During my childhood years in London Monty Python's Flying Circus was the most controversial and talked-about show on television. My father wryly encouraged me to stay up until 9:25 pm and watch each new weekly BBC episode. It aired on a school night, which worried my mom and, anyway, she found the racy and provocative content entirely inappropriate for a young lad. My mom was a brilliant woman, and that was one of the few times I remember her being clearly in error. I remain a Python fan to this day and recently, as a most thoughtful gift, received the entire collected episodes in a DVD boxed set.
As Sherlock Holmes used to say to his pal Watson whenever a new chase began: "The game's afoot!" Two independent groups led by my colleagues Ron Dilulio, and Mike Farmer, have found small freshly-fallen stone meteorites on the ground near Waco, Texas. They are almost certainly associated with the bright daytime fireball witnessed over Austin, TX on the afternoon of February 15.
On Saturday afternoon, around 4 pm, we closed the showroom. It was the final day of my thirteenth consecutive show and — unlike the majority of things in the modern world — the Tucson gem shows really do get bigger and better each year. With 4,000+ dealers from practically every country on earth, over forty separate shows, and 50,000+ buyers and visitors, it's exhausting just to think about trying to see everything, but no amount of browsing and touring can prepare you for the experience of being a Tucson show vendor.
Unlike many of my colleagues, I really enjoy doing media interviews, especially when I have the pleasure of working with a particularly thoughtful, bright and inventive journalist. A few weeks ago, I received a call from Eleanor Perry-Smith, a writer at Northwestern University in Illinois. She was working on a the premiere issue of a hip new science magazine named SciQ. With a tag line like "Feed Your Head" how could I possibly resist participating?
It was back in 1998 that I made my first journey to the Tucson gem and mineral shows. I was living just outside of New York City at the time, and although I had already fallen in love with Arizona as a ten year-old boy, and had traveled extensively across my favorite state in the Union, I'd never actually been to Tucson — the seat of Pima County and a small, eclectic, eccentric, charming city in the Sonoran Desert.
I stole today's title from my friend and former publisher, Dr. Joel Schiff, founder and original editor of Meteorite magazine. Every issue, he'd write a concise and thoughtful editorial under the heading "Down to Earth." I always found it so very clever, since Joel is a thoughtful and down-to-earth person and — of course — meteorites are things which fall down to earth. Despite what the church thought back in the Middle Ages.
The reasoning went something like this: Since god was supposed to have created the heavens, and since — of course — anything that god created had to be perfect, then claiming that stones could fall from the heavens suggest that the heavens were not perfect. And that just wouldn't do. The official viewpoint of the Roman Catholic Church was, therefore, that meteorites could not exist. Such logical reasoning!