On Andy Rooney

One of the benefits of working at or near the CBS Broadcast Center is you never know who you’ll see walking the many hallways of the storied yet somewhat obscure complex. It’s not at all uncommon to hear a head of state, or celebrity sighting. Lots of things, including some you wouldn’t expect are taped there.

I likely saw Andy Rooney at least a dozen times in my years at CBS, always in or outside the Broadcast Center, generally on my way in and out. He’d always be slowly shuffling through with those iconic bushy white eyebrows, a few papers in his hand, hunched over. I mention this detail because it stands out in my mind. You don’t enter your late 80′s and early 90′s and continue the daily grind the way he did unless you enjoy your job at least a little bit. I could be wrong, but I imagine it must have been exhausting for him. It looked tiring. Most people want to be retired by 65 and he was working a generation beyond that. But I guess you don’t want that to love of your job to be terribly obvious when your known as “America’s Curmudgeon”. He made a career out of expressing his disdain for so many little nuances of life.

He said before he hated being recognized, but every time I or someone else said “good morning” or “good evening”, he’d always look up and return the pleasantry then continue on his way. Hardly a grump whenever I saw him.

There aren’t many people who could make a career out of complaining about the little things. Not many could even make a career complaining about the big things. He managed to do this with just a few minutes. He said in his last piece “When I went on television it was as a writer. I don’t think of myself as a television personality. I’m a writer who reads what he’s written.” Reading the transcripts is a reminder that a great wordsmith can say quite a bit in very few words.

Disclosure:As always, the views expressed in this blog are mine alone, and do not represent the views of CBS or CBS Interactive.

We Choose To Go To The Moon

Moon Landing 40th Anniversary

It started during a Joint Session of Congress on May 25, 1961 with John F. Kennedy challenging the United States to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. 1969, 6 years after JFK was assassinated Apollo 11 landed on the moon and this famous newscast with the late Walter Cronkite who coincidentally passed away on Friday.

For the 40th anniversary NASA restored some of the old video of the landing, now available in H.264 to view. It’s not true HD in today’s terms but still impressive to see. NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) also manged to snap a few pictures of the landing sites of the Apollo missions just in time. I believe this is the first time they have ever been identified since the actual landings. 2-3X higher resolution images are under way.

Lastly The John F. Kennedy Library launched “We Choose the Moon” a clever “live” broadcast of the Apollo 11 mission in its entirety with exactly a 40 year delay.

Now 40 years later NASA is embarking on Constellation which even in vehicle design parallels what was done in Apollo. We may be back on the moon by 2020 assuming Constellation, Aries IV or DIRECT succeed.