Happy New Year. My son turns six in a few weeks. We’ve been talking a lot about planets and orbits lately.
On New Year’s Day he asked me, “Does the world have an end?”
“You mean the planet Earth.”
“Yes. The planet Earth will have an end someday.”
“Is there an end to space?”
“That’s a big question. Some people think there is. Some people think there’s not.”
“What do you think?”
“I tend to believe that space has no end.”
“Me too. Otherwise, what would take over from there?”
“Yes. What would take over from there.”
“My babysitter says infinity is the last number.”
“Well she’s pretty smart. I don’t think of infinity as a number.”
“What?! Infinity’s not a number?”
“To me it’s an idea for something we can’t imagine. Like God. God is infinite. You can’t imagine God.”
“Right. Because there’s just more and more and more of it.”
“Dad. Can I have a cookie?”
“Finish your cauliflower.”
Then we looked at pictures of Sputnik, which was basically a metal beach ball that we threw really hard. It worked and Sputnik orbited the Earth for three months before it fell and burned up. Then we did it again but we got a stray dog from the streets of Moscow and put her inside it. Laika was her name. She overheated and died within a few hours of orbiting Earth and was cremated by reentry five months later.
Dr. Vladimir Yazdovsky took Laika home to play with his children before the launch. "I wanted to do something nice for her: She had so little time left to live."
Which is the greater human achievement: doing something nice for a stray dog or launching the world’s first artificial satellite? Maybe there’s not one right answer for that, but it’s worth thinking about. Like infinity. Or God.
What I learned this year, and every year: Don’t be in such a hurry to eat the cookie. Learn to enjoy the cauliflower. Infinity is a long time.
We’re orbiting the southeast in the Byrdmobile 3000 for a few more dates in January.
Thursday, January 7, 7:30pm
The Landings Club
1 Cottonwood Lane
The Landings Club is a clubhouse in a large private community. My dad would call it “swanky.” The staff are outrageously friendly. The show is open to the public. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the details.
Friday, January 8, 8pm
The Crimson Moon
Saturday, January 9,
The Parlour at Manns Chapel
Chapel Hill, NC
Benefit for Paul Ford
Sunday, January 10, 6pm
The Purple Onion
Friday, January 15, 8pm
White Horse Black Mountain
Black Mountain, NC
We’ve never played here. We stopped in one day to look at it. The room is incredible. It’s one of the most naturally great sounding rooms I’ve ever been in. I would love to fill this show up and rock all your faces off in this Black Mountain temple of sound. If you are in the area, please spread the word. If you think you can help promote this event, get in touch email@example.com and I’ll trade you a couple free tickets and a CD for your help. Thanks!
Blue Rock Songwriting Retreat
Blue Rock Studios
Sign up at http://www.bluerocktexas.com/rsvp/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org