Tuesday, 14 May 2013


Quite soon, none will live who walked the moon.  It's not another planet and it's not in outer space but even so, even at a stone's throw from here, the landings on our sattelite were an awesome,  magnificent achievement.

The Saturn Five Appollo  Moon missions were  scrapped because at $350 million dollars a pop they were too expensive, it's a sum that Uncle Sam will exceed in one day's current military expenditure.  The Shuttle programme, too, is finished, having delivered the International Space Station, the Hubble telescope and a fair dose of highly visible tragedy.

This series, on BBC Four, is hardly a warts and all record of the NASA years  - every last participant, male or female, is hewn from the Right Stuff - but it is fabulous, nevertheless;  the Moon landing, the Appollo 13 near-disaster and its fixing, the Shuttle development and it's highs and lows, the personnel - some MoonWalkers, many astronauts and the chain-smoking ground crews, especially the dandy Mission  Controller, Gene Krantz,  all make compelling viewing;  the take-off and mission footage is breathtaking.  And the subplots, the attempted hijacking of the Moonlanding by the ghastly Richard Nixon - What's this gotta do with him? enquired a testy Neil Armstrong as Tricky Dicky  elbowed into the Moon-Earth communications;  This is all down to Kennedy and Johnson - are fascinating, too. But you can almost feel,  through your floorboards, the forty-four million horsepower of the mighty Saturn Five rocket, stuttering and then leaping into the sky.

Oh, we come on a ship they called the Mayflower

We come on a ship that sailed the Moon.

Since the second world war, Uncle Sam has been a rogue state,  waging terrorist wars, himself or by proxy, all over the world;  whilst he was  devising the Moon landings he was also raining  poisoned shit on Vietnamese civilians. There is no indication, therefore, of space exploration making him any better.  But at least they could do it. Kennedy and Johnson made it possible, Johnson, simultaneously and almost single-handedly, enacting the civil Rights legislation on a Ku Klux Klan, monster-redneck, nigger lynching Deep South.  Obama seems, is, powerless by comparison, he'd rather pin a medal on Paul McCartney than organise a Space Programme,  

rather act the R'n 'B singer than close the  atrocity that is Guantanamo Bay. And yet, in his hands, America has become more belligerent, not less, commits more war  crimes, not fewer; imprisons more blacks than ever before;  more are homeless, more are hungry, more are sick;  paranoia is rife, the great, mythical Constitution is  buried deep in totalitarian shit.

Obie's employers, the banksters,  need all the money for their bonuses, there's none left for space. And I doubt that there's the purpose. America's Final Frontier is itself.

But look at the programmes on the i-Thing, if you haven't seen them. And as Phil Spector used to say, before he became a murderer, Play It Loud, feel those horses.

If the American empire last for a thousand years, which it won't, men will still say, this was it's finest hour.


mongoose said...

Yes, I have seen a few of those, Mr I. It was interesting to watch the Feynman thing again. ("The Challenger") I obviously hadn't paid attention the first time. I had thought that the genius had gone out there in his white cowboy hat and found the truth. In fact, a couple of brave folk had the cowboy appointed, and then led him gently to it. His bit was to be honest enough not to be cowed by those creeps. NASA and everyone had known all along what happened. It needed an old genius, near death, to tell the truth.

What a bloody country.

call me ishmael said...

Yes, the Feynman Hollywood film and the Feynman documentary are two different things, both, in their own ways engaging.

The BBC teevee docs I mention skate over the O-ring scandal and leave the impression that the wives and families of Challenger must have all been of the Steptord variety, either that or killed.

You would imagine, in this country, a dreadful, complaining clamour from the relatives of such betrayed public servants -- Iraq, Afghanistan, if Tommy hadn't got armour plated underpants it was all Gordon Brown's treachery to blame - but Statesside, as I said, all those relatives filmed, anyway, were the Right Stuff.

I wonder, incidentally, what the current space/physics hero would say about such shit, Colonel Wotsisname, off twitter and youtube. Probably burst into song. Oh You Pretty Things, doncha know you're drivin' your Mommas and Poppas in-sane? Cunt.

yardarm said...

Saw it too, Mr I. And all on transistor technology too. We had our own effort out in the Australian outback in the fifties and sixties. With sweat and brains our engineers built a successful spacegoing rocket and the clerks promptly closed them down.

We don`t do this anymore: we craft insane financial practices that bankrupt us and laud the practitioners instead to the heavens and launch quantative easing to save them.

LBJ, almost forgotten now, sandwiched between Kennedy and Nixon. Blowhard Texan machine politician who took the Space Race, Great Society and Vietnam and drove them on: a personal exemplification of what America can do for good and evil. If they were in a room together you wouldn`t notice Obama.

Dr. Yllek said...

The Moon trippy trip was a result of collaboration between two distinct sets of players, ex-Nazis and Freemasons.The rest of them, mainly peripheral roles.

Archie said...

" men will still say, this was it's finest hour."

I will grant you they have had some very worst hours, but they have never really had a finest minute, as far as I can remember.

call me ishmael said...

Mr ARchie, if you looked in my back pages at Empire Burlesque or Empire Burlesque revivited or almost anything flagged Uncle Sam you would find much to agree with. But other nations have tyrannised, enslaved and mass murdered, Oly the USA broke the bounds of gravity

It's tue, dr y, in another context Uncle Sam would've hung the Peenemunders. And maybe he should have.

Sweetly put mr yardarm, the shitkicker redneck, LBJ, the only one to achieve anything, really.

Archie said...

" Only the USA broke the bounds of gravity,"
It took a lot of European gravitas and Soviet threat to do it.

Old timer said...

Brenda Lee's "Fly me to the moon" made No1 in the US and UK while all this was going on!

call me ishmael said...

The geopolitical nuances of the time, the various elites at which you hint, not to mention the skyjacking of NASA by GlobaCorp Arms plc, mr archie, none of these detract a fraction from the bald statement that Only the USA broke the bounds of gravity - it is of course true that Sputnik 1 was actually the first vessel in extra-atmospheric orbit but as far as the poetry goes the achievement was Uncle Sam's.

call me ishmael said...

All a bit neglectd now, mr ot, those 'fifties chanteuses - Doris Day, Rosemary Clooney ( George's mum?) Dinah Shore, Peccy Lee and Little Miss Dynamite herself. Tere were loads of them here, too, Anne Shelton, Ruby Murray, Alma Cogan and so on. It would be some years, maybe not until Joni Mitchell, that female singers were treated as seriously as the men. Only not Cilla Black, obviously, the fourth luckiest person in showbusiness.