Monthly Archives: July 2019

Celebrating Fifty Years of a Giant Hoax

Fifty years ago, our government and its state-run media tell us, Americans sent men to the moon. Neil Armstrong said “One small step,” and all that, and the photographs of the event were startlingly clear. Well, except for all the shadow anomalies, and lack of stars in the sky, that is.

As a twelve year old, and a huge astronomy junkie, I followed the Apollo program nearly as closely as I memorized Major League Baseball batting averages. I knew all the astronauts’ names, and even had a favorite; Jim Lovell, who would head the ill-fated Apollo 13, denying him the honor of walking on the moon.

At the time, I remember being a bit disappointed. I guess I expected the kind of world-wide attention that was depicted in a film I liked as a child; 1964’s The First Men in the Moon. The reaction on Earth just seemed kind of subdued to me in contrast, considering it was the most monumental achievement in human history.

I first started questioning the moon landings in the late 1980s, when I heard about a self-published book from 1974, We Never Went to the Moon, written by Bill Kaysing. I ordered it through the mail; obviously, it was not going to be in any bookstore or library, and that was the method I used to obtain much of my controversial reading material in those pre-internet days.

Kaysing made some great points. I was particularly intrigued by his tale of a disgruntled NASA employee who testified before Congress, and then was found dead, along with his family, in their car which had been conveniently left on some railroad tracks. That seemed pretty standard conspiratorial fare to me, and reminded me of so many similar unnatural deaths I’d read about during my research into the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

In 2001, the documentary Did We Land on the Moon aired on the Fox Network. It was a remarkable program for a major television network. Included were interviews with the widow and son of Virgil “Gus” Grissom, dean of the Apollo program who was actually scheduled to be the first man to walk on the moon. Grissom became a vocal critic of the Apollo program before dying in a launch pad fire with two other astronauts.

I was amazed to hear Grissom’s loved ones basically accuse NASA of murdering him. It was even more astounding to hear such claims aired on network television. Grissom had even hung a lemon over the NASA emblem on the lunar training module, and notably was recorded as telling NASA officials, “You expect me to go to the moon and you can’t even maintain telephonic communications over three miles.” Privately, Grissom had been increasingly dubious of the Apollo program.

Still, I remained somewhat on the fence regarding the legitimacy of the moon landings. Perhaps it was my childish affinity for space travel that kept me half wanting to believe, despite all the good questions that had been raised. Then I read the late Dave McGowan’s “Wagging the Moondoggie” series. Wagging the Moondoggie  All doubts disappeared in my mind. We never went there. Period.

McGowan analyzed the absurdity of providing men on the most difficult and challenging flight in history with what amounted to a amateurish-looking, very unstable craft, lined with only a few inches of aluminum foil. Yes, you read that right; our astronauts were protected from the deadly risks of outer space by something we all use to wrap up hamburgers and hot dogs. The craft also seemed far too small for such a momentous trip.

Leaving aside the incredibly cramped quarters for the human occupants, where did all the batteries fit? Just imagine what kind of battery power was needed here; the craft had to be provided with oxygen, and once it landed on the surface of the moon, it had to furnish both heating and air-conditioning. We are told by science that the temperature varies wildly on the moon; when the astronauts stepped into the shade, they instantly encountered temperatures colder than any found on Earth, and when they stepped back into the sunlight, the temps would have been hotter than the middle of the Sahara Desert. That must have been quite a cooling-heating system in those spacesuits.

The size of the batteries required to provide all the power the astronauts needed must have been quite large. And heavy, of course. Not to mention the batteries needed for the magical temperature control they enjoyed. If you’ve seen the craft they are alleged to have flown in, you will find it hard to believe that huge batteries fit in their somehow. And on the last few trips, NASA added in the dune buggy vehicle we saw the astronauts cavorting around in on the moon’s surface.

How could they have fit this vehicle into that tiny craft? When NASA has even addressed questions like this, the answers don’t leave one feeling confident. In this case, they have claimed that the vehicle was folded up, ala Jetsons-style, and unfolded on the lunar surface. A reasonable person might ask; if we had this amazing technology in the early ’70s, what happened to it? To my knowledge, there has never been a folding car available to the public.

NASA has admitted, in recent years, that the original tapes of the Apollo 11 moon landing were erased inadvertently. You read that correctly; the documentation for the greatest achievement in the history of mankind was accidentally erased. Recently, it has been acknowledged that a sample of moon rocks collected during the Apollo 14 mission actually came from….Earth. That didn’t stop the true believers, however, who merely said it was “very unusual” that the chemical composition was common to Earth.

