I look at it every year and every year it looks a little different from how it looked the year before.
“Beware the ides of March.” So said the soothsayer to Julius Caesar. The date was known to Caesar and every Roman because it, today, March 15, was the official day for settling debts. Which I suppose some of Caesar’s colleagues thought they were doing when on that date in 44 B.C. they multifariously perforated him with knives, rendering him dead.
We often say, “I love Jesus.” But how often do you hear, how often do you say, “I like Jesus”?
A number of years ago, after having one — in a secular, not religious context — it hit me that the best working definition of an “epiphany” is the instant when the obvious is recognized.
Many is the time I’ve cooked up a high-concept proposal to get an editor to let me do something I wanted to do anyway. I would not accuse Amy Gibas of this, but something in me kind of hopes that her masters degree research proposal had something to do with a desire to have fun with balloons. About which she was nothing if not passionate.
There’s a tremendous reward in learning local history. I say this as one who vigorously avoided learning any history of the area where I grew up, in central Missouri. I have great affection for the kind of people who won’t let local historical questions rest. They have to learn the answers to those questions. I have tendencies in that direction, too, though my laziness threshold is high and I’ll go looking only if the questions hold the potential of having really interesting answers.
Twenty year ago this morning I was having coffee when I remembered that the space shuttle was landing, so I turned on the television to watch it. Everything seemed yawningly normal. But then I was interrupted mid-yawn — a very unpleasant sensation, though not as bad as a stifled sneeze — when the commander and pilot of the shuttle failed to respond to calls from the flight controller.
As part of Dennis E. Powell’s twentieth anniversary remembrance of the second shuttle disaster, we are republishing this third part of Dennis E. Powell’s late 80’s and early 90’s cover stories on NASA safety practices that he wrote for TROPIC, the magazine of The Miami Herald. In this piece Powell tells the story of former NASA engineer Bill McInnis who cared too much.
As part of Dennis E. Powell’s twentieth anniversary remembrance of the second shuttle disaster, we are republishing this crucial investigation into NASA’s space shuttle safety practices that he wrote for TROPIC, the magazine of The Miami Herald, on April 9, 1989.