Altamont, Oct. 24, 2013

Wow! What a ride!  If you go to see the movie Gravity I hope you enjoy it as much as my husband, Jim, and I did. The special effects team certainly outdid themselves with creative ways to fool the eye and mind into thinking that the scenes were in fact real.

We found the movie so terribly exciting that time flew by. Sorry pun intended. It really was very gripping.

When Jim was president of the New York State Conference of Mayors he had the good fortune to introduce the guest speaker at one of their meetings. I was invited to join them for lunch; I considered this a distinct privilege because the speaker was Alan Bean. Bean had been the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12, the second lunar landing along with Pete Conrad. They landed in the Moon’s Ocean of Storms after a flight of 250,000 miles. Can you imagine riding around the moon in a tricked out ATV?

During dinner and during Alan Bean’s speech, he talked about NASA, the space program, his painting and much more, but very little about how he felt about being in space or walking on the moon. Gravity gave us a little bit more of the feeling you might get when your spacecraft gets hit or disabled.

In 1969, just 36 seconds after the launch their craft was struck with lightning. Bean was the astronaut who executed the instructions to restore telemetry that salvaged the mission.

While exploring the lunar surface, they left several lunar experiments and installed the first nuclear power generator station on the moon.

In the movie, the portrayal of zero gravity seemed absolutely real. I have seen videos of some weightless space flights where they fly to a certain height and then go into a steep dive giving everyone a few seconds of weightlessness. I have also seen those forced air tunnels where you are lifted into the air and get that same feeling.. Seeing someone moving around the spacecraft the way Sandra Bullock and George Clooney did was amazing.

The items floating in the air and bumping into things was very much like seeing actual space flights when NASA treats the public to conversations between Mission Control and the real life astronauts.

During Apollo 12 mission, Bean became the fourth person to walk on the moon. He made his second and final flight into space on the Skylab 3 mission in 1973, the second manned mission to the Skylab space station.

After retiring from the United States Navy in 1975 and NASA in 1981, Bean pursued his interest in painting, depicting various space-related scenes and documenting his own experiences in space as well as that of his fellow Apollo program astronauts.

Have you ever stopped to think about how much the moon enters our life and influences us in so many different ways? Not too long ago I saw an advertisement in the business section of the newspaper. I laughed at the ad, but I wonder how many people think to the future and feel that the ad was an opportunity. It read, Buy acreage on the Moon, a great gift for friends and family or for a future investment opportunity. This is the real thing — not fake! Really? I guess my vision of travel is much lower – I have not set my sights on the moon yet.

Anyone who watches television at Christmas time is bound to have seen the classic It’s a Wonderful Life. One notable scene is when George exclaims to Mary, “What do you want Mary? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey, that’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon…”

“Lasso the Moon" is also a song written by Steve Dorff and Milton Brown, and recorded by American country music artist Gary Morris. It was released in 1985 as the first new single from his hits album. The song reached 9 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.

Other popular songs from the past include, “Shine On, Harvest Moon” (from Ziegfeld Follies of 1931), "Blue Moon" a classic popular song written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in 1934. This song has become a standard ballad. The song has been sung as a released single by artists such as Mel Torme, Elvis Presley, and Frank Sinatra. “Moon River" is a song that was composed by Henry Mancini with lyrics written by Johnny Mercer. It received an Academy Award for Best Original Song for its first performance by Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 movie Breakfast at Tiffany's.

“Blue Moon” became the theme song for Andy Williams, who first recorded it in 1961 and performed it at the Academy Awards ceremonies in 1962. In 1941 the moon rose over Hollywood as a Technicolor musical film called Moon Over Miami. Betty Grable and Don Ameche had the leading roles co-starring Robert Cummings, Carole Landis, Jack Haley, and Charlotte Greenwood.

Television viewers over a certain age (yes, over 39) will remember The Honeymooners. It is a classic American sitcom on the CBS network's The Jackie Gleason Show. The Honeymooners was one of the first U.S. television shows to portray working-class married couples in a less than ideal manner in a run-down Brooklyn apartment complex.

The cast was made up of Ralph Kramden played by Jackie Gleason—a bus driver for the fictional Gotham Bus Company. Ralph is very short tempered, frequently resorting to bellowing insults and hollow threats. Alice Kramden played by Audrey Meadows. She often finds herself bearing the brunt of Ralph's insults, which she returns with biting sarcasm. She has grown accustomed to his empty threats: "BANG, ZOOM! Straight to the moon.”

Coming back down to earth we note that each month of the year has a different name for the full moon: January is Wolf Moon; February is Ice Moon; March, Storm Moon; April, Growing Moon; May, Hare Moon; June, Mead Moon; July, Hay Moon; August, Corn Moon; September, Harvest Moon; October, Blood; November, Snow Moon; December Cold Moon. A second full moon in a month is called a Blue Moon.

