GIVING UP AND LEAVING EARTH BEHIND!

I’m an old man, so my ideas and opinions may not count for much, but I still generate them.

Many folks, at lease those who have a voice on the Internet, are talking about going to Mars. Just who do they think is going to make the trip? Me? You? I don’t think so. Only a chosen few will be considered and only a chosen few of those considered will actually climb aboard and blast off. How many climb out and walk around after they arrive? Who knows?

The argument is obvious, we’ve made a gigantic dent in our planet’s resources, or most of those we consider useful. However, if we opted to invest part of our star-gazing dollars into saving what we have – Earth – it seems to me it would be money better spent. It’s sort of like the hypothetical automobile. The note is finally satisfied. Now should we set aside $50 or $100 per month to keep the old one in good shape, or should we “give” it to the car dealer and rewrite that $400+ per month note? You be the judge.

Back in the 1960s I was a communications/navigation maintainer on B-52G bombers. They were 1957 and 1958 year models. It took money and lots of effort to keep these hummers ready for whatever tomorrow might bring. Today, the 1960 B-52H models are being crewed by the grandchildren of those who crewed the 1955 B-52B models. Keeping these birds in the air and ready for tomorrow’s threats was not an accident. It required roll-up-you-sleeves maintenance.

Instead of the billions of us who will watch those hand-picked few blast off in search of another world, we need to roll up our sleeves and bite the bullet.

Today Google News reported that humans traveling toward Mars would not survive the trip, something about guts. I’m not sure anyone has any rock-hard evidence of that occurring. The late Wayne Greene, the generator of many ideas and publisher of 73 Magazine had stark opinions about space travel. If my memory has not failed me, he maintained that surviving a trip through Earth’s Van Allen Belts would require shielding of concrete nine feet thick. Was he correct? My limited math skills prevent me from evaluating his POV.

Considering our present weather patterns, melting polar caps, rising water levels, environmental pollution, maybe we should set the money and effort designing and launching Mars rockets aside and give some serious investment in what we have and surviving whatever tomorrow has in store for us.

Any opinions?

The Other Train

With air force travel orders in his pocket, Joe was thumbing it from McGuire AFB, New Jersey , near Trenton to Travis AFB, California near San Francisco. He knew the powers that be frowned on hitchhiking, but it didn’t take any smarts to figure how much money he’d save thumbing. He might even make some. Jack Kerouac wrote a book On The Road. Hell, any fourth grader could write that good. So he went for it.

He made pretty good time. But when he was calculating travel expenses the cost of food had never crossed his mind, nor renting rooms. By the fourth day he was exhausted and his supply of folding money was running short.

As he stood at the roadside in Wyoming he heard a train whistle. Alright, he thought to himself, he probably had enough cash for a train ride on into California and he could sleep part of the way.

Climbing over the right-of-way fence, he walked around until he found a skinny fellow wearing a conductor’s cap.

“You got a train going to California?”

“Yeah, as a matter of fact that there orange one will be heading thataway directly.”

Joe beat feet to have a look. It was pretty old. Probably should have been in a museum, but what did it matter. After Joe climbed aboard, the skinny conductor nodded and went about his business while Joe relaxed for the first time in nearly a week.

#

“Wake up son. It’s the end of the line. You got to get off.”

“Where are we?“ Joe asked, peering out the window if his coach.

“Welcome to Virginia City, Nevada.”

“Virginia City? The guy told him the orange train went to San Francisco.”

“A tall skinny guy?”

“Yeah.”

“Aw hell. That’s Sam. He’s color blind. He’s always getting his reds and oranges mixed up. You’re not the first one he’s done this to. Set tight. There’s an ore train headed to Sacramento day after tomorrow. I’ll get you a place in the caboose.”

Joe just looked at him.

“Don’t worry. I’ll refund your ticket. That’ll get you some seed money for the slots. Maybe you’ll get lucky.”

