Space travel seems like a relatively normal (if still incredibly awesome) idea now, but back in 1969 when the Apollo 11 mission launched on its way to the moon, it was anything but.
Manned space missions had been successful, but we had never put anyone on the surface of the moon, let alone got them home safely again.
Even Neil Armstrong said that he thought they had:
"a 90 percent chance of getting back safely to Earth, but only a 50-50 chance of making a landing on that first attempt."
Buzz Aldrin gave them about the same odds.
Michael Collins, who was also on that first moon-bound flight said:
"I think we will escape with our skins, but I wouldn't give better than even odds on a successful landing and return. There are just too many things that can go wrong."
Given these testimonials from the astronauts themselves as to the danger of the mission, and the tragedy of the Apollo 1 mission, it's easy to see why members of Nixon's cabinet wanted him to be prepared for the possibility that the astronauts wouldn't make it home.
The plea for a contingency plan actually came at the request of fellow astronaut and White House liaison Frank Borman. Borman asked Nixon's speech writer, William Safire, to prepare a contingency plan in case the mission was unsuccessful.
The full text of the speech didn't become public knowledge until 1999.
"Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace."
"These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice."
"These two men are laying down their lives in mankind's most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding."
"They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown."
"In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man."
"In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood."
"Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man's search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts."
"For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind."
Original Typewritten SpeechU.S. National Archives
Original Typewritten SpeechU.S. National Archives
The speech really drives home the danger that astronauts face whenever they leave earth. Apollo 11 was a resounding success, and changed but it is tempered by the tragedies that have occurred. The 10th Challenger mission ended in the death of its 7-member crew in 1986.
On a lighter note, the mission was a success and today is the 89th birthday of Apollo 11 astronaut Dr. Buzz Aldrin. Aldrin has spent his life forwarding the mission of space exploration, and is currently a strong proponent of a manned mission to Mars.
Twitter is full of birthday wishes to the astronaut, scientist, and all-around American hero today.
Happy 89th Birthday, Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz), who promoted space exploration through his children's books and co… https://t.co/fb1YMeFoVV— Generations United (@Generations United) 1547992856
A salute to Buzz Aldrin, on his 89th Birthday, this January 20th. 🎂 https://t.co/EbVltHqn3m— Terri Thompson (@Terri Thompson) 1547993299
#ThisDayInHistory Celebrating the birthday of Buzz Aldrin, American engineer and former astronaut! On the Apollo 11… https://t.co/c49QnpLGP4— Srijan Pal Singh (@Srijan Pal Singh) 1547993908
Happy birthday to “we never got to the moon” conspiracist punchin’, Apollo 11 second man on the moon walkin’, Ameri… https://t.co/8dch3amBZy— Today in UFO HISTORY (@Today in UFO HISTORY) 1547995566
Happy B'day Buzz Aldrin, No Dream Is Too High https://t.co/MbtEQlKHL8— Taufiq Marhaban (@Taufiq Marhaban) 1547994312
@TheRealBuzz happy birthday from a fellow January 20th baby! I always start my NASA units by telling my students th… https://t.co/VoILPnilHz— Danielle Trotta (@Danielle Trotta) 1547994659
@TheRealBuzz Happy Birthday!! Keep inspiring us to reach for the stars!— Eric (@Eric) 1547990673
The sobering text of President Nixon's contingency speech reminds us of the sheer difficulty of space travel, and what a wonder it was that the mission was a success.
Dr. Aldrin's life reminds us of the good that we can do when we stick to what we believe. He has spent the majority of his 89 years working to improve humanity and further the idea of scientific exploration.
What could we do as a species if everyone were so driven to improve?
When visiting any foreign country, one should always be familiar with the laws and customs of the land.
After all, what might be generally accepted on your home turf, might be frowned upon, if not illegal, elsewhere.
For that matter, even locals might need a refresher course on what they can and can't do while at home.
A recent Redditor was curious to hear what tourists and locals alike should avoid doing in the USA, leading them to ask:
"In the United States, what should you never do?"
Stay out of the skies!
"Don't fly a drone in Washington, DC."
"The whole D.C. Area is a no fly zone."
"It's a federal offense."
"Just don't do it."- PeytonCarrK
Cops can't be bribed.
"Don't try to bribe cops when you get pulled over."
"I had some Argentinian friends immediately pull out their wallets and start pooling their cash when they got pulled over once.'
"Fortunately someone in the car noticed and told them to put it away immediately."- PeytonCarrK
"Don't pay off the police."
