Monday, August 27, 2012


Yes, I do remember what I was doing when man first walked on the moon.
As a young radio reporter I had paid my own way, and taken vacation time to cover some of the Mercury launches at Cape Canaveral, because my South Carolina station wouldn't pay for the trip. I felt I was just too close to one of the most important news stories of all time to miss them. But I sent back phone reports which were featured on our newscasts. They must have caused a good reaction, because the station did pay my way back thereafter...and I was a confirmed space America, too, was becoming. 
I covered some of the first batch of astronauts, those who definitely had "The Right Stuff". But as I moved back North, and married, it became difficult to get back to the Cape.  So, as millions did, I was looking at my old black and white TV the night Neil Armstrong first, and later Buzz Aldrin, stepped onto the lunar surface.
By then I was a TV station news director in Fort Wayne, Indiana, not that many miles from the small Ohio town where Armstrong  was born. Our station had done some home town reports on him before his epochal flight, and we planned extensive coverage of his triumphant return to Wapakoneta. We even did  a piece on the "Moon Sauce" the local bottler came up with to mark his return--green, naturally.
He looked uncomfortable to me in his open top parade convertible, even among his home town friends. He almost always looked uncomfortable in network interviews, or being praised for doing what he thought was his job--a job he loved--and when NASA decided he was too valuable to go back into space, and risk losing him in some accident, he quit and quietly taught engineering for the rest of his life.
He avoided interviews, gave no endorsements, signed very few autographs (so they couldn't be put on sale at a later time) and stayed out of the limelight as best he could.  What he did do, when he felt the space program was threatened--as it later was many times, was to use the bully pulpit of his fame to talk about mankind's "unquenchable thirst" for adventure and knowledge.  He wanted a man on Mars, not a Rover. and so do I. We need a national project such as putting a man on the Moon to rekindle this nation's historic spirit of adventure.
If you go up I-75, you'll find "Wapak" not too far south of Toledo, and visible from the interstate exit is a geodesic dome type building which houses the Neil Armstrong Space Museum. The Kurtz family often visited it, as we tried to convince our daughters they, too, could have a future in space.
Mankind has such a future. When we get there, however long it takes, it will be, in large part, because of a retiring, self-proclaimed "nerd" and one of the greatest Americans I ever met.
Thanks, Neil Armstrong, for making us so proud of you and your achievements---and proud to be Americans.

Monday, August 20, 2012


If you are a Kentucky Democrat voting for Romney, your vote doesn't count.

If you are a Kentucky Republican voting for Obama, your vote doesn't count.

Ditto if you plan a straight party vote; your vote does NOT count.

There are two reasons for this. The big one is the Electoral College, the minor one is polling.

You've probably heard "this election will be decided by the swing states." And whether that number, which changes, is 10 or 12 or whatever, the reason is that the two major parties have calculated, through their polling,  that certain states are "locked in." They will vote red or blue and nothing is likely to change that by November. Their vote, specifically, their electoral vote seems set.

But the "swing states" are different. There, polling--a far from exact science, very far in some cases--says these states could go either way. So the parties concentrate in those states. One of the networks reported that the "undecided" vote in those states, variously polled (!) at from 3 to 6% is what will decide who is to win. (Wouldn't you love to be among that 3-6%? Think of all the junk mail you will get, the people knocking on your door and calling your phone, legally excluded from the national "do not call" list by-- guess who? Congress), pollsters, some legit and some not...2 "push pollsters" have already called me) want you to violate the secret ballot and tell them...who? Lucky you, undecided.

And it's going to stay this way unless..we remind each other that in a democracy one person's vote is supposed to be just as good as another's; no more, no less. As long as the Electoral College is in the Constitution, a Kentucky vote is NOT the equal of a vote in Nevada or South Dakota or, gasp, Tennessee.

