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one small step for A man September 30, 2006

Posted by Retired Geezer in Travel.

I entered this comment in the Travel category, cause that’s just how I roll.

High-tech detective work apparently has found the missing “a” in one of the most famous phrases ever spoken.

Astronaut Neil Armstrong’s first words from the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969, now can be confidently recast, according to the research, as, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Even though Neil Armstrong always claimed that he said the “a”, doubters had claimed that he botched his line.

High-tech analysis may rewrite space history


1. Bart - September 30, 2006

Are these the same “high-tech detectives/scientists” who recently revealed the Earth-shattering news about Mona Lisa being pregnant or post-pregnancy at the time of her portrait?

2. Wickedpinto - September 30, 2006

I have an uncle who’s one of those school kids in the 50’s that said “I wanna fly to the moon” and recieved some sort of mockery (he told me that story no shit.) He was well off growing up, he married my aunt (this woman in her youth was fucking gorgeous, she’s the one who’s my blood relation) who was as poor john kerry’s recollections of cambodia. Before they got married he was about to join the AF, backed out cuz of her, and decided he’d serve if he was drafted. He fell in love with the sky.

This uncle was one of the men who truly loved kennedy, his politics were more like ikes, but he loved kennedy cuz it was kennedy who promised this nation the moon. He married my aunt, and a few years later he walked away from the family business ( a bunch of local gas stations (BIG OIL!)) to make his way on his own. He became a repair tech for IBM, later a tech, and then a programmer. Once he was comfortable in the life he built for himself with my aunt, and with his job, he took up a hobby.

this man built a fucking airplane, I guess they weren’t that uncommon back then, but he built a kit airplane using a volkwagon engine from a beetle. He loves the sky, he maintains his liscense though he doesn’t fly anymore for recreation, and I know that he would give anything to touch the moon. (rather heinleinien minus the bizarre sex thing which I don’t wanna think about, since he’s married to my mothers sister)

He celebrates the day of the moon landing as though it’s a holiday, and I was at his house one time when he was doing just that, and he was sharing his story from grade school, and the stories of his dreams as a young man, and his dreams as an old man hoping that he could one day touch space. I, being who I am, asked what the hell the quote meant, and then he didn’t get angry, he’s not that kinda man (I always say “Uncle John is the kinda guy who can be wearing greasy cover-alls but you swear to god he’s actually in a smoking jacket tucking a pipe, and discussing opera,” cuz thats how this man is) but he got very animated, and corrected the quote, exactly as you describe, and he said that there was an interuption.

As far as unc is concerned? Every member of the mercury, gemini and apollo missions should be on rushmore. And I haven’t spoken with him, but I bet that if there is proof of this, he is prolly smiling.

My unc is an even better man than gary.

3. Wickedpinto - September 30, 2006

Oh, I forgot to include this part of irony in the story, though I meant to get back to it, thats why I mentioned my aunt.

My aunt is affraid of heights, ALL! heights, as in won’t get into an elevator kinda affraid of heights, and her husband builds a plane, flew planes, and would do everything in the world BUT leave my aunt alone to worry if he were to be allowed to touch the moon.

If I gets me the cash somehow, I wanna ask my aunt or my cousins, if we could get together and do one of those sagan burials for my unc, when the time comes. He’s an atheist, but I think he would appreciate the sentiment, and I would appreciate being allowed to offer the effort.

4. Michael - September 30, 2006

WIckedpinto, if you keep this up you will lose your hard-earned reputation as a whackjob. I’m just warning you.

5. Wickedpinto - September 30, 2006

This is WHY I’m a whackjob mike.

I’m nothing compared to the people I have known, and in truth I don’t wanna be, I don’t wanna compete with people as good and great as my uncle, or another uncle, or gary, or a boss, or others.

It’s better that the world learn about them, the people right under their noses that make this whole world better just by having existed.

6. Bart - September 30, 2006

Go to snopes.com/quotes and click the link for the recording.

Listen to it carefully. Armstrong has always maintained that he said it correctly. The “a” is not audible. But neither is the “g-” in “giant.” Nobody is claiming that Armstrong said “iant” instead of “giant.”

