My Interests
Article Index
My Interests
My Science Fiction and Fantasy Related links
Aviation and Space Resources
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My interests (with some links) are:

THE CHURCH OF THE SUBGENIUSTM - Don't tell anybody, but my real name is The Somewhat Left-of-Center Reverend Lance Boyle, and I'm an ordained minister in the Church of the SubGeniusTM. Yes, it's true: I grovel at the feet and burn incense in the navel of that Grand Cosmic Salesman, J. R. "Bob" Dobbs! Why, I love "Bob" so much, I'll wind up killing the pipe-sucker! (Oh, don't go on like that; everybody kills "Bob" sooner or later. It's in our yeti genes.) I hang out on the Usenet group alt.slack, which is devoted to the Church. It's a wild, no-holds-barred group with all sorts of interesting SubGenii posting. Alt.slack tends to attract kooks like a magnet, and a favorite activiy is pointing and laughing. Me? I'm the quiet type, but I make my presence known from time to time. Just recently, the Skippys wished a "conga-rats" to a prominent church member, Reverend Susie the Floozie, whom I consider to be a good friend. She got a kick out of it and told me, "You're just like a deranged Busby Berkeley without the alky vehicular homicide rap!" It's a compliment I shall always treasure.

Confused? Want to know more? Go to The Official Website of The Church of the Subgenius and they'll confuse you even more! But if you're of TRUE Yeti stock, your engrams or theta waves or whatevertheHell those little thingies are called will come back to thank you personally! There are galleries of SebGenius art, photos of past devials and X-Days. (The world ends on July 5th, 1998! Are YOU Ready??) There are uploads of the SubGenius Hour of Slack, hosted by the Sacred Scribe Reverend Ivban Stang - great audio stuff to please your ears! Praise "BOB"!!!!!

The are other SubGenius websites out there, as you can guess, and one that I particularly like is The First Online Church of "Bob", maintained by Reverend Modemac. I particularly like the High Weirdness Project. This is, as stated, " interactive directory of the Differently-Saned to which you can add your own favorites!" There are entries for religion, UFO cults, politics, pseudoscience and - well, lots of weird stuff. Let's face it, there are a lot of strange things floating around out there on the Internet. Great fun!

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention another slackful site devoted to Kern's Holler. This is maintained by Tater Gumfries, not only one of Kern's Holler's upstanding citizens but a SubGenius as well, so your know he's right up there with the best! There are links to the Kern's Holler Contrarian, with all the news that's fit to print plus the other kind, too; the Kern's Holler Science Journal, with the latest in SCIENCE; stories and poetry by the best Subgenius writers. There's also the Taterpedia - everybody's got a wiki of their own, so why not? Enjoy.

 My friend, Rev. Susie the Floozie doesn't have her own homepage, as far as I know. But she does host ""Bob's" Slacktime Funhouse", another aural barrage of music and anti-music designed to appeal to the same folks lime like the "Hour of Slack" It's hosted weekly by radio station WREK of Atlanta (91.1 on your FM dial). It airs at 1:00 AM on Sundays (local time, I suppose). You can either listen to it live via the station's website or in the archives. You can also download past episodes via the A-Infos Radio Project , which is worth browsgin anyway for lots of cool stuff. Just search for ""Bob's" Slacktime Funhouse" or "slack". Look, do I have to do evertything for you? Enjoy, seekers.

FERRETS - (but then you probably figured that out already, you genius, you) These critters have been described as a cross between a kitten and a 2-year-old human kid; I'll go along with that. Ferrets are curious, mischievous, energetic, and very loving. Sadly, they're misunderstood by some ("No, that is NOT a rodent!" - "No, they will NOT run around in wild packs, attacking the chickens and tipping over the cows!"), but are fast gaining in popularity as pets.
I figured that this would happen sooner or later. I've got so many ferret links now (and I'm certain to add more in the future), that I've set up a separate page for them. Just click here, and you'll be whisked away like a ferret stashing loot in his hidey-hole.

