Monday, December 19, 2011

Republican Candidates spewing more garbage.

      Did these people sleep through middle school civics classes?  Or maybe they never had a civics class.  You know, the part of the lesson on our American form of government, where we have checks and balances put in place to prevent abuses of power?  So we have a legislature, an executive branch headed by the President - and a Judiciary.  The judiciary has powers vested in it to block or stay rulings that it sees as improper, after sober, careful  deliberation.   This is for the protection of all the people, to prevent discrimination and oppression of the majority by some fanatical minority. 

     The ranting of these Republican candidates are downright frightening when one sees them applied to our laws in the future.   Women will have no say in what happens to their bodies.    Females will revert to what they were looked upon in the 1800’s, mere chattel, cattle for men’s whims.     Gay marriage?  Heck no.  They will be chased back into the closet with handguns and tasers.   Other civil rights?  good luck there.

     These forces have already overturned the Miranda ruling, which stated that police have to read a suspect their rights, and make sure they are understood.   They have made it possible for a corporation to donate unlimited funds to a political campaign, thereby corrupting the process.    More people are going to prison than ever, for minor offenses.     Teenagers are finding themselves arrested for infractions that used to be dealt with by families or school officials.  There is less community mental health being offered, and more incarceration.  We are becoming more and more like a repressive communist society - a true police state!

     The Tea Party Nazis won’t be satisfied until everyone is either imprisoned or is wearing 24-hour electronic surveillance  (except them and their families).    Our entire democracy is being destroyed by a few fanatics bent on imposing their own twisted will on everyone.    Today the judges and women’s rights - tomorrow - who knows? 

      And we are telling countries like Iran and North Korea to get their act together?  We need to deal with the fanatic lunatic tea partiers and other conservatives on our own shores first.      Thanks for reading.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wanna bet?

The debate was lively, even vicious.
Labels flung back and forth like firebrands,
Accusations and ripostes, ducks and jabs.
The truth hid in a corner and listened...

 to six elite political professionals debate,
abase themselves for purported higher purposes...
Results filled the newspapers and airwaves,
different columnists tallied different outcomes.

 New polls will be taken and confidence shaken
as their positions raise and lower, over and over.
The one lagging the pack is doggedly traveling up
and down the highways, appearing anywhere he can.

 If Carter did it, so can he, he reasons, no matter if Carter
was a Democrat running in 1975.  Hope just keeps going.
One thing is for sure - they are stimulating the economy,
with all this traveling and spending, and heating winter air
with never-ending rhetoric and bombast.   A silver lining at last!

- my 0.02 today.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Drop the rhetoric and do something already.

Here in Iowa, there are more cutbacks, increased taxes, and public money bribes to companies to build things like hotels off the beaten path.  Nationally, large companies keep announcing layoffs.  The US Post Office announces huge cutbacks, in order to try and balance it's budget.   Candidates are going around promising to cut more and more services and agencies.  This is the most ominous, depressing TV season I have seen since 2008, perhaps worse. 

     I just wish that the powers-that-be could drop any ideological linkage to party platform, and do what our parents had to do in the aftermath of the great depression.  Even if it may involve public funding of our Post Office  (something George Washington founded to help tie the country together - remember?).  Even if it involves keeping these goverment agencies afloat that do pesky things like research energy alternatives, and keep our seniors healthy.  Instead of cut, cut, cut - America should Reach, Build, Employ.   

     Thats right - just like in the progressive days of the late 1930s and 1940s, we should reach for higher achievements, build up our infrastructure, and Employ every able-bodied American to do it.  Cross party lines, cross ideologies, cross stubborn intransigence, and do something, side by side, shoulder to shoulder, for the common good of all of us.  That is what made us great to begin with.

Nowadays everyone seems to want to cut, close her down, let the Chinese or the Mexicans worry about it, and go to  bed.  We can't do this.   We should take a page from the 1930's, dare to dream again, drop the ideological garbage, and get to work.    Something to think about.  Thanks for reading.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Just watched the inspiring liftoff of the NASA Curiousity Mars Rover, and it seemed a good time to post this one...

