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190722 July 22, 2019


Preservation of a Relic, or an Exercise in Hubris ?
Jim Ballard
 LHS '1967 

    Well. I don't know.

    But with the event of this month's 50th anniversary of man’s first lunar landing, questions are already being asked about how we “need” to preserve the great legacy.

    I do know that the very first human boot-print, unabashedly placed by Armstrong as he ceremoniously climbed down the Eagle's ladder, was carelessly, (if not deliberately), wiped out completely by the efforts of Aldrin's making the second climb down...

    We need to bear in mind this little known fact as we entertain the current debate about American legacy on the moon.

    I researched this fact to death back in 2009, nearly wrote a book about it and still may, should I live long enough. I will say NASA is a bit embarrassed about the fact, and few there will talk about it, and surprisingly many at NASA are simply unaware of the fact.

    For the moment, I won't get into the petty Armstrong (vs ?) Aldrin politics of this heart-stopping, iconographic moment in human history, although it is quite relevant to this current debate about whether we should...or can...preserve those remaining boot-prints, as well as other artifacts of the Apollo 11 Lunar landing.

    JSTOR Daily, one of the few great sources of both history and current debates in all areas of academia, poses this question : "Could a National Park on the moon be the solution to saving Armstrong’s boot prints for future archaeologists?"

    We really could establish a park, yes, provided we establish it as an International Park, not a "National" Park.

    Aside from the fact that the law, long established and internationally agreed to, clearly precludes the United States from actually owning any surface on the moon, as the article points out, I don't see any "legal" prohibition on getting our act together with other nations, including, and especially Russia, to agree to an effort to establish an International preserve on the moon, in the name of all humanity.

    So what could be the problem ?

    Well, the problem is glaring, and comes out in the article.

    Archaeologists and anthropologists are chomping at the bit, wanting to leave their boot-print on space legacy, as if they were the sole proprietors of that legacy.

    It's virtually a compulsion, in the guise of an "academic" peacock display.

    P.J. Capelotti, an anthropologist, concludes with this inexplicably facile argument :

    ''This leaves space custodians with a conundrum. ..If the U.S. owns the archaeological remains of Apollo 11 but not the ground underneath it, how to protect the former without disturbing the latter? Does America own Neil Armstrong’s famous first footprints on the Moon but not the lunar dust in which they were recorded?”

    No, of course we do not "own" the "lunar dust". And all the boot-prints, by whomsoever made them, were left behind, now subject to the slowly deleterious conditions of the moon. The legal "conundrum", as Capelotti puts it, is a moot point.

    An even more unrealistic proposal is this business about salvaging as much "space junk" as possible, and affixing a permanent label of national proprietorship, all in the name of posterity...Right. Who's posterity ? Why each nation's posterity...of course.

    Archaeologist Alice Gorman argues : "...that this sort of 'space junk' should be managed as heritage, since it offers unique insights into human development. 'Early telecommunications satellites, for example, are the artifacts that created the modern world'...Gorman wants to save defunct satellites and spacecraft in orbit. She argues that spacecraft that represent a nation...This is a cultural landscape, and removing parts of it will destroy the relationships within it..."

    Destroy the relationships within it ?

    Mind-boggling rationalization from an academic.

    Does Ms. Gorman realize the enormous cost she is proposing ? NASA now lies near the very bottom of the government funding barrel, and Ms Gorman wants to preserve "space junk" !

    The more enlightened factions of Western civilizations are now desperately attempting to get beyond the moon.

    Sputnik has been dead, crashed a fiery death, since 1958. Only two months in orbit. To the dismay of an angry Werhner von Braun, and through no fault of his own, America's first satellite, Explorer I, giving four months of data, wasn't launched until weeks after Sputnik had already crashed. But Explorer I did hold up in space…a lonely orbital vigil it was…its batteries long dead, until 1970, when it met the same fate as Sputnik.

    Those relics of mankind's first feeble attempts to explore space are gone.

    So where will it end ?…Spending time and out-of-reach money on salvaging the hundreds of space junk items is a fool's errand, not to mention an exercise in vanity unparalleled by those mindless Hollywood gnomes, famous for being famous.

