Saturday, August 25, 2012


  Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11 Commander before launch
on July 16, 1969

(Cincinnati, OH – Aug. 25, 2012)  It is safe to say that there will never be another American man like Neil Armstrong.  Never again will we witness a man so dramatically step into the history books and then step so modestly, humbly, and gracefully back into his private life.  Mr. Armstrong shunned media attention, accolades, and notoriety with the same rigor he exhibited during his years as a decorated Navy fighter pilot and a poised, determined, incredibly brave and daring test pilot in the days before NASA.  In today’s self-promoting, in your face, media driven cult of celebrity, a man of such renown who chose not to capitalize on such a grand achievement would be an enigma; probably criticized and  hounded by the media.  Neil Armstrong lived with a quiet dignity that may seem alien to many today.

NASA officials saw the character and integrity of Mr. Armstrong. Breaking with established in-flight procedure that dictated the Commander of the Lunar Module, Buzz Aldrin, be the first to step foot on the moon, they determined that Armstrong was better suited for the enormity of the achievement if the mission was successful.  And was it ever.

In his role as Pilot of the Lunar Module (LEM) Mr. Armstrong guided the odd looking, flimsy craft through a never before explored environment, remained calm and focused as he scanned the Lunar horizon looking for a flat spot to set down as his fuel supply was within seconds of being exhausted.  His self-possession, confidence, courage and determination allowed him to complete a feat of aeronautic finesse that left the entire NASA organization and the millions viewing the global broadcast on Earth in awe.

As the descent began, Armstrong and Aldrin found that they were passing landmarks on the surface 4 seconds early and reported that they were "long": they would land miles west of their target point.

Five minutes into the descent burn, and 6,000 feet (1,800 m) above the surface of the Moon, the LM navigation and guidance computer distracted the crew with the first of several unexpected "1202" and "1201" program alarms. Inside Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas, computer engineer Jack Garman told guidance officer Steve Bales it was safe to continue the descent and this was relayed to the crew. The program alarms indicated "executive overflows", meaning the guidance computer could not complete all of its tasks in real time and had to postpone some of them.*

Perhaps those harrowing moments define Neil Armstrong better than his first steps on the Moon.  Clearly without his piloting abilities there would have been no “first steps” that day and possible not for years to come, if ever.

No one at NASA knew what Mr. Armstrong would say as he became the first human being to set foot on another celestial body in our solar system.  Many wondered what could possibly capture a moment of such enormity, of such profound human significance.  As he slowly made his way down the LEM ladder relating, step by step a description of what the almost zero gravity atmosphere felt like as well as his perceptions surveying the lunar landscape around him, he momentarily stopped to calmly inform Mission Control in Houston that, “I’m about to step off the LEM”.  And before the eyes of the world transfixed as this moment was broadcast live from another world, this humble man took a short hop and came to rest on the “very fined grained” surface, “almost like a powder” and through the crackling static that carried his voice through the void of space over 238,000 miles back to Earth, he uttered his famous line, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind".  His simple words will forever live as one of the most powerful and inspired quotes in history.  Only a man possessed of unique traits could have crafted such a poignant, elegant sentence to mark one of the greatest milestones not only for NASA, American ingenuity, engineering and scientific supremacy, sheer determination, resolve and spirit, but for the entire human race.

Mr. Armstrong and his fellow travelers, Command Module Pilot, Michael Armstrong and Aldrin, the second man to tread on the Moon, returned to Earth as conquering heroes and received every accolade and decoration the United States government and military had to offer.  They then went on a whirlwind world tour meeting heads of State from dozens of countries and accepting awards from each celebrating their remarkable journey.  Soon thereafter Mr. Armstrong quietly retired from NASA and took a teaching job at his alma mater, Purdue University.  Despite the avalanche of offers of all kinds that drowned him, he declined them all to resume his intensely private life and to live in virtual obscurity.  He did serve on the Board of Directors for several corporations most of which were in the aerospace industry but certainly never cashed in on his unique position.  Eventually he relocated to southern Ohio and taught in a small college outside Cincinnati.  It wasn’t until 2003 that he finally consented and allowed a book, the “authorized biography” to be written about him.  He cooperated in that project with author James R. Hansen and the book “First Man” was released in 2005.  It will forever be the definitive account of Neil Armstrong’s life.

For those of the Space Shuttle generation it may be difficult to fully appreciate the years of efforts across a broad range of scientific, engineering and military disciplines that culminated when the spindly-legged LEM touched down at the Sea of Tranquility.  They may not realize that there was a group of pioneers beginning with the famous “Mercury 7” some of whom were blasted into space atop unreliable military missiles, in small space “capsules” no larger than the interior of a VW Beetle.  Each launch was a first.  Each component of each system used in the program was novel. This was all done before the advent of the "computer age” by engineers armed only with slide rulers, brains and a broad vision of what could be.  Inspired by the young President John F. Kennedy who, addressed Congress in 1961 and stated the audacious challenge and goal to,  "Before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth."

And that we did.  On a rainy day in New York City during the long hot Summer of discontent that saw American society being torn asunder by the strains of the Viet Nam war, an unpopular draft, the battle to end segregation and for racial equality,  the upheavals of the women’s rights movement, the sexual revolution and a decreasing lack of trust in our government, Neil Armstrong embodied all that was good and able in our troubled Nation and made Americans of every race and creed proud to be Americans if only for that one brief shining moment when a young man from rural Ohio spoke to the entire world from our nearest astral neighbor, the Moon.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Armstrong. 


