Sea Oats

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Kennedy Space Center

We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” T. S. Eliot

Shuttle Atlantis with bay doors open.
It's been over 20 years since I've been to the Space Center and they have made some wonderful changes. There are so many exhibits and things to see and do, it will really keep you busy. They are very accessible, even to walking along a real space shuttle (the Atlantis) and it's open cargo bay.

That can be a bit of downside to things. There are so many things to see and do you may have a hard time choosing what to do first. I would do the two IMax theaters first. They are each about an hour long. One is in 3D and the other is not. They are really well done. Then you can move into the park to see other exhibits and displays.

The whole place is accessible to those with mobility and other issues. Ramps and handheld electronic guides smooth your way. Even some of the buses have special lifts with wheelchair lifts. The drivers have a sense of humor and ours was so funny he got a rousing round of applause after the ride to launch pad 39A.
Taking a stroll in space.

Several movies and space shots have highlighted our striving to reach the stars and the Center really brings it all home. From the Rocket Garden to a real Saturn rocket (really big!), everything draws you into the narrative about man's efforts to play among the stars. Elan Musk's SpaceX is already at the launch center, and Jeff Bezos of Amazon has recently announced that he hopes to put people into low Earth orbit by 2020 and it would probably be available to Prime Members first. And of course, Richard Branson has already built space planes to carry people into space in the next few years.

The Shuttle Experience is pretty dramatic and may be a little too much for really young children. Just explain to them they will be completely safe and I'm sure they will have a great time. It's very realistic according the the astronauts who have been to space. Don't skip it. There is a viewing area for those who just can't bring themselves to get thrust into space at 17,500 miles per hour! Adults and children were coming out with smiles and bubbling enthusiastically about the experience.
Giant Saturn rocket engines.

This Center is great for all ages. Teens, youngsters and adults all seem to enjoy themselves. If you have young ones, you may want to opt for a Multi-day pass. The Center is not cheap, but less expensive than the other theme parks up the road. One of the nice things is that you can upgrade your regular admission to a Multi-day pass on the same day while you are in the park. So if you find you can't do everything and see all the exhibits in one day, head over early to the ticket booth and pay half price for another day. The Visitor Center is not supported by your tax dollars, so it is a pretty good deal.

Kids and others will want to stop for lunch and restroom breaks and to do justice to seeing all the exhibits, you really should allow two days.

Included with General Admission:  
• Space Shuttle Atlantis℠ • Twin IMAX® Theater 3D Films
• Shuttle Launch Experience® • Special Viewing for Rocket Launches
• Meet an astronaut • Numerous Shows and Exhibits
• General Bus Tour

• FREE 2-day admission to Astronaut Hall of Fame® (if used within seven days)

Parking is $10 for cars and goes up from there. Check the web site ( )for complete details. In fact, I would go the site and look around to pre-plan your visit. It will at least give you an idea of what there is to see.

The Center will fill you with an unexpected sense of pride. Not to be missed.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Genius of Mediocrity

The Genius of Mediocrity

Genius. A very powerful word. It bestows on the recipient a mantle of respectability and usually, admiration.

We all can probably name at least one genius. Many would go with Einstein. Some with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. Perhaps Emmy Noether, mathematical genius. Einstein wrote her obituary, calling her "the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of women began." Or perhaps Marie-Curie. Not so easy is it? 

Try this now. Given that the aforementioned people are truly geniuses, what did they do? Tell me one thing they did in a way that I, an average couch potato, can understand. Well, I am waiting! Not so easy is it? Can’t tell me a single thing in your own words without looking them up on Wikipedia or some other source. 

What is it that seems to compel us to admire genius?  Is it the perceived ability of the person so named  to understand things beyond what we would consider normal? Is it the grasp of a concept so obtuse, that ordinary souls can probably understand the idea exists, but have no way of fully comprehending what it means? Look at the show the "Big Bang Theory." All the male leads are considered to be geniuses or nearly so. Yet what is never pointed out, is that they are high functioning sociopaths. And they don't learn. They've been doing the same thing for over 8 years and have learned less than a fourth grader would in one year at school. If that's genius, they can have it.Well, don’t ask me, because I’m not genius. Some people have, in fact, made the argument in quite the other direction.