We are the LGMs

Are they little green men with antennae?
Or short fat ones with globular heads?
Maybe they are smart animals or
talking giraffes, purple tongues wagging.

Perhaps a herd of antlike beings with
one intelligent purpose behind them?
Or maybe huge things like elephants,
centuries old, wisdom beyond measure.

 If they can travel between stars,
it seems likely they are pure energy,
spindly or fleshy as they see fit, maybe
wearing appearance and transport as one.

 The truth may be far simpler than imagined...

DNA from the stars has seeded Earth from meteorites,
People evolved from aliens, arriving on an earlier flight.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

In olden times the truth seekers chanted,
Marched in rhythm and wore special robes;
Burned special incense or sacrificed cattle,
Appeased gods so they might receive visions.

Manipulating magic stones and writing runes,
Or drawing symbols and casting certain spells;
they tried to control fate and influence the future,
Bodily movements helped  to decide the outcomes.

Science the usurper has upended old superstitions,
Steady march of technology changed our practices;
Now our moving fingers draw forth images and videos,
Gyrating bodies bring responses from phantoms on screen.

No need to shout into the sky at gods anymore,
We speak into iconic totems in our hands --
The entire Earth is shrunk to one village evermore,
More color, light and sound at our command
than any Norse, Germanic or Egyptian deity
could ever hope to have - as long as we pay the bill.


Friday, November 11, 2011


So much happening on this (fateful) date...

     Penn State reverberating with revenge over the Child Sex Abuse scandal.  As usual, in hindsight everyone is asking how can this be?  How did this happen?  Human beings are unfathomable at times - even we know that.

     Three Republican contenders are tied in a latest poll.   Those characters change positions more than any clump of racehorses coming around the track.  With their suits and stiff expressions, they all look unrealistic.  C’mon, guys.  Most Americans wear jeans and casual shirts, even to work.  You just separate yourselves from the bulk of the population with your stiffness.  But then, maybe that is the point, since you are the party of the rich and privileged.   Go buy a pair of jeans at K-mart.  It will be educational.

     The stock market soared today, regaining it’s losses from Wednesday.  Nice to see it go up.  But realistically it has been a roller-coaster all year.  Up and down, up and down.     I’m gonna stop watching it, it gets too dizzying - like watching a pendulum swing back and forth  (do they make those anymore?).

     We got an early snowfall here in Iowa.  Well, not really early, it was November after all.   Just a taste of what is to come.  And the antics of drivers was hilarious - that is, unless you were out there with them.  Ugh, winter.    Can’t wait until it is over with, and it hasn’t even started yet.

     Prices are going up, for the most part.  The distressing thing is, that wages are not.  It makes it really tricky to keep finances on an even keel.   Some of the pundits will say,  “Survival of the fittest” - well that means most of us are going down in flames.  Survival of the richest is more like it. 

     On this 111111, it is a Friday, and that is a good thing.  Means I can sleep in tomorrow, and then go off and do whatever on Saturday and Sunday  (and still come back to work on Monday).    Some people have to go job-hunting.  I do not - instead I’ll go try and sell some books.  Yeah, guess I’m a bit twisted.  But it will be fun.

     Hopefully dame fortune will smile and shower good things upon any who read this tonight, while it is still 11-11-11.  Otherwise you will just have to wait until 12-12-12.  And then come back here and see what good wishes await you then :)     Have a good night one everyone.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

A departure from the usual fare here - and a suggestion to NASA-ESA-RSA...

Mirror smelting experiment to perform on the International Space Station:

Align several mirrors to focus sunlight onto a central point.  Brace them so they remain stationary. 

Possibly attach secondary  lenses in front of the mirrors.  These might be moveable, but could first be stationary.   Leave one side of the assembly open, to receive ores.

Then, place a sample of ore  (flown up for the purpose) at the center of the assembly.  While it remains in sunlight during an orbit, measure the temperatures inside or at the edge of the ores;  Visually inspect the ore to see if there is any melting.   In the short time it takes to complete the sunlit portion of an orbit, an astronaut could also simply observe  (or film) the sample as it is heated by the mirrors.

