Showing posts from July, 2016

Skylab's Skyfall

On this date, in 1979, The United States' first space station, Skylab, tumbled out of its orbit and disintegrated in the earth's atmosphere near Perth, Australia.
I remember watching occasional news reports of the four Skylab missions between launch in 1973 and its final mission and subsequent abandonment in 1974, and the video images of the station in orbit over the earth were exhilarating. While in orbit, US astronauts set the space endurance records. We had already demonstrated our space travel superiority over the Soviets by landing men on the moon and returning them safely to earth nearly eight times over a ten year period, and it seemed that there was nothing that could keep up us from setting up a permanent station in orbit around the earth, then one on the moon and from thence, beyond into the rest of the solar system. It was a heady time to be a NASA groupie, to be sure.
But then, after only six years in orbit and a cost of over $2 billion, on July 11, 1979, the once…

What I'm grooving on, Summer 2016 edition

Every once in a while, I get sucked into something I hadn't expected, and find myself enjoying a property is just so perfect in its conception.
I'm speaking, of course, about Fox's Houdini & Doyle

The series is set not too long after author Arthur Conan Doyle has just published "The Final Problem," a short story in which the great Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarity have plunged over Reichenbach Falls to their deaths. It was a move to allow Doyle to move on to other pursuits.   In the television series, Doyle (played by Stephen Mangan) teams up with showman and escape artist extraordinaire Erich Weiss, better known to the world as Harry Houdini (played by Michael Weston) in order to investigate crimes that at first blush have a supernatural origin. This is based at least partly on the real-life friendship between the two, and their respective worldviews: Houdini as the skeptic, Bradly debunking most paranormal claims because as a magician and illusionist…