Monday, January 14, 2008

Are we there yet?

It sounds like something your kids might say to you when you are driving the 2000 miles to grandmas house. But this is no trip to Grandmas. After 50 years of the Space Race, we have no men on the moon permanently, no moon base, no mars exploration and certainly no 18 month trip to Jupiter as depicted in the books and movies 2001 and 2010.

It almost makes you want to ask NASA the proverbial question, "Are we there yet?" But of course, now they are pushing plans back due to internal issue and conflicts of interest in plans. To the outside viewer, it looks like a three ring circus. To the media, it is more fodder for the anti-NASA people who want the government agency shut down. And to the space advocate, it is just an absolute disaster.

Originally, we were supposed to have a huge space station in orbit. We have lifted little more than a 3 bedroom apartment. Problems with parts and software keep the shuttles grounded. Losing a shuttle or two also does not help matters. It keeps everyone going in circles. What happened to the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo era "Can Do" type attitude that everyone in the programs had.

In spite of the failures, we still got things up there and managed to go all the way to the moon and back. Today, I doubt we could get a box car halfway down a hill with the way the program is run. Its just that bad. Space is no longer the sought after materials for the school children. In the 1960's and 1970's, if you asked a kid what they wanted to be when they grew up, a good percentage would say Astronaut. Now we cant even get kids interested in the sciences so the percentage of qualified applicants has waned to a point of near disaster.

If nothing is done with NASA to kick them in the seat of the pant, we could lose out on the technological advantage that has driven America for the last 100 years. The Japanese and the Chinese are now the ones pursuing the moon and doing very well with it I might add. We need to get the "Go fever" back and take the chances. Take the risks and get the people there and back.

Whoever becomes the next vice president will have a hard job of putting some pride back in the program at NASA and if he or she cant get the President on board, it will be an absolute that NASA will no longer exist as we know it within 10 years.

The Human Side of Sports Hoopla

Over the past several years, many who have watched the game for professional football have come to either hate or love Terrell Owens of the Dallas Cowboys. They have written about him in the media, announced things about him in the news programs and even had long discussions on programs that banter about the sports items of the day. The one thing no one had said about the man was that he was human. Until Now.

Today, after the Dallas Cowboys lost their game to the New York Giants, a blubbering and sniffling Terrell Owens defended not only his quarterback, Tony Romo, but also mentioned the word team in almost the same sentence. While this would not be news with anyone else just about, it is note worthy because Terrell has been criticized for not being a team player.

His whole battle with the Philadelphia Eagles players and management as well as his antics when he was in San Francisco made him the dorr mat for every sports talk show host in America. Everyone loved to hate him and blamed all of the problems the teams were having on him.

Today he had 4 catches for 49 yards and a touchdown, yet was unable to show everyone that he was the man and the reason they were winning. And as he said in the post game interviews, "we lost as a team." I almost dare anyone to say something bad about him tomorrow as they will be barking up a tree which will have very few branches of followers after the display by T.O. today.

I think T.O. showed what it is about the sport that all who play and watch it love. There is the good times when you win as a team and everyone looks like they could be on the level of God himself, and then there are the times where you lose and look for answers. Today, I think the answers weren't what mattered. It was the fact that a man who has been accused of being one of the most selfish men on the planet showed not only humility, compassion, and a sense of team but also that he showed us that he isnt superman and might actually be classified as human.