Today is my birthday. Ergo, it will be a short post as I have a good stiff drink waiting for me on the porch.
Now don’t get all sappy on me or make a joke about fire starting when I stick the candles in my birthday cake. (Oh, and there will be cake…what is the point of having a birthday if cake isn’t involved?)
I would also like to point out that the weather could not be more perfect this weekend. Sunny, not too humid, and a healthy dose of pollen just to make sure my allergies keep working.
Also, the Sox won against the Tigers this afternoon rounding out the awesomeness of it all.
But perhaps the best gift is the gift A. gave to me. He had been working on it since February, disappearing for hours at a time in his office, sometimes muttering loudly. To be honest, I had no idea what he was doing. (And I am usually a pretty good gift-guesser, much to A.’s chagrin.) He would be outside randomly taking pictures of the house, then running back upstairs whistling. It was rather unnerving. My last ditch guess was last night when I asked randomly if he had commissioned some horrific oversized oil painting. I was having panic attacks imagining having to hang a god-awful rendering of something in the house. However, sometimes the truth is much more simple…when A. excitedly brought up my present from the basement this morning, this was inside the bag…
So on this bright sunny day in May, when everyone is out with their barbeques, I am enjoying the snow.
Let’s talk about body hair.
No? You don’t want to? Show yourself out, because this has to be done.
This weekend is the unofficial start of summer, and along with mosquito bites, sticky popsicle hands, and waving around miniature American flags, the most pressing issue affecting our future is the amount of flesh we’re collectively about to expose to the outside air, and thus the redistribution of hair wealth that will need to occur. This can also be viewed as the 1% who don’t struggle with removing body hair vs. the 99% who want to be the 1%. See also: Occupy Wax Street.
I won’t even get into the societal pressures on women to be hairless: that’s been done. No, we’re skipping right past that in the interest of time. Instead, I wanted to share my long journey with body hair, and how I’ve made relative peace along the bumpy road (pun intended) – in case you struggle with the same hairiness and the onset of summer poses a similar threat.
I am a White person. This is my official designation on the census and the box I fill out when completing surveys to try and win a free iPad. But if I’m being accurate as to the color of my skin, I’m less an actual crayon color than a shade on the phantom spectrum. As a See-Through person with near-black hair, I cannot hide the five-o’clock shadow that appears on my legs and underarms at noon the same day I shave. A noon-o’clock shadow. The hairs rise like the goosebumps on chicken skin, only less tasty.
Hatred toward my hair started early. At 11, I took a good look at my underarm pits and determined that they were socially unacceptable. I was attending a Bible summer camp, where Jesus was portrayed in pictures as a blue-eyed member of the Allman Brothers band. My prepubescent friends let me know that, no matter how much Jesus loved me and this I knowed, he frowned upon whatever was sprouting in the nooks and crannies of my sinful flesh. Hair was the devil incarnate, and I was about to learn how to weed him out.
At 11-1/2, I decided, against my mother’s wishes, to use a razor on the fine brown hairs that started growing on my armpits and legs. This started me on the pathway to futility: trying to rid myself of something that would always grow back despite my best efforts. In fact, I only made the hair seem stronger, darker, richer. What was once a light down of fur became wave after wave of black menace. Once I started shaving, I couldn’t stop. Like T-1000 in Terminator 2 or those sex-switching dinosaurs in Jurassic Park or even Jeff Goldblum’s lips in Jurassic Park, life finds a way. If you think about it, shaving sent me down the destructive path that has led to this very article.
At 15, I used Nair/Neet/Veet/Sally Hansen hair remover for the first time. This is a fancy chemical mixture that poses as a lotion. It promises to smell like roses and wash away like soapsuds, but it’s made from the ground-up dreams of ad executives and smells like your sense of dignity is burning. Also, if you leave it on too long, you turn into Dr. Manhattan. And I used it on my eyebrows. MY EYEBROWS. Why didn’t Jesus stop me? He was too busy working on his album. Instead of taking on the saucy, arched shape I had desired, my eyebrows turned a delightful rosy hue and resembled a staircase. I went to school and a classmate asked me if I had gone a little overboard plucking them, and I sniffed, “No, it’s just the way I slept on them.” Well, my pillow continued to attack my face every night until they grew back in several weeks later. That was my story, anyway.
