The enduring charm of Buzz (Aldrin, not Lightyear) as author and astronaut

The enduring charm of Buzz (Aldrin, not Lightyear) as author and astronaut

People these days may recognize Buzz Aldrin as a rapper with Snoop Dogg or a dancer on “Dancing With the Stars,” but first and foremost he is the astronaut who in 1969 was the second man, after Neil Armstrong, to set foot on the moon — and that’s exactly how the Sunday crowd at the Festival of Books acknowledged him.

Aldrin was interviewed by L.A. Times writer Patt Morrison about his new book, “Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home.” Morrison started the discussion by telling the crowd there was now only 1 degree of separation between them and the man whose footprint will remain on the moon for millennia.

Morrison kept the mood light during the conversation. Her opening question: Is “Toy Story’s” Buzz Lightyear named after him? “Shall we check with Disney’s lawyers?” Aldrin shot back.

Then she asked about her favorite chapter in the book, “The Blow Heard Around the World,” about a man Aldrin punched out for accusing him of being a liar and a coward, claiming the moon landing never happened. When Morrison asked him to comment, the crowd erupted in cheers and claps.

The mood turned serious when Aldrin began talking about the politics of the space program and how he would like President Obama to put serious advancement into the program. “I’ll make sure he does,” Aldrin said. “Or I’ll make sure his successor does.”

Throughout the conversation, Aldrin showed off the expertise and intelligence he developed at MIT with long responses that may have gone over the heads of many in attendance. “It’s obvious why they call him the best scientific mind in space,” Morrison said. “It turns out he may be the best politician too.”

That statement wasn’t too far-fetched given that nearly every statement made by Aldrin was marked by a convincing round of populist applause for someone who clearly has a way of grasping people’s attention. “It’s amazing this guy tried to sell cars for a week and couldn’t sell one, because I am certainly sold,” Morrison said.

Read the original article on the Los Angeles Times

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