Archive for November, 2014

Thanksgiving Thanks

November 24, 2014

A lot of miserable stuff is going on in the world right now (so what’s new?) , but, thankfully,  that’s probably not what’s on most Americans’ minds this week.  It’s Thanksgiving, which is probably second only in holiday popularity to Christmas,  or maybe tied with Halloween for second.  The popularity of Halloween is hard to figure , but then, it’s hard to figure a lot of the choices of the Booboisie.

Thanksgiving is really an interesting phenomenon.  People will fly a thousand miles or more to eat Thanksgiving dinner (Southern for lunch) with family members.  Sometimes, families follow the original Pilgrim’s tradition of  inviting guests. At the alleged first Thanksgiving feast, the Pilgrims invited 90 Native Americans, who had saved them by giving them enough food to survive their first year at Plymouth.  Big mistake by the Indians.  The same big mistake they made when they let Columbus come ashore in 1492.  (Interesting that we have named our city after a murderous enslaver of other human beings.)

But, I digress.

It’s the time for thanks.

Thanks to Kristin and Chris for providing me with a great-grandson right before Thanksgiving.

 Thanks to all my family for their love and support and to my friends for being my friends.

Thanks to all who work to make Columbus a place of beauty and grace,  and a place of wonderful live music and theater. Thanks to all who work to provide a public school system and university to give our youngsters a fighting chance to enjoy fulfilling lives;  and thanks to those who provide world-class museums that preserve and honor our past; and thanks to spiritual,  civic, and governmental organizations who strive to end hunger, homelessness and poverty; and thanks to all military service men and women for their service to our country.

Oh, and thanks to you for reading this.

 

 

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Space Science Center Works to Display Shuttle Prototype and to Affiliate with Smithsonian

November 17, 2014

 

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The relatively new whitewater experience in downtown Columbus has impressively increased the number of tourists visiting the Columbus area.  Hundreds of thousands were already coming because of the National Infantry Museum,  the National Civil War Naval Museum, and the Columbus State University Coca-Cola Space Science Center.  And now, the Coca-Cola Space Science Center could be on the verge of making Columbus an even greater national tourist destination.

CCSSC Executive Director Dr. Shawn Cruzen told members of the Rotary Club of Columbus that adding the 1/4 scale model space shuttle to the center’s museum and affiliating with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. will make the CCSSC an even greater tourist attraction, as well as enhance the educational aspects of the facility.

Dr. Cruzen told me that the space shuttle model played a large role in the development of the space shuttle. It was used as a testing prototype.  Developers of the shuttle had to know if the three elements involved in the launching of the shuttle, the main rocket, it’s attached fuel tank, and the shuttle, could withstand the violent vibrations that would  happen during a launch. They found out by submitting the prototype to those vibrations created by a machine. That makes the prototype, a $9.3 million gift of NASA’s to CCSSC, a highly valuable historical artifact.

However, it will take an estimated $2 million to modify the CCSSC building to display it.  As part of the efffort to raise the funds,  the center brought Dr. Valerie Neal, Director of the “Space History Division” of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, to Columbus to speak at fund-raising events. She was also scheduled to speak to the Rotary Club of Columbus, but commercial flight problems caused her to miss that; However, Dr. Cruzen and Mary Johnson,  Assistant Executive Director of CCSSC,  impressively substituted for her, in my view. Their presentations were well-received by the audience.

The CCSSC will do what it takes to make the affiliation application to the Smithsonian  next year, and has a goal of achieving affiliation in 2016.  There are all sorts of educational and promotional benefits in becoming an  Smithsonian affiliate, including use of artifacts and bringing Smithsonian experts to Columbus to speak.

I hope Columbus leaders will give full support to this initiative.  The Coca-Cola Space Science Center is a valuable asset for the area.  Shows in the world-class Omnisphere planetarium alone are worth a visit, thanks to the creativity and skills of its director, Lance Tankersley. 

 

CBS Sunday Morning in the Limelight

November 10, 2014

As I sat watching the illuminating CBS magazine program CBS Sunday Morning,  which has been on the air for  35 years, I learned the roots of the word “limelight,”  which, besides meaning “the center of public attention,” also means an actual light used to illuminate a stage, providing the first following spotlights,  I had to reflect on what an entertainment and informative  treasure CBS gives us every Sunday morning.

The program’s Almanac feature spotlighted Scottish inventor Thomas Drummond who, on November 9th, 1825,  successfully demonstrated a brilliant light produced by a white-hot flame from burning calcium oxide. (Calcium oxide is lime.)  He used a parabolic reflector to direct the light. Theaters quickly embraced the limelight to light stages and provide spotlights before the advent of electric lights. (Wikipedia tells us that Drummond didn’t actually invent limelight. Sir Goldsworthy Gurnery did that. Drummond made it work.)

This is one TV news magazine that leaves you feeling good after watching it. You can’t say that  about the others.  I get tired of being depressed by reports of the bad things going on in the world, so I  look  forward to this program, which I record every week.  Sometimes I actually watch part of it  when it airs. (more…)

John FLournoy Named Rotary Dan Reed Award Winner

November 5, 2014
Rotary Club of Columbus President Ryan Clements and John Flournoy, recipient of the Dan Reed Service Above Self Award.
Rotary Club of Columbus President Ryan Clements and John Flournoy, recipient of the Dan Reed Service Above Self Award. (Photo by Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

Congratulations to Columbus business leader John Flournoy on being named this year’s recipient of the Rotary Club of Columbus Service Above  Self Award.  He received the  honor for his  work in beautifying interchanges on I-185 in the Columbus area, especially the Gateway entrance to Fort Benning,   He was also honroed for his contributions to Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbus.