First man.

I never met Neil Armstrong, but as a native Ohioan, I always felt I knew him at a different level than those who weren’t. I don’t have any particularly acute memories of his first steps on the lunar surface; I dozed until my mom shook me awake for the big moment, after which I dozed off again. I was at a friend’s house when the Eagle landed, and her father — her father, not her mother — shed a few tears.

“Maybe I paid for a few screws,” he said, wiping his eyes.

Alan, who lived closer to Wapakoneta, Armstrong’s northwest Ohio hometown, went with his family for the astronaut’s homecoming. Tens of thousands packed the streets of the northwest Ohio farm town for the big parade. He remembers drinking Mountain Dew rebranded as Moon Juice.

Later, after he’d retired from the space program, Armstrong returned to Ohio to live, teaching at the University of Cincinnati. He gave very few interviews (but some). He was that increasingly rare bird in American life — the truly self-effacing man. He knew his role in history, and participated in responsible scholarship to document and preserve the experience. He talked to serious journalists on significant anniversaries, cooperated with an authorized biography, but never, ever capered for an outsize share of the glory. What many are saying this weekend is true: The space program was one with many, many moving parts, and he was only one of them. His insistence that he not take more credit than was his due may seem strange to us now, at a time when so many publicity hounds bay for the spotlight, but once upon a time this was known as character.

About 10 years or so, I ran across a column about NASA written by an English journalist. It portrayed Armstrong as a bitter recluse, a grouchy crank whose tossed-off quip that he hoped someday his footprints on the lunar surface would be erased was evidence of something approaching mental illness. You’d think an Englishman would recognize modesty when he saw it, but by then we were well into the LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME LOOK LOOK AT MEEEEEE era, and maybe he just couldn’t imagine how a man could be satisfied with a college professor’s salary and pension when he could make zillions on the speaking circuit.

Later, I interviewed Armstrong’s biographer, James Hansen, a Fort Wayne native and Purdue graduate. He said he thought the astronaut chose him for the job because Hansen was essentially a science journalist, not a personality profiler, and Armstrong wanted to make sure the whole team of geeks got their due. I think he was right. (I haven’t read the book.)

Someone in my Facebook network posted a wry observance Sunday morning, noting that the story of the birth of Snooki’s baby was already No. 1 on Yahoo’s most-read news index, while Armstrong’s death was at #5. That says a lot, right there.

I asked Hansen to tell me something about the moon landing I might not already know. He said that in parts of the Muslim world, it is believed that Armstrong heard the Islamic call to prayer while on the lunar surface, and immediately upon returning to earth, sought out the proper religious authorities and converted to Islam. (It’s true. The rumor, that is.) Armstrong had to issue a statement a few years back. Apparently these Muslims believe he lived in Lebanon, which is true, but Lebanon, Ohio, near the former home of Kash’s Big Bargain Barn, not Kashi’s Falafel Palace.

Anyway, an amusing nugget that, if I’d ever met the man in person, I’d have liked to ask him about. However, the fact he would have just as soon keep mum about it is fine.

A good weekend around these parts. I spent some of it thinking about St. Lance the Imperfect; maybe that’ll be gelled by tomorrow.

In the meantime, have a great week. Not much bloggage to speak of, but thanks to Little Bird for finding the invisible bike helmet, which is either genius or a well-produced prank.

If you’re near Isaac, stay safe.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events |

74 responses to “First man.”

  1. Dexter said on August 27, 2012 at 2:57 am

    Apparently the Vimeo film was from Copenhagen. The bikes in The Netherlands and Sweden always fascinate me, but this invisible helmet leaves me doubtful…the dummy was hit and the helmet inflated, but without direct impact…it looks like it needs some way to trigger the mechanism to inflate it…so Mr. Gertten, we need more information.

    We were in Defiance today and a temp sign read 95 degrees, my car read 96, and The Weather Channel reported it was 90, then back home it was 89. That was a little strange, but summer is definitely still here, and the 90 degrees or whatever it really was felt very hot.

    The Neil Armstrong Airport , which I have been seeing the exit to for many years but have never been to, is about ten miles southwest of Wapakoneta in New Knoxville.
    I wrote here yesterday how for years I have been hearing that Armstrong could be seen out and about around Indian Hill where he lived, several times a week at the Kroger or other stores, and the only thing I heard about him in a negative way was how after doing it for years, he finally quit personally signing “atta boy” certificates for Eagle Scouts who had ascended to that rank. There was a story about how he just thought a family member or community leader who knew the kid should sign the paper…other than that, people seemed to love just seeing the old boy at the grocery store and around town. I was told he lived in a mansion…what do you think…is this place, which was his home, a mansion or just a really nice home?

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  2. Dorothy said on August 27, 2012 at 6:08 am

    Really, really nice post today Nancy. I realized recently that I don’t say that very often. Not that you need to hear it, but that I should remember to say it and thank you for so many pleasant words to read so often!

