Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Apollo 11 - First Steps at Tranquility Base

Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to step on the lunar surface on July 21st at 02:56 UTC

 "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

Buzz Aldrin descends from the Eagle at Tranquility Base in the Sea of Tranquility on the Moon.
Buzz Aldrin getting ready to place some of the scientific packages brought from Earth

Buzz Aldrin facing Neil Armstrong near the Eagle.

The farthest distance traveled from the LM by Neil Armstrong, about 300 feet.

Apparently Armstrong was quite the camera hog, basically because he was in charge of the camera. This is probably the best shot of Armstrong taken by Aldrin.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Apollo 11 - Landing on the Moon July 20, 1969

Neil Armstrong successfully lands the Lunar Module "Eagle", on the moon on July 20th, 1969 at 20:17 UTC (Universal Time).
The Command Service Module "Columbia" , flown solo by Michael Collins, as seen from the Lunar Module "Eagle".

The Lunar Module "Eagle" begins its descent to the surface of the moon. Piloted by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Sledgehammer Project; Pt XXIX - Priming the Sledgehammer

Managed to pull the airbrush out and prime the Sledgehammer. I'm still trying to introduce some level of modulation to the first airbrushed color by using a black, grey and white primer technique. While it looks good here, it seems to just be to subtle and affect afterwards. I think I am probably underdoing the black and overdoing the white. So still need to practice more with this.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Who knows what lies underground?

Its been a tough year on the irrigation pipes. The sewer line went for a complete replacement earlier and recently we discovered a small hole, a sinkhole if you will, in the area of the sewer line. At this point I figured it had to be the irrigation line and digging down took some time even in the soft earth. We found not one leak but two, one in each of the two parallel lines. 

This was caused by a root that had embraced the pipes and eventually crushed them. What fun! Once it was dug out and the root, mostly, removed the replacement was easy. The digging was a killer though.

Here is the part I was finally able to just remove.

For this part I basically chopped the top part of the root away, with a pickax, to expose both pipes. After that the rest was easy. If you look closely you can see three pipes at the top. One of those is a "dead" line that had previously been "embraced" by one of the Maple Tree's roots.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Sledgehammer Project; Pt XXVII - The Sledgehammer BFG final details

I final find a few spare moments from working on the house and the yard to get the final details and assembly of the Sledghammer done. This has taken forever and the convention is now definitely looming over me.

Here you can see the nut and bolt castings added to the side of the platform. I was going to drill out the holes for these and do it properly but in the end I cut them flush and just superglued them in place. You can also see the other control rod being fitted into position.

I figured that gluing the wheel to the control rod would be a weak joint so I decided to pin it. Will looking for a paperclip and figuring it would be to big anyway I came across a stapler. Perfect! Staples are just the right size for small pinning jobs. 

And the finished control rod and wheel. Need one for each side.

I cut this side, of course, a little to short so the fit is tighter than I wanted it to be, but it still looks pretty good.

The longer cut for the other side. I'm still trying to decide about the aiming apparatus. With the weird dichotomy between technology something electronic is definitely in order and would contrast so well with the rest of the Sledgehammer.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Apollo 11 Launch Day, July 16th, 1969

Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins sit atop the massive Saturn V rocket ready to depart for the first attempt to land on the moon. At 9:32 EDT, the five massive engines rumble, then fire and we have liftoff, the mission begins.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Colorado Shakespeare Festival - Twelfth Night

We attended a performance of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night over the weekend. It was performed at the Mary Ripon theater, an outdoor theater on the Colorado University Campus. This was our third year in a row. This is the first time I have been to a play that had a rain delay. About 10 minutes before intermission it was raining hard enough to shut the production down for about 30 minutes. It was a first for me!

The other issue was getting home. Apparently one of the bridges crossing highway 36 is shifting because of the rains and has a rapidly expanding crack (although I think its beyond crack status). So 36 was shut down to east bound traffic and will remain that way for several weeks to come. You can get into Boulder pretty easily but getting out is a bit tougher!

At the beginning of the evening

Ready for the second act, just a bit darker and the moon was rising above the stage as well.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

July - John Adams' Inaugural Address

I should have probably lead off July with this speech. In recent years I have read quite a bit about John Adams and he may well be one of my favorite presidents at this point. He certainly accomplished more than most people give him credit for and his vision for this country was profound. 

Adams was, perhaps, one of the greatest orators of the time and his impassioned speech given to the 2nd Continental Congress on July 2nd may be one of his finest efforts. Unfortunately for the historians he spoke off the cuff that day and the speech is not actually recorded. On the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4th, 1826, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson passed from this life. Daniel Webster gave the eulogy for both men a month later he imagined that based on Adams character and opinions this may be what he said what was said that day. To a certain extant that recount, 50 years later by a man that was not present, is fictional.

