austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Coming up on me now, I'm king for the night

Now, with several good faith efforts to expand my horizons behind me, I felt safe in going to the Air and Space Museum, which may be a predictable location but also had something dearly precious to me at that point: air-conditioned seats where I could rest while watching infinitely looped movies. I appreciated that the old Sid Caesar Show sketch, Sneaking Through The Sound Barrier --- a lovingly detailed parody of those Airplane Achievement movies like ... uh ... X-15 or The Starfighters, both of which technically postdate the sketch yet remain in their own ways pompous and dull --- is still playing and, better, still getting laughs even from those pesky teens of today who insist on finding lawns to get onto.

The infinite-loop movies would nag at my brain often over the weekend, actually, and not just for the ancient lightly-animated one about the origins of the Moon which seems to predate the Big Splat hypothesis. One, in the Samuel Langley section, tries to present itself as a promoter/talker rallying people to the potential of this exciting new technology of the airplane with, based on the stock or recreated footage and the description of historical events, a setting of Somewhere Around 1908 To 1912, I Guess. That may seem like it's pinning stuff down tightly but, really, things were changing fast in that time and whole careers were coming into and going out of existence during that stretch. And then the narrator threw me hopelessly off track by mentioning a Wright Flyer piloted by Samuel Cody which was sold to Britain and was the ``first aeroplane purchased by Her Majesty's Armed Forces''.

Perhaps it is appropriate for a person writing today of the British Army of a century ago to speak of Her Majesty's Armed Forces --- I just don't know --- despite the apparent gender of the monarch at the time. But that can't be right for a piece that's trying to pass itself off as contemporary to 1910. So I was pitched hard right out of the loop and needed some time to recover.

Trivia: In 1777 the Royal Navy captured fifteen Continental Navy raiders. The Continental Navy captured over 300 merchantmen. Source: To Rule The Waves: How The British Navy Shaped The Modern World, Arthur Herman.

Currently Reading: Space Gypsies, Murray Leinster.


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