A Frog’s Song

The humidity was sticky-high when I walked Mr. Black this morning. An azure sky promised a sizzler. However, far north, beyond the horizon, came low rumblings sounds. A growing storm?

Barb and I took our coffee onto the porch and listened to Titus 2 on her iPad while also noting the northern promise Hoping. By the time the chapter was finished the blue sky was pushed south, replaced by thin, white clouds. Behind it boiled their cousins, black and ominous. The thunder was serious.

As the breeze freshened, we moved indoors and watched the approach of our weather guesser‘s partly cloudy forecast become a cooling summer storm – no lightning, no tornadoes, no damaging winds. It was our un-promised rain.

The summer heat has its foot in the door, but tonight we shall enjoy frog’s serenade. The excess water will be gone by morning. So will they will they as they burrow into the mud, waiting and listening.

I Left My Heart In San Francisco

  • he time was June 1962 and I was serving in the air force at Beale AFB when Barb and I were married. We rented a trailer at Rough and Ready, California, some 18 miles east of the base . We were so short of cash we couldn’t afford a television. Fortunately, one of my few personal possessions was a communications receiver I’d brought from the barracks. Since I usually worked the flightline six nights each week I set the radio to a strong all night station for Barb – KGO.

    That was how she became acquainted with the remote broadcasts from a San Francisco night club known as the Hungry i – <www.sfgate.com>. And when I returned home she always filled me in on the performances of Dick Gregory, Barbra Streisand, and many other who were destined to become stars. The Hungry i provided entertainment superior to anything television provided. Then, in 1963, the air force sent us to the West Indies.

    Puerto Rico provided a host of fine activities – Latin music, Quatros, wild fruits for the picking, temperatures as warm as the generous as our neighbors.

    pic

    But our home located on Isabella Calla was a great a distance from Rough and Ready, too far for us to capture the nightly KGO signal. So we wore the music off a LP record playing Tony Bennett’s “I Left My Heart In San Francisco”.

    <https://youtu.be/r6DUwMnDxEshttps://youtu.be/r6DUwMnDxEs>

    We served our three-year tour and returned to the continent to learn that the Hungry i no longer existed and that the frequency was now occupied by a talk show host, Ira Blue.

    While Ira Blue did a fine job with his talk show, we could not complete him he the Hungry i. During our absence we’d been burglarized. However, there were many who did not share our disappointment.

    Watch “How Ira Blue’s KGO signal led fishing boats through the Golden Gate” on YouTube.

    https://youtube/EXGg8J7qH9

    (For some reason this link is broken. However, if you care to Google “Ira Blue” you can bypass it.)

    ———- Forwarded message ———
    From: Scott Laughlin <rameyfms77@gmail.com>
    Date: Tue, Jul 17, 2018, 9:15 PM
    Subject: KGO
    To: Scott Laughlin <rameyfms77@gmail.com>

    The time was June 1962 and I was serving in the air force at Beale AFB when Barb and I were married. We rented a trailer at Rough and Ready, California, some 18 miles east of the base . We were so short of cash we couldn’t afford a television. Fortunately, one of my few personal possessions was a communications receiver I’d brought from the barracks. Since I usually worked the flightline six nights each week I set the radio to a strong all night station for Barb – KGO.

    That was how she became acquainted with the remote broadcasts from a San Francisco night club known as the Hungry i – <www.sfgate.com>. And when I returned home she always filled me in on the performances of Dick Gregory, Barbra Streisand, and many other who were destined to become stars. The Hungry i provided entertainment superior to anything television provided. Then, in 1963, the air force sent us to the West Indies.

    Puerto Rico provided a host of fine activities – Latin music, Quatros, wild fruits for the picking, temperatures as warm as the generous as our neighbors.

    pic

    But our home located on Isabella Calla was a great a distance from Rough and Ready, too far for us to capture the nightly KGO signal. So we wore the music off a LP record playing Tony Bennett’s “I Left My Heart In San Francisco”.