Instead I'll go with one that was recorded, his Inaugural Address given on March 4th, 1797. It is unfortunate that he was only elected to a single term in office. This is a long one, he did not share Washington's brevity for inaugural addresses:

When it was first perceived, in early times,
that no middle course for America remained between unlimited submission to a foreign legislature and a total independence of its claims, men of reflection were less apprehensive of danger from the formidable power of fleets and armies they must determine to resist than from those contests and dissensions which would certainly arise concerning the forms of government to be instituted over the whole and over the parts of this extensive country.
Relying, however, on the purity of their intentions, the justice of their cause, and the integrity and intelligence of the people, under an overruling Providence which had so signally protected this country from the first, the representatives of this nation, then consisting of little more than half its present number, not only broke to pieces the chains which were forging and the rod of iron that was lifted up, but frankly cut asunder the ties which had bound them, and launched into an ocean of uncertainty.

The zeal and ardor of the people during the Revolutionary war, supplying the place of government, commanded a degree of order sufficient at least for the temporary preservation of society. The Confederation which was early felt to be necessary was prepared from the models of the Batavian and Helvetic confederacies, the only examples which remain with any detail and precision in history, and certainly the only ones which the people at large had ever considered. But reflecting on the striking difference in so many particulars between this country and those where a courier may go from the seat of government to the frontier in a single day, it was then certainly foreseen by some who assisted in Congress at the formation of it that it could not be durable.

Negligence of its regulations, inattention to its recommendations, if not disobedience to its authority, not only in individuals but in States, soon appeared with their melancholy consequences - universal languor, jealousies and rivalries of States, decline of navigation and commerce, discouragement of necessary manufactures, universal fall in the value of lands and their produce, contempt of public and private faith, loss of consideration and credit with foreign nations, and at length in discontents, animosities, combinations, partial conventions, and insurrection, threatening some great national calamity.

In this dangerous crisis the people of America were not abandoned by their usual good sense, presence of mind, resolution, or integrity. Measures were pursued to concert a plan to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty. The public disquisitions, discussions, and deliberations issued in the present happy Constitution of Government.

Employed in the service of my country abroad during the whole course of these transactions, I first saw the Constitution of the United States in a foreign country. Irritated by no literary altercation, animated by no public debate, heated by no party animosity, I read it with great satisfaction, as the result of good heads prompted by good hearts, as an experiment better adapted to the genius, character, situation, and relations of this nation and country than any which had ever been proposed or suggested. In its general principles and great outlines it was conformable to such a system of government as I had ever most esteemed, and in some States, my own native State in particular, had contributed to establish.
Claiming a right of suffrage, in common with my fellow citizens, in the adoption or rejection of a constitution which was to rule me and my posterity, as well as them and theirs, I did not hesitate to express my approbation of it on all occasions, in public and in private. It was not then, nor has been since, any objection to it in my mind that the Executive and Senate were not more permanent. Nor have I ever entertained a thought of promoting any alteration in it but such as the people themselves, in the course of their experience, should see and feel to be necessary or expedient, and by their representatives in Congress and the State legislatures, according to the Constitution itself, adopt and ordain.

Returning to the bosom of my country after a painful separation from it for ten years, I had the honor to be elected to a station under the new order of things, and I have repeatedly laid myself under the most serious obligations to support the Constitution. The operation of it has equaled the most sanguine expectations of its friends, and from an habitual attention to it, satisfaction in its administration, and delight in its effects upon the peace, order, prosperity, and happiness of the nation I have acquired an habitual attachment to it and veneration for it.

What other form of government, indeed, can so well deserve our esteem and love?

There may be little solidity in an ancient idea that congregations of men into cities and nations are the most pleasing objects in the sight of superior intelligences, but this is very certain, that to a benevolent human mind there can be no spectacle presented by any nation more pleasing, more noble, majestic, or august, than an assembly like that which has so often been seen in this and the other Chamber of Congress, of a Government in which the Executive authority, as well as that of all the branches of the Legislature, are exercised by citizens selected at regular periods by their neighbors to make and execute laws for the general good.
Can anything essential, anything more than mere ornament and decoration, be added to this by robes and diamonds? Can authority be more amiable and respectable when it descends from accidents or institutions established in remote antiquity than when it springs fresh from the hearts and judgments of an honest and enlightened people?
For it is the people only that are represented. It is their power and majesty that is reflected, and only for their good, in every legitimate government, under whatever form it may appear. The existence of such a government as ours for any length of time is a full proof of a general dissemination of knowledge and virtue throughout the whole body of the people. And what object or consideration more pleasing than this can be presented to the human mind? If national pride is ever justifiable or excusable it is when it springs, not from power or riches, grandeur or glory, but from conviction of national innocence, information, and benevolence.