*Italicized except taken from Wikipedia:


Copyright The Brooding Cynyx 2012 © All Rights Reserved

Thursday, August 23, 2012


  Recent poll reveals 96.9% of Americans see Mitt Romney as a lying dick.
Same poll indicates people also think he looks like one.

(Bile Falls, Iowa – Aug. 23, 2012)  Things have not been going well for the presumptive Republican Presidential candidate lately.  Actually, things have not been going well for him for quite some time now.  Left as the last man standing after a nasty, protracted, expensive Republican primary, Ole Mitt has been in deep shit since he technically clinched the nomination.  Oddly, or maybe not so oddly, the bulk of the shit that has befallen the amazingly dysfunctional campaign of this tremendously inferior candidate has been of their own making.  Mitt has been a mass gaffe producer as well as a chronic liar, a serial ‘flip-flopper’ on virtually every policy and political issue of the day, and a man who most Americans now believe to be a dick.

Recent polling conducted nationwide by several major media outlets including The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, CBS,TBC, SOB, WTF, NPR and Gallop, convincingly demonstrate how poorly Romney is perceived among likely voters, undecided voters, likely to remain undecided voters and voters who are not really undecided they just say they are.  Romney also suffers from very high “unfavorable” ratings that only add to his lack of credibility problem with the electorate.

The TBC poll conducted last weekend asked the respondents to choose which term or phrase most accurately described their individual opinion of Mitt Romney.  Their choices were: a) phony, b) out of touch with reality rich guy, c) liar, d) tax cheat, e) buffoon, f) dick, g) spineless gutless imbecile, h) asshole, i) nice guy, j) strong leader or k) pandering blithering idiot.  By a wide margin the majority chose “dick” as their answer with “asshole”, “pandering blithering idiot” and “tax cheat” each tied with “liar” for second place.  Out of the 47, 598 people polled only 2 thought Romney was a “nice guy” while one drunken Mormon found staggering through a truck stop parking lot in Wendover Nevada said Mitt was a “real good guy”.

Despite state by state polling trends showing the Romney/Ryan ticket facing an increasingly steep uphill challenge, they continue to utilize their chosen tactics of lying, obfuscation, ignoring questions, denying their own records, and trying to confuse targeted segments of the public about the various positions they’ve each held on Medicaid, Medicare, tax policy, abortion, prickly heat, birth control, irritable bowel syndrome, and the separation of Church and State.  One long time GOP political hack, Charlie Black who worked for both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush commented, “Heck.  We thought we had our hands full with George W.  Sheet! Romney makes ole W look like a damned statesman, like a genius, like Newt Gingrich.  I’m sure glad I decided to sit this cycle out.”

It seems much of the voting public is still asking “Who is Mitt Romney”?  And with good reason.  He is the latest incarnation of a recent phenomenon in American politics: an independently wealthy professional candidate devoid of any ideology or core beliefs who seeks office just to seek office.   Having amassed a fortune as the founder, president and CEO of a Boston-based venture capital firm, Bain Capital, Mitt’s first foray into politics came in 1994 when he challenged bloated incumbent Senator and Democratic Party icon Ted Kennedy.  Kennedy being a liberal stalwart forced Romney to espouse positions on many issues merely for the sake of political expediency.  He tried to “out liberal” Kennedy on some policy positions while quickly tacking towards the right to court more ‘conservative’ voters (if there is such a rare breed in Massachusetts).  Due to his willingness to spend millions of his personal fortune to buy the Senate seat, he forced Kennedy into a tighter than expected race but was ultimately defeated.  

Based on his performance on the campaign trail and during interviews with the media outlets large and small, Mitt the Twit is apparently unable to answer any question no matter how narrow and specific with anything other than the most vague, innocuous, often imbecilic sound bites.  Harry Nevus the producer of Face the Nation on CBS noted, “In my experience covering presidential candidates since 1968, I can say without reservation that Mr. Romney is the most vacant, vapid intellect ever to seek the office.  He may have been an effective venture capitalist but boy is he ever dumb”.

Perhaps the pundits and public would not have such negative views about Mr. Romney if there was any hint he possessed some measure of honesty, integrity or scruples.  His talent for tailoring his position and message to suit whatever audience he’s speaking to and then, just hours later once again adopt a new position for a different audience is so grossly obvious that even jaded political observers are in awe of his malleability.  “He’s like the kid in High School who has it all and buys friends.  The other kids don’t really like him but since he has a nice car and money he’s willing to throw around, they hang out with him”, said Democratic pollster and former campaign adviser to Hillary Clinton, Mark Penn.  Penn continued, “It’s actually no surprise that Americans see him as a dick.  I see him as a dick as well”.

Among the hundreds of self-inflicted wounds the hapless, witless, nit witted GOP candidate has endured, probably one of the most damaging has been his absolute refusal to release more than one year of his income tax returns.  It has already been well documented that Romney enjoys the tax loopholes afforded to those with Swiss bank accounts and other off shore financial havens such as the Cayman Islands.  His proposals – extremely vague and flimsy as they may be – have been assessed by many nonpartisan entities and unanimously found to be very favorable to the wealthiest Americans while inflicted economic hardship on middle class working Americans and the elderly, disabled, un- and underemployed citizens.  Hugh R. Fistula, the Communications Director for the Elderly Alliance To Stop Upper Peptic Syndrome (EATSUPS) commented, “Most of the EATSUPS sufferers are reliant on Medicare and Medicaid.  With the cuts in those federal programs a Romney/Ryan administration would seek, I think we’d see a skyrocketing number of deaths from this dreaded disease.  It gives me gas just thinking about it”.


 Copyright TheBroodingCynyx 2012 © All Rights Reserved