NEW - Wanna see the first two fuzzies I became acquainted with? Meet Al and Peggy!


SOUTH PARK - Sick, gross, offensive, and funny as all get-out. In other words, one of the best cartoon series to come along in quite awhile. What more can you ask for? Why nobody has tried to ban this one is beyond me, but I'm not about to complain. I had a site up here as a starting point, but it seems to have gone away. I'll get back to this one.

UPDATE - I've kind of gotten away from South Park Maybe the gross, offensive humor got to be too much for me. Ah, well, it happens.


Walt Kelly's POGO and George Herriman's KRAZY KAT - In my opinion, these are two of the best comic strips to appear in newspaper history. (Don't ask me to say which is better.) Not much around nowadays to compare, especially since Calvin and Hobbes and Bloom County ended their runs. Another favorite from The Olden Days: E. C. Segar's Thimble Theater - which introduced Popeye to an unsuspecting world. (A bit of heresy here: I'm not that hot on Winsor McKay's Little Nemo in Slumberland. The artwork is gorgeous, but the dialogue seems weak at times and poorly laid out on the page - appallingly so, in some cases.) Favorites of a more recent vintage: Tom K. Ryan's Tumbleweeds (which has ended its run), Russell Myers' Broom-Hilda and Over The Hedge. Good sites to start with are The Pogo Fan Club and The Coconino County Page for Krazy Kat.


PEANUTS - There are times when you don't realize how precious something is until after it's been taken away. I've enjoyed Charles Schulz's "kid" strip Peanuts since I was a child - wonderfully flawed characters in hilarious, and sometimes fascinating, situations. I didn't pay all that much attention to the strip in its later years, though I still read it. And now "Sparky" is gone, and there will be no more new adventures for Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the Lil' Folks. We've lost a marvelous treasure. I'll include a link to The Official Peanuts Webpage, which used to have quite a lot of Peanuts-related information. It's not what it once was, alas. The link goes to the Gocomics Peanuts archive, which evidently presents all of the strips from the first on October 2, 1950. That's a lot of comic strips.
There are many websites devoted to Peanuts out there; some of them are related to collectibles and some are personal websites devoted to the strip. I may add some more links later, but for now, grab your favorite search engine and go to town.


BATMAN - The modern personification of the Dark Avenger figure. No superduper powers, no dazzling super-techno gear (or at least not any more - the gear's been toned down since the '70s), just one very driven man fighting a dark, nasty war. As he said himself, "I am Vengeance!" Forget some of the big-budget live-action junk, after Tim Burton handed the series over to other hands; check out the animated movies Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and Batman and Robin: Subzero to see the Dark Knight as he should be portrayed on the silver screen. (Update: I loved Batman Begins and Dark Knight, and the animated direct-to-video Batman: Gotham Knight, with a distinct anime flavor.) Do a search to find information on Warner Brothers' different Batman-related cartoons, beginning with Batman: The Animated Series, still a favorite for me. They didn't do too bad with Superman or the Justice League, either.
You can find quite a few links to Batman-related sites at a Canadian site entitled The Dark Knight.


Which segues right into THE TICK!
One of the funniest cartoon series to come down the pike in a long time, based on one of the funniest comic books to do the same. Goes beyond mere Superhero parody into its own realm of surrealism. [UPDATE I've taken down the link to the webring that was originally here because many of the links are either dead or now go in inappropriate directions. I'll have to find another Tick-related site now; if anyone has any suggestions, I'd appreciate it if they would let me know. SPOOOON!!]


He's terrific. He's magnific! He's DANGERMOUSE, the Greatest Secret Agent in the World! This cartoon is one of those marvelous bits of silliness that the fine folks in Great Britain come up with to entertain their children; as with so many other cartoons, on either side of the Atlantic, this one attracted an adult fanbase as well. (I think I like what this says about adults being kids at heart.) You get lots of British cultural references here - for instance, our hero lives in a "pillar box" {mailbox to us Yanks) on Baker Street in London - which I enjoy. This series was at one time carried over here in the US of A on the Nickelodeon cable channel, for which I'm grateful to them. For starters, I'll point you to this site. I'll explore some other sites later to find one with plenty of links on it. (By the way, has there ever been an American cartoon hero that wore an eye patch? Popeye doesn't count.)


