Saturday, February 11, 2023

Whatever You Do on February 14th...

...don't forget it's Pale Blue Dot day.

On that date back in 1990, the Voyager 1 spacecraft took the above photograph from 3.7 billion miles away as it was leaving our solar system...

...and that pale blue dot you see in the 1st image is planet earth.

Carl Sagan, astronomer and self-proclaimed atheist, made it (in)famous with this quote:

“Look again at that dot.
"That's here. That's home. That's us.
"On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives...on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam...

"Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.

"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.

"In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves..."

Sagan argues our diminutive size equates to utter insignificance, that we are delusional if we believe we matter.

He then concludes that from our total irrelevance in the universe springs both the need and the ability to save ourselves.


If we pass our days in meaningless obscurity, why bother?

Who in the uncaring universe would notice if we were gone?

Beyond that, anyone with even a rudimentary grasp of history knows how well mankind has done down through the ages at spreading peace, love and happiness.

Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot anyone?

The Scriptures, however, take a distinctly different view of our world:

"The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork.

"Day unto day uttereth speech and night unto night showeth knowledge.

"There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard."

    - Psalm 19: 1-3

It's not about us; it's about God's glory.

Not surprisingly, the Scriptures also have something to say about people who actually believe mankind sits atop the apex of this marvelous Creation we see all around us:

"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God."

    - Psalm 14:1

Rather than underscoring our insignificance, that picture does exactly the opposite:

It proves God cared for us enough to create our world and then sustain us in the midst of His immense universe.

Tiny we may be, but we matter to God.

How do we know this?

Rejoice that you're a resident of God's Pale Blue Dot.

As a bonus, it comes with a free trip around the sun every year, affording you the opportunity to do good and be kind to your fellow sojourners.

Make the most of it.

And oh yeah...there's also that other thing happening on February 14th:

Forget that at your peril.

And speaking of rejoicing...

...we started the month with a happy birthday celebration!

Don't know how she does it, but my beautiful wife seems to be getting younger.

Happy ??th* Birthday, my dear!

* don't even think about it

If you're a mid century modern aficionado, you've no doubt heard of Sinatra's Twin Palms home... nicknamed due to the 2 towering palm trees overlooking this amazing structure.

Karen and I saw it a few years back when we vacationed in Palm Springs and took one of those kitschy tours of famous Hollywood homes.

This 1947 masterpiece is iconic, and not just because of its famous (former) owner.

Many point to this high profile architectural gem - its clean lines and sleek design a startling break from the art deco motif that had been prevalent since the 1920's - as the stylistic genesis of the mid century modern homes movement.

Fresh off a fat contract with MGM, the 31 year old crooner turned actor wanted a statement home, something big, flashy and impressive.

So one fine day in early May he dropped by the offices of architect E. Stewart Williams...

...allegedly sporting a sailor's cap and eating an ice cream cone.

Having made his first $million$, Frank explained he wanted a huge Georgian style mansion, something with lots of columns that screamed MONEY:

Thankfully this was before Ol' Blue Eyes turned into the tiny terror for whom “NO” was not a valid response.

Williams knew a multi-story Georgian mansion was not going to work in the desert heat of Palm Springs, and was able to judiciously steer his famously volatile client to his new fangled modernist design instead.

Sinatra insisted it had to be ready for a huge Christmas party in December of that year, which gave Williams less than 7 months to finish the job.

That may not seem like a big deal until you consider the Palm Springs summer temperatures:  May through October averages higher than 90 degrees; June through September, higher than 100.

Despite the torrid weather, the single story classic was completed on time and included 4,500 square feet of living space with 4 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, and of course that famous grand piano shaped swimming pool:

For the next 7 years Sinatra lived and partied there, first with his wife Nancy and their 3 kids; later with his 2nd wife Ava Gardner and Hollywood's elite.
The passionate union of Frank and Ava lasted 6 years, from 3 days after Frank's first marriage ended in 1951, until 1957 when they, too, divorced - but their tumultuous relationship was filled with fireworks.

There's even a cracked bathroom sink still in the home today - the result of Frank throwing a bottle of champagne which luckily missed Ava, but exploded against the sink - a mute testimonial to their legendary altercations.

Built for the unheard of price tag of $150,000 in 1947 - that's $2,000,000 in today's money - Twin Palms stands as mile marker 1 on the fabled highway of mid century modern home design.

And, if you've got some extra $cratch laying around, you can even stay there yourself and channel some of that Sinatra / Rat Pack vibe, starting at the uber reasonable price of only $3,000 per night (minimum 3 night stay, of course).

that's gotta hurt

Just don't throw any champagne bottles.

Since it is in fact a sunny weekend, why am I sitting indoors tippy tapping on my computer?

Let's get this Parting Shots thing over with so I can get outside and soak up some vitamin D...

time for a new therapist

if you watched the SOTU address, I hope you remembered to delouse

unless it's coconut cream

life before the Mighty lining up for the ferry ride between the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan

the Mackinac Bridge at sunrise

In light of the recent delusional fever dream espoused by the Liar-In-Chief, this reminder from God's Word seems especially cogent:

later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

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