"My dad has friends from several third-world nations where it is common practice to give the police some cash when you are pulled over."
"However, if you try to bribe a police officer here, you'll get into a lot of trouble."- JohnASmiley
Know your rights.
"Everyone, including foreigners, has the right to be silent and have a lawyer when being questioned."
"Don’t say anything."
"Also, even if you speak English fairly well, ask for an interpreter."- WickedLilThing
Enjoy all that nature has to offer... carefully!
"Don't wander off in the national parks."
"It's very real wilderness and you can get lost and die out there."
"This includes going over railings you aren't supposed to, or off trails."
"People have died accidentally falling into a steam geyser that looked like normal water, mauled by animals or left to the elements."- AlphaOhmeganational parks GIF by Visit The USAGiphy
Allow plenty of time!
"Expect consistency at TSA in airports."- WickedLilThing
Some terminology doesn't translate...
"If you’re from England, they’re called cigarettes here."- Yung_Onions
Make sure your license is up to date.
"If you come from a walkable country don’t come here expecting the same."
"There are some areas with good public transportation and bicycle/pedestrian friendly streets but for the most part, especially outside of cities, the areas are designed to accommodate cars more than anything else."
"The reason a lot of Americans drive everywhere is because, depending on where you live, we have no choice."- The_Cars93Dog Driving GIFGiphy
Wait for instructions.
"Get out of your car and approach the cop when being stopped by a cop unless told to."- hildrash
Whether your'e waling down a street in a foreign country, or the street you've lived on for your entire life, it's always wise to be on guard and aware of your surroundings.
Not to mention, obey the law.
Who doesn't love a good joke?
And one needn't be a professional comedian to always have a joke in their back pocket to make people laugh.
Particularly as there are certain types of jokes which are almost always guaranteed to elicit at least a tiny chuckle.
They could be knock-knock jokes, "little johnny" jokes, and of course the "yo mamma" jokes.
Though always teetering on the boundaries of good taste, the possibilities of jokingly insulting the mother of a friend, or foe, are endless, and more often than not, hilarious.
Redditor nobody-and-68-others was eager to hear the funniest "you mamma" jokes people have ever heard, leading them to ask:
"What are the best “Yo mama” jokes you got?"
Yo mamma's so fat...
"yo mamma so fat she wakes up in sections."- LolCoca
"Yo mama so fat when I had a threesome with her I never met the other guy."- 1nzlocky
"Your mama so fat, her memory foam mattress wish it could forget."- cuirboyFat GIFGiphy
...How fat Is she?
"Yo mama's so fat she outweighs the needs of the many."- BenefitsCustardbatch·
"Yo mama’s so fat that every time she turns around, it’s her birthday."- Amphibutter·
Yo mamma's so ugly...
'Yo mama so ugly, criminals break into her house just to close the curtains."- Cap_the_pro
"Yo mama so ugly your dad wakes up with morning wouldn't."- lukeedbnash
"Yo mama so ugly, her portraits hang themselves."- SolHalcyonthe emperors new groove hangover GIFGiphy
This could have so many meanings...
"The earth was flat until they buried yo mama."- jaymo54
Fat AND Ugly?
"Yo mama so fat, when she goes on a diet, the stock market drops."
"Yo mama so ugly, she threw a boomerang and it refused to come back."- SophisticatedOtaku
Needless to say, not all jokes are to everyone's taste.
Something to keep in mind when sharing these jokes with others.
Particularly with, "yo mamma", or anyone else's...
Societal norms gradually change over time, and it's not until a generation looks back and notices just how far they've come.
One of the major differences people from earlier generations find fascinating is how things were much more rigid compared to current times.
Curious to hear examples of this, Redditor FCFSDeals asked:
"What’s now weirdly acceptable in 2022 that was not acceptable growing up in your generation?"
Prior to cellphones, calling protocol was vastly different once upon a time.
Answering The Call
"Not answering the phone. When we only had landline phones (yes long time ago), there was no ringing phone that went unanswered. Now we screen or just plain ignore calls until we are good and ready to deal with it."
"Also, no one expected to reach you at any time, 24-7. I miss those days."
"But there was phone etiquette: no solicitation calls; no polls; and nobody called after 9PM unless someone was in jail or the hospital."
Appearance guidelines seemed to have shifted between generations.
