Rock Star of the Month: Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson

It was about eleven-thirty last night when Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson recognized the guy in front of us in line at the post-lecture signing.

“Your name is Kirby, right?”

0217092316

Beyond amazement, the guy responded: “That’s good. Wow, it’s been thirty years. I didn’t think you’d remember meeting me.”

“Of course, I remember! We all swam in your pool, and you fed me that incredible sausage. MAN, that was some good sausage! You still make that?”

Sensing the pressure of the incredibly long line and all of the folks waiting in it, Kirby politely inched forward. Tyson yelled, “Hey! Look me up on Facebook, man. There are some impostors, but you’ll figure it out. Let’s catch up.”

Russell and I swapped awe. The real Neil deGrasse Tyson is on Facebook?! He has fond memories of backyard barbecue delicacies?! Snap. He isn’t just the world’s coolest astrophysicist; he’s also mortal. Insanity. Raise the roof.

Let me back up, though. About a week ago, I was wigging out about what to do for Russell’s Valentine’s Day gift, or, rather, the lack thereof. I didn’t have a lot to spend, but even worse, my efforts to wrangle creative solutions fell short. An attempted beading project looked like something from church camp, 1981.  A Valentine’s recipe search yielded nothing suitable for my pre, pre, pre-beginner cooking level. Randomly, a friend sent a link to Dr. Tyson’s local appearance the following Tuesday, and, as luck might have it, the tickets were FREE. I purchased his latest book The Pluto Files and designed a card, which read:

 

Dear Russell: 

Hello. It is out of dire urgency I write to you this day. 

Allow me to introduce myself properly. I am one of the largest masses within the cosmic Kuiper belt, but you may remember me as: the Planet Formerly Known as Pluto. 

In 2006, I was stripped of my noble title and scientifically reclassified as a “dwarf-planet.” Dwarf planet, my ass. Pfft. 

On Tuesday, February 17, 2009, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, one of the chief culprits responsible for my planetary demotion, will presumably be talking smack about how I’m not good enough to rank number nine anymore. Your mission is to attend Tyson’s 8 o’clock lecture, during which he’ll blather on about me and other items of astrophysical interest. 

Refer to Ms. Austin for necessary data. 

Sincerely yours (and happiest of Valentine greetings),

Pluto

Dwarf Planet, Kuiper belt

Milky Way Galaxy 

P.S. “PLANET” Earth is a tiny, nearly indiscernible speck stuck in the armpit of the cosmos, and, no, I most certainly do not suffer from planet envy.

So, er, voila! Valentine’s crisis averted in the nerdiest way possible. Nothing says “I love you” like astrophysics, right?

On the evening of the event, we arrived at Texas Hall an hour early, but the front half of the lower level was already packed. That’s right, for a scientist. In Texas, even. Russell and I selected a decent enough spot and got our laptops ready to take notes while the guy behind us was loudly telling everybody within listening proximity why the speaker wasn’t a real scientist. I wondered what you had to do to be a “real scientist.” I mean, is being on NASA’s private advisory council not science-y enough? What about physics degrees from Harvard AND Columbia? Teaching astrophysics at Princeton? Hosting NOVA? Directing the Hayden Planetarium? I could go on, but you get the idea. Eager to draw my own plebeian conclusions, I was relieved when the lights finally dimmed at 8 o’clock, and the President of UT Arlington, James Spaniolo, addressed both levels of the crammed auditorium.

“Is it coincidence,” he began, “that Dr. Tyson was born in the same week of 1958 as NASA was founded?” I decided it was, in fact, mere coincidence after a quick jaunt to Wikipedia revealed no mystical occurrences during the week of my own birth. Heh. Nevertheless, Spaniolo’s question was inadvertently fantastic. Do the laws of physics allow for coincidence?

He continued, “…and if that is not enough, Tyson also won a national gold medal in ballroom dancing.” Really?  Had he also discovered the secret of the pyramids or the whereabouts of Jimmy Hoffa’s dead body? Was there something this nerd hadn’t done? The guy hadn’t even taken the stage, and I already was fantasizing about Being Neil deGrasse Tyson, the sequel in which I manage to redirect the portal from John Malkovich to Dr. Tyson.

