Torches and Pitchforks

You know things are getting bad when one of the 0.01 Percent sounds a warning call to his fellow plutocrats:

Here’s what I say to you: You’re living in a dream world. What everyone wants to believe is that when things reach a tipping point and go from being merely crappy for the masses to dangerous and socially destabilizing, that we’re somehow going to know about that shift ahead of time. Any student of history knows that’s not the way it happens. Revolutions, like bankruptcies, come gradually, and then suddenly. One day, somebody sets himself on fire, then thousands of people are in the streets, and before you know it, the country is burning. And then there’s no time for us to get to the airport and jump on our Gulfstream Vs and fly to New Zealand. That’s the way it always happens. If inequality keeps rising as it has been, eventually it will happen. We will not be able to predict when, and it will be terrible—for everybody. But especially for us.

Read the entire article here.

A Trip Down Memory Lane (NSFW)

Imagine if you will January 1977, the beginning of the second semester of my first year at college. I’d just come out and after that announcement freaked my dorm mate out to such an extent he felt he had to move out, I had the room to myself.

One morning I decided it was time to explore this whole new world, so I stopped at a bookstore (no, not that kind of bookstore) just west of campus and bought my first Playgirl. SO risqué, right? Well, being the young horny guy I was, just thumbing through the pages got me so riled up I couldn’t even make it back to my dorm room before I had to rub one out.

I stopped at the College of Architecture building and scurried upstairs to one of the lesser-used restrooms, thinking this would afford me a bit of privacy.

Wouldn’t you know, about halfway through my stroking, some other guy came in and took up residence in the stall immediately adjacent to mine. (Even when I learned much later about the “hot” spots on campus, this was not one of them, so I doubt he was in there for any reason other than to relieve himself.)

Anyway, almost as soon as my neighbor had dropped is jeans to the floor and sat down, the magazine went flying out of my hands and landed, fully open, right under the divider between us. I immediately scooped it up, pulled up my pants and left so quickly I’m sure I created a vacuum in my wake.

This was the object of my attention. Funny how one’s tastes change over the years…



Neither the film world nor the political world paid much attention to R. J. Cutler’s Showtime documentary “The World According to Dick Cheney,” released in the dim and distant days of March 2013, when we thought Cheney had departed public life for good. I suppose the general reaction was “Oh Jesus Christ, not that guy again!” Even the tone of Cutler’s film, built around 20 hours of interviews with the most “consequential” vice president in American history – Cheney’s word, but he’s probably right – was faintly elegiac. This guy changed the world, whatever you think of him, and it was time to capture his portrait before he sailed for the other shore.

Leaving aside the question of whether Dick Cheney can ever experience physical death – doesn’t the power of the One Ring more or less make you immortal? – he’s back. This week Cheney was in the news at the head of an army of neocon zombies, seemingly reanimated from the foreign-policy tomb of the Bush II administration, leading the ideological charge for yet more war in Iraq. Or rather, since even Dick Cheney cannot possibly believe that is likely, for the principle that all blame for the actual or impending Iraqi disaster should be assigned to the cut-and-run pussies of the current administration, and none at all to the one that lied its way into the whole catastrophic misadventure in the first place.

Watching the embarrassing video clip of Cheney, in his Wyoming rancher drag, as he and failed-candidate daughter Liz Cheney announce their hawkish new anti-Obama foreign-policy nonprofit, brought me back to a key moment in Cutler’s film. It’s really just a biographical footnote, midway through Cheney’s extraordinary rise from alcoholic semi-employment in Rock Springs, Wyoming, at age 23 to being Gerald Ford’s White House chief of staff at age 34, but it speaks volumes. As unlikely as this sounds, Cheney spent 1968, that watershed year in American political and cultural history, as a graduate student in political science at the University of Wisconsin, one of the most radicalized campuses in the country.

There was apparently a small group of conservative poli-sci types in Madison at that time, and I bet that wasn’t fun. Protests and demonstrations against American foreign policy and the Vietnam War were almost a weekly occurrence at Wisconsin during Cheney’s brief stint there. There was a student general strike in the fall of 1967, and another one in the spring of 1969. May of 1968 saw the first of two campus bombings that were presumably the work of the Weather Underground. This fervid atmosphere of chaos and dissent was unfamiliar and distressing to a crew-cut Young Republican from the Mountain West, and Cheney quietly says that the whole experience pushed him further to the right. It’s as close as he ever comes to a moment of self-revelation in “The World According to Dick Cheney,” unless you count his obvious man-crush on Donald Rumsfeld, his friend, mentor and ideological soulmate.

