This past Thursday an asteroid the size of a city block flew by the Earth. Thankfully it was only 14 lunar distances away and was not the size of Texas so Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck can keep their oil drills at home.
While there was no danger of an impact, the 1,650 foot wide rock was close enough to be caught on telescope. The Remanzacco Observatory crew of Nick Howes, Ernesto Guido and Giovanni Sostero in Italy captured this imagery of the pass.
Known as 2012 LZ1, the astroid wasn’t discovered until last week by the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia.
Because of its size and proximity to Earth, 2012 LZ1 qualifies as a potentially hazardous asteroid, but it doesn’t appear that it will pose any problems in the future. The rock won’t come close to Earth again until June 12, 2053, and will be about 3 times as distant.
I’m sure to astrologers everywhere, this was an exciting event. To me it resembled a jelly bean flying through space. Although I guess I should be content with that because if it was much bigger and closer, we might actually get Armageddon and then we would have to call Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck.
Former gangster Henry Hill dies
“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” That was the opening line to Goodfellas. The man saying that line was Ray Liotta who played Henry Hill. Hill was a real life gangster whose biography “Wise Guy” was adapted into Martin Scorsese’s 1990 gangster classic.
The real Henry Hill passed away on Tuesday in Los Angeles after complications from a recent heart attack. The mobster was associated with the Lucchese crime family and throughout the 1960s and 70s was involved in numerous illegal activities including extortion, drug trafficking, robbery and even point shaving.
On April 27, 1980, Hill was arrested on a narcotics-trafficking charge. Convinced that his former associates wanted him dead and to avoid prison, Hill became an FBI informant and testified against his fellow gangsters.
After his testimony led to 50 convictions, HIll and his family entered the U.S. Marshals’ Witness Protection Program, changed their names, and moved to various undisclosed locations throughout the U.S. But Hill couldn’t stay on the straight-and-arrow and was arrested numerous times for drug and alcohol related incidents. He was eventually expelled from the program in the early 1990s.
In 1986, crime reporter Nicholas Pileggi released a non-fiction book chronicling Hill’s exploits. Four years after that came Goodfellas which has become a revered gangster film in the same class as the The Godfather films. Like every gangster film, Goodfellas romanticized the lifestyle of a mobster and Hill definitely profited off of that image with radio appearances on The Howard Stern Show discussing his past and the opening of a restaurant in Connecticut called Wiseguys.
He never escaped his gangster image because he wanted to embrace it. But in the end he didn’t go out in a blaze of glory like Tony Montana or happily playing with his grandson in the backyard like Vito Corleone. He died a day after his 69th birthday in a Los Angeles hospital.
Burger King to debut a bacon sundae for the summer
I’ve discussed my love for bacon in this column before and now I have more bacon goodness to share with you.
On Thursday, Burger King launched their summer menu by introducing several pork, beef and chicken sandwiches for a limited time. To top off their revamped menu, the fast food chain is also debuting a bacon sundae — vanilla soft serve with fudge, caramel, bacon crumbles and a piece of bacon.
The dessert clocks in at 510 calories, 18 grams of fat and 61 grams of sugar.
Let’s hope this experiment lasts longer than Jack N the Box’s short-lived bacon shake earlier this year which was met with negative reviews. That bacon-fueled dessert had twice as many calories as Burger King’s sundae so hopefully a little less bacon and a slightly lower risk of heart failure will make The King’s experiment last longer.
As an ambassador to bacon, I hope this is a bigger success because the last thing bacon needs is bad press.
Museum to host Thorpe’s medals during Olympic Trials
With the Olympic Trials beginning this week in Eugene, I thought I’d mention an exhibit that began last Wednesday at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon.
Before you watch the great athletes of today compete, take a look at the display featuring track and field legend Jim Thorpe. 100 years ago at the Stockholm Olympics, Thorpe became the first and only athlete to win gold medals for both the pentathlon and decathlon.
To celebrate this event, the exhibit will display Thorpe’s medals from the 1912 Olympic Trials, as well as explore in further detail his athletic feats, his lifelong contributions to sports and his work to promote Native rights.
A Native American of Sac and Fox heritage, Thorpe excelled in not only track and field, but also football and baseball at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania. After his Olympic career ended, Thorpe played professional baseball and football. In 1920, he helped organize the first American professional football league, which would eventually become the National Football League. After that, he traveled as a lecturer and advocate for Native rights.
In a town where athletic ability is greatly admired and appreciated, why not learn more about a man who was voted the seventh greatest athlete of the twentieth century by ESPN and number one by a poll of sports fans conducted by ABC Sports.
The medals will be on display through July 8. The Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11-5. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for seniors and youths 17 and under, and $8 for families. Museum members are admitted free.