Then he appeared: Isaac from “The Love Boat” in jeans, a sports jacket, and cowboy boots. The crowd went bonkers — rock star bonkers. I loved it.

ted-tyson1

“Hold on. I forgot to empty my pockets. I have so much crap in here,” he announced. Placing his “crap” on the podium, he paused, looked at us, and then proceeded to yank his boots clumsily from his feet. “Now I feel like an astrophysicist. Everybody comfortable?”

For the next hour and a half, we listened to Tyson’s diplomatic, sensitive-to-religious-zealots views about our country’s lack of scientific interest and funding apart from times of war or economic competition. “Guess what? If China announced it was going to Mars, we’d be there in ten months. Ten months! Faster if we discovered oil, of course.” Standing on the stage in his socks and with his arms stretched w  i  d  e, he loudly warned us twenty minutes into the discussion:

“There’s no funding for science in this country unless we can make a weapon or the face of God appear at the end of a particle accelerator.”

Tyson told us, “I respect the religious freedom of our nation. It is what we were founded upon. However, that doesn’t mean science is wrong. Science knows what it is and what it isn’t.” When someone asked about the effects of Intelligent Design being introduced into classrooms along with the Big Bang Theory, NDT answered, “It is non-science, the beginning of the end. That’s what the Philosophy of Ignorance is for students. There’s no history of scientists protesting outside of churches. Do you ever see that sort of thing? No. They’re [Creationists] free to believe what they want, and we don’t interfere, but the minute you quit teaching science — it’s just the beginning of the end.” Dr. Tyson elaborated with examples of avoidable, recent occurrences, which he felt were directly related to our societal reluctancies toward progress. “Katrina was a class three hurricane when it hit land. The levees broke after the storm passed. After, OK? AFTER! Faulty engineering is responsible for what happened there. That’s bad math.” He flashed images of the extreme devastation.

Total quiet all around. He truly felt this dumbing down of society. Furiously.

“Bridges collapse. Faulty engineering, again. A steam pipe exploded a couple of years ago. Remember this one? This is New York City, folks. What country are we living in that we can’t move steam in a pipe from one place to the next without this kind of thing happening?! OK, here, look, this is a good one: Two trains collided, and, by the way, this isn’t some podunk town. It’s Los Angeles. Los Angeles! This is technology that we perfected in this country in, like, 1903. What is going on!?” Then he let us in on the obvious answer: “Smart people went elsewhere.” We’re not generating interest amongst youngsters, and they know they can make money doing other things.

Naturally, I thought about my own kiddo. Bella was wildly irritated with me recently because I forced her into joining the science club. The school even tried to bribe the reluctant kids with the Golden Calf — a non-uniform day. Behold! Still, it was a hard sell until The Bell actually reported back from her first meeting: “Oh, my gosh. Mom! Science club was sooooo much fun. We did an experiment where we…and then we…and…and…and…thanks for making me do it.” That’s all it took. I am all too familiar with the validity of Tyson’s previous point regarding funding and urgency of promoting math and science. Our teachers generally do their best with the resources they can afford from their allotted and, frequently, personal budgets. Unfortunately, it’s the initial spark that seems to be most absent, and that’s what is truly crucial, I think. He’s right; we need to step up our game or continue to decline.

Earlier in the discussion, NDT presented several versions of the Periodic Table of Elements color-coded according to melting point, compatibility, as well as years and nationality of discovery. Then he pointed out the most common elements found within our planet as well as those found most frequently within the universe. As it turns out, Earth and its universe share four of the top five from both lists. With sextillion stars, Tyson noted, it would be, perhaps, the most conceited thought to believe we’re alone, that there aren’t beings looking at us exactly the way we’re looking at them through reversed images of the vast galaxies and universes between us.

We sat, all five bajillion gawzillion batillion of us, in the dark now, silent and thoughtful as the last image of the cosmos lingered on the screen. Russell held my hand, and I put my head on his shoulder.

