Team Moon

Most people have seen the historic footage of Neil Armstrong's first step on the moon (July 20, 1969) and are familiar with the crew of Apollo 11:Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins. But not many have heard of Eleanor Foracker who was a seamstress for ILC Dover, the company that made the spacesuits, or Richard Ellis who tested the suits. Neil “Fox” Mason worked the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia, Kirby Hinson worked on the parachute recovery systems, and Joe Gavin was vice president of Grumman Aerospace Corporation. Thousands of people worked long, hard hours and most never received recognition even though they also played a vital role in one of the greatest projects of the 20th century. Meet some of them in Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon by Catherine Thimmesh.

Middle Ages History Lectures Worth Listening To

Recently, I listened to two very good lectures series by Thomas F. Madden on the Middle Ages. First I listened to One, Holy, and Apostolic A History of the Church in the Middle Ages. I followed up with "God Wills It!": Understanding the Crusades. One, Holy, and Apostolic provides a very nice overview of the history of the Catholic church during the Middle Ages. You learn about how the church grew and thrived during the time, including various heresies, the Black Death, and the Great Schism. "God Wills It!" expands upon the Crusades, discussing the various crusades in Europe and Middle East, including the most commonly know, Third Crusade. The lectures series can be listed to seperately, but I recommend listening to them in the order I did.

Orange Cone Season Returns


And Paving the Way 2007, MDOT's road repair map, will help you locate major road and bridge projects on state roads. The map covers state trunkline (I, M, and US) routes. Separate Detroit and Grand Rapids maps detail construction projects on state roads in these cities. There is also a regularly updated list of lane closures.

Plastic Man is Back!

Kyle Baker has re-visited the Golden Age Plastic Man in his Eisner Award winning series. First released in 2004, issues 1-6 have been collected into one volume Plastic Man: On the Lam. Follow Patrick “Eel” Obrien from his days of crime to his transformation into Plastic Man and then see what happens when his former identity is framed for murder. Baker’s wonderfully energetic style and sense of humor translate beautifully to this character. Be on the lookout for surprise characters from Plastic Man’s past and members of the Justice League acting a bit out of character.

Good Listening on Religion and Science

A fabulous interview with Richard Dawkins was broadcast today on NPR's Fresh Air With Terry Gross., in which he talked about his book The God Delusion. Tomorrow the radio show will feature an interview with Francis S. Collins author of The Language of God: A scientist presents evidence for belief. You can dowload Fresh Air as podcasts and listen whenever you want.

New Fiction on the New York Times Best Sellers List (3/25/07)

Jodi Picoult has tapped into many of the current hot button topics in American culture in her many bestselling novels. Most of them involve parents and children, husbands and wives. These novels are not lighthearted romps. While there is always a resolution to the conflict, there has also been serious damage done to the protagonists, emotional and physical. Picoult also likes to take a set of circumstances and twist the perspective. All of this may be why she is more popular with book groups than the New York Times reviewers.

This is certainly the case in Nineteen Minutes, the unnerving story of a school massacre (Columbine?). Once again things are not always as they seem. While engaging our emotions, Picoult tells a riveting story with a surprise ending.

Other new entries on the List are Whitethorn Woods by Maeve Binchy and Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas.

April Fools' Day Downtown


This coming Sunday is April Fool's Day and a local artist is not joking when he says there will be a parade downtown. Mark Tucker, a lecturer at UM, is staging FestiFools. He will take over a block on Main between Liberty and William from 4 to 5 p.m. next Sunday April 1 for a parade of puppets.

For more information about FestiFools and the giant dancing puppets, you can send an email to "", call Mark Tucker at
(734) 615-8648 or go online.

Coldest Blood

I think the average mystery reader will easily relate to Jim Kelly’s realistically drawn hero Phillip Dryden. It takes more careful reading than others like Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch series but Kelly’s plotting is great. I tried skipping to the end when the night grew late but had to go back the next day and finish the book. Good yarn! An added treat for anglophiles is that it’s set in the Cambridgeshire Fens.

The trials of an immigrant family

Forteen year old Nadira is the narrator of Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos. She and her sister, Aisha and their parents, all from Bangladesh, are on their way to Canada because their visas have expired. The government has cracked down on immigrants since 9/11. Their illegal status is discovered at the border, their father is detained and his wife stays nearby. He tells the girls to return to New York to stay with an aunt and uncle. Aisha has always been the golden girl, bright, beautiful and ambitious. She worries that now all her dreams for college are just that- dreams. She retreats into her own world and Nadira, always seen as the average one, takes charge to find a way to keep her family from being deported. Budhos, also the author of Remix: Conversations with Immigrant Teenagers, knows her subject well and brngs the struggles and heartbreak of immigrant families to life through her characters and suspenseful plot.

Come what (ever) may...

Stone SourStone Sour

The Jagermeister Music Tour is coming to the State Theatre in Detroit this Friday, March 30th at 6:30pm.

Headlining the event will be Stone Sour (FYI: The song 30/30-150 from the album Come what (ever) may was nominated for a Grammy in the category of "Best Metal Performance").

Joining them will be Shadows Fall and Lacuna Coil.

Now believe me when I say that this concert is not for the faint at heart. Even you "die-hard" metal fans need to boss up before you go...

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