Sunday, August 26, 2012

Rest in Tranquility, Moon Man

It was with considerable sadness that I read of the the death of Neil Armstrong, the first human to set foot on extraterrestrial soil (sorry, Cyrano). The Apollo Program is perhaps the pinnacle of human achievement- a voyage to a heavenly body with the safe return of the travelers. Neil was the first- the combination of brilliance and bravery that led him to volunteer for this mission is positively mind-boggling. The trust that he placed in the physicists and engineers that made the program possible is a testament to his character. Just watching the film, and hearing Neil Armstrong's famous prounouncement, "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" gives me goosebumps:





Fittingly, I took a good, long look at a beautiful waxing moon tonight (since much of my work schedule is nocturnal, I devote a lot of my blog to the "altar of the lupine lords") and thought, "There are human footprints up there, what a marvel!" The fact that humans were able to accomplish such a feat fills me with pride, even though the society that put the Apollo 11 "Eagle" Lunar Lander on the moon was far from perfect, as Gil Scott Heron acidly observed in one of his best pieces:





Of course, Neil Armstrong had nothing to do with the societal pathologies of the day. It's hard to wrap one's head around this in this cynical age, but Neil was an unalloyed hero- a self-effacing individual who had accomplished an unprecedented feat, a mere human who had strode like a titan across the face of the moon.

Then I came back down to earth... forty-three years after the Apollo 11 landing, our society has become debased. Theocratic thugs are trying to impose their Bronze Age superstition on the nation that was capable of the Apollo Project and Rapture Ready rubes are so fearful of the real universe that they hope and pray for its destruction (with the accompanying sideshow of folks like you and me being subject to eternal torment). An entire political party platform is based on the premise that government, the very government that successfully put Neil Armstrong on the moon, should be shrunk to a size where it could be drowned in a bathtub or inserted into a vagina. Neil, we've failed you. We've failed to follow in your footsteps, both mundane and lunar. We've failed ourselves, and, so far, our progeny. Neil, you will be missed, at a time when we need your example of fearlessness and brilliance more than ever.

Wow, that sure took a depressing turn... time for a little soothing balm. I believe that zrm would concur with me that some Mekons are in order:





Goodnight, Neil, sorry we're not following in your footsteps.

16 comments:

Smut Clyde said...

we're not following in your footsteps

I see what you do there.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Neil Armstrong went places.
~

vacuumslayer said...

Careful! If you bait the zombie, he may bring his depression with him!

A lovely tribute, B^4. You always do our fallen icons such a great service.

Substance McGravitas said...

It's hard to believe I watched the moon landings now. We were promised moon bases!

vacuumslayer said...

I still don't have my hovercar. :(

mikey said...

He was, fittingly, one of the greatest natural pilots ever seen. Thirty seconds from lunar landing, it became apparent that the software was going to land them in among a bunch of great big rocks, where they were just unlikely to survive. Armstrong calmly overrode the computer and took manual control of the Lunar Module. He flew it by hand over the danger, located a good landing point, navigated to it and gently placed the lander there. With 25 seconds of fuel left.

And when you listen to the landing recordings, you are only dimly aware that this is any kind of emergency, or out of the expected norm in any way. They are just so calm and professional (Aldrin too), it's amazing.

One wonders if our more computer-dependent crews today could have done that.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Prolly would have blue-screened, mikey.

Mekons are ALWAYS appropriate, BBBB. But that one is great.

Another Kiwi said...

For those of you who don't obsessively follow my every post, here is transcript of the landing.
Two professionals doing the most momentous things calmly and coolly.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

You failed to stick the landing, A.K.

Or the link, at any rate.
~

Another Kiwi said...

feck!
Thanks thundra, orbs stole my link because they don't want nobody listening to them.

Laura said...

This big friggin tribute to Neil and yet.. The Count also died (from Sesame St.) last week and I'm reading dick all about it on here!
I mean seriously..thank gawd my kids all know how to count already because who in the Hell would teach them now????

So we've got "The Count" and Neil Armstrong. They go in 3's. Who's next I wonder? (they have to go in 3's as it is the number of souls required to keep Zsa Zsa Gabor alive and well).

((Hugs))
Laura

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I see what you do there.

I live to serve, old chum!

Neil Armstrong went places.

He sure did, he sure did.

A lovely tribute, B^4. You always do our fallen icons such a great service.

It's the least I can do for them.

It's hard to believe I watched the moon landings now. We were promised moon bases!

And not stupid Newt Gingrich Libertarian moon bases!

I still don't have my hovercar. :(

Patience, it's coming soon.

He was, fittingly, one of the greatest natural pilots ever seen. Thirty seconds from lunar landing, it became apparent that the software was going to land them in among a bunch of great big rocks, where they were just unlikely to survive. Armstrong calmly overrode the computer and took manual control of the Lunar Module. He flew it by hand over the danger, located a good landing point, navigated to it and gently placed the lander there. With 25 seconds of fuel left.

Amazing... simply amazing.

Mekons are ALWAYS appropriate, BBBB. But that one is great.

It might be my favorite- it's such a pretty song. They came a long way since "Never Been in a Riot".

Two professionals doing the most momentous things calmly and coolly.

It's a lot like "Riddled".

You failed to stick the landing, A.K.

Good co-piloting, Thunder!

Thanks thundra, orbs stole my link because they don't want nobody listening to them.

I think the orbs are all serving Thunder.

This big friggin tribute to Neil and yet.. The Count also died (from Sesame St.) last week and I'm reading dick all about it on here!
I mean seriously..thank gawd my kids all know how to count already because who in the Hell would teach them now????


I loved the Count (in a totes het way). I think the Count and Neil were a lot alike- they both inspired millions of children to pursue science and engineering fields.

Another Kiwi said...

It's a lot like "Riddled".
A complete fake filmed in Hangar 18?

Well, no actually, we don't have a hangar.

Smut Clyde said...

I think the Count and Neil were a lot alike- they both inspired millions of children to pursue science and engineering fields.

Too late now for them to appear as guest presenters in Mythbusters. Except in my dreams.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Well, no actually, we don't have a hangar.

I imagine you have an entire coatroom.

Too late now for them to appear as guest presenters in Mythbusters. Except in my dreams.

I'll thank you to not write Count/Neil slashfic.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

It might be my favorite- it's such a pretty song. They came a long way since "Never Been in a Riot".

They still play Never Been In A Riot live. Have you heard their cover of "Wild And Blue"? ACHINGLY gorgeous.

Also, because it is no longer available, I managed to obtain a digital copy of "The Quality Of Mercy Is Not Strnen" through questionable means....it is stellar for a debut by people who refused to learn how to play their instruments.