Lie, memory II.

It looks as though we’ve galloped up on another anniversary of the first moon landing, Apollo Whatever. Which means it’s time for a fresh look at something I wrote about after the last anniversary, a column I called “Lie, Memory.”

At the time, I relied on a story in one of the newspapers from “the region” — the rural areas around Fort Wayne that made a person like me…well, very glad that he lived in the relative cosmopolitan oasis because man, did they get some strange crime in those parts.

The story gathered the recollections of local residents about the historic event. I don’t have it with me, but it was filled with anecdotes that ran like this:

“Yes, I remember it well. I was in kindergarten at the time, and the teacher brought a TV to class. We all gathered around and watched as Neil Armstrong made his way down the ladder of the landing module and said his historic words. Of course, at the time, I was more upset by the fact we had to miss our recess!”

You see the problem with this. The moon landing was in July, when most kindergarteners are far from classrooms and teachers. And the moon walk was late at night — for a kid, anyway. It was certainly after my bedtime, and I was 11. There’s simply no way that person was remembering correctly. But that’s what memory does. Thankfully.

(When I wrote that, I got a very angry letter from a reader, calling me a big ol’ poopyhead, spoiling people’s memories that way. Doesn’t anyone in the world care about facts?)

I bring this up because Jon Carroll repeated the old story about Gaylord Perry:

Chronicle sportswriter Harry Jupiter was standing next to Alvin Dark, who was then managing the Giants, as Perry took batting practice. Like a lot of pitchers, Perry was a less than impressive hitter. “This Perry kid is going to hit some home runs for you,” said Jupiter sarcastically.

“There’ll be a man on the moon before Gaylord Perry hits a home run,” replied Dark.

Seven years later, on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon and uttered his somewhat confused memorable words. An hour later, Gaylord Perry hit his first home run, at Candlestick Park against the Dodgers.

On the west coast? Possible. The first steps on the moon were at 8 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, so yeah, they could have been playing at Candlestick Park. But it’s always worth a stop at Snopes, where we see the first red flag — the story they research said man would be on the moon beforehand, and given that the July 20, 1969 game was during the day, it could only be true if…

Oh, who cares? There are more ridiculous stories tied to the moon landing than Barack Obama’s birth certificate. The “Good luck, Mr. Gorsky” story. (Jews in Wapakoneta, Ohio, in the 1940s? Please.) The “heard the call to prayer on the moon, returned to Earth and promptly converted to Islam” story, which is surprisingly sturdy in the Muslim world, but again, preposterous. And, of course, the “they did it all in a studio” myth, my personal favorite.

I’m always amazed at what people are willing to believe. Of course, it helps when a story supports your own prejudices. Someone sent me the “dash don’t be silent” story a few weeks ago. Swore it happened right here in Detroit. Snopes, people, check Snopes first.

I have a killer day today, followed by the usual killer night. So a bit of killer bloggage:

Barack Obama’s Teleprompter self-destructs, and yet he carries on. (May I just note here how happy I am to see copy editors ignoring AP style on spelling the name of the device, which decreed it must be TelePromTer? I always hated that. Maybe the stylebook has changed; God knows I haven’t consulted it in years.)

Whaddaya know? Seymour Hersh was right.

And no, she’s not going away. Who could have seen this coming?

Back later, maybe, but probably not.

Posted at 8:41 am in Current events |

69 responses to “Lie, memory II.”

  1. coozledad said on July 14, 2009 at 9:49 am

    If I were a Westerner, I’d watch my ass around Sarah Palin:
    “Of course, Alaska is not the sole source of American energy. Many states have abundant coal, whose technology is continuously making it into a cleaner energy source. Westerners literally sit on mountains of oil and gas, and every state can consider the possibility of nuclear energy.”
    I can see the end of this. We’ll be standing at the pumps one day, filling our cars with cheap, clean burning American fuel, and some beatnik will run up and yell “Stop it man. That gasoline…it’s, it’s BUTTOCKS!”

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  2. brian stouder said on July 14, 2009 at 10:04 am

    I betcha all of us, of a particular age, ‘know’ precisely where we were, July 20th, 1969.

    The night of the Orignal Moon Walk from the Apollo, by the quiet guy from Wapakoneta, Ohio (as opposed to the famous first Moon Walk at the Apollo by the [now departed] gloved guy from Gary, Indiana) I absolutely remember going out into the front yard with my brothers and dad – who (I have always said, anyway) had gotten me up from bed (cannot recall specifically where mom was!) to look up at the moon – which seemed to be exactly the thing to do(!!) – after watching the pictures on TV.