In college and after, I decided that waxing was the real answer to all of my problems. I’m venturing into stereotype territory here, but if an Eastern European women with strong arms advises you to keep rice hidden in an oil drum in your basement in case the government rations you, you should think twice about letting her apply hot wax to your skin and then subsequently letting her rip it off. This is a woman for whom life has been hard, and she does not suffer trite indignities such as when you almost faint after she rips the hair out from behind your knees. In Mother Russia, hair waxes you. I don’t even know what that means, but it makes sense when you’re delirious from pain. Waxing proved an effective hair removal method, but it was expensive, and – like shaving – was a continuous process. I was ready to get rid of my hair altogether. That led me to…
In my late 20s, after acquiring a steady job, I had heard about this fabulous invention wherein qualified individuals take a pulsed light to your skin and literally burn off/close your hair follicles. It’s called laser hair removal. And it seemed like a miracle of the modern age. It’s one of those inventions where you say to yourself, “I’m so glad I was born now, and not in the 1700s, like I wanted to be after I read Pride and Prejudice!” No way. Lizzy had Mr. Darcy but also hairy legs, I’m sure. The laser itself feels no worse than a rubber band snapping against your skin. But the smell – the smell. Let me tell you, it smelled like the devil farted. And I had to wear goggles to protect my eyes from the laser, because it’s that serious. After the eighth session just for my underarms (yeah, eight), I had spent all of my 401K money (no, just kidding – the government did that during the bank bailout) and couldn’t sit through another sulfurous session. So, I stopped.
And finally, now in my 30s, here I am. Hairy in some places still, patchy in others, and returning to the hair removal method of my pre-teens: the razor. When I shave. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I just let it go. Because after all of these years and all of the hair removal methods I’ve tried, there’s something satisfying about relinquishing control when it comes to making my body conform to something it is not. I am not hairless. And I have tried to be. I don’t know if it’s age, maturity, or that I’m tired of fighting it. Whether by design or by accident of the universe, some of us simply have a heavier coat than others. I count myself among them.
Today, as I was visiting with my brother and his family – my niece and nephew – watching them play in their backyard pool, I had an itch on my leg and felt a patch I had missed shaving. In another time, I might have become very self-conscious and tried all sorts of methods to hide it – crossing my legs a particular way, stretching my skirt over it. But with the sun shining and my nephew wanting to climb onto my lap, it didn’t seem worth it. The amount of hair I did or did not have on my leg meant so little. So I let the hairy patch stand, and went and played instead.
Yesterday, I had to stop myself from kicking an old lady in the shins.
Okay, fine, I couldn’t actually have reached her shins, but only because my kicks are severely hampered these days by my lack of ab muscles. The thing is, I normally like this lady very much; she is a lovely and generous person. But if she comments once more on how big I’ve gotten (including accompanying hand gestures miming a large stomach) I’m not sure I can handle it. I am well aware of my stomach’s horrible girth. After all, who’s the one who can’t turn over in bed at night without waking up and using a series of shifting positions involving elbows and pillows in order to make it successfully from one side to the other? I’ll give you a hint: IT’S NOT HER.
This irrational sort of anger that comes suddenly upon me these days is definitely a result of being so pregnant that I have to waddle everywhere, supporting my stomach at times with my hands, and get heartburn if I drink too much water after 8:30 at night. I had temporarily forgotten, but now clearly recall, being so pissy at the end of my first pregnancy that I actually flipped out over how stupid the movie Stepbrothers is and made my husband turn it off halfway through. It’s not so much that I don’t like stupid movies (who doesn’t adore the epic shampoo/conditioner battle at the beginning of Billy Madison?) as it is that I was so physically uncomfortable when we tried to watch Stepbrothers that I freaked out more and more with every lame joke.
“Honestly,” I told my husband at some point, “these people are so ridiculous! Who behaves like this? I just wish they’d ALL DIE.” Apparently, if a slasher version of Stepbrothers had existed, I’d have been all about it.
This time around, other than the aforementioned older lady, I’ve been able to better control my brief bouts of irrational rage. But I’ve found it stoked up over the past few weeks by the glut of articles floating around about how terrible parenthood is – though often, it seems the authors are talking mostly about motherhood since apparently dads have it made. Basically, these stories boil down to discussions of studies that claim that, should you have kids, you will be forever poor and miserable. Most of what I’ve read takes a condescending tone that suggests you’ve made an incredibly stupid decision in choosing to procreate while hinting – or outright stating – that you’re a jerk who is simultaneously unhappy about your choice and also trying to trick your childfree friends into making the same decision in a sort of cruel, misery-loves-company move.