    We are just about done with all the work we’ve had to do in the condo for Mike’s aunt. This has been ongoing since mid-April. All of her clothing is gone, the pictures taken down from the wall, we’ve lined up a cleaning crew to come in later today after the St. Vincent dePaul Society takes away her furniture. We found an honest contractor to do the painting and plastering (the cousin of my nephew’s cousin so he’s like family), met with a realtor who handled our home sale 10 years ago when we moved from Pittsburgh, washed so many dishes and packed them up, have lined up lots of good stuff to put in the Revue consignment shop in Columbus, the list goes on and on…. and yesterday when we went to visit with her, she pouted all afternoon because we didn’t save her off-white winter jacket that she “looks so nice in.” I’ve never wanted to slap an 86 year old woman so badly before but boy howdy did I want to yesterday. You’re welcome, Dolores, you ungrateful snot rag of a woman.

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  3. ROGirl said on August 27, 2012 at 6:15 am

    I used to travel to Ocala, Florida for work. During one September trip a huge storm was sitting in the Atlantic, getting bigger each day. People at the plant couldn’t talk of anything else, were going to the store for water and other supplies, anticipating that the storm would roll right across central Florida. Ocala is about as far from the ocean as you can get in the state. I finally asked if a hurricane had ever hit Ocala; the last time had been in 1927.

    With the storm growing and not moving, the plant finally announced that it was closing, because the schools were closing. The airports were going to close too (they were moving all their planes out), so I had to change my flight. I called my travel service and got a seat on a 7:30 am flight out of Orlando (the normal route for the trip). I had to leave Ocala around 3:30 am (it’s 90 miles away) to make my flight. When I hit the Florida Turnpike the toll booths were empty and wide open because the coast was being evacuated. I had a seat on a jam packed 747.

    That storm ended up bypassing Florida for the most part, but it did a lot of flood damage in North Carolina.

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  4. Suzanne said on August 27, 2012 at 7:17 am

    Lovely tribute for Neil Armstrong. I hate it that his humble but successful type seems to be a thing of the past.

    Of course, we all know that he didn’t REALLY walk on the moon. All done on a Hollywood sound-stage and that is why he didn’t go out on the speaking circuit. He feared he might slip up and let the truth cat out of the bag…

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  5. Rob Kantner said on August 27, 2012 at 7:28 am

    Thanks for the comment about Neil Armstrong. I too feel a connection with him, because my mother grew up in Wapakoneta and was two years behind Armstrong at Blume High School. I spent many summers in the area (my grandfather’s farm was 5 miles from Neil Armstrong Airport at New Knoxville), visited the Neil Armstrong museum (interesting) – but more than all this, have had lifelong respect for Armstrong’s character. You summarized that better than I ever could, and I thank you.

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  6. churchlady said on August 27, 2012 at 8:19 am

    I have to echo Dorothy and say that was a really nice post about Neil Armstrong.

    As for that Lance fellow, I’m surprised people haven’t been talking about him over the weekend. It just seems odd to suddenly give up seven /Tour de France awards and so on. But I don’t know anything about this.

    The Empire State Building shooting was pretty horrifying. But so is this:

    All nine civilian injuries during the shoot-out were hit by police weapons. It’s something to think about the next time someone argues that a mass killing could have been prevent if more people were carrying guns.

    And a “doll house” for boys…

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  7. Suzanne said on August 27, 2012 at 8:40 am

    My sentiments exactly, churchlady. If trained professionals with guns had trouble not hitting innocent bystanders, what chance would there be for some yahoo with a pistol in, oh, let’s say, a dark crowded theater filled with smoke?

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  8. coozledad said on August 27, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Witnesses to the shooting said the police appeared to be firing randomly. Juiced at getting a chance to shoot something, probably.

    The cops at the bar where I used to work talked about unintentional discharges of firearms that routinely disabled members of the force. They could barely keep from shooting themselves, let alone anyone else.
    This is what happens when you select for dumbasses.

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  9. Julie Robinson said on August 27, 2012 at 9:27 am

    It was a lovely post, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like a genuine compliment.

    Dorothy, Dolores sounds aptly named, someone who is totally self-centered and isn’t happy unless she’s got something to complain about. You can’t avoid her, so I’m glad you have a safe place to vent.

    Coozledad, I have several cop friends and they are very intelligent people who could have been rich businessmen but instead chose a life of low pay, sacrifice and danger in order to serve the public. I’ve watched their wives’ fear when they go out on a call. I’m horrified by what happened in NYC, but prefer not to paint all cops with that brush.

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  10. BigHank53 said on August 27, 2012 at 9:30 am

    I remember when I found out what the starting wages were for a uniformed officer. I am no longer surprised at the dumb shit they do.