“The universe is you, and you are the universe. There can be no greater reward than that.”

Doubting Thomas behind us broke the silence, “This guy is fucking genius.” I guess Tyson’s not just a rock star after all. He might even be a real scientist.

Or, perhaps, NDT is more aptly also a minister of science, a reverend of astrophysics, preacher man of the stars. Why? Because as the daughter of one Reverend Dr. Jack P. Busby, I spent my entire childhood held captive in a church pew listening to the quirkiest, smartest, most articulate theologian in this area — my dad — peddle Christianity every Sunday. He meant it. He BELIEVED in it, and I really wanted to feel the connection his congregation members obviously felt when they raised their hands and voiced their Amens and praise-to-be’d their Jesuses. It just never happened. Something wasn’t there, and I was pretty sure I was gonna end up somewhere on the dark side of Satan’s lair eternally confused. However, as I sat there with my head on Russell’s shoulder and my hand inside his, listening to Dr. Tyson’s evidence, feeling new and undeniable fellowship with Doubting Thomas and the other five bajillion gawzillion batillion people around us, it occurred to me that I was at church. Finally. It only took me thirty-five years to get there. Scientifically speaking, that’s not such a bad rate of evolution, I guess.

As the lights came up and Neil deGrasse Tyson began taking questions from the peanut gallery, Russell quickly ran to grab a place in line for the book signing. He texted my phone: “You’re so hot when you’re in student mode.”  We smiled at each other from across Texas Hall. Success. My Valentine scheme was triumphant.

The questions continued for an hour and a half: “What do you think about string theory?” “Does it bother you that you’re light years away from everything you’ve studied in the cosmos?” “Should we break up the NASA monopoly and initiate private launches?” “What do you think about PETA — People for the Ethical Treatment of Aliens?” When Dr. Tyson announced he’d taken the last question of the evening, a little boy stood in the far aisle somewhat dejected as the rest of the audience members settled back into their seats. Dr. Tyson interrupted the low muffle of the crowd:

“Wait, there’s a little kid right there. I would like to take his question if you don’t mind.”

The kid stepped up to the microphone and adjusted it as Dr. Tyson asked, “OK, how old are you?”

“I’m ten.”

“Ten? I was your age when I became interested in the stars. I used to look through my telescope at night and wonder what all was out there. You ever do that?”

“Yes, I do.”

“You’re up kind of late, aren’t you? You must have a good question.”

It was almost half past eleven on a school night. The kid stood there for a minute before his voice filled the auditorium, “Dr. Tyson, I was wondering…what would you do with a black hole if you could control it?”

(Sigh) You know, sometimes there are moments in my life I know, as they’re occurring, I’ll never forget. This was one of them.

“A black hole, a black hole, a black hole of my own. Hmmmm. You ever do laundry at home?”

“Yes.”

“Well, you know how sometimes you wind up with one sock and always wonder what happened to the other one?”

The kid laughed, “Yeah.”

“Well, if I had my own black hole, I’d use it for throwing all those ‘other’ socks into. And garbage. I’d let everybody throw their garbage in it. That’s probably the best thing you could do with a black hole.”

“Thank you.”

“Wait, you know, if you ever just happen to find a black hole, you shouldn’t get too close because this thing called spaghettification will occur, and you’ll stretch ooooouuuuttt, which wouldn’t be very good. That’s why you should just stick to the lost sock and garbage idea.”

Gosh, I know it sounds crazy, but the whole thing made my eyes kinda mist up. I closed my laptop and joined Russell, who was still texting me sweet messages from his place in line on the other side of the room.

Even though he was absurdly late and totally off-schedule, NDT happily settled into a seat at the table on stage and signed books, etc., for the crowd. The line stretched around the entire auditorium. I couldn’t get past his enthusiasm. It was contagious. As he signed Russell’s book, I asked about the Rubik’s Cube next to him: “Do you always carry one or what’s going on here?”

