Blue Angels wow the crowd in Melbourne Florida

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Spending time in Florida with sister- and brother-in-law….Awesome show!!!  Visuals, sound and speed knocked me out! Bucket list— see Blue Angels – check!

Check out highlights from my video.

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No pictures to the south, please.

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If you like rockets and missiles, you should make time to see them up close and personal in an outdoor museum at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. This outdoor museum missile park is free!IMG_4957 IMG_4969

Many examples of the U.S. military arsenal are on display at the missile park just inside the base’s gates. Several of the missiles I had heard of, but there are some unique ones to make it worth your stop.IMG_5010

Is that red rocket with the propeller one of the early cruise missiles? If you are on Interstate 10 near Las Cruces, head over the mountains to this free museum and missile park that closes at dusk. The  guards at the base gate will tell you to take photos facing only north because of the secretive nature of the missile range. So itsIMG_4970 best to plan your visit based on how you want the sun to affect your photos.IMG_5012

Alien spacecraft in New Mexico?

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By Mark Bergmann

Area 51 near Roswell, New Mexico is famous for space aliens. But could there have been another UFO sited in New Mexico?IMG_4989
According to the placard at the White Sands Missile Range, the craft government officials flew there in 1972 looked like a flying saucer but was actually a “Balloon Launched Decelerator Test Vehicle.” This contraption was used to test the Viking Mars Lander Decelerator. A helium-filled balloon attached to the vehicle, lifted off near Roswell and carried the craft to high altitude. It then drifted west to White Sands. At this point, the BLDT was released from the balloon and rockets sent the BLDT on a arched trajectory at 1.2 times the speed of sound. A parachute was deployed to complete the test.IMG_4991

Who came first Iron Man or NASA’s robot?

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By Mark Bergmann

When we visited the Johnson Space Center in Houston I did a double take on this robot.IMG_5308
I thought it was strikingly similar to Iron Man from the Marvel comics. So then the question becomes is it life imitating art or is it art imitating life?ironman2_t620

Our guide said the NASA robot just got his legs recently. The upper torso (legs not included) is on the International Space Station going through tests. The robot’s fingers have enough dexterity to unscrew a bottle cap. “We’ve come a long way, Robby!”Robby

Tell me a (his)story…

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Some of you may be old enough to remember Paul Harvey’s radio show, during which he told historical stories with a surprise ending. His tag line after the big reveal was, “And now you know the REST of the story.”

We heard several Harvey-worthy tales at the Alamo yesterday from fabled folk like Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie – all part of the celebration honoring the anniversary of the fall of the Alamo.

My favorite story was told by a reenactor who is also a certified artillery instructor. He totes a canon around with him, and occasionally fires it.

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He let us hold surprisingly heavy cannonballs and taught us about “grapeshot,” which is a canister full of small cannonballs that when fired, hurls the balls in all directions – similar to a shotgun blast.

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He also told us about a military man who took the traditional cannonball, hollowed it, then stuffed the inside with gunpowder and added a fuse. When the cannon fired, it lit the fuse, and when the fuse lit the gunpowder, the cannonball exploded, hurling bits of metal everywhere. The name of the man who invented this? Henry Shrapnel.  And now you know the REST of the story.

The New England Patriots were not the only ones to leave Phoenix as Champions in February.

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A week after the NFL crowned its world champions, another set of contenders also became champions.IMG_4797 cropped
Native Americans from many tribes participated in the World Championship Hoop Dancing contest at the Heard Museum.
Hoop Dance is nothing like a hula hoop dance.
Hoop Dances, which tell tribal stories, are a long standing tradition among many Native American cultures. All age groups, from tiny tots to seniors, participated in the two-day competition. “Each dancer presents a unique variation of the intertribal hoop dance, weaving in aspects of his or her distinct tradition and culture. Individual routines are presented using as few as four to as many as 50 hoops, which are manipulated to create a variety of designs including animals, butterflies and globes,” according to the Heard Museum website.IMG_4784 cropped
No one seems to know for sure which tribe created traditional hoop dancing, because many tribes have a history of the practice handed down from generation to generation.IMG_4813 cropped
The dancer in this video had a creative approach.

Couple of photos from the Senior Division competition. (The time limit on each dance was 7 minutes. I don’t think I could make my body do that!)IMG_4788 cropped IMG_4787 cropped