Monday, February 25, 2013

Space Crafts, Part Two: Solar Eclipse of the Heart

Previously In Space: Introduction and Part One

 Towards the end of the year when I was in second grade, all the teachers suddenly realized that there was going to be a pretty impressive solar eclipse over the Chicago area on an actual school day. During May! Which meant it might not be snowing and overcast on that day!

I think they realized this about two days before it happened.

This is NOT an impressive eclipse.
It was SO EXCITING, though. They decided to pair off grades so that the younger three grades were all assisted by the older three grades in the school. Meaning that the second grade and fifth grade combo was the one that had its act together. And what were we doing in these paired off groups? Mostly, we were being repeatedly told "NEVER STARE AT THE SUN DIRECTLY!" by various authority figures.

But in-between lectures, we were making pinhole projectors with old boxes and sun visors out of paper plates. If they could've figured out a way to mix macaroni into the equation, I'm sure they would've.

One 2nd grader and one 5th grader to each pinhole projector. With way too little time to get them ready while still doing actual school work in those days. Some of it felt like the beginning of a reality competition show (although, I don't think I had seen any at that point in time. The 90s were a long time ago, apparently). Most of my memories of it just seem to be of way too many children in way too small of a classroom, realizing that 5th graders were sweatier and smellier than the average person (hurray for schools without air conditioning!), and the sound of corrugated cardboard being cut with safety scissors for an eternity while several different teachers tried desperately to shout over the noise to briefly educate us on what an eclipse was, what to expect, and how lucky we were to have this experience. Because the next eclipse this impressive wouldn't be until 2012! In a whole different century! We'd be so old by then!

That night, all my dreams were of how I thought the total eclipse would go down.  In one dream, I imagined that as the moon slowly moved in front of the sun, the sky would rapidly go through the color changes of sunset as the sun was blocked from us. I imagine birds ceasing to sing, people in their cars pulling over to watch, and the faint sound of stone against stone because I thought the moon would make a noise like that(despite never having made a noise when moving in the sky ever before).

(A year later, I'd see the "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" finale of The Simpsons and go, "THAT's what an eclipse should be like!" as Mr. Burns blocked out the sun over Springfield.)

And then... the day came. And was actually a nice day with great weather. The whole school went out into the soccer field and set up their pinhole projectors and placed their paper plate visors on their heads. Even more teachers were shouting "DO NOT STARE AT THE SUN!" over and over again, convinced that we'd defy them despite how, you know, it hurts to stare at the sun anyway.

While never ceasing to remind us not to look at the sun, the teachers almost forgot to tell us how to use the pinhole projectors. Possibly because most of them didn't really know, having never done them before (why would they?). We were all looking at each other's projectors, seeing how the pinholes (made by scissors or pencils, depending on which class you were in) were filtering the light. Some kids really had strayed from the directions and were stuck to roaming the field to look at other projectors. My fifth grader and I had done ours perfectly. For once in my life, I did not make the disaster project! I don't think the fifth grader had much to do with that.

Then, it started. We looked down at the bottom of our pinhole projectors and watched in wonder as the teeny little circle of light on the bottom of the projector slowly began to look like it had a bite taken out of it. Very sloooooooooooooowly. And then, before you noticed, the smaller dark circle was covering up more than half of the sun. And we stood in amazement as... it became not-quite-as-dark as a partly cloudy day. Not quite the afternoon sunset I had dreamt of.

The coolest part was, of course, when the little dark circle was completely in front of the big brighter circle. Total eclipse, bitches! Not really, though. Our teachers told us it was a total eclipse but you could still see a ring of the sun around the moon. When looking at the pinhole projectors, that is. If you even tried to look in the sky, there wasn't much to see. The moon wasn't even visible, if I remember correctly. It was pretty amazing for those few minutes, though. More because the pinhole projector seemed like a magical device than anything else, as we weren't able to look at the sun. I'm sure the film footage of it was amazing, though.
Picture borrowed from a site that was likely made in 1994

As the moon started to move away again, kids started to get antsy and the teachers were trying to get everyone to come back in to get back to class. My fifth grader abandoned me and our pinhole projector baby quickly to re-join her class. I carried it back up to my classroom, where I found my teacher collecting them for recycling, much to my horror. Why did she want to take my magical viewing machine made of cardboard?