Frankly, I am tired of reading this crap. It seems like common sense to me that you may be less happy in everyday moments when you have kids because so much of what you do, especially with young children, is tied up in the minutiae of childrearing. These activities are often less than fun and can be both strenuous and exhausting. But that’s not really the point. If all I wanted was to be happy in the moment, I could just develop a serious drug habit, right? I’ve heard that’s very effective for instant gratification, but clearly it would be a terrible idea. Likewise, I find it lame to cite studies of happiness as a reason to remain childless because you aren’t definitely going to be happier with or without a kid – not to mention, how successfully can you measure happiness to begin with? Some people cannot be happy no matter what, while others can turn the worst situation into something positive, lemons-to-lemonade style.
These articles make me feel like a bunch of adults have regressed to grade school and are screaming, “I know you are, but what am I?” across the playground at each other. It’s just a crowd of people trying to justify their own choices by making others feel bad about theirs, which is pointless and sad. Having a kid isn’t cheap, no, but to say, “Well, thank God for birth control!” doesn’t contribute anything to the conversation. What if you want to have kids despite the cost? How about some helpful ideas for doing that? Plus, when you get into conversations about kids and money, well gee, what a surprise that it’s easier to raise kids when you have the spare cash to hire help, to choose to stay home a la Ann Romney, or to buy the necessities of life for your whole family without worrying about your next paycheck. But that is really an argument for being financially solvent as an individual or a couple, not an argument that’s inherently for or against childbearing. I don’t want to read yet another tale of woe about how depressing it is to be a stay-at-home mom or to strive for work-life balance, about how terrible having a baby is because it ruins your relationship and steals all your sleep, or about how you’re going to lose yourself once you become a mother.
And what I want even less is another fight between the childfree and those with kids. Maybe it’s because I’m in a city, but my friends are pretty evenly split between the two. I never experienced a lot of pressure from anyone either way, nor have I exerted any pressure myself. I do understand that the childfree feel pressure from other quarters about their decision, but it’s hard for me to feel sympathy for them as a group when I keep reading articles in which they try to convince me that theirs is the better choice, or even that having children is selfish and bad for the planet, and their dog is better than a kid anyway. Because you know what? None of those things is necessarily true. And these days, it’s a lot more acceptable not to have kids than it ever was. No one’s life is automatically easier or better off in either case. So what’s with the quest for moral superiority or scientific validation?
I guess what I’m saying is, just own your choice, damn it! Telling me that mine is wrong is no better than me telling you yours is. Can’t we just agree to some marketing slogan like, “Kids! Have ‘em if you want ‘em!” and shut up about it? Then we can get back to being participants in our own lives on whatever path we’ve chosen without the time and energy wasted on judging and advising each other needlessly. And I can get back to hating random movies and not kicking people while awaiting Kid B’s arrival.
Lately I haven’t had the time to stop and smell the roses. Or, when one lives in the city, it’s more like stop- and- take- in -the -buildings. When beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the urban landscape can be a true pleasure to those of us who really love the city. Having grown up in the land of trees, mountains, and streams, I blame my obsession with modern art on my mother’s decision to stick me in Montessori at an early age, but whatever the reason, I’m just as impressed by D.C.’s graffiti art as I am by the majestic beauty of my native flatirons, most especially when it’s juxtaposed against the traditional, Colonial style of D.C. old-world row houses. The contrast is truly delightful.
It’s also fascinating to see how graffiti art has become an accepted part of urban architecture. No longer seen as defacement or associated purely with gang violence, graffiti is the surprising new wave of modern art made popular by Basquiat. It has grown mainstream right along with other elements of hip-hop, taking its place among rap as an established bit of pop culture. It’s everywhere, used now as decoration by churches and in place of awnings at businesses. Here are just a few of the gems I’ve encountered this week:
“Marriage is a fundamental human right. Same-sex couples should have the same access as others to the protections, responsibilities, rights, obligations, and benefits of civil marriage. Stable family relationships help build a stronger society. For the welfare of the community and in fairness to all New Yorkers, this act formally recognizes otherwise-valid marriages without regard to whether the parties are of the same or different sex.”