I think that’s important for several reasons. First of all, Cheney has seen the other side of American political life up close, and he hated it. More important still, like the other architects of the Bush administration’s disastrous foreign policy, he was trying to make up for what he saw as the sins of the past. Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith and Bill Kristol and the rest of those shameless clowns who were so profoundly wrong about the initial Iraq war (and everything else) are understandably eager to rewrite history such that they are its heroes and its misunderstood prophets. But the history that oppresses those guys, and the entire imperialist intelligentsia they represent, goes back a lot further than Saddam Hussein and 9/11. They’re still haunted by a different specter: the American empire’s Waterloo moment in Vietnam, more than 40 years ago, and the social discord it produced in places like Madison and Berkeley and Chicago and New York. For them, the entire Iraq conflict was almost a stand-in for the real thing, a delusional salve applied to an old psychic wound. Give them Marty McFly’s time-traveling DeLorean and they’d go whizzing right past Baghdad and head for Hanoi, circa 1969, with a thermonuclear device in tow.

I know exactly how irritating it is to be told that American politics keeps replaying the ideological wars of the 1960s, having been barraged with that rhetoric by veterans of the New Left for most of my life. It’s less and less accurate as time goes on, and the right’s persistent efforts to identify Barack Obama as a ’60s-style radical would be funny if they weren’t acutely painful. Whatever his flaws and merits, Obama was a small child during the 1960s, and one who largely grew up overseas. He genuinely was not molded by the politics of that era. But when it comes to the Bush-Cheney Iraq campaign, the entire enterprise was contaminated from the outset with post-Vietnam stress disorder. American conservatives of Cheney’s generation are caught in an evil and bloodthirsty variation on “Groundhog Day”: They’ll keep fighting and refighting Vietnam until they die, and it’s never going to turn out right.

Of course those who shaped policy and held the levers of power, like Cheney and Rumsfeld, deserve most of the blame for the recycled fiasco of Iraq, and for how it seems to be ending. But as Michael Moore has pointed out, we must also remember that a wide spectrum of so-called liberals and moderates contributed to war fever. As I see it, they too were infected with the same strain of PVSD, and embraced the Iraq war as a chance to repent for their un-American attitudes of yesteryear.

There were “liberal hawks” like Paul Berman or Christopher Hitchens, who had once been ferocious opponents of the Vietnam War. There were 29 Democratic senators, including onetime ’60s activists Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. There were supposedly sober and disinterested journalists, like the editors of the New York Times, the New Republic, the Atlantic and the New Yorker, who eagerly abdicated their roles as watchdogs of democracy and swallowed the Bush administration’s lies.

What all those people shared, I believe, was the conscious or unconscious belief that a foreign war with a plausible-sounding excuse, and one that ended with a clean victory, would be good for America and might restore the sense of national unity and purpose we putatively lost in the ’60s. If it sounds insane to contemplate ordering the deaths of thousands of people as a form of national therapy, you’re beginning to understand the true costs of PVSD, as well as the infantile and solipsistic character of American patriotism. If we see that today in its most diseased form with the renewed warmongering of Cheney, Feith, Kristol et al., the responsible-grownup version is still with us as well, in the pro-imperal windbaggery of Niall Ferguson or in Robert Kagan’s recent New Republic essay arguing that America should reassert itself as the dominant global superpower, despite the obvious fact that we’re broke, politically paralyzed and lack the stomach for any further overseas debacles.

The Iraq war was specifically conceived as an antidote to Vietnam – as a brief, low-intensity, high-impact military victory that would make us feel better about ourselves. Ultimately it became a distorted replica or parody of Vietnam instead, a set of familiar mistakes in a new setting. It was shockingly expensive, grotesquely mismanaged and politically divisive, and its biggest success lay in unifying and empowering a nationalist opposition and turning the civilian population of the invaded country against us. There was widespread surprise that it didn’t work; Cheney, Rumsfeld and their allies have more or less continued to insist that it did work and we just haven’t noticed.