The second part of the experiment is to remove any melted materials, take them back inside the station, and try molding or forming simple shapes with the resulting ore-melt.  I.E. Squares, or circular forms.

The objective of the experiment is to find out if space rocks could be subject to simple solar focusing and heating, and thereby result in metals being smelted out from the ore.  Any resulting metal materials could then be used for assembly of habitations in space in the future.  

Materials needed:

At least three mirrors.

Aluminum or other lightweight framework to  hold the mirrors into place, all focused on a center point.
Framework to hold a specimen in the center (to be heated by the sun.)

Three (or more) different ore specimens.   Bauxite, Taconite and one other,( to possibly yield metals when heated.)    Additional ores could be added later to give a full range of possibilities.  One possibility is for NASA to donate some Moon rocks for the experiment.

Secondary lenses, either plastic or glass, to concentrate the sunlight to a higher degree.

Temperature probes and one or two viewing cameras.  Cameras could be locatged on the ISS itself.


Place the mirrors and assembly outside the station, nearby.  Preferably tethered in some fashion, or even held in place by the ISS robot arm.   Place a specimen ore in the center, and make sure the secondary lenses are focusing light on the ore.  When the ISS reaches the sunlit portion of orbiting, observe the heating of the specimen, and whether or not metallic substance is derived from the ores.  Measure the internal temperature of the ores.  Save the specimens. 

     Bring the heated specimens, and any metallic content, into the ISS.  Perform basic shaping and manipulation with simple tools.  Make squares, circles and rods. 

Anticipated results:   This could show us what to expect in future metal-smelting operations.   The benefits of solar melting of metallic ores are easy access to building materials for space habitats.  This experiment would help us lay the groundwork for future efforts in building space habitats.   Several succeeding experiments could find the optimum focusing and retrieval techniques. 

In Summary:   We are eventually going to be building some kind of permanent habitats, located either in orbit or on planets and Moons.  Might as well get started now on some of the methods to accomplish habitat construction!

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I just finished watching some Youtube videos of UFO’s hovering over the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.   Some amazing stuff.  It might even be “real,” that is, a space being or even an Angel.  Sets me to thinking, wondering at the possibilities... 

     Extraterrestrials landing somewhere on Earth.   Ruling the skies with impunity.  Flitting about the Solar System with the greatest of ease, and no one on Earth need be appeased. 

     Are we being subtly influenced by undercurrents of energy?  Or simply bathed in the detrius of our own electromagnetic excesses?  Are energy beings zipping and weaving in and out among us day to day, invisible in the concrete canyons of the city, or the farm-carpeted expanses of the country?  Stephen Hawking said,  “We just don’t know!” 

     We can suppose and posit all we want.  We can answer our own hopes with doctored evidence, or sightings assumed to be ETs.  We can read and watch many, many reports.  But, in the end, after all of the blurry photos and uncertain saucers and evidence lost, we just don’t know.

     Maybe someday we will.  I hope I live to see that day.  But until then, we just keep grasping at wisps, obstreperous young race that we are.  I bet that someday we will be the ETs that another race sees.  Hard to believe -  some intellligent three-eyed race, quivering in fear over the bumbling human spacecraft littering their purple skies.   Stranger things have happened.  Anything is possible.  Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Recently got finished re-working some of my E-books on Smashwords.   If anyone is curious, here are a couple of links:

Twenty-Ten -
Dispatches from the Aether:

Thanks for taking the time to take a look   :)

Have a good day all.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Finally, some good news!

NATO-assisted forces in Libya finally got that Gaddafi character.  While he seemed like a buffoon on TV, he did brutalize his own people, and supported terrorism over the years, including the shooting down of a 747 airliner over Scotland in 1988.  Good Riddance.   And not one US servicemember had to die over there (at least that I know of).  It was basically an uprising by his own wearied people. 

The second bit of good news was the announcement by Pres. Obama that we are removing all of our troops from Iraq by the end of this year.  Like they said, now these talented young people can return home to help rebuild America.   Good for President Obama, good for the USA.   And good for Iraq - now they can fend for themselves.   