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  11. Connie said on August 27, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Mitch Albom is all over the new book news as his new book is officially published tomorrow. This from Early Word: The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom (Hyperion; Thorndike Large Print) marks a return to fiction by the author of Tuesdays With Morrie and Five People You Meet in Heaven. This fable is about Father Time, who returns to Earth to liberate us by teaching the true meaning of time, with the help of a teenage girl and an old business man. Sounds really awful to me, but that’s Mitch.

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  12. Jolene said on August 27, 2012 at 10:04 am

    I don’t know that this has been confirmed, but I read one early report saying that it appeared that some of the bystanders had been hit by bullets that ricocheted off street planters, a speculation that was supported by the fact that some of the wounds were in the lower legs.

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  13. Jolene said on August 27, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Speaking of guns, the NYT has a long article re the Aurora, Colorado shooter. Really impressive reporting. Would have been interesting to know how they found some of the people they spoke to, as their connection with Holmes was fleeting.

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  14. brian stouder said on August 27, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Neil Armstrong is absolutely an American Hero; a genuine ‘strong, silent type’. If anyone on Earth had Tom Wolfe’s “Right Stuff” – it was Armstrong*. And as Nancy indicated, there is something quintessentially small-town/Ohioan about him; cooperative, neighborly, determinedly not flashy despite having a literally out-of-this-world thing that he could have bragged about and/or capitalized upon.

    And indeed, not only was he first on the moon, but he also (and importantly) set the expectations bar very high, for others who would follow him, and call themselves ‘astronauts’. If, 300 years from now, a scholarly history of the 20th century is written, his name will be right there, on the dust jacket** blurbs.

    *not Lance!

    **yeah yeah yeah – no more dust jackets; but he’ll be featured on the 24th century equivalent!

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  15. Joe K said on August 27, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Good write on Neil Armstrong.
    Well done.
    Pilot Joe

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  16. Jeff Borden said on August 27, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I tend to think good and bad police officers are roughly proportional to the good and bad of other professions, but when they do go wrong, it’s ugly and they usually can count on the support of brother officers. When I worked the police beat, I used to ask good cops why they stood in solidarity with the creeps and freaks who brought shame on them all. The answered to a man (there were no female beat cops in those days) that the same thing might happen to them someday and they would want the support of their fellow officers and the FOP. I argued in vain that they were better people than the bad coppers. Police do have a rough job and it’s getting worse. When I covered the police beat, a heavy duty weapon was a sawed-off shotgun. Obviously, the firearms out there today are far more deadly and far more prevalent.

    To me, the best assessment of the NYC shootings was that trained professionals were no more accurate in their shootings than a rank amateur might be, which blows a huge hole in the gun nut theory that if we were all armed we’d be safer. These are the cretins certain they would have brought down the Aurora, Colo. loon with their straight-shootin’. . .you know, they’d have plugged Holmes in the dark amid the screaming, the smoke, the confusion. Instead, the NYC shooting vividly demonstrates what a clusterfuck occurs when people start shooting in a very confined space under terribly confusing conditions.

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  17. LAMary said on August 27, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Tough week to be an Armstrong. That guy from Green Day should be careful.
    I have huge respect for Neil Armstrong. My son said that thing I wrote up there and I laughed in spite of myself.

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  18. Prospero said on August 27, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Fox News was all over that Neil Armstrong, Muslim astronaut story.

    See, Fox can’t stand those tree huggers at NASA, pitching the global warming hoax.

    Hard to fault the NYC cops in this incident, but the Department has a sort of spotty history. Abner Louima, Amadou Diallo, a mobbed up thug police commissioner, Bernie Kerik, that Giuliani thought would make a great Sec. of Homeland Security. My general opinions about cops come in large part from having read The Choirboys. Not a pretty picture, nor inspiring of confidence. America would end up safer, eventually, with everybody armed. The yahoos would all end up shooting each other. Lynyrd Skynrd had this right.

    And I am buying that rocket ship for my grandson.

    A doll house for this boy should definitely have Echo and Ciera in it. And the two young women inventors of the invisible bike helmet. Smart women are just incredibly cool.

    The USADA has spent millions pursuing Lance Armstrong and has never produced a positive test within its protocols. The organization masquerades as some sort of government entity with a cocked-up name, and displays an interest in justice and due process that is every bit the equal of the NCAA. Officious jerks that were probably all very bad at sports. Similar to the Congressional crusade against Barry Bonds. We know he was juicing because his head got bigger and his body thicker. Anybody looked at Magic Johnson lately.The one test sample ever, out of hundreds, that seemed to indicate Armstrong was doping, was taken home by a testing lab employee and kept in his refrigerator for a long weekend. And the guy was French, and people in France are not fans of Americans that win the Tour seven times.

    LA Mary, and 900-ft. Jesus is probably coming for Garner Ted.

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  19. LAMary said on August 27, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Wow, I forgot about Garner Ted. How could I forget a good local Pasadena boy?

