HURRAY! I got my newest book published and available on Amazon! So far just in print, working on the eBook. In short, the Alefinna is a standard biped ET outfit that roams the galaxy looking for customers and sellers for the Galactic Hub. The Hub is the nexus for trade, entertainment, communications and any other activities to share among the solar systems. They invite a strange group aboard to discuss joining, but the strangers instead blast their navigation systems thoroughly with acid. The Alefinna barely land in one piece in the U of L football field.
From there onward is a study in how different parts of Earth social fabric assess and treat these ‘Galactics’. To complicate things, one of the crew (Dez) had been to Earth before as a surveyor. The idea was to measure the love and light index and the things that make Earthies unique. In the early 1960s US, L&L looked great with the big peace movements. In the 1980s much had changed; all but his love for his 1960s sweetheart. He did not know that liaison resulted in a daughter.
How would NASA respond? Ultraconservative haters? University Astrophysics majors all over the globe? Governments around the world, especially when the Alefinna offer the US high-level technology to build a repair facility for them. Is your mind spinning with widely varied reactions already? Read how our ambassador spins the story at the United Nation meetings.
After rain, rain, rain and more rain, I got jazzed to not only get some snow but 8 or 10 inches of it! I’ve lived in New York, California, Illinois, Florida and a little Indian Ocean atoll, but have the dearest attachment to my birth state of Kentucky. I love the environmental diversity, the equality of seasons (usually) and the log cabin I built here amidst the woodland and wildlife.
Yet I still love science and the fascinating areas of astrophysics and energy production. I study the climate issues and pick out the constellations on clear nights. I write science fiction with real science issues in them.
These two aspects coalesced on a snowy afternoon, impelling me to etch a Snow Geek in the freezing white fluff. Enjoy your day!
The news is filled with the disastrous photos, a drone that caught the storm in action, too much; I need no pictures here. There will be more and more horrendous storms like this, the hurricane that hit Labrador in September, another historic disaster. I could go on, but why? Either you believe this is associated with wildly irresponsible carbon usage and are acting to reduce your footprint or you will deny it until a storm obliterates you home.
I still drive a gas car; I can’t afford to get a new electric one. I can barely afford to heat the house since I got fired by a hateful boss last year; the ‘anniversary’ is just before Christmas. I do keep the heat low and wear long johns and a coat with ski pants, but I’ve done this every winter since I built this cabin about 25 years ago to do all I could. My car is a very good mileage Subaru and I only use it to drive to the post office for Old Lady Who bookstore orders once a week and the grocery tacked onto that trip once a month. I make my own bread, yogurt, clothes. I grow my own fruit; the blueberries and apples were great his year.
This is the tornado swarm I watched from the concrete front step when I lived in Lousivlle as a young teen. I was an observer there too, not a victim. How long will that last?
From the local WDRB-TV Website: “This year marks the 40th anniversary of the April 3-4, 1974, tornado outbreak – one of the worst tornado outbreaks to ever affect the U.S. Dubbed the “Super Outbreak”, at least 148 tornadoes struck 13 states from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes over a 16-hour period from the afternoon of April 3, 1974 into the early morning hours of April 4, 1974. When it was over, 330 people were dead and 5,484 were injured.”
I’m writing this on the “Day of Infamy” as December 7th was the day the imperial Japanese made a devastating attack on the US Navy Base of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. There in the mist of morning, thousands of sailors and others were killed by kamikazes and bombs. Many ships were sunk, including those full staffed. Have you seen the memorial at Pearl Harbor, like the boat that takes visitors to the sunken USS Arizona? As a former US Navy Sailor whose ship anchored at Pearl, I felt so broken hearted for the sailors, their families, my own family losses, and the resulting war that culminated with atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
I have learned over the years that the way to address such an attach is not to kill more of them than they killed of us. True, the US forced Japan to surrender and the Pacific war ended. It was true that our bombing was celebrated in the US, movies portraying related actions heroically. The world feared us and our pride soared. Other countries got atomic weapons. We dug survival bunkers.
When we retaliate, we share the aggressor’s evil and wrong. Yes, we needed to respond. It is not clear how this event was built; had we opportunities to prevent the attack? Many investigative reports say we probably could have avoided the event altogether. Did we let it happen because of our fixation on the war against the Devil Hitler? Did our hubris in finally, belatedly going over to rescue beleaguered Britain and France, our acting as saviors, reveal how our ignoring the threat of Hirohito may have happened?
I am not trying the make the US seem as the secret instigator of all this, nor do I follow any other conspiracy. I am an honorable veteran. I am hoping we will think about these circumstances, how working with Japan earlier, how helping Europe fortify against Hitler earlier, how being aware of the brewing unrest and hate and acting with tolerance and forgiveness early on may have gutted this most horrible of worldwide wars. Can we prevent war when Russia tries to overtake the Ukraine? I think many are attempting to do just that.
