Daily Archives: July 20, 2012

From the Moon to the Abyss

“…one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Neil Armstrong of Apollo 11 proclaimed these words on the surface of the moon on this day back in 1969. This moment defined the United States as the world leader in space travel. For the first time in history, humans had landed on the moon. We were not on top of the world, we were above it. The Space Race was over and the United States had won. We were #1.

Nearly a decade was dedicated to achieving the mission of venturing not only into space, but a place we could only before look at with wide-eyed wonderment and curiosity: the moon. A challenge was presented and with hard work and determination completed despite incredible obstacles. It was inspiring and triumphant. (Cue “The Launch” from the ‘Armageddon’ soundtrack). It was an American moment.

Fast forward to July 20, 2012 and it feels as if we’ve missed our target. Instead, we’re slowly floating away from the place we know we should be landing in order to make groundbreaking new discoveries. Current policy needs dramatic changes and some politicians need to be replaced. The mission isn’t clear and there is nobody leading the charge. This all feels uneasy and even downright wrong to many. Quite frankly, it feels un-American in the sense that struggling in all the ways we are is what other countries do, but not US.

“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” President John F. Kennedy

Who will be the big dreamer and have that winning mentality to lead a nation into a space we’ve never been before? The American people want it, the country deserves it and the world needs it. The United States and its people need a defining moment, one that will change the course of history for the better as the U.S. has done so many times in its young and impressive history. In 1969, the U.S. was #1. It takes exceptionally hard work and vision to remain the best. The question is who has the flashlight to direct us out of the darkness and proudly plant the American flag into the ground to declare victory and superiority like three brave astronauts did 43 years ago on the moon? I repeat, the moon.

The Pleasures of Past “Inconveniences”

It’s Friday evening and after unwinding from a long and “stressful” week at school, my family and I embraced the TGIF-mentality much like the family did from the movie “ET.” We gathered in the family room that was perfect for watching movies and enjoyed a film that was just released. Surrounded by and in between all of us was a steaming hot Donatos pizza box, a half-gone two liter of Coca-Cola, cups and plastic Dontaos themed plates everywhere and an opened blue and white movie container with the word in bright yellow block letters “BLOCKBUSTER” showcased down the cases’ spine. This was a Friday night spent with family during my childhood. It was awesome.

Once the 3:00 p.m. bell sounded on that Friday during my elementary school days, the opportunity to make the weekend great had begun! After discovering my mom’s car from the usual lineup I opened the door and said hello. When asked what I had learned that day, I just responded with what had become protocol: “stuff.” With a humorous roll of the eyes, she put the car in drive and we went home.

Knowing that a very cool new movie had arrived that day at the movie store, I waited for the right moment. “Mom, you look really great today!” Thankful for a split second, she quickly saw through my transparent motive. Uncertainty still in the air, time had passed to early evening, around 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. Contemplating for a few moments, I finally mustered the courage to ask the two biggest questions of the impending weekend: “Mom, can we get pizza tonight?…and stop by Blockbuster?”

Pausing for dramatic effect (which worked in ways you cannot imagine), she replied, “Sure.” It was official: Friday night was going to be legen-wait for it…

The Blockbuster just a couple miles from my house was packed with fellow kids, parents, teenagers, adults and every age demographic you could picture. Looking at every movie box with precise analysis, I searched for “the one.” Once discovered in the “New Releases” section, I picked up and gazed at the cover box with amazement. Next step, I nervously and excitedly look behind it and hope for a VHS to be available for rental. As an FYI, a VHS is what us ‘old people’ used to call movies. Talkies is another popular expression.

At the counter, I hand the movie to the clerk who is sporting a welcoming smile and a happy attitude for the young man about the experience a cinematic adventure. My mom hands her the official membership card, the clerk swipes it, opens the case to ensure the correct movie was ready for rental, snaps it closed and then a white receipt is printed and stuck inside the top with the due date included. With a smile as wide as a mile, we walk out of the brightly lit, magical Blockbuster store and return home to then order a cheese pizza just like in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Home Alone” that is at our front door in a speedy fifteen minutes. Once the pizza guy is paid on our warmly lit front step, the moment had finally arrived and it was officially Friday Movie Night.

Today, at virtually any hour and day of the week, I turn on my laptop, open up iTunes, go to the iTunes store, click on the movie I want, confirm the download through my iTunes account and in less than an hour I’m watching the movie…alone and with total convenience in the comfort of my own home. Ughh.