Saturday, December 26, 2015

Magnificent Desolation: An Astronaut's re-entry to life on Earth and Beyond...




Buzz Aldrin. (Source: bing.com images)
For some strange reason, when I think of Christmas, somehow Toy Story inevitably creeps in, along with Ye Eggnog, twinkly lights, Reindeer, etc.

Oh Yeah, how could I forget that Buzz Lightyear was based off of the Second Man to ever step foot On the Moon - who subsequently cleared his cousin Buzz for flight aboard the Space Shuttle...


Recently whilst in Austin, Texas during the Formula 1 weekend, my host, "Seeing Eye Guide Guy" Claudio' asked if I'd brought le Machine? My trusty 'Ol School portable CD Player for listening to the multitude 'O Audiobooks I've devoured over thy years, most recently the epic 20-disc tome 'O Moby Dick, hence wherest art thoust has learned thy Ishmaels "shakesperianism;" Aye Mateys!

As I let Claudio randomly select six Audiobooks from Austin's wonderful Public Library for my entertainment during our "downtime" during my visit over the Grand Prix weekend. Since after all, what does a blind person do when he doesn't have his trusty assistant 'Lucy (my Screen Reader software) along for the ride...

Of the six choices, I mentally debated beginning with either Angels and Demons (for which I've now just finished the author's second tome, The Da Vinci Code...) or Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey home from the Moon - and chose the latter since it was written by Edwin Eugene "Buzz" Aldrin Jr, Y'all know the second man to ever walk upon the Moon. For which I'd later learn that only twelve  men have ever done so!

As the choice seemed somewhat Karmic, Apropos, or Symbiotic since I'd looked up towards the Stars and ultimately spotted the International Space Station (ISS) for the first time ever - during the year of the 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11's landing upon said Moon.


Ironically, the ISS just celebrated its 15th Birthday of continuous human occupancy on November 2nd, when the current six Astronaut's celebrated the milestone some 250-miles above Mother Earth in their "tin Can."


Yet this story is about Buzz Aldrin, now currently the oldest living person to walk on the Moon, age 85 with one third of the hallowed men to set foot on this desolate surface being deceased. As Neil Armstrong, Charles "Pete" Conrad, Alan Sheppard and James Irwin have all died.

Although I don't wish to try chronicling the whole book, nor give I-T away. Nonetheless, I found myself A-L-L consumed with finishing this novel before returning home, which I never thought of until now, the Audiobook version I listened to appropriately was 11-discs long, a la the number of Buzz's Apollo 11 mission; Co-inky-dense?

As the book primarily deals with Aldrin's life after his momentous accomplishment and the subsequent "Blue Funk" that continuously attempted to ruin his life afterwards. Having fallen foul to deep clinical depression and Alcoholism. Ultimately hitting rock bottom when becoming a Cadillac Car Salesman!


But I simply couldn't stop reading; Err listening to thy book as Claudio would occasionally enter thoust living room and ask What's Buzz doing now? Or Tomaso, are you still reading Buzz's book?

As Claudio told Nelie, I've got a new name for Tomaso, it's Buzz. Buuuzzzzzzzz, Buuuzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

As how couldn't you be compelled to know how this world famous Astronaut's life turns out? After the man himself divulges candidly: Why should I get out of bed? I've been to the Moon and back so what can I accomplish today that could conceivably eclipse that?

The book is co-written by Ken Abraham who I'm not familiar with and is the second autobiographical story by Buzz Aldrin, the four decades follow-up to his initial book titled Return to Earth which was published in 1973.

The book briefly delves into the Apollo 11 mission, starting with Buzz standing on a Gang-way of his Saturn V chariot, musing how he can see the distant fires in the early morning of the some one million Onlookers gathered for the historic occasion!

Then describes the massive feat of Apollo 11 and the three Astronaut's: Neil Armstrong, Aldrin and Pete Collins journey home, all in two discs length before the real story begins - which I definitely suggest is worth reading.


Obviously I was drawn to the book having previously read; Err listened to two great articles from the September issue of Air & Space Magazine via my NFB Newsline for The Blind telephone service which just so happened to revolve around today's orbiting Space Station, with the first giving a rare glimpse into the "Rooskies" side of the station.


While not sure if I'm duplicating thyself here, yet read this article first before the aforementioned 15 years  of human presence at the ISS above...


And in what his latest wife Lois coined as  "The Business is Buzz!" This Octogenarian continues to dazzle me with brilliance, or is that Stardust; Hya! Having just recently accidently discovered him doing a rap song with "Snoop Dog-Dog" as Thy late 'Awntie Harriet called him. Which was performed when Buzz was nearly 80yrs old!


While buzz touches upon the protecting of his "Brand," briefly in a latter book chapter, regarding his wristwatch escapades, with his original Moon watch being stolen, along with subsequently setting the legal precedence for usage of Astronauts likeness's as unendorsed promotions for timepieces and their wares, whilst ultimately making an agreement with Omega upon future endorsements - which just so Karmically the following story link refers to current curiosity over watches traveling to the Moon.


As Buzz's insights towards life in outer orbit and on Mother Earth makes me believe Humankind can still really reach for the Stars and Beyond...

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