Tag Archive: Neil Armstrong


“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.” – President-elect Barack Obama

America did it.

Ten years ago — the anniversary is a week from tomorrow, Sunday, November 4 — Americans performed the once unthinkable political/societal miracle: They overwhelmingly elected an African-American as the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama.

Americans were once again globally seen as an exceptional and extraordinary country. We seemingly put aside our deep-seeded divisions to elect a visionary with a unifying message of hope and change.

Sorry for those who refer to America as “This Nation:” — your favorites, Denmark, Norway and Sweden — all monarchies — are not exceptional nations and never will be. Once again the USA proved to the world it’s the Land of Opportunity, and yes an extraordinary country.

Two months later, a record crowd turned up in Washington D.C. to watch Obama put his hand on the Bible. Sorry Donald, the size of your inaugural crowd was not even close.

Looking back one decade later, Almost DailyBrett must rhetorically ask:

What happened to the Hope? What happened to the Change? What happened …?

To many it seems that racism and hatred has steadily increased and mutated since 2008, when 69.4 million Americans cast their votes for Barack Obama (e.g., 365 electoral votes).

Ditto four years later, when 65.9 million Americans re-elected Obama (e.g., 332 electoral votes) to the White House.

Maybe Obama’s comfortable election/re-election against War Hero U.S. Senator John McCain and successful former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney respectively were not championed in all quarters … some on the right … some on the left.

Those with ongoing political agendas, based upon leveling charges of racism to intimidate dissent, were seemingly perplexed when an African American was elected to the highest office of the land.

Were the North vs. South battles over, and the war… won?

Some may have rhetorically asked: “How can we continue to charge, accuse and allege racism when 60 million-plus Americans – the majority of these voters were not black – went to the polling place or by mail and twice elected Obama by wide margins?”

Consider what happened to NASA when First Man Neil Armstrong was successfully placed on the Moon and safely returned?

Ponder what happened to the Anti-War Movement when American pulled out of Vietnam?

Weigh what happened to the Civil Rights Movement when Obama was elected president?

What’s next?

Wars Intensified To The Glee Of Some

“Race relations have arguably become more polarized and tenser since 20 January 2009. Though smaller in scale and scope, the demonstrations sparked by police shootings of unarmed black men were reminiscent of the turbulence of the 1960s.” – Nick Bryant, BBC New York correspondent

Polarization pervades our politics.

Obamacare passed with precisely zero Republican votes.

Tax reform passed with precisely zero Democratic votes.

Tribalization spread to our streets and ball fields. Mobs are roaming. They are angry and way too many times, violent.

The unfamiliar became familiar: the names/places including Treyvon Martin, Ferguson, Flint, Baltimore, Dallas, Antifa, Colin Kaepernick … became topics for the dinner table and even fighting in the streets.

More than ever, those who dared offer a different opinion, are/were labeled as “racists,” “misogynistic,” “homophobic,” “privileged,” “transphobic” …

Many on our hyper campuses became venues in which Unmensch with other points of view were charged with “micro-aggressions,” requiring “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces.”

The November 4, 2008 Spirit of Hope and Change is long gone after just one short decade, compelling one to ask: “Did it ever really exist?”

Many of these subsequent events (e.g., Treyvon Martin shooting) listed by Almost DailyBrett came before Donald Trump.

Did the lost promise of Hope and Change/corresponding rise of über Political Correctness prompt many of the 62 million to go to the polls and cast ballots on behalf of change agent, Donald Trump?

Hatred: The New Norm?

“I really worry that someone is going to be killed and that those who are ratcheting up the conversation … they have to realize that they bear some responsibility if this elevates to violence.” — Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky)

Senator Paul was on the same local baseball diamond when bullets flew and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) was shot, and almost killed. And just this past week, pipe bombs were sent to former and present Democratic office holders. Shots rang out today in a Pittsburgh Synagogue. Don’t even want to think, what’s next?

In the meantime, Almost DailyBrett has seen and experienced negative media before … but never to this extent. We are in unchartered waters, bringing into question what legacy/digital journalism means anymore?

Any positive news from the White House – no matter the subject or how it’s presented — is immediately turned in a dark direction by Oppositional Journalism.

The two tribes are polarized as never before. The other side of the aisle can’t cross the street to have a bite to eat without drawing ferocious protesters.

Civility? What civility?

How can we get back to the best hopes and eternal optimism, which characterized the legacies of Kennedy and Reagan?