And the long pause in the middle is very interesting. I’m no expert, but transmitting from outer space back in 1969 was bound to have some glitches. The pause can be an anamoly, which means that if a pause (a delay in transmission) can appear when there was no pause in Armstrong’s speech, then it is entirely possible that the “a” simply disappeared in a moment of accelerated transmission.

However, the pause could also indicate that Armstrong realized that he had just fucked up the first part of his line and was making sure that he didn’t ruin the rest of it.

7. kevlarchick - September 30, 2006

Wait a minute. I thought that data–the original film or audio, was “lost” by NASA.

WP, your uncle sounds like a cool, eccentric, brilliant man. Must run in the family.

8. Wickedpinto - September 30, 2006


he might have fucked up, but I think he said it. Odds are that he realized that he was about to do something that only a couple years before was still thought impossible, and nearly shat himself, so he went autonomicaly sotto voce’ in his “a man” and realized to himself “I’m that man, holy fucking shit, I’m that man!” and whispered it. I haven’t been to combat, I haven’t been a test pilot, but if I was going to represent the legacy of all humanity in a single broken sentence as I did something that no man had ever done, at even remotely equal the risk. . . .

Those men on that day weren’t individuals they stood for an entire species, and specificaly an entire nation at that one moment when niel touched the dust of a nearby planet, I can forgive them their butterflies. . . .even if he didn’t get the line exactly right, even if he didn’t sound like huey long, but as long as everyone knew what he was saying, that was enough. On that day, The world shrank, it didn’t become “flat” as the stupid friedman comparisson states, it shrak. On that day, we were all human, we were all creatures from the earth, and we could touch worlds outside the earth.

All of those men, everyone, even Gus who gets WAY TOO BAD A RAP! looked into the sky, and they saw it’s infinate potential and beauty, and were able to stand as symbols of those stars, and planets and parlay that into a fundamental understanding of just who we are as people, specificaly A people.

It is our destiny to touch the stars, not just the moon,or mars, we will, one day, touch them all, and the first step was taken by niel armstrong on that day.

9. Wickedpinto - September 30, 2006

The one about my moniker was solicited, this one wasn’t.

I’ve been thinking about unc a lot, he’s been in kinda iffy health, and it was just nice for me to speak of him before it’s too late, I just, thought.

10. Wickedpinto - October 1, 2006

I’m sorry, I’m not doing this to take control of the thread, it’s just that I started to think about my uncle.

11. Uncle Carl - October 1, 2006

Dont start in on me again boy. You best back off if you know whats good for you.

One more story full of evil lies about your poor uncles and im going to have to beat you with a bible and lock you in the closet like i did when you asked me about the birds and the bees.

12. Wickedpinto - October 1, 2006

As I grew up there were only two groups of aunt and uncle and children that we would share christmas with, both of them were aunts from my mothers side. Myself and my brother were isolated from my fathers side, even though if you take my mother and fathers immediate family into consideration I had 14 direct blood relatives in the aunt and uncle status, but I only spent time with 2 Aunts, and their husbands, both aunts were on my mothers side.

My uncle john, an adopted/married uncle to my aunt was without a doubt our favorite, he treated myself and my brother as stupid adults, and his goal was to teach us, and we were always enamored by his speach, cuz uncle john was one of those cold blooded “do what you need to do” kinda guys, but as soon as he cared about something personaly, or he was touching on something that we could use, he made a point of teaching us (I knew what a computer was when I was 6 years old, even though NOONE! had home computers, including him)

Later, when I was in “middle school” in indiana, 6th grade, I attended a school more than 2 miles from where I lived, and I walked home. On my way home I would deliberately walk by my uncle johns house, and also aunti “A’s” house, same house, and I would knock on the door, so that I could relax after my walk. At first they were surprised, but later it was common, and my unc john, when I was 9 ( I was 9 years old in 6th grade) Auntie A would sit me down and let me watch the television (she had a larger screen than my parents did) but soon uncle john would come home, and Unc would let me visit the basement, where he had one of the old “light” beam gun games, which bored me, and then he would show me his computer.

I had a commodore vic 20, and 64, and an amiga, but I think I was 13 when I got my first IBM compat.