In the midst of these pleasing ideas we should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our liberties if anything partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections. If an election is to be determined by a majority of a single vote, and that can be procured by a party through artifice or corruption, the Government may be the choice of a party for its own ends, not of the nation for the national good. If that solitary suffrage can be obtained by foreign nations by flattery or menaces, by fraud or violence, by terror, intrigue, or venality, the Government may not be the choice of the American people, but of foreign nations. It may be foreign nations who govern us, and not we, the people, who govern ourselves; and candid men will acknowledge that in such cases choice would have little advantage to boast of over lot or chance.

Such is the amiable and interesting system of government (and such are some of the abuses to which it may be exposed) which the people of America have exhibited to the admiration and anxiety of the wise and virtuous of all nations for eight years under the administration of a citizen who, by a long course of great actions, regulated by prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude, conducting a people inspired with the same virtues and animated with the same ardent patriotism and love of liberty to independence and peace, to increasing wealth and unexampled prosperity, has merited the gratitude of his fellow-citizens, commanded the highest praises of foreign nations, and secured immortal glory with posterity.

In that retirement which is his voluntary choice may he long live to enjoy the delicious recollection of his services, the gratitude of mankind, the happy fruits of them to himself and the world, which are daily increasing, and that splendid prospect of the future fortunes of this country which is opening from year to year. His name may be still a rampart, and the knowledge that he lives a bulwark, against all open or secret enemies of his country's peace. This example has been recommended to the imitation of his successors by both Houses of Congress and by the voice of the legislatures and the people throughout the nation.

On this subject it might become me better to be silent or to speak with diffidence; but as something may be expected, the occasion, I hope, will be admitted as an apology if I venture to say that if a preference, upon principle, of a free republican government, formed upon long and serious reflection, after a diligent and impartial inquiry after truth; if an attachment to the Constitution of the United States, and a conscientious determination to support it until it shall be altered by the judgments and wishes of the people, expressed in the mode prescribed in it; if a respectful attention to the constitutions of the individual States and a constant caution and delicacy toward the State governments; if an equal and impartial regard to the rights, interest, honor, and happiness of all the States in the Union, without preference or regard to a northern or southern, an eastern or western, position, their various political opinions on unessential points or their personal attachments; if a love of virtuous men of all parties and denominations; if a love of science and letters and a wish to patronize every rational effort to encourage schools, colleges, universities, academies, and every institution for propagating knowledge, virtue, and religion among all classes of the people, not only for their benign influence on the happiness of life in all its stages and classes, and of society in all its forms, but as the only means of preserving our Constitution from its natural enemies, the spirit of sophistry, the spirit of party, the spirit of intrigue, the profligacy of corruption, and the pestilence of foreign influence, which is the angel of destruction to elective governments; if a love of equal laws, of justice, and humanity in the interior administration; if an inclination to improve agriculture, commerce, and manufacturers for necessity, convenience, and defense; if a spirit of equity and humanity toward the aboriginal nations of America, and a disposition to meliorate their condition by inclining them to be more friendly to us, and our citizens to be more friendly to them; if an inflexible determination to maintain peace and inviolable faith with all nations, and that system of neutrality and impartiality among the belligerent powers of Europe which has been adopted by this Government and so solemnly sanctioned by both Houses of Congress and applauded by the legislatures of the States and the public opinion, until it shall be otherwise ordained by Congress; if a personal esteem for the French nation, formed in a residence of seven years chiefly among them, and a sincere desire to preserve the friendship which has been so much for the honor and interest of both nations; if, while the conscious honor and integrity of the people of America and the internal sentiment of their own power and energies must be preserved, an earnest endeavor to investigate every just cause and remove every colorable pretense of complaint; if an intention to pursue by amicable negotiation a reparation for the injuries that have been committed on the commerce of our fellow citizens by whatever nation, and if success can not be obtained, to lay the facts before the Legislature, that they may consider what further measures the honor and interest of the Government and its constituents demand; if a resolution to do justice as far as may depend upon me, at all times and to all nations, and maintain peace, friendship, and benevolence with all the world; if an unshaken confidence in the honor, spirit, and resources of the American people, on which I have so often hazarded my all and never been deceived; if elevated ideas of the high destinies of this country and of my own duties toward it, founded on a knowledge of the moral principles and intellectual improvements of the people deeply engraven on my mind in early life, and not obscured but exalted by experience and age; and, with humble reverence, I feel it to be my duty to add, if a veneration for the religion of a people who profess and call themselves Christians, and a fixed resolution to consider a decent respect for Christianity among the best recommendations for the public service, can enable me in any degree to comply with your wishes, it shall be my strenuous endeavor that this sagacious injunction of the two Houses shall not be without effect.

