Monday, December 12, 2016

Donald, Please... I don't want to be First Lady

After the couple's first visit to the White House, Melania pleaded with The Donald to just let her stay at home. I mean, really, darling... She shouldn't be expected to live with all this early morning baa-ing. And another thing, we know getting the old place livable is going to be a huge job, just huge. It may take way longer then four years, no matter how much foreign labor you import for the job.

Just let her stay here in New York where she is comfortable and cozy. Ivanka indicated she would be more than happy to perform the job of First Lady and she already has lots and lots of really good ideas. I heard she would like to install a little studio in the White House so you can continue doing The Apprentice, I mean you know The Arnold is not right for the job, it just has to be you at the helm.

History shows us that dozens of women other than wives have filled the First Lady duties. There have been sisters, and daughters, daughters-in-law, cousins and aunts. Running the White House will be a piece of cake for Ivanka.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Something Good About America - The National Film Registry

"Established by the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, the National Film Preservation Board works to ensure the survival, conservation and increased public availability of America's film heritage, including: advising the Librarian on its recommendations for annual selections to the National Film Registry, apprising the Librarian of changing trends and policies in the field of film preservation, and counseling the Librarian on ongoing implementation of the National Film Preservation Plan." 

Last night I watched a really interesting documentary These Amazing Shadows. You can see it almost anywhere from Amazon to YouTube. The National Film Registry has been around for some time now but I don't think we hear that much about it.

I personally think this is a good use of our taxpayer dollars, preserving our past for future generations. Watch the film I think you might agree. What is chilling are the number of films which have been lost. Back in the day the movie studios just didn't think anyone would ever be interested, cans of film negatives were just tossed on storage shelves, left to rot in many cases.

It is interesting to see how films are used to tell stories, good and bad, truths and lies. Stories to inform and stories to persuade. And most of all stories to entertain.

You can read more about the National Film Registry here at the Library of Congress website. And if you are curious about what films have made it to this honored list you are just a click away to find the complete  Film Registry Listing.

Friday, July 22, 2016

This and That - the true Artichoke Way - Leaf by Leaf

Watercolor pencil by Cherry San

Sometimes we never get read the ending to our nightly story hour. I thought I would address a couple that previously fell through the cracks in my cabin floor.

In case you missed it, here's a little fun fact: FBI says price paid was worth it 

This tidbit is a follow up to that Apple-FBI case involving the San Bernardino iPhone. The last I      heard was that the FBI had withdrawn their action against Apple, after apparently being able to access the data on the phone that they sought. The ending to this story that never got read to me was how much it cost the FBI to hack that phone.

In a related story Apple says requests for data from governments agencies have grown.

When one door closes, another door opens. It seems Edward Snowden has come up with a new gadget, a phone case that shows when your phone data is being monitored.

And this is the first I have read in a long, long time about what is going on with the sailors aboard the USS Ronald Reagan that were exposed to radiation during  Operation Tomodachi when the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant experienced a meltdown.

It bothers me that the government wants to cover this up, like it never happened. I mean these sailors weren't exposed while drinking beer at a bar in Japan. They were on duty, providing an ordered humanity mission and entered a hazard zone to perform their job.

That is your This and That for now.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

We Must Get Home Again

These past years have been troubling ones. We have been digging our heels in firmly and tugging on a rope held at the other end by our own self.

I heard a portion of this poem, We Must Get Home, in a movie I was watching and Goggled it so I could read it in its entirety.  When I did my first thought was how this really seemed to reflect us as a nation today.

Perhaps there is still some hope. "We must get home again -- we must -- we must!"

*   *   *

We Must Get Home
by James Whitcomb Riley

We must get home! How could we stray like this?--
So far from home, we know not where it is,--
Only in some fair, apple-blossomy place
Of children's faces--and the mother's face--
We dimly dream it, till the vision clears
Even in the eyes of fancy, glad with tears.