She explained that there wasn't much use for a pinhole projector now that the eclipse had come and gone. I gave mine up, along with my fantasy of how dramatic the eclipse would be. And then gave up to let the day become just another day. A day when I made a craft project that wasn't a disaster, at least.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Show Your Cards

So... DC and Summit have apparently just arrived in the 21st century and realized, after already hiring Orson Scott Card, that he's a bit of a controversial figure. Something I figured out when I was 15 and, after having read all of Ender's Game, purchased a copy of Speaker for the Dead and made the mistake of reading the foreword by Card. And then attempted to also read Speaker for the Dead.

At that time, the only other book I dropped like a hot potato was Jany Eyre. Because as much as I loved Jane and her "I will dress plainly because it's how I like to dress dammit and I will be smart because I want to be dammit again" ways, I hated Mr. Rochester twice as much. Before I even knew he had a wife in the attic. But at least I dragged myself across the stupid "hear him calling me" finish line on that one.

I really liked Ender's Game. It was a great slow-burn to a great final reveal and didn't try to tell you how to feel- it just handed you the facts and let you have your own emotions about what you just read. Speaker for the Dead did the same. But the facts took my emotions to weird and uncomfortable places. More uncomfortable than 15-year-old me was willing to go. I was ready to commit to learning more about Ender's sister Valentine because she seemed like a great character and then... I just didn't feel comfortable reading further. And no one else was very interesting in the story. And I can't even remember what the foreword by OSC in that book SAID now, but I remember that it was one of those moments where I just felt like I had accidentally ended up in line for the men's bathroom when I meant to get in line for the snack bar.

And then, as I got older and times changed, Orson Scott Card revealed himself to have beliefs that I strongly disagreed with. To a point that has left me, and many other people, conflicted about our feelings about separating the artist from their art and when you can take one without the other.

Anyway, here are my thoughts on the Card-fueled Hot Water:

1) I don't know if DC is past the point of no return on their deal with Card, but I know that Summit is- they have a movie. If it's too late to back out, both companies should figure out a way to balance out their dealings with him. Donations to organizations that support Gay Rights would be a good place to start.

2) Summit should consider secretly asking OSC to "disown" the movie and therefore give the impression that they wanted to make an adaptation of Ender's Game based on the material alone and giving the impression that things were being seen eye-to-eye between Card and everyone involved with the movie.. Sort of like how Alan Moore didn't want anything to do with the Watchmen movie (not that I'm suggesting that Moore was asked to disown it. I know the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen story).

3. NOM is a hilarious name for a terrible organization. Hermoine Granger couldn't come up with a worse anagram.

Alyssa Rosenberg has said more on the topic and has said it better than me (and sooner).

Monday, February 18, 2013

My Space Jam, Part One: Dad, Are You Space? Yes, Now We Are Family Again.

When I was five-years-old, my father marched me outside into our giant front yard early one summer night. The neighborhood we lived in was unincorporated, so there were no street lights. The sky was totally clear- dark blue with little sparkles slowly appearing as it got darker. I knew they were stars. I knew stars were in the sky and that the sun was a big star that came out during the day. But that was about all I had gleamed so far. Kindergarten was still three months away.

My dad pointed his giant hand to a section high in the sky, over our neighbor's massive trees. My head turning all the way up like Peanuts cartoon character as I tried to see where he was pointing.

"Do you see the ones that aren't so bright?" He asked me. I squinted then relaxed my eyes, noticing how many more appear as my eyes further adjusted to the darkness. Slowly, I started to see the difference in brightness and slight differences in color.

"Which ones?" I asked, trying to see where he was pointing. He was at least two feet taller than me at the time, throwing off the perspective of where he appeared to be pointing. A problem that still persists when we star gaze together, despite how I only need to wear high heels to be as tall as him now.

He told me to look for three stars that look bigger but not so bright. After a few minutes of searching, I found them. A triangle of dull blurry stars. One big and two so tiny I almost can't see them.

"Those are planets." He explained. I had no reference for this word. "We live on a planet," He elaborated when I ask what that was, "It's Earth. The world. Everything you see that isn't in the sky is on Earth" My five-year-old mind focused on how planet sounds like "plant" and I imagined that my neighborhood existed on a leaf of a giant potted ficus. My mind was blown.

