Happy Mooniversary!

Happy Moon Day, everybody! Since I have been rummaging through clips of old news programs on YouTube for completely unrelated reasons, I thought it might be appropriate to share this playlist of news coverage of the Apollo 11 launch, flight, moon landing, and return home.



And if you still need something to watch, here's the post-splashdown, post-quarantine press conference:



Poor Neil Armstrong spends most of his stage time fidgeting like mad. He clearly wants to skip right to the part about Moon! MOON MOON MOON MOON MOON. I was on the MOON. Ask me what it was like ON THE MOON. I'm given to understand Armstrong was a very quiet man and never all that fond of public speaking, although he did a fair amount of it at the request of other people; Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins are much better at just wording at the assembled reporters while the slides are up. They are all using their clout as "people who have been TO THE MOON" to declare that they're just not going to talk about any bits they found boring, because MOON MOON for the love of God MOON.

(Someone finally asks Armstrong if there was any point at which he just stopped and was spellbound by the reality of being on the lunar surface. "About two and a half hours," he says sheepishly, finally smiling.)

Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins are still alive and kicking. Collins retired from NASA in 1970 and went on to be Director of the National Air & Space Museum and undersecretary for the Smithsonian. He is amusingly bookish for a dude who spent most of his young adult years preparing to be blasted into space on what was essentially an enormously complicated firework, and has written not just an autobiography, but a number of books about the history of space flight, at least one of them a children's book.

Aldrin was and is the mouth of the trio, and the only one who has cheerfully agreed to appear in pretty much any piece of media that struck him as entertaining, whether it was serious or not. He's written books; done interviews and published op-ed pieces that inevitably end up with him getting cranky that NASA has canceled yet another program; appeared as himself in television shows ranging from The Simpsons to 30 Rock to -- I am not making this up -- Dancing With The Stars; and done the occasional sentimental bit, like his voice cameo as a stargazer at the end of Mass Effect 3. He once infamously hauled off and decked a conspiracy theorist who cornered him and accused him of being a coward and a liar for not admitting that they faked the moon landings. No charges were filed after the police determined that there was provocation, which essentially translates to, 'dude, that's what you get for pissing off Buzz Aldrin'.

Neil Armstrong passed away in 2012, a few months after speaking at the official commemoration of the 50th anniversary of John Glenn's first space flight. About a million people, charities, and organizations immediately started clamoring to do something, but his family released only a simple statement, which read in part: "For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink."

Comments