Friday, December 27, 2013

2014 and Counting


2014 and Counting




Once upon a time in 1975, a young man joined the workforce.
Heaped with promises, he was of good cheer perforce.
Eagerly he went to work each night, not feeling any fright,
for company representatives said he would be treated right.

They would give him life insurance, health insurance,
dental insurance, pension and savings financial assurance.
He would have a credit union to save and borrow from,
store back some of his pay, buy a car, and never feel glum.

Diligently he worked night after night, third shift no graveyard,
rather an opportunity for him to succeed in the highest regard.
He learned intricate details and his methods were thorough,
They said to keep it up, promotion was coming on the morrow.


He finally did get promoted, was given more responsibility,
He learned new duties and carried them out with perspicacity.
Enduring the gossip and rumor mill, he persevered through all,
When he got another raise and promotion, he was walking tall.

Then one day at the ripe old age of twenty-nine,
The gibes and jabs clued him in: he was no longer fine.
The company power-brokers were under-cutting his walk,
needling so effectively with their underhanded cruel talk.

Over the hill at thirty, he took the hint and moved away,
to a magnificent city up north full of color, lively and gay.
No one would have him at his former occupation,
Was forced to take up menial work, with resignation.

His thirties went the same all of the way through,
he lived hand to mouth, with little left for new shoes.
Halcyon twenties faded in memory, as happiness ebbed.
He emptied trash and cleaned floors, and thus stayed fed.

The forties settled in with a stroke of good fortune,
Happy times returned at a time opportune –
The parties were grand, no lack for company,
succession of fun a reward for this progeny.

Then he took up writing and poetry,
and opened new vistas of possibility.
His goals in sight, mileposts knocked down,
received encouragement from many all around.


The old celebrations and soirees replaced
with the satisfaction of his literary place.
Traded one pleasure for another, ephemeral to permanent;
Hoped his writings would survive, etched in Net firmament.
Yet he realized millions of others held the same great hopes,
So on weekends he still sought good times and funny jokes.

***

Time passes and he still strives and struggles,
His house warm and cozy, his cat snuggles.
The job pays the bills and he stokes his willpower,
Someday it will pay off and greater fortunes flower.

In a dim corner of the city his keyboard clicks to this day,
Months, years, decades roll by, but to his task he will stay.
Worse fates have befallen an average Baby Boomer,
This one counts himself lucky, this “dedicated Homer.”

- end.




























































Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Different Worlds


Spacecraft probe deep into universal mysteries,
reveal secrets that amaze and titillate scientists;
Dimming stars yield up new planets' histories,
add to an expanding catalog of interstellar wonder.

An average person sees work faces, road surfaces,
windshield dirt, idiot drivers, dirty living quarters,
recalcitrant pets, spouses and kids – painful routine.
We tell ourselves we are lucky, it could be worse.

The lucky few glued to dim screens send corrections,
then much on pizza and await the slow reply transmissions
from a billion miles distant: Outwardly confident, inwardly uncertain.
On a good day history will be made, all the bad days forgotten.

You and I grind through weekdays, hoping our way to Saturday,
Then fighting lines and fatigue to get those errands run.
Sometimes it all seems worth it, even though the next problem lurks
just around the bend – they say attitudes are everything.

Someday NASA will send a probe to Alpha Centauri and it will
be wondrous, amazing people the world around.
Someday you and I will get what we want and be astounded,
thrilled if we are paying attention. For a little while we will be happy.

-end


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Passage - for Harold


Passage


Now moves slow against the backdrop of years,
Instant by instant, a slog through heavy mud;
Hard to imagine the outcome of those aging fears,
Life burns bright within, the veins course with blood.

When one takes a measure of what has passed,
One day leads to another day to a weekend and back;
The sighs of “thank god it is Friday at last”
fade to complaints of black Monday’s attack.

If one never took stock or gauged distance of time,
Perhaps the lingering discontent would disappear;
Merely glide or travel down life’s blurred lines,
Only at the end would journey’s speed be clear.
Yet when one has seen enough loss and death close by,
one cannot avoid the rapid approach of the day we die.