Tolerance, peace and forgiveness are components of Love and Light, a subject that makes me think of flowers. I have also been to the Netherlands and Belgium. And have placed flowers at some tombstones erected in the massive international military graveyard near their borders.
The link above is a blog post I put up on my other site. If you’re interested in PEACE you might want to give it a look. Otherwise, here are some pictures from around here, as this is a peaceful place. Enjoy!
I listen to PBS in the mornings and this morning, I heard an entire show looking into the new nuclear power plants. Are we finally going to admit that nuke power has a strategic place in managing our chaotic climate? As noted in recent posts, I joined the US Navy nuclear machinist program in my teens!
I live in the most beautiful yet most filthy state in the US: Kentucky. The birds, trees, flowers, rivers, the entire state could be a natural haven. Except that for over a hundred years Kentucky has jabbed and stabbed nature with deep coal mines and worse, the open strip mines where gigantic monster bulldozers scrape entire forests and the wildlife away to get to that coal. This is all over the state, not just the eastern Appalachian part.
Where I live in western Ky between Owensboro and Bowling Green there were two strip mines that were much too close; I passed them going to college, the store. One in Hartford, one in Paradise. Remember the song? “Daddy, won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County, down by the Green River where Paradise lay? I’m sorry my son, you’re too late in asking; Mr. Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away.” – John Prine. He gets into gory details, too.
The nuke power we know was based on the US Navy Admiral Rickover’s new submarines that could stay out for months at a time without refueling, submarines that went under the Arctic ice cap. That was revolutionary for our military.
I got out and worked at San Onofre, the three-reactor site in San Luis Obispo, California. I worked in the reactor compartments, around the waste, doing repairs, I wrote in the newsletter, planned high radiation jobs. I got an award for my high rad work planning article in the Nuclear News, the industry magazine. I worked in on-site drills for nuke safety with four area hospital emergency rooms.
Waste was the biggest issue. Now the tech is ready to not only make a TMI event impossible but also not add to the hidden piles of high rad waste deep in the Rockies and elsewhere. In my Elise t’Hoot Galactic Adventure series, the colony planet of Tenembras would not have survived without the nuke plant that made the oxygen for them to breathe as the planet was populated with no live ecology. Dissidents were dumped there to die but the nuke plant was integral not only for O2 production but in getting galactic aide as well. Here’s a coffee cup I designed and had made at Zazzle back then:
Nuke power was dangerous but I worked it anyway. The new tech is not. Let the new tech nuke power team up with the solar, wind, hydro and other accepted power sources that cannot provide the amount of energy the new nukes can. The new nukes need to be part of the future’s energy mix.
The Lieutenant briefed the team and put me in charge. HooYAH! The job entailed performing a solidification of a submarine’s radioactive filtration resin while at sea. It seems the shore solidifiers could not keep up with the drums and drums of the radioactive resin such that warehouses were filling with them and the resins were partially caking up to make pouring it into the solidification drum would be very tough.
They set up the area at the lowest HP deck, worried about a spill? The method included having the dented resin drum on a holder rack that could tilt it up so it could pour into the new drum that had a stir bar in it. As the resin stirred, concrete powder would be sifted in via a PCV pipe with a steel bar twisted like a screw to move it in evenly.
The first trial! We checked all the parts twice and then once more. Commence! The resin poured in well. The concrete did not. Then the pipe broke, the steel had knotted up. The photo is the actual steel screw that was removed, decontaminated and painted black. Ahhh, the Dixon Auger Eaters!
We soon worked it out, got it done with a metal pipe at a better feed angle, did a few more, reported it and went about our business. About a month later I was called to the Captain’s office with officers all about the place watching.
As I stood at attention, the Captain stood to tell me to expect a ceremony in the morning at 1000 hours. I needed to get a clean and spiffy dress uniform ready as I would be present. Dismissed.
Yikes, where had my bravery run off to? A ceremony? Why tell only me and not everybody? Quit worrying and get the danged uniform ready and the shoes shined! While I busily buffed, the word did come over for all to hear.
The entire crew not on duty stood on the main deck in various formations to suit the equipment that could not be moved. All the officers certainly appeared clean and spiffy. I went to line up with my department. The Master Chief pointed forward and walked me to the center area where two older crewmen stood. They said nothing as a helicopter landed at the pier and an entourage boarded the ship. The Captain greeted them and they all arranged themselves in from of us.
One guy was called up for 30 years of service or some such, I admit to being more than a bit nervous. The Captain congratulated him and shook his hand. The other guy, the same. Then the Captain stepped back and the visitor fellow with tons of decorations on his uniform took the spot. He called my name. I forced myself not to shame the entire crew! I strode up and saluted perfectly. He saluted back. Being thin and tall, I didn’t mind standing at attention as long as I didn’t lock my knees.
