Sunday, August 26, 2012

- The Cool Kids

I know this date’s me, but one of my earlier memories was watching Neil Armstrong stepping on the moon for the first time. My brother and I watched it live, sitting on a linoleum floor in front of a curved TV screen the size of a laptop, mounted into a box the size of a dishwasher. I remember what came later mainly because my mom still tells the story.

A few weeks after the big event, she and I were sitting on a stoop and she was pointing out constellations to me. “Can you see where they landed on the moon?” I asked “probably, if you have a strong enough telescope.” She said “What about a black hole” I asked “can you see one of those?”

My mother had only a high school education and they didn’t teach much astronomy (and no physics) to kids back then, so my mother thought I was making something up. “How cute… what an imagination this boy has…” she thought. “Ok… tell me” she said “ what is a black hole?”

I responded:

“It’s when a star gets old, it uses up all it’s fuel and becomes unstable, so gravity starts to pull it back on itself making it very dense. That density causes the gravity to increase very rapidly, and the whole thing sort of falls in on itself causing the gravity to get so strong that even photons can’t escape it... so it’s black.”

My mother’s mouth hung open while she wondered how in the world she’d ever be able to help this kid with his math homework. Up to then I hadn’t actually had any math homework because I was still only 5 years old. To this day we haven’t figured out where exactly I learned it – the best theory we have has something to do with public television.

All my life, my heroes were guys who most other people wouldn’t think to admire. Half the time they were people that no one ever even heard of. They weren’t actors or sports legends, or men of influence. They were guys with thick glasses, and lived lives that mostly took place in their heads. They solved problems that most people never heard of and didn’t care about once they had. But I thought they were amazing.

And the main reason was that one summer day in 1969, a couple of guys made being pointy headed geeks into the coolest thing in the world. That was the day that America realized that you don’t have to be the football quarterback with a girl on each arm to be an alpha male. There were other ways that you could be first.

There is no doubt that what Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin accomplished that day was monumental. My dad sat my brother and I down in front of our ancient TV by telling us that we were about to "see the most important thing that’s ever happened in all of human history!” And it surely was.

But the contribution that event made to our culture was at least as important to me personally, and totally changed the way my life turned out. What they and their compatriots at NASA did, was that they made being smart – cool.

Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs are names we all know belonging to people we all admire. In comparison, but for the law that bears his name, no one has ever heard of Gordon Moore. The reason for that change was not a media phenomenon per se. When Wozniak, Jobs, and Gates were coming up in the world, people were already looking to them to do great things.

It was Neil Armstrong who made them look.

12 comments:

chess said...

Good memories..
Now we have to ask the Chinese to get us into space..
Im waiting for the day where someone with a telescope says ruh roh look at that 1/2 mile wide piece of iron ore coming our way and we all pray for the Chinese to save the planet.

Ikaika said...

I believe Obama was in a madrasah in Indonesia at the time viewing the wonders of sharia.
I would tie in the mythology that Islam spawned brilliance.
I'm pretty sure it was non- Islamic Arabs that crafted algebra
And their best poets and musicians wre Jews and Christians .
Rest in peace Neil, you were my hero.
Rest in peace NASA, you were my dream.

Chess said...

The crap that is being spewed by BHO today from -of course- camp David(golf) is just sad.
25% of people 18-29 are moving back in with their parents. If they vote for BHO they deserve to see this country go belly up..
And I have Akin pleading for $3 contributions to keep going on. I believe theres a write in that is starting. .that worked for Alaska awhile back... I think it can work here. Its just who?.The 2 others in the primary had bout equal 30-30 split. Akin won with 36. Coulter has a good piece today.
This country is really fu...d up.
I wrote a piece awhile back using the song "Ineed a hero". One of the few I had is dead.He may be better off not seeing the slippery slope we are on. I would bet you my pension plan that 75% of people on the street under the age of 29 have no clue who Armstrong was or what he did.

Anonymous said...

Our nation is going down... imperceptibly slowly and with much acumen. Watching the passing of Neil Armstrong... All I could think was... we are not that country any more and that's the country we need to be, now more than ever.

ikaika said...

Did Hussein order the flags at half mast for Neil Armstrong?

Sultan Knish had a good take on the passing of Armstrong.

Tom said...

I personally think a state funeral might be appropriate in his case, but it we need to be aware that the Demos will use it as an excuse to cheapen the event.

If we let them, we'll be having state funerals for people like Van Jones and Valerie Jarrett eventually.

chess said...

Better to just let his family and his other "family" do this out of public eye.

And those dam bad tea party people

Deputies: RNC protestor arrested with machete strapped to his leg.....Oh Im bad

chess said...

Chuck Todd: "Shadow Of Bush And Katrina" Hangs Over GOP Convention

Dear Freakin Lord. This pathetic pos..
NBC's Chuck Todd tries to tie Hurricane Katrina and former President George W. Bush to the GOP convention in Tampa. From Sunday's edition of NBC's Nightly News: "There are folks with the Romney campaign who think, 'Boy, Romney can't catch a break ever since he named Paul Ryan. He got a little momentum after the Ryan pick and then he's disrupted by two storms. One, a political storm in Todd Akin which we just brought up. But now an actual storm, and when you think when this storm moves to and closer to Louisiana, the specter, the sort of shadow of Bush and Katrina does hang over this convention. It is something organizers are concerned about and don't be surprised if Tuesday gets changed again."

Everytime I think they cant go any lower they just set a new mark to break...Come on repubs whack Chucki between the eyes.LEAVE A MARK.

chess said...

If Shakespeare had to deal with libtard media he most certainly would have said kill all the media first and then lawyers---of course minus Frith.
Frith must be doing some black ops lawyering.

Tom said...

Dropped him a quick text and relayed your concerns. He's involved in a trial and having some systems problems with his home machine.

He gave me more detail which I can't relate, but he's up his XXX in alligators that's for sure. But he hasn't forgotten about us.


ikaika said...

Obama injects himself into the Armstrong remembrance.
What a jerk!

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/08/26/to-honor-neil-armstrong-obama-posts-a-picture-of-himself

chess said...

Pathetic.....Come on repubs..LEAVE A MARK..