Today my father would have been 71. Had he lived, he would have wanted the folks at CERN to fire up the LHC — no matter if the chance of creating a black hole in our part of the galaxy were 50% or even more. He was adventuresome that way. “What the hell,” he would have said, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!“ That was one of his favorite quotations, because it matched the way he lived his life.
That’s him on the left, when he was a twenty year old airman in the USAF, stationed in Germany in the late 1950s and working for NSA. For this picture, though, he was working on a bottle of the local wine with his buddies. I believe he said it was Berg Bergweg, 1956. Newly bottled, it cost only one mark — which was about 25 cents US at that time. The GIs therefore drank it like water.
One day when I was a teenager, Dad was reading his Time magazine and suddenly shouted, “Well I’ll be god damned!” Time had an article on the finest and rarest wines in the world. Near the top of the list was Berg Bergweg, 1956. “Hell,” he said, “I’ve spent many a cold night curled up over a manhole cover with a bottle of that stuff. I must have drunk it nearly to extinction!”
He remained a heavy drinker for most of his life, and it was one of those torpedoes that eventually got him.
Miss you, Dad.