The Last Man on the Moon

I went out to work and went through a loud five hours, but I was glad that it was good afternoon with clear skies. One of the woman told me that she wanted to play pinball during the weekend, and I asked her if she was a pinball wizard. I don’t know if she understood the reference to The Who. I walked over to the neighborhood theatre to see “The Man on the Moon.” The ticket was nine dollars for a small screen in a small room. Only three other people showed up, and when a woman stood up in one of the back aisle, her silhouette was visible on the screen. You could look at the film as a sequel to “For All Mankind,” although it was more of a personal story that went past the Apollo missions. Some of the material brought to mind “The Right Stuff.” The astronauts were negligent husbands and fathers, and many of their marriages didn’t survive. Eugene Cernan is one of twelve men who have walked on the moon, and one of the seven who are still alive. All of these seven are now at least eighty years old, so they should say what they have to say to us now. Edgar Mitchell died just three weeks ago. The sense that we get from the footage in this film is that the conditions on the mission were demanding. The astronauts didn’t have much space. When you see the capsule from 1972, it looks awfully small. The Matt Damon character in “The Martian” looked like he was living in luxury by comparison. Cernan was on the Apollo 10 crew that went to the moon but did not land. That must have been frustrating, although there must have been numerous technical problems to solve to make landing possible. Cernan talked about a helicopter accident that nearly prevented him from going on with Apollo 17. The launch was at night, and the footage is exciting but frightening because of the danger. I wondered how useful the moon rover was, but Cernan said they needed it. Some of the images of the Earth far away in the background are quite awesome. I thought that if I were in the place of the astronauts, I might feel a certain homesickness and fear. Before he left the moon, Cernan used his finger to write the letters TDC, his daughter’s initials. Cernan gained international fame and talked about his exploits for years. He showed his appointment calendar, which was filled. He went from being an astronaut to talking about being an astronaut. His marriage broke up, but eventually he remarried. The story of the astronauts is the pursuit of accomplishment and being something that separates you from the rest of humanity. Cernan said that the Apollo 17 landing was the proudest moment of his life. We see him signing autographs and meeting people around the world. He would speak at Neil Armstrong’s memorial service in 2012. As the years passed, this imposing figure of a man would age, and at the end we see him having a bit of difficulty getting off a horse. Seeing this film made me think that perhaps I should make the effort to go to the Super Bowl next year so that I can visit Houston. The film is a reminder of a particular time in American history. While a war was going on, these men were heroes. I don’t know how much excitement will come from a mission to Mars. In a way, I wish I hadn’t seen the movies “Interstellar” and “The Martian.” President Obama said that he expected to live to see a Mars landing. At the rate things get done, I wouldn’t say that it’s a sure thing at all. As I left the theatre, I felt a nostalgia for my childhood. That last Apollo mission happened in December 1972, and I don’t remember it. I wondered if the youth of today has been exposed to too much science fiction. Do they even know what has really happened in the past? Do they know that the Russians never made it to the moon? Reliving these days in the past tired me. I took a nap after I got home. I watched the Partridge Family episode “Road Song.” Laurie said that she couldn’t eat her potatoes. She helped Shirley get up a hill. I watched the animated Star Trek episode “Once Upon a Planet,” which was a sequel to an original episode. I also watched the All in the Family episode that was a flashback to the day Archie met Mike. The annoying thing about Gloria is that she cries a lot. She seems awfully soft for a New York girl. I watched the NUMB3RS episode “Cover Me.” Charlie seemed overconfident about his mathematical model of the street drug called Hawaiian Ice, which sounded more like a soft drink. He started to turn his attention to the Cal Sci basketball team. Finally, I watched the Tonight Show from May 28, 1986, which featured the Avon lady Rosie Gries from Goodrich, North Dakota. She had been selling Avon products for 48 years and was about to turn 90. She was able to drive a car, but very slowly. It was a good thing that she didn’t have to deal with big city traffic. Johnny gave her a showcase for her goods, and he said that he was going to be a tough customer, but he ended up buying everything she had for $100. How much cologne and aftershave lotion did Johnny need, anyway? Steven Wright was the other guest, and he was his oddball self. He got to sit next to Johnny afterwards and talk to him, so he had some sort of seal of approval. I heard on the news that Yoko Ono went to the hospital. Since she is 83 years old, any illness is potentially very serious. I fell asleep while listening to one of my albums. I should have been listening to the John Lennon box set of four CDs. Some of the people who died on February 27 include Ivan Pavlov (1936), S.I. Hayakawa (1992), Lillian Gish (1993), J.T. Walsh (1998), Fred Rogers (2003), Van Cliburn (2013), and Leonard Nimoy (2015). Today is a birthday for Joanne Woodward (86).

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