    I’d have been 8, back then – but thinking back – I cannot really remember getting awakened from bed….and since it was summer, there’d have been no school to go to bed for….and I’ve no idea what day of the week it was.

    Friend of nn.c Laura Lippman has an unfailingly interesting website call The Memory Project, wherein pesky quirks of memory like this are explored.

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  3. Deborah said on July 14, 2009 at 10:24 am

    It was between my Freshman and Sophomore year in college. I was at home in Miami, FL. It seemed much later than 8 pm, more like 11, it was supposed to be earlier as I recall but it got put off later and later for some reason. My sister got tired of waiting and went to bed, I was incredulous that she would do that, she’s a year older than me, and worried about getting up the next morning for her summer job. I would have stayed up all night to watch it if it came to that, job or no job. My dad was also already sound asleep in bed (my mother had died 5 years before that). I just could not believe they didn’t give a hoot about it. I too went out in the yard to look at the moon after seeing the walk on TV. I don’t remember actually seeing the moon however, so it may have been a cloudy night.

    edit: I just reread the post, that it was 8 pm Pacific time so that would have made it midnight in Miami.

    edit again: make that 11 in Miami. So I was about right.

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  4. jeff borden said on July 14, 2009 at 10:38 am

    I had just graduated from high school and watched the event on our black and white TV set. It was –and still is– incredible to think about the history we were witnessing in real time.

    What I recall especially is that the family of one of my best buddies purchased a television just for this event. They were a quintessentially musical clan –dad was the band director at high school and the mother also was a music teacher– and all the kids were musically talented. Television was forbidden in their home, but they all gathered every evening after dinner to play music together. It took the moon landing to deliver a TV set to their house.

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  5. alex said on July 14, 2009 at 10:48 am

    The writer, a Republican, is governor of Alaska.

    Looks like the WaPo could use some caffeine at the copy desk. Even before the resignation this would have looked silly, no?

    I don’t remember where I was exactly during the Appollo landing. I do know, however, that I was in a motel room with my family out west somewhere. We’d been to the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Mesa Verde (where I became intrigued with a mummified corpse in a glass case because it had pubic hair), and a whole bunch of tacky tourist traps. A whole month on the road in a brand-new station wagon.

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  6. Catherine said on July 14, 2009 at 10:50 am

    The moon landing was the first time I watched television. My parents didn’t believe in it, either. I was 4 at the time, and we were spending the summer in a rented house in Salt Lake City while my mom took classes for her master’s. I don’t know which was most amazing — staying up so late, the TV, or the moon walk.

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  7. 4dbirds said on July 14, 2009 at 10:56 am

    I was a few years older than you Nancy but I do remember it being a hot night in Texas and the whole family was glued to the TV set.

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  8. moe99 said on July 14, 2009 at 10:58 am

    I was an exchange student in Offenbach Germany and we were up early to watch it on tv. I remember being peeved as hell because I could not hear what NASA and the astronauts were saying because the tv interpreters were so loud. I did not speak much German as the only languages offered by Defiance HS were French, Spanish and Latin. But Youth For Understanding had run out of french households and placed me in Germany.

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  9. MichaelG said on July 14, 2009 at 11:12 am

    God, what a bunch of old farts. I was seven months out of the army and Driving a bus for Greyhound. That night I was at the Top of the Kip, an old Berkeley watering hole that, by the way, still exists.

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  10. Jolene said on July 14, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Alex, I’m not sure I understand your objection to the statement re Palin’s position. The Post had a similarly understated way of referring to Barack Obama’s op-ed of this past Sunday. It said:

    The writer is president of the United States.

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  11. Jen said on July 14, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Nancy – Indeed, the AP Stylebook has been changed. Teleprompter is now a generic term. (My stylebook is from 2007.)

    Now, if they’d only change “Internet” to “internet” and “Web site” to “website” …

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  12. Colleen said on July 14, 2009 at 11:23 am

    I was not quite two. Mom noted the moon landing in my baby book.

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  13. Dorothy said on July 14, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Count me among those sitting with family squeezed around the television late at night (Pittsburgh). My oldest sister had just turned 21 on July 16th, my sister Chrissy was 10 years old two days before the Moon landing, and I was 11 also, my 12th birthday occurring 42 days after the Moon landing. The youngest ones in the family were probably asleep, so I’m guessing we had Mum, Dad and 7 or 8 Kirchner kids glued to the set.