We must get home--for we have been away
So long, it seems forever and a day!
And O so very homesick we have grown,
The laughter of the world is like a moan
In our tired hearing, and its song as vain,--
We must get home--we must get home again!
We must get home! With heart and soul we yearn
To find the long-lost pathway, and return!...
The child's shout lifted from the questing band
Of old folk, faring weary, hand in hand,
But faces brightening, as if clouds at last
Were showering sunshine on us as we passed.

We must get home: It hurts so staying here,
Where fond hearts must be wept out tear by tear,
And where to wear wet lashes means, at best,
When most our lack, the least our hope of rest--
When most our need of joy, the more our pain--
We must get home--we must get home again!

We must get home--home to the simple things--
The morning-glories twirling up the strings
And bugling color, as they blared in blue-
And-white o'er garden-gates we scampered through;
The long grape-arbor, with its under-shade
Blue as the green and purple overlaid.

We must get home: All is so quiet there:
The touch of loving hands on brow and hair--
Dim rooms, wherein the sunshine is made mild--
The lost love of the mother and the child
Restored in restful lullabies of rain,--
We must get home--we must get home again!

The rows of sweetcorn and the China beans
Beyond the lettuce-beds where, towering, leans
The giant sunflower in barbaric pride
Guarding the barn-door and the lane outside;
The honeysuckles, midst the hollyhocks,
That clamber almost to the martin-box.

We must get home, where, as we nod and drowse,
Time humors us and tiptoes through the house,
And loves us best when sleeping baby-wise,
With dreams--not tear-drops--brimming our clenched eyes,--
Pure dreams that know nor taint nor earthly stain--
We must get home--we must get home again!

We must get home! The willow-whistle's call
Trills crisp and liquid as the waterfall--
Mocking the trillers in the cherry-trees
And making discord of such rhymes as these,
That know nor lilt nor cadence but the birds
First warbled--then all poets afterwards.

We must get home; and, unremembering there
All gain of all ambition otherwhere,
Rest--from the feverish victory, and the crown
Of conquest whose waste glory weighs us down.--
Fame's fairest gifts we toss back with disdain--
We must get home--we must get home again!

We must get home again--we must--we must!--
(Our rainy faces pelted in the dust)
Creep back from the vain quest through endless strife
To find not anywhere in all of life
A happier happiness than blest us then ...
We must get home--we must get home again!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A 30th Anniversary Celebrated Quietly

Read this 30 Years Later Chernobyl talks about the near-completed shelter at Chernobyl.

If only we could call this Science Fiction.... but it is very real, folks.

"The arch, called the New Safe Confinement, is being built — at a cost of at least $1.7 billion — to last 100 years. Inside, the radioactivity levels will be so high that normal maintenance, like painting, will not be possible. So inside and out, the arch is covered in stainless steel, and dehumidified air will be circulated around the structure’s steel trusses to prevent rust."

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

It's a folly, he says.

William H. Miller, Ph.D., is a Professor of Nuclear Engineering at the University of Missouri-Columbia. So I will grant he has the credentials to speak, but I would also suggest he has a vested interest in seeing an ongoing future in nuclear energy.

His recent article in the Columbia Daily Tribune, Alternative Can't Keep Up With Nuclear, he says, “It would be folly for the United States to turn away from nuclear power.”

The foolishness in my opinion, is, and has always been, in not addressing the subject of permanent long-term storage of nuclear waste. Can we at least talk about this a little?

We should never stop looking for alternative energy sources. Morocco has just opened the world’s largest solar energy plant, Ouarzazate Solar Plant.

Maybe California’s deserts might be an ideal location for something similar to Morocco to help ease a shift away from nuclear.

Alternatives won’t keep up if they are not aggressively pursued, that I suggest is the real folly.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

S.S. Olympic - Arriving Southampton July 18, 1918

Here are some excerpts from my soon to be publish novel, A Hundred Year of Tears - One Soldier's Story from the Savannah to the Somme. It would be White Star Line's ship, S.S. Olympic, that would carry Sgt. John Guess from his home in America to England, to begin his final journey in France with Company H, 364th Infantry Regiment, 91 Division, American Expeditionary Forces.