I've always enjoyed mysteries, especially those involving the traditional British detectives - Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Lord Peter Wimsey, Father Brown, etc. I'll admit to liking Adam Dalgleish and Inspector Morse, as well. But for me, the absolute best of the bunch has to be SHERLOCK HOLMES, the World's first consulting detective. I not only enjoy reading the original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - and the innumerable pastiches - but I like reading the "writings on the Writings". There has been a remarkable amount of tongue-in-cheek scholarship about Sherlock Holmes, much of it based on the conceit that Holmes actually existed and Sir Arthur was acting as the "literary agent" for Dr. Watson, publishing his accounts of real events as fiction. Since Sir Arthur was human enough to make mistakes, there are a lot of inconsistencies that Sherlockians attempt to explain away - in a scholarly manner, of course.
It was inevitable that these scholars would get together and compare notes, and that they would form organizations devoted to their own particular madness. In the United States, such an organization is the Baker Street Irregulars. Over in Great Britain, the corresponding organization is The Sherlock Holmes Society of London. I am not, alas, a Baker Street Irregular -  one does not apply for a membership in the BSI; it is rewarded - but I am a full member of the Sherlock Holmes Society. I have yet to attend a gathering in London or one of their regular outings to Sherlockian locations - someday, hopefully - but I do receive the twice-yearly Sherlock Holmes Journal, a quite nice publication, regular notices of activies, and I have the opportunity to purchase the many special publications and merchandise that they offer to members. I am quite proud to be a member, and I like receiving more-or-less regular overseas mail. And it comes as a pleasant surprise that an organization such as this, devoted to a subject for which "it is always 1895", has an extensive multimedia website. Here is a link to The Sherlock Holmes Society of London Website.

The Baker Street Irregulars publish the quarterly Baker Street Journal, which is arguably the most respected publication of Sherlockian scholarship. It's available for subscription to non-members, and the website is here.(If Sherlock Holmes were still alive, would he have his own personal webpage? What would it be about - techniques of crime detection? The motets of Lassus? Bee-keeping?)


There's four directions on this map, but you're only going one way: due SOUTH. The innocent in the Big City is a classic story, and this television series from Canada told it quite nicely. Constable Benton Fraser of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police first came to Chicago on the trail of the killers of his Father, and (for reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture) remained attached as liaison with the Canadian Consulate. He is also an unofficial partner to Detective Ray Vecchio (one or the other) of the Chicago Police Department, and together they fought crime on the mean streets of the City of the Big Shoulders. Wonderfully defined characters, first-rate writing and a nicely romantic theme song made due SOUTH great TV. Alas, no longer in production, but there's a strong fanbase out there. I originally had a link to The Official Due South Web Page, with an episode guide, cast information, information on merchandise for sale, but the domain is up for sale, so I guess it went away. I will post a link to a fan-run and fan-oriented due SOUTH site which has a lot more stuff: William and Elyse's due South Page. Episode guides and character information, plus fan reviews of the episodes, origins of character names and episode titles, a quote file, a drinking game, cast news and interviews, etc., etc. There are also the ever-important internet links, including links to due SOUTH fan fiction, something I'd never paid much attention to before; I've read a lot of what's online, and it's quite good.

(I'm going to make a confession here: ever since I was a child, I've thought that the bright-red uniforms of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were absolutely marvelous! The RCMP switched uniform colors to more subdued tones many years back, which makes sense, I suppose - bright red makes for a good target - but is nonetheless a shame. They don't make police uniforms like that anymore.)

NEW! NEW! NEW! I've got me a separate page now for my "due SOUTH" fan fiction! Let me know what you think. Quite frankly, I'm proud of how it's turning out so far.



