Didn't those cartoonists like Alex Raymond, Mac Raboy and Philip Nowlan who created science fiction heroes back in the 1920s, 30s and 40s have a great imagination.
Remember their comics we read as a kid. The likes of Flash Gordon (known as Speed Gordon in Australia because of the negative connotation of the word flash, which meant showy), Buck Rogers and Brick Bradford.
They pioneered space exploration in their rocket ships, visited other planets and went back in time.
It was all stuff we loved but took with a grain of salt because there was no way you could believe people hopping in a space ship and flying to Mars or planet Mongo or somewhere.
But it's all happened and after walking on the moon and putting space stations in orbit, the US has now landed the rover Curiosity on Mars and the world will be able to see lots of pictures from the planet's surface in the coming months.
So will there be any little green men there?
Will Curiosity find and send back pictures of weather-beaten signs displaying messages like no trespassing, carbon tax horror, humans go home, power charges through the roof, beware of the dog, no pipeline or speed cameras used here'?
The rover might even scoop up some empty beer cans, Maccas rubbish or other litter.
But whatever scientists learn about the red planet, just landing the rover on its surface was a technological achievement that does Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers and Co proud.
Flash Gordon might even be there somewhere, still searching for Ming the Merciless.
Pieman would walk it in
WITH post mortems going on over the performance of our tweeting Olympians and whether we should throw more money at them, it's interesting to note that Australia's most offbeat athlete was a bloke named William King, who was known as The Flying Pieman.
If he was around now, he'd certainly fire up our athletes.
King was a schoolteacher at Sutton Forest, in the southern highlands, and then a barman in Sydney before he turned his hand to making pies, which he sold on the streets while elegantly dressed in knee-breeches and stockings, white shirt and top hat.
In September 1847 King walked 192 miles (307km) non-stop around the racecourse in the Hunter Valley town of Maitland in 46 hours 30 minutes.
Two months later at the back of Maitland's Fitzroy pub he had no difficulty in walking 1000 quarter-miles in 1000 quarter-hours.
In December 1847 The Flying Pieman set himself one hour 30 seconds to run a mile (1.6km), walk a mile, wheel a barrow half a mile, pull a trotting gig with a woman in it for half a mile, walk half a mile backwards, pick up 50 stones and perform 50 leaps.
He allowed himself five minutes 15 seconds rest and did all the tasks with 45 seconds to spare.
At Dungog in northern NSW the following month he carried a live goat weighing 80 pounds (32kg) a mile and a half in 12 minutes.
Twice he beat the mail coach from Sydney to Windsor, a distance of about 36 miles (58km).
Our Olympians could learn a lot from his deeds.
Digging himself out of a hole
A CUDAL farmer hired a new labourer and sent him out the back paddock to dig 10 post holes.
That afternoon the farmer drove out in his four-wheel-drive to look at the work and found the new bloke lying under a tree drinking a tinnie.
"Hey, I asked you to dig 10 holes and there's only eight," he says.
"Well boss," says the new hand, taking another swig from the tinnie. "I dug 10 so some bugger must have stolen the other two."
IT’S surprising just how little Sydney people know about Orange and other country centres.
A group of 32 visitors last weekend were surprised at the amenities we had and no doubt were relieved to find we had electricity, running water and sealed roads.
They hadn't heard anything about the huge Cadia mine and wondered what other sort of industry kept Orange people occupied.
They commented favourably about everything they saw and plan to return.
But it poses the question what does Orange do to promote itself in the metropolitan areas other than trying to push food and wine once or twice a year.
Very little, it seems.
THE Roads and Maritime Services has apparently been messing around with our traffic lights again.
It looks as though the Sydney co-ordinated adaptive traffic system called SCATS has put the Summer Street/Lords Place/Anson Street/Sale Street traffic lights on a fixed-time basis where a series of signal timing plans are scheduled by the day of the week and the time of day.
Early mornings you can now sit and wait at a red light in Summer Street with no other cars in sight in any direction while the lights go through their cycle.
It's a good way to waste petrol.