Daily Archives: April 19, 2018

Neighbors . . .

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About 3:30 Jan and I headed up to Webster, first so Jan could get her haircut at her favorite SuperCuts, or at least her favorite stylist at her favorite SuperCuts.

While she was there, I went down the block to the office to pick up some Amazon stuff that came in today, and passed on some info to my client. And when I got back to the SuperCuts Jan was just coming out. Perfect timing.

Our next stop was right down the road to have dinner again at East Star China Buffet, where we ate just last week with Chris, Linda, and Piper. And it was just as good as last time.

But, unlike last time when I had Shrimp, Shrimp, and Shrimp, this time I only had Shrimp and Shrimp. Don’t want to get in a rut.

When we pulled into the parking lot we found ourselves right behind a big tour bus unloading ahead of us, so we thought we’d had a big delay, but except for an initial stampede, it cleared out very quickly, and we had no problems.

Finishing up, and heading home, we made a Lowe’s stop for a few things for a new project I’m working on. I’ll have more details later.

I mentioned over the last couple of days about Katherine Ross, my former next-door neighbor, so here’s a repeat of that post.

Hair Dryers and Hollywood     February 17, 2017

This kind of made me thing of a new game where you link yourself to another person you know through one or more celebrities.

For example, my friend Nick Russell and I have both met Johnny Cash, so we have a Bacon Number of 2 to each other.

And with my cousin Joy, she’s met Roy Orbison who knew Johnny Cash and then back to me. So we have a Bacon Number of 3. And I wouldn’t be surprised if she put some thought to it, Joy could come up with some more names that might get us down to a BN of 2. Because I actually have a bunch more too.

It’s fun to thing about.

Now since my friend Tricia spilled the beans on the whole Katherine Ross hair dryer thing and several people asked, here goes.

For the five Shuttle launches, I was part of the NASA television crew that was set up on White Sand Missile Range at a location called Northrup Strip. Northrup Strip was designated as the backup landing site for the Shuttle.

STS-1 and STS-2 both landed on the dry lake bed at Dryden with no problems. But when STS-3 came along in March 1982, problems. Between the Shuttle launch on the 22nd and the landing scheduled on the 30th, heavy rains flooded the lake bed and made a landing impossible.

At this point the landing strip at Kennedy Space Center was still under construction, so White Sands it was. And when it was announced that the Shuttle would be landing there, it seemed like the entire world invaded the little New Mexico town of Alamogordo where we were staying.

There were only two nice motels there, a Best Western and a Holiday Inn. Located side by side, I think they may have both been owned by the same people, since they shared the same restaurant and the bar.

We probably only had 30 people staying at the hotels, but when pretty much every television crew and film crew in the world descended on the town, they found both motels already full. And that’s because, without a lot of publicity, they were filming part of a movie there. And the stars and the crew were taking up most of the other rooms.

The movie in question was “Wrong Is Right”, a dark comedy starring Sean Connery, Katherine Ross, Robert Conrad, Leslie Nielson, John Saxon, and others. There were other stars in the movie whose names you would recognize, but these are the ones concerned because they were staying at the hotels with us.

The sands of White Sands were standing in for sands of Saudi Arabia which is were part of the movie was supposed to be taking place. So they were here for a couple of weeks to get those shots.

Now before all the Shuttle Landing commotion, we had a nice tight little group, with both the movie and NASA people. We even had several astronauts with us, Anna and Bill Fisher, and Story Musgrave.

We all got along great, trading autographs for Shuttle patches, etc., getting drunk together in the bar, and sometimes some of us eating together in the restaurant. 

Sean Connery was full of great stories about shooting other movies on location, including the Bond films, while Robert Conrad and Leslie Nielson were constantly throwing jokes back and forth at each other. Katherine Ross didn’t say a lot, but seemed content to listen and laugh at the jokes, and she had a beautiful laugh.

Then one morning as I’m almost ready to leave my room to go down for breakfast and then leave for White Sands, there was a knock at the adjoining door to the next room. Not knowing who was staying next door, but figuring it was a NASA type, I open it to find Katherine Ross standing there wearing a robe and with a towel wrap around her hair.

And she was holding up a hair dryer by the cord like it was a dead rat.

“You do electrical stuff, right. Can you fix my hair dryer? I’m already running late and it keeps going on and off every time I move.”

“Let me guess. You always unplug it by just yanking on the cord, right?”

“Well, yes.”

Now luckily for Katherine, I had a side business at the time. I soldered up computer boards for a couple of local computer stores in the Houston area. Back when I worked for the Department of Defense, they sent  me up to the NASA Certified Soldering School at MCAS Cherry Point, NC. so my boards looked like they were factory done.

The stores would give me the blank circuit boards and all of the individual parts, IC’s, transistors, resistors, caps, etc.. I would then populate them and solder them up. I got paid $10 a board and I could do 3 or 4 an hour. Good money for1982, especially since I was doing 100 at a time.

But what this all meant was that I had tools with me in my room since I always brought a bunch of boards with me on these trips. And I just happened to have a  replacement AC plug to boot.

So it only took me a couple of minutes to snip off the old one and install the new one, which garnered me a Thank You! and quick hug from Katherine Ross.

Now the next night the bar was kind of quiet, with only the NASA people and some of the film crew there, with the stars all off at some press thing. But things picked up when Katherine walked in, dressed to the nines. Like Academy Award night nines.

She walked up to the big round table where I sitting with 6 or 8 other guys and stopped in front of me.

“Thank you for what you did for me this morning. I really appreciate it.”

“No problem. I was glad I could help.”

Then she winked at me and walked off.

There was dead silence around the table, with all eyes on me. 

Well, at least after Katherine left the bar. 

And my reputation among my coworkers was greatly enhanced.

It’s hard to top this one.

Thought for the Day:

Who Knows? Could be.
If anyone would know, it would be him.

Ben Rich = Black Projects


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