Uncle john would show me his computer, which was a company computer he was given for the purposes of practice, he was all about pascal, pascal, I remember that word leaving his mouth so many times.

Anyways, the gun game, which was very nintendo in setup, was boring, but unc john showed me FIRST one of the original flight sims, and it took me more time to calibrate the analog joystic that I was allowed to play. Then after I got bored with the flight simm, he showed me all kinds of little games, some of them were puzzles, some of them were mazes, and then later I found out that he made them!!!!

MY UNCLE?!?!?!??! Me a kid from the grey nothingness of Indiana was allowed to be one of only a few people (his children, himself, and then me) to play something that I loved playing! He also made a bunch of small math games, he created a game called “traffic controller” that I loved, cuz the speed and . . .. well anyways, it’s a bitch to play, and my uncle made it.

I would stop off at the house regularly, I wasn’t one of those jerky kids, I liked helping my aunt cook, and shit, I even liked doing chores! Believe it or not? Kids love that shit. Trust a kid with something, and that kid will not let you down, and if they do? they will almost always let you down. Kids LOVE being usefull.

Anyways, I would visit aunt and unc, and unc would start to talk about all kinds of things none of them I can remember now, cuz none of it is applicable other than one thing “the answer is almost always obvious (wickedpinto) look for it, or stop looking for it, but find it” This is before or about 1986, I’m being lectured on troubleshooting computers, and I fell in love. The next near I took all my savings from my paper route and I spent too much money on a computer.

My mother told my uncle that I bought an IBM compat (actually an IBM) and my unc said “you should have told me I could have helped him, he prolly spent too much” My mother responded, honestly “he wanted to do it on his own and earn your respect”

Unc was there from day one, he gave me a co-processor (which I guess was a bigdeal for the old 8088’s.) he gave me software, and instead of me visiting him to learn? he started to visit me to teach. I was a lousy student, I was too busy staring at the man I saw as something akin to Elvis or the Beatles were I my parents.

I learned my lesson, I fucked up, and my computer was only usable cuz my unc put it in order. A few years later IBM moved to Florida, and Unc moved with them, and C with it’s object orientation was just released as a fast language, so unc had to research it. The man read a book, shortley before, and during the drive up here from florida, installed a compiler on my piece of shit computer, and he made a game for me. He also left the book so that I could read it, and learn.

Thats who Uncle john is in basic, whatever he learns, whatever he knows? he doesn’t think he’s the only one that can learn or understand or know, he wants everyone else to, and he does a great job of it.

I wouldn’t be typing right now, on this blog, as a drunken crazy lunatic fool, if it werent for my uncle john. He. . .

He uh, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer about 4 years ago and was in remission, but he’s lost a lot of weight recently, so we all think that he and his wife (my blood aunt) are holding out on us, so his adopted children, and my brother and I are very concerned, because Uncle John NEVER treated us as a burden, even when I would pop in randomly on my way home from school, he was a wonderful, and brilliant man.

I love that man damn near as I love my father, but I don’t see unc’s faults. EVERYONE deserves a man like my uncle John, and he and my aunt couldn’t have children of their own. They adopted, and I think that we all lose that there isn’t a trace of eithers genes left, I hope my cuz’s (not likely) live up to their example.

13. Retired Geezer - October 1, 2006

he created a game called “traffic controller” that I loved,

Was that game on the C-64?
I loved that game. I played it during the time I ran the lights.
I liked the fast that it wasn’t a fast twitch game, it was a fast thinking game.

14. Retired Geezer - October 1, 2006

fast = fact

15. Wickedpinto - October 1, 2006

Sorry, Like I said, I’m just kinda tied up with the thoughts of unc.

I love that man, and knowing that he is not long with “us” actually me, hurts so deaply. I KNOW I won’t cry at my fathers funeral, nor at my mothers. I will tear up like a little bitch, but I won’t cry or weep. The loss of my unc isn’t just the passing of my unc, it is the loss of someone who could have, SHOULD have been a national treasure. I won’t be able to stand upright at unc’s funeral, and in my cowardice, I hope I am far away unable to see him like that. I don’t ever want to remember unc john as anything more than the man who holds himself like the sherlocke holmes of modern and classical knowledge.