    <https://youtu.be/r6DUwMnDxEshttps://youtu.be/r6DUwMnDxEs>

    We served our three-year tour and returned to the continent to learn that the Hungry i no longer existed and that the frequency was now occupied by a talk show host, Ira Blue.

    While Ira Blue did a fine job with his talk show, we could not complete him he the Hungry i. During our absence we’d been burglarized. However, there were many who did not share our disappointment.

    Watch “How Ira Blue’s KGO signal led fishing boats through the Golden Gate” on YouTube.

    https://youtube/EXGg8J7qH9

    (For some reason this link is broken. However, if you care to Google “Ira Blue” you can bypass it.)


Superman 01

Clark Kent is a newspaper reporter of long-standing. He files his reports on a timely basis, often by texting on his cell phone. Many are front-page features. His desk is often vacant and the tools of his trade are often untouched. People are often curious of what he’s up to, but no one inquires, not even the publisher.

The Cold War officially ended decades earlier. Groups of bad folks are constantly searching for ways to give civilization pause. But the local police, NSA, FBI, CIA, and other agencies not so well known have managed to squelch most terrorist activities. Therefore, Superman has kept a low profile for more than a decade. Then came Curly Eddie.

Curley Eddie, a grandson of Pretty Boy Floyd, relatively unknown until only the last few weeks. He is posing a threat to a scheduled high level meeting at the UN Building..

One Friday evening after Kent has picked up his check he pushes through the newspaper entryway and is heading for his apartment, when Sly, a paid informant, steps from behind a large bust of the newspaper founder, Horace Greeley, and palms him a note. Accustomed to such meetings, meetings, Kent never changes stride. Instead, he stops off at a Starbucks for a bold cup java and there takes his first look at the two words scribbled thereon – Plutonium UN.

Swilling his cup of java, Kent looks up and down the street for a phone booth. There are none, thanks to the advent of cell phones.

Fortunately, midway down the block a demolition crew with a wrecking ball have gone home for the evening. In back is a porta-potty that has been left unlocked. Seconds later, Superman emerges.

Superman quickly finds a bread van containing and a sizeable amount of Plutonium. Using his X-RAY vision he converts the Plutonium to an inert mass, transports it and the van to an empty shipping container which he temporarily parks on an orbiting meteor.

Epilogue

Curly Eddie and his cohorts are presently being restrained in a secret offshore prison awaiting trial.

And Clark Kent back on his routine beat.

Writing a one word response to the word Awkward.

While I was still a teenager I was waiting for the traffic light to change on a Kansas City street. An attractive young lady was crossing in front when the elastic snapped on her panties. They fell to her ankles in mid stride. I don’t think the word awkward crossed her mind. Without missing a beat, she stepped out of them and continued on her way without a backward glance.

Hitler Escaped To the Moon

I’ve read a number of theories as to why Nazi Germany didn’t invade the UK as many feared he would. It was the waters of the English Channel some said. I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s not so far afield from other straight-faced opinions I’ve heard and read. If that’s factual than where is the truth in the the rumor that he escaped to Argentine aboard a submarine. Even the identity of the boat is recorded. However, this past winter that vessel was discovered sunk off the coast of Norway, a long way from Argentina.
Theories concerning what happened to this guy have been circulating for nearly 80 years. Why? I’ve not a clue. Unless these are outlines for some hellish novels that have leaked to the media.
But this morning Google News carried a story published by AL.Com concluding that Hitler is not hiding on the dark side of the moon?
Really? 😳

Letters

Why Do Fewer Women Write Letters To the Editor? That was a question published in the Atlantic Monthly Online, 17 May 2017.
I don’t know that there is truth to this question. But if there is, the reason might be that women are busy tending to things that truly matter – family, budgets, things that go wanting if the woman doesn’t tend do them.
I think readers are seldom moved by opinionated letters. However, I do recall an incident that created an uproar, at least among those of poor reading comprehension.
It started in Eugene, Oregon during the 1960s when the downtown business district was overhauled in favor of Urban Renewal. In the process a large park fountain was installed. It measured some twenty feet across. Within days a band of hippies arrived bearing soap and towels. And the Eugene Register-Guard was quickly swamped with letters demanding that the bathers be sent packing. 
One writer, however, stated that the incident didn’t bother him in the least. In fact, one Saturday afternoon he’d purchased hamburgers for his two children and then took them to the park where he watched the bathers while his children masticated. The editor was swamped with a second wave of letters. 
I don’t know if anyone ever tallied the sex of these authors, but it would be interesting to know.