My father continued, overwhelming my mind. He pointed to the big one "That one is called Venus. If we were on Venus, that's how Earth would look in the sky to us. That's how far away it is." My five-year-old brain was trying to bend its logic to make it so ficus plants became little circles of light when viewed from far away.

Then, he threw everything even more out of whack by explaining that the smaller one to the bottom, Jupiter, is actually much much bigger than Venus and Earth. It only looks so small because it's so far away. My mind had just decided that Earth and Venus must be the biggest ficus plants in existence and he immediately went and trampled the limits I had set on the universe by saying that Jupiter is so big that Earth would be ant-size in comparison.

"If those are planets, then what are the other stars?" I asked. Were they all planets? Were they all house plants sitting around and shining in a gigantic room? My interest was piqued, to say the least.

Months later, my kindergarten teacher would put up a long poster on the wall of our trailer-turned-classroom that was roughly our solar system at that time- finally giving me more of a reference and removing the ficus plants from my mental image of the celestial bodies.

The poster showed the nine recognized planets (as this was 1991/1992) but had them in the traditional order from the Sun. I remember the teacher explaining that, in reality, Pluto -which was a full-fledge planet at the time- was currently 8th furthest from the sun but that, most of the time, it was the 9th furthest. Apparently, between 1979 and 1991 (and probably all the way to 1999), no one really felt the need to make posters with Pluto and Neptune swapped, despite how they were for twenty friggin' years.

But by the time my kindergarten teacher put up that poster, I had already been exposed to a few 3-D solar system models and a globe or two. My "we live on a ficus plant" mental image had been corrected to a more "There are giant lines going across the Earth so we all know where we live" view. Although, again thanks to the "we don't need to buy whole new maps/globes/ect!" mentality of 1991 did lead to some confusion regarding how some maps of the world said "Russia" but most of them said U.S.S.R. over most of the eastern hemisphere. And the teachers just sort of... ignored it. So that there were still maps sporting the U.S.S.R in 1997. I swear this was a very well funded public school district.

I may have also been convinced that all the planets went around the sun just like the rings of Saturn went around it and at roughly the same pace, despite the difference in orbit size. Because 3-D solar system models can still be lacking in major details.

And then, there was the planetarium trip. As I mentioned, this was a pretty well-funded public school district and the high school had a planetarium that actually remains one of the nicer ones I've been to in my life. And almost every year, there was a trip to the high school's planetarium and it was amazing. Almost anything can be amazing if you give a booming voice over a P.A. system a bit of an echo while talking about the universe, mind you.

Finally, things started to make more sense. I knew why Venus was so bright and why Mars had been so dim despite being closer than Jupiter. I understood their movements through space a little bit more and how those translated into dots in the sky. And the last few bits of ficus-based theory were finally swept out of my mind, replaced with amazing balls of rock and gas and clouds.

And in that one little afternoon trip to the planetarium,  I also became obsessed with constellations. That night, I made my dad go stand in the yard with me again and I looked for the big and little dipper- knowing that if I just found the big one, I could then find the little one as well as the North Star. Of course, later on I would constantly forget which one contained the North Star, despite how I should've been able to take cues from, you know, which direction was NORTH. Usually, my dad would find Orion, as it would take me until my teens to be able to quickly find the belt pattern of the constellation. I still, to this day, cannot naturally find the Pleiades/Seven Sisters. I'm not the greatest as pattern recognition, it seems. But I damn well tried!

In the twenty plus years since, he and I have spent numerous evenings staring up into the sky looking for various celestial events. The internet has actually made it a tad more difficult, as it's very easy for someone to forward you an article that says "this awesome thing is happening TONIGHT!" and it turns out it actually happened like three years ago during a thunder storm. But we still try. Even when in different parts of the country, he'd make sure to send me an email so that we could share the experience despite not being near each other.

Every time, I'm reminded of that night when he pulled me outside in the dark to see a little triangle of dots in the sky and how my view of everything was changed from that moment on. How it expanded my imagination and knowledge all at once with just him wanting to make sure that I saw something as more than just dots in the sky and have me understand that it was something important and amazing. Make it so I never again looked up at the stars at just thought they were specks of nothing that didn't matter.