He will always be the man lecturing me about the meaning of javerts obsession, or the emotional strength of opera, or the attitude of musicals like “royal wedding” while he immediately follows up with the importance of seeing the importance of influence over cause when it comes to troubleshooting.

That man was basicaly everything that I have experienced yet, only he knew and lived, and grew, and I just know.

If I don’t get a chance to say it, I hope he knows how much I love him, and envy him, and how sorry I am that I am not like him.

(this isn’t prose, or BS story telling, it’s a real thought, I can’t tell my brother, or my father or anyone I know we are all too urbane, and selfish, I just chose to share it here because, thankfully, NOW Unc has a validation of one of his passions.) Yes unc, it WAS! one small step for A man. Yes.

Sorry. (right back to the “flat fucking crazy” but I don’t care)

16. Wickedpinto - October 1, 2006

Geezer was it a 3 collumn game? one collumn with the assigned paths, on the left, the center was the open map, the right was an assigned landing path?

17. Wickedpinto - October 1, 2006

let me correct. . .. .

A CREATOR! But lets not take that shit away.

18. Retired Geezer - October 1, 2006

Geezer was it a 3 collumn game?

No, it was a graphic game. You had icons of planes and you had to land them in Atlanta (or New York) and keep them out of each other’s airspace.

19. Michael - October 1, 2006

Kids LOVE being usefull.

When my kids were little, I was lucky to have a neighbor named George. He was an older man who had a union job in a GM plant, had nearly-adult children, and was a genius about little kids. I learned from him. My five-year-old son would be missing, for example, and I would look over the fence and see him raking leaves with George. George had a tiny kid-sized rake for him, and my son would be busting his ass raking leaves with George.

George was an interesting guy. He could build or fix anything, and he had intellectual interests that ranged from archeology to Bigfoot. I’ve never had a better neighbor.

20. Wickedpinto - October 1, 2006

Insty had a post about 2 months ago about the “take your kids to work day” and his wife had a matching post.

the post was “PUT YOUR KIDS TO WORK day”

Kids LOVE acting like adults even in the most menial sense.

21. Michael - October 1, 2006

I’m going to bed, Mr. Flat Fucking Crazy.

22. Wickedpinto - October 1, 2006

I have a story about my neighbor Mr Johston, who was AWESOME, he taught me how to harvest pine seeds, and he was a bee keeper, and a home brewer.

I will hold that cuz of my unc.

23. Wickedpinto - October 1, 2006

Now, I’m stabilized, and., UCLE CARL!!!!

Some years ago, there was a prefix, for kiddy porn, that used “uncle carl ‘X'” for it’s hidden form. I was downloading some porn at the time, but I found the “uncle carl” prefix by downloading FUCKING Dr. WHO shows.

I don’t blame you, but the old method of hiding kiddy porn, that used “uncle carl” as a formate of exclusive kiddy porn. . . . . terrorized me.

24. Wickedpinto - October 1, 2006

I was wrong for laying shit on you without explanation, but now you HAVE THAT EXPLANATION!

25. Beth - October 1, 2006

Hey, the moon landing was FAKE!

Haven’t you heard?? Well, YouTube commenters told me so!

WP, I’m with your uncle about those guys being on Mount Rushmore. They are the greatest American heroes.

26. If Amish is gonna get his balls blown off for a word, his word is 'Moon Tang' - October 1, 2006

Nasa not only screwed up the “a” sound with their primitive 1960s technology, they also edited out the “F” in Neils second most famous phrase Good (L)uck Mr Gorsky!

Thanks Nixon.

Oh and Beth? The moon landing was faked. Heres the video that proves it.

27. Wickedpinto - October 4, 2006

I tend to write things down, that I can’t say.

Basicaly, I just wrote my eulogy for my uncle john. I hope I need never speak it. I truly love that man. The thought of losing him DESTROYS me, and I’m barely able to see the screen cuz I don’t EVER want to witness or deliver the words I just wrote. I’ve said it. I’m a crude fool, I’m just fortunate enough to know GREAT people. I can’t imagine a world without my uncle john.

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