Eye candy on the beach. Two by Mother Nature, one by modern man. Click or touch to embiggen!

Remember back in the 70s and 80s when government funding of the national space program was controversial? (And maybe it still is, I haven’t paid close attention lately). If I recall correctly, most arguments against funding NASA had to do with not enough money to go around, the government has more important spending priorities many people said. Yet in 1962, President Kennedy, apparently in need of a collective goal to focus the waning patriotic spirit of the American voter, announced that we (America) choose to go to the moon. I was two years old then, too young to appreciate the arguments of the naysayers, one of which was: why the hell should we spend all this money just to land on the moon? One reason was to get ahead of the Russians, who had one year prior to Kennedy’s speech successfully put a man in orbit to circle the globe. We can’t let them horrible communists win the space race! And so it happened in 1969 Apollo 11 landed on the moon. I was nine then, certainly I would have seen it reported on black ‘n white TV, but I have no memory of that spectacle if in fact I did. In the ensuing decades there were many justifications for continuing to fund NASA. One which held mass appeal centered on the prospect of technology transfer – all that R&D that NASA was engaged in getting us into space could be translated into whizzbang products to improve the lives of ordinary Americans. Turns out that claim wasn’t totally fatuous. I had no idea, for instance, that the invention of the Dustbuster was based on cordless motor technology, developed by Black & Decker for NASA, to power a drill to extract core samples on the moon. Take that naysayers! The Dustbuster certainly improved my life. I used one to clean the entire basement flat (aka The Bat Cave) where I lived while in grad school, circa 1983-84. Well, “clean” may be an exaggeration. But my point is, that Dustbuster kept me and my roommates from having to wade through ankle-deep dust bunnies. And, for that matter, our dates too. In fact, I found the chance of getting a date to accompany me back to The Bat Cave a second time was negatively correlated to dust bunny volume. You’ve heard the phrase I’m sure, “Chics Dig Dirt.” Well, they don’t, not really.

Come to find out all these years later the technology transfer argument for funding NASA still has merit. We purchased a King-sized mattress recently to replace a twenty-year old one, which anymore was about as supportive as a Twinkie left out in the hot sun. This new one uses memory foam technology, specifically the same type used to cover the chairs in rockets that astronauts travel to space in. Take that naysayers! Now, instead of waking up each morning to a constellation of aches and pains, we awake more or less pain free, as if all night long we’d been afloat among the moon and stars.