Thursday, March 31, 2011

Roger that

I'm a movie buff.


As I've mentioned elsewhere in this "mostly movies" blog, astronomy is also a significant passion of mine. Some of my most satisfying — professionally, creatively, academically, even spiritually — career work has happened under the astronomy dome.

So I get a tingly thrill when those two areas converge in the great big Venn diagram of my life.*

So here's a public tingly thrill for Roger Ebert. While I've been enlightened and entertained for years by his film reviews and commentary, over the past few years he's become someone whose expanded writings on diverse topics in various media I greet with an appreciative, admiring fist-bump, sometimes a vocal "Oh hell yeah!" He occasionally waxes into matters cosmic, and his latest journal entry almost sounds like one of my planetarium shows.
"On this dot of space and in this instant of time, the human mind is a great success story, and I am fortunate to possess one. No, even that's not true, because a goldfish isn't unfortunate to lack one. It's just that knowing what I know, I would rather be a human than a goldfish."
When I read his post, I can hear it in Carl Sagan's voice, which takes me back to one of the reasons why I got into the field in the first place, back when. (Isaac Asimov played a part too when I was in fifth grade, in a serendipitous karmic "circle of life" payoff years later. I may tell that story here sometime.)

While the past several years have been a (generally, generously speaking, squinting through one eye) not too objectionable time to be a movie buff, we live in an awesome** time to be into astronomy, whether as a pro or an amateur enthusiast. I sure would love to see those two fan-thusiasms of mine converge more often, especially on the screen.

So consider this post a public fist-bump, with an "Oh hell yeah!" thrown in too. An excuse to swoon dreamily at Jodie Foster at the Very Large Array ain't too bad either.

* Oh, it's a rare convergence. I'd make a first-rate astro consultant for the movies. But do they call me? Noooooo. I wrote and directed the one and only Star Trek astronomy show, so if you know J.J. Abrams please send him my way before his Star Trek sequel starts shooting. The supernova that "threatened to destroy the galaxy" chaps my ass every time. So does that whole "Delta Vega" thing. And....

** In both the formal and colloquial sense.