Saw the new exhibition Diabolique at the Dunlop Art Gallery tonight. It's curated by Amanda Cachia, includes 22 Canadian and international artists, is split into two parts with the second half scheduled to run in the fall, and addresses themes of war and violence. Among the pieces on display is one of Douglas Coupland's provocative life-size toy soldier sculptures. The show is definitely worth checking out. In our July 30 issue I'll have a review.
1 MOON GRUMP As if we haven't been mooned out enough, take a look at an interview a NASA PR hack did with Apollo 11's command module pilot, Michael Collins (he was the one who stayed in the command module while Armstrong and Aldrin went to the moon). He sounds like your grouchy – but perceptive – grandfather and an environmentalist at the same time. Can't say I don't agree with him. (NASA)
2 MOON? NYET. While we're on the topic, let's spare a thought for the Soviet Union's failed moonshot program (Wikipedia). Plagued by a lack of money, lack of resources, and scientists and engineers infighting like cats in a bag, it's amazing that they got as far as they did. It's doubtful whether their manned lunar lander would’ve worked but the major reason why it didn't work was the N1 rocket (myspacemuseum.com) which stood as tall as the Saturn V but whose engines weren't as powerful. The first stage was comprised of 30 rockets strapped together, and no N1 flight lasted as long as the first stage cut-off. Here's what it looked like when one of the suckers exploded. (metacafe.com)
Russian Moon Rocket Disaster - The most amazing bloopers are here
Three weeks before the Apollo 11 landing, the Soviets tried to launch an N1, but it blew up on the launch pad, killing many launch site technicians and engineers. A good analysis of all that went wrong in the Soviet Union's moonshot program can be found at Encyclopaedia Astronautica (Encyclopaedia Astronautica), along with other NASA, United States Army and United States Air Force plans for moonbases that were formulated in the 1950s and 1960s.
3 NO FREE RIDES One of the strangest things I'm hearing in the entire Saskadome debate (Leader-Post) is the Sask. Party government getting on about how no taxpayers' money will be used to construct the $350 million (estimate? Guesstimate?) cost to build the thing. A lot of those proposals for paying for it involve funds from the Crown corporations or the Saskatchewan Gaming Commission (the people who run Casio Regina and Casino Moose Jaw). Well, they're supposed to be turning over their profits to the provincial government's revenue stream. And if they don't, then the money's going to come from somewhere – either higher taxes or cuts to government programs. Taxpayers will still pay the cost, directly or indirectly.
4 HEAD HORROR Talk about burying your lede, Ian Hamilton … a good piece on Tony Proudfoot's battle with Lou Gehrig's Disease (Leader-Post) leaves the most important part to the second-last paragraph. Are there more football players suffering from ALS? Is there something that makes football players more prone to suffering ALS—head injuries, concussions, that sort of thing? Is the CFL Players Association worried about its members? Are current players worried?
5 TRUE PATRIOT Just when you think Fox News Network can't go any lower … a chickenhawk war correspondent talks about an American solider captured by the Taliban a couple of weeks ago, and says he should be killed. (Crooks and Liars)
6 WINNING WHEELS Oh yeah. Almost forgot. I interviewed two members of the Pile O'Bones roller derby club in advance of their event Saturday night at the Caledonian Curling Club. The first reader who makes it this far and e-mails me (firstname.lastname@example.org) gets two tickets to the roller derby.