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  14. Jolene said on July 14, 2009 at 11:35 am


    What does the stylebook say about health care vs. healthcare? One word or two? This is something we went around and around on at the organization where I used to work.

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  15. jeff borden said on July 14, 2009 at 11:36 am

    One nice thing about the lunar landing is that we were all gathered as a people around the world to watch something pretty damned wonderful. Most of the time, it seems, we are united around the TV set in grief (JFK) or horror (9/11).

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  16. whitebeard said on July 14, 2009 at 11:55 am

    My wife-to-be and I watched the moon landing in a tiny bar/restaurant in Massachusetts as we were on our way for me to catch a bus to Montreal. And observed in horror as some parents dragged their kids out the door just before the actual walk because it was “too late to be wasting time watching TV.”
    We watched everything but missed the bus and drove all the way to Montreal, which is another story.

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  17. Sue said on July 14, 2009 at 11:56 am

    I think I was the only person in the United States who had absolutely no interest in the moon landing. I’ve never had any interest in space exploration. Bunch of engineers and scientists playing, if you ask me, sometimes with disastrous results. Don’t tell me about research breakthroughs in science and engineering etc., you get the same argument with Formula One racing and taxes don’t fund that. And if we have to fund it, then fund it adequately so we aren’t trying to figure out what went wrong after people have died, then finding out it was some crappy little part that wore out or froze and broke, or an obvious brain fart in safety planning. That’s probably my biggest beef; people died who shouldn’t have. And yes, I know I’m out of line here, but I’ve always felt that way, all the way back to the launch pad fire.
    Rant over. On another of Nancy’s topics today, I know people who personally know people who know the person who stole the Mrs. Field’s Cookie recipe, and also the person who was in the elevator with [famous black guy] when he said “hit the floor/hit four”.

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  18. Catherine said on July 14, 2009 at 11:58 am

    I had to turn off NPR’s coverage of the Sotomayor hearings. Paddyo is right, I should just read about it after the fact. But Sen. Sessions asking whether a judge’s “life experiences” should affect his or her decisions gets on my very last nerve. Did anyone ask John Roberts whether his life experience as a privileged white male affects his decisions?

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  19. Rana said on July 14, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    I’m clearly one of the young’ns, as I can tell you precisely where I was during the moon landing: in my mother’s uterus. *laughs*

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  20. Peter said on July 14, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    I was in grade school, and we were all scrunched around the 11″ TV. I have to admit that I was wondering what the hell was it taking so long to open the damn door and step down.

    Re: Mme. Palin – wow, a cogent thought or two without six ands in one sentence.

    I don’t know if I read this in NYT or Time Magazine, but one article mentioned how she connects with the white rural disillusioned, and I thinking that maybe she’s a latter day George Wallace – and what would that make the First Dude – what’s the male version of Lurleen?

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  21. velvet goldmine said on July 14, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    I was only two at the time of the moonwalk, but a distantly remembered Bob Costas interview with Marilu Henner revealed that she lost her virginity on that day. (“In the shower. Standing up.”) She had a photographic memory for every day of her life, apparently, and so he picked a few dates at random to see what she was doing. Such is the celebrity ego that she didn’t recognize the date by the larger historical significance; she thought he’s somehow unearthed it from prurient research.

    On the topic of TelePrompTer/Internet and other irritating AP style issues, it always bugged me to have to capitalize Dumpster and Realtor in my stories. Sometimes I’d just leave it uncapped in an unjournalistic snit, but that never paid. The dusty old copy editors, rather than just quietly correcting it, always had to call me and tell me how green I was not to know those rules.

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  22. mark said on July 14, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    I remember the moon landing. I was nine and, with my older brother and younger sister, in the early stages of a nasty flu or other illness. All orifices, times three, were open for unexpected, uncontrollable and occasionally violent discharge. We were in the “TV room” (which seemed adequately large in my memories but only about 9 x 10 in reality) with our parents and an ample supply of buckets.

    It was a very hot night and no air-conditioning. Two old, oscillating, black desk fans were placed close by, so we could alternately sweat profusely from humidity and fever and shiver like hell when both streams of forced air happened to cross your path at the same time.

    So far as I recall, nobody puked during the critical moments, so history was viewed without that distraction.