Two welcome pieces of news today.  Perhaps now we can change our focus from killing the bad guys to re-gaining energy indepence and educating our young people.  Now those are wars worth fighting, in my humble opinion.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The "Occupiers" are doing the dirty work most of us wish we could do.  It is too easy to lose oneself in respite from a busy workday, TV, games, and yes, the Internet, to actually consider going out onto cold concrete with a sign.  But every time I read in the business section of the paper how banking company profits are up 20, 40, 77 percent, then see all these fee increases  "Because we have to" etc, it does tend to get one a bit upset.  How many billions of dollars of cash reserves do these people need?  I even read that Apple computer has 85 billion in cash right now. 

     Of course, they might argue, it is our company, we own it, we can do anything we want.  You don't have to buy their products, etc.  But the fact remains, these goliaths of industry started here in the USA, and benefit from the largess of US taxpayers.   I would argue they have a responsibility to try to the utmost to reinvest this capitol in the US, to alleviate our economic suffering.   And to strive to be reasonable and honest in their financial dealings.   Profit at any cost is too expensive for society.  There has to be a limit.

      The Occupiers are the tip of the iceberg, the ones who have the gumption and anger to speak out, carry a sign, get arrested.  There is a lot more discontent seething underneath.  Push your customers too far, and they will push back.

Something to consider anyways.


Monday, October 10, 2011

No technology needed

Personal computers are now passé,
PDAs and Ipods totally unnecessary;
The internet and social media soiree
I find rather unnecessary to make my day.

Much prefer the play of sun on rock and sand,
The feel of cool waters splashing my ankles;
Graphical interfaces and fiber optics not in demand
In my house, rather quiet woodland walks are ample.

Once upon a time I craved technological satisfaction,
Had to have three computers internetworked;
MP3 downloads and pic swapping  were the attraction,
Online newsgroups, chat sessions and MIRC.
Experience and age have changed my desires,
Now a quiet walk by the creek is what inspires.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Summer winding down

A cool sheet drapes across the landscape,
Stifling humidity replaced by crispness –
What is this unfamiliar sensation?
Why,  it feels like a bracing chill.

Late summer cicadas serenade the change,
Campouts and cookouts and parades do too.
Time to get in one last hurrah before things
Get even colder and uglier, at winter’s debut.

Once upon the spring we were exiting the misery,
Vacation plans were made and surging joy felt.
Now creaking houses and joints sigh with relief –
A break from hot outdoor activity and maintenance!

The indoor season is almost upon us,
Holidays will march past, a buildup towards
Christmas proceeds, until the grand  finale!
Then a trudge downhill through frigid bleakness.

Spring will be somewhere ahead,
But it is so very hard to imagine
 from the entrance to darkness.
Unable to go back, we must go on.

(c) 2011 Mike Wilson

Thursday, September 01, 2011

I may not…

May not have an MFA, but I can sure vent out feelings on paper.
May not have a degree in Chemistry, but whipping up dinner is a breeze;
May not have a masters in Politics, but I can butter up the boss,
May not have earned an M.D. but will treat a cold at the first sneeze.

May not be a rocket scientist, but I can jump-start a car,
May not have earned my veterinary license,  but can diagnose my cat;
May not be a world-class athlete, but fear still sends me running far,
Did not earn any high degree, but common sense guides me and that is that.

So forgive the uneducated scribblings of a lower-class dropout,
You see we too have working minds that need some kind of outlet;
Provided with mass-produced blinkboxes, each with a keyboard,
We are determined to type out our vitriol, throw down the gauntlet. 

I may not have an MFA, but you are still reading my BS today…

And thank you for that!

- for real

Monday, August 22, 2011

Time to lighten up the mood a bit.  I got depressed with all the political stuff, and it was reflected in the last writes.  so I offer up this bit of humor:  A fish story with a sci-fi twist.  Enjoy.


***     I swerved to avoid another obstacle.  These waters were tricky, taxing the collision-avoidance systems to their limit.  But my designers had built well.  Lower-level routines handled simple tasks:  drinking power from the local star, avoiding rocks and logs, and most of all staying hidden from any curious higher-level beings.

