Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mistaken for Magic

Yesterday while the world celebrated forty years since the moon landing many of us over fifty quietly reflected on our memories of the event. I was in high school when it occurred and remember it being the only time when we were called into a room to see anything on television.

I do not remember the logistics of how they managed to get an entire high school of students to view the moon landing simultaneously but I do remember the feeling of being part of something very special and I remember just how excited our teacher was . I can't remember for sure but I think it might have been our history teacher...I do remember him saying you are living history here ...this moment in time...this is happening NOW.

What is that expression, youth is wasted on the young? The same could possibly be said for history...certainly for me anyway these events went largely over my head and I did not really understand the impact until I was much older. How I hope that I was really excited...I think I would have been as I so remember the teacher's excitement...

After all I loved Star Trek and I read all the science fiction books by Isaac Asimov and anyone else that I could get my hands on! I know now how incredibly fortunate we were to experience that but how sad that these things we experienced when we are young are not fully remembered...not in the way they would be today with the technological advances which help us to record events.... often seeing the impact worldwide in seconds. My father phoned me tonight...I should have asked him of his recollections of the day. I will phone him tomorrow to ask him if he was home that evening to see it on the news.

Maybe one of the reasons that I do not remember it well is because so many changes were going on in the sixties, The Vietnam War, The Civil Rights Movement in the US and of course we were teenagers....we took things in our stride. And, maybe it was because we expected more things like that magical event to happen in the future that we are so disappointed now that space exploration as such has stalled. Sure we have the Space Station and great advances in medical science have come about through that but we were so far ahead of ourselves then...so far ahead it seems inconceivable that we did it but we did...we landed on the moon...not once.... but six times.

Remember Aurthur C Clark's third law of prediction?

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Let us not talk about this to our grandchildren as some sort of myth tinged with magic, let us all hope for and encourage and campaign for manned space flights to Mars and Phobos....we need to do this as a species..exploration and challenge and discovery....these are vital to us as a race.

Oh by the way one very interesting and well researched movie which shows the vital role that
Parkes in Central NSW played in the Mooon landing is The Dish, which stars Sam Neil and many fine Australian actors.

What are your memories or thoughts of this event? My dear friends who read my blog Linda ad Ann, do you remember who the teacher was and just how many televisions they brought into Wyong High School forty years ago? Better yet any teachers from Wyong High School forty years ago out there who could help jog my memory? You never know Linda and I found each other again through my blog magikquilter after almost thirty years!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult

Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult

This book by well known author Jodi Picoult was a slightly different take on her usual formulaic novels, although there were some similarities with The Green Mile by Stephen King which distracted me at times. The novel is ultimately about vengeance and redemption and coming after finishing Cage of Stars by Jacqueline Mitchard it was interesting reading, although not interesting enough for me to pull an all nighter.

Her research is impeccable for her novels and I have noticed she usually tries to draw attention to various topical issues, often more than one in the same book. This book dealt with not only the ethics surrounding the death penalty but associated things like restorative justice. Also the foster care system and the associated problems faced by people with learning and speech difficulties. She also covered Judaism and Catholicism and Agnosticism, Gnostic Gospels, faith and healing and miracles and the question of would we recognise the Messiah if He came to Earth now. Although it was never really explained how we would come to accept a Jewish or Christian Messiah who is a murderer.Then we have the heart transplant and the repercussions of living with an organ inside you that came from a murderer....do you think evil thoughts and can we live with such a person's organ inside us? We even have a female Jewish ACLU lawyer with self esteem issues.

So this is clearly my problem with her books .... I am so distracted when I read her novels because she puts so much into them that I find my mind going off on tangents, and this is not helped by the constant platitudes and predictability of her novels. I did not buy this novel new and that is probably the best way I can describe her work for me. I would not pay full price or even half price for her books but I would get them out of the library as I do like to see what the current topical issue is for her. In fact these books may be in effect a sort of time capsule, we may look to these in twenty years and be amazed at how society has changed, so she may be some kind of genius after all.

I rate it 3/5