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  23. beb said on July 14, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    While I’m sure that Cheney was trying to run Death Squads out of the White House as has been reported by Seymour Hersh, I don’t think the NYT is right that this was the program Panetta abruptly cancelled and rushed off to Congress to confess. The problem I see is that the US was been targetting Al Qeada leaders for assassination all along, either through ground forces or through drone missle attacks. Moreover who in the US would object to the US targetting Al Queada leaders? It seems far more likely that what Panetta reported to Congress was something else. Either something to do with the warrentless wiretaps, or something truely objectionable like targetting Iraqi dissidents and unruly reporters for assassination.

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  24. paddyo' said on July 14, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Moon landing? I was 16, a junior counselor at Camp St. Francis, on sandy bluffs above the Monterey Bay, and a bunch of us — priests and brothers, HS seminarians (incl. me), and a few of that week’s 200 or so campers — crowded into the priests/brothers’ private dining room off the main mess hall. It had a B&W TV sitting atop a metal locker. It was dusk outside. The TV’s glow, I’ll always remember, looking up at it in that dark room. I don’t remember which channel now, but I imagine it was CBS and Uncle Walter.

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  25. Jolene said on July 14, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Peter: As you might guess, all sorts of people are commenting on Palin’s op-ed in unflattering terms. Here’s a link to one short piece that contains links to several others.

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  26. Joe Kobiela said on July 14, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    I was in our basement, 12 yrs old watching with my dad, mom, and brother, eating a tenderloin and onion rings with a pineapple milk shake from the blue moon in Garrett. Still one of my best family memories.
    Pilot Joe

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  27. 4dbirds said on July 14, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    I’m with you Sue as to the arguments for funding space exploration. Don’t tell me its a good thing because we might accidently find the cure for cancer. If we want the cure for cancer then fund cancer research. If we want to explore space and fund it with tax dollars, tell the American people why it’s a good thing. Like we might have to get off this planet in a couple hundred years so our species can survive.

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  28. kayak woman said on July 14, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    I was 15 at the time of the moonwalk and I watched it on a black and white TV in an old log cabin on Lake Superior. I was also sick with a virus that night. Sore throat and fever kind of thing with no vomiting. I did vomit all over my desk in 2nd grade when John Glenn orbited the earth and I was also sick when Kennedy was shot.

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  29. Catherine said on July 14, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    We explore space because we’re Americans and that’s what Americans do: push boundaries and ignore limits. Plenty of people thought the Louisiana Purchase was a waste of money, too. Space exploration played a significant role in winning the Cold War. And, it’s a bargain. Did you know that the Mars rovers cost only $800 million? That’s about a day in effing Iraq.

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  30. ROgirl said on July 14, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    I think there’s a difference between targetting combatants in a war and going after terrorists using the CIA. The question is whether the terrorists are considered war combatants or not. I’m sure there was a lot of disagreement over that one.

    It’s funny how Sy Hersh comes out with these bombshells like the CIA story and Abu Ghraib that at first seemed so extreme and far-fetched — the idea that Americans would be involved in such activities was just abhorrent. But not only was Sy right, his revelations were just the tip of the iceberg, and the portion that was beneath the surface was wholly generated and run by Dick Cheney.

    I sure hope no one believes Sarah Palin wrote that oped herself, or without an awful lot of editing. She doesn’t really have a coherent thought in her head when it’s not tightly scripted.

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  31. mark said on July 14, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Careful, Catherine. You sound like you believe in that whole ‘American exceptionalism’ thing. That’s a pretty pedestrian notion these days, held only by the simpletons that preseve the ugly American image. Correct thinking is much more cosmopolitan and recognizes our ugly history in the pre-BO eras.

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  32. Sue said on July 14, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    And in the usual way this comment section interweaves all the topics, where would we be today without Seward’s Folly!

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  33. Jolene said on July 14, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Catherine: WRT your earlier comment re Justice Roberts, you might want to check out Gene Robinson’s op-ed in today’s WaPo. He talks about the idea of “white male” being a particular identity like any other rather than a normative identity, with the judgments and actions of white males regarded as correct.

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  34. Catherine said on July 14, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Mark, even a liberal can hate the sin but love the sinner, yes?

    Sue, yes, I specifically avoided mentioning Alaska…such a, ahem, mixed blessing.