We went to the moon. The wall came down. Kennedyesque and Reaganesque hope and change worked regardless of party.

Were we better citizens back then? Maybe so.

More to the point: Can we ever get back to the glimmering hopeful moments on November 8, 2008, when even politically charged allegations of “racism,” were given a rest …  at least for one evening?

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/11/04/obama.transcript/

https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-the-left-cant-let-go-of-racism-1503868512

https://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/05/us/politics/05campaign.html

http://www.pewresearch.org/2008/11/13/postelection-perspectives/

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38536668

https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/410610-rand-paul-on-political-climate-i-really-worry-that-someone-is-going-to-be

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/oppositional-journalism/

 

 

 

 

“A hippie is someone who looks like Tarzan, walks like Jane, and smells like Cheetah.” – Ronald Reagan

The author of Almost DailyBrett was asked recently whether he ever contemplated becoming … (gasp) a hippie.

Looking like Tarzan? Walking like Jane? Smelling like Cheetah?

Yours truly? Are you serious?

That interrogative took about two nanoseconds of personal processing capability to respond. The answer was negative: Never ever thought of this unpleasant prospect.

Which brings up the next question: Why is anyone an aging hippie today?

The glories of 1968, which ironically ended with the election of Richard Milhous Nixon, were 50 years ago.

Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones and Jim Morrison were still alive.

The Vietnam War was raging … Mercifully, it ended 42 years ago.

It’s time to let go. No, it’s way past time to let go.

To some their greatest days were sitting naked in the rain and mud a mile from the amplifiers at Woodstock even though they couldn’t hear Alvin Lee and Ten Years After, let alone see the stage. Woodstock was a “celebration” in 1969, Altamont, less so.

Maybe there are some who still wax nostalgic about being arrested for attempting to burn down the administration building? Or maybe they thought they were incarcerated? Details, details.

Volkswagen is trying to resurrect those magical days with its Joe Cocker ad (“With a Little Help from My Friends”) in order to remind the aging hippies about love vans with wood paneling and cramped VW bugs. These vehicles had no guts then, and who would really buy one now?

Isn’t it time to grow up, wake up and smell the Geritol?

Celebrating Communal Misery?

“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries” – Winston Churchill

Your author winces when he hears accounts of those who excitedly scan for throwaways on the other side of the street … in 21st Century America.

… Or those who don’t have two shekels to rub together, based on their own bad decisions. They choose and cherish the hippy lifestyle, and for some reason want others to join them in … poverty.

They still hold grudges against America for the Vietnam misadventure. They are jealous of entrepreneurs and all of those who overachieve in life, even though they themselves have the mental horse power/ talent to build their own personal success stories.

There is always an excuse for not going to college, for not attaining a degree, for not pursuing that five-figure position … not just a job … with full benefits, for not saving anything for retirement.

Instead of sirloin, chicken, pork and fish, there are beans, sprouts, kale and tofu followed by more beans, sprouts, kale and tofu. Doesn’t the same old, same old … get old?

They worship at the altar of Darwinism and rail against Climate Change, but vaccinating their kids to combat diseases of the ages …? Guess there are sciences that find favor and those that don’t.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Isn’t there a need to finally acknowledge the hippie era is dead and buried? Some are attempting to resurrect the tie-dyed nostalgia, which wasn’t that good in reality.

Almost DailyBrett is unafraid to embrace the desire for the good things of life: a wonderful spouse, a comfy house, a decent paying intellectually challenging job with full benefits, a Wall Street portfolio and his health … at least for now.

When it comes to Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll, two out of three ain’t bad. To an aging hippie getting stoned was a ticket to Nirvana way back then and apparently now as well. Isn’t it time to move on?

For some odd reason, Almost DailyBrett was instead celebrating Neil Armstrong walking on the Moon and implanting the red, white and blue on the lunar surface. Some things change, some things don’t.

Ronald Reagan has been described as “The Counterculture to the Counterculture.” Taking a few moments to move past the era of The Gipper … As we contemplate the opioid epidemic, one-third of all American working age males voluntarily not working, and way too many still detesting the last great hope for the world (e.g., America).