We can debate whether Cheney and his neocon brain trust really believed their own moronic-utopian domino theory about bombing the entire Arab-Muslim world into a set of pseudo-democratic American satellite nations “floating on a sea of oil” (in Paul Wolfowitz’s phrase). I guess somebody must have believed it, but I see that as pure ideological superstructure out of the Leo Strauss playbook, or in plain English as hokum designed to draw the suckers into the tent. That prospect was about as realistic as all the virgins in Paradise that are promised to jihadist suicide bombers, or the Soviet leadership’s pronouncements that one day pure communism would conquer the earth and the state would wither away.

If we don’t quite know how the Iraq endgame will play out, it’s not pretty. The prospect of helicopters lifting embassy personnel off the roof, Saigon-style, does not seem terribly far away. Last week Obama announced that he would order military advisers into the country to pep up the Iraqi army, which seems to be collapsing before the Sunni insurgency. At least that’s an intriguing departure from the script: It’s like the beginning and the end of the Vietnam War at the same time! Obama must feel as if his presidency has been cursed by a malicious wizard; the principal foreign-policy pledge that got him elected, and that he more or less fulfilled, is unraveling as if by magic.

We know who the dark wizard is who cast that spell, but it’s the rest of us who granted him his power. Dick Cheney yearns to fight the Iraq war over again – or fight another and another in Iran or Syria or somewhere else – in the vain hope that things will turn out differently, America’s virility will be restored and his legacy redeemed. That’s not going to happen; rancher togs or not, the Cheney of 2014 is an old and broken man with a fading constituency. But that’s small comfort to the rest of us, not to mention the people of Iraq. He destroyed their nation, bankrupted ours and did his damnedest to transmit the toxic effects of Vietnam to a new generation. One day we’ll be free of that past, presumably, but that day has not come.

I Work in a Frat House

We all hate our jobs from time to time. I get that. But it seems that since our relocation to Denver three years ago I can’t—in the immortal words of the Rolling Stones—get no satisfaction.

Yeah, there were days at my last job in Phoenix where I just couldn’t deal with the stupid coming from the user base I supported. And there were often times edicts coming down from corporate that left even my Director shaking his head in disbelief.

But the difference there was that no matter how ridiculous the edicts or how stupid the user base, I was part of a team; an extended family as it were. It was one of those rare, kismet moments in time where a group of people came together and everything just worked. We were there for each other, and when someone left to move on to other position, it was like we were losing not just a co-worker, but also a member of our family.

It is no secret among the people who know me that I hate interviewing. I mean it is with a white-hot passion that I hate interviewing.

It hasn’t always been that way; back when I was in the architectural profession all I had to do was bring in a set of drawings I’d done from any previous project and it proved my competency to a potential employer. But in this PC Desktop Support role, I don’t have anything to physically unroll in an interview to show that I know my stuff. So it generally comes down to some kind of technical test that I invariably fail.

While I’ve been doing this sort of work full time now for close to seventeen years, there are still gaps in my knowledge.  There is always at least one question where I’m thrown some acronym and expected to explain what it is and what it does. While I may understand the meaning behind those three little letters and the functions they represent, I come off as an idiot because I don’t know what those letters stand for. Other times I get asked questions about something that may be under the purview of a desktop support role at that particular company, but is out of my skill set because everywhere else I’ve worked those particular functions were handled by a different team and completely walled off from my job function.

So after quitting my last job and being out of work for two months, I considered it a small miracle that I actually managed to pass one of these ridiculous tests—scoring 100%  and also providing all the right answers to questions about how I view customer service—and landed a 3-month contract for a Windows 7 rollout project at ██████.

It took a very short time to realize this was not somewhere I wanted to work as a permanent employee. The level of distrust and paranoia was palpable; everything from the turnstiles that recorded your every coming and going to the pervasive video cameras watching your every move.

C’mon people. It’s an entertainment company, not the fucking CIA.

As was written in a recent review of the company:

“Absurd tracking of hours and entry/exit , stingy benefits, bitter co-workers, ridiculous expectations of work level. The company has no commitment to employee career growth or to employees in general. A suggestion? Don’t apply the lowest common denominator treatment to all of your employees. Not everyone needs to be tracked like a delinquent high school child. Mandatory one hour lunches? Badge Reports? Fingerprint Readers? Seriously who wants to work in that environment?”

