1438: "Houston"

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1438: "Houston"

Postby Chris Dude70 » Fri Oct 24, 2014 5:12 am UTC

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Title Text: 'Oh, hey Mom. No, nothing important, just at work.'


Who calls these days? Don't you know how to text?
Last edited by Chris Dude70 on Mon Oct 27, 2014 4:12 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby Envelope Generator » Fri Oct 24, 2014 5:41 am UTC

What terrible service. Fortunately the customer is free to switch to another space supplier.
I'm going to step off the LEM now... here we are, Pismo Beach and all the clams we can eat

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby Coyne » Fri Oct 24, 2014 5:56 am UTC

It could be worse: At least the ground-rep speaks English.
In all fairness...

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby jano » Fri Oct 24, 2014 6:36 am UTC

Forgot to use the code word Shibboleet
Spoiler:

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby alvinhochun » Fri Oct 24, 2014 8:19 am UTC

"Have you tried turning it off and on again?"

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby orthogon » Fri Oct 24, 2014 8:28 am UTC

Has Randall fallen out with NASA for some reason?
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby nigenet » Fri Oct 24, 2014 8:35 am UTC

"You are having a bad problem and you will not come back from space today"
"Your mother ate my dog!"
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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby Eternal Density » Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:02 am UTC

Criminal negligence is funny now?
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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby Antonio_13 » Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:16 am UTC

This seems awfully dark for XKCD.

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby azule » Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:55 am UTC

Others must agree, because this thread is going real slow.

I think it must mean something else. "Stirring"? "Hey, Mom"? I can only guess it's some sort of game. Mom shows up while he's "just working". I think he's at home, that's where moms are.

No one know the reference?
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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby orthogon » Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:13 am UTC

azule wrote: I can only guess it's some sort of game. Mom shows up while he's "just working". I think he's at home, that's where moms are.

He hangs up because he has another call, presumably from his mum.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby brenok » Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:20 am UTC

Antonio_13 wrote:This seems awfully dark for XKCD.

You must be new here!

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby orthogon » Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:22 am UTC

Just noticed that he says "I've got". Is that characteristically New England? I always thought EN-US usage was "I have" or "I've gotten". (In this case, "I've gotten" wouldn't really work, but he could say "I have another call".)
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby azule » Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:39 am UTC

It's not exclusive to New England. Maybe it's new English. I think, you must be thinking of "standard/formal" English. In spoken (and now written) English, "I've got" is the de facto standard.

orthogon wrote:
azule wrote: I can only guess it's some sort of game. Mom shows up while he's "just working". I think he's at home, that's where moms are.

He hangs up because he has another call, presumably from his mum.
Yeah, the "other call". Okay, he's at work with his dual monitors and headset. Maybe ED is fully right.
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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby Geheee » Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:49 am UTC

Maybe this is related to the news that NASA has launched a new library full of sound recordings.

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby orthogon » Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:01 am UTC

Apparently it's just that I notice "gotten" when I hear or see it, because it's not common in British English; in fact, according to Google ngrams, "got" is much more common than "gotten" in both dialects. It looks like "gotten" is only used when it's properly the pp of "get", e.g. "it will get tangled/it has gotten tangled", "I am getting angry/I shouldn't have gotten angry". In the set phrase "To have got [something]" meaning "to have [something]", it's always "got".

Interesting aside: the specific comparison of "got tangled" and "gotten tangled" reveals an overall peak around 1990 with a dramatic decline afterwards; can this be attributed to the introduction of Bluetooth headphones?
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:45 am UTC

Coyne wrote:It could be worse: At least the ground-rep speaks English.

Phone support people generally speak fluent English, it's just not always in an accent you can understand very well.
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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby Djehutynakht » Fri Oct 24, 2014 12:10 pm UTC

This is something I would have expected from BHG.

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby Jackpot777 » Fri Oct 24, 2014 1:10 pm UTC

Coyne wrote:It could be worse: At least the ground-rep speaks English.


I had this problem the other day. I called PPL (Pennsylvania Power & Light) to tell them some chavs, probably with ASBOs for all I care, were chucking johnnies full of something (that looked like Tizer) at our mum's caravan and her telly was on the fritz so could they send out one of their geezers to have a butcher's? We did call the rozzers but it's like they don't like a palaver so they didn't do sweet Fanny Adams. They told me they didn't understand a word I was saying, I told them it was the Queen's Own and maybe if they couldn't twig what I was going on about, maybe they shouldn't be here but they should shufti over to the old dear's and sort it out.

English.

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby orthogon » Fri Oct 24, 2014 1:24 pm UTC

Jackpot777 wrote:
Coyne wrote:It could be worse: At least the ground-rep speaks English.


I had this problem the other day. I called PPL (Pennsylvania Power & Light) to tell them some chavs, probably with ASBOs for all I care, were chucking johnnies full of something (that looked like Tizer) at our mum's caravan and her telly was on the fritz so could they send out one of their geezers to have a butcher's? We did call the rozzers but it's like they don't like a palaver so they didn't do sweet Fanny Adams. They told me they didn't understand a word I was saying, I told them it was the Queen's Own and maybe if they couldn't twig what I was going on about, maybe they shouldn't be here but they should shufti over to the old dear's and sort it out.

