Recent Articles

NASA Lands a Car on Mars

| February 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

Today, I watched NASA TV for about two hours while the space vehicle “Perseverance” made its final approach and landing on Mars.

Despite being a huge fan of space travel, I had no idea this mission was even happening. It just popped up on my twitter feed. So, I turned on the NASA broadcast and started to watch. I remain fascinated by the unbelievable brilliance of NASA scientist to pull this off. There is a little sadness though, in that there is now a limit to what I will see in terms of space travel. Will I ever see a man on Mars? Possibly, but doubtful. A different perspective than during Apollo when a movie called 2001 A Space Odyssey envisioned manned flight to Jupiter. I definitely thought I would live to see that.

Still, it was thrilling to watch, even though most of the images were of anxious NASA scientists staring at consoles. But you knew that they were intensely excited. And, by spending an hour and a half watching those images, with periodic animations of the actual landing, it earned me the right to tear up when the landing was confirmed and the scientists erupted.

I find it amazing, but not surprising, that the news coverage was so fleeting. There was no build-up. As noted above, I had no idea it was happening. The cable news broke to the event for the last 30 minutes before landing and maybe 20 minutes after. Then moved on.

Today…nothing. It’s like the later Apollo missions. We had men actually tromping around the lunar surface and people were bored with it. Back in the days of Star Trek I could not have imagined that manned space travel would turn into something from history, not the relentlessly exciting future.

But here we are.

Impeachment Day Plus One

| February 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

Lots of controversy today about the fact that the impeachment managers chose not to call witnesses at the trial that finished with Trump’s acquittal. I’m not sure what to think. Fundamentally, I’m not inclined to second guess Rep. Jaimie Raskin, a true national hero. But the account in today’s Post of how the decision was made does not really satisfy.

It seems the criteria was whether or not it would lead to any more Republican votes. Obviously, it was not going to do that. I wish they had given consideration to the further effect on Trump’s legacy and, frankly, the political impact of having real human beings describing his depravity. I would even give up a few Republican votes if it drove home with the public his utter lack of humanity. He is simply the worst human being I’ve ever known in my lifetime, either personally or through the media. The fact that 70 million people voted to keep him president continues to boggle my mind.

Republicans who know better and continue to enable him constantly make the calculation that he will eventually go away….but he never does. Time after time, he escapes accountability for his crimes. It is never about whether or not he did the thing in question. It’s either the wrong time or not worth the effort or contrary to some procedural norm or whatever. And then, he declares vindication and moves on.

Now, we hear about all the prosecutors that have him in their sights. I find that encouraging, but I wish I had more confidence that one or more of them have the gumption to carry the process through.

In a weird way, I wonder if his acquittal will make him more vulnerable to the criminal justice system. I could imagine that, if he was convicted, his supporters would claim that he has suffered enough. The conviction is worse than any criminal punishment. Or that prosecuting him amounts to double jeopardy.

While we focus on the puzzle of the 70 million, the fact is that 80 million voted against him. And they feel pretty strongly about who he is and what should be done with him. Let’s hope their voices are heard and that these prosecutors know that it is up to them to bring justice, finally, to this terrible, terrible man.

Vaccination Complete

| February 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

I had a 9:15 am appointment to get the second dose of the Moderna vaccine. It was a little more complicated than the first dose, which was extremely expeditious. It was at a facility on Kennedy Street near North Capitol. Looked like an old movie theater. There was a line outdoors, which concerned me a bit, since I didn’t dress for an extended period outside. It was about 28 degrees.

There were actually multiple lines that the people just organized themselves. One line for 9:15 appointments, a different line for 9:30 appointments. I got into the 9:15 line and it moved pretty quickly. We were herded through. Stand here. Fill out this form. Sit here. Now sit there. Now move into the vaccination room and sit here. Finally, go to table 3 to get your vaccinations. Any questions? “No.” Jab. You’re all set.

I have to say the whole experience, the sign up, the first vaccine, the second vaccine, were incredibly smooth and efficient. I keep hearing about the difficulties people are facing. That was not my experience. Frankly, it was an experience of government working the way it’s supposed to.

Welcome to the Biden Administration.