"People have already said tattoos, but body piercings also exploded in popularity. It used to be girls could get their ears pierced, and that was it. When I was in high school, some guys started doing the one earring look and tongue, nose and bellybutton piercings were starting to become popular."
Comfort Is Priority
"Wearing sneakers to work at a fortune 100 company."
"At the beginning of my career it was suit and tie, then business casual and now I wear stan smiths, jeans and an untucked polo in the most senior position of my working life."
"I worked for the US Senate in 2009 (in a totally non-political job for the Senate Curator). I wore clothes from Hot Topic on the Senate floor. Some days I wore old jeans with holes in the knees if I knew I'd be climbing ladders to clean artworks. One of the women on the team had a full chest tattoo and made zero effort to cover it up because no one cared. The day I met Senator Inouye to discuss what paintings he wanted in his office, I had on trainers."
Benefits Of Letting The Hair Down
"They realized that they can't erode wages and expect us to look like we're on Mad Men at the same time. Allowing long haired freaky people has made them sh*tloads of money over the years."
Hair Coloring & Tattoos
"Any type of hair coloring would result in serious trouble at school. I also remember tatoos being frown upon as being found mostly on people that got out of prison."
The advent of the internet was a huge game changer, and rules were made up as we went along.
The Bandwidth Situation
"2 people using the internet at the same time."
Phones In The Classroom
"Middle/high school students being allowed to have their cell phones in class. Being caught with our cell phone when I was a high schooler was an automatic detention etc."
Consequences Of Having A Phone On Campus
"I graduated in the late 90's, and the president of my class got expelled one week before graduation for having a phone on campus. It was in his car, and this was after hours. It rang and a teacher heard it. They made an example out of him. He lost his admission to West Point."
"Now my 8th grader finds it super unjust that her science teacher makes all the kids put their phones in a box at the front of the room during tests, and feels super justified in never ever giving up her airpods to that sort of thing."
When I was a cast member at Disneyland in the early 2000s, we had to abide by the strict, clean-cut appearance guidelines required of all cast members–with different rules applying to each respective gender.
Men, for example, were not allowed to wear jewelry or have visible tattoos. We also had to maintain the length of our hair to not exceed past a certain length, and sporting facial hair was a major no-no.
Now, the "Disney Look" has changed, allowing all cast members to reflect their personalities through “gender-inclusive hairstyles, jewelry, nail styles and costume choices; and allowing appropriate visible tattoos," according to the Disney Parks Blog.
To the Mouse, I tip my hat for these awesome changes.
As a kid, I remember being obsessed (like obsessed) with David the Gnome and his fox Swift. I was tuned in daily to watch the adventures, get all misty eyed for the hurt animals the gnomes saved, and sobbed in abject wonder when the gnomes finally lived all 400 years of their gnome life and transitioned into the trees that make up the woods they live in.
The trees are their ancestors, y'all! The treeees! They protect the trees because they're family. Trees grow intertwined because they were so in love when they were gnomes.
Fam! This show was everything ... except memorable for other people because I was in my 30s talking to someone from another country before I met the first person who remembered this show.
Which, honestly, is kind of insulting to gnomes and trees.
Reddit user itchellFamily1045 asked:
"Which show do you think you're the only person who remembers it exists?"
It was David the Gnome for me (which I found out originated in Spain and was much more popular in France than it was in the US. Apparently, I was a Euro-trash hipster as a child), but let's take a look at what got Reddit.
Classic Wheel Of Fortunewheel through the years GIF by Wheel of FortuneGiphy
"It's funny how nobody seems to remember the early seasons of Wheel of Fortune with host Chuck Woolery. You didn't win any cash. You had to choose prizes from a selection of things set up in a room-like fashion."
"They still had the prize room with sajak for a while I believe. Camera would just pan across the room and the winner would try not to pick the stupidest things. Cause the items all had fn price tags on em and you'd only have the $ amount you won. Infuriating"
"A broyhill coffee table!!"
"Always ending up with the porcelain dog statue cause it was all you had left after buying expensive items."
"I still think about the episode where everyone who stayed young, slept in Tupperware, and when their lids got taken off, aged overnight."
"One of my favorite moments on the show had Marshall and Simon hanging out in Simon's room, one night. Through the walls you can hear a man and a woman laughing lecherously."
"Marshall: 'It sounds like your mom and dad are having a party'."
"Simon: 'Mom's not home'."
"It was a great weird kids' show, but some of the gags they managed to sneak in were hilarious."
