"Man on the Moon" Walter Cronkite's Broadcast

Posted in NASA, Youtube Favs on August 25th, 2012 by Willie

UPDATE: Neil Armstrong passed away today at the age of 82. I posted this last August 13th, 2011, and as a tribute to his extraordinary life, I’m reposting it today in tribute to one of mankind’s greatest ambassadors for wisdom and peace.

I’m a huge fan of John F. Kennedy, the 34th President of the United States.  JFK was a brilliant man who had a vision to send Americans to the moon before the Soviet Union did it.  He correctly surmised that even though we were behind in the space race, if Americans could send a man to the moon first, the historic achievement would be so vast that it would place us light years ahead of the Soviets in the race to explore space.  Here is a highlight of his most famous speech about going to the moon delivered at Rice University in 1962.

The full speech is extraordinary, and you can watch it by clicking anywhere on this sentence.

On July 20th, 1969, Kennedy’s vision came to fruition as the Apollo 11’s lunar module spacecraft, Eagle, touched down on the moon’s surface in the “Sea of Tranquility.”  Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin spent 21 hours on the moon’s surface while Command Module Pilot Michael Collins orbited in the Columbia before he picked them up.  They returned to Earth on July 24th, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.  It was one of human history’s greatest achievements ever.  I was born in 1984, and consequently missed this historic occasion.  Luckily, the kind users of youtube have uploaded a special documentary of the original CBS broadcast, expertly hosted by Walter Cronkite, which I will display below.  It is a thrilling document of history, and makes you kind of sad that very little in today’s news and course of human events can rival the majestic profundity of this moment.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I have.

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John Lennon, Cold Turkey

Posted in John Lennon, Youtube Favs on March 2nd, 2011 by Willie

Part 13 of my youtube favorites countdown continues with the hard-blues psyche fest, John Lennon’s Cold Turkey.  Just around the time the Beatles broke up, John Lennon set loose a blistering array of personal/emotional/political singles; Instant Karma, Give Peace a Chance, and this immortal classic, Cold Turkey.  John wrote the song about his experience in conquering heroin with his wife Yoko Ono in late 1969.  He offered it to the Beatles, but Paul said no, so John said fuck it, and recorded and released it with the Plastic Ono Band.  The lineup is legendary.  Ringo on drums, Eric Clapton on lead guitar, and his old German pal Klaus Voormann (designer of the Revolver cover) on bass.  The song features one of John’s hardest riffs and possibly his most bone chilling vocal delivery.  The song was not that big of a hit, prompting John to return his MBE (Member of the British Empire badge) in protest writing, “I am returning this MBE in protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam, and against Cold Turkey slipping down the charts. With love, John Lennon of Bag.”


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The Beatles, Don’t Let Me Down

Posted in The Beatles, Youtube Favs on February 24th, 2011 by Willie

Part 8 of my favorite youtube video series continues with my favorite Beatles song, “Don’t Let Me Down.”  Now, for most people who love the Beatles, its not easy maintaining a favorite song, or album, or group member.  They change with age, the seasons, and experience.  But I can say, that at least for the past five years, “Don’t Let Me Down” has never left my top 3 of favorite Beatle tunes, and lately has been perched untouched as #1.  Why?  Because its pure unadulterated naked soul from Mr. Lennon at a time when he was just beginning to open up his heart and vulnerability in a way he had never allowed before.  It was made a year before the Beatles split, and a year, before John released his seminal solo debut, the gut wrenchingly introspective Plastic Ono Band.  The song is presumably a plea to Yoko Ono, one in which he exclaims his undying love for her.  At the same time, he is having a dialog with himself in which he expresses how the possibility of losing his new and total love is causing him fear and anxiety.  Its just a beautiful real message with no easy answers sung with the utmost level of soul and passion.  When the Beatles started, they exclusively wrote love songs, but slowly branched out to more introspective material.  As they got older, they developed a mastery of combining all of these elements, and wrote the greatest love songs ever.  This is one of them.  Enjoy.

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