*****

For Harold

You stood up to your church and fought for your rights,
Enhanced the lives of so many underprivileged;
Held venues for same-sex orientated adults,
empowering an entire generation of gay men.

Whether in a suit at the Thoreau Center,
holding court at some Pros Soiree;
Or in dress and helmet at the RRR,
Cooking a meal for fifty naturists at play...

You delivered your particular brand of love,
caring for many of us in so many little ways;
Entertained in secluded woods sunlit from above.
Hosted visitors from around the world, hetero or gay.

Somewhere up there in a fantastic inter-dimensional realm,
he is partying with otherworldly hosts – I wish him well!


- end











In loving Memory of Harold Wells 1936 to 2013



Friday, December 13, 2013

Lockdown


     Are we all prisoners? The cameras are always watching, and high schoolers are treated like criminals. Safety and security above all else, including any vestiges of freedom? We seem to keep moving the line in favor of security, and at cost of our human rights. How far must we be squeezed, how closely watched, how carefully monitored, before every single person feels “safe” ?

      Just recently we saw in North Korea, a high-ranking leader taken down, jailed, convicted and executed. For reasons still unclear, but possibly related to a power struggle. North Korea is the most authoritarian state imaginable, and someone still did not feel “safe”, so had to jail and ultimately execute a rival.

     “Safety” is to a large degree in the mind of the beholder. One can feel threatened in a neighborhood statistically free of violence and robbery. By the same token, someone else might feel “Safe” in a 'hood with a high crime rate. It is an individual state of mind at work. A gunman takes a shot at a teacher, and then 2,000 students get treated like criminals and get searched. They finally find the perpetrator dead of a self-inflicted gunshot. The fanatic adherence to consistency makes sure that the wrong people get scrutinized, every single time. This can breed resentment, and that can breed more troublemakers of all kinds.

       I am all for a reasonable level of safety. Traffic signals, Railroad crossing arms, this sort of thing. But the evening TV is studded with the cops taking down all kinds of bad guys, and the news is rife with school shootings. People are becoming afraid of their neighbors, looking with suspicion at each other all the time. This kind of thing used to be an eastern European state of mind during the cold war, with neighbor tattling on neighbor to gain brownie points with the Stazi or other police force.

     In our democracy, we have the right of peaceful assembly – we have the right to disagree with our elected officials. We the people are the government. Within reason (meaning without violent acts) we have the right to disagree. I fear that in the present hyper-policed atmosphere, we may lose our most precious asset here in the US – our sense of freedom.

       If there is any point to this ramble, it is this: We need to make a hard turn to the Left, and liberalize the general atmosphere. Emphasize the people's right of self-determination, without looking over their shoulder at cameras or swat teams, or being spied on at every turn in their computers or in brick-and-mortar stores. That sweeping spirit of the 1960's that said in effect, the individual does have rights, does have power, and can bring about change for the better. The kind of spirit exemplified by Nelson Mandela, for example. Thanks for reading.






Wednesday, December 11, 2013

New Markets Above


     The news came out December 11,2013. Mars One has contracted with Lockheed Martin Space division for feasibility studies for their first Mars Mission. Although this is an unmanned test, it is still very significant. It means that a private entity, having solicited funds from thousands of Mars Colony believers, has paid an aerospace corporation for flight hardware. Dreams are becoming reality.


     The faithful are getting their wish – a shot at Mars. And the overall economy is getting a shot of capital, to fund Outer Space activities. Of course, Lockheed-Martin is well positioned in this field, having flown many space missions already. But it is the tip of the iceberg. There are many, many opportunities looming for other aerospace companies, subcontractors, design firms, study groups, even architectural firms. The market for space habitation, entertainment and the like is just getting started.

     So if you run a company with any relevance at all to the huge, looming market for Inner Solar System exploration and development, you may want to ask yourself, 'Is it time to get in now?' Perhaps it is at least time to get ready.

