Neil Armstrong narrating his Apollo 11 moon landing using Google moon

This post is the final in a 3-part series to commemorate the 50th anniversary Apollo 11’s landing on the moon. I found this sensational clip while watching the following interview with Neil Armstrong. Neil of course is as almost well renowned for staying out of the spotlight as he is for being the first human to walk on the moon, so it was an absolute pleasure to watch him speak so candidly about his experiences leading up to and including the mission. As the description of the video describes:

Armstrong shows flashes of the rationality and equanimity that made him an ideal astronaut candidate in the first place. He confesses that he gave Apollo 11 a 90% chance of returning home safely, but just a 50% chance of landing on the Moon successfully.

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Posted in News, Science

Low on fuel and off course. Relive Apollo 11’s touchdown.

As we quickly approach the 50th year anniversary of Apollo 11’s remarkable feat of touching down on the surface of the moon (July 20, 1969, at 20:17 UTC), I wanted to relay this stunning recreation of the event by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC news) web page. I would suggest that anyone even with a smidgen of interest in the commemoration events of Apollo 11 might find this form of visual and audio recreation of the landing in itself a minor miracle. It’s as though we are sitting along side the protagonists both in the lunar module and those technicians back at home as it approaches the moon.  Also, I hadn’t known that the most critical call on the Apollo 11 mission came minutes before the landing. So Ladies and Gentlemen buckle up for the ride and relive one of humankind’s crowning achievements (click on the image):

Apollo 11 touchdown

‘The Eagle has landed’

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Posted in News, Science

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of humankind landing on the moon

Landing MoonThat’s one small step for (a) man,
one giant leap for mankind.

-Neil Armstrong

Note that I didn’t write: “That’s one small step for man”.

After returning from space, Armstrong said there was a lost word in his famous one-liner from the moon: “That’s one small step for ‘a’ man.” It’s just that people just didn’t hear it.” You can read more about that here.

I doubt there is a more widely recognized quote (or misquote) in the history of humankind than Neil Armstrong’s words as he took his first step on the moon.

I realise this post is four days premature since Neil Armstrong didn’t land on the moon until July 20, 1969, at 20:17 UTC. But today marks the lifting off of Apollo 11 from Cape Kennedy.

To mark the event, tomorrow night I will go see the highly anticipated documentary Apollo 11 at my local cinema. Also you can relive the journey on you tube in one single LIVE broadcast over six days.

I highly recommend the following mini-documentary about how NASA recovered and studies the moon rocks – Where does NASA keep the Moon Rocks?:

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Posted in News, Science

The Sunshine Song – Kundalini Yoga

I wrote in another post titled Kundalini Course for Beginners about my practice of Kundalini Yoga. I described why I took up Kundalini Yoga and how it has helped me on countless occasions get me out of some very dark places. Picture Beatrix Kiddo in Kill Bill 2 clawing her way out of that makeshift wooden coffin 6 feet under. Ok, that was a tad melodramatic, but you get my drift.  I would not be exaggerating however claiming that more than anything else in my life Kundalini Yoga has been my ‘saving grace’ as it were.

After having completed another session this morning from Nirvair Singh Khalsa’s transformational video series called Kundalini Yoga For Beginners, I found myself as I often do in a state of awe and overwhelming appreciation for the experience I had just partaken. You see, the real ‘kicker’ is the ending called The Sunshine Song. I’ll let the yogi Nirvair Singh Khalsa describe what that consists of:

The Sunshine song is a projected healing meditation. What I want you to do is to mentally pick out a person that you would like to help or heal. As you see this person; as you feel them; have them at their very best; their healthiest, their happiest. It can be someone that needs healing energy, someone that’s not feeling well physically, mentally, emotionally or someone that you’re having a conflict with. Often times conflicts can’t be resolved or you come to loggerheads and it’s good to work on them from another dimension and from another angle. Singing the sunshine song about someone you are having a conflict with can really clear a lot of things up quickly.

the Sunshine SongSo pick out a person now, keep them in your mind’s eye, see them, feel them and we’ll sing the song. We’ll sing it through twice and at the end we will chant a long ‘SAT’ and a short ‘NAM’. ‘SAT’ means truth and light and ‘NAM’ means ‘identity and existence’. Inhale deeply….

Here from 57:15 in the video you can view Nirvair’s explanation in full and The Sunshine Song
(The owner  of the video has disabled playback for use on other sites, hence why I cannot display it on this post).