After one of the full-time techs quit, my supervisor started asking if I (or the other two contractors they’d hired for this project) were interested in coming on full time. I was as noncommittal as possible, not wanting to do anything to jeopardize the guaranteed three month employment this contract offered, but privately—or at least as privately as possible considering we were constantly being monitored in our workroom by not one, but two webcams—I told my fellow contractors, “Not only no, but hell no!”

As time passed, however, my stance started to soften. I kept telling myself that I wasn’t particularly impressed with how the company was run at my last job in Phoenix when I started as a contractor there either—but after a lot of cajoling by my supervisor, I ended up going perm and staying seven years!

So when we were coming down to the final few weeks I asked what kind of pay I might expect if I came on full time. My supervisor quoted me a figure that was in line with what I was expecting (I was making substantially less as a contractor), and went ahead and told her I’d be interested in applying for the open position.

She was thrilled. She said the guys in the department really liked me and she felt I would be a great addition to the team.

But I would still have to go through the interview process, as if I’d walked in off the street. Apparently none of the previous three months meant anything. What the fuck? The last two times I went contractor-to-hire there was none of that.

First I met with Human Resources, who confirmed the salary that my supervisor had quoted me. Then I had two take two personality/intelligence tests. (I guess the blonde bimbos in H.R. got a free pass on those.) I must have passed them, because I proceeded to the next step, interviewing with my supervisor’s boss and the head of the I.T. division that desktop support and several other groups fell under.

This entire process set off alarms, but the promise of health insurance and benefits was more important, and since we are only planning on being in Denver another two years I figured I could live through whatever unpleasantness came my way at this company.

Apparently I said all the right things in those two interviews as well, because several days later I was told they wanted to make me an offer. I should mention that this whole process was done very quietly because one of the other contractors—who my supervisor confided had a snowball’s chance in hell of actually getting the job—had also applied.

At that point the whole process seemed to grind to a halt. Half a dozen people had to sign off before the final offer could be made.

The day before my contract was to end, I got a sheepish call from H.R. asking that I come by. I knew something was up. Everyone finally signed off on my hiring, but they wouldn’t pay me what I had initially been told. “We can pay your contract rate plus an offset to cover your insurance.”


“██████ really fought to get you that figure, but corporate refused to sign off on it.”

I was livid, but since that initial salary figure hadn’t been written down, I had no recourse other than to accept it or walk away with nothing and hope against all odds I found another job before my next set of bills came due.

If I had known when this process started that there was going to be a last minute bait-and-switch I never would’ve agreed; I would’ve spent all that time actively looking for another job!

My supervisor apologized profusely, telling me she herself had just learned of this turn of events and promised that things would be rectified after my 90 day review. I talked to Ben, and after hashing things out with him, swallowed my pride and signed the paperwork.

And things have only gone downhill since.

And that 90 day review? Never happened, and frankly at this point I don’t give a fuck.

All I can say is that everything you’ve heard about ██████ is true. It most certainly deserves its dubious honor of being named one of the top two worst places in the country to work.

Being sequestered off in that workroom, separate from the rest of the desktop support (or the much more utilitarian “PC Techs” that seems to match our janitorial position) didn’t really allow me to make an accurate assessment of my coworkers or the work environment itself.

Now, four months into this “permanent” gig, I tell people I work at a fucking frat house. My coworkers are a group of 30-50 year-old men who seem to have the emotional maturity of 12 year olds.

The entire department is one big peanut gallery; no one can say anything without some, off-the-cuff remark being hurled. Objects are thrown across the room. Frankly, I’m surprised the whole lot of them haven’t been hauled into H.R. because of the things I’ve overheard said—both among themselves and directly to our customers.

There’s one other gay guy in the department. Normally this would mean a fun working environment, but this man is a walking ball of anger management issues. He will fly off the handle if cords are not wrapped just so around monitors returned to stock. We live in mortal fear of his outbursts every time we place anything in or remove anything from the stock room.

Events that have been strictly voluntary everywhere else I’ve worked (potlucks, department lunches, company outings) are mandatory at ██████. And yes, people notice when you’re not there.

And did I mention the uniforms? Yes, uniforms. I have never worked anywhere as a desktop technician where I was expected to wear a uniform four days a week (surprisingly we do have company-wide casual Fridays). It consists of a 100% polyester black golf shirt and a cotton/poly blend black cargo pant, both of which are prominently emblazoned with the ██████ company logo. Classy.

