Wednesday, May 1, 2002

2002: Lucky 13

For the first time since 1992, a first place trophy for Showmanship! That's our eighth Showmanship trophy in 12 years. A first place ribbon for Grapefruit, our seventh overall and our first since 1990, the original Surfin Chili team (Tim's the Devil!). An unprecedented fourth straight first place ribbon for Space Trivia - and no team in the 24 year history of the JSC FOD Chili Cookoff had even won three in a row. We rocked.

Taking home the Trivia prize

Steph, Dave, and Dan - "Da roof! Da roof! Da roof is on fire!"

A little for the chili, a little for the cooks...

Always the innovators - we pioneered "Burma Shave" signs, Jell-O shots (and Jell-o shot Twister), Mardi Gras beads, booth balconies, and temporary tattoos to the cookoff - this year we added Tom's Jello-shot Delivery System (JDS). Leave it to an engineer to take some PVC pipe, some copper tubing, a cooler full of ice water, and a pump, and put together a refrigerated Jello shot dispenser.

Our skit this year skewered our usual range of targets: Jefferson Howell and the ISS Program Office, a takeoff of "Willy Wonka". We took on the post-9/11 security checks, the new JSC Center Director, Enron, Britney Spears, Osama bin Laden, ISS funding problems, and new NASA Director Sean O'Keefe. We must have done something right, we won the Showmanship trophy, right?

Amid the usual cherry bombs and Jell-O shot Twister, Surfin' Chili surfed to another successful year. Team captains Lisa, Sally, and Stephanie shared the trophy with Surfin Chili Dude. We're ready to defend our title in 2003...

2002 skit: Jefferson Howell and the ISS Program Office


CNN intro music. PAT McGROIN is standing in front of a security checkpoint.

Sight Gag: During PAT's report, a heavily armed commando is stopped by a security guard. The guard asked the commando to remove his shoes for inspection. The commando complies under protest. The guard inspects the shoes, then lets the commando pass.


This is a special report of the Chili News Network, coming to you live from the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The elusive and mysterious center director, Jefferson Davis Howell, has taken a cue from Willy Wonka and agreed to open the doors to the Program Office of his International Space Station ... but only to the ones who found ... THESE ... (PAT holds up the tickets: they have a picture of Dan Goldin on them) the three Goldin tickets that were hidden worldwide. Three incredibly lucky people found those Goldin tickets. They are:

  • Former Enron CEO Ken Lay
  • Pop star Britney Spears
  • Terrorist Osama Bin Ladin

Just moments ago, these three people passed into the very nerve center of America’s foothold in space, joined by NASA director Sean O'Keefe and his staff. What incredible wonders will they see in Jefferson Davis Howell’s Space Station Program Office?

Coming up: CNN correspondent Christiane Armand Bayou, with reactions to yesterday’s announcement by the Houston Astros that what was once known as Enron Field will now be known as the League City Little League Field. Reporting from the Johnson Space Center in Houston, this is Pat McGroin.

CNN intro music


The group stops in front of a sign that reads “FINANCE DEPT.” The group consists of Howell, Lay, Spears, bin Ladin, O'Keefe, and several people without name tags (the Oompa Loompas). During the rest of the skit, bin Ladin is throwing "poppers" that pop when they hit the ground. He holds his hands over his ears in an exaggerated pose and seems frustrated when the entire set doesn't blow up.


And here, my dear friends, we have our Finance Department. It’s from here that we pool all our resources in securing the funds necessary to build and operate the International Space Station. For instance, here's our budget spreadsheet. Unfortunately we're spending more than we expected and so our third quarter numbers will be off just a bit.


I've been there, Jeff, I know what to do in that situation. (Calls to offstage) Hey Arthur! Arthur Anderson, come here please!

ARTHUR ANDERSON takes the papers from Lay and begins shredding the report.


Hold on a minute! You can’t do that!! Do you realize what you’re doing?!?!?


Oui,Oui! I am not afraid!! Relax, Jeff! No one will ever know what happened! It’ll be as if this report never existed!

