Dancing Among the Stars

02-Mar-10 5:03 PM by
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ABC's Dancing with the Stars continues to redefine the definition of "celebrity", finding its contestants beyond the stage, screen, and sports field and choosing famous figures of significant historical value. This practice continues in the show's tenth season later in March when it introduces the first celebrity to have literally danced among the stars.

Buzz Aldrin, who earlier this year turned eighty, will be the show's next contestant, as he confirmed via Twitter: "Yes, it's true — I'm going to be on Dancing w/the Stars. Make sure to tune in to ABC for the premiere on Mon, Mar 22." His dance partner will be Ashly DelGrosso-Costa, who appeared on the show's first three seasons.

It's exciting to see pop culture acknowledge the value of science and technology. When Steve Wozniak broke the geek mold to defy all expectations on Dancing with the Stars, I was right there with him. And when the show took a Star Wars turn, I cheered for the spaceport tango. Though the dancing skills of an eighty-year-old retired astronaut remain untested, for being so brave and stalwart a hero, Buzz Aldrin has already earned my vote.

As others have said: that's one small two-step for mankind!

Happy Birthday, Buzz Aldrin

20-Jan-10 12:05 PM by
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It's not easy to find a hero. Celebrities and athletes are often idolized, but for less than ideal reasons, such as superficial strength and fleeting victories. And the high standards to which role models are held makes it all the easier for them to fall.

So it is an honor today to acknowledge the 80th birthday of astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second person to ever walk on the moon. In 1969, he and his team risked their lives to boldly go where no human had gone before. They didn't know if they'd return, but they believed in the scientific and inspirational value of their mission, and they accepted all its inherent dangers.

Mr. Aldrin's reputation isn't limited to that one event forty years ago. Since then, he has continued to be an outspoken supporter of space exploration — and, when need be, a critic of NASA. His public appearances run the gamut from interviews in the Ron Howard documentary In the Shadow of the Moon to an avuncular encounter on Sesame Street:

Like many celebrities, Mr. Aldrin has a versatile online presence. His official Web site has news, interviews, and videos. There, you can purchase his autobiography, Magnificent Desolation, released on June 23, 2009, in which he relates his post-retirement battles with depression and alcoholism; or learn about his upcoming iPhone application. You can follow him on Twitter at @TheRealBuzz and be his fan on Facebook.

A hero takes every opportunity he can to make the world a better place, and Mr. Aldrin's eightieth birthday is no exception: he asks that you please donate whatever you can afford to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund for disaster relief.

Thank you, Mr. Aldrin, for all your work in lifting this planet's inhabitants to the stars.

(Hat tip to Dayton Ward)

When the Whole World Looked Up

21-Sep-07 11:19 PM by
Filed under Trailers; 1 comment.

I discovered In the Shadow of the Moon last month when I thought my moviegoing for 2007 was complete and looked at the year's remaining releases to confirm. I was pleasantly surprised to find Ron Howard's name attached to this documentary about the first lunar landing. It made me keen to see the film's theatrical release, but I suspected its limited distribution would resign me to waiting for the DVD.

Today, a review on Tech_Space linked me to the film's official site, where I found a version of the movie trailer superior to this one:


Now I know I can't wait to see this film. There have been so many documentaries about the crises of the world (Inconvenient Truth) and the nation (Fahrenheit 9/11) that we need to be reminded of the powerful steps mankind can take when focused on positive change. Amidst our legitimate fears and concerns, humanity must remember that it has much to be proud of.

The good news is that Shadow's distribution is growing beyond its initial release, and it will be in my own town just a week from today.  I will be honored to accompany these men who boldly went where no one had gone before.