Wednesday, 30 May 2018


My obituary of the astronaut Alan Bean is up at the Guardian online now; you can link to it here. It is scheduled for the paper paper tomorrow. It also contains a nice video about Bean's paitings, and wonderful stills of him on the moon and of the Apollo 12 crew. It was bittersweet for me to be remembering Bean, because I did Dick Gordon's obit for the paper last November, and Bean's were some of the best quotes in that piece, and also because in my original copy I mentioned Bean's painting, 'The Dream', in which Gordon was pictured on the moon, which he never did walk on. But the paper cut that bit; if you're curious you can link to it via this blog by punching the link here.

Oddly enough, I hadn't noticed when the Gordon piece appeared, but the Guardian's style sheet writes NASA as Nasa. They do not, however, write Usa for the United States of America. My experience everywhere else has been that acronyms containing or serving as Proper Nouns are capitalised. But the paper has an odd attitude toward caps: in my copy once, North America was changed to north America: when I pointed out the former was a continent and the latter Vermont, Minnesota, Montana and the like, I was met with a shrug.

Otherwise, Bean's obituary is pretty much as written, again except for the closing. I would have mentioned that of the Apollo 12 crew Pete Conrad died in a motorcycle crash in 1999 and Gordon died last November. But since the paper had cut their mention last time, I went for a different ending this time:  

With Bean's death, only four of the twelve men who walked on the moon remain: Buzz Aldrin, Charlie Duke, Harrison Schmitt and Dave Scott.

It too was cut. 

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