Category Archives: phoenix

Mission to Mars

I am ancient.

Yep, I’m so old that I remember when men first walked on the moon. I remember how every channel, and don’t forget there were only four at the time, carried every NASA mission live – pre-emting everything else, no matter what it was. I remember when astronauts were heroes and just about to coolest thing you could want to be when asked what you wanted to be when you grew up. Hell, I remember drinking Tang, because it was what the astronauts drank.

I remember Apollo 13 (the reality, not the film) and asking my father what “docking” meant, only to be shushed because this was “very important.” I remember getting watch TV at school (something that never happened back then) so the class could see “history” – moon rockets blasting off. I remember rushing home from school to see the splashdowns. I remember summer evenings where everyone would be outside at dusk with telescopes and binoculars to get a glimpse of Skylab going over. And I remember that the first color photo in the local newspaper was the Viking shot of the surface of Mars, taking up the entire front page.

That was then, this is now.

Tonight, in a few minutes actually as I write this, the Phoenix lander will be touching down on the planet Mars. None of the major networks are carrying this event live. To add insult to injury, ABC is airing “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” What that says about us as a civilization, I’ll let you decide. CNN and Fox News are covering the story as part of their usual 24/7 news coverage. The super-accurate and objective MSNBC seems to think a re-run about San Quentin Prison is more important, perhaps Keith Olbermann might mention it later as an afterthought, or a joke.

Only the Science Channel is fully covering this event. And good thing though, this is history, whether the apathetic news media believes it or not.

Dan Fogelberg 1951-2007

One of the kings of soft rock passed earlier this week, Dan Fogelberg.

He’s one of the more brilliant songwriters who knew that doing a holiday song would keep them in folks’ minds for decades to come. His “Same Old Lang Syne,” shown above in concert footage, is that song. Despite a preference for harder sounds, it’s always been one of my favorites. And while Fogelberg is known for his ballads and love songs and quieter tunes, I might also direct you to the title track of his “Phoenix” album, quite a rocker.

His last three years in this world were spent promoting prostate cancer awareness, the beast that took him. Wake up call, men, get tested, especially if you want to be around ‘longer.’ Dan was only 56. And he’ll be missed.