Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

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The Man in the Moon: Sunday musings…7/21/19

Sunday musings…

1) Battery. A group of barracudas is called a “battery”. Did not know that.

2) News. Starbucks, once the 3rd space for people of all sorts, especially those who enjoyed reading the day’s news over some sort of fancy brewed beverage, announced this week that they will no longer sell newspapers. This says much more about the state our local and national print media than it does about Starbucks. People young and old get what they consider the news from myriad sources, none of which require the harvesting of trees or setting of presses.

A disturbing bit of news, indeed.

3) Fly. Which do you prefer, take off or landing? Me, I’m a landing guy. Landing means I’ve arrived. I just can’t ever remember a flight where I was mesmerized by the experience of being in the air. Maybe that one time when we were flying in over the top of the 4th of July fireworks.
That was pretty cool, but of course we were on the landing approach at the time.

The journey is not really the thing for me when I am traveling unless the journey is actually the reason  I’m actually doing the traveling. I like to get to my destination, and frankly I like to get home.

Count me as a “landing” guy.

4) Mountain. “You climb the mountain to see the world; you don’t climb the mountain so that the world can see you.” -Anonymous (as far as I’ve been able to tell)

With the exception of first ascents of real mountains (where the whole idea is for people to see you on top), this is, or should be, quite obvious whether you are examining it literally or figuratively. There are so many worthwhile reasons to do so many things, aim for so many goals, that to do so simply for the adulation seems shallow.

How much more meaningful are the goals and their ultimate achievement when the drive comes from within you and not your audience.

5) Lunar. This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing. It’s been so long and we’ve talked about it for so many years knowing that Armstrong, Aldren, and Collins successfully pulled off the nearly unimaginable, it is hard for us looking back to imagine how much uncertainty there was during the Apollo 11 mission. From lift-off (there’d been an Apollo lift-off disaster that cost the lives of 3 astronauts) to the never before done landing and subsequent lift-off from the moon, some 500 million earthbound brothers and sisters of the astronauts held their collective breath again and again only to exhale in exaltation as each challenge was met.

There were so many ways things could have gone wrong, any one of which would have meant certain doom for some or all of the men aloft. Imagine the sorrow had Armstrong and Aldren failed to make it back from the moon. The possibility of a mishap that stranded the astronauts on the moon was so real that the Nixon White House actually had contingency plans in place. James Mann, writing for the Washington Post, unearthed the short but eloquent speech that William Safire had written “in the event of moon disaster”. It began, “Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.” It ended with the, “For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.”

Mann: “What Safire wrote would have qualified as the most eloquent speech Nixon ever gave–and one of the most poignant by any American president. Thankfully, it never had to be delivered.” Having taken us all to the top of the the highest “mountain” yet scaled, it turns out that Armstrong, Aldren, and Collins were, like me, “landing” guys as well.

Imagine, once upon a time there really was a “man in the moon.” It is still astonishing to this day.

I’ll see you next week…

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