    Fortunately, this JSTOR article concludes : "Even though it was U.S. citizens who left their boot-prints on the moon, protecting them needs to be an international effort... And the solution should bring as many nations as possible on board, from those likely to reach the moon to those who will share in the joy of seeing a citizen of the same Earth set foot on the moon again. After all, the plaque left by Armstrong and Aldrin reads: 'We came in peace for all mankind.' "

    Yes, an "international effort"; but better still, an International Park, not a "National" park.

    After all : It is for ALL mankind.

        Memphis, TN - For those of you who were wondering why this issue is later than earlier ones, I have a good explanation. I have been busy.

    Friday I left home at 2:30pm and did not get home until 1:30am Saturday morning. After three hours of sleep I then left home at 4:30am and did not get home until 11:30pm Saturday night. Sunday I was gone from 6:00am until 9:30pm. That meant I worked 11 hours Friday; 17 hours on Saturday; and 13 and 1/2 hours on Sunday.

    What was I doing? Well...I was working Friday as background talent on "Christmas at Graceland II" and Saturday and Sunday on episode 102 of  "Bluff City Law" a new NBC series which starts in September. I go in today at 3:00pm for another session of "Christmas at Graceland II" which is being filmed at Graceland on a fake snow covered lawn with me and the other background talent wearing our warmest jackets, hats, scarves and gloves - in Memphis in July! Friday my down filled winter traveling coat gained about three pounds and was soaking wet with sweat before we wrapped for the night. Early tomorrow morning when I expect to get home I expect it will it will be the same.

    Still it is fun for me, and I certainly don't do it just for the money.

    I will have a special story for you next week about something that happened and someone I met on one of the sets.

Name That Tune
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

    I remember back in the Fifties when I was attending East Clinton Elementary School one of my favorite television shows at the time was a show called “Name That Tune.”

    In the original version “Name That Tune” put two contestants against each other to test their knowledge of songs. “Name That Tune” ran from 1953–59 on NBC and CBS in prime time. The first hosts were Red Benson and later Bill Cullen, but George DeWitt became most identified with the show.

    The contestants stood across the stage from two large ship's bells as the band started playing tunes. When a contestant knew the tune s/he ran across the stage to "ring the bell and name that tune!" Four tunes were played every game, and each tune was worth increasing dollar amounts. The first tune was worth $5 and each subsequent tune was worth double the previous tune, up to $40 for the fourth and final tune. The player with the most money after four tunes won the game and played the bonus game called the "Golden Medley."

    The show came and went through the next couple of decades with different rules and different prizes, but I always like the original version of the show.

    For our version, each week I will give you the opening chords of songs for you to identify. Since it would be difficult for many of you to run to Memphis and ring a bell, I’ll just let you email me with your guess each week. Some of the intros might be longer than others, but they will come from songs we heard as teenagers so listen carefully. If a song goes all week without a correct answer more of the intro will be added until it is identified.

Name That Tune

Last Week's Song

YouTube Video

    Escoe German Beatty: "It does take me back to those dreamy days when I hear that note from “Dream, Dream,Dream” by the Everly Brothers.  By the way this was a great Traveller…thanks to Ranier, John and especially you Tommy for all of the hard work you put into your "HOBBY”!  Thanks for sharing!!"

    Other Correct (More or Less) responses:

Kay Hillis
Sarajane Steigerwald Tarter
John Drummond
Judy Fedrowisch Kincaid

The most correct answer with the correct name of the song was:

Wayne Miller, "I believe this week’s one note song is: 'All I have to do is Dream' by the Everly Brothers."

All I Have to do is Dream


From Our Mailbox 


Subject:    Space Program

Janet Holland

LHS '67

    I am very happy over the interest expressed by our classmates on the space program. I must correct John on my Dad: his name was Lee B. James, LBJ. I so enjoyed seeing him on all 3 episodes of Chasing the Moon. Yes, you knew my brother, Lee, well, and I remember you. Monte Sano was a magical upbringing. We all lived in a remarkable time, as shown as the world came together that ineffable moment, man on the moon, and everyone else on the edge of their seats.



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