Sunday, 26 August 2012

One Small Step...

I was saddened to learn this evening of the passing of Neil Armstrong, a man who entered history in 1969 as the first human being to set foot on another world.

I remember watching, a wide-eyed child of six years, as my father explained to me that the man I was seeing on TV was actually walking on the Moon, which was visible in the sky at the time.

I don't know that the significance of Man's first step on the lunar surface made much of an impresson on me at the time - I may have been waiting for the monsters to appear - but I could tell from the expression on my father's face that something important was happening.

I have always had a fascination with space; the courage of men and women who launch themselves into the cosmos on the back of what amounts to an enormous bomb never fails to win my admiration.

But men such as Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins were among the pioneers - their exploits and those of they who preceded them (Gagarin, Shepard, Leonov, Glenn, et al) paved the way for the astronauts of today as they continue to make advances that will one day enable us to revisit the lunar surface and go beyond; to Mars, the Jovian moons and, in time, the stars.


Let us hope that the next generation, those who walk in the footsteps of Armstrong, Aldrin and the men of the Apollo missions, as they revisit the Moon and beyond, do so in the spirit and character of those who laid the trail.

For all mankind...

Saturday, 11 August 2012

The regular reader (Hi, Fred) will recall an early post on this blog in which I wrote about classic '70s TV show, "Harry O", and expressed a hope to see it appear on DVD.

Four years later, in August 2011, Warner Home Video released the original pilot movie, "Smile Jenny, You're Dead", which sparked renewed hope that the main series would follow. A year passed and nothing.

But as I pointed out all those years ago, I am nothing if not patient. And yesterday patience was rewarded when I found this on Amazon.com:


Needless to say, a copy is on its way to me even as we speak...


Friday, 10 August 2012

August 9th, 2012...

Every Irishman (and woman, I hasten to add) who is old enough to remember Italia '90 can tell you where he (or she) was when Packie Bonner saved the penalty and David O'Leary scored the decider against Romania that put the Republic of Ireland through to the quarter finals of the World Cup.

That was 22 years ago, and now Ireland has a sporting hero(ine) for a new generation:


Katie Taylor from Bray, Co. Wicklow - Irish, European, World (4 times) and now Olympic Women's Lightweight Boxing Champion, this remarkable young woman has won every prize there is to win in amateur boxing and has been instrumental in the sport having become an Olympic event.

Ireland's flag bearer at the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony, Katie Taylor joins a long line of Irish boxing medal-winning Olympians but is unique (so far) in being the only woman.

Yesterday, she beat long-time rival, Sofya Ochigava of Russia, to win Olympic Gold and see her country's flag raised to the sound of Amhrain na bFhiann, while a crowd of up to 10000 visiting and expatriate Irish supporters sang proudly.

She will come home to Ireland to be met at the airport by, well, everybody, after which the 45-minute trip to her home town (it will be an open-top bus) will take about 5 hours.

That's not to take away from the achievements of the rest of the Irish team, in particular the boxers, who at the time of writing are guaranteed a silver and two bronze medals, with the possibility of that silver becoming gold for John Joe Nevin of Mullingar if he can beat Luke Campbell of Great Britain in his final bout tomorrow.

But for now, at the end of (as they say) the day, Ireland belongs to Katie.

I wonder what she'll do next?