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  20. Prospero said on August 27, 2012 at 11:43 am

    If GOPers ever get over their fear of thunderstorms, they intend to parade a line of speakers to the podium to claim they did, in fact, build it themselves. Here’s one of those self-righteous self-congratulatory jerks:

    SBA grant? Say it ain’t so, lady.

    I love reading Garner Ted Armstrong’s forays in his magazine into his impassioned avocation, Middle Eastern anthropology. That guy is full goose loony.

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  21. LAMary said on August 27, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Was a full goose loony. He died a few years ago.

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  22. Lex said on August 27, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Neil Armstrong is dead. Snooki’s baby is alive. For Neil’s sake, I hope there’s no such thing as reincarnation.

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  23. Ann said on August 27, 2012 at 11:51 am

    A great Neil Armstrong story from a FB friend of mine, Mike Gebert.

    “Here’s my Neil Armstrong story. I was working on Hallmark at Leo Burnett and we got something showing the upcoming ornaments for whatever year it was. And there’s one of an astronaut which played a recording of “One small step for man…”

    And I said, hey, how’d they get rights to Neil Armstrong? Because he’s really careful about not commercializing his image. And they said, oh, it’s not Neil Armstrong, it’s “First man on the moon.” And I said, that’s like “President who freed the slaves” or “Woman who broke up the Beatles,” we all know who it is. Shut up, they explained.

    About a year later, I see a headline…

    Neil Armstrong, Hallmark Settle

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  24. Lex said on August 27, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Also, too: Fox’s Monica Crowley actually tweeted this weekend something to the effect that as we mourn Armstrong’s death, we need to remember that among NASA’s goals is Muslim outreach. (This actually is a thing, but, as is often the case with Fox, out of context.) I guess Monica thinks Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to reach for the stars. Or something.

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  25. nancy said on August 27, 2012 at 11:54 am

    My sister had that ornament! She might still have it. I always liked pressing its button a few times during the Christmas visit. It stopped working a few years ago. Before I read the last sentence, I thought maybe that was the money that built that handsome house Dexter linked to. But noooo. Like the good guy he was, he donated the dough to Purdue.

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  26. Prospero said on August 27, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Here’s what an actual cop says about the shootings in NYC. This guy obviously doesn’t think much of concealed carry for everybody, a genuinely insane idea. All over the intertubes today, NRA types will be dumping on alleged liberals for not supporting the police. Convenient forgettery of the fact their Pres candidate of choice said first responders and teachers are a drain on the American economy and that some of them should lose their jobs.

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  27. Connie said on August 27, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    I can’t believe I am mentioning Mitch Albom twice in one day. His latest column for the Free Press is about Honey Boo Boo. He doesn’t think much of her, her family, or the TV show.

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  28. brian stouder said on August 27, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Connie – you must have the itch for readin’ some Mitch!

    If his bottomline is a no-go for the Boo Boo, then he has proven the old “stopped clock is right twice a day” thing…although mechanical clocks that can “stop” are becoming anachronistic.

    A total non-sequitur: cool stuff in Fort Wayne next week –

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  29. Prospero said on August 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Very simply, what is wrong with US government spending (and yep, that is $2.2million/minute):

    And Willard wants to bump it up. What a fracking tool.

    I’m enjoying thinking about all the GOPers in Tampa afraid of the storm while Willard Windsock is determined to do something nutso. He wants to privatize FEMA. Because hurricanes don’t bring out profiteers? No, not really, it’s because Mitt thinks profiteers are a powerful force for good in an economy. And undoubtedly Ayn Ryan thinks profiteers are saints in the hierarchy of his favorite novelist, Gordon Gekko,…er…Ann O’Connor, her government dole name. Protecting the brand. FEMA is the perfect poster child for GOP privatising nonsense. Clinton had James Lee Witt, who knew what the hell he was doing. Shrub replaced Witt with Heckuva Job Brownie, who was an epert on dancing horses of something equally irrelevant.

    Damn, we are smack-dab in the Isaac backwash. Spectacular humidity, rising from the sandy soil. Still, it’s only a TS you wimps. And it already went by. They don’t make U-Turns.

    And new books via UPS. New Martin Amis novel, and a new one from Ivan Doig. And Wayward Saints, by the sublime Suzzy Roche: (Frippertronics, music direct from the Supreme Being)

    I always have mixed fellings about buying Martin Amis’ books. He’s an odious misanthrope, but his books crack me the hell up. This most recent sounds like he’s cribbing Oliver Twist. Probably not with the skill of Peter Carey in Jack Maggs, but still, if you steal, steal from the best. Fascinating political book called Days of Destruction Days of Revolt, some of which is presented in graphic form.

    Somehow, I’m betting Mitch’s parents called him Boo Boo when he was a tyke.

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  30. Connie said on August 27, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    This is fun: famous album covers superimposed against their actual New York locations:

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  31. coozledad said on August 27, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Chris Matthews makes Reintz Pubis make dooty face:
    Tom Brokaw needs to get back to the ranch, kick his feet up on his desk, and finish choking to death on those mashed potatoes.

