Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Apollo Moon Landing

At 13:32 UTC on July 16, 1969, the Saturn V rocket carrying Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins was launched from Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.  Four days later, these three men would find themselves orbiting the Moon.

(I wish this were my picture.  It comes from the NASA archives)

At 20:18 UTC on this day 47 years ago, Neil Armstrong emerged from the Lunar Module to become the first person to step on the moon.  He was joined shortly after by Buzz Aldrin (pictured above).  Almost 20 hours later, they would leave the lunar surface after collecting soil and rock samples.

I think it was pretty amazing that President Kennedy set a goal to land men on the moon and we achieved it within the end of the decade that he proposed it.  And then when you consider the tools that they had to work with in order to achieve this, it becomes even more amazing.  The components for the spacecraft were drawn on drafting tables and calculations were made using slide rules and rudimentary computers.  The funding was passed through a much more cooperative Congress.  I'm sure there were delays and setbacks but nothing that compares to the F-22 or F-35 programs.  And you also consider that a politician actually made a statement where he set the bar high because that forces us to do better.

Given the current political climate, I can't imagine any of the above happening these days.  Rather than looking for more ways to explore our world and the universe that surrounds it, we are talking about building a wall around our country.  Instead of further cooperation with the other citizens of this planet, we are talking about pulling back from the world.  When we should be shooting for the Moon or Beyond, we are barely shooting for making our country's infrastructure better.

I don't normally get political on this blog but times like this make me wish that we had better leadership.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Pre-Art Fair Days in Ann Arbor

So I went down to the Townie Party in Ann Arbor tonight.  Apparently it's an event they have prior to the Art Fair and I've never been to it before.  But then again, I try to avoid Ann Arbor when it gets near Art Fair Week but my mom had to be at something.  After dropping her off, I decided to get dinner and go for a walk.
 I ended up parking near South University.  I like the neon signs at Pinball Pete's.
 I ended up going to a sushi restaurant for dinner.  I don't remember what used to be here but it is two doors south of the Chinese Restaurant with Chef Jan.
 The sushi was pretty tasty and love the way it is presented.
 The front of the restaurant.  I would actually recommend it.
Then I basically wandered to my favorite places in the city.  The West Engineering Building.  I love these spires.  I will have to say that Albert Kahn did a good job.
The Graduate Library.  Apparently there was some sort of protest in front of it.  It was broken up as I was passing through the arch.
 The Burton Memorial Tower.  The light was hitting it just about right.
 Rackham Hall.  This would be up there on my list of nice buildings of Michigan's campus.
 Probably my favorite view of the Burton Memorial Tower.
 Like I said, it was Townie Fair (or something like that).  There were tents from various local art groups to say what they are all about.  It was kind of nice.
 Looking down the hallway at Nickels Arcade.  I'm wondering if I should have shot this in black and white.
 The sun was almost hitting the State Theater sign just about right.  I wonder if Captain Fantastic is about Elton John?
Looking up at the Michigan Theater sign.
I kind of like this one because you get the neon and the reflection of the windows.
There were quite a few street musicians out and about tonight.
 Another view of the State Theater.
 Another street musician.
 There was a band at the Townie Fair.  They were playing mostly folk stuff.
 the Burton Memorial Tower.
After all of these years of trying to avoid him, I couldn't avoid him tonight.  Although the suit almost looked like someone played the Noid at one time and pulled it out for tonight.
 the Block M in the Diag.  By the way, this is also a Pokestop, if you play that game.
My favorite building on Michigan's campus is the Law Quad.
I think this used to be the University President's house.  I'm pretty sure it is still used for events though.
And I end the evening with a picture of Clements Library.  I believe that Albert Kahn said that this was his favorite building on Michigan's campus.  I think they just finished restoring it.  It looks pretty nice.  One of these days, I will have to go inside.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

