I've received several inquiries of late on my writing absence concerning the debt ceiling debacle. While I did post an opinion back in May (click here if you're interested), I've remained silent since while still taking in the whole fiasco with great interest. Granted the matter at hand has grave consequences for our country's future which is why I'm thrilled Washington is finally doing a great service to the Nation and giving partisan politics a rest...
To be honest, I'm actually a bit in mourning. No...no one close to me has died recently, yet I have lost a dear, close friend nonetheless. My fond attachment to our space program is no secret on Tony C Today. I've even publicly stated a desire for my middle child, the Crazy Tomato, to be one of the first humans on Mars. Red hair to the red planet is our daddy/daughter motto...when her mother isn't around that is.
So it should come as no surprise that at 5:57 am ET yesterday morning, I became a bit melancholy when the Space Shuttle Atlantis landed thus ending my 30-year love affair with the retiring fleet of space buses...I mean ships.
To the world, the Space Shuttle was as American as it gets.
By that you mean a gluttonously expensive program ran by the government that came far from meeting originally stated expectation and far over estimated operational cost?
No! I mean American...like Mickey Mouse, the Yankees and Shoney's Restaurants! General Electric, corn on the cob, and yard sales! America!
Anyway...the Space Shuttle was from my generation. My parents had the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs which were definitely sexy and exciting. Then came Skylab! Who can forget that golden age of space exploration...well...at least space habitation. And finally the monumental Apollo-Soyuz mission when original Mercury Seven astronaut Deke Slayton (The Right Stuff) finally got into space aboard a hollowed out Apollo capsule so stripped down there were only three toggle switches on the control panel: Up, Stop and Down. Those were the good old days of paranoid international relations when we weren't the only big boy on the block...remember?
The Space Shuttle was my generations to claim. Ronald Reagan, The Gap and the Space Shuttle...now two of the three are gone...mere pages in the history books.
I'm going to need a minute here...