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  32. Prospero said on August 27, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Mrs. Costello sings Fly Me to the Moon to honor the life and times of Neil Armstrong. Man, I love her voice.

    I’d say this is the dreaded iconic NYC album cover. But those are very cool Connie. Could have replaced one of those from NYC’s most dangerous driver.

    I think the guy’s name is actually Rinse Previous, as in baptizing Anne Frank retroactively.

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  33. Prospero said on August 27, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Todd Akin isn’t an outlier, he’s the quintessential GOPer:

    Pick a policy, any policy, and the answers will be both predictable and virtually identical throughout the rank and file. This is now a party that to a man and woman believe that climate change and evolution are nothing more than hoaxes; birth control promotes promiscuity; there is such a thing as “forcible” rape; homosexuality is an abomination; the cause of the Great Recession was Fannie and Freddie; the stimulus and auto bailout were a waste of taxpayer money; the banks should have been allowed to fail; environmental and financial regulations are costly and unnecessary; the Civil Rights Act went too far; tax cuts pay for themselves; and, last but hardly least, birtherism is a legitimate issue.

    Let’s not forget, contraceptives and abortions cause breast cancer.

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  34. Dexter said on August 27, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Well, not much discussion on the invisible bicycle helmet, but anyway, here is a companion piece: a totally cardboard bicycle.

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  35. Prospero said on August 27, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    What the fracking hell, Willard? Is that with the individual mandate or without. There is something wrong with this guy.

    Wow. Even for GOPers, these people are boneheads. Honest to God, if someone can be proven to have voted for Jim Sensenbrenner, why should he ever be trusted to vote again?

    Is it me or does something seem amiss with the cost figures for the invisible bike helmet and the recharge? It’s mighty expensive for someone that has as many run-ins with automobiles as I seem to. Still, the helmet is a remarkable engineering feat, and I’d love to meet those two women. Serious attitude, zero pretension.

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  36. Prospero said on August 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Superb Achenbach piece about Neil Armstrong. Increasingly, I believe this guy is the best newspaper writer in the bidness.

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  37. Dorothy said on August 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Cooze play nice about Tommy Brokaw. He was nice to my father about a dozen years ago. We think very highly of him in my family.

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  38. Connie said on August 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Brian, I did not go out looking for MItch Albom, he just found me. He is always there in my quick morning look at the Free Press ( and there he was on Early Word, which I usually check on Monday to see this week’s big Tuesday releases.

    Did you know most newly published books are released on Tuesdays? Bookstores and libraries sign a legal agreement with their main providers to hold all new items until their release date. If we won’t sign it we don’t get them prior to release dates. Most hot new books arrive in house a week or two before release and we abide by the requirements of the embargo.

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  39. Prospero said on August 27, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    RMoney claims he obtained no benefit whatever from putting his cash in Switzerland and the Caymans. The obvious question, then, is cui bono, Mittens? Just don’t trust American banks?

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  40. Little Bird said on August 27, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    The cost of that cardboard bike would offset the $600 needed to buy one of the invisible helmets! Considering how small and ineffectual most conventional helmets seem, I don’t know that this would be any worse.

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  41. Prospero said on August 27, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    This is the Ivan Doig book I just got, and it sounds great. The guy is a great stylist and creator of characters.

    I’m trying in vain to form a mental image of a 485-pounder on that cardboard bike.

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  42. Connie said on August 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    I love Ivan Doig and I just go my library copy of his new book and Laura Lippman’s new book. On my list of all time faves: Ivan Doig, Dancing at the Rascal Fair.

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  43. LAMary said on August 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Dorothy, Tom Brokaw is slipping a bit. I’ve heard him call Mitt Romney George Romney on several occasions and the funky speech quirks are getting harder to understand. He’s become an old git.

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  44. Sue said on August 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    LAMary, or as Charles Pierce puts it:
    ‘poor Tom Brokaw, who freaking covered the civil-rights movement and knows good and well which party latched on to the wrong side of those events and rode them to glory, looks as though he might have a stroke’

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  45. Prospero said on August 27, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Ivan Doig review:

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  46. Sherri said on August 27, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    I loved Dancing at the Rascal Fair, as well as the other two books in Doig’s Montana trilogy, English Creek and Ride with Me, Mariah Montana.

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  47. Ann said on August 27, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Another great Armstrong story (and video). Ejects from an exploding lunar lander and then goes to work like nothing happened.

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  48. Prospero said on August 27, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Ohio U alum Peter King is having delusions of grandeur:

    Ohio University at Penn State, Saturday at noon. The game’s a big one for all the obvious reasons — the most obvious being that I went to Ohio and we might have a chance to beat Penn State in State College. I also noticed the other day that’s Holly Anderson picked the Bobcats to go 12-0 this season. Using the deduction skills honed at Ohio 35 years ago, I figured that must mean Holly has the Bobcats beating the Nittany Lions. OU fever, baby.