… Is it any wonder … the dishes are still piled up in the sink?

https://brians.wsu.edu/2016/05/19/hippie-hippy/

http://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/volkswagen-takes-a-trip-back-to-the-1960s-in-nostalgic-ad-saluting-its-free-spirited-owners/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/wildfires-scorched-marijuana-crops-possibly-complicating-californias-rollout-of-legal-sales/2017/10/20/037d36a4-b41b-11e7-be94-fabb0f1e9ffb_story.html?undefined=&utm_term=.e4621d716d1f&wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/the-permanency-of-altamont/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/07/06/the-worst-generation/

 

 

 

“A slave stood behind the conqueror holding a golden crown and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting.” – General George S. Patton

A happy problem, but still a dilemma, for organizations/movements/great leaders, who have just achieved long-sought landmark accomplishments, is: What will you do for an encore?

For championship college and professional sports teams the answer is relatively easy to state, harder to achieve: repeat. The Chicago Blackhawks are tasked with skating the Stanley Cup for the fourth time in seven seasons next spring. The Golden State Warriors are faced with the challenge of winning back-to-back NBA titles, something that has never occurred in the franchise’s mostly desultory history.

[UNVERIFIED CONTENT] Gay-rights activists gathered outside of the Supreme Court on the morning when the Court handed down its decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.

[UNVERIFIED CONTENT] Gay-rights activists gathered outside of the Supreme Court on the morning when the Court handed down its decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.

For the same-sex marriage movement the June 26 Supreme Court ruling, legalizing the right of gay people to marry, was made by a razor-thin 5-4 Obergefell v. Hodges decision. The impact nonetheless was 50-0 as every state is immediately and permanently required to permit the performing of same-sex unions, and to recognize their legality regardless of where or how (e.g., civil, religious) they occur.

The next question, which has already been posed by The New York Times and others, for the successful civil rights campaign, is what comes next? The answer will come in the form of celebrating a great political and society victory (e.g., Pride Parades). Eventually, the cheering will subside and the reality of everyday life and the challenge of American politics returns. Now what? Certainly, there is the continued necessity of protecting hard-earned rights and preventing discrimination, and that makes sense; still the question must be posed:

What comes next?

This is an easy question to pose, much more difficult to answer … and with it, the dilemma that has vexed organizations, movements and great characters throughout the course of history.

“One Small Step for Man; One Giant Leap for Mankind”

Let’s face it: NASA has not been the same since 1969.armstrongmoon

Neil Armstrong defied death, and made it to-and-from the moon with far less computing power than can be found in a modern-day smart phone. The first man on the moon had his ticker tape parade upon returning to Mother Earth. His place in the history books is cemented. Undoubtedly, his obits had already been written by the day the Grim Reaper came-a-calling in 2012.

In the face of competing budgetary demands and $18 trillion in record red ink and counting at $3.3 billion per day at the federal level, NASA has become just another agency with a huge public relations problem as it must justify its existence in the absence of any realistic plans to put humans on other planets anytime soon.

The current edition of National Geographic has a cover story about NASA, the New Horizons spacecraft, and hopefully the first ever photos of Pluto, expected on July 14. Checking out the last planet of the solar system is cool, but Armstrong walking on the moon was legendary.

Gone are the days of John F. Kennedy and the Cold War competition and the call to put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Yes, we won that technology contest against the Soviet Union, and just 22 years after Armstrong walked on the moon, the USSR collapsed. Russia has hardly bothered us since then.

Not as momentous as the Supreme Court’s landmark decision on same-sex marriage or Neil Armstrong walking on the moon was an accomplishment dear to the heat of the author of Almost DailyBrett: The opening of the long closed Japan market to foreign designed-and-manufactured semiconductors, including those originating from Silicon Valley.siliconwafer

In my tenure as the director of communications for the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) and later as the director of corporate public relations for LSI Logic, yours truly worked for three years on this contentious issue.

At one time, Japan was in its ascendancy having driven Intel Corporation out of the DRAM (dynamic random access memory) market, a technology Intel actually invented. The U.S. semiconductor industry was being ushered into oblivion in the 1980s by Japan Inc.’s “Business is War” practices, the same fate that fell upon America’s pioneering color-TV industry.

The SIA and its members worked with Washington D.C. to stop predatory pricing or dumping of Japanese chips below cost, and finally pried open the Japanese market in 1996. The opening of  Japan and the decades-long recession eased the Japanese competitive threat. The U.S. industry achieved a great victory, but then … you guessed it … the question ensued: What was next for the SIA and its members?