Rozzie and Scooter

| January 1, 2021 | 0 Comments
Rozzie and Scooter, on Bridget’s bed, waiting for her to return from an outdoor New Year’s Eve celebration

One of the unexpected delights of my daughter Bridget’s “home stay” for the holidays, is the relationship that has developed between our dog, Rozzie, a large golden retriever/border collie mix, and Bridget’s new dog, a small dog of undetermined breeds that was rescued from the Navajo reservation. They have become real pals, chasing one another, fighting over toys and even snoozing together.

The relationship was epitomized on a recent walk in Rock Creek Park with the two of them.

Continue Reading

Hillbilly Elegy – The Movie

| November 29, 2020 | 0 Comments

Rita and I watched Hillbilly Elegy on Netflix last night. I didn’t know much about the movie, but was familiar with the book. I had a vague negative sense about it. I know it was a phenomenon when it first came out. Not having read it and just knowing about it from reviews and news coverage, it seemed that, at first, it was hailed as an explanation for the alienation in rural America that explained the election of Trump. Then, I got the sense that opinion changed a bit and the author, JD Vance, had become an apologist for Trump voters, that he down played race and based their support of Trump on economic factors. I happen to believe that race plays a very large role in Trump’s support, so I was not really up for an apologia for the moral standing and victim hood of Trump voters. To be fair, my views of the movie and the author of the book were not based on anything I knew or could point to. Which is another way of saying they could be totally wrong.

Continue Reading

My Favorite Thanksgiving Photo

| November 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

Posted without comment…

Understanding Trump Supporters….or Not

| November 21, 2020 | 1 Comment

Like many, if not most, politically involved anti-Trumpers, I think a lot about how anyone can support such a flawed human being to be our President. Whenever he commits an atrocity against decency, humanity, legality or morality (which is almost daily), I think, “I wonder what (fill in the name a Trump supporter I know personally) is thinking about this?” Does it give them pause? Do they question their support? Or do they support this or that heinous act or statement? What is it about him that binds them to him even in the face of what seems to me to be ignorance, stupidity, racism, misogyny, greed, narcissism or deceit?

Continue Reading

It’s a Boy!

| November 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

My son, Danny and daughter-in-law Kaitlyn gathered us all on FaceTime last Friday to announce the fact that their baby, due in April, will be a boy.

I was driving to deliver food for the SHARE program and was instructed to pull the car over. Miraculously, a very convenient turnoff appeared before me at that moment on Little River Turnpike in Bethesda. Typically, it was a little more difficult to get Rita off a work call. But Bridget was present and accounted for. She was vibrating with excitement.

Continue Reading

SHARE Monthly Article – The Greg Gannon Canned Food Drive Responds to COVID

| November 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

The following is my monthly article to the SHARE Food Network’s Monthly Newsletter

GGCFD at the Mother Mary Lange Food Pantry at Our Lady of Sorrows Church

In 1987, Greg Gannon of Chevy Chase, Maryland recruited a bunch of friends and informally collected canned food from friends and neighbors to help people in his community feed their families during the holidays. It formalized into a program and continued as a one-a-year holiday tradition. Since those humble beginnings, the program has grown to the point where it has collected and donated 2 million canned goods to greater Washington area food banks.

Continue Reading

City Hall by Frederick Wiseman

| November 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

City Hall focuses on Boston, which, of course, adds to its appeal for me. The Mayor, Marty Walsh, plays a big part, the Washington Post reviewer thought too big a part. But he’s a very unassuming guy who seems truly dedicated to helping the people of Boston deal with problems, whatever they may be.

The real meat of the movie, however, is found in the scenes of government bureaucrats interacting with each other and the citizens of Boston. There are meetings where they are trying to alleviate homelessness. There is a same sex marriage performed. Trash men picking up refuse, including a mesmerizing scene where mattresses, box springs and even a large outdoor gas grille are shoved into the trash compactor truck.

I was, frankly, surprised at how completing the film was. I even found a budget briefing strangely absorbing. And I’m not sure why. I have to admit it made me feel good inside to know that there are people all over the country simply trying to help people in need in their communities. At a time when we have a president utterly ignoring the worst humanitarian disaster in the country’s history, it does give some hope that we might get to a better place when he leaves the scene.