What is it about astronaut quotes that make them so damn enduring?
From "One small step" to "Houston, we have a problem" – they’ve morphed from mere utterances into pop culture icons. And now that I’m trapped in Houston for the second time this year, it’s finally happened. I got kidnapped to the Houston Space Center – the home away from home of NASA – and forced by captors to take the new Discount Tire NASA Tram Tour. Which I can now report, is a bit of a snore.
In other words, don’t even think about canceling the family vacation to Bali Bali.
Not that I didn’t have a jolly good time, within reason, owing mostly to a college kid named Graham who was our tour guide. He updated me on vital NASA stuff like that after three long years on the job he’s still only making $8.75 an hour.
Houston, times are tough…
I learned that since Graham’s from Canada and an avid hockey player, he doesn’t like to fight, But that he observes proper ettiquette when one breaks out by removing his protective headgear. Because when the dukes are up, it’s considered good form to take off your facemask so the other fellow won’t hurt his hand while he’s popping you in the kisser. I kid you not, that’s an actual hockey rule. Graham says.
There was other interesting discoveries.
Like all those old rocketships and how crude and unsophisticated they look by today’s standards. Seriously. I can’t believe anybody smart enough to make it through flight school would be dumb enough to get in one of those Fred Flintstone space Model T’s and think they could make it to the Final Frontier and live to tell the story.
Speaking of cartoon characters, those old spaceships looked like something George Jetson and Henry Ford dicked around on in Steve Jobs parent’s garage before they gave up and went ahead and invented the McIntosh instead.
No wonder Uptown Theater honcho Larry Sells thinks NASA faked it all. Fly one of those crum-dums to the moon and back? No way!
I’m heading straight to Blockbuster on my return and renting Capricorn One. Next time I watch it, I’m gonna view it as a documentary.
We saw the original Mission Control – museum, preserved in its original form. It looked like something you could order and build out of a 1959 Radio Shack catalogue. NASA was having some kind of presentation ceremony in it for an astronaut dude and his family. Naturally, Graham had no clue what was going on – above his pay grade – but ventured a guess that it might be a memorial service of some sort .
Another highlight of our tram tour; a gigantic field with longhorn cattle Graham tells me are provided and cared for by the Future Farmers of America.
Remember those dudes?
The bluejacketed boys and girls who used to flood Kansas City around this time of year and pump billions into the local economy. The guys Louisville stole from us after a lifetime of Semper Fi on the Plaza and at Gates Bar-B-Q. The ones heavy duty banker R. Crosby Kemper Jr. vowed to squash like bugs in Donald Trump-like fashion and replace with his – wait for it – Green Jackets.
The year was 1996 and Kemper’s group was called the AFA – Agriculture Future of America – which was supposed to replace the 37,000 FFA kids we were losing. At least that was the mission as far as KC was concerned.
So when was the last time you saw a buncha of kids in green jackets rummaging around KC in the dead of fall? Me neither.
But believe it or not, those Green Jacket dudes still exist. Really. They even came here for their yearly gang bang last week although I didn’t see em. You?