English.

What, and they really hadn't a scoobie what you were blathering about? Their dog and bone must've been on the blink.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby Primis » Fri Oct 24, 2014 1:55 pm UTC

Envelope Generator wrote:What terrible service. Fortunately the customer is free to switch to another space supplier.

<joke type="Comcast">
So If I understand correctly, you don't want to be with the space supplier with the best flight record?
Help me understand why you don't want NASA.

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby pkcommando » Fri Oct 24, 2014 1:56 pm UTC

Djehutynakht wrote:This is something I would have expected from BHG.

Well, if the dress code doesn't allow him to wear a hat while working...

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby Canonical » Fri Oct 24, 2014 2:05 pm UTC

This one was sort of "meh" to me. Being an aged Tech Crone and having lived through the Apollo 13 Experience™, it doesn't strike me as particularly funny. Kind of like making a Pearl Harbor joke to my parents, I suppose.

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby ChicagoGuy » Fri Oct 24, 2014 2:07 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
Jackpot777 wrote:
Coyne wrote:It could be worse: At least the ground-rep speaks English.


I had this problem the other day. I called PPL (Pennsylvania Power & Light) to tell them some chavs, probably with ASBOs for all I care, were chucking johnnies full of something (that looked like Tizer) at our mum's caravan and her telly was on the fritz so could they send out one of their geezers to have a butcher's? We did call the rozzers but it's like they don't like a palaver so they didn't do sweet Fanny Adams. They told me they didn't understand a word I was saying, I told them it was the Queen's Own and maybe if they couldn't twig what I was going on about, maybe they shouldn't be here but they should shufti over to the old dear's and sort it out.

English.

What, and they really hadn't a scoobie what you were blathering about? Their dog and bone must've been on the blink.

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby Stargazer71 » Fri Oct 24, 2014 2:20 pm UTC

Maybe I'm nitpicking, but they never said, "Houston, we have a problem." That was from the movie Apollo 13.

The direct quote was: "Ok Houston, I believe we've had a problem here. (This is Houston, say again please). Houston we've had a problem."

This one (along with the whole "That's one small step for *a* man" thing) get under my skin. Don't ask me why.

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby cellocgw » Fri Oct 24, 2014 2:23 pm UTC

Jackpot777 wrote:
Coyne wrote:It could be worse: At least the ground-rep speaks English.


I had this problem the other day. I called PPL (Pennsylvania Power & Light) to tell them some chavs, probably with ASBOs for all I care, were chucking johnnies full of something (that looked like Tizer) at our mum's caravan and her telly was on the fritz so could they send out one of their geezers to have a butcher's? We did call the rozzers but it's like they don't like a palaver so they didn't do sweet Fanny Adams. They told me they didn't understand a word I was saying, I told them it was the Queen's Own and maybe if they couldn't twig what I was going on about, maybe they shouldn't be here but they should shufti over to the old dear's and sort it out.

English.


Hmph.... [runs off to check out the glossary appendix to Clockwork Orange] ... not the same English used by droogs. Not at all.
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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby cellocgw » Fri Oct 24, 2014 2:25 pm UTC

File this one under "Too Lazy to Look it Up" :

DId the O2 failure occur after the CM flip & dock to LEM maneuver or before? I don't remember.
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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby JustDoug » Fri Oct 24, 2014 2:41 pm UTC

Bad customer service? In Houston? Might it be... "What would happen if NASA were taken over by HostGator?"

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby DennyMo » Fri Oct 24, 2014 2:48 pm UTC

I just figured it was a variation on "If millenials ran NASA."

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby Whizbang » Fri Oct 24, 2014 2:51 pm UTC

Top 5 Tips For Space Travel Nasa Doesn't Want You To Know!

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Oct 24, 2014 3:22 pm UTC

Hey, I think one of my friends works with that guy! Not the one who is not coming back from space today, but the customer disservice guy.

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby orthogon » Fri Oct 24, 2014 3:29 pm UTC

Stargazer71 wrote:Maybe I'm nitpicking, but they never said, "Houston, we have a problem." That was from the movie Apollo 13.

The direct quote was: "Ok Houston, I believe we've had a problem here. (This is Houston, say again please). Houston we've had a problem."

This one (along with the whole "That's one small step for *a* man" thing) get under my skin. Don't ask me why.

Sometimes, what matters isn't what somebody said, but what they ought to have said. Sure, every so often an Oscar Wilde comes along and produces perfectly formed morsels of language, but for everyone else most things they come out with can use a bit of enhancement. Armstrong's famous one liner is a case in point. (BTW you clearly feel strongly, but which way? It doesn't seem like the great man himself was too sure what he'd said. Given that he'd apparently only decided on his first words a few seconds earlier, we're lucky he didn't say what The Onion reported).
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby alanbbent » Fri Oct 24, 2014 3:41 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:File this one under "Too Lazy to Look it Up" :

DId the O2 failure occur after the CM flip & dock to LEM maneuver or before? I don't remember.


