Welcome to another presentation by the Surfiní Chili Players. Jerry Linenger has been writing a series of public letters to his son about what life is like on Mir. Today we present a behind-the-scenes look at whatís really going on aboard Mir.
What a thrill it is to be orbiting the earth aboard the space station Mir! This is mankindís pioneer spirit at work... living aboard a pioneer.... uh, chuckwagon.
Sitting on the launch pad four days ago, with all my hopes and expectations, I thought I was prepared for my upcoming adventure... but oh, was I mistaken! Sure, John Blaha spent hours this past week familiarizing me with the facility...
Blaha: There are 4 emergency exits aboard the Kvant module, and another 3 in Spekter. In case of a water landing your seat cushions may be used as a flotation device. In the event of a fire, your oxygen mask will drop from the ceiling. Just pull on the rubber hose and oxygen will flow. Place the mask over your head and breathe normally.
...and statusing me on the experiments. We exchanged gifts, took some pictures, and transferred loads of equipment to my new home. Yes, son, I was prepared for all of that.
But when the 81 crew sealed the hatches and Atlantis was on its way, it wasnít very long before my new companions changed the Flight Plan. Who was it that said ĎIn Space, No One Can Hear You Screamí....
Russian #1: <holding a lacy teddy> "Blaha always have wear size 12!"
Russian #2: <winking> "Coochie, coochie, Jerry!"
Jerry: <runs away from Russians>
After just a couple of weeks up here, you begin to miss the many conveniences of home... fresh food, running water, clean-smelling clothes. As you might imagine, the arrival of new supplies makes for a pretty exciting day aboard Mir. I can hardly describe the wonderful sight as we spotted Progress, at first a bright and distant star....
<All three cosmonauts watching the approach, getting gradually more and more excited...>
...growing... closing in on our outpost in space. The... anticipation...<panting> building.... <panting> BUILDING... Moving so fast... no, no... slow down... OK...OH,YES! Coming closer....cooomminnngg cllloooossserrr.....CLOSER!
Russian #1: <trying to steer with joystick>
Russian #2: Leftsky! Rightsky! More rightsky! Straightsky!
Jerry: <screaming, sitting in chair trying to "swim" through air away from hatch>
Heckler in audience: Isn't it inappropriate having a memeber of management represent Progress?
<SILENCE -- Progress suddenly stops>
Windows has detected an illegal operation. This application will be terminated.
<Progress gyrates wildly>
<sheer chaos breaks out>
<Progress collides and knocks everyone to the floor>
<Cosmonauts with backs to audience -- sunglasses on, preparing plants, etc.>
The life of a researcher is seldom exciting... hours of boredom separated by a few thrilling moments. The days are dragging on, my son. Move one sample here, another there. Draw blood... Recover attitude control... The same routine over and over again. But yesterday we made an unexpected discovery in our microgravity garden. You may have heard how well our wheat crop has been growing in the last month. But- heh, heh!- Shannon and John were growing more than just wheat up here! And it IS the SEASON OF HARVEST!!
Sound Effects: <Low Rider music>
<Cosmonauts turn around>
All: <rolling joints and partying!>
<Jerry searching the horizon with binoculars>
<Russians are off to the side checking navigation instruments and attitude control system, discussing in a low voice>
It is with you and you alone that I am able to confide. Throughout my stay, I have reserved 15 minutes every day for plain, simple stargazing. I never grow tired of observing the universe from this unique vantage point -- the bright blue earth below, cutting into the deep, dark heavens above. The stars seem closer from here, like you could almost touch them. Something new to see in all directions.
But yesterday, John, I... I just donít know what it was. Iíve been here so long son! Your mind wanders. It becomes difficult to judge the unexpected from the impossible.
You see, I was observing that spectacular comet when, all of a sudden....
<styorfoam comet with streamers and a sparkler whizzes by, followed by fanatics>
Heavenís Gate Fanatics: <normal voices>:"The Mothership! Our time has come!" "We want to transcend!" "Onward to the next reality!"
<Then, with high voices>: All: "Wait for us! Here we come! Wait for us!" "Where is my pudding and applesauce?"
As a famous poet once said, "When the going gets tough, it all hits the fan."?
<O2 generator is set off: a smoke bomb in a can, labeled "Valu-Jet">
All: Run around holding throat like choking and fight over available O2 mask
Star Date 20222*5*10
Dear John <smirk>, Johnny-boy! Oh, boy! Oh, ho, ho! I donít think weíre in Kansas any more! Oh no, uh-uh.
<John Belushi style -- shift eyes, left & right>
One smart man, he felt smart; Two smart men, they felt smart; Three smart men, they smelled fart! Ha, ha, ha! <Cough, cough, cough> Thatís not all they smelled -- soot! Ethelyne glycol! Yeeaaah!
Jerry: This is Captn Jerry to ground control... and I'm feeling very scared... I'm floating in a most peculiar way...
<Russians discussing and pointing at Jerry>
Jerry: Mr. Sulu evasive action - hard to port, hard to starboard! Scottie more power to the shields... where is my warp drive? Mr. Spock damage report! Chekov fire photon torpedoes! Where is Yoeman Rand? Scottie GET ME OUTTA HERE!!!!
Today I received word that Jim Halsell and the 83 crew had to abort their mission after only 4 days...
Jerry: Those LUCKY BASTARDS!!!!
<Crushes letter and throws it to the ground>
<Russians putting Jerry in straight jacket>
(in British accent) This is your Uncle Mike writing, Mike Foale. We docked Atlantis to the Mir today and picked up your dad. He seems real happy after his four-month visit... and he canít wait to sing you songs when he gets home!
Sound Effects: <Blue Danube music>
Jerry: "Daisy, daisy, give me your answer do... Iím half crazy all for the love of you..."
Russian #1: <holding teddie> "Jerry always have wear size 12!"
Russian #2: <winking> "Coochie, coochie, Mike!"
Mike Foale: <look toward audience>
Once again, folks -- we are Surfin' Chili, the first chili team with its own official web site! Before we leave, we have an extra treat for you. The Surfin' von Trapp Family Singers would like to convey a special message to you on behalf of all those who have recently left the Training Division. Ladies and Gentlemen: The Surfin' von Trapp Family Singers .....!
The Surfin' von Trapp Family Singers performing SO LONG, FAREWELL, DT! (sung to the tune from "The Sound of Music") It's FOUR in the morning, and we must still be on console, Even though the crew went home at TWO! Reinvent DT cases; everywhere, empty places! It's plenty enough to drive you cuckoo! (From the background) Cuckoo! Cuckoo! "We're fixing it," they tell us, But this only compels us To say good bye to you! So long! Farewell! Aufwiedersehn! Good night! I hate to go and not complete my flight! So long! Farewell! Aufwiedersehn! Good bye! My briefing this week we'll give to the new guy! So long! Farewell! Au'voire! Aufwiedersehn! I'd like to stay but not for what they're paying! So long! Farewell! Aufwiedersehn! Adeiu! No raise. No praise. You'd think they'd get a clue! Before I go, I heave a heavy sigh. Will the last to go please turn out the light? (slower) To Lockheed-Martin we go off to apply! So long! Farewell! Aufwiedersehn! Good bye! Good bye! Good bye! Good bye!
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Last updated: August 7, 2000