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 #34

Werner von Braun
Nazi V-2 developer turned American rocket scientist, Wernher von Braun.


Brent McKee said...

I aim for the stars...but sometimes I hit London.

Apparently the British were not happy that the Americans grabbed him and sent him to the USA.

Loyolalaw98 said...

In the words of the inestimable Tom Lehrer:

"Gather round while I sing you of Wernher von Braun,
A man whose allegiance
Is ruled by expedience.
Call him a Nazi, he won't even frown.
"Ha, Nazi Schmazi," says Wernher von Braun.

Don't say that he's hypocritical,
Say rather that he's apolitical.

"Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?
That's not my department," says Wernher von Braun.

Some have harsh words for this man of renown,
But some think our attitude
Should be one of gratitude,
Like the widows and cripples in old London town
Who owe their large pensions to Wernher von Braun.

You too may be a big hero,
Once you've learned to count backwards to zero.
"In German oder English I know how to count down,
Und I'm learning Chinese," says Wernher von Braun."

MichaelRyerson said...

disney liked him. 'course, disney wouldn't let him wear that armband.

Brooks said...

Right... the great evil of the rocket program was Werner Von Braun - not what America did with them.

MichaelRyerson said...

Funny take, brooks. I don't think anybody said or intimated von braun was the end all of American evil. the guy was a nazi with job skills that pretty much got him off the hook. additionally, while our national proclivity for doing bad things is kind of a given, I don't really think we've done so much with our rockets that can be condemned.

Tom Sutpen said...

You have to remember the principal reason the United States did so much business with former officials of the Third Reich after the war: Being 'good Nazis' made them terrific anti-Communists; and that trumped everything (even being handmaiden to a policy of wanton genocide) in those days.

Fred said...

I'm a little late to this one, but I think they grabbed Von Braun because he would have done the same work for the Soviets if they got to him first. Not to condone it, but just state the facts.

Fred said...

I'm a little late to this one, but I think if the Soviets got to him before the Americans, he would have done the same work for them. He didn't seem to give a shit who he did business with as long as he could build his rockets. Not to condone it but just stating a fact.