austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

If you fly on separate beams

My brain, ever-ready to find new ways to drive me crazy, has managed to hit on a novel thing for me to fret endlessly about. A little after lunch I started to wonder whether I had remembered, in my shower this morning, to actually shampoo my hair. This looks like a nearly perfect thing to develop into a new compulsive tick: it's hygeine-related, always popular for those with mild obsessive-compulsive disorders. It's based on something which is done daily and on automatic, usually when I'm half asleep, so that it's hard to form any specific memories of shampooing on any specific day. And I'm close enough to home that I'll be able to think ``well, going home and showering for sure is just a quick, free, bus ride there and back,'' so I can't dismiss it as irrelevant for any given day and anyway too much time to spend fixing even if I did forget to shampoo. I really am pretty sure I shampooed this morning. I just don't know how to be sure.

Still, I can't honestly complain, thanks in part to a bit found in my current book. Writing about Lieutenant James H Doolittle, attempting a single-refueling-stop transcontinental flight in August 1921: ``The newspapers had given the flight big headlines, and a crowd of a thousand or so was on hand to give him a send-off. When the big moment came, the DeHavilland roared down the beach in the moonlight, but Doolittle's `one-stop' came much sooner than he expected! As he gathered speed, the wheels truck a soft spot in the sand, causing the plane to turn-turtle out into the ocean and bury its nose in the surf. Doolittle didn't have his safety belt fastened, and was thrown clear of the plane with his flying helmet down over his eyes and his goggles across his nose. Floundering in the water with his vision cut off, he thought he was drowning and threshed wildly in an effort to surface. But on finally getting to his feet, he found himself in only two feet of ocean. Soaking wet and embarrassed, he stood there while the cheers of the crowd turned to gales of laughter.'' So I'm having a better day than that. (The exclamation point feels like unnecessarily rubbing it in, even if the book was written a half-century after it happened.)

If I understand the commercials for Singapore Idol On Demand, I can, simply by going to the appropriate web site, download video of the final contestants riding in the back of a van, sucking down helium balloons, and singing ``The Lion Sleeps Tonight'' with high-pitched squeaky-raspy voices. I'm curious to whether they have a web page which provides motivation to do such an odd thing.

Trivia: Lowell and Frances Thomas flew over 25,000 air miles in Europe in summer 1927. Source: Naked Airport, Alastair Gordon.

Currently Reading: Famous First Flights That Changed History, Lowell Thomas, Lowell Thomas Jr.

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