When I started to write this, I made sure to go searching for when that specific event happened. I knew it had to be 89-91, as I remember it being before I started school, but my memory was hazy. In doing so, I found the beautiful picture by Alan Dyer that is at the top of this post. Taken in Southern Wisconsin in June of 1991- not far off from how I remembered it looking in Northern Illinois. He has many other pictures on line, I really recommend taking a peek at the others at Amazing Sky. I also found only a handful of references for this specific event that happened in June of 1991, the one from the LA Times best matching my memory of how my father described it.

Friday, February 15, 2013

"Spell it! S-P...AACE. Space. Space!"

Watching the video footage of the meteorite explosion in Russia brought back a lot of odd feelings for me. When I was a kid, I was a space nut. Big time. Had the happy meal toys to prove it. Mostly because, as a small child, learning about space and planets made me feel like there was so much more I needed to find out about the universe and with every knew fact, I was both excited and terrified by now having that knowledge. Because there's so much about space where it's just basically, "Well, THIS terrifying and deadly thing could happen at any moment... but it hasn't happened yet so we're not going to worry about that except for maybe just watching to make sure nothing is coming our way."

I mean, tons of people in the Eastern Hemisphere were paying attention to the sky the past few days because they've been waiting to see the asteroid that was going to pass within 17,100 miles of Earth- a close shave for celestial bodies- during what would be night-time on that side of the planet (lucky dogs!). Yet this SUV-sized chunk of space dirt managed to make it through our atmosphere and cause a sonic boom that injured hundreds (the opposite of "lucky dogs"!) without much warning? SCARY!


I'm so sorry for all those that were damaged by this freak of nature thing.

But my inner ten year old has been awoken by this event and I feel the need to start sharing stories from my space-nerd childhood before I lose them. I have most likely already forgotten more space-related facts than I can ever learn (I used to do my college assignments with the Science Channel playing in the background, and all the programming at the time either fell into the category of "space" or "dinosaurs"- sometimes they'd combine the two and talk about the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs.) so I better start making them remembered now.

When I started typing my stories down, I quickly realized that it was going to result in either a novella-length blog entry... or a series of smaller entries. So... stay tuned. And, yes, some of them are more sci-fi and aliens related than actually space exploration and science-based... but these are from my childhood and my imagination got in the way of hard facts quite frequently.

Part One will be up soon. In the meantime, I highly recommend reading Simon Clark's quick write-up of answers about the big important questions being asked in response to the Russian meteorite.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Olive and the hairband: A Love Story

Yes, I know more football movies DO exist...

I'm kind of amused by every time I bring up how I could only think of a handful of football movies last week and that was while including Little Giants and The Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon everyone starts listing off a gazillion others yet forgetting major ones. No one person can remember more than a handful of football movies!

I still think Rudy is probably considered the best of them all. Or maybe Friday Night Lights?

I really don't care, to be honest. But I do sort of want to watch Little Giants for the first time since the 90s...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


While everyone else is talking Star Wars because of J.J. Abrams and Disney and Zack Snyder... I'm talking Star Wars currently because of my mom. 

The R2-D2 randomizer is so awesome, we used it in other versions of Trivial Pursuit

A woman that has lived in a house with a modem for 20 years but is only now, after three months of having an iPad, almost on the verge of figuring out what a browser is (Congrats, Mom! You're almost caught up to this century!). But she still gets all her news from the Chicago Tribune in actual paper format and therefore is oblivious to the thousands of people blinding guessing in the dark about what the future of the brand might be like. Mostly because she's that one person that has never seen any of the movies.

The other day I was doing laundry at her house (because why pay $3.00 to use my building's machines when I can save up a month's of laundry until whenever I end up 20 miles away from anywhere and with three hours to kill? I may just be afraid of the laundry room in my building.) and my mother mentioned that she and my father had been invited to a Star Wars party being thrown by a friend of theirs.

"And you're going?" I asked, wasting precious energy by raising my right eyebrow as I spoke.

"Why not? It sounds fun! There's going to be light swords and costumes and games and..." My mother trailed off.

I looked to my father, only to see that he was falling asleep in his recliner, and back at my mother.

"Does that mean you're going to finally see any of the Star Wars movies?"

"Maybe..." She shrugged, then mentioned that the friend hosting the party had talked about how someone was coming as some princess that wasn't Princess Leia. "Did they kill off Princess Leia? I thought she was the only princess!"