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Posted in Health

‘Youth is the One Thing Worth Having’ – The Picture of Dorian Gray

the Picture of Dorian GrayWhen the decadent Lord Henry Wotton warns the irresistible young Dorian Gray that he really should not get sunburnt, his forthcoming remarks regarding youth and beauty are unashamedly brash, but correct none the less. In the opinion of this poster no truer words have been written about ageing. Don’t worry, I’ll be getting to his remarkable sermon shortly. Someone who has only recently come to the realisation that beauty in a person is only temporary and reached that threshold where beauty is is now a thing of the past, I couldn’t have been more impressed with this wonderful monologue written by Oscar Wilde from his Gothic horror and fable The Picture of Dorian Gray.

I found myself pondering whether my younger beautiful self would have been as receptive to these words as I am now today.

In a previous post, I wrote about my favourite short story called The Happy Prince also written by Oscar Wilde. A fellow blogger Ashokwahi recommended that I read Oscar Wilde’s only full-length novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. Part-way through reading it, I found myself jotting down the page numbers of my favourite quotes because they were too profound to just let pass by. One such instance was Lord Wotten’s words about beauty and youth. I am indebted to Ashokwahi for his marvelous recommendation! So without further to do I present to you this passage from Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray:

Beauty and youth Part1
Beauty and youth Part 2Beauty and youth Part 3Beauty and youth Part 4Beauty and youth Part 5

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Posted in Reading

Ethics don’t scale. Naval Ravikat comments about Socialism

This recently popped up in my you tube feeder which gave me some food for thought:

Naval Ravikat quoting Nassim Nicholas Taleb (or words to the effect):

(starting from 4:40 in the above video) ‘With my family I’m a communist. With my close friends I’m a socialist. At my state level, I’m a democrat. At national level I’m a Republican and at the federal level I’m a libertarian’.

Mr Ravikat elaborated ‘The larger the group of people you have massed together who have different interests; the less trust there is; the more cheating there is; the better the incentives have to be aligned; the better the system has to work, then the more you go towards Capitalism. The smaller the group you in. You’re in your kibitz, you’re in your commune, you’re in your house, you’re in your tribe, by all means be a socialist…..but when you’re dealing with strangers you want to be a real socialist? Then great, open all your doors tomorrow. Please come everybody and take what you want and see how that works.’

I looked up a little bit about Nassim Nicholas Taleb based on Navar’s comments and I found this from Fractals of Change:

Ethics don’t scale, Taleb says in his latest book, Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life.

People tend to be virtuous in small groups, he says; but, once the groups get large, ethical rules lose their force with respect to the group as a whole although not within the subgroups. This can and does lead to inter-subgroup hostility and bad behavior. People do things to members of other clans that they wouldn’t do to clanspeople. Because virtue doesn’t scale, you can’t just declare everybody to be one huge group and have a nirvana of good behavior and trust.

Naval’s comments reminded me of Jordan Peterson discussing the communist mindset in this interview with Dave Rubin:

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Posted in politics

Glad Wrap and other ‘Broken Shoelace’ events

So here I am unwrapping the dreaded ‘glad-wrap’ plastic to seal over a plate of food that I will perhaps reheat the next day….and I’m in kind of a hurry. When you are cooking for just one, you’re always in a hurry to get your cooking done and with the minimum amount of energy expended. So ideally you want to prepare enough to get the most out of slaving over a frickin’ stove for just one person – that being me, myself and I. So instead of peeling 2 potatoes I’ll peel 4. Instead of boiling just 1 cup of vegetables, I’ll boil 2. Why? So I can reheat the additional tatoes and veges the next day and then I only have to cook the obligatory meat.
And see, da-da!…..

Mashed Potatoes - Veges

So that’s next day taken care of. Phew!
Do I care how reheated mashed potatoes taste the next day? You guessed right. I don’t give a frog’s fat arse.
Now it could be presumed that I have this process  mastered or to put an Aussie spin on it – ‘down-pat’.
Well not quite.
Unrolling glad wrap to the specific length and cutting it in one piece often turns into what I call a ‘Broken Shoelace’ event.

Allow me to digress if you will. I always had the Charles Bukowski poem called The Shoelace lingering in mind and I wondered how I could incorporate it in my blog rather than just doing a cut and paste job and say ‘Oh here, read this great poem’. Over time I realised incidents analogous to Bukowski’s ‘Broken Shoelace’ occur to us all the time.

Excerpts from The Shoelace

it’s not the large things that
send a man to the
madhouse. death he’s ready for, or
murder, incest, robbery, fire, flood…
no, it’s the continuing series of small tragedies
that send a man to the
not the death of his love
but a shoelace that snaps
with no time left …

with each broken shoelace
out of one hundred broken shoelaces,
one man, one woman, one
enters a

so be careful
when you
bend over.

