Monday, August 27, 2012

Trad-Ivy Tuesday: Astronaut Style...A Study in Contrasts

When I look back on my first few years of elementary school, I see now that I was desperately in search of heroes. There were none at my house. Unless you count my mom and little guys don’t wanna see their mom as such when sitting in Mrs. Anderson’s class. Cale Yarborough was my local God and the Apollo mission crew members were my runners-up. This stuff was huge for the country and inestimably riveting for a little kid like me. They wheeled this ungainly industrial grade television stand topped with a black and white model large enough to be a refrigerator into the classroom and we watched the Apollo missions in their entirety. I still get excited thinking about it.
 Neil Armstrong…self-proclaimed nerdy engineer. Test pilot whose peers said was one of the best. Ever. Chuck Yeager caliber talent. First man to walk on the moon.  
Phi Delta Theta at Purdue. He nourished his right brain with music composition while honing the left with Purdue’s Aeronautical Engineering curricula.  And he met his first wife there. She stayed with him for thirty-eight years.
Tough-ass test pilot…Right Stuff astronaut or not…Armstrong had to endure the unimaginable G-Force of grief...burying one of his three children. His only daughter died of a malignant brain tumor in 1962.
After his retirement he first became a professor. Seems fitting to me. Years later he joined Thiokol’s board of directors after their solid rocket boosters were found to be a culprit in the demise of the space shuttle Challenger. Armstrong also chose his paltry few company/business endorsements very, very carefully it appears. Underexposure seemed to be his post moon walk strategy. It seems that he chose his cohorts only after rigorous vetting.
He stopped signing autographs decades ago because it repulsed him to see them for sale by autograph dealers for stunning sums. Seven thousand-five hundred dollars, before his death, if you want specifics. He sued his barber for selling his hair. He won the suit. Commercial gain by others who curried favor with him under false pretenses incensed him.
American Hero Armstrong allowed the inevitable reality of physical aging to take its course without delay or surgical-dermal filler interventions. I see in his face, that same stuff that my stepfather had. A sense of self...tethered to such a strong sense of identity and purpose that his cadence of quiet reserve...made swagger superfluous. And I can only speak for me but…his introverted nature and gallant deportment took him so far out of the public eye that I’d almost forgotten him. Regretfully.
 Buzz Aldrin...second man to set foot on the moon…West Point graduate…American hero.Truly.
His baby sisters called him “Buzz.” He thought enough of the nickname to make it his legal one in 1988. Maybe “Dusty” should become my legal name.
He flew the F86 Sabre in Korea and shot down two MiGs. Doing so in the less manoeuvrable Sabre speaks well of Aldrin’s skill. And stones.
A Master Mason…Aldrin claimed territorial jurisdiction over the moon on behalf of the Grand Lodge of Texas. Texas? Why does this not surprise me? But I admire Aldrin for cold cocking an Apollo Moon landing conspiracy theorist in the face in 2002 after being lured to a suite at the Beverly Hills hotel under false pretenses. He faced no charges.
It seems that as great a man as Aldrin is, he hasn’t met too many public appearances that he hasn’t liked.
Commercial gain? Why not?
This is from the "People Famous for Doing Shit Second" series courtesy of I reckon, some kind of Franklin Mint thang.
Armstrong co-mingled with stars. So did Aldrin. Then he danced with ‘em.
He chose his cohorts. I'll leave it to you to decide if you think his sieve for cohort inclusion is tight enough.
Exposayvou. Aldrin filed for divorce from his third wife sometime in 2011. These guys aren't easy to live with. None of them. Neither are healthcare sales and marketing strategy consultants who travel an average of two nights per week and try, when they're home, to burn their house down. Shut up.
Overexposure is one thing. Excessive publicity amidst bad plastic surgery is yet another.
Onward. Late for my Botox appointment. 
I raised the dosh to pay for it by selling my Buzz Aldrin action figure on eBay

ADG II …still in awe of these spite of their frailties. 


The Leopard said...

I was saddened to hear of the death of Neil Armstrong, a true American hero. I remember vividly the day he walked on the moon, definitely one of the defining memories of my life, there have been others that have impacted our generation, but this was an event that we can remember with joy and not sorrow. I will always have the memory of that day when Neil, Buzz and Michael made splendid joyful history and I thank them all for a job well done. Godspeed Neil Armstrong.

Anonymous Texan said...

Good story about Armstrong in a T-33 with Yeager in the back seat...says it all. Enuff said.

Anonymous said...

Is this a family blog? Can we tell the one about Armstrong as a child overhearing the neighbor lady saying "I'll put that in my mouth when that Armstrong kid walks on the moon."?

Anonymous said...

The effects of smoking and drinking are obvious in both oldsters.

Anonymous said...

As to the post above regarding smoking and drinking, I think the risks associated with such were seen as non-existent compared to being strapped into a 6 million pound rocket. Test pilots were different animals in general, and these guys were in particular. After the Apollo 1 burned on the launch pad, a rational family-man would not be too excited to be next in line to land on the moon.