Science Fiction and Fantasy in general I've enjoyed it since I was a kid. As far as I'm concerned, SF&F can be just as literary a genre as the "mainstream" stuff. Can't point to a favorite author, but I'm partial to Alternate History as a subgenre. Comes right down to it, I just love good stuff.

As with the ferret links, I've moved my SF- & fantasy-related links to a separate page. Just go to My Science Fiction and Fantasy Related links and you'll be taken there like magic (which, after a point, becomes indistinguishable from technology).


TOM LEHRER, DR DEMENTO, "WEIRD AL" - Just about any Incredibly Strange Music

How can you truly enjoy your favorite music if you can't laugh at it once in awhile? Tom Lehrer, my idol since childbirth, was a master at what would be called "Politically Incorrect" musical fare back in the '50s & '60s (My favorites: "The Masochism Tango" and "The Christmas Song"), and he's still enormously popular in some circles. I'm gonna have to do a search to find a good Tom Lehrer website soon. ("A Webpage Wasted on Tom Lehrer" seems to have gone away, which is a pity, because it's a great title.)

And what Lehrer was in the '50s/'60s, "Weird Al" Yankovic has been since the '70s. Listen to Weird Al's versions of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Achy, Breaky Heart" and you'll never listen to the originals in quite the same way again. A good starter is Yankovic!. There are links to sites with lyrics, audio files, pictures, etc.

I'll also include a link to The Official "Weird Al" Yankovic Web Site, which is maintained by no less than Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz, the drummer for Weird Al's backup band. There's an image archive; a FAQ; merchandise for sale; a page of the ever-important links (which are always nice to see on an "Official" webpage); and more information on Al's TV, movie and video appearances, awards, live appearances, etc., than you ever wanted to know. You know, the more I read about Weird Al, the more I realize that he's really a nice guy. (And his band is made up of nice guys, too.)

And what list of Incredibly Strange Music links would be complete without mention of that National Treasure, Dr. Demento (who gave a young Al Yankovic and his bologna their start on his very show in 1979)? The official Dr. Demento site is here

All right, how about Stan Freberg? He's had a successful career as a satirist and an advertising executive (I know that it's hard to believe, but advertising can be funny.). His lampoons of popular TV shows, in such bits as "Wun'erful, Wun'erful" (a takeoff on Lawrence Welk) and "St. George and the Dragonet" (If you can't guess this one, you don't know your television), were brilliant when they came out in the '50s and '60s and are still great today. And what's more I think he's still doing it! I'd suggest going to The Stan Freberg Page.

And then there's Allan Sherman. During the 50s and 60s, he had a successful career as a musical satirist, with several albums and a string of TV appearances. He tended to play the reactionary in response to the latest trends in music, especially during the early '60s; and a lot of his work has a distinct Yiddish flavor which may be considered un-PC today. But he was still funny. Possibly his most famous song was "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh" about the awful Camp Grenada; this even inspired a board game! I even remember the commercials! Alas, he's largely forgotten today, and there is only one album of his stuff available, and that's a compilation (My Son, The Greatest - look for it through your favorite music outlet.) The websites I had pointed to seem to have gone away, alas.


ED WOOD and BADFILMS IN GENERAL - Most of the stuff released nowadays is dull junk - well-polished and snazzy-looking junk, I'll grant you, but still as dull as dishwater. After Hot Shots, how can anyone watch Top Gun with a straight face? (For that matter, which one of them had a sequel, if you measure quality by that sort of thing?) When I talk about "badfilms", I don't mean the dull stuff, but the low-budget, cardboard-set, nobody-can-act-for-beans, the-boom-mike-is-showing-at-the-top-of-the-screen stuff that's somehow tremendously entertaining. And when the subject of badfilms comes up, it always gets back to Ed Wood, and rightly so. His films aren't the worst around, but they manage to be so obviously bad and great fun at the same time. I only need mention Plan 9 From Outer Space. I'll point you to the: The Ed Wood Unofficial Home Page.

For bad movies in general, I'll point you to The Bad Movie Review Website.