- Marriage Equality Act, formally passed in NY, June 24, 2011
I was back in New York this weekend. In the past month, A. and I have had a bevy of familial celebrations, family visits, baptisms, etc. But this past Saturday when we drove to New York, we had a different type of fête. On the sunny Saturday, we took the Long Island Rail Road into Penn Station and hopped on the C train to the Upper West Side. We walked along Central Park West until we came upon the Fourth Universalist Society in New York. With quiet excitement, A. and I entered, quietly took our seats, and, when the moment came, cheered loudly when our friends Scott and David became legally wed.
Scott, David, A., and myself orbit very different worlds. Scott and David are older and inhabit a world of the upper crust of New York. They live on the Upper West Side and vacation in Provincetown, where David has been active in the architectural history and the editor of Building Provincetown. On the other hand, A. and I live in the ‘burbs of Boston and spend our weekends fixing up our house. We are lucky to spend a week-long vacation each summer borrowing my parents’ summer house in East Hampton. (Not too shabby!)
Normally our paths would never have crossed. However, a few years ago A. became extremely ill with a rare manifestation of cancer. It is something we don’t talk about too often anymore as we have moved on, but during that moment in time we reached out to a freelancer at the New York Times, who wrote about A.’s illness and slow path to recovery. It was here that our orbit collided with Scott and David’s. Scott, as it turned out, had the exact same illness and rare manifestation that A. had. They reached out to us, and while A. recovered, David helped me along. It was comforting to me knowing that I was not alone in my journey as A.’s caregiver. Someone else knew what I was experiencing, the excitement of small steps, the frustration, and the fragility of the human spirit.
I know this is a somewhat rambling post, but to understand what Scott and David experienced, and to make it through to the other side, there is no doubt in my mind that their marriage is built on love and respect. It boggles my mind that in 2012, two adults who love each other deeply can’t get married or have their marriage recognized by certain states. Much like A. and me, these men went through hell together and came out the other side stronger and more resilient. All four of us formed an unlikely bond in our orbits, as we are spinning, colliding, and looking toward the future.
Earlier this week, thanks to its prevalence on Facebook, I read this post on Slate about how awesome Massachusetts is, which teaches us how MA is the best of the states in three categories: education, general well-being, and economy. I found the article interesting for a few reasons, and none of them really have to do with the success of RomneyCare and how funny and sad it is to see Mitt’s campaign try to pretend he had nothing to do with it, or with the many statistics presented. Compelling as these stats are, of course they can be twisted and turned to support different viewpoints.
However, I think the perception of what a state is often ends up being more important than numbers when you’re considering living there; this is a thing only touched upon in the beginning of the Slate piece. When I was looking into moving to MA after college, I actually applied to grad schools in two different corners of the state. In the end, I chose the school in Boston as much because I knew a couple of people living here as because of the grad program I attended. And while personally I didn’t ponder things like demographics or economic outlook of the state as a whole, I did know and appreciate its reputation for being a liberal, well-educated place. Criteria like these, which I think appeal to our more emotional sides, tend to swing people’s interest in moving to a location or not. (For example, I will never live in Arizona and am inclined never to give them my tourist dollars either at this point. So nice job, Governor Jan Brewer! Whatever great things your state has to offer, I am currently ignoring them due to your many horrible and ridiculous laws.)
Although the point of the Slate article may be to get us MA residents gloating about why our state is so much better than yours – insert Nelson Munz-like “Ha ha!” here – I found myself returning more often to the question of how and why people end up living where they do. This subject has long fascinated me because so many of the people I know are so mobile. They move for jobs, relationships, school, or just to try something or someplace new. For a lot of them, if they decide they want a life change, they don’t think much of switching states, or sometimes even countries, as a part of the equation.
You may think that you have to have a certain amount of privilege to be able to do this, that something – economically if not personally speaking – has to be awaiting you on the other side. But I know people who’ve gone without a solid plan on any front and figured it out later. It’s just not that hard these days to pick up and go. The question, always, is where? That answer is the part that can be surprisingly hard to determine. You can make job prospects your top priority (and undoubtedly it should be near the top, unless you’ve got a trust fund you’d like to share with me), or climate, or proximity to family. Or you can get so stymied by options that you never go anywhere. This, too, fascinates me. I know a handful of people who intended to move after high school or college and then…nothing happened. Is it sheer inertia or fear that keeps them where they are, or have they truly decided what’s best for them is to stay put? I don’t know what they’d say, of course, but I do think you miss out by not experiencing other places and possibilities. The closest you can get to living a life outside your own, really, is forcing yourself to move, to exit your typical comfort zone and see what you’re like in this new place, this new situation. I just can’t understand why anyone would want to miss out on that, given the opportunity.
