Monday, September 04, 2006


It's so interesting to me the way irony threads its way through our existence -- like Steve Irwin yesterday. He's dodged hundreds of crocodile charges, survived dozens of snake bites and heaven knows what else, only to be stabbed by a Stingray, an animal that virtually never hurts anyone. 17 deaths in all the records of medicine.

Or Pete Conrad, whom I was reading about yesterday, one of the most accomplished astronauts from the space program's early days. He was a test pilot who flew 2 highly experimental Gemini flights, then commanded the second Moon landing, and the first Skylab mission.

During the first few minutes of Apollo 12 his ship was hit by a lightning bolt that shut down every bit of instrumentation as he and his crewmates streaked toward orbit. He flew right through it. While spacewalking to repair Skylab he was sent spinning wildly into space when a huge solar panel suddenly sprang free and struck him. His umbilical cord stopped him.

How did he die? Taking a curve under the speed limit on his motorcycle.

"There ’s a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will. "

Hamlet. Act v. Sc. 2.

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