Friday, April 13, 2012

This Day in History–Apollo 13

“Houston – we have a problem”

Probably one of the most famous lines in movie history (up there with “May the Force be with you”).

However, like many movie quotes – they don’t get it exactly right.

Here is the Transcript -

Swigert: 'Okay, Houston, we've had a problem here.'
Houston: 'This is Houston. Say again please.'
Lovell: 'Houston, we've had a problem. We've had a main B bus undervolt.'

Not that it makes much of a difference – I am just a perfectionist (in my own demented way).

Anyway – what does this have to do with S&B? 

Well, it was on this day in history – April 13th 1970, aboard the space craft Apollo 13, that these words were uttered.

What then transpired was one of the greatest achievements in US History – and if you don’t know the story…..pick up the movie….it explains it way better than I could.

Why this is important to S&B – I will use an actually photograph of Mission Control taken after splash down.

In it, Gene Kranz celebrates with a cigar a job well done.

Mission ControlThis makes me wonder, where did the origins of a celebratory cigar come from?

The exact origin for the modern tradition of smoking cigars at celebrations remains somewhat uncertain. However, the tradition is often linked to the potlatches of the Native Americans.

In this tradition, a host would invite others to celebrate a joyous occasion such as a birth or a marriage. The host would then give the guests gifts; food was the most common type of gift.

As tobacco became more cultivated by Americans – people chose to smoke it in one of two fashions – cigars or pipe. 

This translates to the plains Indians, and their celebratory “peace pipes” and as Lewis and Clark traversed the wilderness – it is documented that the tobacco used as gifts was highly sought after and prized.

As time progressed, and cigarette smoking became more popular – Cigars became associated with “The Rich” – therefore continuing the tradition of giving out something prized at celebrations – most commonly in American Culture, at birthings.

Sadly, due to the change in culture – we have gotten away from that celebratory smoke. 

Instead, now we give out Bubblegum Cigars, balloons and other what-not.

I say – Bring Back Manly Cigar Smoking……..lets celebrate the great achievements and highlights of life. 

Lets go back to being men – where red meat, good scotch and a fine cigar all go hand in hand (preferably around a charcoal BBQ Grill). 

Quit ordering fruity cocktails and wearing pastel colors – instead belly up to the bar and get a beer with kick, throw on an old flannel or a football jersey.

In the end – be men that set their goals high.  Take care of your family, work hard and be role models.  And when you accomplish those goals – Celebrate.

The Astronauts of Apollo 13 and the men in Mission Control certainly were – and they sure earned that cigar.

Cheers -

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