    Jolene, as usual someone else said it much more eloquently than I. That’s exactly what is so offensive about Jeff Sessions’ questioning, that his identity is the norm and thus impartial and objective. I imagine when Sotomayor said that everyone comes with certain biases, and it’s a matter of acknowledging them in your thinking, he had no idea she meant him, too.

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  35. Dave K. said on July 14, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Brother Joe, I remember watching the moon walk with you and our folks, also. The thing I remember most is how moved our dad was by the event. As a pilot and engineer he was truly in awe of the technology, precision and teamwork necessary for a successful mission. He said something like, “Do you realize how many things had to go just exactly right, at exactly the right instant, without anything going even slightly wrong?” As a spiritual man and believer, I think that more than anything he was reminded, and he reminded us, of the unfathomable vastness and order of the universe. Absolutely one of my most precious memories as well!

    I hadn’t remembered what we were eating until I read your post. I may have to get one of those pineapple shakes today.

    ROgirl, re: SP’s NYT piece. The first thing I thought after reading one paragraph was, “There is no way in hell Sarah Palin wrote this by herself”.

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  36. Jen said on July 14, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Jolene: According to the Stylebook, health care is two words, no hyphen, in all uses, which is an exception to Webster.

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  37. crinoidgirl said on July 14, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    I was 13, at Girl Scout camp, down the road from Woodstock, which happened a few weeks later, also while I was at camp. We were in the mess hall, watching it on (b&w) TV.

    As usual, completely redirecting the conversation, does anyone know what’s neatly clipping off my zucchini blossoms? No blossom, no zucchini.

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  38. MarkH said on July 14, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    And, Dave K., not all of those things went exactly right at exactly the right instant, did they? And they still pulled it off. Witness the final minutes of descent, when the main computer crashed, throwing the lunar lander off course. Armstrong took manual control in the final seconds for a successful touch-down in an improvised location. The calm shown by Armstrong and Aldrin during this time in the recorded conversation was astounding. I always thought it poingant that the commander of the first moon landing mission was a civilian, not a military man. Previously in the Air Force, Armstrong was a NASA test pilot when chosen for the space program.

    EDIT – Oh, yeah, I was 17 and with four or five friends at a buddy’s house that night, b/w TV as well.. If I remember correctly, NASA moved the moonwalk up 10-12 hours so it would be televised across the country at a time more people could see it.

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  39. Joe Kobiela said on July 14, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    One thing I remember, I think it was Shepard saying when asked about being scared. He replied, how would you feel knowing this thing has been built by the lowest bidder?
    Pilot Joe

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  40. LAMary said on July 14, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    C-girl, I don’t know what’s doing that to your zucchini, but I’ve had the same thing happen a couple of times I’ve planted it. Both times were in my roof garden in NYC, so it wasn’t deer or raccoons or anything like that. Big rats, maybe.

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  41. jeff borden said on July 14, 2009 at 4:55 pm


    Whatever was left of American exceptionalism was stomped to death over the past eight years as we embraced at the highest levels of government some of the very tactics and strategies we found abhorrent in previous generations.

    The space program was very much a piece of JFK’s evocation of a “new generation,” the people born in the 20th century taking the reins from those born in the 19th. It also was an offshoot of our interest in education and science after the Soviets beat us to the space launch with Sputnik and the first man in space in Yuri Gugarin.

    As someone who was a kid when the Mercury and, later, Apollo crews were training and flying their missions, I recall the heroic aura around these men and NASA. Maybe because I was young, but these people seemed incredibly brave and devoted. I know now that much of this was the manipulation of the storyline by NASA and the federal government, but at the time, it was powerful stuff.

    Perhaps it is hard to justify space exploration when we are drowning in debt, encumbered by regional conflicts, divided by political differences and challenged across the board by fast-growing economies in other nations. But, as noted by another commenter, sometimes the value of an action is not fully understood until long after the decision to pursue it.

    Marconi, for example, sought only to transmit signals like Morse Code through the wireless devices he concocted, largely for the benefit of business. He never dreamed it would evolve into a huge entity, which would play a role in the birth of television and other technologies. Bell sought to build a device to allow the deaf to hear and accidentally came up with the telephone.

    I’ll cop to one thing: I’d rather be spending money on space exploration than an F-22.

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  42. jeff borden said on July 14, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Joe K…

    My dad used to say that out loud in crowded elevators.

