Author Archives: RickHap

Watching Football on TV

by Howard Nemerov


It used to be only Sunday afternoons,
But people have got more devoted now
And maybe three four times a week retire
To their gloomy living room to sit before
The polished box alive with silver light
And moving shadows, that incessantly
Gives voice, even when pausing for messages.
The colored shadows made of moving light,
The voice that ritually recites the sense
Of what they do, enter a myriad minds.
Down on the field, massed bands perform the anthem
Sung by a soprano invisible elsewhere;
Sometimes a somewhat neutral public prayer
For in the locker rooms already both
Sides have prayed God to give them victory.


Totemic scarabs, exoskeletal,
Nipped in at the thorax, bulky above and below,
With turreted hard heads and jutting masks
And emblems of the lightning or the beast;
About the size of beetles in our sight,
Save for the closeup and the distant view,
Yet these are men, our representatives
More formidable than ourselves in speed and strength
And preparation, and more injured too;
Bandage and cast exhibit breakages
Incurred in wars before us played before;
Hard plaster makes a weapon of an arm,
A calf becomes a club. Now solemnly
They take up their positions in the light,
And soon their agon will begin again.


To all this there are rules. The players must
Remember that in the good society
Grabbing at anybody’s mask will be
A personal foul and incur a penalty.
So too will pushing, tripping, interfering
In any manner with someone else’s pass.
Fighting is looked on with particular
Severity; though little harm can come
To people so plated at shoulder, head and thigh,
The most conspicuous offenders are
Ejected from the game and even lined.
That’s one side of the coin, the other one
Will bear the picture of a charging bull
Or some such image imprecating fear,
And for its legend have the one word: Kill.


Priam on one side sending forth eleven
Of many sons, and Agamemnon on
The other doing much the same; is it
The Game of Troy again? the noble youth
Fiery with emulation, maneuvering
Toward power and preeminence? Well no,
It’s not. Money is the name of the game
From the board room to the beers and souvenirs.
The players are mean and always want more money.
The owners are mean and always have more money
And mean to keep it while the players go
Out there to make them more; they call themselves
Sportsmen, they own, are and carry a club.
Remember this when watching the quarterback’s
Suppliant hands under the center’s butt.


We watch all afternoon, we are enthralled
To what? some drama of the body and
The intellectual soul? of strategy
In its rare triumphs and frequent pratfalls?
The lucid playbook in the memory
Wound up in a spaghetti of arms and legs
Waving above a clump of trunks and rumps
That slowly sorts itself out into men?
That happens many times. But now and then
The runner breaks into the clear and goes,
The calm parabola of a pass completes
Itself like destiny, giving delight
Not only at skill but also at the sight
Of men who imitate necessity
By more than meeting its immense demands.


Passing and catching overcome the world,
The hard condition of the world, they do
Human intention honor in the world.
A football wants to wobble, that’s its shape
And nature, and to make it spiral true
‘s a triumph in itself, to make it hit
The patterning receiver on the hands
The instant he looks back, well, that’s to be
For the time being in a state of grace,
And move the viewers in their living rooms
To lost nostalgic visions of themselves
As in an earlier, other world where grim
Fate in the form of gravity may be
Not merely overcome, but overcome
Casually and with style, and that is grace.


Each year brings rookies and makes veterans,
They have their dead by now, their wounded as well,
They have Immortals in a Hall of Fame,
They have the stories of the tribe, the plays
And instant replays many times replayed.
But even fame will tire of its fame,
And immortality itself will fall asleep.
It’s taken many years, but yet in time,
To old men crouched before the ikon’s changes,
Changes become reminders, all the games
Are blended in one vast remembered game
Of similar images simultaneous
And superposed; nothing surprises us
Nor can delight, though we see the tight end
Stagger into the end zone again again.


A rocket set to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base on August 11 – at some point between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. – will deploy an experimental glider capable of delivering a military strike anywhere on the planet within an hour. The launch was originally scheduled for the morning of August 10, but was delayed because of poor weather conditions.

If all goes according to plan, an eight-story Minotaur IV rocket will blast off from the base into Earth’s upper atmosphere and release an arrowhead-shaped craft called the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 that will make a sharp descent back toward Earth before leveling off.

Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 flight overview

Capable of reaching the almost unfathomable speed of 13,000 miles per hour – hitting Mach 20 and traveling around 10 times faster than a speeding bullet – the unmanned, maneuverable Falcon will shriek along for 30 minutes and 4,000 miles before splashing into the Pacific Ocean near the Marshall Islands. It would hypothetically take the craft less than 12 minutes to fly from Los Angeles to New York.

Data from the flight will be used to “to validate current assumptions and increase technical understanding of the hypersonic flight regime,” according to the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is funding the approximately $120 million mission. The Falcon, built by Lockheed Martin Corp., was last tested in April 2010. That flight lasted around nine minutes before controllers lost contact.

LOS ANGELES — The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency says contact with its experimental hypersonic glider was lost after launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the central California coast.

Scottie McCord, AP

The glider was launched from this Minotaur IV rocket at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California..

Scottie McCord, AP

The glider was launched from this Minotaur IV rocket at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California..

The agency says in Twitter postings that its unmanned Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle-2 was launched Thursday atop a rocket, successfully separated from the booster and entered the mission’s glide phase.

The agency says telemetry was subsequently lost, but released no details..