Speaking of those moon rocks, how did they account for the added payload on the trip home? Since they’d never been to the moon, they had no idea of just how heavy these rocks might be. NASA supposedly factored in every pound of weight, and designed everything to fit tightly, making every inch of space count. So how does a wild card like this fit in?

There are a multitude of other reasons to doubt this story. Richard Nixon supposedly telephoned the astronauts and spoke to them live on the lunar surface. What? Exactly what kind of magical phone line would have been used for that? We lose cell phone coverage today in certain spots on Earth. We’re talking 1969 here. If such fantastic technology existed then, it has been lost to history.

Speaking of fantastic technology, the power of computers in 1969 was akin to what you’d see today in a handheld calculator. And yet, NASA officials have admitted we aren’t technologically ready to go back to the moon today, with infinitely superior computer capability. An astronaut recently admitted, “We don’t have the technology to go to the moon anymore,” because NASA allegedly “destroyed” the technology. What? Does that make any sense whatsoever? Is it the least bit believable?

And how about that shot from the lunar surface of Apollo 17 taking off? What amazing technology- even getting the camera to pan upwards along with the craft. So what happened to this wonderful video camera? Was it a one-shot deal? Why didn’t they continue to  use it? As many have noted, at this juncture, we ought to have a live view of the moon available to Earthlings 24/7.

Then there are the views of Earth from the lunar surface. Well, there aren’t very many of them.  And the Earth seems smaller than it should be; considering it is much larger than the moon, why does it appear to be about the same size the moon does here on Earth? As a child enamored of astronomy, and later as a critical thinking adult, I expected more. I expected breath-taking views of planets and constellations in those Apollo pictures, with no atmosphere to filter them out. We should have witnessed a sight never seen in any planetarium or on the clearest night on Earth. Instead, we saw zero stars or any other astral bodies, just a few glimpses of Earth.

As Dave McGowan asked, at what point do Americans, and Earthlings in general, start to question this? Here we are on the 50th anniversary. If we haven’t returned by the 100th anniversary, will the majority of people start to wonder why? Progress and technology don’t work this way. Imagine if the Wright Brothers flew a plane a half dozen times, then no one else did for fifty years. Considering the trajectory we were on in the 1960s, we should have traveled to Mars, Venus and beyond by now. We should have bases on the moon, complete with lunar McDonalds and other vestiges of predictable corporate exploitation.

Is it unpatriotic to question this? Am I a “kook” for doubting this amazing alleged accomplishment? Is it unfair to ask how Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins appeared over a week later on their return to Earth clean shaven? How did they factor in shaving in that situation? And in their initial press conference, they certainly appeared nervous and very un-heroic like, considering they were being lauded as the greatest explorers the world had ever seen.

Neil Armstrong, especially, maintained a very private existence after the moon landing. He granted few interviews, and seemed noticeably uncomfortable when asked about his fantastic experience. That just doesn’t ring true to me. As they age, people normally grow even prouder and if anything attempt to justify the things they’ve done in their lives. If what we’re told is true, Armstrong had no reason to justify anything, and should have been as proud as anyone could ever be.

Knowing what we know of our government’s tendency to lie and cover up, is it really a reach to think that NASA would lie about something this momentous? Regardless, no “investigative” reporter is going to look into the matter, because our state-run journalists don’t investigate anything. They will instead join in the chorus of derision directed at naysayers like me. They are only skeptical of skeptics.

This is not only the greatest hoax, but the most essential cover up in America’s history. After all, would we really expect our reflexively corrupt leaders to admit they engineered such a gigantic fake, and have continued to lie about it for half a century? Look at the evidence, and judge for yourself.

 

 

 

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Customer Service in America 2.0

I am beginning to understand, a little more each day, the quaint term “grumpy old man.” But I honestly believe I’m not like my parents, or grandparents, in naively believing that “the good old days” were simply better, and that all this “newfangled” stuff has ruined what was a perfect world.

I am online constantly; I spend more time there and interact with more people in a cyber sense than I do in a tangible physical sense. When I do have to confront the real world outside of cyberspace, I almost always end up disappointed and frustrated. Some of us have coined the term America 2.0 for a good reason.

Just in the past few months, I have had to deal with situations that shouldn’t happen in a sane rational country. And I have experienced the corrupt marketplace I called out in great detail in my book Survival of the Richest. There is no free enterprise in this country now, if there ever really was. It is crony capitalism, and it’s horrific.

When a home appliance breaks, in my area I have basically a few companies to choose from. Home Depot. Lowe’s. Best Buy. I have had nightmare experiences with all of them. Because I, like the vast majority of Americans, cannot install my own new appliance, or cart away the old one, I have to rely on their team of outsourced installers. And they all outsource their installations. I can’t remember the last time I had a successful, problem-free installation from any company.