     If I had a sense of humor, I might laugh at the clumsy attempts of the resident high-functioners to tempt me to accept their proffered baits, thrown near me with all the finesse of a comet-hurtling leviathan from my home system.    I merely noted the creatures writhing and dying on the metal hooks, the types and sizes of line and fasteners used.  Data collection and transmission was not only my prime function, it was my passion.  I did it well.

     Day after day, I roamed the streams and rivers on this world, being careful not to get trapped in a backwater.  I surfaced to drink power during the day, and at night I wriggled onto the shore, unfurled antennae, and sent summaries to the well-hidden probe just outside the orbit of their Moon.    My purpose was accomplished with satisfying regularity.  Until the day I was nearly captured.


      Joe was euphoric.  It was a beautiful Sunday morning, and he had a spot by the Des Moines River all to himself.  Quickly grabbing his gear, he headed down the levee to his favorite spot.   He had a lure on his line already, so in moments, he was casting upstream.

     ‘What is that?’ he said to himself.  A fish was just circling around, right over there by the bank.   He walked over and eyed it.  Maybe sick?  It was just circling slowly, kind of eerily, over and over.   Joe made a snap decision.  He hurried back to his car and grabbed a shad net from the trunk.  He scampered back to the bank, and indeed, the fish was still there. 

     He held the net over the fish, and brought it down swiftly, in an arc towards the bank and himself.  The fish rolled into the net – and then suddenly thrashed violently. 

     Darn.  Usually these things tire out after a minute or two.   Not this fish.  It was even breaking strands of the net.


       I did something heretofore only known to inferior flesh creatures.  I grew careless.  My quick calculation had estimated a 96% probability of this location being unoccupied at this point in time.  I had not performed a deeper calculation -  the necessity to recharge and purge propelling channels seemed overriding.  So I had simply surfaced near the shore, and executed the maintenance routines.  I did not reckon on that human being there.


      Joe said “Hot Damn,  this is kind of exciting!” out loud.  Then he half dragged the net, with thrashing fish underneath, up the levee and towards his car.  There was a five-gallon bucket in the back seat.  Maybe he could get it under that, and save his net!

      He made it right up to his rear passenger door, and was reaching out with one hand to open it.  The sky suddenly erupted in a medley of colors around Joe, and he passed out, sinking to the ground. 

   ***   I finally  freed my vessel from the crude trap, and propelled myself unsteadily across the strange surface back to the edge of the stream , before safely submerging.  That had been close – my entire mission was jeopardized.   Fortunately an orbiting assistor came to my rescue!   After subduing the interloper, it left in a hurry.  No need to unduly alarm the local populations.***

      Joe awoke a few moments later.  The net lay near his feet;  it appeared unbroken.  But that fish was nowhere to be seen.   He rose shakily, and walked up and down the bank, looking on the ground and in the water.  Nothing could be seen.  Joe had a headache;  he finally decided it was time to get home.  After all, it wouldn’t do to be late for his lunch date today.   He thought to himself,    I shouldn’t have drank so much last night!

     ***I hovered near the bottom of the river.  And reached a decision to wait until darkness came to this longitude.  I would take no more reckless chances this research cycle.   That last time had been a close call.   I made a special note to warn future explorers of the clever dangers these natives presented to the research corps.  My timing  pulses seemed to decrement rather slowly, or so it seemed at the time  ***.

The End

Monday, August 15, 2011








We are in a pickle




















Sunday, August 07, 2011

Well, the world is still turning.

People are still grocery shopping.  The Quik-trips and Casey's are still buzzing.  The Dollar store was crowded as ever last Saturday.  The grocery store parking lot was the usual madhouse.  The state fair is gearing up, with every kind of trailer, food stand, and contraption known to man. 

People are still going out to bars, having sex or getting jilted, or getting into trouble, or out of it.  Parents still hold dreams of greatness for their children.  The children still dream of amazing futures.  Plants still flower, go to seed, die and new ones pop up around them. 

My tomatoes and potatoes have not stopped producing.  The car still runs.  My body still works, although it is pretty creaky in the mornings.  Nothing new there.

So S & P downgraded the debt.  Who cares?  Life goes on.  Who are these faceless raters anywhay, and why should anyone give a s*** what they think.  I don't.  I'm going to go on living!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Financial Gyrations

My finances improve suddenly,

Unexpected good fortune

Helps me pay some things off.