IRISH & CELTIC MUSIC - Maybe it's the accents; maybe the haunting ballads. I know part of it's the bagpipes. A good site for Celtic music, with a lot of information and plenty of links to play with, is The Ceolas Celtic Music Archive.

Favorite band: The Chieftains. I'll have to hunt for a Chieftains website.


AVIATION & SPACE-RELATED STUFF - I loved watching the Gemini & Apollo flights as a lad. I'm not as goshwowboyoboy nutso about manned spaceflight as I was back then - the Challenger accident in 1986 deeply tarnished the luster - but I still believe a manned presence in space has much to offer Humankind. (And besides, the hardware is cool.) I've also developed an interest in the history of aviation and space (and, oddly enough, an interest in the history of the American Civil War, but that's another category).

In an ongoing effort to streamline (little aviation humor there, heh, heh) my Whirled Wide Web presence, I've moved yet another block of links to a separate page, this time the Aviation- and space-related ones. Continue to Aviation and Space Resources and you'll fly there on electronic wings.....

DISCWORLD Terry Pratchett's fantasy series, which takes place on a flat world on the backs of four elephants on the back of the giant tortoise A'Tuin, which swims through space bound for Who-knows-where. On this rather odd venue, Mr. Pratchett puts all the usual fantasy clichés (witches, wizards, mighty-thewed barbarians, cutesy-poo elves, vampires, zombies, various fairy tales, even Christmas and the Phantom of the Opera), applies some skewed logic to it all and comes up with something different, original and hilarious. (He comes up with some interesting food for thought as well. In the novel Hogfather, the aforementioned take on Christmas, Pterry asks a question no one seems to have bothered with before - "What does the Tooth Fairy want with all those teeth?" - and comes up with what I think is a very good answer. Read the book if you want to find out what it is.) There's a typical fantasy city - named Ankh-Morpork in this case - with guilds, thieves (and a Thieves' Guild, of course), intrigue among the nobles, a City Watch, twisty little streets - you're familiar with the template - and many of the novels are set there. The novels dealing with the Watch - Guards! Guards!, Men at Arms and Feet of Clay - work quite well as police procedurals. You wouldn't think it possible in a fantasy setting, but in two of the Discworld novels (Soul Music and Moving Pictures, respectively) Pterry takes potshots at the rock music and motion picture industries. The best stuff to come along in the Fantasy genre in a long time. Find out more at The L-Space Web, a very well-designed site with a lot of Pratchett-related stuff: quotes from his books, a bibliography, artwork and filks, a huge annotation file, FAQs, merchandise information, several links to Pratchett- and Discworld-related sites, etc., etc., etc. I'm sure that there are similar websites out there devoted to other SF and fantasy authors, just as comprehensive and just as extensive, but I don't really know and I'm not sure that I care. (Biased? Who, me?)


BABYLON 5 One of the most significant Science Fiction programs to appear on television in a long time and certainly one of the best. The final episode appeared (at least on American TV) in November of 1998, but do you think Babylon 5's popularity will die down? Not on your life! Places to start are The Official Babylon 5 Website. These people are nice enough to post links to other sites. NOTE: This site hasn't been updated for two years.

I'll also direct you to another B5 site that's pretty good: The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5. (Warning: Here be spoilers!).


Oh, all right... STAR TREK It's easy enough to dump on some of the stuff that's coming out now under the Star Trek title, and the franchise is showing some fraying around the edges. But Star Trek has changed the face of Science Fiction on the Boob TubeTM - and if it isn't, it should be, and, like it or not, it's deeply imbedded in Science Fiction As We Know It, Jim, today. And... well... I like it, okay? There is an official Star Trek web site, but I'm not pointing you to that one. Apparently Viacom (which I believe owns Paramount, which franchises Star Trek) has been going around and trying to close down the "unofficial" Trek sites. Poo on them. So I'm putting a link here to the The Star Trek: WWW site; they have some links. (Go to their List of Official WWW sites for more about Viacom.).NOTE: This site hasn't been updated for two years, either. If anyone knows a better one, let me know.


