Many of us greatly enjoyed CNN’s special presentation of “Apollo 11” in this, the 50th anniversary year of sending a man to the moon.

It was a spectacular presentation Sunday evening, so don’t miss it when it is repeated.

The technology developed in those few short years between when President Kennedy proclaimed in 1961 that within a decade, we would place a human on the moon is astounding, as the film points out. And since 1969, development of space exploration has picked up even greater speed.

However, one human weakness was depicted in the 1969 film. Numerous shots of the hundreds of employees working in Mission Control were shown – and often NASA workers were spotted smoking cigarettes in front of their consoles.


Word has been received of the death early last week in Modesto of former Patterson businessman Harry J. Holton at age 87.

He was in the automotive repair business here for many years before moving it to Modesto in 1998. He also had a Chrysler dealership here at one time. He served in the Air Force, but is remembered by many for his success at drag racing, where he held several national records until retiring.

Holton is survived by his wife Sonja and four children.


Our new congressman, Josh Harder, is by all accounts working hard to serve his district. He’s held local meetings with constituents and is building a base of support he’ll need when re-election rolls around late next year.

It is noticeable that Harder supports are being organized to submit letters to the editor of newspapers within his district, including this one. They come with a certain regularity, and are seldom on the subject of a particular issue – just complimenting Josh on his efforts at representing us.

And they come from all over the district. Just last week the Irrigator printed two received from Riverbank and Oakdale.

I’d much rather read letters written by local scribes, whether they be Harder supporters or not.


Yes, an error was made in a recent Fast Talk about the Patterson man who rode his bicycle across this country, England, Europe and Asia to Hong Kong.

I’m currently reading his interesting book about the trip, taken in 2008. But I indicated his adventure was taken last year, which is when the book was copy-written. My mistake. It was 10 years earlier.

I have a ways to go with the reading, and will keep his identity a secret until I finish. But I will say that when he was crossing the vast Taklamakan Desert on the Silk Road in western China, Housemate and I were on camelback just to the north crossing the Gobi Desert. That was in the fall of 2008.

Coincidence? I suppose. But it sure would have been fun to meet up with a lone Pattersonite riding his bike in the roadless Gobi.


Mr. Swift – You haven’t lambasted cell phones for a long time. Have you changed your tune? – Curious

Dear Cur – I’m anxiously awaiting the day when cell phones must be licensed, as are radio and TV stations. Give us back unpolluted air!


Those of us in the Persons of Maturity (don’t call us Senior Citizens) category remember when we learned to drive a motor vehicle.

It certainly was a “stick shift” which today would stump these young drivers. And why did our parents buy stick shifts? Well, for one thing, they were cheaper. You paid extra for an automatic transmission.


Players are paid a lot of money to compete at the NBA level, and certainly injuries that shorten their season or even their careers are part of the sport.

Yes, the Warriors certainly experienced injury problems on their star-studded team, but without their stars at full strength, they did their best before falling to the Raptors in the championship round.

No doubt about it; because they were at full strength, the Raptors were the better team.

So with their money in the bank, don’t fret the Warriors fall from grace. They’ve had a great run.


Burma Shave signs along the roadside are still out there.

You’ve read about them here, and now Patterson High teacher Ashley Matyn emails that she recently spotted one just outside Conway, Missouri on a drive to Detroit.

Some things never go out of style – and shouldn’t.

Ron Swift is editor/publisher emeritus of the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at

PI editor/publisher emeritus

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