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  43. MarkH said on July 14, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    Jeff, for me, it’s still powerful. And, yes, the space program as as much a cold war PR effort as it was expansion of our frontiers. But look at what they did with such (relatively, by today’s standards) primitive technology. I remember seeing the Apollo 11 command module at the Air & Space museum in DC years ago, and was struck at how far modern aviation had advanced since then. The simplicity, if you will, and analog nature of things that got us to the moon was eye-opening. Brave, indeed. As Chuck Yeager said, how would you like to be trapped in those capsules on top of a controlled massive explosion, essentially “Spam-in-a-Can”? So much was unkown, let alone wholly predictable.

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  44. paddyo' said on July 14, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    C-girl and LA-M, the squash-blossom-napping has got to be the work of the elusive, nocturnal, chi-chi chef (foodus fussii), from whatever upscale-locavore-organic-trendy restaurant is closest by. They LOVE sauteeing those critters …

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  45. LAMary said on July 14, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    Paddy-O, the flowers were left there detached, no good to anyone.

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  46. Jean S said on July 14, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    deborah @ 3, it was clear in Miami (at least in South Miami) that night. After we all watched the landing (with me furiously elbowing my Mom to wake her up so she wouldn’t miss it), my Dad and brother John and I trooped outside to stare up at the moon. It’s astonishing how clear my visual memory is on this one.

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  47. caliban said on July 14, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Nancy. Very sly pronoun manipulation. I use the feminine form regularly when writing. Try as I might, I can’t seem to manage this in conversation.

    This is not a lie. I was at Tiger (nee Briggs) Stadium when Reggie Jackson hit that transformer structure on the roof. This is a lie. I saw Yale Larry bounce a punt of that same transformer housing. Of course he didn’t but he certainly punted footballs out of the stadium vertically.

    Did y’all notice Dr. Sam Brownback has introduced legislation to ban Dr. Moreau? Are we not men?

    Is that “big old poopyhead” a reference to the noted social commentator Ruthie in One Big Happy?

    Ain’t that America when Jeff Sessions can accuse Sotomayor of racism. This asshole thought the Klan was Kool before he found out some of them might have smoked pot. Watch some of the Judiciary Committee proceedings. The woman took this bigoted jerk to school. Senator Sessions, meet Judge Cederbaum. As Randy Newman once3 said, Jesus, what a jerk.

    The Republicans want to claim the Democrats shouldn’t back Sotomayor because they found Miguel Estrada unworthy, an embarrassment even to morons that think Scalia and his Mortimer Snerd to not be bench activists, entirely ludicrous. Well, they all look alike. And they all come from Mexico.

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  48. Old Lino Operator said on July 14, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Watched the landing on a b&w tv at the far end of the press at 600 W. Main. The state edition of the JG was running, as I remember.

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  49. basset said on July 14, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    I was thirteen, lying on the living-room floor in front of a black & white tv and doing my best to stay awake. Don’t think it was really all that late, though.

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  50. Connie said on July 14, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    13, and with my girlfriends had gone to evening service, sitting in the balcony at Second Reformed. Linnea came home with me to watch it, we hurried cause it was supposed to start at 9. Which of course it didn’t, we waited for what seemed like hours. The whole family and my friend, and a miniature dachshund named Sam. And popcorn in the big yellow Pyrex bowl that now sits in my cupboard.

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  51. brian stouder said on July 14, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Whaddaya know? Seymour Hersh was right.

    Seymour Hersh is still a hack. Terms like “death squads” evoke images of, whaddaya know? – gangs of thugs who grab people from their homes and murder them.

    But all the “there” that’s there is that

    “Since 2001, the Central Intelligence Agency has developed plans to dispatch small teams overseas to kill senior Qaeda terrorists, according to current and former government officials.
    The plans remained vague and were never carried out.

    Now – one might recall that an organized group of nihilistic shit-heads smashed two skyscrapers in NYC; enough of a provocation that we would have flattened whole cities of any enemy nation that had done the same thing.

    That “vague plans” were developed to track down and kill any of the sons of bitches involved in this atrocity is not only understandable – but in fact certainly more morally defensible than flattening cities would have been; and not worse than unleashing missiles on mud huts in Pakistan, as we are wont to do, and killing who knows who.

    Sy Hersh would have us believe that when the Soviets destroyed a commericial airliner full of civilians and then lied about it, that it was America’s fault; and now he equates ‘vague plans’ which were never executed with Secret death squads.