SEAN O'KEEFE (to the Oompa Loompas):

We don't allow that stuff here at NASA. OK, guys, take them away.

The OOMPA LOOMPAs take Anderson and Lay offstage. They come back and start singing the Oompa Loompa Song #1.


Oompa Loompa, doompadee doo
I have a perfect puzzle for you.
Oompa Loompa, doompadee dee
If you are wise you will listen to me.

Oompa Loompa, doompadee dah
If you don't shred documents, you will go far.
You will live in happiness too
Like the Oompa Loompa doompadee do.

The OOMPA LOOMPAS walk off stage.


The group stops in front of a desk with a sign on it that reads “PAO.” Britney walks in shaking her hair, sashaying her hips, etc.


Now this is the Public Affairs Office, or PAO. It's not where we make people's affairs public, but it's where we ensure that the image of NASA is portrayed to the public in a clean, wholesome atmosphere. In other words, this is where all the spin control takes place.


Like, I totally agree, Jeff. Hey, your name is Howell, are you related to those Gilligan's Island millionaires? I have more money than them, and I can totally see how they'd bring so much of it with them on a three hour tour. What if they stopped and like wanted to buy an island or something? I thought that was pretty cool.

So, like, can I be your spokeswoman? I'm totally IN SYNCH with what you're trying to do and how you present yourself to the world. Hey, do you mind if I smoke?

Britney starts rummaging through her purse – pulls out booze, condoms, a big fat doobie, etc. Finally she finds her cigarettes.


I'm sorry, Miss Spears, I'm afraid you wouldn't project the right image for NASA. You're sex, drugs, and rock & roll, we're a bunch of engineers. You can't do any of that on site, except at the chili cookoff. I'm afraid you'll have to go.

Britney is escorted offstage by the Oompa Loompas.


Oompa Loompa, doompadee doo
I have another puzzle for you.
Oompa Loompa, doompadee dee
If you are wise you will listen to me.

Oompa Loompa, doompadee day
Sex, drugs, and music – just not our way.
But do that off-site, you will be cool
Like the Oompa Loompa doompadee do.

The OOMPA LOOMPAS walk off stage.


JEFFERSON DAVIS HOWELL leads what's left of the group back on to the stage to a sign reading “SECURITY”.


And we come to our Security Department. Here, we take into account the safety and well-being of employees here at JSC, even the contractors...

Meanwhile, someone hands SEAN O’KEEFE a page which he reads. He shakes his head and moves towards center stage.


Excuse me, folks. I’m so sorry to interrupt ... !

The entire cast is obviously surprised by SEAN’s sudden appearance. The stage hands come on stage, looking just as confused. SEAN is not part of the skit here.


What are you doing here? Can’t you see we’re in the middle of a skit?


I’m sorry folks, but I’m going to have to cancel this project immediately.

The entire cast goes into an uproar. Various people loudly protest.


WHAT?!?! You can’t be serious!


I’m afraid so. NASA is well over-budget and, per a directive from the White House, I’m reviewing all of our projects. You see, NASA is on a mission...

He keeps talking but silently. A stagehand holds up a sign that says "2 Hours Later...". O'Keefe finishes his speech with normal voice.

...The investments we make today must be justified by their contributions to the long-range goals of the agency.

Thank you for being a part of America’s space program. I’ll expect your work stop strategy on my desk Monday morning.

SEAN exits the stage. The entire cast is totally upset and grumble amongst themselves. JEFFERSON is totally outraged.


Well ... there’s only one thing we can do now. And that’s have ourselves a heaping bowl of SURFIN’ CHILI!!

The entire cast lets out a big cheer, and then leads the audience in a S-U-R-F-I-N chant.

Pat McGroin - Gabe
Ken Lay
Arthur Anderson - Lee
Britney Spears - Lisa
Osama bin Ladin
Jefferson Davis Howell
Sean O'Keefe
Oompa Loompas - Sally, Steph