Just like NASA, the SIA has tried one gambit after another to recapture its sense of purpose. The problem is that without an overriding issue (e.g., man on the moon, opening the Japan market), organizations and even individuals (e.g., General Patton when World War II ended) in many cases are never the same again.pattonscott

The war has been won. The cheering has subsided. The reality of what have you done lately ensues. An organization’s, movement’s, leader’s raison d’etre is no longer certain. A new public relations challenge comes to the forefront with no easy answers.

Some organizations, movements and leaders have successfully met the challenge of victory, while others face internal dissension as they struggle to come up with an answer to precisely what they should do for Act II.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/gay-marriage-and-other-major-rulings-at-the-supreme-court/2015/06/25/ef75a120-1b6d-11e5-bd7f-4611a60dd8e5_story.html?wpisrc=nl_evening&wpmm=1

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/28/us/gay-rights-leaders-push-for-federal-civil-rights-protections.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&_r=0

http://www.biography.com/people/neil-armstrong-9188943

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/632929-for-over-a-thousand-years-roman-conquerors-returning-from-the

 

 

 

“Just me and him in a room for 10 minutes.” – John Roseboro talking about Juan Marichal shortly after being clobbered in a bat-swinging brawl in 1965

MarichalRoseboro2

“There were no hard feelings on my part, and I thought if that was made public, people would believe that this was really over with. So I saw him at a Dodger old-timers’ game, and we posed for pictures together, and I actually visited him in the Dominican (Republic). The next year, he was in the Hall of Fame. Hey, over the years, you learn to forget things.” – Roseboro talking about forgiving Marichal

“(Roseboro) forgiving (me) was one of the best things that happened in my life.” – Juan Marichal eulogizing John Roseboro in 2002

Fifty years ago was the Year of “Satisfaction.”

NASA’s Project Gemini was paving the way for Neil Armstrong to walk on the Moon just four years later.

1965 was also the year that San Francisco pitcher Juan Marichal frightenly clobbered Los Angeles catcher John Roseboro on the head with a baseball bat.

The author of Almost DailyBrett was only 10 years-young at the time, and still remembers this August 22 brawl as if it was just yesterday.

Contemplating the incident a half-century later, one can easily conclude that Roseboro, who had every reason to hold an eternal grudge against Marichal, was a better human being than the vast majority of us.

Juan Marichal Hitting Catcher John Roseboro

He was not only willing to forgive; he even flew his family to the Dominican Republic to spend time with Marichal and his family. Maybe San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers fans can learn something from this story. Baseball is only a game and sometimes emotions get high, but what is really important in life?

And when Roseboro eventually succumbed to a series of strokes and prostate cancer in 2002, the Roseboro family wanted Marichal, “The “Dominican Dandy” to not only be one of the pallbearers at catcher’s funeral service, but to actually deliver one of the eulogies.

In these days of institutional gridlock and permanent feuding, maybe we should contemplate Roseboro’s remarkable willingness to forgive, although he certainly never forgot. He was hit on the head with a baseball bat, an act that potentially could have been fatal … and yet …he was the bigger man.

Why Are We So Easily Offended?

“Love is patient, love is kind … it keeps no record of wrongs.” — 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

”Johnny, Johnny, I’m so sorry.” – Willie Mays Serving as a Peacemaker immediately following the bat-swinging brawl

Writing Almost DailyBrett in many ways is the equivalent of walking across a mine field.

You know deep down inside that one of these incendiary devices (e.g., blog posts) will go boom and pow now and then. The subject could be relatively benign, such as the choice of gluten free foods or more serious including: graduate teaching fellows going on strike; widowers daring to date again and without forgetting the dearly departed; or even preferring to go to the Rose Bowl over a family gathering.

It seems as if Hatfield’s vs. McCoy’s-style of feuding and pettiness is way too prevalent in our society with perpetual keeping of score of real and perceived transgressions. For Roseboro, he knew what Marichal inflicted on him in the heat of battle, and yet he was not only willing to forgive he developed a lifetime friendship with Marichal and his family.

Remembering a Better Man

“I wish I could have had John Roseboro as my catcher.” – Marichal speaking at Roseboro’s funeral in 2002

You wouldn’t blame Marichal for being humbled, and a little bit sheepish delivering the eulogy at the service commemorating the life of John Roseboro.MarichalRoseboro1

Roseboro had every reason for a lifelong beef against Marichal. And yet he realized the brawl was keeping Marichal out of the Baseball Hall of Fame. He (Roseboro) knew that sending the signal that the brawl was history was the way to ensure that Marichal was enshrined in Cooperstown.

