Posts Tagged "The Right Stuff"

Chuck Yeager, the Speed of Sound, and The Right Stuff

Dear Kid,

Once upon a time, the Speed of Sound thought it was a really cool dude. The Speed put up barriers all around the world (the Sound Barrier) and strutted around daring people to race.

Birds (who are smarter than they are sometimes given credit for) politely declined to race (except for a crow named Lenny who rudely declined and was later punished for his behavior). There are rumors that a mosquito once accepted the challenge but died before the race could be run.

All in all, Speed of S was the reigning royalty of zippiness. Except for light, but we don’t like to talk about that.

Then came Chuck.

Chuck was a great dude. He was an Air Force fighter pilot. After the war, he stayed in the Air Force as a test pilot.

October 14, 1947 Chuck Yeager breaks Mach 1. DearKidLoveMom.comIt is interesting to note that Chuck Yeager doesn’t look at all like his photos. I know this because I saw the movie The Right Stuff and I know that Chuck really looks a lot like Sam Sheppard.

Chuck Yeager was selected to fly the Bell XS-1 in an attempt to break the sound barrier. Everyone (including the aforementioned Speed of Sound) knew that this was impossible, because going that fast would blow up the aircraft, anyone in it, and quite possibly the entire universe. The only people who did not know it was impossible were the people involved in the testing.

Because the idea of doing the impossible wasn’t enough, Chuck fell off a horse two days before The Flight. He didn’t want to be taken off the project so he had a veterinarian tape him up (which seems fair since the horse caused the problems). He told his wife (smart man) and one other project pilot, Jack Ridley. Ridley (being that kind of a pilot) fixed up a broom handle lever so that Chuck could seal the hatch (the broken ribs making it impossible for Yeager to move enough to grab the regular door handle). It’s a great scene in the movie. And because I’m That Kind of Mom I’ve included the scene for you (below).

Spoiler alert: on October 14, 1947, Chuck Yeager reached Mach 1.07. Speed of Sound went to bed without dinner and sulked for many days. After that Speed went back to work and spent more time than usual tormenting mosquitoes.

Chuck Yeager went on to break a boatload planeload of other records. To the best of my knowledge, he did not apologize for breaking them and everyone knows you should apologize if you break something. He was one of the first American pilots to fly a MiG-15 (you’re playing the soundtrack in your head, aren’t you?). He flew a chase aircraft in 1953 for Jackie Cochran, the first woman to fly faster than the Speed (told you he was a good guy).

Also in 1953, Other People were the first to reach Mach 2. Ridley and Yeager decided to outdo the O.P. and hit 2.44 before the O.P. could even have a good celebratory party.

On October 14, 2012 on the 65th anniversary of breaking the sound barrier, then Brigadier General (retired) Yeager did it again at the age of 89. Pretty dang cool if you ask me.

Love, Mom

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The Tide Turns on December 12 | Who Knew This Stuff?

Dear Kid,

December 12th was Quite a day in history. And, being the kind of mother I am, I have decided to try to make some sense out of it for you. (I am such a good mom.)

In 1408 The Order of the Dragon was first created. This is important since the Dust Dragons are direct decedents of the Order and believe it is their dust-given right to overtake any place they want to overtake. Since I am a better blogger than a housekeeper, mostly I don’t argue. Mostly.

We The People DearKidLoveMom.comFast forward to 1787 when Pennsylvania became 2nd state to ratify US Constitution, paving the way for We The People to become a country.

Speaking of We The People, on December 12, 1800, Washington DC was established as the capital of US so that many, many years later Auntie M could go to college there. Many years.

Then in 1914, many People tried to fly out of windows on Wall Street because of the largest one-day percentage drop in the history of Dow Jones Industrial Average, down 24.39%. Note: They did not master the art of flying before hitting the pavement.

Musically speaking, in 1792, Ludwig Von Beethoven received his 1st lesson in music composition from Franz Joseph Haydn. Ludwig was 22 at the time. You know why this is important, right? How could we have Peanuts and Snoopy without Schroeder playing Beethoven?

A lot of sports things happened on December 12th (which is odd because I don’t usually think of December 12th as a big sports day. But it was, so pay attention, because We, The People are big sports fans).

In 1899 George F Bryant of Boston patented the wooden golf tee, paving the way for using golf tees for all sorts of things, even golf.

In 1930, the Baseball Rules Committee greatly revised the rule book. Pretty much no one noticed. On the same day in 1949, the American League voted 7-1 rejecting legalizing the spitball. The lone dissenter spit on the decision.

In 1953, Chuck Yeager reached Mach 2.43. I don’t know if that really counts as sport, but it paved the way for the movie The Right Stuff which is a Most Excellent film.

Speaking of excellent movies, in 1965 Gale Sayers of Chicago Bears scored 6 TDs, tying the NFL record, paving the way (quite indirectly) for the movie Brian’s Song which is not only Most Excellent but is also one of the all-time Tear Jerkers.

In 1968 Arthur Ashe became the 1st black to be ranked #1 in tennis. Yep, he was that good.

And perhaps most importantly, in 1981 Wayne Gretzky scored the quickest 50th goal (game 39).

Here are a bunch of random bits of December 12th history:

In 1901 Italian physicist and radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi succeeded in sending the first radio transmission across the Atlantic Ocean, disproving detractors who told him that the curvature of the earth would limit transmission to 200 miles or less. This historic message was Morse code for the letter “s” rendering the whole event fairly obscure in history. Take a lesson from Alex Bell and be memorable if you’re going to do something historic.

Happy Birthday TideOn December 12, 1913 Hebrew was officially introduced as the language for teaching in Palestinian schools. Tov!

In 1925, Mr. Arthur Heinman coined term “motel” and opened the Motel Inn in San Luis Obispo, CA. I think it’s pretty cool to be known almost a century later for having invented a word and a concept. I hope to be known as the mother of the child who invented the word “oversplode” (among other things).

And for a Cincinnati fact, on December 12, 1946 Tide detergent was introduced. Happy Birthday, Tide!

I The Mom hope your day is equally eventful,

Love, Mom

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