We also know that the moon affects the tides, is important in the practice of astrology and many ancient peoples regarded the Moon as important to their religion. The Assyrians and the Chaldeans referred to the time of the Moon-god as the oldest period in the memory of the people: before other planetary gods came to dominate the world ages, the Moon was the supreme deity.

Considering all of the ways artists, composers, writers and poets look at and describe the moon it is not surprising that Alan Bean, who is a painter, decided to show people what he saw on the moon. Many of his paintings hang on the walls of space enthusiasts. He said his decision was based on the fact that, in his 18 years as an astronaut, he was fortunate enough to visit the moon and see sights no artist's eye, past or present, has ever viewed firsthand and he hoped to express these experiences through the medium of art. He is pursuing this dream at his home and studio in Houston.

As a painter, Bean wanted to add color to the Moon. "I had to figure out a way to add color to the Moon without ruining it," he remarked. In his paintings, the lunar landscape is not a monotonous gray, but shades of various colors. "If I were a scientist painting the moon, I would paint it gray. I'm an artist, so I can add colors to the moon", said Bean.

With all of the countries that currently have space modules, and with the International Space Station waiting for shuttles to dock and more astronauts to board, it makes the movie, Gravity more realistic. There really are hazards in space, especially during activities outside the spacecraft. The astronauts are in a very precarious position of losing all of the advances they have made in space.

The movie Gravity was a thriller for me just as having lunch with someone who had walked on the moon was a thrill for me. I know that I will never go to the moon and I will read about the advances in the space program as they are released.

As a reminder of the movie and the lunch with an astronaut I can sit in my house and look at a print of a painting by Alan Bean with his autograph and the recommendation, “Jim, always reach for the moon”.

Thank you

Appreciation is extended to all who supported the chicken’n biscuit dinner Saturday evening at the VFW Post sponsored by the Ladies  Auxiliary. 

Halloween parade

Girls and boys and goblins of all ages take notice: The Altamont fire department is going to lead the Halloween Parade on Thursday, Oct. 31 from the firehouse to Orsini Park beginning at 6 p.m.  The Ladies Auxiliary will be at the gazebo where they will meet the children and hand out safety glow sticks and candy. 

Don't miss this fun way for your children to enjoy a safe and happy Halloween.  And word has it that Mac "N" Tosh, the clown will be on hand to greet the children.

Property taxes

Altamont homeowners are reminded that village property taxes must be paid by the end of the business day on October 31. Unpaid taxes will be re-levied to Albany County Department of Finance on Nov. 1.

Roast beef dinner

Noah Lodge 754 in Altamont will hold its annual roast beef dinner on Saturday, Nov. 2, from 4:30 to 7 p.m.  The menu will consist of roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, rolls and butter, coffee, tea and or milk and your choice of pies for dessert. Tickets are $11 for adults, $10 for seniors and $6 for children under 12.  Take-out service will be available.

The Masonic Hall is located on Maple Ave. in Altamont next door to the Lutheran Church.


Students and parents are reminded that if you are ordering FMS clothing such as, shorts, T-shirts, sweatshirts, orders with payment are due in the main office. 

Checks should be made payable to the FMS PTA.  And thank you for your continued support.

At home

Nancy Johnson of Castleton, an active member of the Order of Eastern Star in Rensselaer  and Cyrene Temple, Daughters of the Nile in Latham is now at home following a recent confinement in the hospital.  

School banking

Students at the Altamont Elementary School are reminded that school banking is done on Fridays at lunchtime. Volunteers are available to assist the students with making deposits.  Questions can be directed to Mary Beth Mulligan, AES Banking Coordinator.  Her number is 861-8565 or she can be reached at

Grand officers

Members of the Order of the Eastern Star have been invited to Meet and Greet with the 2013-14 Grand Officers of the Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady District on Friday, Nov. 1.   Patricia McAllister is the district grand matron and Edward W. Mosso is the district grand lecturer.  A wine and cheese tasting will be held at the Turf Tavern, 40 Mohawk Ave. in Scotia from 6 to 7:30 p.m.  Reservations need to be made by Oct. 29, with V. Rae Forster at 346-0683.


Happy-anniversary wishes are extended to:

—  Jackie and Jeff Genovese who will celebrate their special day  on Oct. 26; and

— Doris and Albert Parshall on Oct. 31.


Happy-birthday wishes are extended to:

— Walter Best and Lisa (Fidler) Rittner on Oct. 25;

— Christopher  Buckey, Susie Felgentreff, Steven Kowalski, Elizabeth Madden, and Diane Pruskowski  on Oct. 26;

— Mike Keogh, Heath Linendoll and Billy Pentak on Oct. 27;

— Ronald Ginsburg, Rob Meyers and Susan C. Rosa on Oct. 28;

— Cheryl Kline and Emmy Kappel on Oct. 29;

— Emilie Keach Baker on Oct. 30; and

— Liz Batchelder, Audrey Evangelique,  Christine Hukey, Billy Keogh, Katie Munroe, Mike Munroe and Theresa Veltman on Oct. 31.