an astronaut would comment on mission details and would hang on every word as Jack King gave updates on the specifics on the condition of the space craft and astronauts aboard.  I remember how I viewed everyone at NASA.  In my mind, they were all a very large group of Boy Scouts who were above scandal, just as NASA, Life Magazine, and the television media would have us believe.  After I watched the movie, The Right Stuff, and read Tom Wolfe's book of the same title, my views grew up and I began to understand that the people at NASA were just as flawed as the rest of humanity.

I have just recently finished reading another book that has further shed some light into the wheelings and dealings that took place in landing men on the moon.  The Man Who Ran The Moon: James E. Webb and the Secret History of Project Apollo by Piers Bizony outlines the activities that took place during the tenure of Jim Webb, NASA Director from 1961 to 1968.

From humble beginnings growing up in North Carolina, Webb rose to become the second director of our nation's space agency.  When President John F. Kennedy declared in a speech that it was a goal of the United States to land a man on the moon and return him safely back to the earth before the end of the decade (1960's), Webb made it his personal mission to make it happen.  So began the dealings that chose where elements of the space agency were to be located, and what contractors would be chosen to build the machines.  It is really about the politics that surrounded the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs.  This book tells the story of how congressmen, senators, and presidents jockeyed  to get NASA centers located in their states to aid their positive images for their constituents.  Most of what took place during Webb's time went unnoticed by the general public until the Apollo 1 fire that claimed the lives of astronauts Grissom, White and Chaffe.  After a microscopic investigation of that disaster, many of the back-room dealings were exposed and Webb was compelled to resign his position before the results of his work came to fruition.

Piers Bizony
Webb was was not painted as a shady character in Bizony's book, but rather as a man who was determined to make sure the job got done while facing impossible odds; especially the challenges of getting the program funded.  

Bizony wrote this book in a "just the facts" style, including an index and foot notes annotating his sources of information.  I wouldn't call this a very exciting read, but indeed very interesting for students of NASA history.  If you, like I did, have the "Boy Scout" image of the workings of NASA during the 1960's, and would like to preserve this image, you wouldn't want to read it.  It is a deep look into the behind-the-scenes workings of NASA.

Podcast News...
Recently I have listened to editions of the Scifi Diner Podcast episode #162.  In this episode, Scott and Miles discuss what they are watching and enjoying and include a very nice story about Stan Lee's efforts to help a young man keep his spirits up as he recovers from injury.

I also listened to Wayne Henderson's latest episode of LOSTcasting with Wayne and Dan as they discuss and play listener feedback on the lasting influence of Lost three years after the show was cancelled.  I never got to watch lost while it was on and have only watched the pilot episode, but that was a few years ago.  This episode has piqued my interest and I do intend to give this series a look, when and if I ever have time.

My Current Sci-Fi Acivity...
I have begun reading Peter David's ST: New Frontier series novel, Treason.  I also am continuing to stream Fringe from Amazon and am currently watching Firefly on Blue Ray.  I am getting into watching Continuum on the SyFy Channel and am really grateful that they are actually showing some sci-fi for a change.

Well, there it is...