I don’t recall all he said. His talk included hard work, ingenuity, teamwork, professionalism, saving the Navy millions of dollars and such. The solidification process we altered, tested and reported was transmitted across the Navy! His aide approached with a small box. He opened it a removed a medal suspended from a colorfully striped ribbon. Loudly he stated that I had earned the Navy Achievement Medal and the whole ship should be proud of me. Then he whispered, “I can’t reach into your shirt to pin it on. Here, you do it.” I did. The crew and visitors saluted me and I returned the honor. Without collapsing. I smiled at the Secretary of the Navy and got back in line with the 30 year guys. Lesson: I can stand up to anything!
Heartfelt thanks to all the veterans who have serve this wonderful United States of America. None of us are perfect, but when we need to, we shine! That includes many in my family, including my Sailor father who served on a minesweeper he called the Ellie Mae during the Korean Conflict and my Sailor uncle who served at Pearl Harbor and went on leave the day before the Japanese attack that started the Pacific’s WWII.
After folly and fun in Australia, we yet had one more destination: Diego García, British Indian Ocean Territory, the most southern isle of the Chagos Archipelago off India’s southern tip, quite near the equator. We went to that horseshoe shaped coral atoll as it is strategically close to the Middle East; we were to service the ships. No storms, sunshine and glistening beaches, so all good? How about being stuck there for two solid months!
When we arrived, they had no dock could handle a ship our size. We set up a small boat to ferry those wanting to go ashore there and back, the last one back being at 1900 hours. Naturally I had to go see all I could! That’s when I found that half the coral atoll was off-limits as there one lived a community of natives that were chased off – an empty town. The Brits made the rules here and we had to follow them.
Our job there gave us new duties. We repaired subs that pulled up as well as ships, in fact many more ships than boats. Their reactor compartments were much larger and not a compacted as on a sub. Lots more room one them for sure. When I was not on duty, I checked out everything where I had been allowed. For example, watching a gigantic supply plane land on a thin strip of the island and needed special aid in stopping before running into the water!
I got the attention of a Brit officer who asked lots of questions about how I got to be where I was and didn’t I find it broiling hot here and all in between. A couple days later when I could return, I went to the beach seeking the Great White Sharks that were supposed to be thick as fleas here. That Brit walked up and I asked him why I saw none. Because I searched the inside of the atoll, they swarmed the perimeter! He offered to take me over to the north eastern side to enjoy the most pristine beach anywhere, sharks and tunes as he had Roxy Music to play, a new album I hadn’t heard!
As soon as I agreed, I smacked myself for running off to a remote location with a stranger, so far nobody could hear me scream. As we got in his Rover and headed out, told him about the karate lessons I’d been taking on the ship, a yellow belt achieved! We soon passed through part of the abandoned town and it felt haunted. In only about 20 or 30 minutes we arrived at the gorgeous white sand beach and he pulled out a basket with sandwiches in it. I’d forgotten about lunch! We did spot shark fins and distant sailboats and little crabs.
He put on the new Roxy Music album called Flesh and Blood which I bought as soon as I returned to the US. He told me about where he hailed from and then I had my turn at it. He said we had horse racing in common and laughed. The last song played and he put on something else. The name of that group slips my mind because soon after he pointed to the horizon and sternly said, “We must hurry back. That storm will be on us in no time at all!
We packed up all and when we got into the Rover, we turned to see the storm much closer. He gunned the engine, roaring up the barely visible path. In a few minutes, it began raining hammer-hard, the sky darkening ominously. A vicious stroke of lightening zapped a tree directly in front of us. We jumped, it fell, he rammed into it. He went out to check on damage and frowned; the front axle had broken. He strode over to the trees and chopped two long, sturdy sticks off. He handed me one. Had I heard of Coconut Crabs? Yes, they could crack a person’s skull open. They’re three feet side, weigh about 9 pounds, the largest crustations on the planet!
Soon those humungous tangerine-colored giant crabs gathered onto the path, blocking our way. We kept swinging those rods, knocking/shoving them right and left as fast as we could. It seemed we were taking a shortcut, however my big concern (other than the killer crabs) remained: I had to make that last ferry run or be in dire trouble. Soaked and worn to shreds, we made it to a heavily fenced and barbed wired facility bristling with antennae he called a weather station midway where a fellow was just about to leave. They spoke together a bit, then he gave us a ride all the way to the ferry boat that had held off leaving, hoping I’d be back. The driver left with the Brit quickly without speaking a word to me or even looking my way.
The Brit got in trouble for violating security regulations, I did not; my secret clearance maybe? I’ll always be thankful we could work together to not fall prey to those monster crabs! Since those days, Diego García has become an even more important base for the US, with new ship facilities, another airstrip and even submarine facilities plus who know what. Strategic place it is! I think I’ll play some Roxy Music…