Take a second or two to untwist your brain and let us look at the alternative.
There are so many examples of idiocy it’s hard to chose.

So how did we get to this point?

It started with Robert Downey Sr., Phil Donahue and Sarah Jesse Raphael. Under the guise of being interested parties, they went further and further into the pool of human stupidity. Now, there are so many people who will sell their friends, their spouses and even their children down the river for 15 minutes of fame, it’s hard to keep track.

Daytime TV is so crowded with these slime ball hosts vying for your eyes that you’re head will hurt trying to figure out which generation of stupid we are involved with. The “producers” will do anything to get these people to say and do stupid stuff on camera.

”Reality” shows are anything but. They are about as real as wrestling and just as well rehearsed . But they are so cheap to produce and if there is anything they love is cheap. And the dumber the cheap participants are, the better. 

The real problem as I see it, is that this culture of stupid is good has leaked over into other areas. Areas that were at one time sacrosanct against in the incursion of stupid people, has now fallen victim to the lowest common denominator.  It’s easy to be ignorant. It takes a little work to try and be even mediocre.

One area that has been invaded by the truly dumb is the news. Stations can’t put up the correct graphics, the correct titles and it seems none of the news writers (the people who actually write the stories the talking heads read) don’t know what a quote is. If it is a quote, you don’t get to change the words. The graphics showing what was said rarely match what the pretty face is saying. The pretty face doesn’t have time to be bothered checking a story before it goes on the air, so all kinds  of stupidity makes its way to the screen.

One traffic reporter, who was showing an accident that was filmed by a local helicopter news team said, “As you can see the black SUV ran head on into the white car on the other side of the road.” Unfortunately, the white car hit the black SUV broadside. She said all this while looking right at the video on the screen.

Some friends came over wanted to play a drinking game. Every time a news anchor made a mistake, they had to take a drink. Since I don’t drink, I was elected to keep track. In twelve minutes, the two local anchors had made so many obvious mistakes that everyone passed out! In twelve minutes on the 6 o’clock news!

I am by no stretch of the imagination a genius. Nowhere near it. In fact, I struggle to be around the middle of mediocrity. But it's so much easier than having to think every day. Every other or even every third day, puts enough of a strain on my brain trying to be average.

That may just be my version of genius.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Islamorada Fish Company in Dania Beach Florida

I used to live in the Keys, so fresh seafood and it's kin are almost second nature to me. The restaurant is attached to the Outdoor World store which makes it convenient for shopping and for parking.

The restaurant is decorated in typical fish house kitsch, stuffed fish, lanterns, life buoys and the such. There is also a large saltwater aquarium on premises.

The menu is varied enough to cover most tastes including a small sushi section, if you're so inclined.

I ordered the dolphin with teriyaki sauce, bread, and the choice of home made potato salad.

As I waited, a couple with two small children came in and though there had to be at least 100 other places to seat them, one of the hostesses seated them directly behind me. Every restaurant I've been to has this really annoying habit of piling everyone on top of each other. The only place that didn't was the Bonefish Grill. I understand when it gets busy, they may not have any choice, but don't put them at the next table just because it's convenient. Some of us like a little peace and quite while we eat.Fortunately, the children were well behaved and we all ate in peace.

The dolphin arrived and looked very good and tasted even better. The teriyaki sauce was a little much, but I bet you could order it on the side. The fish was cooked to perfection, the potato salad was tasty and the bread loaf was wonderful.

Service was provided by a young man named Jeffery and he was great, there when I needed him but not intrusive and he had a sense of humor when I made suggestions about what we could do with the children, who, like I said, were very well behaved, unlike me most times.

I ordered the key lime pie, which came in a bowl. A well sized portion to be sure, but slightly disappointing. The whipped cream topping was light and flavorful, the crust nice but the custard filling, the part that is supposed to be the key lime part, had hardly any key lime taste at all. The custard was creamy and smooth and if it had been more flavorful, it would have been perfect.

Overall, a very enjoyable experience. I arrived at 11:45 AM and the place filled with the lunch crowd before I finished, but I didn't see anyone waiting long for their orders.

Good food, great service and overall, a very satisfying experience