Last year, Lowe’s outsourced delivery team installed a new washing machine that had no power. Think about that; somehow, a new product rolled off the assembly line in whatever foreign factory it was built in, and the quality control was such that no one caught the essential fact that the machine wouldn’t turn on. After a relatively minor bit of aggravation, we got a working washing machine installed. I think they knocked $200 off my credit card bill.

In May of this year, we went back to Lowe’s because our dishwasher broke. To say this has been a nightmare is a severe understatement. The installers managed to damage my kitchen counter top, forgot to put a metal flap on the bottom, and left a huge mess behind them. They claimed we had to have some of the wooden floor shaved in order for the unit to fit properly (they left it jutting out into the kitchen). After several more phone calls, someone from the installation team came out and shaved enough wood for the unit to slide in, albeit not very well.

After this second installation, we noticed that the door of the dishwasher wasn’t opening properly- it would stick and you had to force it down. So we had to have them come again, after the warranty team checked it out (we also paid for the extended warranty), and determined that the door issue was because the bottom flap, when it was finally installed, was sitting too high, and the door was catching when you opened it. So they removed the bottom flap to make the door work.

At this time, we had also discovered some water under the kitchen sink, and the appliance guy ran the dishwasher and saw that the slow leak was coming from there. He guessed that the initial crack team of installers that had damaged my counter top had leaned on the pipe or something to cause this.

Since the first point of contact is supposed to be the store where you purchased the product, I tried phoning the Fairfax, Virginia store numerous times, but a manager was never available. When I called Lowe’s customer service, they tried phoning the store and couldn’t get a manager, either. Incredibly, I have visited the store in person twice, and neither time was a manager available to talk with me. This is, of course, incomprehensible to me, but it seems to be standard operating procedure for this company.

Then, last Friday, the dishwasher stopped working completely. Now this might have been due to the fact we had a new refrigerator installed the day before. I say this because there was also a crack team of installers sent by Best Buy, where we purchased it from, and the dishwasher was at least working prior to that. However, I haven’t told Lowe’s about this, as I’m certain they would instantly attribute it to Best Buy’s outsourced installers’ incompetence, instead of their own outsourced installers’ incompetence.

I have called Lowe’s laughable customer service more times than I can remember. Even for the severely lowered standards in America 2.0, their “customer service” is practically nonexistent. No one you talk to is understanding or empathetic, or cognizant of how poorly their company is functioning at all levels. I know from past experience that Home Depot is just as bad. And Best Buy once took three separate delivery dates to actually deliver my new television.

Yesterday, I went to start my 2017 Subaru Forester, and it just cranked without the engine kicking in.  So I attempted to have it towed by Subaru’s road side assistance program this morning. It was a marathon battle, but I finally was able to break through their automated menu from hell to talk with a real person. It is also very difficult to ever get the Farrish Subaru service team to answer their phone. At least whatever is wrong should be covered by the warranty.

But why is a highly rated car like this experiencing such problems with low mileage, only a few years after it was built? I would expect this kind of thing with American cars, but Japanese technology is supposed to be better. I guess I could ask the same question about our refrigerator; I think it lasted about ten years. Maybe I’m wrong to expect something better than that. Maybe I should learn to lower my expectations, and bring them in line with the realities of America 2.0.

Corporate America has become as unresponsive and as bureaucratic as any government agency. The annoying automated menus alone- which every business uses- are enough to frustrate anyone. Or at least anyone who lived in America 1.0, when human receptionists used to answer the phones. No politician- left or right- mentions how impersonal and uncaring all businesses are now. And it is an issue all can relate to, because these companies are screwing everyone, with their pathetic customer service and inferior products.

Of course I factor in the extremely low-paid nature of those who work in customer service at all companies. I try to be understanding in light of that. But they are usually the only point of contact for consumers. They are unfortunately the face, or more aptly voice, of their respective companies. The public doesn’t have the ear of the clueless CEO who is ultimately responsible for the systemic dysfunction, and for which he or she is paid millions in undeserved compensation.

Last week, I was in Panera- an incredibly overpriced place that has a strange appeal to every female in my life- and witnessed a bizarre scene. An irate customer was complaining, in a raised voice, that he had been waiting over half an hour for his soup and piece of bread. I think he had a legitimate complaint. But the manager was unresponsive, causing him to understandably become even more upset. Instead of giving the guy a free cookie or pastry to pacify him, or even just apologizing, this ridiculous manager called the police. And no one in the crowded restaurant batted an eye.

All of this, while part of my own personal experiences, is entirely normal for America 2.0. All oldsters like me can do is grumble quietly and fondly recall America 1.0, which was corrupt to the core, but at least a competent country.