Still eager young counselors

Call and want to help,

Tell me how to spend

All too meager earnings.

Washington, DC is in turmoil,

The experts disagree on how

To pay off the national debt.

They just make things worse.

I do not trust experts anymore.

My gut is just as good,

And the bigger it gets,

The more accurate it is.

Perhaps I can ignore advice,

Follow my own protrusion,

Pay any resulting penalty.

Cannot be any worse than

That mess in D.C.

And it might even turn out better.

Monday, July 25, 2011


       I walked into a southeast side grocery store today, and encountered a surprise.  Amidst all the displays and piles of confections and breads on sale at the door, a diminutive voice sallied forth.  “Get your corn dogs here!  One dollah, one dolla for a dog, right here, right now.  One dollah for a dog, right here.”   I had breezed past her on my quest for Folger’s instant, but her insistent voice compelled me to look.  She continued on, her voice lilting up and down the scales, compelling ears to twitch, heads to turn and eyes to look.  What persistence.  I think, ‘She would have been right at home in New York’s little Italy around 1900!’  Here she was in a 2011 Hy-vee, just another marketing gimmick that walks and talks.  Could she be a robot?   Finally some Hispanic dudes walked over to her, and her continuous pitching ceased.  She hastened to complete their order.

     Hy vee has everything they can lay their hands on in their stores.  Produce, pre-prepared salads and dishes, bakery items in stacks placed strategically throughout the store.  (To be fair, so do Dahl’s and other area grocery superstores in this area.)  Every kind of food item one can imagine.   And now they have living icons from the past, right by the main door.  Amazing.  Their time machine must be next to the bottle machines.  Come to think of it, I always wondered what that telltale glow was from time to time while cashing in bottles.  And here I thought it was the glare of backroom fluorescents.   Silly me.   (But I’ll let someone else ask them where their transporter room is.)    The times we live in.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Once upon a time in Des Moines...

The Foursome met every week at the same Chinese restaurant. Nothing was thought to be unusual about this, but if anyone took the time to look at these four, they would notice something distinctly unusual.

     These four discussed topics of every description, and if anyone would listen in they might be amazed. World affairs, national politics, musical groups, kinds of wine, car problems, you name it, they discussed it. They entertained themselves, and usually anyone who happened to listen.

     In between words, their eyes sought and ears listened. If some nearby diner muttered, “hell, no,” they would pick it up. Those that might say, “he’s got a point there,” would also be heard, scanned and recorded by unseen apparatus. Yes, this restaurant was a perfect data harvesting site for the foursome from far beyond.

     They would chuckle and tease each other, and then go up for more plates of food. They would pour tea and propose points of view. Any outside reactions were impressed upon hidden memory apparatus. And every week, the four would beam encoded summaries deep into outer space.

     The one who blew it wide open, so to speak, was a guy trying to text into his new smartphone. It was an ultra-high-frequency kind. When he would sit near the foursome, he could not effectively text or call out. But whenever he sat or moved anywhere else in the place, or even outdoors, his phone worked fine. When he went out to eat with his buddy one Sunday, he purposely sat next to the regular foursome.

     Once seated, and provided with drinks, he moved closer to his buddy.

     “Now, watch this. I try and send you a text, and…nothing,” says George.

     His buddy, Don, nods. “Okay, and?”

     George moves his chair back a few feet, leans back, and tries again. The text goes through, and Don’s phone warbles.

     “Well, I’ll be darned. You sure it isn’t just a bad spot?”

     George put his finger to his mouth, and then whispers, “Yes. I’ve tried it in other spots. It’s…” and he nods his head towards the table.

     The apparent leader, a portly man with a cap and dark glasses, looks right at him, then looks away. He mouths something to the others. They glance at George and Don, then away, acting nonchalant.

     Alarmed, Joe whispers to don, “Let’s go, now!”

     Don blurts out, “But we haven’t eaten yet.”

     Joe glares at Don, waves him up, and heads out of the dining room. Finally, Don follows, throwing a glance back at the Foursome. They are all looking at him. He shudders, and hurries out.