    It would be great, like App State beating Michigan in 2007. That was hilarious. The problem is team depth and the sheer size and speed of the Penn St. players.

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  49. Jolene said on August 27, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    I like Brokaw, too. He’s done some good projects in his post-retirement specials. Mixing up a name doesn’t seem too serious. I’ve been calling my younger nephew by my older nephew’s name for years. There seems to be a “nephew” category in my brain w/ the older one’s name on it. There were five daughters in my family. Often, it would take two or three tries before my mother got to the name of the one she actually wanted to speak to.

    That said, I don’t think Brokaw or any of the other people on the Morning Joe set did themselves proud this morning when Chris Matthews was calling out Reince Priebus for the tacit racism of Romney’s jokes and commercials. They seemed to be much more interested in keeping everybody smiling than in addressing the truth of what Matthews was saying–which was exactly on target.

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  50. brian stouder said on August 27, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Did you know most newly published books are released on Tuesdays?

    Interesting; does this mean physically released – as in, shipped Tuesday to arrive pretty much everywhere by Thursday or Friday? (if so, yet another thing that will go away, thanks to those dad-blamed electrons!)

    I’ve been re-reading Herndon’s Informants, a compilation of all the original notes and letters that Billy Herndon collected after the death of Lincoln. I rarely ever re-read a book, but this one is so full of odds and ends and gems and goodies, that re-reading it is very much like reading it for the first time.

    Also, it is fascinating to see which tidbits are reported similarly by different people.

    I’m 240 pages in, and “He didn’t much fancy the girls” has come up probably 10 times, by different people who knew him when he was in his late teens/early 20’s (mainly step brothers and sisters, and his contemporary acquaintances and their parents).

    It was lost upon me, the first time around, that he was a genuine cat person – he loved kitties! (that one comes up again and again, from the folks who knew him in Indiana).

    The standard Lincoln lore – for example that he pretty much never forgot anything that he read, nor anyone’s name – ever! (I really envy that quality), and how he really loved speechifying and also joke-telling and generally being the center of attention, from his youthful days onward, are right there.

    Excuse me for all that; I’m gearing up for the colloquium coming up in Indy…!

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  51. Prospero said on August 27, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Total disclosure from Willard Windsock.

    What’s a real job, according to Major League dickhead GOPer Michael Steele.

    Nope, never owned a gun. I figure that’s a good thing when I hear GOPers talk about Fannie and Freddie and small businesses. What these fools mean by small business is white-shoe lawfirms, hedge funds, and cosmetic surgery LLCs. And those enterprises are sure champeen job creeators, right?

    Yeah, Brian, but what about the vampire slaying? And official book release must have something to do with when Scaife goes to the Regnery warehouse to buy hundreds of cases of $Palin books, right?

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  52. Julie Robinson said on August 27, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Count me in as another Ivan Doig fan, especially of The Whistling Season. Since I’m on my way to being an old git (or are those only men?), I couldn’t remember the title and stumbled on Doig’s website, which has excellent reading guides for each of his books.

    My old non-profit was in the same building as our library’s technical services, and I still remember when the new Harry Potter books came in, a couple of weeks ahead of release date. They were quickly prepped for circulation, the boxes were sealed up, and they were put under lock and key. Everyone had to agree not to stop and open the books, although I can’t guarantee compliance.

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  53. Jolene said on August 27, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Both the NYT and WaPo have important pieces today dealing w/ the racialized appeals in the Romney campaign. The NYT piece is by Tom Edsall, who took a WaPo buyout several years ago and is now a professor at Columbia. It’s on the long side, but worthwhile, as it ties together Romney’s jokes, his welfare commercials, and his commercials re Medicare.

    A key point from this article: The importance to the Romney-Ryan ticket of two overlapping constituencies — whites without college degrees and white Medicare recipients — cannot be overestimated. Romney, continuing the Republican approach of 2010, is banking on a huge turnout among key white segments of the electorate in order to counter Obama’s strengths with minority voters as well as with young and unmarried female voters of all races.

    The WaPo piece, by Ezra Klein, focuses on how for people who have high levels of racial resentment, almost anything can become racialized.

    From Klein’s piece: In a third study, [the researcher] showed respondents a picture of a Portuguese Water Dog and told half it was Ted Kennedy’s dog and the other half it was Obama’s dog. When respondents with higher levels of racial resentment heard it was Obama’s dog, they were more likely to disapprove of it.

    Yes, you read that right: In the Obama era, racial attitudes are even influencing voter opinions about the president’s dog.

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  54. LAMary said on August 27, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    The feminine form of Git is Gitesse.

