Review: Film does excellent job portraying life of astronaut

by Murrel Bland

“First Man,” a movie about Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. Starring Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy. Directed by Damien Chazelle. Steven Spielberg is the executive producer; 141 minutes as seen at Legends 14 Theaters.

This year marked the 50th anniversary of the first man on the moon. The movie does an excellent job of telling the personal details of what it meant to be an astronaut.

Neil Alden Armstrong was born on Aug. 5, 1930 in Wapakoneta, Ohio. He was a U.S. Navy pilot during the Korean War. While flying a Grumman F9F aircraft in 1951, he was hit by anti-aircraft fire and had to bail out. After the war, he completed work on his degree at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. He became a test pilot in 1955 at Edwards Air Force Base, California, flying the X-15 among other aircraft.

The movie, filmed in semi-documentary fashion, traces Armstrong’s life from 1961 until the landing on the moon July 20, 1969. Armstrong was the commander of the Gemini 8 space capsule in March of 1966, which was a preliminary venture to the moon shot. He was the first civilian to fly in space.

Armstrong and astronaut David Scott performed the first docking of two spacecraft. That mission is well documented in the film, showing a wild ride in space; the mission had to be aborted after Armstrong was forced to use some of his reentry fuel to prevent a dangerous spin caused by an equipment malfunction.

Ryan Gosling does an excellent job of portraying Armstrong. The film shows the personal sacrifice that his family endured. His son was disappointed that his father would miss his swimming meet. The family is concerned that Armstrong might not come back from space. Claire Foy, a British actress, does an equally good job of portraying the astronaut’s wife, Janet. She and another astronaut’s wife talk about how life would be simpler if they had been married to dentists.

The highlight of the film comes when Armstrong sets foot on the moon and says, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press.

2019 health insurance enrollment has changes

With the 2019 health insurance open enrollment period just beginning, Ken Selzer, CPA, Kansas commissioner of insurance, reminded those seeking plans for next year that three important changes are taking place.

There will be no penalty for not having minimum essential coverage. Before, consumers would pay a penalty if they were not enrolled in a health plan. Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, that tax penalty will be reduced to nothing. If consumers don’t have major medical health insurance for the 2019 coverage year, they will be on their own for major health care costs, but they won’t be penalized at tax time.

Short-term, limited duration options may offer lower premiums, but they won’t cover as much. Short-term, limited duration insurance is not available through the federally facilitated Kansas marketplace, but Kansans may see it offered elsewhere. These short-term plans allow for coverage to fill temporary coverage gaps.

“While they’re typically cheaper than the marketplace and other individual market health plans, there are usually limited benefits, broader exclusions and higher levels of consumer cost-sharing,” Commissioner Selzer said. “Before signing up for a short-term plan, it’s important to think through what health care services you and your family may need and check whether those services are covered.”

There will be more direct enrollment options. This means you might sign up for a marketplace plan even without You might use an insurer’s website or a third-party website.

“These sites might offer you other types of coverage too, so look closely to know what you’re buying,” Commissioner Selzer said. “Remember, you can always go online to if you want to be sure to get the protections offered in the marketplace plans.”

More information

If you have questions about the health insurance marketplace in Kansas, contact the Consumer Assistance Division at the Kansas Insurance Department by calling 800-432-2484 or by using the chat feature on the department’s website,

The open enrollment period for health insurance runs from Nov. 1, 2018, to Dec. 15, 2018. Those who purchase 2019 coverage during that time period will have coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2019.