    Whaddaya know, indeed.

    and then there’s this, from the article Nance linked:

    Yet year after year, according to officials briefed on the program, the plans were never completely shelved because the Bush administration sought an alternative to killing terror suspects with missiles fired from drone aircraft or seizing them overseas and imprisoning them in secret C.I.A. jails.

    Huzzah, I say

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  52. alex said on July 14, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    How would you feel knowing this thing has been built by the lowest bidder?

    Have to remember that one, or some variation on it. Where I work people always comment on the elevators, which are tiny, as it’s a very old building, from back in the day when bids were sealed by your body of work as a craftsman and not some lowball contract you weren’t going to live up to anyway. Lucky me, in four and a half years I haven’t been stuck between floors with a mean shit halfway out my ass, but I’ve heard some stories about close calls.

    EDIT: Just came across this:

    Damn, what a perfect cover for a Congressional frat house, pious wife-fuckers all. This — this — is what the Republican party stands for.

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  53. derwood said on July 14, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    I was 4 my wife was 6…she says she remembers it. I do not. I remember other Apollo missions.

    The “other” generation’s big moment…the space shuttle. I was in 10th grade at Northrop when it took off and landed. School stopped and everyone crowded around in the few rooms that had TVs.

    Snopes should be everyone’s friend. Every week I get emails from my wife’s family members about ACLU lawsuits forbidding prayer in the military…blah blah blah. I finally responded to her entire distribution list with the link to the Snopes article and told her to check before she spams everyone. Yeah, I’m a big hit with that side of the family.


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  54. Danny said on July 15, 2009 at 12:29 am

    Happy Bastille Day!

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  55. nancy said on July 15, 2009 at 12:34 am

    Does it arrive 24 hours later in San Diego, Danny?

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  56. Catherine said on July 15, 2009 at 1:19 am

    I’m going to storm the ramparts… of the Pacific Movie Theater, with 5 girls ages 8-11. Will report back on The Kiss.

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  57. Dexter said on July 15, 2009 at 2:06 am

    Kindergarten? A real whopper, that one. It was Sunday. I was not happy at all.
    A war was raging in Vietnam and I had just left my travelling baseball team, and playing real baseball had ceased just two days before, as I had gotten my draft notice, “Greeting: You are hearby ordered to report to …Selective Service Office, 9th Street, Auburn, Indiana, 46706, at 4:00 A.M. on August 25, 1969 .
    Richard M. Nixon.”
    Many stories circulated about the use of “Greeting…” instead of the normal “Greetings…”
    Anybody know the real story?
    So I went to the Auburn-Garrett Drive In Theater, the same place brianstouder’s clan visitied recently, and Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, they say, anyway. Capricorn One:

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  58. Deborah said on July 15, 2009 at 5:24 am

    Nancy, when it was 12:29 am in Michigan it was 9:29 pm in California, still the 14th, Bastille Day. I have noticed when I comment here the time recorded is not central daylight time where I am.

    Also Jean S @ 46 I was in North Miami, but it also could be a glitch in my brain that I don’t have a visual memory of the moon that night (uh morning, as it was after midnight by the time I looked).

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  59. jcburns said on July 15, 2009 at 6:45 am

    Brian, I’d like to think we were NOT the kind of people who would flatten entire cities of people after 9/11, mostly because we can make smart moral judgements, and we’d realize that punishing a city of innocent people because one or five or a dozen terrorists who live there would be, well, as evil as the initial act.
    I don’t get the people who want seem to want to push us to act like an evil global empire, discarding morality and our constitution along the way. They want the American flag to strike fear in the hearts of bad guys. They forget that also makes it strike fear in the hearts of good guys.
    Nothing hacky about Sy Hersh in my book. He’s doing the increasingly difficult job of telling the truth about atrocities committed in our name.
    When we behave that way, we become the atrocity-committing sons o bitches.

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  60. coozledad said on July 15, 2009 at 6:58 am

    Alex: My favorite C-Streeter quote is “Say what you like about Hitler and Stalin, they understood that the heart of a political movement is cells.” Apparently these guys view themselves as a kind of vanguard of the lumpenproletariat- and they are interpreters of scripture, not bound by it, hence all the getting caught in tawdry sex-ups.
    Next thing you know, we’ll find out they’re making snuff films or sacrificing toddlers to make candles.