And so, for me, leaving my college town and the entire state was a very simple decision. I knew I wanted to live in a bigger city, in a more progressive atmosphere, somewhere with active music and writing scenes. As a bonus, I get to be cold most of the year (I have poor circulation, my hands aren’t warm unless it’s August) and have trouble finding affordable childcare (as I’ve already complained about here). So, yeah, I feel I’ve chosen well in coming to Boston, and I’ll gladly take a moment to cheer about some of the great things about being a Masshole, about how low our rate of unemployment is compared to other states, about how good the schools are, about our commitment to marriage equality and our pro-choice laws. It has its downsides, sure, but I love where I live. I just won’t promise to stay here forever.
Disclaimer: I am not a writer by trade. In a previous life I worked in marketing at various publishing houses, but I never harbored any aspirations to be a writer. In fact, I even hate book clubs. The idea of sitting around getting drunk while people argue over the symbolism of The Green Blinking Light in The Great Gatsby does not appeal to me (for the record, it symbolizes Jay Gatsby’s hopes and dreams for the future, case closed). That being said, I humbly will talk about books and ideas in this post…so bear with me.
I just recently finished a book that, well, glittered. Err, not 50 Shades of Gray (hi, Mom!) but rather, The Rules of Civility by first-time author Amor Towles. First, if anyone could write a book about the Bright Young Things in 1930s New York, it would have to be someone with the name of Amor Towles. Hell, most nom de plumes aren’t that good.
The book is told from the point of view of Katy, the orphaned daughter of Russian immigrants, and begins as a flashback to New Year’s Eve and continues throughout that 1938 year. Katy isn’t alone in her reverie; she recounts her partner in crime, Evie, and their mutual friend, Tinker.
It is the typical story of a young girl finding herself spinning around in the elite circles of Manhattan. I started to think more about books based in Manhattan versus those based in Boston. In Manhattan, women are often searching for fame, clawing their way out of wherever they came from; reinvention is the ideal phrase when talking characters. Whereas books set in Boston are grittier and usually involve murder; the focus lies in ideas of revenge.
My favorite New York trashy novel, I read shortly before college graduation. I was lazily sitting on the green of my alma mater, wearing a large hat and drinking a martini (that I had carefully placed in a thermos to avoid detection). I sat in the sun with my book, which I bought with a steep discount after having bought too many textbooks over the years. That book? Valley of the Dolls. So yes, while my parents threw out a chunk of change for me to graduate with a fancy liberal arts education, I tried to undo all my higher learning with a Jacqueline Susann novel. I am rather proud of this fact.
But the novel, as trashy as the reputation is, was rather groundbreaking. Written in 1966 just before the women’s lib movement gained traction, Susann tells the story of Neely, Anne, and Jennifer, three young women who claw their way to the top of the the New York entertainment food chain, only to spiral out of control. The story covers drug addiction, affairs, and other things that Gawker can only dream of getting its little tabloidy hands on.
I tried researching a Boston counterpart to Valley of the Dolls, but the closest I could come was Peyton Place, which took place in New Hampshire. The Scarlet Letter might come close as it deals with themes of adultery, but the underlying idea of revenge still comes into play.
What about cities you live in? Does Philly fiction fare differently from D.C. or LA fiction? What about Phoenix or Chicago? Am I missing a large chunk of Boston or NY lit? Discuss – just make sure there is plenty of booze to go around.
I have already confessed my love for Stevie Nicks, revealing to you my journey from sheltered young woman to only slightly more experienced adult thanks to listening to Stevie’s music and approximating her style. After reading that post, a friend said to me, “Basically, you were a virgin in high school.” That’s why she is my most succinct friend.
Not long after I discovered Stevie as a teenager in a small state south of here, I learned of an event held in her honor every year in New York City, called Night of a Thousand Stevies (NOTS). Started in 1991, NOTS is the biggest fan event in the world, a venue for singers, dancers, performance artists, and fans to twirl around with tambourines in hand and revel in all things Stevie. The crowd spans gay and straight, old and young, trans- and cisgendered. Talent levels vary, but enthusiasm never wanes. At nineteen, I was too young to get into a New York club, and too obedient to try. I dreamed of the day I could attend the Bacchanalia, don every sheer shawl I owned, and wear my moon necklace in a place where others would understand it. So I waited. Though NOTS isn’t the reason I moved here, it was definitely one of the advantages.