With this great example before me, with the sense and spirit, the faith and honor, the duty and interest, of the same American people pledged to support the Constitution of the United States, I entertain no doubt of its continuance in all its energy, and my mind is prepared without hesitation to lay myself under the most solemn obligations to support it to the utmost of my power.

And may that Being who is supreme over all, the Patron of Order, the Fountain of Justice, and the Protector in all ages of the world of virtuous liberty, continue His blessing upon this nation and its Government and give it all possible success and duration consistent with the ends of His providence.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

July - Lincoln's Shortest Speech

Lincoln is one of my favorite Presidents and he appears this month with two speeches. This one is probably much better known that his house divided speech when he ran for the senate, I present the Gettysburg Address:

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

The text quoted in full represents the fifth of five extant copies of the address in Lincoln’s handwriting; it differs slightly from earlier versions and may reflect, in addition to afterthought, interpolations made during the delivery.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

July - Lincoln's Prophecy

In 1858 Abraham Lincoln was campaigning for the Republican nomination for one Illinois' senate seats against Stephan Douglas in what are known as the Lincoln Douglas Debates. In one of, perhaps, Lincoln's greatest speeches was delivered at Springfield Illinois on June 16th, 1858.

"Mr. PRESIDENT and Gentlemen of the Convention. 
If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.
We are now far into the fifth year, since a policy was initiated, with the avowed object, and confident promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation.
Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only, not ceased, but has constantly augmented.
In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed.
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.
I do not expect the Union to be dissolved---I do not expect the house to fall---but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
It will become all one thing, or all the other.
Either the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new---North as well as South.
…We shall lie down pleasantly dreaming that the people of Missouri are on the verge of making their State free; and we shall awake to the reality, instead, that the Supreme Court has made Illinois a slave State.
To meet and overthrow the power of that dynasty, is the work now before all those who would prevent that consummation.
That is what we have to do.
But how can we best do it?
There are those who denounce us openly to their own friends, and yet whisper us softly, that Senator Douglas is the aptest instrument there is, with which to effect that object. They do not tell us, nor has he told us, that he wishes any such object to be effected. They wish us to infer all, from the facts, that he now has a little quarrel with the present head of the dynasty; and that he has regularly voted with us, on a single point, upon which, he and we, have never differed.
They remind us that he is a very great man, and that the largest of us are very small ones. Let this be granted. But “a living dog is better than a dead lion.” Judge Douglas, if not a dead lion for this work, is at least a caged and toothless one. How can he oppose the advances of slavery? He don't care anything about it. His avowed mission is impressing the “public heart” to care nothing about it….
… Now, as ever, I wish to not misrepresent Judge Douglas' position, question his motives, or do ought that can be personally offensive to him.
Whenever, if ever, he and we can come together on principle so that our great cause may have assistance from his great ability, I hope to have interposed no adventitious obstacle.
But clearly, he is not now with us---he does not pretend to be---he does not promise to ever be.
Our cause, then, must be intrusted to, and conducted by its own undoubted friends---those whose hands are free, whose hearts are in the work---who do care for the result.
Two years ago the Republicans of the nation mustered over thirteen hundred thousand strong.
We did this under the single impulse of resistance to a common danger, with every external circumstance against us.
Of strange, discordant, and even, hostile elements, we gathered from the four winds, and formed and fought the battle through, under the constant hot fire of a disciplined, proud, and pampered enemy.
Did we brave all then,  to falter now?---now---when that same enemy is wavering, dissevered and belligerent?
The result is not doubtful. We shall not fail---if we stand firm, we shall not fail.  Wise councils  may accelerate or mistakes delay it, but, sooner or later the victory is sure to come."

Monday, July 1, 2019

July - Some Reflections

I will be celebrating this month, as I hope will many others, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Along with this huge event are some very important figures that made this event possible either directly or indirectly. I'm afraid I'm going to be subjecting you gentle readers to some of my favorite US historical figures and some of the important messages they gave that would lead us down the path to the moon landings, whether they could even imagine that possibility or not.

I'll start off with one my favorite presidents; Theodore Roosevelt. This quote is from remarks he made on April 23, 1910 at the Sorbonne in Paris.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds: who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."