My daughter butt-dials me as I enter into a nap. Nearly there, napping, the nearby church bell chimes. It's Sunday. But I assume it's my phone. I remember when a friend overwrote the default text incoming chime on her iPhone. She chose a ding, which would soon become standard. How prescient. Does anyone even remember what the original default was?
The church bell has been meant to call all within hearing to worship. Sometimes the time of day. The Apple iPhone ding seems designed to be adirectional such that when one dings in a crowded room, everyone checks their phone.
The next ding, from my local news, alerts me that I may watch the launch of Richard Branson, 'astronaut 001' live at this very moment. And I do. I am.
Stephen Colbert keynotes a comic take on this epic happening. The front-screen astronauts, 001, 002, 003, 004, seem selected for screen appeal, and even perhaps for social media presence. The production values are a mix of homebound - the presenters' mouse is visible and apparently active in choosing what's up next. Or is that staged? They seem to want to present the immediacy of Zoom. Now I watch the fleet of LandRovers, partners in this epic event.
Do you drive a LandRover? Do you believe that ordinary people will get to outer space? When do his - Richard's - peccadillos make their appearance. He got away with a breasty chesty figurehead on the prow of the spacecraft. Homage to eons of manly seafaring craftiness. Is he really a nice rich person?
This is not what I witnessed NASA doing when I watched John Glenn take off, or Neil Armstrong on the moon. That was serious. This is purest entertainment, full of reminders that so much has stalled during this age of innovation. Commercial flight has hardly changed at all.
I think, but cannot be sure, since I'm busy typing, that Colbert just made fun of gold toilets at the end of a dayflight to the other side of the earth. Did he say that? Was he mocking the very thing I watch. I really can't tell.
My morning read included a deep dive into Britney Spears' conservatorship, and RFK Junior's take against vaccines. He and Giorgio Ambagen seem to have gone off the rails in the very same way. Lost in the certainty of their fevered narratives. Is this inversion of sanity somehow related to the ubiquitous interweb connected iPhone? I rather think so.
Didn't Julian Jaynes already warn us how images, cadences, and a certain kind of radio voice can dull our ability to think for ourselves. Or was that someone else? Have our brains been hijacked? By who?
Donald Trump only wishes that he could put on a show like this, and yet he probably has more attend his whacked out rallys than Sir Richard is getting for his show.
But I don't know. I seem to be watching on some sort of low-res webcast, Are the glitches - the video artifacts - deliberate too? Sir Branson live looks vaguely nervous. So much is riding on the separation from the mothership, named for his mother. Eve. Really?
Just higher than the flight of a routine commercial, unprogressed, airline. And I can't help wondering why no-one sends up Ray Kurzweil for his brand of nutty insanity. How different from RFK?
Release from the mothership! Verra exitin'
It seem to take only seconds to travel another two hundred thousand feet straight up. Still climbing after the burners burn out. Audio communications glitch. No word from space. It will be a recorded message. Logos visible on the ship.
They flip glitchy weightless in the cabin. And so soon to reenter. We shall hear a double sonic boom.
Ding from my phone. I'm alone, so I know it's mine. I hope the church bell doesn't chime. We're supposed to shop in the Re-store store, hoping to find the right salvage house parts. Houses haven't changed much either, except for their size and their unreachability for so many working families. I myself can't even imagine owning. I have more than enough space, and have better things to do than to maintain a house and grounds. Well, I mean, besides maintaining my daughters' houses.
They have already returned to commercial altitude. Lower the feather for a feathered landing. What are the risks of casting this as a comedy? Are they that certain? What is Musk going through? What about Bozo Bezos? This surely ups his ante.
No worries, lots of recording devices aboard the spaceship. Is this a spaceship? Is it disposable. Has this very one flown before? How much fuel?
The glide down seems to take longer than the flight up. Overall flight time similar to Mercury? I think a little less to maybe a similar height? Not sure. They aren't telling me what I want to know. This is pure show.
Is this the inflection point where we get our minds back? Or lose them forever. Gear down and locked. chase plane near.
500, 300, too late. Touchdown!!!
Will this mean now that we hold on ever more tightly to the locked-down paradigms which we still refuse to leave? The ones guarded
"Ladies and Gentlemen, There It Is" re-announces Stephen Colbert.