This past Friday night, I went to the 22nd Night of a Thousand Stevies – my second since moving to New York. I dragged my husband with me, even though he is a Stevie Nicks fan only by proxy. (He’s awesome, yes, but just so you know: I’ve seen Van Halen – twice – for him.) While waiting in line to get in, we met two men who had flown in from California, another who came by train from Washington, D.C., and I knew another young woman traveling up from D.C. for the event, as well (hi, A!). Everyone had stars in their eyes and a smile on their lips; many were involved in deep discussions about particular Stevie outfits, favorite songs, and fond memories of shows. One fan had been to three Stevie shows in the last year alone. Stevie fans are just one more reason to love Stevie: they’re dedicated, they’re into sharing the love, and they’re just nice people.
But inside is where the fun really starts. After an hour of a DJ spinning Stevie music to videos on a giant projector, performers took to the stage. They danced to techno versions of Rooms on Fire and Gypsy, sang hard rock versions of Rhiannon, and put on a particularly hipstery rendition of Tusk, complete with synthesizers. Drag queens were everywhere. A DJ changed the tempo on many of Steve’s best hits, and people danced, and then danced some more. At NOTS, off-stage is just as interesting as on: people dress as Stevie from every era – sheer black/white dresses, top hats, ribbons, tambourines, prairie skirts, Victorian corsets, blonde wigs. People carried fake cockatiels around, others fake owls, and many shook ribboned tambourines. Some treat NOTS as a second Halloween – wearing pirate outfits, pretending to be vampires. Last year, someone came as Liberace with sequins glued to his face. One gets the sense that even if Stevie never dressed this way, she would love the efforts all the same. I myself am a particular fan of the 1975-1978 Stevie, when she wore lots of black, top hats, bell sleeves, platform boots, and layered jewelry. Thus:
To be as concise as my friend: it’s crazy fun.
Last year, Stevie sent everyone at NOTS a message promising that one day, she would show up at the festivities. I’m not sure what I’ll do if I’m ever in the same room as the Queen herself. I might never recover. But I will be going to NOTS every year for as long as I can, regardless, because sharing in the Stevie love is a close second on the happiness scale.
Now it’s time to shut up and share some photos. (Excuse the blurriness in a few – some are cell phone photos.)
* All images c. Erin KLG and KB Photography.
A couple of weeks ago I was yoinked from my post-workout reverie by over-excited gym bunnies chattering “Did you see it? Did you see it?”
“No! I can’t believe I missed it!”
I always miss the cool stuff. They were referring to the last journey of the Discovery shuttle, making its way to its final resting place at The Smithsonian’s Museum of National Air and Space via Dulles Airport. Its fly over D.C. represented the end of an era: the shut-down of the NASA shuttle program. At the time I thought ”Oh yeah, that’s too bad. Space is cool. But I get it… the economy sucks, so why should we spend money on flying people to space?”
Here’s why. Early this week I had the pleasure of meeting an astrophysicist. She was previously working on a project with NASA that would place three satellites around the sun to study the patterns of gravitational pull and other mysteries of our native star. Her program was shut down, and she is now out of work. The shut-down of these space programs has left America with a flood of out-of-work scientists all vying for jobs in academia, their only real option. Sadly there are only a few such jobs to go around. After spending much of the evening lamenting my plight as a poor actor, I realized that right now it’s easier for an artist to get work than an astrophysicist. It seems backwards, and it is.
The space program has been called a frivolous expenditure in a time when our economy is bad, but what hope have we in maintaining long-term growth when we no longer fund innovation and our scientists are out of work? Over the years, the space program has been key in furthering some of our most important technologies, including CT scans, MRIs, artificial hearts, breast cancer scans, hazardous gas sensors, robots used for surgery, studies of ozone and climate change, solar and fusion technology, mapping and navigation systems, and advanced communications techniques, just to name a few. These are the types of innovation and technology that keep American competitive as a world power.
Instead of putting the needed $200 billion towards furthering new technology and innovation, Congress is choosing to put nearly $700 billion towards defense. Apparently we don’t need engineers and scientists, we just need more guns. I fail to see how that is going to help the economy. Soon I plan on taking the trip to the Air and Space Museum so I can see the Discovery for my own eyes, and lament yet another mark in the downfall of America.