Okay, I have to admit I knew about the clothing requirements going in, and I didn’t figure that would be an issue. But every morning when I put on those clothes I feel like a little piece of my soul drains away. There are only two other groups of employees who are expected to wear company supplied uniforms: the kitchen and janitorial staff. Tells me a lot about just how we’re viewed by management.

And the color choice? Apparently it wasn’t always basic black. At one time it was a white dress shirt and beige khakis. So why the change?

Well, I have nothing to back this up, but because our work area is absolutely plastered with WWE posters (straight men are weird), and the referees in the matches are dressed all in black I’m sure this had something to do with the color choice.

I only learned last Friday that as PC techs, we have ticket quotas. No one will tell you exactly how many tickets you’re supposed to close on a daily basis, but if one ticket took you an entire day to properly resolve, it will count against you—no matter what the issue was. In our weekly meeting this was pointed out, and a story was relayed how during the last purge (yes, they called it that), a tech was let go simply because he had the lowest numbers in the department. It didn’t matter if he was meeting these unspecified goals or not; he was viewed as the lowest performer and escorted from the building.

Is it wrong that I thought, “Please god, let there be another purge and may I find myself in that bottom tier?”

I’ve worked several other places during my career that I came to despise. The job immediately prior to this one comes to mind, as well as a help desk job at a law firm in San Francisco (not Orrick, Herrington, Sutcliffe, which I adored until they swapped out management), an architectural firm also in SF (not Hogg & Mythen, where I stayed eight years), and two architectural firms in Tucson (both where I was micromanaged into quitting). But never have I come to hate a job as much and as quickly as my current position. I dread going in each and every morning, and every night I come home angry and exhausted.

I’ve reactivated my profiles on all the job boards; hopefully through all the noise of the offshore Indian agencies begging me for resumes, something good will come from a local company and maybe once again I can find myself somewhere that I actually look forward to going to work…


Are you sure you want the Internet of Things?

From Mat Honan at Wired:

I wake up at four to some old-timey dubstep spewing from my pillows. The lights are flashing. My alarm clock is blasting Skrillex or Deadmau5 or something, I don’t know. I never listened to dubstep, and in fact the entire genre is on my banned list. You see, my house has a virus again.

Technically it’s malware. But there’s no patch yet, and pretty much everyone’s got it. Homes up and down the block are lit up, even at this early hour. Thankfully this one is fairly benign. It sets off the alarm with music I blacklisted decades ago on Pandora. It takes a picture of me as I get out of the shower every morning and uploads it to Facebook. No big deal.

I don’t sleep well anyway, and already had my Dropcam Total Home Immersion account hacked, so I’m basically embarrassment-proof. And anyway, who doesn’t have nudes online? Now, Wat3ryWorm, that was nasty. That was the one with the 0-day that set off everyone’s sprinkler systems on Christmas morning back in ’22. It did billions of dollars in damage.

Going back to sleep would be impossible at this point, so I drag myself into the kitchen to make coffee. I know this sounds weird, but I actually brew coffee with a real kettle. The automatic coffee machine is offline. I had to pull its plug because it was DDOSing a gaming server in Singapore. Basically, my home is a botnet. The whole situation makes me regret the operating system I installed years ago, but there’s not much I can do. I’m pretty much stuck with it.

When I moved into my house in the 20s, I went with an Android-compatible system because there were more accessories and they were better designed. But then I changed jobs and now my home doesn’t work with my company-issued phone. Which is a bummer because I have to keep this giant 7-inch tablet around to control everything and Google doesn’t support the hardware anymore so I can’t update it and now the door just randomly unlocks. Ugh, I’m going to have to start using keys again.

I’d just reinstall the OS, but that would be too expensive. Besides, all my Nexus Home® stuff uses proprietary chargers, and I can’t deal with having Amazon drones come in and rip out the drywall again.

Everyone thought the connected home would be Apple or Google’s game. Turns out, that was short-sighted. An Internet-connected thermostat? LOL. Of course it was entirely about who would gain control of your SmartWall. It was the thing that controlled the screens and the lights and alarm clocks and burglar alarm and outdoor atmospheric monitoring system and interior climate control and mirrors and irrigation system and solar collector and water filtration and grocery inventory management database and kitchen appliances and communications center and automobile docking system and exercise equipment and biofeedback monitoring and medicine dispensary and stereo that mattered. But in fairness, who could have foreseen the Microsoft-Samsung deal or its consequences?

