I had the great privilege to grow up in the ’50s & ’60s. Sure, the threat of nuclear annihilation at any moment was a pain in the rear and the Cuban Missile Crisis gave one pause but still, there was some real exciting stuff going on like Sputnik, Explorer 1 and the Mercury programme. Those early satellite launches were more the stuff of morning newspapers and the six o’clock news than live coverage. But with the advent of the Mercury manned launches, live coverage quickly became the norm.

So where does my mother fit into space flight? Well, she was the one to wake me and my brother up early in the morning so we could all huddle around our black and white TV to watch the launch preparations and hear that the launch had been scrubbed because a tube blew out in some equipment in some suddenly important tracking station on some island that we had never heard of. Delayed launches and non-launches were the order of the day back in those times and we often left for school with the count-down holding at T minus 2 hours or something like that.

Fortunately, we didn’t always miss the launch when it finally got around to happening. Educational TV was starting to pick up steam and soon, every classroom in DuPont Elementary school had access to a TV. This accessibility was brought home on Nov. 22, 1963 when our principal’s voice came over the PA system asking the teachers to turn on their TVs because there was something going on. Thus, we were able to watch that defining moment in television news when Walter Cronkite informed the nation that JFK had died in Dallas’ Parkland Hospital at 1:00 PM, CST.

Throughout the ’60s, Mom was our pre-launch alarm clock and we were able to watch most of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo launches; either at home or at school.. In 1969, we gathered around whatever dodgy black and white TV that my uncle had managed to find for us in Norfolk, VA and held our collective breath as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldren became the first men to land on the moon. Mom had us put out the American flag while she set about making peanut butter cookies for that evening’s moon-walk.

My mother was responsible for my ongoing fascination with space flight even if she didn’t quite understand all the technical bits. Nonetheless, she eagerly looked at every photo and listened to every detail of the pilgrimage my wife and I made to Cape Canaveral.

My mother departed this planet for places unknown on Feb. 20th of this year; The 50th anniversary of John Glen’s flight in Friendship 7. Scott Carpenter’s famous voice-over “- God-speed, John Glen” – came to mind this morning as I watched the launch of a Delta IV Heavy rocket for the National Reconnaissance Office on my tablet; Technology that would have totally astounded my mother. As the rocket rose from the launch pad, I said to myself:”Thanks, Mom”.

I’ve often thought that the networks should offer more coverage of the cheerleaders during college football games; Call it “cheer-cam” if you will. Make it a kind of picture-in-picture sort of thing. That way, you can follow the game and watch the cuties in short pleated skirts bouncing up and down on the sidelines at the same time.

Believe it or not, cheer leading is not confined to the US & Canada. You will find it at football matches in Europe and – in of all places – a Chinese airport. It keeps travelers enthralled during flight delays. For all the details, have a look at this story on CNN.com.

And China is not alone. While it is a good bit different from the American style, nonetheless there is cheer-leading at matches in Thailand. This story from CNN explains it all. Obviously, it’s something for the Thai “Lady-Boys” to aspire to.

Enjoy the stories and have a good day!


Earlier today, the CBS show This Morning reported a story about the results from an informal poll which came to the conclusions that a full 41 percent of women would like to have bigger breasts and that over 25 percent would be willing to trade a lower IQ for bigger breasts. (See The Story) Of course, there were negative reactions from feminist groups et. al, but before you get your knickers in a twist a little more consideration is needed.

For one thing, this was an informal online poll. While such surveys are far from scientific, they do give a glimpse of possible trends, opinions, etc. In other words, the results should be taken  with a grain of salt but not dismissed entirely.

Because it was an online poll, it is a given that anyone could take the poll – even men! There is always the chance that a certain amount of “poll-padding” took place as a prank.

Assuming that the vast majority of respondents were women, there is no break-down in the media – other than age – of the physical state of the women. Were painfully flat-chested women the ones willing to swap IQ for breast tissue? Were the respondents small-chested women who have trouble getting clothes to fit and look right? Were the respondents females who would feel just a bit more “womanly” with breasts that were a just a bit bigger? What did they mean by “Bigger”? Double D-cups??

Finally, there is no determination of just how many IQ points are being swapped for how much an increase. Do 5 points equal one cup size? The age range of the respondents was 18 to 25 years of age; the point in life where females begin to seriously consider attracting a mate. At that stage of life – and in this economy – the jobs they are taking are usually low-paying and less satisfying. In other words, their intelligence may not have had much of an impact on their life situation.

Despite the hand-wringing of feminists and women’s psychologists, the poll results are not a step backward. It is most likely due to the all-too-human desire to be more sexually attractive. This desire is not limited to women. There are plenty of guys who would like to have wash-board abs. Then too, there are all the blokes who respond to the Enzyte commercials.

How about a poll for the male half of the population? How many men would like to have a bigger penis? How many of you chaps would be willing to exchange I.Q. points for a bit more in the way of length and girth? How many of you would simply like to have one that just did what it’s supposed to, when it’s supposed to?

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