All right, why not BABYLON PARK? Admit it, when you saw the Babylon 5 episode where Kosh bites the Vorlon Big One, didn't you say to yourself, "OH, MY GOD, THEY KILLED KOSH!! YOU BASTARDS!!!" C'mon, 'fess up; we're all friends here. Well, some very creative (not to mention "twisted") folks took this and ran with it. The result is Babylon Park, which is, as if you couldn't guess, Babylon 5 as the South Park folks might do it. They used computer animation to create a trailer, a brief pilot episode, a parody of the Babylon 5: Crusade series, and even a "Terence and Philip" short entitled "Interstellar Gas". There is a fanclub (as there should be) and the website has information about joining, as well as merchandise (again, as there should be) for sale, such as T-shirts and buttons. I don't know how the South Park people feel about this (They don't strike me as being litigious, so I'd guess that they don't mind.), but several Babylon 5 alumni have gone nuts over this one; indeed, some are signed up to do voice work for upcoming Babylon Park projects. This one deserves a look. "No, Vir, that is my cheesy spoo!"

(Note: these same folks are starting work on a similar South Parkish parody of Star Trek: Voyager, which admittedly is ripe for puncturing, but I won't say much about it for now. No telling how the spoilsports at Viacom are going to react to this one. We'll have to see.)

Well, the official website seems to have gone away. Perhaps this one is dying out. Pity.


General Science Fiction and Fantasy Links

Here's a link to The UK Science Fandom Archive, which I frequent because I enjoy Dave Langford's award-winning fanzine Ansible. For that matter, I'll include a link to Dave Langford's homepage.  It;s interesting to get a British perspective on Science Fiction.


Here's a link to another fannish archive site, The FANAC FanHistory Archives, which contains photos, filksongs, text versions of old fanzines, and other stuff to appeal to those interested in fannish history (of which I happen to be one).


If you want to read some classic science fiction and fantasy stories, and don't have any sentimental attachment to the printed page, there are quite a few stories at SF & Fantasy Books Online. Personally, I love the feel of a good, hefty hardback in my hands, and it's not a good idea to use a computer to squash a cockroach (Well, I wouldn't treat my books that way, anyway, but still...). However, times change, the Old Guard passeth on, and, really, I can see where a hypertextualized story could be fun. It's up to you.


I live in Wichita, KS, and there used to be some fannish activity here including conventions, a Science Fiction club and maybe the odd fanzine or two. Lately, however, local activity seems to have run out of steam, and nobody in town is doing anything substantial that I know about; whether or not this has anything to do with the general graying of Fandom is not something that I feel qualified to talk about. However, I know several Science Fiction fans in Kansas City (my brother John lives there, and he's a fan himself), and KC fandom is fortunately alive and well. Every year, people in Kansas City put on two conventions, ConQuest (a nice, small, run-of-the-mill emphasis-on-SF-literature-you-do-remember-what- books-are-don't-you? Convention that's been around for years) and Contraception (an adults-only "relaxacon" - which means no formal programming) that I enjoy attending. I'm including a link to the home page of The Kansas City Science Fiction and Fantasy Society, which is pretty much what it says it is. KaCSFFS (pronounced KAKS-fuss, if it ever comes up in conversation) puts on ConQuest each year, holds monthly meetings and generally does a bunch of SF-y stuff. Here's a link to the KaCSFFS homepage.


My brother sells used books at the SF conventions and has jumped on the online entrepeneural bandwagon, offering his tomes for sale through By clicking here, you'll be taken to his listings on the Abebooks site. Check it out; he has quite a varied stock. AbeBooks is a good place to browse in any case.

There are many air- and space-related sites on the Whirled Wide Web, but the following links will be good for starters.


For now - and it most likely will change someday - spaceflight is primarily a government-subsidized activity, which in this country means the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. I'm including a link here to The NASA Homepage; it has links to individual homepages for various NASA facilities, such as Langley, Ames, etc. As much fun as it is to browse the main website (especially if you have some fancy video and audio software), it can also be rewarding to visit the other facilities, too.