“좋은 아침입니다, Mat” my oven chirps through the speakers in the ceiling, as I place the kettle on the induction element. “조용히,” I mutter.

So I just replace things here and there as they quit working. Which means I’ve got a mishmash of Apple, Android, and Samsoft components all cobbled together. Nothing works exactly right. It’s a huge mess.

As I plod through the kitchen, my floor lights up, exposing rows of flashing LEDS, and a snippet from an old Queen song starts to play. “Congratulations!” purrs my house in an Elvis Presley voice. “You’ve just hit your step goal for the day!” Years ago I reset the step goal to 20 because I was tired of my house nagging me all day. Every time my couch vibrated or my TV told me to get up and walk around, I found myself resenting my home a little bit more.

I sit down with my coffee and fire up the short throw projector embedded in the kitchen table. The news is depressing, so I flip through a Redfin search I started last night in bed. There are these houses up in Humboldt County that are listed in the inundation zone, so they were never required to upgrade. That was a cartography error; even if sea levels go up another 20 feet they would still be above the water line. They’re rustic, and don’t even have high energy automobile docks. But the idea of getting off the grid really appeals to me, even if it’s just a fantasy.

The skylights open up. The toaster switches on. I hear the shower kick in from the other room. It’s morning.

This reminds me a little bit of a short story I read as a child by Arthur C. Clarke (At least I think it was Clarke; it was so long ago I could be wrong) Ray Bradbury (thanks guys!). It was about an intelligent house that took care of its family’s every need, from cooking their meals to cleaning and mowing the lawn. But something went wrong and a fire broke out, spread, and it could not be contained. As it turned out, the house had been unoccupied for some long, unspecified length of time; the only indication that there was a family ever there were the atomic shadows left on an outside wall…

Scenes from a Road Trip, Part 1

Ben and I took a little road trip this past weekend.

The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History:

I visited here back in 2007; at the time it was simply called The Atomic Museum, and when we decided to go to Albuquerque for the weekend I’d hoped to at the very least pick up a new “Einstein Simplified” T-shirt—one of my all time favorite shirts—that I’d gotten there seven years ago. Unfortunately they no longer carried them; not surprising since the entire facility had moved and renamed itself in the interim.

The original museum was full of 40s and 50s-era kitsch. The new place was much more straightforward. They also didn’t have the aircraft collection at the old location.  While not nearly as impressive as the Air & Space Museum in Tucson,  it still afforded several nice photographic opportunities.

To be continued…


Fuck the NRA

“So while the NRA may be a bloated, possibly corrupt, excessively powerful lobbying force, partly staffed by horrible racists, it’s also the mouthpiece of a fandom more widespread than Bronies, Trekkies, and Furries combined and multiplied by a hundred. Gun ownership is almost inarguably the single most popular hobby in America, and the NRA is a consequence of that.

Even popular gun-control efforts that failed, like the 2013 bill, would have been nothing more than tiny, symbolic changes, such as making background checks more ubiquitous, or eliminating high-capacity magazines. Elliot Rodger passed his background check and didn’t use high-capacity magazines. The presence of the NRA makes real reform so far-fetched, nothing has even been proposed, let alone voted on, that will get us anywhere close to Richard Martinez’s “Not One More” promised land.

And meanwhile, there’s shooting after shooting. When these things happened, the president used to fly out to the grieving town and give a speech. Now we don’t even fly our flags at half mast. They’ve become an ongoing problem we can’t take the time out of our day to be individually upset about, like Adam Sandler movies.
Matching shooters gun-for-gun isn’t a solution anyone takes seriously, not even the NRA. The real answer is that we, the American people, see that there are school shootings, and we all agree that they’re tragic, but then we’ve done the David Foster Wallace thought experiment in our heads: Gun control would mean an America with fewer school shootings, but we would lose some of our gun freedom.

And apparently we don’t want to live in a place like that.”

Money Well Spent

Three-dimensional structures in Saturn’s Rings, captured by the space probe Cassini.

And to think there are people in this country who want to cut NASA’s funding.

If it were up to me, I’d increase it a hundred-fold.

The Two Things…

…combined into one image that are forever burned in my memory that sent my 19 year-old imagination to overdrive and launched me on a spiritual journey that lasted for the next 30 years.