I'm 70% sure that my mother only knows of the name "Princess Leia" because of how she keeps up on topics relating to mental health and Carrie Fisher pops up a lot with that stuff. But that's the extent of her pop culture osmosis when it comes to Star Wars

It was only a handful of years ago when I found out that my mother had somehow managed to never see a single Star Wars movie. It was a life defining moment for me. It really messed with my perspective on life. This woman that I called my mother... had never seen ANY of the Star Wars movies? How was that possible? The most popular movies of the past 40 years! Did she have some sleeper agent programming that caused her brain to shut down the moment she saw scrolling text on a starry background? Some sort of seizure condition that happened from the light saber effects that would cause her to just black out?

I mean... I know she's not the most up on pop culture but... Harrison Ford! Women my mother's age love Harrison Ford! 

So, most days, I just choose to not remember that odd revelation. I live in denial that my mother has this weird gaping hole in her life where three very popular and enjoyable movies should be.

I can understand, time-wise, not seeing Empire or Jedi, as she had young kids by the time those came out in theaters. But when the first movie came out, my parents were married, had a double income, and were without kids. Why didn't she see it then? She's seen American Graffiti! Why not Star Wars? Wasn't it in theaters for, like, nine million weeks?

And I say all this while NOT being a gigantic uber fangirl for the movies! Yes, I am a fan but I can't even begin to have major fangirl cred for Star Wars. 

What I can say is the following:
  1. I love the original trilogy. I've owned (and lost or broke) VHS tapes of those movies. I saw the re-releases in theaters. And I've watched the amazing commentary & extras re-cuts Jamie Benning made (which look to have been removed from YouTube, damn) of those movies.
  2. I saw Phantom Menace three times in the theater, Attack of the Clones twice, and I laughed bitterly through the one time I saw Revenge of the Sith
  3. I've seen about half the existing episodes of the CGI Clone Wars cartoon. 
  4. I've read a couple of the extended universe books, but it was over a decade ago and I couldn't even begin to remember the plot. Or title.
  5. I loved The Ewok Adventure as a kid to the point where I named a doll Cindel. 
  6. I've seen 30 minutes of the Christmas Special (which took about 10 years off my life, I swear).
  7. And I've spent more than one holiday sitting through a Spike marathon of the whole saga.
  8. I went on Star Tours three times during my day trip to Disneyland last year. Got Vader twice and on the last one I got Princess Leia (which was what I was wanting to see).
  9. I'd love to see Topher Grace's re-cut one day. I'd pay a lot of money to see it, actually.
Where I fail:
  1. I can name the Millenium Falcon, the Death Star, and... that's about it. I can't ever remember which ones are x-wings and which ones are tie-fighters and blahblahblah. Vehicles are not my strong spot. It would take me three years to realize that the Dukes of Hazzard named their car.
  2. I also have this thing about action sequences where I just sort of zone out and only come back when everyone's cheering or everyone's very serious.
  3. I will always lose at Star Wars Trivial Pursuit. But I'll keep playing! I've played two different editions and the R2D2 randomizer (seen at the top of this post) is the greatest thing ever.
  4. I never got around to buying any of the movies on DVD and never replaced my long-gone VHS tapes.
  5. I love Ewoks. Love 'em. You know why? I saw The Ewok Adventure before I saw the original trilogy. I also saw Spaceballs (multiple times) before I saw any of the original trilogy. I also saw the episode(s?) of Muppet Babies that uses footage of from the movies before I saw any of the original trilogy. And the first of the original movies that I saw? Return of the Jedi
  6. Seriously, I love Ewoks. I also love Ewan McGregor. I kinda now want to start a Star Wars tribute band called Ewan and the Ewoks.
  7. I own no Star Wars merchandise. 
  8. I don't really care anymore if Han shot first. Really.
So, anyway, you see where I'm coming from? It's not that I'm bothered by how she hasn't seen them- I just don't understand HOW SHE HAS NEVER SEEN THEM.

I do kind of want to be there when she finally watches one of them all the way through, though. See what sort of response she has. I'm guessing it will be a response that involves her falling asleep. 

Like I said: I think she might have some weird very literal sleeper agent programming. 

