Manchester

Yesterday, a terrorist killed 22 people, and injured 59 others in Manchester, England.  They were going about their business on a Monday Night, some having attended an Ariana Grande Concert at the Stadium when an explosion took place in the foyer of the building.  Some of them were even children, with at least 13 were under the age of 16, according to the BBC.  One of the dead is an 8 year old girl.

It’s hard to think of anything to post in light of that.  I refuse to talk about the person who committed these crimes – that is what they wanted.   I will talk about the wonderful citizens of that city who turned to each other and helped those who needed a place to stay, or a ride home.  Those in emergency services worked hard to make sure everyone who needed treatment got it, and investigate the cause.  These people are heroes.

My prayers and thoughts are with the city tonight, as they try to heal from this.  With the families of the victims, and the victims themselves.

If you want to help out, there is a Just Giving campaign ran by the Manchester Evening News to help raise money to help the victims of the attack.

BBC Page on the Manchester Attack is where I’m getting most of my information, along with friends who live in the Greater Manchester area.

In Memoriam: Debbie Reynolds

Debbie Reynolds is one of the actresses that always seemed to be there.  On one hand I knew her as Carrie Fisher’s mom, but I also knew her as a classic film actress.  I haven’t seen too many of her films, but her name being on the list was always a point in the favor of the film for me.

Besides the films, a friend and I had been writing various stories together and had come up with this character named Mama Todd.  Debbie Reynolds was our face for the character.

My favorite Debbie Reynolds movie was a bio-pic called ‘The Unsinkable Molly Brown’, where she played the titular character. Molly Brown is most known for surviving the Titanic.  Its actually one of my favorite classic films.

The Trailer:

Another favorite,and probably more well known, is of course Singin’ in the Rain where she plays Kathy, a singer who plays the voice of an actress when the movie is slated to become a talkie rather than a silent.

Of course the most known scene:

Another movie I recently saw of hers that I found hilarious was These Old Broads, and worth it for this scene:

 

In memoriam: Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher
Source: wikipedia

I kept hoping for better news this week, but today Billie Lourd, Carrie Fisher’s daughter confirmed her mother had passed away after a heart attack on Friday.  

Carrie has been a big part of my childhood as Princess Leia, and she always impressed me with her ability to use humor to deal with things others would let bog them down.  She had issues, but made sure to use her platform as a media spotlighted person to bring awareness so others could be helped. 

Carrie grew up in the spotlight, the daughter of actors Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher.  But it didn’t really put her to the forefront till she became Princess Leia at 21. It is that role she will probably be the most remembered for.  She played the role for 40 years. She also was in the movie When Harry met Sally as Sally’s best friend who finally finds love with Harry’s best friend. 

She wrote many autobiographical books as well as pushed for awareness of mental illness.

Farwell, Princess.  Thank you for the years of laughter, and activism and the movies that will live on. My thoughts go out to your family and friends.

In Memory: Anton Yelchin

 

I actually had a different post written here when I first heard the news yesterday abut Anton dying in a car accident.  There wasn’t much to add to it, but I decided it would be better to rewrite it all.

Anton Yelchin is an actor best known for his recent role as Pavel Chekov, in the reboot series of Star Trek.  He also has been in several smaller movies. I have seen only a few but enjoyed his acting in what I did see. Charlie Bartlet was an odd movie but I liked him in it.

He was only 27 years old, so unlike some of the other tributes I’ve done this year (and I’ve done more then I expected only 6 months into the year)  There is not alot to say.  He died just when his career was getting more recognition.

Thank you Anton for what you have provided for us as entertainment.  Star Trek won’t be the same without you.

I will end this with a link to a wonderful bit of fanart done in tribute to Anton

 

Memorial Day

This weekend is Memorial day weekend.  I wanted to stop for a moment and thank all the men and women who have served this country in its armed forces or diplomatic corp who have worked hard to keep our country free and safe. Thank you for all you have done.

graves-1277181_1280

Memorial Day has been celebrated for over a hundred years, developing in the years following the Civil War as a day to pause in remembrance of the men who died during the War. At the time it was called Decoration Day, in reference to the fact that it involved people deocrating the graves of deceased soldiers.

It is not clear where the celebration started (Although Waterloo, NY likes to claim it was them, and others say Charleston, NC) but it soon became something celebrated across the nation.  However,the first purposeful celebration of it happened in Columbus, Georgia, where a group of women decided that on the anniversy of the final surrender of the confederate army, April 26, they should make sure to go out and decorate the graves of vetrans with flowers.  They mailed letters out to various newspapers across the country, and it became a national, abit southern, effort in 1866.