"I work w a dude whose daughter was on that show, We were just randomly chatting and he was telling me how she had done some modelling/acting when she was little"
" 'you probably dont know the show but...'."
" 'like hell i dont that show was great'."
"Early edition- get tomorrow's newspaper today"
"I loved that show! What a concept!"
"Omg omg omg"
"Quality 90s tv, right there. A warm-fuzzy show."
Herman's Headtalking marge simpson GIFGiphy
"Anyone remember Herman’s Head?"
"It had the woman that does the voice for Lisa Simpson and the woman that went on to play Ross' exwife on friends was one of the characters in his head."
" It has 2 Simpsons voice actors- Yeardley Smith and Hank Azaria. I seem to remember that they were offered the roles- and maybe the whole show existed? - because they didn’t want to be ‘just’ VA’s, and FOX wanted to placate them."
"That’s a real show?? They reference it on 'only murders in the building'.”
"I came for this one too!"
The Garry Shandling Show
"The Gary Shandling Show. No, not the Larry Sanders Show - Gary Shandling Show. Even the theme song breaks the fourth wall."
"This is the theme to Gary's show, the opening theme to Gary's show. This is the music that you hear as you watch the credits. We're almost to the part of where I start to whistle, then we'll watch It's Gary Shandling's Show."
"Yeah, Garry Shandling and Tracey Ullman are pretty much tied up in my memory."
"Best theme song EVER!"
"My partner LOVES the theme to that show! Plays it in the background every now and then, it's a riot!"
"Mid-2000s show on Fox that was apparently too weird even for Fox. I think they canceled it halfway through the 1st season."
"I have the DVD. Excellent show that I still toss in every once in a while."
"The producers had planned out some storylines all the way to S3. The S2 cliffhanger was supposed to be Jaye being sent to the mental hospital where she had helped put away some guest stars, including the woman who tried to kill the therapist with gift store items, and the boy who bought the russian mail order bride."
"Bryan Fuller's early work."
Mary Hartman Square
"Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman"
"I remember watching this with my dad and my sister after the 11:00 pm news. I was in like 6th grade. That's what happens when there's no mom around. 😂"
"Her husband fell into a vat of paint thinner at work, and he needed to have plastic surgery over every inch of his body, so he requested to look like Tab Hunter."
"I thought her husband drowned in a bowl of soup. Maybe her first husband? That show was trippy af"
"Her neighbor's husband. The clip is on YouTube."
"Spin off of a spin off or Mary Tyler Moore as I recall, right? Wasn't Rhonda the first spinoff?"
"Not a spin-off. Mary Hartman was a very bizarre show for its time, a parody of a soap opera. Louise Lasser played Mary, and she was this weirdly detached character surrounded by crazy drama and violence. I think it might have been the first place I saw Martin Mull."
"Terranova, ran for like a single season then disappeared"
"I loved that show! So annoying they didn’t get a second season."
"I was a young kid when it aired on TV so i dont remember much of it, but I recall it being a recurring topic with my mom every now and then"
"oh god I’m old. I thought it was only a few years ago. I just looked it up and it was 11. Excuse me while I go get an AARP application."
"It’s that old?! Holy sh*t, grab me an application too, please. It seriously felt like just a couple of years ago."
"Karen Valentine was probably the cutest girl ever on a tv show. I used to love when she would be on the original Hollywood Squares."
"She was the only reason anyone watched that show."
"I loved that show! My mom, my sisters and I would watch that show every Friday night. The cast was really good — Karen Valentine was a really cute and bubbly teacher, and Michael Constantine was great as the high school principal"
"Yes! I swear this was the first one I thought of! And Under the Umbrella Tree!"
"If you have the Paramount streaming app, it's on there!"
"Spicy, salty, sour, sweet, bring us something good to eat!"
"I’m in my late thirties and still vividly remember the Christmas special episode where Magellan gets lost in the woods."
"Eureka’s Castle was the jam!"
"*Worms going err errrr ER err ere rrr*"
Let's talk about the shows nobody remembers but you.
Are they those early childhood favorites? Or maybe a teen-drama that only got one season before Netflix pulled it, crushing your hopes and dreams of resolved plotlines about a teenage ghost band who died of poisoned hot dogs and the incredibly talented, but heartbroken, young singer who gives them a new lease on life, love, and music?
No that is not a joke and YES I am still angry about Netflix not giving Julie and the Phantoms a second season.
Maybe it's a soap opera you think you remember watching with your mom, but maybe it was a fever dream?
Whatever it is, we want to hear about it.