~  ~  ~

Leaving New York

It’s hard to describe the buzz that was taking place along the Hoboken piers, where a constant stream of ferry boats were making their way to the well-camouflaged ships that we were about to board.
   As we neared the ship that would take us over the Atlantic we could barely make out the name — S.S. Olympic — painted on the side of the hull of the White Star Line. No longer the stately floating palace from the days before the war, she now looked rather tacky in her camouflaged coat of brown, black and yellow paint. Her glorious name had been exchanged for a mere identifying number.
   It took most of the day for all the men to board, find their assigned bunks and get their gear stowed away. On each bunk a life jacket awaited the recruits. This new gear would become a vital part of our daily lives as we made the ocean crossing.

On English Soil

It was the morning of July 18th that we awakened with five U.S. destroyers surrounding the Olympic as it made its way on this last leg of the trip. By evening and under the soft light of the moon, we could make out Land’s End on the port side as the ship worked its way through this maritime graveyard. Morning found us at the entrance to Southampton where we waited silently for the rise in tide that would take us up the channel and to the piers.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

New York Could Be The Next Flint

New York Could Be The Next Flint

The 2016 Presidential Primaries have for the most part been about silliness. What a shame because there are so many valid issues we could be discussing. Many differing opinions, but an open discussion of the issues is valid.

While the lead in the drinking water of Flint, Michigan did at least get a mention at the Sanders-Clinton debate, it seemed to fall upon deaf ears on the Republican side.

And even more silent is what is happening at the Indian Point Nuclear Plant. The New York Times ran this opinion piece the other day Indian Point: Past Its Expiration Date and I think what is going on here is worth discussing.

The article mentions:
"Ossining, N.Y. — LAST month, samples showed a spike in the amount of radioactive tritium being discharged from Indian Point Energy Center into the groundwater near our homes along the Hudson River. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ordered several state agencies to carry out an inspection of the nuclear plant just 45 miles north of midtown Manhattan; the Nuclear Regulatory Commission also sent inspectors."
Problems at the Indian Point facility is nothing new, but attention to the fact that two reactors at Indian Point are past their expiration dates, one was 2013 and the other 2015, merits attention. Now this may be OK for your can of tomatoes in the pantry, but aging and malfunctioning reactors should get a little more scrutiny. I'm not sure Indian Point passes the "sniff" test.

And the fact that the NRC waits three years to decide if a license should be renewed is ludicrous, especially given the track record at the facility. We seem to put more emphasis on driver's license renewals.

If you have read this far perhaps you would be interested in reading an update on Fukushima. It is sad really that this disaster just doesn't qualify as news any longer.

When you read:

"The cleanup effort is staggering in scale, and unprecedented. Japan’s leaders hope to restore for human habitation more than 100 cities, towns and villages scattered over hundreds of square miles. The government has allocated more than $15 billion for this work."
It feels like something out of a work of fiction except it is real and not many people seem to be paying attention.


"The waste is placed in bags, which are periodically collected and brought to provisional storage areas (kari-kari-okiba), before being moved to more secure, though still temporary, storage depots (kari-okiba). Officials at the Ministry of the Environment have said up to 30 million tons of radioactive waste will eventually be moved to yet another, third-level interim storage facility near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant. But no significant construction has begun. In fact, the authorities haven’t even managed to convince all the relevant absentee landowners in the area to sell the necessary plots."
"The waste is placed in bags, which are periodically collected and brought to provisional storage areas (kari-kari-okiba), before being moved to more secure, though still temporary, storage depots (kari-okiba). Officials at the Ministry of the Environment have said up to 30 million tons of radioactive waste will eventually be moved to yet another, third-level interim storage facility near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant. But no significant construction has begun. In fact, the authorities haven’t even managed to convince all the relevant absentee landowners in the area to sell the necessary plots. "

Move along people, nothing here to see.