One of the best museums in the country devoted to aviation and space - if not one of the best in the World - has to be the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum. Their collection of aircraft and spacecraft is incredible, and they're committed to displaying it in the best way that they can, so that you and I can get the most out of it. I would be committing a grievous sin if I didn't include a link to The Smithsonian NASM Homepage. Check out the site, make a vow to visit the Museum itself someday, and watch for an auxiliary facility to open at Dulles Airport in 2003, to display the big stuff. (A bit of trivia: The projected cost and completion schedule for the Museum were finalized in 1966. Over the next ten years, they added some stuff that weren't in the original plans, like a theater and handicapped access - and they still got it done $200,000 under budget and two days ahead of schedule. Not bad for a government project, huh?)


While we're on the subject of museums, I would also be remiss if I didn't include a link to The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, one of the top three space museums in the country (at least one of the other two is located at a NASA facility). Their collection is astonishing, and includes some Russian artifacts as well as American (and an SR-71 spyplane -- not directly space-related, but the plane could get up there pretty high, so why not?) It also includes an IMAX theater; they used to precede each show with a lecture on vertigo, and with the IMAX setup, they weren't kidding. The Museum also excels at the restoration of space artifacts, and has done superb work creating props for Hollywood productions - at least those that care about getting it right; scroll through the credits for Apollo 13 and the From the Earth to the Moon miniseries, and, sure enough, The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center gets mentioned. Located in Hutchinson, Kansas (How this state rated a first-class museum like this is actually discussed on the site.), and I strongly urge you to visit. You won't regret it.


The Boeing Company signs my paychecks, so I'll include a link to their homepage. Working for them can be irritating at times, but, really, I am very much aware of just how important Boeing has been in the history of aviation. Aircraft like the 247, the B-17 (a personal favorite) and the 707 have managed to revolutionize contemporary aviation.


I will say this about Boeing: they have one first-rate Museum of Flight. It's located at the main Boeing plant in Renton, Washington (which means that I haven't had the chance to actually visit it yet, sad to say). The Museum's collection is quite large and not only includes many examples of significant Boeing aircraft, but of aircraft that were built by other manufacturers (even those manufacturers that Boeing hasn't acquired yet). These aircraft are lovingly restored by volunteers, some to flying condition. The Museum even has a replica of the Red Barn, the first Boeing manufacturing facility, from back in the days when wood and canvas were primary building materials for airplanes. Here is a link to the Museum of Flight's homepage, with information on exhibits, aircraft in the collection, upcoming events, the Museum's store (in case you like to buy Stuff) and information on how to obtain a museum membership.


My first employer upon leaving college waaay back in prehistory (1975) was with Cessna Aircraft Company - specifically in the Single Engine Division. Ah, those were the days - you had to wait in line to get computer time, if you used the computer at all; the company was turning out so many airplanes that they were lined up on the ramp like a car dealership. Not to mention that I actually learned to fly through the employees' flying club. Things have changed. For several years the company even quit building single-engine planes. Along the way, Cessna was acquired by Textron and has recently resumed turning out the single-prop jobs, but not as many different models as before. At any rate, here is a link to Cessna's home page.


Somewhere in 1979 I quit Cessna and moved over to Learjet, basically for a salary increase (never a good reason to change jobs, in my opinion). I do admit that there was some prestige in working for what - at the time, at least - was possibly the classiest puddle-jumper around. "Learjet" was synonymous with "luxurious business jet" then, and it may still be now, no matter if the jet in question really is a Learjet or not. I used to pass through the factory area every day while I went to work, and there was a bulletin board there with dozens of pictures of celebs that flew Lears; it was always interesting to look at. Things changed at Learjet, too. The orders dried up, and soon the factory was silent during Second Shift. In 1982 (and later in 1983) Lear decided they no longer needed my services and showed me the door; I ended up at Boeing, and here I still am. Lear has been bought by a Canadian company named Bombardier, and that's the official name for the jets now. But for me they're still Learjets. Here is a link to the Bombardier Learjet home page.


(hopefully not concerning new employers)