No Tall Planes...Just Tall Ships

So I decided to head up to Bay City for the Tall Ships Festival.  As much as I don't like crowds, I couldn't stay away.  The ships were compelling me to visit them.
 I decided to get the pass that lets me walk around the park.  I didn't get there early enough to pay for the passport but from what I heard, I would have spent most of my time waiting in lines, so I didn't think it was worth it.
The first ship that I saw was the Sailing Vessel Denis Sullivan out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  She was built in 2000 by a group of volunteers and professional shipwrights.  She is an educational sailing vessel and is equipped with a laboratory.  She is a replica of a three masted schooner that was prevalent on the Great Lakes in the 19th century.
 The Andalucia.  I don't think I need to go into more detail on her.
 The Star Spangled Banner flying off the Niagara.
 Looking up the rigging of the Andalucia.  I guess one nice aspect of going to the park is that I get to see the ships up close.  I kind of wish I could have taken a tour of this one but this was one of the ships that had the longest lines.
 I don't think I could get tired of the Viking ship.
 Looking under the bowspirit of the Pride of Baltimore II.
 The stern of the galleon.  I will have to admit, this looks like a very well put together boat.
 The Spanish Flag of the time of the Galleon.
 Another shot of her stern.
 One more.
 After a stop at the park, I decided to take a ride on of the Bay City Boat Lines boats.  This was the Islander which would be my ride for approximately a half hour.   I figured this gave the best opportunity to see all the ships.  I also figured it would probably give me the best angles.
 A restored Criss Craft boat.
 Looking out the windows of the Islander.
 The Vets Bridge opening for us.
 The Denis Sullivan again.  I'll have to admit this is a pretty nice looking ship and I would love to see it under full sail.
 Another view of the Galleon.
 The flag.
 The Mist of Avalon began her life as the motor vessel Liverpool Bay in 1967.  She was built in Nova Scotia, Canada.  She was used as a fishing vessel until 1987 when she was left abandoned at Halifax pier.  In 1992, work was started to covert her into a Grand Banks schooner.  Her engines were replaced and rigging was added.  In 1997, she started her new life as the Mist of Avalon.    Again, another pretty boat.
 The When & If is a two masted schooner that was commissioned by General George S. Patton in 1939.  He wanted to sail around the world in it.  Unfortunately, World War II intervened and he died in 1945 before he had a chance to use it.  It remained in his family until 1972 when it was given to a training school.  In 1990, she ran aground and was repaired in 1994.  Again, another nice looking vessel.
 The Pride of Baltimore II.  I don't need to go into her story here.
 The Star Spangled Banner flying from the Pride of Baltimore.
 The Appledore coming in to dock.
 The stern of the Draken Harald Harfarge.
 The Pride of Baltimore II.  She's a very sleek looking ship.
 A tiny Viking boat.
 The woodwork on the Viking longship is amazing.
 It was pretty windy.
 A view of that longship.
 Her bow.
 The Madeline that travels out of Traverse City, MI.  She is a recreation of a two masted schooner that used to travel the lakes.
 The Pathfinder.
 Another view of the galleon.
 Probably my favorite view of the galleon.
 The front of the longship.
 It's pretty amazing to see this many tall ships in one place.
 The Niagara.
 After getting off the boat, I decided to head to the other side of the river.  I wanted some closeups of the Viking ship.  This is the Playfair.
 Her flags.
 A close up of the dragon at the front of the Viking ship.
 This looks pretty bad assed.  Somehow, I could imagine the Vikings blowing fire or something through its mouth to scare their opponents.
 Another angle.
 The flag.
 The Vikings believed that ravens were the symbol of Odin.  Odin was the head of their gods.
 A stilt walker.  He was having a pretty difficult day because it was so windy.
 Decoration at the stern of the longship.
 Steerage for the longship. 
 Some shields.
 If you look closely, you can see some pretty intricate woodwork.

 The Pride of Baltimore II.
And almost back where we started.

Between tomorrow and Wednesday, these ships will start to leave Bay City.  They head off to Chicago next and their festival starts on July 27 and lasts through the 31st.  After that, they head up to Green Bay and then Duluth.  They will pass through the Detroit area at the beginning of September.  I am hoping to catch them when they do.