It soon was reported in Northern Papers after the southern women made a point to also decorate the graves of Union soldiers burried in the south and people began to join in on the activities.

On May 5, 1868 General John Logan, who was national Commander of the Grand Army at the time, declared that May 30th would be dedicated to the decoration of graves of those who died for their country.  He choose that day to avoid choosing a date of a battle.   However it wasn’t till 1873 that states started to recognize the day (starting with New York) and it was largely only celebrated on Logan’s date by the North.  Southern States continued to celebrate on dates of their own choosing.

After WWI, the day went from celebrating simply those who died in the civil war to those Americans who died in any war.  In 1971, Congress passed the National Holiday Act and set Memorial Day as a three day weekend, making Memorial Day the last Monday in May as well as making it an offical Federal holiday .  Southern States started to observe Memorial Day after WWI, but also kept seperate days to celebrate those who died as Confederate soldiers.

 

The Story Behind The First Memorial Day 

Memorial Day History

History.Com Memorial Day

US Department of Veteran’s Affairs:  Memorial Day History

In Memoriam: The Columbia STS-107

 

444px-STS-107_Flight_Insignia.svg
The STS-107 Patch

 

On February 1, 2003 (13 years ago Monday), the space shuttle Columbia  mission STS-107, disintegrated in the atmosphere over Texas and Lousiana.  Seven people died, and it caused a two year downtime for the Shuttle program while ships were reassessed and refitted to be safer; similar to what happened after the fire on Apollo 1.

Continue reading “In Memoriam: The Columbia STS-107”

Challenger & Apollo 1

This week has two major NASA tragedies, so I thought I would write a post about them.  Space Flight history as been an interest of mine since I was in elementary school.  Its always seemed strange that all the major disasters that become national news (because there were some that never were big stories) happened during the last weeks of January into the first weeks of February.

Its also a reminder that despite the fact that seems almost common place now to go into space and investigate and come back, it really is a dangerous job, and things can go wrong without any warning.

Challenger Accident – January 28, 1986

655px-STS-51-L.svg
Mission Patch for 51-L Challenger. Source: Wikipedia/Public Domain

Today is the 30th Anniversary of the Challenger Accident.

I can’t say I ‘remember’ the incident.  I was only a few weeks old, so obviously I don’t.  However when Apollo 13 came out and I became interested in space travel and its history I felt connected to this one since it happened so close to when I was born.

On January 28, 1986  Challenger took off from Florida carrying on board seven crew members.  It had been a cold morning in Florida and the rapid heat up apparently broke one of the seal rings on the ship.  Halfway up, the ship disintegrated and fell into the ocean.

All on board were killed:

(copied and pasted from Wiki, so those links should lead to Wikipages)

This space flight was notable because Christa McAuliffe was a teacher who had trained to go up as part of a program involving ‘civilian’ crew.  It also caused a 2 year shutdown of the space program where NASA reviewed procedures, and components of the ships themselves to make sure they were all safe to fly in.

The next mission to go to space was the STS-26, Discovery in September 1988.

More About the Challenger:

Video of Face The Nation (2/2/86) about the accident.

Wikipedia: The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster

NASA:  Challenger 51-L Mission

Apollo 1 Fire:  January 27, 1967

595px-Apollo_1_patch
The Apollo 1 Mission Patch (Source Wikipedia, Public Domain)

Apollo 1 was to be the first manned mission for the Apollo class spacecraft.  It would be this class that would see us reach the moon.  However, on January 27, 1967 the ship burst into flames claiming the lives of three men during a routine pre-launch test.

Two of the men killed were veteran Astronauts.  Gus Grissom and Ed White (known for taking the first space walk).  The third member was a rookie astronaut named Roger Chaffee.

This accident led to a major investigation, and quite a few changes to the Apollo space craft.  One major chance was that the oxygen that had been pumped into the command capsule was no longer pure oxygen, but a mix closer to what we breathe normally on earth.  Pure Oxygen is extremely flammable.

Changes were also made to the capsule to improve safety measures.  The investigation and changes took a year and a half to complete.  The first manned mission afterwards was Apollo 7 in October of 1968.  Undamaged parts of the rocket were used in unmanned missions testing the other parts of the ship during the 20 months the command module was out of duty.

The launch pad they were to launch from was only used once more for Apollo 7, then dismantled and is now a memorial site to the lost crewmen.

Next year will be Apollo 1’s 50th anniversary.

NASA:  Day of Remembrance

Wikipedia: Apollo 1