As Mitt Dullard Romney rejuvenates the cold war dreams of the Reagan years in his campaign speeches, I thought it might be worthwhile to remind us all that there are those of us who were never quite down with the whole “evil empire” thing, even back in the “space race” days—we thought the world of Yuri Gagarin and his brave venture into orbit in the Vostok spacecraft, and it tickles me to remember that his biggest fans were the American astronauts assembled for the similar US effort.
International Space Station resident and flautist Colonel Catherine Coleman is one such brave new worlder, and last year, perhaps as the result of a Craigslist ad (“looking for musicians to jam with—have rehearsal space”) found someone to play flute with—an aging popstar fellow who shared her appreciation of the cosmonaut’s journey and “our rocket heroes”, and they performed a duet:
Awesome hair, babe. This was, by the way, in April 2011, commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Gagarin’s trip. There’s been on TV since a series of ads for a sexual stimulant that promises to “blow your hair back”, with resultant hairstyles to demonstrate, so, yeah, okay, comedy.
Cady Coleman confirms: it’s much easier to play flute standing on one leg in zero gravity.
Yuri Gagarin bumped in ‘68, crashing a jet he was test-piloting. Doesn’t seem fair, does it?
“We Used To Know”, is the title of an old Jethro Tull song, which has some notoriety as a result of the fact that the Eagles, which toured with Tull in ‘72, used the same chord progression in “Hotel California”. Different key, different time signature, but Ian Anderson noticed as well, and graciously said in an interview that he considered it “a tribute, much in the same sense as the tribute Rolex watch I’m now wearing.”
And lastly, I salute our “Rocket Heroes” often, as I watch the ISS sail overhead. Yes, it’s visible from the ground, and NASA has a web page which gives time, duration and direction (page is for Los Angeles, select other location as required). It’s typically the brightest object in the sky, and you might mistake it at first for an aircraft-- but it has no blinking lights, so there you go. If in Los Angeles, by the way, note that we have a nice one coming up tonight (Saturday), appearing on the Northwest horizon at 8:43 PM and traveling directly overhead, departing in the Southeast horizon three minutes later. Cool, huh?