A Reflection

Reading the story published by Google News this morning caused me to reflect on my own past and how quickly I’ve embraced the technologies that came my way. I wonder if I’ve surrendered more than I’ve gained. 

My folks were on the move during my youth, so I mixed with a host of societies, people with different cultures, customs and values. During my eighth grade I attended a one-room school. There were nine us representing the third, forth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. We had a hand-me-down piano that was played by a dairyman’s wife/musician. Adhering to our schedule, she emerged at the appointed hours in work clothing and gum boots which were often showed smears of cow manure. She gave it her all. When God passed out a sense of rhythm she failed to get her share. Bless her golden heart. 
Her husband always kept his shirt buttoned tight, neck and sleeves no matter the temperature. Much of his farm work was accomplished the old-fashioned way. One summer he hired me to help with his oats harvest. Anyone of a half-dozen neighbors would have brought their combines. But he was his own man. He bought a new, stationary thrashing machine and then and hired men of my grandfather’s generation, with their teams and wagons, to haul the grain bundles to the machine. It was a glorious week for those old men. 
Reflecting, I recall window curtains swaying in the breeze, porch swings, iced tea, and neighbors joining the family on a warm summer evening. Those memories are now replaced by the harsh reality of air conditioning, smoky car windows, mobile sound systems, television, Facebook, WordPress, and a host of other gadget-related endeavors. 
Who needs neighbors? Who needs friends?

Mt. St. Helens Revisited

Mt. St. Helens was the gem of Washington’s Cascade Mountain Range. She stood as perfect and proud as Japan’s Mt. Fuji. I always anticipated seeing her on my occasional trips to Seattle.
Harry Truman (not the Harry that first comes to mind) owned a ski and recreation lodge overlooking Spirit Lake. No one could remember when Harry wasn’t there. When there was suspicion that Mt. St. Helens might erupt a reporter traveled there to chat with Harry about his plans. I don’t recall his exact words, but I remember he pointed to the place where his wife lay buried and said he would join her.
People installed devices, probably GPS receivers, in order to detect any physical changes. She began bulging on one side and they warned that activity was occurring. But no one took heed. Campers, hikers, fishermen, photographers, and the like headed for the mountain in droves. And then her side blew out.
I was enjoying a company picnic when a bulletin announced that Mt. St. Helens had erupted. I rode a motorcycle within 50 miles, close enough to see tons of ash billowing. I remember wondering when it stopped, if it ever did, what kind of gaping hole would occupy the place where our proud mountain had stood.
Those who had ignored the warnings fled for their lives. One man reported giant mud balls zipping past his car as he drove like his life depended on it. A toasted photographer was found in a tree. I’ve forgotten most of the accounts, but the number 17 seems significant for those who were recovered. That may not include others who will forever remain buried, along with Harry Truman.
The Army Corp of Engineers brought large equipment to the Toutle River where it passes beneath Interstate 5 and spent weeks clearing the channel of ash. When they were finished the equipment was moved to the side. A decade later it was still there.
Off Topic:
My first summer after high school I worked on a ranch east of Bend, Oregon. The bunkhouse had a large window facing west. Using powerful field glasses, I often studied the seven mountains occupying the Cascade Range, especially the one known as Mt. Broken Top. During the early morning, when the mountains were still pink in the morning sun Broken Top appeared “gouged out” on the east side. Mt. St. Helens now looks the same way.

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