I highly doubt she'll want to watch the whole trilogy, but she might like the first one enough to stay awake- as it's the closest to playing out like an adventure serial from the olden days and has a little bit of everything for everyone and, well... Harrison Ford.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A League of Her Own

News broke today of the passing of Pepper Paire-Davis, the real-life All American Girls Professional Baseball League catcher that was the inspiration for Dottie in A League of Their Own.

A bit of trivia about Paire-Davis: over her ten years in the league, she never actually played for the Rockford Peaches and she didn't join until the second year of the league. She started out in the 1944 season as a Minneapolis Millerette and then later played for the Fort Wayne Daisies (1945, 1952, 1953), the Grand Rapids Chicks (1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952), and the Racine Belles (1946, 1947).

I highly recommend spending some time on and reading through the team and player profiles. I'm pretty much in love with ever nickname recorded for the players.

Also, I had no idea she had written a book! Dirt in the Skirt by Pepper Paire-Davis is available as an ebook for $3.99- the paperback looks to be out of print. Thank goodness for technology making it so this isn't lost forever.

(Side note: Two sports related posts in two days? Wha? Do I have a brain slug?)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Now That It's Over: I Have Questions About The Superbowl:

So, football and I have never been on good terms. I think it has to do with a Sunday way back in January of 1986 when itty-bitty newborn me was to get baptized and celebrated for all my cuteness (and, I guess, new Catholic-ness. But that's another story...) and it happened to be on the same day as one of the play-off games that the Bears were playing. Legend has it that my baptism ceremony was the shortest ever in that church, as even the priest didn't want to miss kick-off.

I have a feeling that itty-bitty newborn me felt a little ripped off- I got forced into an itchy doily of a christening gown, taken out into the frigid Chicago winter, had an old dude pour water on my head...and all anyone really cared about was watching a dumb football game?! Lame.

At least, that's what I assume is the reason why my eyes glaze over when it comes to football. But, anyway, here are some questions I have in response to whatever went on this weekend:

10. Beyonce. I didn't know she was performing at half-time until yesterday. I can name maybe three songs she has sung (alone or in a group) in the past 15 years. The last video I watched that heavily featured her was for "Independent Woman (Part One)" and that was because MTV did a Making of the Video episode of it. They had to re-draw everyone's butts in post, I remember that. Was there ever a Part Two to that song/video? Or is this a History of the World Part I situation?

9. Who played? I have no idea who played in the Superbowl other than I'm pretty sure it wasn't the Bears.

8. From Facebook, I learned last night that the game was being played in New Orleans and that there was an electricity issue. I don't know why it was played in New Orleans nor do I know why there was an electrical issue (but everyone I know with strong political and/or racial opinions certainly seemed to know what was going on). Did the game have to stop? Was it the whole stadium?

7. When did the game start? Yesterday, I was trying to figure out when would be the best time to go have a Last Woman On Earth moment while everyone else was watching the game. I thought it might be 3-ish, but I think that might've been for the West Coast because my neighbors hadn't left yet. I ended up staying in anyway and watched three episodes of Bomb Girls. It's a Canadian period drama about women working in WWII bomb factories. Meg Tilly is amazing in it. She's like the Canadian Jessica Lange.

6. I don't understand the "I only watch for the commercials" thing. If you're only watching for the commercials, why not just watch something good and then go back and watch all the commercials on YouTube? They're there almost seconds after airing. I feel like saying "I only watch for the commercials" is 1) like saying that you only read Playboy for the articles and 2) something that TV executives have sort of brainwashed people into thinking is a thing just because they make "Best Superbowl Commericals of All Time" specials to fill dead air time.

5. Are footballs still made out of pigskin? Where they ever? Do they ever play with footballs that aren't brown? Wouldn't it make sense to have a brighter color? Or a ball that created a pretty kaleidoscope effect when thrown?

4. Is American football an Olympic sport? (sidenote: I also don't find the Olympics interesting except for certain figure skating events)

3. Is Rudy considered the one good football movie? Out of the... five football movies I can think of? (Not including the Tony Danza garbage man movie because that was a TV movie but definitely including Little Giants)

2. I'm still a little puzzled by the presence of football in The Dark Knight Rises. And the physics of what happened there. Could that really happen?

1. The big one. I have to admit it though: I find the Puppy Bowl just as stupid and boring. Will I be killed in my sleep for saying that?