From:         Patrick Douglas Crispen 
Subject:      TOURBUS - 23 FEB 2006 - Rockets, Badgers and Bananaphones


The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

Howdy, y'all, and greetings once again from deep behind the orange curtain in beautiful Irvine, California, the clog dance capital of north central Paraguay. :P

Riding Rockets

Most of my brushes with greatness happened while I was working at Space Camp. There I met both George Bush [41] and Ted Kennedy. I drank a beer with "Rocket Boys" author and NASA engineer Homer Hickam and I hung out in the ward room with Richard M. Nixon, the world- famous Space Camp counselor who happened to share his name with the 37th President of the United States. I even met a few astronauts, including my favorite astronaut of all time: Mike Mullane.

Mike's son Pat, along with his future son-in-law Steve "Rooster" Wade, and I shared a counselor's room in Bay 8 of the "The Bubble," Space Camp's dormitory. Between Bays 7 and 8 was an upstairs storeroom where we stored the freeze dried astronaut dinners we would occasionally inflict upon the unsuspecting campers. While the campers did not particularly care for this arid astro-delicacy, the field mice around The Bubble couldn't get enough of the stuff. Soon, every mouse critter within 100 miles was making a beeline to The Bubble with a requisite pit stop in Bay 8. The morning that Steve Wade awoke to see a mouse on chest -- a mouse that Pat and I lovingly named "Throdor, King of the Mutant Rats" -- was a particularly vivid [and humorous] episode in my life.

Of course, Space Camp management -- as management anywhere is wont to do -- downplayed the incident and refused to do anything to dis-invite our furry Bubblemates. Astronaut Mike Mullane came to our rescue. A few weeks after hearing about Steve's mouse encounter, Mike sent the three of us his astronaut photograph with the following inscription:

"To Throdor, King of the Mutant Rats, Here's hoping all your dreams come true in upstairs bay 8. -- Mike Mullane, Astronaut"

Of course, Pat, Steve, and I immediately posted the photograph on our door. A few days later, while on a tour of The Bubble with the Director of the Space and Rocket Center, the Chairman of Nippon Steel saw the photograph, turned to the Director, and asked "Who's Throdor?"

Problem solved.

Not only is Mike Mullane my favorite astronaut, he's also one heck of an exterminator.

What does all of this have to do with today's Tourbus post. Well, Mike Mullane has written a new book titled "Riding Rockets : The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut" [US$26.00 hardcover / ISBN 0743276825.] I know we don't do book reviews that often, but I highly recommend that you buy multiple copies of "Riding Rockets." This book is THAT good. Mike holds no punches, giving you an inside peek at the thrills, fears, inside jokes, and unimaginable frustrations of the United States astronauts corps.

The publisher Simon & Schuster posted an excerpt from chapter one:

and you can read an exceptional, in-depth review of the book at:

The review sums up this book much better than I can. And I am not just saying that because of Throdor.

Meme Review: Badgers and Bananaphones

Speaking of badgers [huh?], I want to spend some time over the next couple of months re-introducing to different internet phenomena, the stuff that was once really, really popular and then quickly fell out of favor. Think of this as an internet pop culture history tour. Our first stop is Jonti Picking's "Badger Badger Badger" Flash video at

As with most internet phenomena, don't bother looking for a point. It's just badgers, mushrooms, and snakes. Over and over again. Study this video carefully. It's important, especially if you want to fully experience the joy that is

Have a safe and happy weekend, and we'll talk again soon.

           .~~~.  ))
(\__/)  .'     )  ))       Patrick Douglas Crispen
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The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
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