Now, this does not mean..don't vote. In fact, I urge you to vote..after you ask Andy Barr and Ben Chandler if they will support an end to the Electoral College. And any time you get the chance, get Senators Paul and McConnell on record too.

No matter how they quibble, and they will, the bottom line is this: either one American's vote is the equal of another, or it isn't. Don't let them convince you otherwise.

America's future as a true democracy hinges on it.

I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Flies Of The Lord

One of the things that distinguishes my neighborhood is that so many of our homes have porches. Indeed our neighborhood occasionally holds a porch festival, which draws several hundred people from all over this area to visit with us in what to many is a throw back to the gracious living of another era.  Weather permitting, there are few things I like to do better than read the papers and drink coffee on my porch.

I like it.  So do the flies.

Now, not every day..if it's just coffee, no flies. But if, as on a recent morning, I make the mistake of having more than just coffee, say a doughnut as well, it doesn't take long..ten minutes at the most and one or two come from somewhere to disrupt  my routine. How do they know?

The other morning it was glazed doughnut from Spaldings--a traditional Lexington  morning delight. Two came along to join in my meal. They must have been Spalding fans because they certainly were persistent.

Now I often do like something with my coffee..toast and jelly attracts flies also. But not like those sugary doughnuts did. I think I'm going to have to run an experiment--see how long it takes before the flies appear. I may start with cake doughnuts from Magees, then caramel glazed from Dunkin' Donuts, a sticky bun from Kroger's and so on.

I'm betting on the glazed from Spaldings. Maybe I could get a grant from UK Sociology to study this..especially if some federal research funds are available. It wouldn't be as silly as some federal grants I've seen..and the results, for me and for others, could be both delicious and helpful in keeping flies away from what should be a tranquil part of our day.

I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, August 5, 2012


For years these stores were closed on Sunday. If customers asked, they were told the owners felt employees should spend Sunday at church and with their families, so stores were closed.
What a monumental surprise it was, therefore, when the chain's owners expressed a traditional view of marriage, and opposed same-sex marriages. (As did a vast majority of Kentuckians who voted on a recent constitutional amendment; I was not one of them--for many reasons, chiefly that it attempted to write a particularly religious view into our Constitution which I felt was no place for it.)
The same-sex marriage crowd immediately seized upon this revealation, and feeling their oats, if not their wings and thighs, announced a boycott. Some U of L students petitioned the school to remove the Chick-Fil-A restaurant from the campus. The school announced it was studying its contract with the firm to see if that could be done.
Meadow muffins!
If the firm's owners'  right to free speech is to be jeapordized by economic repercussions and boycotts, then what does free speech mean?  Those who support same-sex marriage should reflect on that movement's recent history and how important it was that our traditions of free speech gave them an entre to the public and thus the ensuing national debate. Without the right to free speech the same-sex movement would not have advanced.
Does anyone here not remember how recently Lexington PROHIBITED many firms from doing business  on Sunday?  Most stores, including movies, could not open. Those were the "blue laws" and they were not fair because they wrote one particular set of religious beliefs into law.  Slowly courts threw them out. If any firm wants to close on Sunday, that's voluntary, which is the way it should be and never required by law.
There are religious groups that observe another day of the week as their Sabbath, and auto parts firm come to mind at once.
And BTW, a major pizza chain in town has views very similar to the Chick-fil-A owner. Shall we boycott him? When his firm first moved into my neighborhood I knew of his views, very different from my own, but I went to sample his product because the store was so close. I didn't like his pizza and that's why I seldom go there.
If we are going to start judging business firms by the beliefs of the owners, and not the quality of the product, we are acting contrary to the Spirit of America. Let the U of L study die an ignominious death; and if the same is tried at UK I hope the school will reaffirm its belief in free expression..which leaves the owners free to close on Sunday and others to not "eat mor chikin" all the rest of the week.
For carried to its logical extreme, we would eventually see stores with yellow crosses on them. Haven't we learned from the recent past so we don't have to repeat it?
I'm just sayin'...