John Young

I was born in 1954 and my formative years were in the 1960s. I always find it hard to explain to people what it was like then, but it was an exciting time, a time for change and advancement.

My big interest was space, and I am sure I just about remember Sputnik. I definitely remember coming home from school and my mum telling me about Yuri Gagarin, an under-sung hero in the history of the world.

I knew all about the America astronauts, all the missions and craft, and I followed it carefully. JFK made a commitment to landing a man on the Moon before the decade was  out, and returning him safely to Earth. If he had said that now, he would have been all over the press for excluding women.

Most people’s “favourite” astronaut was probably John Glenn. The most famous, possibly one of the most famous people who have ever lived, was Neil Armstrong. There are very few of the originals still alive. Glenn died recently and my favourite, John Young died the other day at a good age.

He was, I would say, a character. Famously, on one flight he smuggled a corned beef sandwich onto the craft. He was the only person in the entire history of the World to fly to the Moon twice and land once. You can read more about him here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Young_(astronaut)

If you can catch the wonderful film In The Shadow Of The Moon, Young’s contribution shows that he was still as enthusiastic as ever about space, always looking to the future.

He would be sad, I am sure, that we no longer have the capability to go to the Moon.

The end of the year

If I wrote a blog every day, I could fill it with stuff about Trump and about Brexit. But I don’t, and I try to avoid these two subjects for a variety of reasons.

It is more than a year since Mr Trump was elected President of the USA. No surprise to me, actually. I said at the time that the wall (remember that?) would be his downfall, because it was never going to be built, and it is a real, physical, tangible thing that even the stupidest people in the USA can understand. Trump was going to start on the building of the beautiful wall immediately, but here we are nearly a year since he was inaugurated and, nothing.

But, it has constantly gone from bad to worse for Mr T. There have been so many things that have been truly shocking about Trump, his staff and his family, too many to list, and why go over the old ground? But he is still there, and I, for one, do not want him to go. He is just too entertaining.

Brexit, Britain leaving the EU, is just a shambles. Mrs May is incompetent at best, and her Brexit minister David Davis is a smarmy man who just lies through his teeth. Here is a most recent example.

Has any progress been made? Very little, as far as we can tell, except the UK politicians like going over to the continent, presumably because the food is so nice.

Given all this incompetence, what do we have on the news here? Prince Harry (his real name is Henry but maybe that’s too hard) is getting married to an American actress (never heard of her). Mr Trump is not to be invited to the wedding, I guess. For several days the other week, all the wars, famine, destruction and nastiness of life stopped because the happy couple were walking in a garden.

It’s the Princess Diana legacy, except she was never ever ‘Princess Diana’. She was Lady Diana Spencer, married and became Princess of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, and Countess of Chester. Then she divorced and became Diana, Princess of Wales as a courtesy title.

Not that any of it matters…

Harrassment

There has been a lot of headline news over the past few weeks about a certain producer who is accused of various sexual assaults over a fairly lengthy period of time. I have no idea what he did or did not do, and no doubt these things will come out later, if you care. Yesterday there was another story about a well-known actor who has also been accused of things with a 14 year old boy. His response was, basically, I don’t remember, it was a long time ago, I was drunk and anyway I am gay. I have no idea what that all means, either, and my level of interest is fairly minimal. Note that I am NOT defending anyone, just not that interested. If these people really did bad things, they must be punished.

I have a few thoughts, mainly coming from the Jimmy Savile incidents some years ago. Savile, of course, was dead. No-one spoke out about him when he was alive, in a way that anyone took notice of anyway. JS could not defend himself. Once the first allegations came out, it was like a flood gate. Same in the first example here. Many of Savile’s accusers were investigated. It was shown that some had simply fabricated stories in an attempt to get money. It may be, I don’t know, that the same has happened here, that people are saying they too were sexually assaulted but maybe they weren’t, they just want some fame and some money. I don’t know, but if there is even one person who is simply making up a story to ‘cash in’, then it devalues all the others.

I was involved in a conversation about this the other day. Someone remarked that more than 50% of women reported sexual harrassment in the workplace. I asked a simple question, what does that mean. There was a fairly lengthy discussion about this. One vaguely known tv actor has said that he was sexually harrassed when someone touched his arm. My friends seemed not to know. Does it have a clear definition?

My friends concluded that, if you FELT you had been sexually harrassed, then you HAD BEEN sexually harrassed. It didn’t have to be real at all.

I am not trying to diminish these events, if they have occurred, but some of it seems a bit mad to me.

Trump destroys the world

President Trump has been at it again. In a speech to the UN, he said:

The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing, and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary.

This is pretty clear at first glance. Getting past the ‘Rocket man’ name calling, Trump seems to be saying that, if pushed, he will simply wipe out North Korea.

Does he mean this? Well, he has a knack of using vague and imprecise language. Commentators take him literally at his word. Like when he said about closing the Internet. He has no power to do that, in the first place, plus I suspect it would be at least very difficult. But he didn’t mean close it down, I think, he meant take tighter control of it, regulate everything and monitor what everyone is doing.

Would he really literally murder 25 million North Koreans, plus untold numbers of others? My fiends say no, of course not, wiser heads will prevail and it wouldn’t happen.

Me, I’d believe it easily could happen. In the end, Mr Trump can destroy the world…

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