I don’t know about you, but clicking the link to Felix Baumgartner’s historic skydive today was either the best or worst thing I did Sunday. Unlike some people, my cable internet came through and I had a clear, glitch-free picture the whole time. I checked in at about 6,000 feet and really couldn’t turn away.
By the time they reached this moment…
…my heart was in my mouth. When I stopped to consider the scientific value of such a stunt — and at this point, I’m going to call it a stunt, unless someone corrects me — I was distracted by the amazing photography. The balloon was literally a shiny object, and watching it grow larger as the air pressure abated only increased the drama. The description of the thing was “an inflated dry cleaning bag that would fill the Los Angeles Coliseum,” and it looked so utterly fragile. I guess I was utterly suckered in that sense.
I don’t know how important this exercise was. I’ll take Red Bull at its word that the data the mission gathered was important, but I don’t think this was another Mars Rover, either. Joe Kittinger was a nice touch. His gentle reminders to Baumgartner to reply to each directive gave the final moments of the flight some extra drama. What if he hadn’t answered back, or had a panic attack? Would it be possible to talk the guy down when he’s 24 miles above the earth?
Baumgartner’s stab at Neil Armstrong’s speechifyin’-in-a-sentence was a little lame, but that might be because once he let go of the capsule and fell into the void he disappeared from sight so quickly I gasped. Two seconds and he was a dot. Now there was a visual. In space, no one car hear you scream, but I think they must have heard me.
Watch for yourself. That’s pretty dramatic.
Did I just fall for a worldwide free-media publicity barrage for a vile soft drink? You tell me, but I enjoyed it.
And that was the weekend. We saw “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” which Kate said was the best movie she’d ever seen, so I guess that’s an endorsement. My former student Dustin had to work, but at least he got a good story out of it:
Some of the concertgoers at a late-season Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson concert at DTE Energy Music Theatre will have the chance to compare the venue’s acoustics to those at the Oakland County Jail.
Later on, Rob Zombie is quoted, and referred to on second reference as “Zombie.” Excellent.
Oh lord, another Monday. Let this week pass smoothly, please. Hope yours does.