Leaving Corfu — July 2016 — Headed for England — British Airways lost one of Di’s suitcases — missing a bowl she bought on Corfu, the suitcase was brought to us a month later in California.
On July 20, 1969, as the commander of the Apollo 11 lunar module, Neil Armstrong was the first person to set foot on the moon.
His first words after stepping on the moon, “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind,” were televised to Earth and heard by millions.
But, just before he re-entered the lander, he made the enigmatic remark, “Good luck, Mr. Gorsky.”
Many people at NASA thought it was a casual remark concerning some rival Soviet cosmonaut.
However, upon checking, there was no Gorsky in either the Russian or American space programs.
Over the years, many people questioned Armstrong as to what the “Good luck, Mr. Gorsky” statement meant, but Armstrong always just smiled.
On July 5, 1995, in Tampa Bay, Florida, while answering questions following a speech, a reporter brought up the 26-year-old question about Mr. Gorsky to Armstrong.
This time he finally responded because his Mr. Gorsky had just died, so Neil Armstrong felt he could now answer the question. Here is the answer to, “Who was Mr. Gorsky?”
In 1938, when he was a kid in a small mid-western town, he was playing baseball with a friend in his backyard.
His friend hit the ball, which landed in his neighbor’s yard by their bedroom window. His neighbors were Mr. and Mrs. Gorsky.
As he bent down to pick up the ball, young Armstrong heard Mrs. Gorsky shouting at Mr. Gorsky.
“Sex! You want sex?! You’ll get sex when the kid next door walks on the moon!”
It broke the place up.
Neil Armstrong’s family confirmed that this is a true story. (Or, possibly, that this is truly a story.)
Picture of the Day
An air traffic control tower suddenly lost communication with a small twin engine aircraft. A moment later the tower landline rang and was answered by one of the employees.
The passenger riding with the pilot who lost communications was on a cellular phone.
He yelled, “Mayday, mayday! The pilot had an instant and fatal heart attack. I grabbed his cell phone out of his pocket and he had told me before we took off he had the tower on his speed dial memory. I am flying upside down at 18,000 feet and traveling at 180 mph. Mayday, mayday!”
The employee in the tower immediately put him on speaker phone and said,n”Calm down, we acknowledge you and we’ll guide you down after a few questions. The first thing is not to panic. Remain calm!”
He began his series of questions:
Tower: “How do you know you are traveling at 18,000 feet?”
Aircraft: “I can see that it reads 18,000 feet on the altimeter dial in front of me.”
Tower: “Okay, that’s good, remain calm. How do you know you’re traveling at 180 mph?”
Aircraft: “I can see that it reads 180 mph on the airspeed dial in front of me.”
Tower: “Okay, this is great so far, but it’s heavily overcast. So how do you know you’re flying upside down?”
Aircraft: “The pee in my pants is running out of my shirt collar.”
Sometime early this year of lat last year, I began seeing items touting an airshow involving the U. S. Air Force Thunderbird aerobatic team on the beach. Yeah, right. Well, last February (I think) an F-16 did a preliminary recon of HB — hmmm . . . maybe, maybe.
Well, this last weekend it became a reality.
Late Thursday morning I took Charlie (my wife) to an appointment at her hairdresser’s in Newport Beach. I returned home to read and wait for her call. About 1 pm I heard a tremendous roar and looked out to see a flight of jets (the Thunderbirds) flying over our house heading southwest to the coast. It was their first practice flight over the beach for the Saturday/Sunday show.
Charlie called a few minutes later and I climbed into the car to pick her up. I saw a good deal of the jets practicing their maneuvers on the fifteen minute drive to the hairdresser and on the return pointed them out to Charlie. It was the first she had heard of their being a show and was thrilled to see the planes — and wanted to go.
I thought Friday, the practice day, would be best because the crowds would be smaller than those on Saturday and Sunday but as luck would have it Charlie wasn’t feeling up to it. Sunday was supposed to be cool so we decided to make the visit to the beach and show then.
Sunday dawned cool and moist. I had charged up her scooter (the same one we took to Europe) and loaded it onto the Buick’s carrier. About noon we headed over to Mike and Sandy’s where we were going to park the car for a short, block and a half, “stroll” down Beach Blvd to the show.
After speaking with our friends for a few minutes, they were going to Long Beach to see a live theater show that afternoon and had already seen the airshow, we set out for the beach. Di had her British jacket and I had a USC hoodie and an umbrella in case it decided to rain — it decided to begin sprinkling just about the time we crossed PCH and got to the beach.