He laughed, “No, they [pointing to a couple by the side of the stage] brought this and asked if I’d sign it for them. See, it’s only solved on one side, so if I sign it, it’ll just be scrambled if they ever try to solve it entirely. I’m going to solve it for them when the line’s died down, and then I’ll sign it.”

Astrophysicists are incredibly kind, patient rock stars, apparently. At least, this one is. What a super cool guy.

A little after midnight, we dragged our weary brains and feet to the confines of our vehicle. Dr. Tyson was still wiling away the night signing autographs, of course. Russell thanked me all the way home: “I really enjoyed that. I want you to know tonight was the coolest thing ever, and I love you so much.” He might have ruined Pluto’s rep, but NDT saved Valentine’s Day for me.

The next evening, Bella asked, “Mom? Didn’t you say you got a NASA sticker for me?”

After giving it to her, she immediately put it on her school binder,”This is so cool! Thanks.”

(This Neil deGrasse Tyson guy was scoring me all kinds of street cred, yo.)

“You’re welcome, Bella. Look, I have a brochure, also, on the scientist Russell and I saw last night.”

“Neil deGrassy…”

“deGrasse. He is an astrophysicist. You know what that means?”

“Yes, he studies the stars and planets.”

Good for her. “Yeah, but look at all the other stuff he does.” I totally sold Dr. T to her like there was no tomorrow, or, rather, like she was the only one who could save tomorrow. As she read through his bio, Bella said he seemed really cool. Then, she stuffed the brochure into her school binder behind the NASA sticker.

“You’re taking it to school?”

“Yeah, Mom. This guy is awesome. My news crew teacher is always asking for us to bring in stuff about good role models.” Wow. I went from being the worst mother in the world for making my kid join the nerd squad to being a beloved Science Mom. Yep. I’d ask for my gold star right about now, but I think this is the sort of thing parents are *supposed* to do by default of, well, being parents.

The world, with us in it, is kind of a horrifyingly beautiful, yet predictably random place. When everything comes together and the seas seem calm and endless, there are twice as many stars in the sky. Last night, Dr. Tyson donned his astrophysical superhero cape and reminded us of the importance of exploration — mentally and physically. He stormed the stage with anecdotes about Sir Isaac Newton. He implored us to become patrons within our scientific communities, to go out and foster our future generations. I’m giving my kid her starter cape to wear for her closed circuit, televised school report about Dr. Tyson’s role in universal scientific exploration. But first, I had to know: “Bella, who was Sir Isaac Newton?”

“He was the guy who first talked about inertia.”

Inertia, she said — NOT “The Seatbelt Law.”

Dr. Tyson, there’s hope after all.

(Thank you.)

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21 thoughts on “Rock Star of the Month: Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson

  1. Tyson is on target about the importance of science and in criticizing the lack of support for science in this country, but he is dead wrong on Pluto. He did not ruin Pluto, kill it, or make it “fall.” In fact, he disavows any connection with the controversial IAU demotion of Pluto, which he describes as “flawed.” However, he then contradicts himself by citing the IAU vote to vindicate his decision regarding the Rose Center.

    Pluto is not a comet, and Tyson is in error in not distinguishing between shapeless iceballs and/or asteroids and spherical objects, which are different because they are in a state known as hydrostatic equilbrium. This means they are large enough for their own gravity to pull themselves into a round shape–a characteristic of planets and not of asteroids or comets.

    There are many astronomers who still view Pluto as a planet and are working to get the demotion overturned. You deserve to hear both sides of this issue. I plan to write a book about Pluto as well, and I hope you will buy it for your husband with equal enthusiasm as you did Tyson’s book.

  2. Laurel, you’ve missed my point entirely, I think — at least that’s what it seems from reading your post. Perhaps, I’m off target. Nevertheless, I do appreciate your having taken the time to wade through my commentary and reply. As always, I’m happy to host any thoughts and information, which are presented diplomatically like you’ve done here, so thank you. I wouldn’t say we disagree entirely, but I’d like to add my two cents to your discussion.