Also, it was probably difficult to be that famous back then, before the days when any form of celebrity (Snooki) brought wealth and endorsements. John Glenn certainly made the most of it. Others had their difficulties.

To me, these guys were truly heroes and represented our country well.

Young Fogey said...

Holy. Freaking. COW.

What is that laminated monstrosity that Aldrin's got where a bow tie belongs?

And in case anyone missed the memo, here we have yet more photographic evidence of why plastic surgery is NOT a good idea.

ilovelimegreen said...

When I was seven years old, I wanted to be an astronaut or a nun when I grew up. I suppose wanting to be an astronaut had something to do with watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon and drinking Tang.

Anonymous said...

"Holy. Freaking. COW. What is that laminated monstrosity that Aldrin's got.."

That laminated monstrosity is his holy freaking date, his pet cow Sinsayshun. Or as Max alludes, tragic evidence of a loose cohort inclusion sieve. Imagine the fight between those two for Motel 6 mirror time, Buzz in a terrible hurry to sign ballpoints at the I-95 DQ interchange.

Max, congratulations on your plum gig in Gotham. Are there a bunch of reserved seats for us groupies?


BethAnn said...

Was it Armstrong who filed for divorce from wife #3 in 2011 or was that Aldrin? There's too many "A" names amongst these hero-astronauts.

ADG said...

Leopard…I was that little kid searching for heroes back then. America it seems at present, needs those kinds of iconic heroes once again.

Anonymous Texan...Absolutely. All of this makes me want to re-read The Right Stuff.

AnonymousFamilyBlog...Shame on you for sharing that. And shame on me for publishing it.

Anonymous...Indeed. But at least Armstrong allowed the sequelae to manifest unperturbed by desperate attempts to reverse the damage. The result? Pitiful.

Anonymous6millionpoundsofthrust…Interesting perspective. The shit those guys did in general was such that smoking and drinking surely seemed twee. And yes, on balance, I think all of these guys served our country well, including Aldrin.

YoungFogeyMon...I THINK that laminated monstrosity is supposed to denote some kind of aircraft material theme…maybe also a propeller? And his plastic surgery is tragic. Almost as bad as Burt Reynolds and Kenny Rogers, both of whom would scare kids quicker than Aldrin.

ilovelimegreendollhoarderrescuerlady...Astronaut or a Nun, huh? What a nice midpoint you’ve arrived at between the two professions!

AnonymousMirrorTime...I snorted one of my Vienna sausages when I read that!

BeffAnn...Aldrin. Armstrong’s first marriage lasted thirty-plus years. After that, he only required one more. But I ain’t judging.

Anonymous said...

It ain't "anonymousMirrorTime" you moderator miscreant, it's FLO. She posted another famously hilarious comment and you didn't give her credit. AGAIN! You're gonna lose her if you're not careful

ADG said...

"...moderator miscreant..." Damn boss. That's harsh! Lose Flo? I'm not a young'un but I'm not old enough to have flo problems just yet. Don't be hatin over here. This is a blog of love. Mutha....!

Anonymous said...

I fell out of my chair after reading Flo's comment. No hatin here. You have to pay attention. You missed the Advent Calendar credit recently and I had to spank you for that one but I wasn't gonna let you ignore today's Mirror Time. Go with the Flo!

ADG said...

I have A.D.D. I am handicapped in many ways. So my attention to detail is dodgy...I can't help it.

I'm waitin' to see if the damn Republicans are gonna take away my special benefits. If they do, then Flo's zingers won't be the only thing missing from this here blog.

BethAnn said...

Ok, Mr. Dodgy Attention to Detail, you have a little typo up there in your post where you assign the 2011 divorce to Mr. Armstrong.

I am quite fond of the new color scheme, though.


Anonymous said...

"I snorted one of my Vienna sausages.."

Max, have you tried the aerosol cheese yet with the vienna sausage? You just slit em down the center longways, I prefer the american, spray some that american aerosol cheese all the way up the slit, I like a nice straight line but you can squiggle it if you's expecting company, plus it look purdy on the plate, Max.


Anonymous said...

"You're gonna lose her..."

Owl Tie, is that you?

Max needs to worry about losing one heckler? I don't think so, Max is global, he's HUGE, accomplished and respected. Max, he don't need any of us. Ask him how his sitemeter figures compare to the number of his commenters. He just puts up with us yappers. It's best we know our place.


yoga teacher said...

Neil Armstrong's passing got me to pull out my Dad's copy of "Astronaut Biographies (34) January 1966." He and Edwin "Buzz" are both included. Thanks for your post encouraging me to look at some stuff that I thankfully did not throw out. Don't hold me to it, but it looks like Armstrong was on of the few with only a BS degree (which gives me hope, as my daughter is a 'relaxed scholar.')
And, as a mea culpa for my unintentional Masonic slight a few weeks ago, I really did think of you at the mauseoleum of this 32 degree Mason/Knight Templar/Noble of Mystic Shrine