Tuesday, October 03, 2006

One Big Correction for mankind

Mills of the gods

Thirt seven years ago, I sat in my parents living room and watched Neil Armstrong take his first step out on the moon. The statement he then uttered baffled me. I though that I heard him say "That's one smal step for man, one giant leap for mankind. " Huh ? How could man make a small step, but the same step be a giant leap for man(kind) ? Of course, the betting up until them was that, in the words of comedian Robert Klein, that the first words on the moon would be "Coca Cola !". So no one made a big fuss over it. When he got back to earth, Armstrong insisted that he hadd said "That's one small step for A man, one giant leap for mankind." Well, that made more sense, it was grammatical and had a certain mix of pride and self deprecation. But unfortuantly for Neil, we had the recording, he didn't say that. I have litened to that recording 100 times or more over the last 37 years, trying to listen for static that might heve wiped out that all important "A". Never heard it.I assumed that Neil's heart had been in the right place, but that he had screwed up. He had a lot on his mind that day.

Now comes word that thanks to some scientist, well, a computer programer, evidence has been uncovered that Armstrong actually uttered the missing word and that the word was transmitted to earth. This is, to say the least, amazing to someone like me who does not understand how to use a toaster oven. The recording that the fellow worked with was not an original. As I reported in this space during the summer, NASA has acknpwledged that they can't find any of the original Apollo 11 transmissions. That is somewhat like saying that the National Archieves has mislaid the original copy of the Constitution, but let us judge not.....

What now worries me is that this programer will start going through all kinds of old recordings and find out that what we think people said, may have been quite different from what they actually said, such as,

"The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself, and spiders, I hate those creepy little things." F.D.R.

"Mr Gorbachav, tear down this wall, and replace it with a nice brick wall with ivy, a little like Wrigley Field." Ronald W. Reagan

" I did not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky, because I believe that the word sex refers only to intercourse and does not mean oral sex or any other type of intimate gratification between a man and a woman." William Jefferson Clinton.

"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country, and for you young ladies, ask specifically what you can do for and to your President."J.F.K.


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