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  55. Prospero said on August 27, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    The thing about the RMoney/Ryan claims on Medicare is the vast and unmitigated gall it takes for the liars to claim Obamacare would somehow defund Medicare. It would cut out the sort of fraud and massive squandering of money that made Rick Scott rich, and take a bite out of what amounts to corporaat welfare for insurance companies and bidnesses like the Frist Family HMOs. Isn’t cutting waste exactly what GOPers claim to want? I’ve been following politics closely for 45 years, and this is the single most brazen and craven lie I can remember. Ryan’s vouchers would be set artificially high to drive insurance company profits while not covering care for middle class citizens. It would basically provide a subsidy for people rich enough to buy private insurance if that’s what they want, and leave enough left over to pay for upkeep on a couple of Caddies.Sort of reminds me of the famous Shrub program to send $250 checks out to buy votes. But hell, Willard wants to go back to Shrub’s policies across the board, back when everything was going great. Anybody buying this shit is clearly to stupid to be entrusted with a Presidential vote. Mind-bogglingly mindless. And if Ryan is claiming they wouldn’t make the same cuts in Medicare inefficiencies, his ideas would blow the deficit and the debt to smithereens.

    And anybody that doesn’t think Bobama is a very cool dog is a flaming ahole, far as I’m concerned. The shocking thing about that factoid, is that American racists also hated the alternative they were presented with, Ted Kennedy, with an overpowering passion, but apparently, at least, Teddy was a white guy.

    Well-known socialist mole and America hater T. Boone Pickens thinks Willard’s ideas about energy policy are stupid.

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  56. paddyo' said on August 27, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Ivan Doig never disappoints, does he?

    BTW, it’s a little eerie today, exactly seven years later . . .
    On Aug. 27, 2005, I was a McPaper reporter/passenger aboard one of NOAA’s two Lockheed P-3 Orion “hurricane hunter” aircraft, flying out of . . . yes, Tampa.
    We flew all day, making repeated passes through the still-young Hurricane Katrina, which at that point had crossed through the Keys, was gathering strength in that Gulf of Mexico bathwater and beginning its bowling-ball curve/turn north. The flight wasn’t nearly the vomit-comet experience I was fearing. Bumpy but no OHMIGODWEREALLGONNADIE moments.

    Seven years ago tonight, I went to sleep in my Tampa airport hotel room expecting to rise Sunday morning and finish writing my I-flew-through-the-hurricane story for Monday, Then maybe stick around if there was some mop-up to cover after, but just as likely to head home to Denver. Who knew?

    Seven years ago tomorrow, my editors said drop everything, get to New Orleans. The airports (N.O. and Baton Rouge) were closed by then, so I flew to Houston, rented a car, filed my insignificant little feature story from a Kinko’s en route, and headed east on I-10. Little traffic in my direction — and wall-to-wall white headlight glare in the westbound lanes.

    We all know what happened Monday, and beyond. Here’s hoping Isaac doesn’t get ideas from Katrina . . .

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  57. Connie said on August 27, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    No Brian, they get shipped a week or two ahead and can be labelled, processed, cataloged, but must wait unused in the back room until the designated Tuesday.

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  58. Prospero said on August 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    It’s still not a hurricane, and looks like it isn’t going to become one. Although, who knows. My mom’s brother Paul was a meteorologist that wrote computer models for the US Navy to predict hurricane behavior, and said it was nearly impossible to ever know what the beasts will do. Here on the Atlantic, we always assume they’ll head for Myrtle, where God gives the East Coast an enema when necessary, and we don’t go anywhere. With any luck, landfall will come in Mississippi, not NOLA. Alabama, even better. Of course, if you ask the former first lady, Quaker Oats, she’d probably say that all those poor people are anxious to get back to living in the Superdome, where they never had it so good. What sort of drugs was she on when she said that? Ketamine? Something seriously debilitating.

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  59. Jolene said on August 27, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    What I’ve heard about hurricane prediction is that they’re better at predicting direction than intensity; thus, the wise person prepares for a storm one category higher than the most likely estimate. Isaac is reported to be large and slow-moving. A chart that I saw earlier today was predicting 18″ of rain in New Orleans. That can’t be good.

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  60. Dorothy said on August 27, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Yeah, I am an old git, too. But I just have a soft spot for him. He included dad in his second WWII book, called him on the phone, arranged for him to meet the widow of someone he treated on the battlefield, and gave Dad a new lease on life with this new story to tell his friends & cardiologist. If he makes enoigh gaffes I would hope the networks would find a graceful way to give him the old heave-ho.

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  61. Julie Robinson said on August 27, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Gitesse has a nicer sound to it than git. I genuinely like Brokaw, but the older he gets, the drunker he sounds. Also, he always seems to be just on the verge of a burp. Dorothy, what’s your dad’s name? I’d love to look up his mention in Greatest Generation.

    And because of my gitesse-ness, I forgot to mention to Connie how much I enjoyed the NYC record album photos, and I fully intend to steal it for facebook.