    Bottom line: Regardless of what anyone thinks of him, Tyson motivates average people to care about science. What happens next to these folks? Do they become scientists? Do they buy your book? Do they really care whether Pluto is a planet or a “dwarf planet”? Nah, probably none of that. Sorry, L. They do what I did, though. They go home and tell their kid that math is cool. They wait an extra hour outside the school in the afternoon once a week so their kids can, maaaybe, learn something during elementary science club. They pay to visit the local planetariums and museums. Some of these average people write a three-thousand word blog about it all, even — not a professional scientific journal, so to speak, but a blog. I’d imagine anyone with half a brain could distinguish the legitimacy between the two, and I’m not making a personal jab here, only pointing out the obvious.

    Science needs a rock star for the masses. This allows non-rock stars an opportunity to be better funded.

    On a lighter note, I don’t have to wait until I’m married to buy your book, do I? I think I have seen your comments elsewhere on this topic, if I am remembering correctly. FORA? Respectfully, as passionately as you feel toward astronomy, quit planning to write a book. Quit commenting on thoughts of the less-passionate, such as myself, and actually get your text organized. Otherwise, it’ll never get done, and I’ll never hear your full, uninterrupted argument when I purchase it for, er, myself. And if I’m married then, I’ll pick up a copy for my husband, too. I promise.

  3. And now, I am feeling really, really guilty about not going with my husband to this lecture. Meh, I did take him to see Chuck Yeager last week.

    We DO need a rock star for science. Actually, I’d argue that we need a rock star for educational standards as a baseline before anything else. But that’s another topic entirely. Thanks for this interesting peek at Wednesday’s lecture.

  4. Kristan, I agree that science needs to be better funded and that anyone going out and motivating people to become interested in science is a good thing. I don’t know what happens to people after a program like this, but I’m sure it varies tremendously with the individual for both kids and adults. Ideally, both would be motivated to further explore these issues, find the ones that interest them, and learn more about them. I don’t have kids, but I have two nephews, and I’ve gotten them books and toys about the solar system and spend time teaching them about stars and planets. The older one, age five, is excited by the idea of exoplanets. And I’m active in an astronomy club where all of us have a lot of interaction with the public and try to excite people about astronomy.

    In responding to your entry, I was pointing out that Tyson presents only one side of an ongoing debate, and people owe it to themselves and their kids to hear both sides.

    Generally, I’m not into the whole “celebrity” or “star” scene; I would rather have people excited by astronomy itself than rely on a cult of personality around anyone. But that’s just me.

    I’m not sure I understand your comments about my blog and/or whether you’re questioning its legitimacy. And I’m not sure what you mean by saying “quit planning to write a book.” I don’t see my commenting on variuos sites as a problem. I am presenting a viewpoint that needs to be heard. The writings on my blog and comments on other blogs are not distractions from writing the book; they are ways of organizing and presenting thoughts that I plan to expand on in the book.

    Since I have no idea when you’re getting married–and since I know very little about marriage in general, being a confirmed bachelorette–there’s no way I can say whether you’ll have to wait until you get married to buy my book. I don’t yet have a good estimate on the time frame when it will be completed, only that it has to be before New Horizons gets to Pluto in 2015, or all the information will be obsolete before it’s even published.

  5. Llesl: Chuck Yeager, where? Do tell. Awesome. Tyson will be back for GeoTech very shortly. You can see him then. I think it’s twenty bucks.

    Laurel: I haven’t read your blog — ever. ? We definitely have a communication issue here. I think the only time I used the term “legitimacy” was in reference to readers being intelligent enough to know the difference between my blog and a scientific journal. As for marriage, it was you who mentioned my “husband.”

    To be quite honest, I’m not sure what your beef with Tyson’s views regarding Pluto have to do with anything I’ve written here.

    Good luck with your book.

  6. Kristan, you have NO idea what a rock star you just made of me in my small universe! I didn’t know about Geotech and I suspect my husband does not, either. Yeager was his Vday present and a surprise, so this one will have to be his present for putting up with his OCD gardening wife.

    Chuck Yeager is doing a “birthday tour” and was at the C.R. Smith museum. He was amazing! There was a great deal about him that I didn’t know. Talk about a true hero! He is so humble for having done so much.

