Touch Down

The Huygens probe makes a dogged landing

Jan 12, 2005 at 4:00 am
FRI 1/14

If even the esteemed physicist Stephen Hawking can change his mind about his black-holes-swallow-all theory, maybe Night & Day Global's dog, Dr. Barkapotomus, can be convinced that Pluto is not a planet of dogs. Or that even though it took a dog year for the Cassini orbiter to get to Saturn, there are no dogs on that planet either. Dr. B and his crazy ideas -- he's got a Ph.D., but he's no Stephen Hawking. We'll just have to keep telling the office dog that Saturn's a couple billion miles away (give or take) and that the dog-year thing is just a coincidence. Maybe he'll understand after we go to the Huygens probe landing party at the St. Louis Science Center's James S. McDonnell Planetarium in Forest Park. On Christmas Day the probe separated from the orbiter in order to close in on, and land on, Saturn's largest moon, Titan. At the landing party, which runs from 6 to 10 p.m., we will have, ahem, a dog's-eye view of just what's happening on the distant moon -- and then we can finally prove to Dr. Barkapotomus that there are no dogs in space (Air Bud doesn't count). For more information about the activities during the free party (telescope viewings, a film screening and more), visit or call 314-289-4464. -- Alison Sieloff

An American in Nepal
The adventures of James Parks

SAT 1/15

Who can forget the Peace Corps commercials of the early '80s? ("Peace Corps. The Toughest Job You'll Ever Love," came the voiceover, followed by a barrage of tribal-sounding drums). Certainly James Parks remembers them. At the time, Parks was a PC volunteer working in the village of Melung, a remote area of Nepal, and he was trying to complete a water-quality project before his return to America. Documentarian Claude von Roesgen preserved Parks' final ten weeks of service in Jimi Sir: An American Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal, which screens at 4 p.m. at the Schlafly branch of the St. Louis Public Library (225 North Euclid Avenue; 314-367-4120). Von Roesgen, Parks and several other Peace Corps veterans discuss the documentary and their service following the free screening. -- Paul Friswold

Dream Weekend
Remembering Dr. King

It's easy to claim that you're "living the dream," but look around you -- is anyone really doing it? Until Hilary Duff, Lindsay Lohan and Avril Lavigne can all just get along, we'll settle for celebrating the good Doctor's dream alongside the Missouri Historical Society. Its free MLK Day event, "Living the Dream," takes place Sunday, January 16, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue). The society plans to honor local entrepreneurs Mary "One" Johnson and Kwame Thompson for their work furthering Dr. King's legacy and shaping our community. Cassandra Butler of the University of Missouri-St. Louis contributes some historical perspective, and the YMCA Boys' Choir performs a killer rendition (we bet) of "We Shall Overcome." Call 314-746-4599 or visit for more information. The St. Louis Science Center (5050 Oakland Avenue; 314-289-4444 or also commemorates Dr. King's dream with a free Minority Scientists Showcase and Parent Conference (Saturday through Monday, January 15 through 17) that puts kids in contact with working scientists; the children are the future, after all. -- Mia York

Down with the Browns

Tyler Perry, the man behind the smash-hit "Madea" plays, presents his latest gospel- comedy, Meet the Browns, starring David and Tamela Mann as the irrepressible Browns. No, Madea is not in this one, but it's more of the gospel songs and belly laughs that Tyler Perry crams into every production. Meet the Browns plays at 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, at 3 and 8 p.m. on Saturday, and at 3 and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday (January 13 through 16) at the Fox Theatre (527 North Grand Boulevard; 314-534-1111). Tickets are $32.50 to $42.50. -- Paul Friswold