     They try and drive out of the place, but a funny shadow has surrounded their car, and it is moving slowly. Joe floors it, finally breaking free. He zooms away down Ingersoll Ave, narrowly avoiding several cars. Back at the parking lot, a fifth entity looks after him, scowling. It thinks to itself, ‘We will have to get that arresting field checked out.’

     Moral of the story: Even if your neighboring table seems odd, don’t listen to them, and don’t stare at them. It may be the last thing you do!

Friday, July 08, 2011

End of the Space Shuttle program

     Not much can be added to the litany of woe that is sounding over the end of the Shuttle program. Although not all the voices are sorrowful. The Shuttle was an expensive program that did not quite live up to its promised potential. Still, it did achieve many things.

     We were able to retrieve and repair satellites, most notably the Hubble Space Telescope. The Shuttle carried aloft entire Spacelabs. Later we constructed an entire space laboratory, the ISS, in low earth orbit. 135 launches of a major space transportation system would be a notable achievement for any nation. It was so for the USA. It was also a way to show that Americans had prowess in science and engineering: “The Right Stuff” as that 80’s movie said. Although it may have been expensive and cumbersome, it was a big step in the right direction: out to the stars.

     Now that the program is ending, what do we have in the lineup coming next? No one seems to know for sure. There are the private space companies, like SpaceX, working on a transport capsule. But they supposedly have years to go. Boeing has proposed some kind of crew capsule. Lockheed-Martin has released drawings of a four-man capsule. There have been a lot of pretty pictures and noises, but so far, no clear front-runner. The Russians with their Soyuz have a monopoly on the space transportation business, it seems.

     The International Space Station should not be simply abandoned by NASA. They should at least fund and develop some kind of baseline booster/capsule technology in the event that nothing else is available. It is unconceivable that we can abandon this large complex without some kind of way there and back. Let the private companies embellish the baseline configuration how they please (and pay for it, of course). But it takes the government to make a large project like this go forward, like it or not. NASA could build, test and launch a test flight of the baseline rocket, with a crew. From there, the private companies could take over, flying different configurations of the baseline. They could certainly participate in the development of Baseline itself, and then diverge as needed for different priorities and missions.

     The Baseline should use existing Orion/Ares research data and hardware, to save money. It should not take very long to get a simple system of transporting a small crew back and forth. In 1967, after the first Apollo burned up on the launch pad, NASA redesigned the entire capsule and flew it around the Moon and back in two years’ time! Surely we can do as well today?

     Even if some would like to abandon outer space entirely, this would be fiscally foolish, in light of that 100 billion dollar investment we have circling up there. This is a plea for someone, anyone to consider getting a Baseline crew rocket and capsule built, tested and flown, and then the “keys” handed over to the private companies to configure as needed. We can and we should do this. Thanks for reading.


Friday, July 01, 2011

So what is a struggling author to do during these hot daysof summer?  Publish, publish, publish.
Here goes another one  ;-)

New Story Collection Available

“Mirror Worlds”

Science Fiction and Horror collection

By a local Des Moines author

Check it out online:

6 “ x 9” paper softback edition

Kindle E-Book edition

Thanks for taking a look at them. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Once upon a time, settlers came to this land.
They drove out the occupants that were there.
They hacked out an existence and an economy.
They started operations like fish hatcheries,
shoe stores, butchers shops, and the like..
They tamed a new world for their kids.

Their kids struggled to cope in this world,
Pulled together from ancient religions,
A mishmash of beliefs under twin banners,
Capitalism and Freedom forever.

The kids went to war, and some made it back.
They raised up a generation used to modernity;
Electricity and automobiles and telephones;
But they had to endure, too.

A depression and a war later, their kids were born.
These kids had a new playground:
The entire civilized world.
This generation made colorful patterns ,
Started unique boutiques, challenged status quo.
The world changed again.

Their kids are mostly wedded to technology.
All except the ones who want to tear everything
Down and start over.  Why?
There is no accounting for human nature.

At our heart we are still stupid apes,
playing with shiny objects,
until we get hungry and start fighting.

Some things just never change.