Inattention to Detail

Is unlike me. Details are really all I have.

In the second episode of one of my personal favorite television shows of all time, Futurama, characters in the year 3000 rediscover the original Apollo 11 lunar landing site while visiting the moon.

I was disappointed, however, that they showed the LEM as it was on  landing with the ascent stage still attached. The ascent stage was, as one might surmise, the bit that ascended … it’s how Neil and Buzz got back up to rendezvous with Michael Collins in the Columbia Command / Service Module.

In other words, the silly cartoon people got it completely wrong, making me feel slightly smug, but also a bit disappointed that an otherwise surprisingly intelligent bit of programming would stumble like that. Thankfully, at that time I had just about 30 years’ experience being disappointed by television, so I felt prepared.

Then, something remarkable happened. Just as I was about to wave my hand and dismiss the whole thing as rubbish, putting the "mental" in "judgmental" as I am so often wont to do, they cut to a scene inside the lander …and I realized that I’d been completely and utterly had.

You see, there was a sign in the background, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it plaque that read "Lander returned to this site by the Historical Sticklers Society."

I loved that they caught it, acknowledged it, and even sympathetically pegged me in the process. They got me, and I’ve loved the show ever since.

How poetic (and by "poetic" I mean "unforgivable") then, that I, of all people, would make an Apollo-related mistake in an article posted here (and elsewhere).

Thanks to my new friend and fellow Historical Stickler (and I mean that in the best possible sense) Tom who pointed out my mistake when he sent me the following mail this morning:

Good day and a great job on FSX !

(I found your blog via its articles)

A quick point regarding your post of April 12, 2007 "The Feeling is Mutual" :

Bill Anders was the LMP on Apollo 8 (though sometimes credited as the CMP.)

Frank Borman was the CDR, and Jim Lovell was the CMP.

This in no way is meant to diminish the nature of his contribution to mankind’s first voyage from the Earth to the Moon.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_8

Regards,

Tom

I’d blithely branded my friend Bill as the Commander of Apollo 8, which was clearly incorrect – as Tom points out, graciously, Bill was the Lunar Module Pilot. I’d like to think this sort of oversight to be out of character, but I’ll leave that for others to judge.

Needless to say, I’ve corrected the original post and will do the same with the other copies that are floating about.

My sincere thanks to Tom for straightening me out, and apologies to Bill and the rest of his crew for the inadvertent reassignment.

Mea Maxima Culpa!

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21 Responses to Inattention to Detail

  1. Owen says:

    Mighty big of you to come clean in dramatic fashion.  The remarkable facet of the internet is that people from many different backgrounds and interests are able to share information, and correct some who are mis-informed.  I suppose that is the spirit behind Wikipedia, where it lives by authors and experts around the world!Best,Owen

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