A similar vehicle was launched last year and returned nine minutes of data before contact was prematurely lost.

The small aircraft is supposed to maneuver through the atmosphere at 13,000 mph before intentionally diving into the ocean.

The U.S. military is trying to develop technology to respond to threats around the globe at speeds of Mach 20 or greater.

ome details are beginning to emerge regarding the failure of an advanced US military hypersonic glider test above the Pacific last week. However, a complete picture of what happened to the HTV-2 test platform may never appear, as communications with it were lost early in the flight.

That’s the last time I’m letting you drive

The HTV-2 was a relatively simple craft as hypersonic experiments go, being intended to test new carbon-carbon airframe technology under consideration for next generation ultrafast missiles or planes. It had no scramjet or rocket propulsion of its own, instead being fired out of the atmosphere from Vandenberg airforce base in California atop a “Minotaur IV Lite” booster stack.

It had been intended that the HTV-2 would then re-enter the atmosphere and make a hypersonic glide under autonomous control to splash down in the vicinity of Kwajalein Atoll, nearly five thousand miles from the Californian launch site. During the flight, Pentagon boffins from DARPA would learn if their new hypersonic tech – intended to be a major leap forward from that used in existing airframes like that of the space shuttle – worked as expected.

In particular, designers were hoping that the new aeroshell and control tech in the HTV-2 would allow it to glide at a lower angle of attack than the shuttle, so achieving greater range and better lift for less drag. The sharp-edged delta shaped carbon-carbon airframe, it was hoped, would resist the terrific heat of hypersonic flight much better than previous materials, though it would still burn away to some degree – losing perhaps an inch or two from the leading edges.

Lacking any database on swept-delta flights at such speeds, designers were compelled to model the aerodynamics from basic physics. Ambitiously, they sought to reduce the weight of the heatshielding by stepping away from previous designs in which the worst case of turbulent flow throughout was used.

Communications with the HTV-2 seem to have been lost shortly after it left the Minotaur rocket, just as it was entering the atmosphere.

The US air force is interested in concepts like the HTV as a means of “prompt global strike” – the ability to blow things up anywhere on the planet at short notice – or alternatively deploy other things than warheads, for instance robot spy planes. This could be carried out by a normal ICBM with a conventional warhead, or by hybrid HTV-2 type methods.

Pentagon crazytech agency DARPA also has aspirations to use technologies from the HTV programme in airbreathing scramjet missiles or even re-usable manned aircraft. The parallel X-51 WaveRider scramjet project, intended to deliver hypersonic jet engines able to run on normal-ish hydrocrabon fuel rather than troublesome hydrogen, has been delayed into this year.

However some engineers involved with it think that the X-51 engine may – in addition to working at hypersonic speeds – be able to light up while still merely supersonic. This would open the door to future runway aircraft, which would operate subsonic and supersonic using ordinary turbojets and hypersonically on scramjets. The turbojets might form part of the scramjets, as in the case of the legendary SR-71 “Blackbird” turbo/ramjet spyplane of Cold War fame.

For now, though, last week’s disappearance of the HTV-2 above the Pacific would seem to indicate that DARPA’s hypersonics engineers may have pushed the envelope a little too hard in their quest for improved performance.

Chicken Curry

Chicken Curry and Lime Pickle

Recipe for Chicken Curry.


  • Breast of Boneless Chicken
  • Curry Power & Yogurt
  • Oil, Onion, Garlic, Ginger, Salt & Pepper
  • Hot Peppers
  • Tomatoes (two 28 ounce cans of Plum Tomatoes or Fresh Roma Tomatoes)
  • Hot Lime or Hot Mango Pickle

Continue reading

There’s a Gas Station Up Ahead

Interview with Bill Watterson 15 years after the comic strip stopped.

Bill Watterson, creator of beloved ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ comic strip looks back with no regrets

Readers became friends with your characters, so understandably, they grieved — and are still grieving — when the strip ended. What would you like to tell them?

This isn’t as hard to understand as people try to make it. By the end of 10 years, I’d said pretty much everything I had come there to say.

It’s always better to leave the party early. If I had rolled along with the strip’s popularity and repeated myself for another five, 10 or 20 years, the people now “grieving” for “Calvin and Hobbes” would be wishing me dead and cursing newspapers for running tedious, ancient strips like mine instead of acquiring fresher, livelier talent. And I’d be agreeing with them.

I think some of the reason “Calvin and Hobbes” still finds an audience today is because I chose not to run the wheels off it.

I’ve never regretted stopping when I did.

Bill Watterson Article

Bill Watterson

Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream

Recipe for Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream

Found this article  on how to make liquid nitrogen ice cream.  Visit your welding supply house for some liquid nitrogen.

•  Mix 1 L or 1 qt each of half and half and heavy whipping cream in a bowl.

• Add a cup of granulated sugar, three eggs, four or five teaspoons of vanilla, and a pound of preserves (strawberry or peach work well).

• After whisking for two to three minutes, add the 10 L of liquid nitrogen directly and stir with the wooden spoon until the mix becomes solid.

• Allow the excess liquid nitrogen to boil off, and serve.

Harry Manx in Elgin

Finally got to see him. Lots off songs played on the Mohan Vena. Very nice concert space at Elgin Community College. We sat at a table with a very nice couple who have roots to the Old Town School of Folk Music. Manx returns to Evanston in March.