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  61. brian stouder said on July 15, 2009 at 8:27 am

    jc – point taken.

    btw, I watched Sy Hersh on Olbermann’s show report that ‘something called USSOCOM’* was running a ‘death squad’. But the story Nance linked to, and the others that were in the news yesterday, pointed to ‘vague plans’ by the CIA, and specifically NOT the military…, whaddaya know, Sy Hersh was wrong afterall.

    (*United States Special Operations Command)

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  62. mark said on July 15, 2009 at 8:55 am

    Well, brian, I’ll give you kudos for your common sense on the death squad issue.

    Through ineptness, hubris and gross over-reaching, George Bush and his cabal managed to shift public preference to the democratic party on national defense, a traditional republican strength. That has quickly shifted back to the republicans, thanks, I think, to the kind of hand-wringing exemplified by jcb.

    Planning to kill the people who are planning to kill us is a good thing. Failing to do so doesn’t gain us friends, it encourages our enemies.

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  63. MichaelG said on July 15, 2009 at 9:04 am

    Well, a shout out at Roy’s this AM.

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  64. coozledad said on July 15, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Terror is a law-enforcement issue, as demonstrated by the modern states of western Europe. One of the chief aims of terrorists is to provoke militarization, and thus strangle efforts (detective work, unmasking arms traffickers, cross border cooperation) that actually work against them. Then again, you want to make certain there is a legal definition of terrorism that is consistently applied through the courts. The military does not have a domestic law enforcement role. This is why we had the revolution.
    The military does not have a law enforcement role in foreign nations unless it has dismantled the existing law enforcement apparatus. What we are trying to avoid here is the authoritarian tendency to label one’s political enemies terrorists, and then override legal protections for them. You can cheerlead for the scrapping of the Constitution all you want, but it will come back to bite you in the ass.

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  65. jcburns said on July 15, 2009 at 10:08 am

    Mark says: “Planning to kill the people who are planning to kill us is a good thing. Failing to do so doesn’t gain us friends, it encourages our enemies.” One, how did we get those enemies? By being just so darn good? Mmmm…maybe not. And what part of the Constitution sets up the United States as a country that kills people who (might be) planning to kill us? That’s about as Hitler-y a rationale as it gets. I get it Mark, you want us to be the Evil Empire. Nothing shining up on the hill about that.

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  66. mark said on July 15, 2009 at 10:30 am


    If you would, please:

    1. List the horrible things we did that justify the 3000 or so (including two friends of mine) killed in the 9/11 attacks.

    2. Tell me what part of the US Constitution gives any rights to foreign nationals on foreign soil.

    3. Explain the Hitler reference. It makes no sense.

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  67. Danny said on July 15, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Sorry, Nance. What deborah said and also I was just settling down after a long day and thought I’d type it before it was too late. That is … before it was too late for everyone except a certain, impatient, mid-western blog-mistress who is happy to piss all over the vaunted tradition of the celebration of Bastille day in America, the essence of which is to be late and indifferent like the French no less! Is nothing sacred to you?!?! Alors!

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  68. jcburns said on July 15, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    oohhh-kay, mark:

    1. I didn’t say we “did” anything to “justify” the 9/11 attacks. I said that when we do things that establish ourselves as an imperial power who doesn’t care about the rights of our own citizens or foreign nationals, we SACRIFICE the moral high ground. WE do that. The 9/11 attacks are, of course, unjustified. If we retaliated by being as evil as they were, our attacks would be equally unjustified. Every move by Cheney and the administration that discarded rights and freedoms of any human being, citizen or not, was unjustified and lowered our standing around the world. Lowering our standing does not justify any attacks, but it does increase the likelihood that others will say “well, the US is evil, so we’re justified.”

    2. This isn’t a “prove a negative” thing. The Constitution does not exclude visitors from basic human rights. What kind of evil place would you advocate we create in our country where we strip all visitors of basic HUMAN (beyond government) rights? How about we treat all people (even our so-called enemies) with respect and see how that goes?

    3. Hitler was big on attacking other peoples and ethnicities based on the possibility (or even the certainty) that he would be attacked. Paranoid, evil, and just plain wrong, in my opinion for anyone to take this approach.

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  69. Tom Dockery said on July 15, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Let me clear up the Gaylord Perry story:
    The story is true.It was reported in Sports Illustrated the following week.It may be in their online vault.The author of the quote was Giants’pitching coach Larry Jansen,not Alvin Dark.While Armstrong didn’t technically step on the moon until after the game was over,he was in the lunar module.

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