    Speaking of OCD gardening: I must get out to the garden and dig some holes. Maybe I’ll find the fallen planet of Pluto in the yard somewhere. :->

  7. C.R. Smith is SUCH a great, little spot. I used to go there all the time with my daughter when she was younger. Just love sitting inside the DC-3. I could do without the Michael Bolton “Spirit of America” music in the theater, BUT, man, is that the coolest seating in there or what?! All those old first class loungers. Neat-O. I’ll bet it was a fantastic place to hear Chuck Yeager. Bummer, that one — for me.

    Glad to spread the word. Enjoy your gardening!

  8. Kristan,

    Thank you for your comments on my blog. I had already enjoyed reading your blog, without commenting, before I received your comments on mine. The funny coincidence is that Dr. Tyson linked me up to your blog in our recent email correspondence. Of course, he had no way of knowing that I’d already read it. I saw the link on a facebook fan page. At any rate, I wanted to correct a misunderstanding. I am not the parent of the 10 year old boy who asked the question regarding black holes. I am the parent of three homeschooled children. My 8 year old was with me at the presentation at UTA on Tuesday night, but he didn’t ask any questions.

    You are right that Dr. Tyson went above and beyond the call to answer so many questions and stay on the stage as long as he did. It was an obvious display of true interest in his audience. Now that I’ve had a chance to discuss homeschooling with him at length, I realize that he, and possibly you, were not aware of the cultural “hot-button” that the “S” word is for homeschooling families. There is a common cultural misconception that homeschooled children are not getting proper social development. I’ve got some dissenting comments on my blog post that are insisting just that. It’s an upstream fight to try to convince the mainstream population that homeschooled kids aren’t social misfits. It’s like the myth that sugar makes kids hyper. It doesn’t, but it’s a widely held belief.

    I have written to him and he has been extremely receptive. I tried to treat him fairly in my blog, as my friend Kathy pointed out, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater, and, for the most part, Dr. Tyson’s presentation was outstanding. It was certainly a fabulous educational experience for my son, and I would take him to hear him again, if the opportunity presented itself. (perhaps I will at Geotech)

    For now, I plan to write a new updated blog post as a response to the exchange of ideas I’ve had with Dr. Tyson, and call off the homeschool dogs. I think he’s earned my loyalty, if for no other reason, than his willingness to listen, but frankly he’s come to understand why his comments were offensive, and that’s a quantum leap for homeschoolers everywhere.

    Julie

  9. Kristan: My bad, I shouldn’t have assumed your Valentine is your husband.

    My only issue with Tyson is that he is representing only one side of an ongoing debate as fact, and as someone who has spent two and a half years working to overturn the controversial demotion, I believe all people deserve to hear both sides, which they won’t get from Tyson. I would post links to some of those sites, but these comments don’t allow hyperlinks. Try googling “The Great Planet Debate” for audio and video presentations from a wonderful conference on this issue held last summer. The presentations are by professional astronomers, not by me. Tyson also took part in a debate with Dr. Mark Sykes, which is on video at the site of the Great Planet Debate.

  10. See, this is why I wouldn’t be a very successful detective OR a scientist, Julie. Hehehe, hey, I’ll bet your kid is great, too, though. (All three of them, even!) I’m gonna go hang out in the “assumption” corner with Laurel for a bit here. (She had me married off in an earlier comment.) Argh! Well, darn it. So is life.

    I haven’t delved too deeply into the world of homeschoolers, so you’re right in kindly pointing out my potential ignorance (and anyone else’s) toward the subject’s areas of sensitivity. I would be miffed if you’d scoffed at my kid’s public education, which you didn’t, so I get what you’re saying completely. I breast fed my baby until the cows came home and have a million stories regarding my irritation with the public over that choice — about people who called that “gross” or “weird” or “uncivilized” or “embarrassing.” I wasn’t even a public breastfeeder either, sheesh. What I’m getting at: I’m grateful my Bella monster wasn’t old enough to remember the unnecessary criticism, so I can imagine how frustrating it must be to constantly grapple with the public’s commentary about the choices you’ve made for your child. I’m not without reservation toward homeschooling, but I am sure you must feel similarly toward PE. Nevertheless, I completely respect any parent’s commitment to educate his/her child in the most appropriate and productive way possible. Whatever works best for you and your children is the right choice. Always.

