Jul 27, 2011

Mailing It In

Today I read this totally random article about the so-called “Covers Scandal” that moon rocked NASA in 1971. And, no, this had nothing to do with sexual harassment or gays in the shuttle program.

Stupid story short: a couple of Apollo 15 astronauts took some 400 postage-stamped envelopes (called first-day covers, hence the name of the scandal) into space with the intention of selling them as souvenirs upon their return. When NASA brass found out, they confiscated the covers and publicly “disgraced” the spacemen for unauthorized shenanigans. At least I think that was the official charge. Anyway, the naughty ‘nauts ultimately had the last laugh as it turns out government confiscation of their personal property is against, like, the Constitution. Though I can see how a government agency could overlook something so complex.

Now, usually I’d tuck info like this snuggly into the “who gives a shit?” brain file – you know, the one that makes me a hoot in intimate social settings yet prevents the sticky build-up of any specialized, useful knowledge. But not this time.

This article made me think: if astronauts can’t even have good, clean, fun at work...then really, what hope do the rest of us have? They put their lives at risk by being shot into outer space via government rockets, goddamit! Juxtaposed the crap that has gone on at NASA in more recent years, this covers business is so harmless a “scandal” that it almost sounds made up. Shit, they didn't even have Ebay in 1971. How were they even gonna unload the cosmic covers?

Back to my point. I know how unnecessarily crazy work makes some folks. (This became apparent recently when I actually said, out loud, “Yes, we have no bananas” during a team meeting, and had to be talked out of posting “Arbeit Macht Frei” above my cubicle.) And this doesn’t have to be. I won’t lay out specifics because I suspect if you’re reading this you already know (and probably share) my opinions on how the modern workplace has stretched the outer limits of common sense.

I just feel sorry for us. And for those philatelist pilots.

NASA Space Transport System, R.I.P (7/21/2011)

Jul 25, 2011

Out to Lunch

How could a day that began with such sights as these end with a trip to the emergency room for a matter completely NOT related to food or airborne bacterial/viral-infection?

God, I love the shore!

Jul 15, 2011

What a Character

I have a confession to make. When things get tough, I don’t always seek solace in my friends, family, or even my husband. In fact, there is another man.

I am not proud of this truth, but it’s time I own up to it. You see, in times of emotional overload I find myself turning to Kevin Costner. Well, not Kevin Costner exactly…Kevin Costner films.

Until fairly recently, I never thought of myself as much of a fan of the actor let alone acknowledged his filmography as an anodyne. I’m not sure how it happened (that’s what they always say, isn’t it?), but over the years it became clear. No matter how bad things are, a good Costner flick is sure-fire means to make things better for 2 hours...or more in the case of JFK.

While I’d be hard pressed to name a favorite overall film (because the honest answer is “it depends”), there is certainly one thing I can rank. Three things, actually. And those are the “Top 3 Kevin Costner Characters I’d Fall for in Real Life.”

So without further build up, I bring you this list borne out of boredom with the nonmovie-like constraints of everyday living.

3. Jim Garrison* (JFK): I not only dig the Ronsirs, sir, but the worldview you see through them: shit yeah, it’s a conspiracy! You’re a seeker of Truth & Justice. You can recognize faults in the system, but still believe in its principles. You have faith, but will never drink the Kool-Aid. As a natural leader and maverick, you possess bold ideas and the ability to execute them (prosecutor joke). But while your tenacity is a turn-on, you seem all too susceptible to the slippery slope into all-out stubbornness. Plus, you overwork your staff. Pass.

2. Ray Kinsella (Field of Dreams): What is not to love? You are warm, loving, nurturing, and know when to follow your intuition. You are the catalyst for second chances: yours, your family’s (even the dead ones), Mann’s, Moonlight Graham’s, Shoeless Joe’s, etc. And, Goddamn it, you love you some baseball. My only hesitancy is that sans supernatural intervention, you would have eventually grown deeply dissatisfied with your life. We can’t go around depending on the supernatural, can we? And you kinda did put your livelihood at risk with all that dream-chasing. What if the “voice” turned out to be complications from a brain tumor? Oooh, I smell an alternate ending.

1. Crash Davis (Bull Durham): Ah, yes...the intelligent, witty, sexy catcher who’s a straight-shooter to boot. Bet you didn’t see this coming. You’re a man of knowledge and experience but, more importantly, experiences. You accept your lot as the “player to be named later” today with an understanding that you are working for tomorrow. No doubt you’ll be back in the “show”...as a manager. And that suits you better anyhow. You teach without preaching and you can make your point understood even to the numbest of skulls. You’re cool on the surface, but inside you’re white-hot with passion about what matters to you. Oh, Crash...your character is probably just as “realistic” as Ray Kinsella’s, but with a mouth that can (at the very least) dish dialog like this, who gives a shit?

We all deserve a bit of fantasy.

* Yeah, I know this is based on a real person. This analysis applies strictly to the movie Garrison.

Jul 5, 2011

When You Least Expect It

Following a pretty non-eventful visit to the chiropractor and breakfast with friends, we took a ride through some of the industrial streets in between where we were coming from and where we were going.

Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a baby blue and chrome SOMETHING in the parking lot of a pedestrian pizza place plaza in Little Ferry. 

"Turn around!" I yelled. "What, what..?" "Just go back, I saw something in that lot."

Now, there are about three people out there who will "get" this...but yes, it's a 1952 Hudson Hornet. And yes, it was FABULOUS.

Unfortunately, the owner wasn't (at least at that moment, he seemed more interested in his Italian take-out than gawkers). He didn't really want to answer any questions or stick around to let us take any more photographs. 

We did hear it start up, though. After a couple of tries, it was off...