Thursday, July 31, 2008
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Monday, July 28, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Apollo 11 Lifts off on its way to the moon.
Armstrong after the famous first steps on the moon.
These photos are from The Apollo Archive, one of the best collections of NASA photos I have ever seen. Click Here to enjoy many more fine photos taken by our astronauts.
"And G-D saw that it was good..." Earthrise from Apollo 8
Monday, July 21, 2008
I saw This Piece by Myron Magnet in City Journal that references Bill Cosby's 2004 speech where he challenged a lot of people's cultural assumptions. I've enjoyed Bill Cosby from my youth and still can recall some of his stand-up routines [Noah!!!!] with great clarity. Cosby has always seen himself as an educator and takes that role seriously.
As we laughed at 'Fat Albert' and 'The Chicken Heart that Ate New York,' Cosby gave us a window into his own youth and the culture he was raised in. Bill Cosby began a wonderful dialogue for a lot of us and helped a lot of Americans to relate to one another. Now he speaks from the heart and shares the dream we all share for our children. It is a dream that requires articulation, for it is sadly not a reality for so many youth today.
May we take his message seriously and strive to reach the next generation with his message of hope and personal responsibility.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Last night I watched In the Shadow of the Moon, Ron Howard's documentary featuring interviews with the men who actually flew the missions and landed on the moon. It was riveting! Men who had seemed so much larger than life in their younger days talked honestly about their participation in this amazing endeavor.
You really sensed their excitement and their honest apprehension as well. They were setting off into uncharted territory and they knew full well the risks. Most of them had flown combat missions and had gone on to become test pilots before joining the space program. They talked openly about the majesty of cosmic order and Charlie Duke gave testimony of how he came to faith in G-d.
Towards the end of the film, all of them expressed gratitude for being born at the right time to be a part of this amazing journey. They all were born in 1930 or close to that time. And here's the amazing thing about that. If you remember your history you are looking at about a year into the great depression. These men grew up in hard and bleak looking times. They got into flying at the end of a terrible conflict and flew experimental aircraft at a time when the stakes were considered pretty high.
The Soviets and the Americans had captured Hitler's missle scientists and were rushing to build ICBMS. Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin had us at 2 - 0. Alan Shepard flew a 15 minute lob into the ocean and then John Kennedy made a bold stroke. He laid out the mission to put a man on the moon "...and return him safely to Earth!" In this decade.
So much of the required technology had to be invented. A lot of medical advances like replacement heart valves and artificial hips, guess where they came from. Environmental science is another spin-off. There were no satellites monitoring pollution over Nineteenth-century Birmingham, England but now we can see exactly what we produce and where it goes [or doesn't go, as in Los Angeles]. The alternative technologies we must develop now involve innovations that came from the space program.
I hope the next American president will lay down a similar challenge. We should become energy independent in the next decade, with an even longer term development of cleaner, more efficient technologies. May our grandchildren be able to express their gratitude for being born at the right time to be a part of this amazing journey!
My father's contribution to the space program was in leading the team designing this 'Launch Phase Simulator.' This amazing machine was used to test spacecraft components by subjecting them to increased g forces, vibration, vacuum, cooling and solar baking. All of which would be felt during launch into outer space. You are looking at the counterweight end of what was basically a giant centrifuge. A vacuum chamber on the far end was where the component to be tested was bolted to a vibrator. High intensity lamps and cryogenic systems were used to simulate the extremes of temperatures.
Monday, July 14, 2008
There has been plenty of anticipation in our house over the past few months. After the wedding I finally got around to checking Randy Alcorn's Blog and what should he be writing about but Anticipating a Redeemed Earth. Wow! I'm told that the reason they break the glass at a wedding is because as great is the joy of the present moment, it cannot be complete until we are in Jerusalem. Looking at Revelation chapter 21 in that light, we anticipate our Master arriving as the bridegroom. We celebrate marriage for the joy it brings us now and for the picture it is of our Master's great love for us. The picture G-d paints for us of His love was painted on the faces of our young couple as they exchanged vows, rings, kisses and tender glances.
To welcome our families, I planted shrubs, cleared brush and nurtured flowers. That might be a picture of our lives on this present Earth. Nurturing our garden in anticipation of the one who longs to walk with us in the garden again. In fact He is often mistaken for the gardener.
Anticipating the Bridegroom [Revelation 21]
"And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" -- Revelation 21:2
Although I was not always cheerful in these labours, it was deeply satisfying. After the bride and groom departed and the 'formal' reception ended, I found myself on our front lawn playing bocci with my neices and nephews. My son-in-law had introduced the game to our family so it was fitting that we include it in the 'informal' party. My son and his girlfriend graciously built a campfire on the hill behind our house. We stayed up pretty late.
A baton has been passed. A new generation begins and affirms our belief in the promise of the future.
I always enjoyed listening to Tony Snow. He made you think. Agree or disagree with him and your perception of the issue would always be widened. Tony had a way of challenging discussions to higher ground. He was upbeat and likeable even when he took your viewpoint apart.
