Notes from around the Human Experience…
GOD, YOU’RE OLD: You know, we’re not ones to get too worked up over the passage of time here at your Daily Dose. It is going to pass one way or the other and there isn’t a whole hell of a lot any one of us can do about it. It doesn’t even bother us that we’ve probably lived more years than we have left. In fact, it’s probably best we’ve lived more years than we have left because otherwise, we are going to live to be more than a hundred, and that is an awfully long time to live.
Some Philosophy Crap: Heck, we are so hell bent on not fretting over time we even stopped celebrating our birthday ages ago because there are better ways to mark the passing of a life. We get up every morning and try to make good things happen for ourselves. We try to put the 24-hours we all have each day – the only commodity each of us is issued in equal measure – to work for us. Like you, we’ve had our successes (life’s great prize), our failures (life’s great lesson) and we’re still trying some things (life’s great challenge).
OMG!: But boy, stories about the 40th anniversary of the launch of the Voyager space crafts had us reaching for the Geritol.
Good gravy, 40 years ago we were eleven and still living with our folks and younger brother, all of whom are now dead. We were living on Granada Avenue in Alhambra, California and we were getting ready to start seventh grade. Even back then we were avid readers and enjoyed writing, though we went to bed at night dreaming of being a radio announcer, a dream we chased and never entirely caught up with. Gas was 65 cents a gallon, more or less what it costs now in today’s dollars, a dollar back then being worth a bit less than four bucks today.
3…2…1…Blastoff: Voyager 2 would take off on August 20, 1977, and Voyager 1 would launch a couple of weeks later. Both flew past Jupiter and Saturn and Voyager 2 would also visit Uranus and Neptune, remaining the only spacecraft to do so. In 2012 Voyager 1 became the first spacecraft to leave the Solar System – though we weren’t completely sure of that until 2013 – and at 12.9 billion miles away remains the farthest spacecraft from Earth.
Dry, Technical Matter: The Voyager program is what was left after an original planetary grand tour was scrapped.
In 1964 some bright scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory noticed that Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune would be relatively close together in the late 1970’s and that using a gravity assist from each planet as it was passed all four could be rather easily and economically visited by spacecraft. It wasn’t economical enough for Congress, however, and the project was scrapped in 1971. NASA was left with instructions to visit two planets.
Back On Message: Both Voyagers continues to communicate with us, too, through the Deep Space Network. Communications take about 19 hours each way and it’s anticipated we will be able to communicate with the Voyager spacecrafts until 2025.
Oh Jesus H: At which time we’ll be 60. Fabulous.
ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE! Mary, Queen of Scots, arrives in England on this date in 1561. Mary had been the queen of Scotland from the time she was six days old and had been dispatched to France for her formative years. She was queen consort to King Francis II, but he died before Mary was 18.
She returned to Scotland but found she wasn’t all that popular. Some intrigue found her imprisoned, though she escaped and headed to England on the theory her cousin Queen Elizabeth I might help her get her throne back.
Bad Move: She didn’t. Mary was kept in prison for many years before Elizabeth said screw it and had her executed in 1587.
More Great Moments In Execution: Four men and one woman, convicted in the infamous Salem Witch Trials, are executed in Salem, Massachusetts on this date in 1692. Despite the popularity of the theory witches were burned at the stake, virtually every convicted witch was hanged though one accused witch who declined to enter a plea was pressed to death.
Dry, Technical Matter: All this nonsense started in February when two girls lost their minds. They were brilliantly diagnosed by a local doctor as having fallen under the spell of witchcraft, a diagnosis the girls enthusiastically agreed with. More girls either lost their minds or pretended to and the witch hunt was on.
Running The Numbers: All told, 20 people, 14 of them women, were executed in this latest round of hysteria. Five more died in prison.
Batter Up, More Or Less: Eddie Gaedel, one of the few players to go straight to the major leagues without playing in the minors, walks in his only major league plate appearance on this date in 1951.
Playing for the St Louis Browns, Gaedel appeared in the second game of a Sunday doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers. He pinch-hit for leadoff hitter Frank Saucier and walked on four pitches delivered by Bob Cain. Since Gaedel was a midget, Browns owner Bill Veeck and manager Zach Taylor had a copy of Gaedel’s contract and a copy of the Browns active roster to show that Gaedel could legally appear in a genuine American League game.
Oh Yeah: Gaedel remains the only midget to ever appear in a major league game.
The Post Game Show Is Brought To You By Old Style Beer: The Tigers swept the doubleheader, 5-2 and 6-2, one of 13 doubleheaders the Browns would lose in 1951.
Quotebook: The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win. – Roger Bannister, the first man to run a mile in under four minutes.
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Roger Bannister was Sports Illustrated’s first Sportsman of the Year, in 1954.
Today’s Stumper: How many children of Mary, Queen of Scots became monarchs themselves? – Answer next time!