According to a recent Associated Press story, U.S. astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, who is currently orbiting 220 miles above the earth in the international space station with two others, loves to check in with Mission Control at Cape Canaveral by quoting his favorite movies.
When told that he had been "reported to Dean Wormer" and put on "double-secret probation," Lopez-Alegria picked up the reference to National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) and responded with, "seven years of college down the drain."
The space station is reportedly equipped with its own DVD library. The astronaut likes to watch movies while exercising. Since Lopez-Alegria arrived at the space station last September, he has picked a "movie of the week," broadcasting snippets of dialogue and music and challenging his earthbound colleagues to name that film.
Some of his favorites have included Caddyshack (1980), Best in Show (2000), O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) and Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (2004). He has gained a reputation for using his quick quips to diffuse a tense situation or to alleviate boredom.
"I think in generations past, we might be quoting poetry or Shakespeare," said fellow astronaut Garrett Reisman. "It seems like movie lines are where our touchstone is."
It looks as if Lopez-Alegria picked a good time to leave earth. He hasn't missed too many quotable movies -- except one. Can someone beam him up a copy of The Departed?