His passing this weekend leaves a large vacuum to be filled.
Caterpillar Corporation used to run advertisments that stated: "There are no simple answers, only intelligent choices." That is true now more than ever. Choking off our energy supply will not result in our living a cleaner life. Diversifying it makes a lot of sense and will achieve far better results than the 'luddite environmentalism' that is being pushed on us. The Prius makes better use of less fuel and creates less pollution by pushing a car smarter, not by denying you transportation. We should look forward to more innovation on the same level.
Friday, July 11, 2008
This Piece by Ann Coulter is not new, but the sentiments expressed resonate with a fresh wind of desire to see the restoration of the Twin Towers as an expression. Consider this quote from a man who worked on the 77th floor of Tower 1: "Please do not diminish the memory of all of the people who died there by building 50-, 60- or 70-story mediocre buildings on the site.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
This Article by Nicole Gelinas in City Journal expresses what a lot of us have felt or wished at some point in the discussion of what should happen at Ground Zero.
Herb Belton's proposal for rebuilding the World Trade Center.
For the record, I like Daniel Libeskind's original concept for the Freedom Tower as architecture but somehow it doesn't belong there. Minoru Yamasaki's distinctive towers had become an icon and rebuilding their profile sends a strong message to those who would attempt to destroy our way of life. This Article by Frank Gaffney gives even more reasons to desire such a statement.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
This story really put a face on terrorism for me. Most news stories tell you numbers and leave you to imagine the rest. Bat Sheva Unterman was in her car with the five-month old daughter when a terrorist attacked with a bulldozer in Jerusalem. As her car was being crushed, Mrs. Unterman unstrapped the little girl from her safety seat and pushed her out the window to safety. Seconds later she was killed as the bulldozer rolled over her.
The Story as Told by Judith A. Klinghoffer gives a more personal account of the horror of terrorism. Mrs. Unterman was a kindergarten teacher at Ganei Homat Shmuel.
Another victim in Wednesday's terror attack was Elizabeth Devorah Goren-Friedman, 54, a teacher of the blind in Jerusalem.
"You were a good friend and a good mother. You made sure we were all happy," said her son Issachar, "You have taught us that volunteering is part of a person's life."
"A sinful murderer destroyed a brave life that was filled with your courage to fight back. In spite of the difficulties you encountered during your life, you overcame everything with a smile on your face," said her husband.
Also killed was Jan Raluay, 68, who had moved from Iran to India before coming to Israel. He was about to become a grandfather.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
When I was very young, and perhaps in answer to one of my youthful impolite questions, my mother explained to me one day the origin of the tattoos. I must have noticed them on some ladies' arms and as gently as she could, Mom explained the hideous and well orchestrated death of six million people. Before I was born we fought a war that brought an end to the killing, but the horror lingers on in pictures I later saw of what went on in the camps.
There is a movement afoot in intellectual circles to dismiss our role in preserving civilized society that time. This Piece by Jonathan Tobin is required reading as we celebrate this Independence Day. I know Charles Linbergh and other notable individuals argued against our involvement in the war, thinking Hitler would counterbalance Stalin. Appeasement didn't work with Hitler and Europe was on the verge of becoming a reincarnation of the Roman Empire.
The war was not without blunders on the part of the allies, but it must be noted that an American reporter in Leningrad in the seventies was surprised by the warm greeting he received from an older lady there. Clearly the Americans have been the liberators many times and there are those who remember their liberators with great kindness.
Honest history will do well to remember as much!
Click Here to Show Your Support for our brave men and women in the Armed Services. This website offers a number of practical opportunities to say "thank you" for the freedom we celebrate on July 4th!
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Francis Schaeffer called Christians "co-belligerants" with Jews and Muslims on certain points; likewise, Christians may share with agnostics and New Agers a common concern for taking good care of our planet, even though we have extremely different world views. People can disagree about heaven and hell and even Jesus yet still stand together against child pornography and drunk driving and animal abuse, or for cleaner water, lower taxes, or better parks and schools. -- Randy Alcorn
In a recent blog entry Randy Alcorn mentions Nat Hentoff, the often ultra-liberal activist. who is also an ardent defender of human life [including the unborn and people like Terry Shiavo]. In fact, Hentoff spoke out Against Barak Obama's Call for her death Here and says:
"In none of the endless presidential candidates' debates has there been a meaningful discussion of the rights of disabled Americans. However, in the Feb. 26 debate in Cleveland, Barack Obama casually and ignorantly revealed his misunderstanding of the basic issue in the highly visible and still-resonating official death sentence of a disabled woman, Terri Schiavo. I have repeatedly called her death the result of "the longest public execution in American history."
Somewhere along the way we classify issues as 'liberal' or 'conservative' and there is no meaningful discussion. Hentoff is thinking of the issue and it is obvious that he is thinking for himself. My point is that we can and should come to a point where we can discuss our beliefs and desires. Real change requires real discussion. We might be pleasantly surprised to find liberal and conservative passionately joined in building a better world. Let's go for it!