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50 Years After ‘One Giant Leap,’ We Must Take ‘One Small Step’ Towards the Next Moonshot

July 20, 1969: Following a decades-long pursuit of monetary and intellectual energy for a once-in-a-lifetime moment of unrivaled ingenuity, coupled with the bravery of astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, the United States successfully landed a man (well, three men) on the moon.

“That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Still an astonishing achievement 50 years later.

As part of the celebration and necessary reminder of that historic journey into the ever-expansive and unforgiving darkness of space, let’s recall the presidential charge given by John F. Kennedy back in 1962.

Interestingly, my parents attended the “JFK Space Summit” at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum on June 19, 2019. One of the panels, “NASA: From the Moon to Mars 7 Beyond” featured Apollo 11 Lunar Command Module pilot Michael Collins. Moreover, Douglas Brinkley signed copies of his new book American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race. My parents bought one of those signed books, which they will hopefully allow me to borrow so I can learn in-depth facts of that amazing journey as chronicled by a New York Times bestselling author.

Listening to President Kennedy’s unambiguous message to Americans is still an astonishingly ambitious — and uniquely American — declaration more than 50 years later.

While there is a long list of awe-inspiring films made about space with a certain reliance on realism– ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ ‘Interstellar,’ ‘Gravity,’ ‘Apollo 13,’ ‘The Right Stuff’ — the documentaries and based-on-real-events’ film ‘First Man’ about the famed Apollo 11 mission take on a different gravity of storytelling.

CNN’s ‘Apollo 11’ documentary along with the July 12th-release of the documentary ‘Armstrong’ that is narrated by the quintessentially rebellious American voice of Harrison Ford celebrates and takes us back to how that triumphant mission came together for this country as well as mankind.

Here is the trailer for ‘Armstrong.’

According to reviews, ‘Armstrong’ does not live up to fellow 2019 documentary ‘Apollo 11’ or the major motion picture ‘First Man’ yet it still provides insights into the man who seemed destined to help perform the moonshot of all moonshots.

On that note, what will be America’s next “moonshot”?

There will be no shortage of ideas in the coming week as we celebrate the Apollo 11 mission that was a giant leap 50 years ago, forever holding a unique space in human history.

Taking the NeXT Step Starts With Saying ‘Hello’ in a New, Reassuring Way

Since his death on October 5, 2011, Steve Jobs has remained a beloved figure in Silicon Valley and comparable tech and innovation hubs around the world. His story — professional and personal — left a John Hancock-sized signature on the modern world’s ever-changing realization of the American Dream.

The technological legacy of Mr. Jobs, if required to be simplified in an industry defined by complication, was his gift for welcoming people into his vision of us connected and empowered through our own individualism. And his vision was first a revolutionary kind of personal computer (Macintosh), which evolved into a revolutionary personal music player (iPod) to a revolutionary phone (iPhone) and so on. Mr. Jobs knew that in order for people to buy into his vision — literally and figuratively — he would need his technological innovations to say something this evolving tech had never said before — literally and figuratively:

Hello.

The following video clip is from the beginning of the critically-acclaimed film ‘Steve Jobs’ directed by Oscar-winner Danny Boyle and starring Michael Fassbender and Oscar-winner Kate Winslet that recreates the morning-of struggle to fix a malfunctioning Macintosh computer before its big reveal to the world in 1984. The source material for this 2015 movie was based on the critically-acclaimed and biographical book Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.

(FYI – There is one f-word spoken in the following video clip)

Now watch the real-life Macintosh reveal by the real Steve Jobs from 1984.

Why write a blog post about this Steve Jobs presentation from 35 years ago?

As Silicon Valley giants (cough cough Facebook) continue to face increasingly serious questions about its “supposed” commitment to privacy concerning user data, which most of us access through Apple product(s), it’s important to remember — for all of us — why we were so excited to welcome groundbreaking personal technology into our homes and lives more than three decades ago. These devices have transformed us for better and for worse to varying degrees. Jimmy’s Daily Planet has covered this subject matter and specifically how Apple CEO Tim Cook has targeted privacy and transparency as a cornerstone of his tenure leading the company. Mr. Cook’s privacy priority is admirable in this day and age for such a major, transformative player to take a reassuring stand in an industry with social media companies that are actively being confronted with user data issues.

How can tech giants return to the days of the mid-1980s shown above that were filled with optimism about the future by plugging into personal technology?

Like when Steve Jobs’ NeXT company failed spectacularly after getting fired by Apple’s board in 1985 in part because of the original Macintosh computer’s failure in the market, tech giants will likely stumble for a few years before righting the ship. But let’s remember that Steve Jobs ultimately rebounded for a comeback of a lifetime that came (after) NeXT. Mark Zuckerberg is not Steve Jobs, but he better take inspiration from him quickly to find a resolution in the same vein as Mr. Jobs with the same success and consumer support. The hope is the solution to the aforementioned problem will arrive sooner rather than later, but we’ll just have to wait and see on this critical societal concern.

For now, the public should be looking at personal technology and its apps with the excitable possibilities of Apple’s “hello” circa 1984 instead of a particular social media giant causing public concern with “goodbye personal privacy and security?” circa, well, today.

P.S. Facebook launching a cryptocurrency called Libra? Try addressing user privacy concerns first. 

RIP Stan Lee

Stan Lee died yesterday at the towering age of 95.

Before he became the most famous cameo in Marvel’s superhero films–as well as the ‘Big Bang Theory’–Stan Lee was regarded inside the comic book universe as the endless creator of spectacular superheroes and a builder of, well, universes for said superheroes. And like many pop culture icons, Mr. Lee had a surreal impact on countless people’s childhoods.

Along with the adulthoods that grew from those imaginative childhoods.

His blockbuster credits (full and partial) include Spider-Man, the X-Men (Wolverine, Magneto, Professor X, Cyclops, Mystique, Rogue, to name a few), the Avengers (the Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Loki, to name a few), and Fantastic Four (Dr. Doom, Thing, Susan Storm, Mister Fantastic, Human Torch).

Interestingly, Mr. Lee had a naming quirk regarding his superheroes. Raj pointed this out extensively in an episode of ‘The Big Bang Theory.’

Raj has a point.

More to the point is a simple truth that Stan Lee positively changed lives with his art and boundless creativity fueled by childlike wonder. The following cameo in ‘Spider-Man 3’ sums his legacy up perfectly.

However, a more perfect summary to remember Stan Lee would simply be Excelsior.

I____I (A Director Framing That Perfect Shot)

When a movie becomes more than a movie to us, that’s when a movie transforms into that movie.

We love films for countless reasons that are equally objective and subjective. Whether it’s the story, cast, settings, director, subject or that it simply arrived at seemingly the perfect time during our life for some reason or another, we never forget our favorite movies. Part of this admiration typically includes an unforgettable shot(s) by the director. These visionary moments, either revolutionary or an example of a trademark directorial style, speak to us in profound ways.

True story.

Thankfully, YouTube exists and serves as a prime medium for creating and sharing content that speaks to us in myriad fashions. For this blog post, YouTube user The Solomon Society has gifted viewers with a video deftly titled, “The Most Beautiful Shots In Movie History.” I would add some different shots (and delete a few), but the video below is off to a good start. 

When one shot can capture the magic of an entire movie, that’s typically when people declare (personally and publicly) we need to see that movie.