A dreamer prepares for his rocket flight

Sure, go ahead and call Mike Hughes all the names he’s probably heard before but we’re here today to celebrate his passion, an antidote to America’s pervasive can’t-do spirit.

This is Mike’s passion: A steam-powered rocket that he intends to launch on Saturday in California. Mike will be inside, the Associated Press says.

We feel no less proud of the human spirit with Mike than we did with Gabriel Nderitu, the Kenyan who had no idea about aerodynamics but built his own airplane, and the one to replace the one he crashed in, several times.

Dreams are easy. Physics is hard.

Mike is a limo driver and says he taught himself rocket science.

“I don’t believe in science,” said Hughes, showing a casual interest in a definition of science. “I know about aerodynamics and fluid dynamics and how things move through the air, about the certain size of rocket nozzles, and thrust. But that’s not science, that’s just a formula. There’s no difference between science and science fiction.”

Hughes only maks $15 an hour, plus tips, and it’s pretty hard to build a rocket on $15 an hour. So Hughes, like Gabriel before him, scrounged parts and put it all together so it sort of looks like a rocket.

And she’s definitely a looker.

“I want to inspire others — and you have to do something incredible to get anybody’s attention,” Hughes said.

If he survives his flight over the abandoned town, Hughes says he’ll run for governor California.

By the way, you may be wondering whatever happened to Gabriel Nderitu?

Not long after some U.S. pilots sent him a package of aviation books and manuals on aerodynamics, he enrolled in flight school.