Dick Gordon, American astronaut, RIP

Another American hero is gone, the likes of which I despair of seeing in the rest of my lifetime.

Dick Gordon

Richard “Dick” Gordon, an Apollo-era NASA astronaut who became the fourth American to walk in space and one of 24 humans to fly to the moon, died on Monday, November6 at the age of 88.

The command module pilot had a lonely job on moon missions: He stayed in the CM while the two other astronauts descended to and walked on the moon.

Whenever the spacecraft orbited around the far side while astronauts were on the surface, the CMP would become, for a few minutes, the most cut-off, loneliest human being in the universe.

It might not have been as glamorous as walking on the moon, but it was heroism nonetheless.

During turbulent times, America was once able to soar to the moon, if ever so briefly. Now, we can’t seem to gather the courage, will, and ability to compromise to fix health care, tackle gun deaths and help those in poverty, the way other countries with fewer resources have done.

I miss America.

Angry Trek fans denounce new Trek before they’ve seen it (2017 and 1987 editions)

Before the launch of Star Trek: Discovery, pause and reflect that the 1987 launch of Star Trek: The Next Generation was met with a subset of angry fans condemning it before they’d seen it (see below).

Now, 30 years later, TNG is held by some Trekkies to be as sacred as TOS.

Will Discovery be good? Who knows. But as a confirmed Trekkie myself, and as someone who also enjoys the movies (even the Abrams ones), I know that Trek belongs on the smaller screen in serialized form.

But don’t forget, it took a more than two seasons before TNG found its footing, and TOS wasn’t perfect (most of the third season was awful).

The early word is that DSC is good (DSC is the approved three-letter designation, avoiding an unfortunate STD nomenclature). I am ignoring the voices of those Trekkies who have pronounced a fatwa against it before they’ve even seen it.

Nor do I care that much about continuity. (Okay, I care a little bit, but not like continuity should be considered an infallible text.) Just make it a good show with compelling characters and thought-provoking stories. Oh, and take advantage of 1080p and make it visually sumptuous.

I will definitely be watching Sunday.


One day all the stars will fall from the sky, but they won’t fall to earth.


Scientists now know that the universe is not only expanding but also that expansion is gaining speed. There’s a point at which we can’t see or detect anything; that’s because the far “edge” of the universe is moving away from us – relatively – at the speed of light.

As this expansion continues, in hundreds of millions of years, the galaxies we’re now able to see will go behind this “wall,” and will be lost from our sight. It’s possible, if there are any astronomers billions of years from now, they’ll have no idea what a galaxy is. They will have never seen one, will never be able to see one.

If this expansion continues, at some point in the far future all the stars in the sky will be receding at the speed of light, and they’ll be lost to us forever. We’ll know nothing of stars.

But it won’t stop there. At some point the outer planets will go, then the inner ones. And as the expansion continues, there would be some point at which the walls of the room you’re in would fall out of your view. And then your extremities, and then your mind.

This is the eventual “death” of the universe: All points flying away from each other at the speed of light, every speck, every atom, every subatomic particle receding away from each other at the speed of light, absolutely everything that exists falling behind an event horizon. This is a process that started all the way back to the Big Bang. Our death warrant was signed even then.

So go ahead and get the large fries.

The gold rush

Sam BrannanSam Brannan was an enterprising man who established a general store near Sutter’s Mill shortly after the discovery of gold in 1848. Sutter aimed to keep it quiet to make a fortune for himself and not have to share it. But Brannan knew that a gold rush would soon be on, so he stocked his store with items he was aware that the thousands of incoming prospectors would need.

But to make sure word about the gold got out, he walked down the middle of a street in what would one day be San Francisco, waving a pouch of gold over his head, and cried, “Gold from the American River!”

All in all, a significant day in the history of advertising.

Someone shouted “Traitor” when President Trump referred to John McCain

John McCain is many things, but he is not a traitor. One may disagree with him politically, but he has never betrayed the United States. He served and sacrificed.

During his campaign rally Tuesday night in Phoenix, President Trump talked about the failed Republican effort to kill Obamacare, noting that the Senate fell “just one vote” short, referring to McCain, whose one vote scuttled the GOP push.

It was at that moment that someone in the audience screamed “Traitor!” apparently referring to McCain, a Navy veteran who spent several years in a Vietnam prisoner of war camp.

A “movement built on love”?

It’s hard to take President Trump seriously when he said, during his campaign rally in Phoenix Tuesday night, that his “movement is built on love,” that he loves all Americans, that all Americans should love each other, and that we should all have “affection” for each other. Then he went on to spend almost all of his time expressing hate and condemnation of American reporters and journalists, and inviting his supporters to boo and shout obscenities at them for several minutes. ‬

Also, I lost count of how many times he’s complained CNN isn’t carrying his speech live…. live on CNN.

Trump supporter confronting reporters