How many of us would do that? How many of us are not on speaking terms with a wide variety of people, and for what reason? Can we even remember?

Maybe Doris Day had it right: “Que Sera, Sera”, (Whatever will be, will be).

Or better yet, Roseboro had it right. Pathos subsides. Time moves on. Life is too short. Make peace. Enjoy our limited time on Earth.

Sounds like good advice to all of us, including the author of Almost DailyBrett.

http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/24368857/two-amazing-photos-of-famous-juan-marichaljohn-roseboro-brawl

https://miscbaseball.wordpress.com/2009/07/21/the-fight-between-juan-marichal-and-john-roseboro/

http://www.sfgate.com/sports/knapp/article/40-years-later-The-Fight-resonates-in-a-positive-2646178.php#page-2

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/20/sports/john-roseboro-a-dodgers-star-dies-at-69.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/magnanimous-in-victory-gracious-in-defeat/

http://www-pao.ksc.nasa.gov/history/gemini/gemini.htm

 

 

 

“Made damn sure that Pilate washed his hands and sealed his fate … (bin Laden would have used his signature Kalashnikov).”

Watching Bill O’Reilly’s interview with ABC religion commentator Father Edward L. Beck last Wednesday just days after the Navy Seals sealed the fate of Osama bin Laden, my parochial school experiences came roaring back at me…and not in a good way.

FatherBeck

Beck with his sanctimonious and holier-than-thou-art attitude reminded this product of 12 years of Catholic school of how obstinate the nuns and the priests were to any and all new game-changing information that flew in the face of their entrenched orthodoxy. Certainly, it is important to have core values that should stand the test of time…but there are circumstances that can alter the philosophical and political landscape and can alter it rapidly. The shooting of bin Laden is a perfect example.

Father Beck has a problem with Americans publicly celebrating the victory of good over evil in the form of the ultimate demise of bin Laden.

O’REILLY: “Was bin Laden evil?”

BECK: “That’s not for me to judge. His actions were certainly were evil –“

O’REILLY: “Not for you to judge?”

BECK: “His actions certainly were evil and they caused a lot of harm and disruption.”

O’REILLY:” So you can’t as a human being make a determination on good and evil? You cannot do that?”

BECK: “No, I think that’s up God to ultimately decide who’s evil.”

Sorry Father Beck, but you just reminded me why I am a fallen Catholic. I paid my dues and have the scars to prove it listening to people just like you, who are just better than me. If I didn’t believe that, I would just ask you…You would tell me, wouldn’t you? Sure you would.

In my humble opinion, a game changer is one of those few-and-far-between moments that you remember where you were, and what you were doing when you heard the news. I remember where I was when JFK was assassinated, when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, when the airplanes hit the World Trade Center and Pentagon and last week when the news flashed that the Navy Seals had taken out bin Laden. These were all game changers in my life.

Another game changer (at least a political game changer) involving a Kalashnikov occurred on a Stockton (CA) school ground back in 1987. A man by the name of Patrick Purdy had a fully loaded Chinese-made AK-47 in his hands. Within minutes he fired at least 106 bullets, killing five school children, and wounding one teacher and 29 other students. He then killed himself.

wsshoot5

A game changer for California, wouldn’t you agree? I was serving as California Governor George Deukmejian’s press secretary. The former attorney general-then governor asked the state Legislature to fast track him legislation banning assault weapons, such as a Kalashnikov, in California. The Republican governor told the media that “I see no reason why anyone needs an assault weapon.”

The reaction from the National Rifle Association was predictable as it was doctrinaire. A camel’s nose was sniffing around the edges of the Second Amendment tent. This Patrick Purdy case was being used as the backdrop to ban sacred assault weapons. For some reason, the NRA leadership and its disciples couldn’t see that Purdy and his deplorable actions were a game changer. Orthodoxy yesterday. Orthodoxy today. Orthodoxy forever.

Yes, yes there are more differences than similarities between the Catholic Church and the National Rifle Association. I get that. But what I don’t get is when a game changer occurs, some individuals and some groups will systematically refuse to consider that their world just changed. The death of bin Laden and the Purdy outrage are just two examples.

In politics many cower in the face of the label of being a flip-flopper, but there comes a time when reality simply changes. And are you thoughtful and flexible or close minded, stubborn and unyielding? Alas, I know where Father Beck and the NRA fit in this equation.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,151105,00.html

http://thepassionists.org/whats_new/tag/bill-oreilly/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AK-47

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