Glad Wrap 1

Now back to the glad wrap conundrum: Anyone that says that glad wrap is easy to unwrap and put to use is fibbing. What often takes place unless one has undertaken night-classes in glad-wrap handling is they will begin to strip the glad wrap clear of the roll and it will ordinarily cling to the the side of the roll like a baby to it’s mother’s breast. Now trying to back-track to find the point at which the separation of the main strip of plastic and the ‘son of a bitch’ piece occurred can take the better part of a day and you’ve wasted a good portion of the wrap unfurling so it co-joins anew. And even when you have it broken off to set as a cover, you must then ensure it does not fold back onto itself or just become a mesh of twisted plastic which if you’re a fumbling jack-arse like me can be a near impossible feat. This nightmare scenario also occurs with insane regularity when using blasted Sticky tape or when your toilet roll doesn’t have a split sleeve just after you’ve bought it or trying to split open the impenetrable ointment cylinder. And worst of all, you’re at your wits end, because as I stated at the start of this post, more often than not you are in a hurry to just to get the damn plastic off so you will not die from starvation or in the case of a toilet roll to wipe your backside.



Goddammit, Bukowski was right! Broken shoelaces (and lets not forget broken glad wrap, sticky tape, toilet rolls and ointment cylinders) can send a man to the madhouse.

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Posted in Reflections

Blue Skies Have Returned to Bogotá – 27th of June 2019

For the first time in a long while, Bogotá (the capital of Colombia) has had one whole day of radiant blue skies. This year, the typically wet season months in Bogota – April and May extended their melancholic deluge into nearly all of June. I was so taken aback by the weather today I had to mark this day on my calendar and venture out for a long walk around where I live. You see, I even took a few snappys too prove to myself I wasn’t dreaming.

I had just finished a cardio workout indoors a little after 12.00pm and I was lying on my bed and low and behold the sunshine was bombarding my room. Normally the mornings here can be quite sunny, but almost like clockwork the weather takes a dreaded turn for the worst after midday. Overcast skies envelope the city and rain ensues or at least a slight drizzle for the rest of the day.  But not today; this day ladies and gentlemen – 27th of June 2019.
Just so that you don’t think I’m exaggerating compare the crazy Precipitation total this year in Bogotá to previous years. It’s nearly off the charts – literally!

colombia-physical-mapFrom Discover Colombia: Colombia is located very close to the equator and the northern Andes mountain range runs through the country creating a wide variety of altitudes and geographic characteristics. Therefore, the climatic variations do not obey the traditional seasons like they do in the United States, Europe and Australia, but rather the altitude. Because of this, weather climates tend to be stabilized throughout the year with slight variations due to the time of year and amount of rainfall. These are called the “dry season” and the “wet season”. Winter (invierno) translates as the rainy season and summer (verano) is equivalent to the dry season. The dry seasons of December through March, July, and August are considered the best time of the year to visit Bogotá.

Related Articles:
1. How to Pack for Colombia – Discover Colombia
2. Weather in Bogotá – Discover Colombia
3. Monthly weather forecast and Climate Bogotá, Colombia – Weather Atlas

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Posted in Reflections

More on Fyodor Dostoevsky’s writing

DostoevskyFyodor Pavlovich (FP): ‘…I’d put an end to that little monastery of yours. Take all this mysticism and abolish it at once all over the Russian land, and finally bring all the fools to reason. And think how much silver, how much gold would come into the mint!

Ivan: ‘But why abolish it?

FP: ‘To let the truth shine forth sooner, that’s why‘.

Ivan: ‘But if the truth shines forth , you will be the first to be robbed and then……abolished‘.

FP: ‘Bah! You’re probably right. Ah, what an ass I am.

Fyodor Pavlovich suddenly cried, slapping himself lightly on the forehead.

FP: ‘ Well then, Alyoshka, in that case let your little monastery stand. And we intelligent people will keep warm and sip cognac.’

The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoevsky

The only way I could describe reading Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky it is like putting a mirror up to your soul. I often find when people refer to the soul it often has a dualistic emphasis and interpreted with rose-tinted glasses. Rather your soul which Dostoevsky’s writing probes is scarred beyond recognition and malevolent at its core, but their remaining a spark of goodness therein.

There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in – Leonard Cohen – Anthem

It is the realisation of when you see yourself in one or more of the characters, and you don’t like what it says about you. This kind of exposure to one’s self can be very painful and extremely humbling. It is often these uncomfortable journeys into the murky waters of our souls which can serve as opportune times to make reassessments about truly what drives us and how we approach life’s inevitable challenges. Our worldviews, in fact our entire direction in life, can shift as a result of this experience.

