August 22nd, 2010

Moon Howl

"Star Gazer" Jack Horkheimer dead at 72

Baby boomers will remember astronomer Jack Horkheimer for his "Star Gazer" show on PBS in the 70s.  Each week's show offered a fun look at the latest news in astronomy, which he produced as director of the Miami Museum of Science and Space Transit Planetarium in Florida.  Horkheimer has died of a respiratory illness at the age of 72.

Universe Today article.
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Dinosaur Walking

Dilly the DilophosaurusSaturday I volunteered at the Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill, CT for their annual Dinosaur State Park Day, which celebrates the discovery of fossil dinosaur tracks on the site in 1968.

I wore the Dilly the Dilophosaurus costume in the morning, and Smoky the Bear in the afternoon.  (The photo shows someone else in the costume.)  The guy who wore Smoky in the morning complained jokingly that I stole all the kids.

Dilly the Dilophosaurus' costume constructionThe Dilly costume needs at least two people to put it on the wearer. A unique feature of the costume is the metal rack that holds up the head. The head slides over the rack, and a helper needs to feel inside to guide the rack into place.

They fed the volunteers breakfast and lunch, and raffled items from the gift shop, including the book How to Keep Dinosaurs by Robert Mash.  I was determined to get that book, so I activated my strange luck.  When I was asked to pull a name from the jar, I closed my eyes, stirred the names, and pulled out my own.

Another volunteer was a coworker from my days at the Department of Labor, who I hadn't seen in over eight years.

I didn't wear Smoky for very long in the afternoon because by that time he was very ripe and humid, and my eyes burned from the sweat.  As soon as I got home, I took a shower, and my apartment still smells of funky dinosaur and bear.

I heard that the turnout for the event by afternoon was about 1500 people.

More photos can be found here.