    I am a Teamster unionist, which is incredibly unpopular in many circles because of gross public ignorance. I understand what it feels like to fight an uphill battle against companies with CEOs who make millions of dollars in bonuses while workers are being laid off and losing their jobs to the most arrogant outsourcing on the planet.

    Ok, Ok, but let’s get down to the truly important part of your reply. ;) TYSON LINKED ME!

    Five minutes from now: “Hi, Mom? How are you? Mmm, hmmm…yes…yes…hey, guess what? Neil deGrasse Tyson the astrophysicist? Right, right, the NOVA guy. Well, he forwarded something I wrote!”

    Thanks, Julie. I’ll have to hop over to your blog and eat some crow. Nice to hear from you.

  11. You know what sucks? We didn’t get to go into the museum. The lecture was across the street. But I am definitely going back someday. Have you been to the museum over by Love Field? My favorite nursery is across the street.

  12. “I am a Teamster unionist, which is incredibly unpopular in many circles because of gross public ignorance. I understand what it feels like to fight an uphill battle against companies with CEOs who make millions of dollars in bonuses while workers are being laid off and losing their jobs to the most arrogant outsourcing on the planet.”

    What, don’t you people make something like $300 an hour with all of your benefits?? That’s what Glenn Beck said, so it must be true! <—sarcasm for the socially inept, but NOT the homeschooled.

    Yeah, I should go to bed.

  13. Oh, gosh. There goes Glenn Beck getting Teamsters confused with prostitutes! Man, if there’s a company negotiator alive who agreed to a contract with those terms, it’s not saying a whole lot about his concern for collecting future paychecks. Also: Um, did Glenn say anything about where I can pick up a job app for that position (not the hooker job, but the other one, heh)?

  14. I knew what you were getting it. For the rest of the day, we should blame everything sketchy and/or controversial on Glenn Beck. For instance, I woke up late. Stupid Glenn Beck! My coffee is cold. Oh, GOSH! That Glenn Beck and his stupid, cold coffee. Here’s a relevant one: I am so pissed off about this Pluto bizwax. Damn you, Glenn Beck! I’ll bet he works for free out of the kindness of his dear heart. Hmph.

  15. Oh, I’ve been doing that for years. Telling someone to go “Glenn Beck themselves” is an insult in our house. It’s the worst thing you can possibly say to someone and reserved for the worst offenses, like stealing some of my Sonic ice.

  16. Hey Kristan,

    Did you catch Dr. Tyson at Geotech? Just wondered what your impressions of him were there. It was a very different vibe from the UTA venue, wasn’t it? My son and I both asked questions. I enjoyed.

    Talk to you soon,
    Julie

  17. I tried to reserve tickets a day in advance, but was too late; they were completely booked. I hope Dr. Tyson will be back sometime soon because I’d love for my daughter to see his presentation. She was so bummed. Ack.

    Hey, I’m glad you guys got a chance to attend! YOU are a GREAT role model for giving him a second go ’round.

    On another note, I don’t know if you’ve gotten a chance to see the Olafur Eliasson exhibit “Take Your Time” at the DMA yet, but it’s incredibly child-friendly and explores light and color in a very captivating, experimental, scientific manner. We have been about a million times, and Bella, my girl, just loves it — especially the “Black and White Room,” in which the introduction of pure yellow light causes everything to appear very sit com-y! It was scheduled through mid-March, although I believe it has been extended an additional week. Bring a small hand towel, though, because, behold: there is a mist room in the southern most part the installation! (You know how children just HATE running through water and mist and getting soaked for fun, right? ;)

    Nice to hear from you again.

  18. He sounds like a really cool guy. (And I can totally understand his frustration about the lack of funding and interest in science.)

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