The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Faces of Science #24

From Wikipedia:

Ham (July 1956 – January 19, 1983), also known as Ham the Chimp and Ham the Astrochimp, was the first hominid launched into outer space. Ham's name is an acronym for the lab that prepared him for his historic mission — the Holloman Aerospace Medical Center, located at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.


Tempest said...

"It's a mad house! A mad house!!!"

Tommy O'C said...

PETA would be so pissed!

Tom Sutpen said...

He was originally cast as Moon Watcher in 2001: A Space Odyssey, but Kubrick fired him after two days. A real diva, what I hear.

Tempest said...

Yeah Tom-but Kubrick and his scene takes...

Just saying.

Did anyone interview the monkey?
Look at him in the picture-he's a Pro.

Greg said...

Best I can tell, he appears to be scratching his balls. Probably fit right in with the rest of the pudknockers at the Happy Bottom Riding Club.

Tom Sutpen said...


Nah. He wouldn't talk to journalists unless their papers coughed up at least four figures. Like I said . . . diva.

Came to a bad end. According to Jane Goodall, in her book Chimpanzee Babylon, Ham spent most of the 1970s in LA, hustling for bananas in back of the Hollywood Ranch Market. Used to tell the customers he could show 'em what it's like in Outer Space.

It wasn't pretty.

Maureen said...

I don't know guys, something about this is so wrong.

Christopher said...

..."they looked like me...'

Brooks said...

Unbeknownst to most HAM, as the first hominid in space, was briefly detained mid-arc by alien life forms.

Based on that encounter and moving electronic images featuring Rodney McDowall, to this day the Centarions believe that Apes rule the earth.

Biomusicologist said...

Ham had to be restrained to teach him to remain still for long periods in the coffin-like capsule. Today, we know that some of the methods used by the United States Air Force to train chimpanzees included straight jackets, neck rings, and four-limb restraints. Electric shocks were used to teach him how to operate the control panels. Many other chimpanzees were trained for spaceship operation, but only two, Ham and Enos, were actually sent into orbit.

During Ham’s descent, technical problems led the capsule to overheat and plunge into the Atlantic Ocean, 60 miles off course from the recovery ship. Water began to seep into Ham’s capsule. Fortunately, he was rescued.

News photos following Ham’s successful flight showed a “smiling” chimpanzee among his human peers at NASA. But a demonstration designed to show the press how much Ham enjoyed his capsule was a failure. As cameras rolled, four adult men could not get Ham to reenter his space capsule, even though he had been trained that his refusal would result in painful electric shocks.

Ham’s so-called “smile” was a fear grimace, which looks similar to a human smile. Indeed, the famed primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall noted that he was the most terrified chimpanzee she had ever seen. Yet the truth behind Ham’s so-called smile was rarely, if ever, discussed in the media that covered this event. Rather, they continued the public deception that “all was well.” In fact it could not have been more dangerous or cruel for the young chimpanzees “enlisted” into the space program.

Kenmeer livermaile said...

Stanley Milgrim strikes again. I understand that horror is the most reliably salable genre in fiction. Roman intellectuals debated whether watching living beings tortured and killed in the Coliseum was bad for the spectators.

Kenmeer's Maxim: if you can view it you can do it.