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  62. Prospero said on August 27, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Holy shit!!!Neil Armstrong conspiracy theories.

    Some people will believe any river of shit they find themselves wading in.

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  63. Prospero said on August 27, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Gitesse sounds like la Grand Vitesse. You know the incredibly
    TGV. The high speed train the French surrender monkees figured out how to engineer, and with all our exceptionalism, Americans just can’t fathom. That means you Rick Scott, you fracking crook. That’s a lot of jobs you chased out of FLA, you idiot. It strikes me as embarrassing that the rest of the world figured out bullet trains and America hasn’t. Unexceptional, you luddite yahoos.

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  64. Prospero said on August 27, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    How Obama managed that tropical storm. (It’s actually a remnant of SDI, the Raygun wet dream.) But the thing is. How do these nutjobs continue to claim the President is unintelligent and, simultaneously, an evil mastermind. Doesn’t that seem somewhat contradictory?

    But he is using the ELF system to make fracking look bad by causing earthquakes in Arkansas and Tejas.

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  65. Jolene said on August 27, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Brian, a treat for you: A. Lincoln’s favorite poetry.

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  66. Prospero said on August 27, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    More idiot vigilantes. Good thing these dickheads weren’t packing.

    The real Romney/Ryan Medicare plan.

    May as well spend the voucher on a Kevorkian apparatus, or a gun, or a large supply of drugs. Go out with some dignity intact.

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  67. Deborah said on August 27, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Prospero, I had no idea Diana Krall was Mrs. Elvis Costello. Where have I been? I love her voice too.

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  68. Suzanne said on August 27, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    I didn’t know that about Diana Krall either!

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  69. Prospero said on August 27, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    They’ve been married nearly ten years.His favorite composer is famously Bert Bacharach, so it doesn’t seem so far to a jazz chanteuse. Her piano style is brilliant, pure Duke a la Satin Doll, and her vocals remind me of Peggy Lee and Julie London. I always thought she looks a lot like the mediocre actress Ali Larter. They do have some kids, who should grow up to be musical geniuses:

    I wish she’d do a version of Shipbuilding, Declan’s most gorgeous ballad. It’s melancholy and perfect suited to her voice. An incredibly beautiful chord progression (ridiculously great bass lines):

    I think the two met on one of Elvis’ TV shows.

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  70. Bitter Scribe said on August 27, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    I rode the TGV once in France and it was pretty cool.

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  71. Jolene said on August 27, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Check out this story re the shooter from last week’s incident near the Empire State Building. What kind of person calls their mother every week but never visits? What a sad thing to live in such isolation.

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  72. brian stouder said on August 27, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Jolene, thanks for the poetry link. There is a story about Lincoln visiting his Indiana home, and walking the roads and paths that he had when he was young, and being moved to poetry. A few years ago I visited that place (which is quite beautiful, and which is also very affecting), and made a point of bringing a copy of this with me

    My childhood’s home I see again,
    And sadden with the view;
    And still, as memory crowds my brain,
    There’s pleasure in it too.

    O Memory! thou midway world
    ‘Twixt earth and paradise,
    Where things decayed and loved ones lost
    In dreamy shadows rise,

    And, freed from all that’s earthly vile,
    Seem hallowed, pure, and bright,
    Like scenes in some enchanted isle
    All bathed in liquid light.

    As dusky mountains please the eye
    When twilight chases day;
    As bugle-tones that, passing by,
    In distance die away;

    As leaving some grand waterfall,
    We, lingering, list its roar—
    So memory will hallow all
    We’ve known, but know no more.

    Near twenty years have passed away
    Since here I bid farewell
    To woods and fields, and scenes of play,
    And playmates loved so well.

    Where many were, but few remain
    Of old familiar things;
    But seeing them, to mind again
    The lost and absent brings.

    The friends I left that parting day,
    How changed, as time has sped!
    Young childhood grown, strong manhood gray,
    And half of all are dead.

    I hear the loved survivors tell
    How nought from death could save,
    Till every sound appears a knell,
    And every spot a grave.

    I range the fields with pensive tread,
    And pace the hollow rooms,
    And feel (companion of the dead)
    I’m living in the tombs.

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  73. Kaye said on August 28, 2012 at 12:25 am

    Thanks for pointing to the story re: NYC shooter’s mother, Jolene. That is a very sad story.
    BTW: you provide a great clipping service.

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  74. basset said on August 28, 2012 at 12:26 am

    Brian, you don’t want to visit the Lincoln homestead site in Kentucky… a weedy field and a dry creek, that’s about it. At the official touristy memorial down the road they have a log cabin that wasn’t really the Lincoln cabin, but it kinda looks like it might have been, and it’s not in the right place, but it’s not that far off, y’know?

    It’s entirely possible to start in Nashville, visit Abraham Lincoln’s and Jefferson Davis’ birthplaces, and be home around dinnertime.

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