How Much Would You Pay For Space?

I’ve always wanted to go into space some day.  When I was a kid and Apollo missions were landing on the Moon every few months, that seemed like a real possibility.  Sci-fi features like 2001:  A Space Odyssey forecast that routine commercial travel to the Moon would be available a decade ago.  Of course, that didn’t happen . . . and now time seems to be running out.

But perhaps there’s still a chance for 50-something space traveler wannabes like me.  Virgin Galactic is nearing completion of the beautiful, futuristic spaceport shown at left, called the Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space, in the New Mexico desert.

The company plans on beginning passenger service in 2014.  When the spaceport is operational, would-be astronauts will board a small rocket plane tethered to a mother ship.  When the mother ship reaches a point nine miles above the earth, the rocket plane will be launched, the rocket will be ignited, the passengers will experience 3 gees of force as they zoom through the upper atmosphere until they encounter the blackness of space.  The pilot then will cut the rocket engine and the passengers will experience four minutes of weightlessness and have a chance to enjoy a view so vast they can see the curvature of the Earth.  Then the plane will reenter the atmosphere, hurtle back to Earth, and land on the spaceport’s long runway.

All this will be available to the average Joe — provided the average Joe can pony up $200,000 for the experience.  If I had millions of dollars in the bank, I’d do it.  Because I don’t have that kind of coin, however, I’ll just bide my time and hope that competition brings the price of space down to more manageable levels so that, someday, a codger like me will be able to enjoy the wonders of space.

Harlem Shake It Up

I’m probably late to the party on this one, but the latest viral dance craze called the Harlem Shake is fun and spontaneous for groups of people who work or hang out together. It’s reported that there have been over 40,000 versions so far on YouTube (I haven’t verified this).

The shake version as defined by Wiki begins with a lone figure in plain casual clothes with eccentric headgear. For fifteen seconds the individual grooves freestyle to a track of repetitive synthetic percussion by electronic musician Baauer. The colleagues of the dancer work on oblivious to the lone figures grooving then cut in and everyone is flailing, gyrating and getting in touch with their inner selves. Below are the Top Ten funniest.

My favorite is the guy in the bottom right corner on number 6 who looks as though he is getting shock therapy – hope you enjoy it as much as I did !

Batching It

My lovely wife is out of town for a few days, down visiting a friend in Florida.  So, I’m back to being a bachelor temporarily, and “batching it” kind of sucks.

IMG_3166The house seems awfully big and empty and quiet without Kish here.  Her absence disrupts our settled rhythms and routines in countless ways.  When I get home from work at night, I find two very hungry and impatient dogs who normally would have eaten several hours earlier.  They demand to be fed immediately and walked so they can give their bladders and intestinal systems some relief.  Without someone to sit down and converse with, my dinner becomes a sporadic, nibbling affair that typically extends over the course of 90 minutes and involves the standing consumption of a cup of cereal as one of the “courses.”

I find myself puttering around at night, straightening up, so the house will look nice when Kish gets home.  When I finally sit down to watch some TV, Penny and Kasey sit and stare at me where they used to stare at her.  Even worse, I find myself talking to them from time to time.  (They don’t answer — yet.)  And I sleep poorly, without the gentle sound of Kish’s breathing to lull me into slumber.

Don’t get me wrong:  I want Kish to have fun, and I’m happy when she takes trips and visits her friends and spends some time in warmer climates.  She deserves it.  But I miss her when she’s gone, and I’ll be happy when she returns and once more warms the house with her presence.