We missed the opening parachuting but saw several solo aerobatic acts and both of the jet aerobatic demonstration teams. In addition to the U. S. Air Force Thunderbirds the Breitling Jet Team also gave an impressive demonstration.
The Thunderbirds fly the Lockheed Martin Fighting Falcon F-16 supersonic single-seat air superiority/ground attack fighter.
There was also a demonstration flight conducted by a Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet.
At the airshow
The weather turned steadily wetter and I quickly had to don my hoodie and unfurl our umbrella, but the rain was an inconvenience, not an outing killer — and we do need the rain.
We spent most of the afternoon around the Beach/PCH area and tried to stay away from tall people who could block Charlie’s view of things. She (I) bought a Thunderbird t-shirt and was most disappointed that she couldn’t get closer to the HB Police horses.
We were there for a bit over three hours and thoroughly enjoyed the show. It was the second time I’d seen the Thunderbirds. Dad had taken my brother and I to see the air races at Fox Field where the Thunderbirds were also performing. this was some fifty plus years ago when they flew the F-100 Super Sabre. The thing I remember most about that show was being able to walk up and “touch” some of the racing aircraft: P-51 Mustang, P-38 Lightning, F8F Bearcat, etc. I’ve also seen the Blue Angels perform.
When the Thunderbirds finished their show, we (and most everyone else) headed home. Many of those walking and riding their bikes were thoroughly soaked. Charlie got wetter on her scooter than I did walking. It took a few minutes to get the scooter secured to the carrier while Charlie waited in the car, but we still made it home by 4:30 pm. She changed into dry clothes while I made her a hot cup of tea.
And I, I poured myself a nice whisky . . . all in all, it was a very pleasant day.
First to baggage to pick up our suitcases and then to the surface to find our ride. She found us, because of Charlie’s scooter, and we were soon loaded into the car and bound for Hopton to the northeast of London. It was supposed to be a two and a half hour drive that morphed into a three and a half to four hour drive because of Friday traffic and a stalled lorry on a two-lane country highway — with Di and the driver nattering away about either Brexit or Trump for almost the entire journey.
It rained a bit, but we missed the day’s downpours and safely reached The Cedars, the home of Gerry and Maria, Di’s cousins. (In Britain many houses are named and without street number addresses — good luck finding a place without detailed directions and/or local assistance. Their postal service survives with a rather esoteric system of postal codes, but I don’t know how, so I guess we can too.)
Gerry and Maria greeted us warmly, and with Gerry’s help I carried our bags to upstairs to our rooms. Yes, upstairs seventeen steps and then down one step and again down two steps — then the reverse to go downstairs. It’s a bit tough on Di, but she seems, with help, to be managing. She needs both her cane and rollator “wheelie” to successfully navigate the house but does so without complaint.
We had a nice dinner the first night and slept with no sign of jet lag. Part of this may be due to the excellent company, food, wine and whisky provided by our hosts.
If you think that American television these days spends too much time and effort on the election campaign, you might be surprised to learn that British television, and newspaper coverage, spends at least as much time and effort on Brexit.
If the term “Brexit” means nothing to you, here’s a brief explanation: the United Kingdom last Thursday (June 23, 2016) held a referendum on whether or not to remain in the EU (European Union) or to leave. BRitish EXIT.
To the surprise of many, if not most, UK citizens and politicians, pollsters and bookies the LEAVE side won: 52% to 48%. Some areas, such as metropolitan London and Scotland, voted heavily to remain in the EU and others voted just as heavily to leave.
Even the bookies were wrong in their guesses as to which side would prevail. More money (the richer bettors) was bet on the “Remain” side, but more small bets (the poorer guys) were placed on the “Leave” side of the equation — “Leave” won the election.
The Prime Minister resigned; the financial markets were in turmoil; politicians, pollsters and pundits scrambled to explain the results; many Europeans said the equivalent of “Leave quickly”; and many “Leavers” were quite pleasantly surprised but unsure of what to do next. A number of disappointed (and possibly outraged “Remainers”) began signing an online petition to force another referendum.
A couple of days later the online petition was stripped of many electronic signatures for obvious irregularities such as several thousand signatures coming from British citizens living in Vatican City — with a population of about 800. Hmmm . . .
(to be continued)