Monday, July 20, 2009

"And That's the Way It Is," Apollo 11, and AOTW

I was working to finish my healthcare post on Friday night (and failing) when I looked at my RSS feed for a story I'd seen earlier when I saw the headline:

Famed CBS News Anchorman Walter Cronkite Dies at 92

Now for anyone who lived through the Kennedy assassination, the Vietnam War, the space race, Watergate, or any of the many stories that he covered for CBS news over those decades, he was the face, and the voice, and the person that told us of those events. I obviously was late in coming (I was 7 when he retired) but any news story or movie that covered these events had footage of him doing what he did. Thursday, while getting fired up for the main part of this post, I was watching part 6 of From the Earth to the Moon. Walter is there, his visage instantly recognizable, a momentary clip brings you back to this day in 1969.

I had hoped to hear from him today, because his reminiscence would be as invaluable as the men who made the journey to the Moon. Now, we can only remember. But his voice, thankfully, will be a part of the soundtrack....

And that brings me to the 40th Anniversary of what was, in history, a triumph of the human spirit and the drive of a nation to excel, not in arms, but in exploration. And it's been a chance for me to prove how much of a NASA geek I can be. I stated finding these things and more while getting video for the current shuttle mission. So let me give you some links;

For the live mission feed (good only through the duration of the mission), click here. There may be some dead air (and static).

For a cool interactive on the mission, click here. This will be around a while longer.

If the past bores you, there's always NASA TV for current boredom and Apollo 11 coverage. Maybe something will move in the next 5 minutes. (fyi, they were getting ready for highlights at midnight as I checked in to get the link (it's nap time))

Our journey as a world to the Moon, in the persons of a dozen men, showed us what we were capable of. When we dream beyond big, then move as a whole to do something, there are no limits. In the insane political climate that usually dominates, that is often forgotten. It did not begin on this day forty years ago. It was inspired by our desire for excellence, a president who could see beyond his life, and thousands upon thousands of people who worked eight years for the moment. And it did not end when they came home after this day, forty years ago. We would send six missions to follow. And after that, we continued the journey with space stations, both in competition, then in cooperation with those who were our enemies in that time. We made space a workplace, a challenge for private businesses, a key to globalization, the next frontier of tourism. And with robots and telescopes, we continue to reach out into the solar system and the cosmos. And when we do return to the Moon, we will be there to stay, and to go beyond.

So while today is not the celebration of the beginning of the story, nor the end of the story, it is the end of the beginning. And it was most certainly more than a small step.

But with all great things, there are those who have to shit in our cereal:

Moon Landing Conspiracy Theory Idiots are Asshat of the week!

There are a gazillion things that have conspiracy theories burdening them: the JFK assassination (fyi, I was the man on the grassy knoll), Roswell and Area 51 (and the anal probing of white trash in trailer parks), the New World Order (run by either the Masons, Jews, Scientology, or gay lovers Elvis and Hitler, living in South America).

However, when you're trying to construct a conspiracy theory involving 11 years, a couple dozen headstrong test pilots and such who went up there, hundreds of thousands of people working on the titanic project, over a billion people watching from all around the world (and some of them would have paid all of Siberia to disprove the Moon landing), as well as so much damned boring (and acronym-laden) documentation that anyone in the government who would have come up with the idea of faking this would need to be 1. committed, 2, given a 60-foot tinfoil hat, and 3. shot for coming up with something that would actually be harder than landing on the moon.

And for you brainless fucktards, and people who want to see the crazy firsthand, here's a great site of debunking of the dipshittery.

Now there are people with doubts, and I feel sad for them because deluded doesn't begin to cover it. But those who actively try to push bullshit that makes an Obama budget look fiscally conservative by comparison are absolutely idiotic. I'm guessing they do have their velvet Elvis portrait wrapped in tinfoil to keep out the alien souls from polluting the King (who's gay with Hitler in South America). It makes me wish for the Ron Paulistas to get back in the news. They were nuts, but at least there was a semblance of rational thought involved.

So in short, if you think the moon landings were faked and want to spout half-assed conspiracy theory shit which can be disproved with a telescope, swallow some fertilizer, turn yourself into a bomb, crawl up with a bunch of your nut-buddies in a tall grain silo, and turn yourselves into a giant Roman candle until you kill yourselves dead. Then we can watch the I.Q. of the planet increase, you halfwitted jizzbags. Damn.

Oh well, maybe I should take my cue from the second man to walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin (because Neil Armstrong is never around his hometown (fyi, I work there)) when he was confronted by someone who is the personification of the reason to keep abortion legal (because a coat hanger in the womb would have done the moron wonders):

To quote a comment I saw while embedding this gem: The knuckle has landed!


Satyavati devi dasi said...

I love you too.

rockync said...

I was one of those who sat in front of the old black and white TV to hear Walter Cronkite deliver the terrible news of the assassination of President Kennedy and the jubilant news of the moon landing and his coverage of the VietNam War. Through it all, the voice of Cronkite; calm, assuring and trustworthy.

Anonymous said...

I wish I was around to have seen it, it must have been truly amazing.

AOTW....definitely deserved!

Oh I linked to your post about Apollo....hope you don't mind.

And this time I am leaving a link! :-)

Larry said...

It was an especially moving event to commemorate today since I was privileged enough to have have known one of the men responsible for direct communication with the Apollo 11 astronauts. His name was Ron Malin and he was a 27 year veteren of NASA as a Deep Space Communications Specialist.

He would tell me stories about his time in the space program and I would be absolutely glued to my seat listening to every word he said. Sadly, he passed away suddenly in 2004, but in the few short years I knew him, Ron reignited that spirit of adventure and excitement that I'd long lost.

Excellent post today, Patrick. Truly inspiring...

dmarks said...

I remember him well from the early 1970s. But I also remember him turning into a crazy crank after he left CBS.

Toad734 said...

Well, at least now we know he isn't a coward.


Although it is possible that Lee Harvey Oswald fired those shots, why was he killed by Jack Ruby...who later died?? There was some conspiracy on some level with regards to JFK, no question about it. It may not be what Oliver Stone said it was but there was some cover up and plenty of motives.

Patrick M said...

Toad: There will always be some questions about the Kennedy assassination, but conspiracy people tend to concoct shit that makes less sense than the movie Plan 9 from Outer Space.

But the Kennedy conspiracy theorists are plugging away at dead ends, so they're just obsessed and a little kooky. The Moon Landing Hoaxters, on the other hand, should be put in a large jungle and hunted so they can't mistakenly breed.