As I alluded to in a previous post – The Art of Disagreeing, Jordan Peterson summed up so powerfully why Dostoevsky is the absolute model of a true intellectual:

‘(Dostoevsky) when he sets up two ideas to go to war he embodies both sets of ideas and the most powerful characters he can imagine. You can see two parts of Dostoevsky fighting it out in the book. So he was at war inside and he put those parts of him in those characters and let them just go at it’.

In the playing out of this war in his mind (and our minds) Dostoevsky seems to be tackling the fundamental question of human existence–how best to live one’s life–in a truly engaging way. As one Good Read‘s reviewer Rawley put it about The Brothers Karamazov:

Dostoevsky articulates, better than anyone, how human beings really are what I would call “walking contradictions”. Perhaps all of our struggles in life boil down to the reality that we desire contradictory things, simultaneously. If you like your novels with good character development, this is the masterwork. Dostoevsky’s characters are more real, more human, than any other. At different points along the way, you will identify with them, sympathize with them, curse them, agonize over them, celebrate them. You will be moved.

After having devoured Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, I am now well into his other epic masterpiece The Brothers Karamazov which not unlike the former I am floored by this dense philosophical work. It won’t be the first and last time I have read these books. I will be coming back to them often I suspect.

To conclude this post, I feel it most befitting to present the following video of why you should read Crime and Punishment:

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Posted in Reading

Rocketman- Elton Hercules John!

RocketmanAs I alluded to in a recent post there is a plethora of music homage movies set for release in 2019, Rocketman is one such feature which centers on the musical-life of Elton John. This review does contain spoilers so if you intend on seeing this movie then I would be reluctant to read further because knowing as little as possible about Rocketman’s unique modus operandi would in my estimation pay the audience member inestimable entertainment dividends.

I went into this movie with trepidation because as I mentioned in my previous post from having gleaned the trailer I didn’t see Elton John in Taron Egerton. However, part way into Rocketman I was relieved to find myself fully immersed in Egerton’s portrayal of Elton. I remarked to my partner in one of the movies highlights (and there is a swathe of them) how it was though I was watching Elton John in person, when Egerton as Elton Elton uncannily finds the musical essence of Bernie Taupín’s lyrics in arguably Elton john’s greatest love song ‘Your Song’.
Edited: Since writing this post, movie clips from Rocketman have been released on you tube including the scene described above:

One of the criticisms I read about Rocketman was how it seemed to get too bogged down into Elton’s addictions, self-loathing, and over-indulging a victim-hood narrative. I won’t pretend it doesn’t delve deeply into Elton’s negative excesses, however what sets Rocketman apart from a over-sentimental and forbearing daytime drama, is each time our Elton hits rock bottom, his music pulls us (the audience) out of it in most unexpected and often peculiarly humorous ways.  It doesn’t encroach the abyss where the dark is too cumbersome we are unable to forge our way out of it. That is what I think is Rocketman’s shining achievement.

The other aspect of Rocketman which I wasn’t expecting at all, is that it is essentially a ‘musical-odyssey’. Rocketman isn’t a by the numbers – drama scene followed by drama scene leading to a climax concert package rather it flies in the face of conventional music-bio films. The principle cast members contribute to the musicality of John’s timeless classics and most scenes transform into extremely originally and well-choreographed mini-musical productions. It doesn’t try to replicate Elton or his music, rather it becomes its own fantastical beast as it were and something that stands up on its own two feet.

Rocketman isn’t without its flaws and there are moments which I felt were slow-going, but I think Taron Egerton did a tremendous job inhabiting Elton. While his voice doesn’t ascend to the richness of the real Elton, his singing and dancing talents are showcased wonderfully. His brotherly relationship with Bernie Taupin is gorgeously woven into the story. You get a real sense of how extraordinary their chemistry and love for one another must have been. The depiction of the various epochs were expertly detailed and rendered to give the viewer a sense they were watching actual musical-history in the making. While there are too many grandiose scenes to describe here, one that particularly stood out for me is where Elton ‘in recovery’ makes amends with his younger Reginald Dwight self and family and friends. It is truly transformational and captivating viewing.

There is no doubt that Elton John himself had his hands all over this movie, but rather  than seeing it as a negative I like to think that his flair and flamboyance were somehow inculcated into its making which a movie like this so desperately needs stamped into it. Any contemporary musical enthusiast should make Rocketman a must-see movie, in the cinema particularly where the richness of the sound, production and cinematography can be fully immersed.

Elton John: I never thanked you, Bernie.

Bernie Taupin: No. I love you, man. Always have, always will.

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Posted in Movies and TV, Music

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