jeudi, avril 12, 2007

07.04.12: Round and semi-round

Apr 12th, 1961 – Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the earth. He went around in a big circle, and became an international hero. He simultaneously represented, to the East, all the best that human minds can bring to demonstrate technological innovation, and, to the West, all the fears realized of world domination by an evil empire. And it was just 46 years ago today.

Just for going around in a circle. But he did go all the way ‘round. I guess that was the key. No points if you don’t make it back.

I celebrated by having lunch with a bunch of Russians. Really. Why not?

I don’t remember 1961, but my lunch mates of today did. They spoke with great pride of Yuri, but also equally respectful of Mr. Shepard and Glenn’s similar accomplishments within the following year. Mr. Armstrong, too. As for circles and orbits and pendulums … I was having lunch with a bunch of Russians, just like any other business meeting, working for future shared successes. No evil empires, no world domination. Just trying to close the loop on some open action items, and have an enjoyable lunch or two in the process.

Apr 12th, 2007 – Also the birthday of a good friend, so we had dinner in Montmartre, on a balmy spring evening, sitting at a little bistro table that sloped with the hillside, on a terrace that overlooks all of Paris, with a nice view of the golden dome atop l’Hôpital des Invalides in the distance, the final resting place of Napolean Bonaparte. He, who also, completed a few orbits of his own between France and banishment.

The crème brulée wasn’t bad; the English translations on the menu were. Pavé de boeuf was translated as cobblestone of beef. A sauce, jus de viande, was translated as ‘dishwater.’ Sort of a half-English translation. Just read the French; it seems more appetizing. No points for half a translation.

So, Pascale is 45 today, also a number that seems like half-way to something; one can imagine that 45 years represents a half-life, human size. She is optimistic to continue the journey.

Apr 12th, 2007 – Half-way around for me. I signed a 3-year contract for this position, and today marks exactly 18 months to the day from which I landed my American feet on this foreign soil. Half way around. No points if I don’t make it back, I suppose.

I’ll be back; I need all the points I can get.