It wasn’t quite the memorable moment when in 1969 Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon and said “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
But it was pretty damn cool nonetheless. Richard Branson, a billionaire thrill seeker who never lost the dream of space travel, did just that last weekend in his own winged rocket ship. He had a crew of four with him. Branson returned to earth and said: ”It was just magical.”
Virgin Galactic’s rocket ship reached the edge of space during its historic flight from Spaceport America. Branson was weightless for about 4 minutes. The plane then smoothly turned earthward and glided to a runway landing.
Did I mention that Branson did this a few days before his 71st birthday? Do you think he needed special Depends in his space suit? The story didn’t mention it, but my old-man mind wanders sometimes.
There’s a couple of billionaires out there in their own private space race. Hats off to them all — Richard Branson, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos or Tesla’s Elon Musk. I’m glad for these boys and their toys. This kind of advancement has fascinated us for 70 years. And, frankly, since President Obama crippled NASA with politically correct funding cuts, our space program hasn’t quite recovered.
So today I give thanks to private enterprise and little boys who grew up to be billionaires and never stopped dreaming. Space travel for everyone is now reality. Eventually, all our children — great-grandchildren, certainly — will experience space travel, if they want to.
Of course, there’s always a sorehead in the group. Upon hearing the news Sen. Bernie Sanders said: “Here on Earth, in the richest country on the planet, half our people live paycheck to paycheck, people are struggling to feed themselves, struggling to see a doctor – but hey, the richest guys in the world are off in outer space! Yes. It’s time to tax the billionaires.”
Leave it to Bernie to miss the human accomplishment and see it only as a taxing event. This wouldn’t happen in a socialist country, I promise you that, Bernie. You can be such a sourpuss sometimes.
HOW HOT WAS IT?
Well, it was 117 last week in Las Vegas and in Death Valley it got to some ungawdly number like 130-something degrees. Death Valley is what it is. But I have to tell you that I’d take 117 in Las Vegas over 112 in Portland. Anyday. Of course, I’d like to have a third choice.
ONE MORE THING
— I heard a young mom say she won’t let her kids watch Peppa Pig because it encourages bad behavior like “jumping in puddles.” I watched the roadrunner as a kid and haven’t blown anyone up with dynamite, yet.
— If Cauliflower can become pizza, you, my friend, can do anything.
— It’s usually good when she says she missed me. But she was re-loading.
— My pet snake has a broken tail. The vet says he has a reptile dysfunction.
— I want to be cremated as it is my last hope for a smoking hot body.
And with that, let’s call it a day. Thanks for your time this week and please remember to live by the pioneer credo: Be good to others; always question authority.
(Sherman Frederick’s career as a Nevada journalist spans 4 decades. He is a member of the Nevada Press Association Hall of Fame and co-founder of Battle Born Media. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 702-525-2440.)