FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day February 6, 2017

I’m back to the original FOD opening photo, for now.   I welcome comments as I’m testing the comments box.  Depending upon your platform it may appear at the bottom or below the tags on the left hand column or in the right hand column.  It’s a mystery.


We all have regrets.  Some of us have more than others.  I’m betting the Atlanta Falcons are regretting that holding penalty in last half of the fourth quarter that kept them out of field goal range.  And I’m betting Steve and Randon are regretting leaving Bart’s Super Bowl party missing what many are calling the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.  Whether you favored the Patriots or not, Tom Brady leading New England from a 25-point hole to the Patriots’ fifth NFL championship was great drama and great football. And there were some great ads as well.


Now let’s consider personal regrets.  I regret not moving into another career field post retirement.  I’m looking for that ultimate retirement gig. As many friends of FOD know, when I retired from the Navy I thought I would take that cake job working for an airline.  Just fly from point A to point B they said.  Well that wasn’t a lot much fun.  And it became a lot less fun when the bankruptcies and those 40% pay cuts came along.  OK, I’m trying not to hold a grudge, but it’s not working all that well.  In retirement we all like to think there’s something out there worthy of our time.  Some endeavor that would allow us to make an important contribution to….. saving mankind, for instance.  I regret to report one such opportunity has passed me by.  I have just learned I was not selected as the Beer Historian for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.  This week, it was announced Theresa McCulla has been selected (photo below).
A social and cultural historian of food in the U.S. from the early 1800’s to today, “she has focused on the role of food and drink in generating ideas about history, culture and identity in America, and her experience and expertise in research, writing and collecting oral histories is extensive.” She’ll receive a doctorate from Harvard University in American Studies in May 2017 and holds a culinary arts diploma from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts’ Professional Chefs Program. Upon starting the job of beer historian, she’ll be based out of the Smithsonian’s museums in Washington, D.C., “conducting research and new collecting, with special emphasis on homebrewing and the craft brewing industry.”  The museum published its own blog post asking a few questions of McCulla, detailing what beer can tell us about American history.  Adding insult to injury, her selection over me commoves my long held personal belief that you can’t get a job if you have a degree that ends in Studies.  But does she know a good IPA?  OK I am promising myself to get over it.  I’m moving on.  Now it’s focusing my efforts on that position as senior bat boy for the New York Yankees.  Let’s drink to that!


I missed a few events from February 5th  in history worth of note:


On 05 February 1971, Apollo 14’s Lunar Module Antares (LM-8) landed at the  Fra Mauro Highlands region of the Moon.  Astronauts Alan Shepard, and  Edgar Mitchell were the fifth and sixth humans to land on the Moon.  Shepard was the oldest US astronaut when he completed his Apollo 14 mission and the only astronaut, from Project Mercury (the original Mercury Seven astronauts) to get to the Moon.  Shepard had fought back from Ménière’s disease which grounded him from 1964 to 1968.  His crew were supposed to complete their mission on Apollo 13, but NASA shuffled the crews and the mission to allow Shepard and his crew additional time to train due to his having been grounded for four years.  Both Shepard (below photo) and Mitchell were naval aviators.  Command Module Pilot Stuart Roosa , COL USAF remained in lunar orbit aboard the Command/Service Module Kitty Hawk, performing scientific experiments and photographing the Moon, including the landing site of the future Apollo 16 mission. He took several hundred seeds on the mission, many of which were germinated on return, resulting in the so-called Moon trees. Shepard, Roosa, and Mitchell landed in the Pacific Ocean on February 9.  They left this plaque, pictured left, on the Moon.  Shepard was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1971, the only astronaut to be selected to flag rank and served as a delegate to the 26th United Nations General Assembly, serving from September to December 1971.  His book, Light This Candle, is a good read.  It’s on the Fireball book list.  In the 1983 film The Right Stuff – Shepard is a very personable and his character is played by Scott Glenn.



And one more Constellation story from February 5, 1949.  An Eastern Air Lines Lockheed L-749A Constellation, serial number 2610, N115A, flew from Los Angeles to LaGuardia Airport, New York, in 6 hours, 18 minutes, setting a new West-to-East transcontinental speed record for transport aircraft.  The Lockheed L-749A Constellation was a longer-range development of the L-649, with fuel capacity increased by 1,130 gallons (4,278 liters).  It was operated by a flight crew of four, with two to four flight attendants. It could carry up to 81 passengers.


“You’re Fired!”  It’s not just a Donald Trump reality TV show.  On February 6, 1943 Galeazzo Ciano, was fired from his position as Foreign Minister of Fascist ItalyHe was Benito Mussolini‘s son-in-law. Ciano was the 2nd Count of Cortellazzo and Buccari (photo left).  A few months later, he attempted to flee north into German held territory, where he was arrested, returned to Mussolini and charged with treason.  He as tried at  the Verona trial  on 11 January 1944. His claim that there were alternate facts did not sway the court.  Ciano was convicted of treason and executed by a firing squad along with 4 others (Emilio De BonoLuciano GottardiGiovanni Marinelli and Carlo Pareschi).  As a further humiliation, they were tied to chairs and shot in the back. Ciano’s last words were “Long live Italy!”  I think he should have tried the GEICO defense or ordered a pizza.  This certainly adds new meaning to ‘you’re fired.’  Jarad Kushner – beware.  Interesting is that Ciano’s diary has been used as a source by several historians, including William Shirer in his The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and in the 4-hour HBO documentary-drama Mussolini and I.