After. I believe they were most of the way to the moon when it happened.

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby richP » Fri Oct 24, 2014 4:46 pm UTC

Jackpot777 wrote:
Coyne wrote:It could be worse: At least the ground-rep speaks English.


I had this problem the other day. I called PPL (Pennsylvania Power & Light) to tell them some chavs, probably with ASBOs for all I care, were chucking johnnies full of something (that looked like Tizer) at our mum's caravan and her telly was on the fritz so could they send out one of their geezers to have a butcher's? We did call the rozzers but it's like they don't like a palaver so they didn't do sweet Fanny Adams. They told me they didn't understand a word I was saying, I told them it was the Queen's Own and maybe if they couldn't twig what I was going on about, maybe they shouldn't be here but they should shufti over to the old dear's and sort it out.

English.


Beats me. The only British idiom I know is that "fag" means "cigarette."

Oh yea? well someone tell this cigarette here...

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby Zylon » Fri Oct 24, 2014 4:47 pm UTC

I'm not getting how this was even intended to be funny.

And yeah, major geek demerits for getting the quote wrong.

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby Envelope Generator » Fri Oct 24, 2014 4:53 pm UTC

I found it one of the funniest strips in a good while, specifically because it's so balls-out evil. Like in the old days.
I'm going to step off the LEM now... here we are, Pismo Beach and all the clams we can eat

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby ps.02 » Fri Oct 24, 2014 4:58 pm UTC

DennyMo wrote:I just figured it was a variation on "If millenials ran NASA."

Seems about right, but pretty uncharacteristic of xkcd. Randall usually lands heavily on the side that there's nothing wrong with the younger generation and anyone who says otherwise is just living in the past. It's one of his things, much like how about half the people in IT are women. (Or maybe I've been misinterpreting that one all along and really it's that half the people in IT are dudes with ponytails. That's more likely, come to think of it.)

Or perhaps NASA hired Randall and Dante from Clerks.
Zylon wrote:I'm not getting how this was even intended to be funny.

Yeah maybe it would be funnier if it were a 911 dispatcher. It'd be basically the same joke. And we all know it's hilarious when emergency responders don't take their job seriously. Almost as funny as IEDs.

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby San Fran Sam » Fri Oct 24, 2014 5:24 pm UTC

Stargazer71 wrote:Maybe I'm nitpicking, but they never said, "Houston, we have a problem." That was from the movie Apollo 13.

The direct quote was: "Ok Houston, I believe we've had a problem here. (This is Houston, say again please). Houston we've had a problem."

This one (along with the whole "That's one small step for *a* man" thing) get under my skin. Don't ask me why.


And for my 200th post, maybe I'm being nitpicking but the line from the Apollo 13 movie was "Houston, we've had a problem."

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby Plutarch » Fri Oct 24, 2014 5:48 pm UTC

The line connecting the dialogue to the picture of the Earth doesn't seem to be pointing at Houston in Texas. Maybe the astronaut has dialled the wrong number and he's just talking to some random person called Houston.

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Re: 1438: "Houston"

Postby Stargazer71 » Fri Oct 24, 2014 5:50 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
Stargazer71 wrote:Maybe I'm nitpicking, but they never said, "Houston, we have a problem." That was from the movie Apollo 13.

The direct quote was: "Ok Houston, I believe we've had a problem here. (This is Houston, say again please). Houston we've had a problem."

This one (along with the whole "That's one small step for *a* man" thing) get under my skin. Don't ask me why.

Sometimes, what matters isn't what somebody said, but what they ought to have said. Sure, every so often an Oscar Wilde comes along and produces perfectly formed morsels of language, but for everyone else most things they come out with can use a bit of enhancement. Armstrong's famous one liner is a case in point. (BTW you clearly feel strongly, but which way? It doesn't seem like the great man himself was too sure what he'd said. Given that he'd apparently only decided on his first words a few seconds earlier, we're lucky he didn't say what The Onion reported).


I strongly prefer the quote, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."

Several reasons for this:

1) That is what he intended to say, and he thought that he said it.
2) He very well may have said it, but it is impossible to know for sure. There are two explanations for why the word "a" was missed (as a slip of the brain or poor recording equipment) and both are entirely possible.
3) If you take out the word "a", it makes no f***ing sense! Seriously. :D

Without the word "a", it appears that "man" is simply a synonym for "mankind," and the quote becomes really dumb.

And while the Onion article is funny, I find the idea that was presented by "From the Earth to the Moon" to be funnier:

[discussing what Neil Armstrong will say when he steps onto the surface of the moon]
Frank Borman: What are you guys gonna say?
Michael Collins: If you had any balls, you'd say "Oh, my God, what is that thing?" then scream and cut your mike.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120570/quotes
Last edited by Stargazer71 on Fri Oct 24, 2014 5:54 pm UTC, edited 4 times in total.


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