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Category: Awesome

The Atlantic- 2,060 Minutes: Gordo Cooper and the Last American Solo Flight in Space

The Atlantic- 2,060 Minutes: Gordo Cooper and the Last American Solo Flight in Space

A cool article from the Mercury era. It’s amazing what the human mind can accomplish under pressure.

But a manual re-entry it was going to have to be. Cooper made his calculations, with help from the ground,¬†based on his knowledge of star patterns. In the process, he disproved the “spam in a can” idea that Chuck Yaeger had famously derided when it came to the Mercury missions: Gordo was much more than simply an experimental body in a NASA-piloted spaceship. He put his education — and his environs — to use, drawing lines on Faith 7’s window to help him check his orientation against the constellations outside. He shifted from passenger to pilot. “I used my wrist watch for time,” Cooper later recalled, “my eyeballs out the window for attitude.”

via 2,060 Minutes: Gordo Cooper and the Last American Solo Flight in Space – Technology – The Atlantic.

Night of the Comet

Night of the Comet


So I watched this movie Night of the Comet last night on Netflix. Night of the Comet, I’ve gathered, is one of those cult-classic 1980s films I had never seen. The movie can also be described as a science fiction, horror, zombie apocalypse, comedy film.

I had never seen Night of the Comet before last night, but I can be forgiven I think, since the movie was rated PG-13 and I was less than 13 when it came out in 1984. I was probably instead watching Star Wars on a rented VCR for the thousandth time instead.


The Earth is passing through the tail of a comet, an event which has not occurred in 65 million years, the last time coinciding with the extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs. On the night of the comet’s passage, large crowds gather outside to watch and celebrate.

18 year old Regina “Reggie” Belmont (Catherine Mary Stewart) works at a movie theater in southern California. She is annoyed to find the initials DMK have the highest score on the theater’s arcade game, all the other scores being hers. She stays after the theater closes to become number one again, then later has sex with her boyfriend, the theater projectionist, in the steel-lined projection booth. Meanwhile, Reggie’s 16 year old sister Samantha “Sam” (Kelli Maroney) argues with their stepmother, who punches her in the face.

The next morning, a reddish haze covers everything, and there are no signs of life, only piles of red dust surrounding empty clothes. Unaware that anything strange has happened, Larry goes outside and is killed by a zombie. When Reggie goes looking for Larry, she finds the zombie eating him. She runs away and heads home to find her sister. Sam had spent the night in a metal shed, and was also shielded from the comet’s effects.


Night of the Comet is paced like an 80s movie. There are no sudden MTV-style camera changes (hurl). The movie doesn’t begin with anything going “boom”. In fact, the movie opens with the protagonist, Catherine Mary Stewart, playing the arcade game Tempest. Of course I was hooked at this point.

This gives me an excuse to post a photo of Catherine Mary Stewart as Maggie from one of my favorite movies of all time: The Last Starfighter.


Night of the Comet fits in the horror genre, but it isn’t horror-movie scary. The protagonists have hope. You wind up caring for them, these two sisters thrust into this post-apocalyptic world. That’s all I ask of a movie, really. Make me care.

The movie is full on 1980s. It looks 80s. It feels 80s. 80s dialogue. 80s costumes. 80s problems (plus zombies).

This is the type of movie I needed to see after the week we all (humanity) had last week. Apocalypse, I can handle. It’s the worry about that trash can over there exploding on my and my family that keeps me up at night.

Book ‘Em shipments brighten Pennsylvania inmates’ lives – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Book ‘Em shipments brighten Pennsylvania inmates’ lives – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Prisons aren’t just a place of incarceration and punishment. They are meant for rehabilitation as well. So, why shouldn’t inmates be able to receive books.

God bless the volunteers of Book ‘Em, an organization that provides books through the mail to Pennsylvania’s inmates.

Prisoners are low on society’s sympathy list, but their letters reveal the shared humanity of all people who love to read.

“After seven years in prison, I hardly ever get mail anymore,” wrote Jim from a prison that was not identified in his letter. “Then, out of the blue, I not only get mail but it’s books! In addition to that, they are great books. Well, there’s just no words to thank you. Keep up the compassionate and noble work.”

via Book ‘Em shipments brighten Pennsylvania inmates’ lives – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Fan Art

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Fan Art

So, there is a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon on Nickelodeon. I checked it out a few nights ago with my kids, curious to see how well it is done. I’m happy to report it is done quite well, and in fact I don’t see any drop off from the cartoon from the 1990s.

Better than that, my daughter (6 years old) was so into it, that she has already created fan art, which I provide below.



Here is the same pic, now with color!