     A lot of people want to go out there, to live on other planets. Evidence is as close as the sign-up list for Mars One. Some Billionaires are on board, most notably Dennis Tito, who wants to fund a human-crewed Mars shot as early as 2018. Prudent companies may want to prepare with research and design studies. It is coming, and one wouldn't want to miss the boat, so to speak. See you out there someday!


-end

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Computer Cinquain

The Cinquain is a poetry form pioneered by Adelaide Crapsey and others.    There are many types, but I used the one with nouns and adjectives in the one that follows.    Thanks for reading it, and perhaps you might like to try your own.  Short and expressive, a fun poetic form.


Empty progression



Advanced

Shiny, Modern

gleaming, costing, leapfrogging

Buy the latest computers

Expensive



Obsolescent

creaky, ugly

lagging, fading, missing

last years' computers

Outdated





Cheap

connected, loaded

supporting, enabling, networking

Tablets are all the rage

Android



Container

wrinkly, threadbare

opening, flapping, lacking

My money is all spent

Wallet




Monday, December 09, 2013

Freshness


Freshness


The first time a gal told you about a Ferret,
The first time you saw tropical fish,
The first kitten, or puppy.
The first time driving a car
The first time making love.

The fresh experiences:
Uncertainty, wonder, exhilaration.
We each get so many of these in life.

If only you could draw that freshness off,
put it in a bottle,
take a swig every morning...

New hope for a new day.
Grim sameness splashed with new light,
Bright colored hopes promising you
another whole unknown future,
loaded with possibilities,
where you might still do anything –

And no one can take it away from you,
no matter how hard they try,
how loud they yell.

The only bottle of experience-freshener
I know of is memory, and that is a
very leaky vessel. Still, it is
all we have.


Get some rest,
take a long walk,
tap that container for what you will,
enjoy young newness again!

You have certainly earned it.

-end







Sunday, December 01, 2013

All the Electronics still shine


      Everything is now. Gleaming toys from various years co-exist in my mind. The walkie-talkies or transistor radios received at Christmastime (1960s) when I was a kid. The TRS-80 color computer. The Lazer PC compatible. The Packard-Bell 100 Mhz. The Cyrix 166, the DIT 200. The Gateway 300. The Emachines with Windows ME – gaack! The Dell XPS 3 Ghz. And on and on, up to and including the many-cored machines present today in 2013.

     Perhaps the future ones are there, too. The holographic brain-cap models. You know, the ones with all neural interface, no keyboard or mouse required. I can think, see, or “remember” inputs and outputs. The cerebral dust that networks and interfaces with the world around me. Now I have two physical eyes, and many, many remotes networked into myself. Humans have become an electronic hive-mind. Look out, universe, here comes the swarm, and it is us. Too much to comprehend for now. Sure thankful for the AMD 6 Gig model on my desk on this discrete, not-yet-implanted Sunday.

     When the Wetware works well, everything is now, fresh, before the mind's eye. It is a wonder to behold the differences manifesting this last thirty or so years. Party on, cyber dudes, and keep on interfacing.







Just got to have my own sale

Get them while they are hot - my three titles are 20 percent off starting today, running through Christmas!

www.createspace.com/3633147
www.createspace.com/3859469
www.createspace.com/4281639

Happy Reading everyone.

Friday, November 29, 2013

One Rough Life


I leap, I crawl, I cling. Made it again.
Make purchase on tangled branches, barely.
Persistence pays off. Soft pink meal ahead.
I arrive and sink fangs in – delicious.
Earthquake! My surface shudders,
giant digits swipe and pick at me.
I crawl deeper into the thicket and hide.

Made it. After a few more hit-and-run bites,
it is time to exit this food source. I wait for
who knows what, then feel an urge, and jump...

Land on another, similar surface. Another tangled thicket.
Another land of undulating pink underneath. This time
I travel up and down, reconnoiter my area.
The blood-scent of hunger wins out, and I sink
fangs in once again, once again, feel the world shudder.
Leviathan surfaces clutch and scratch, but miss.
Time to leave. I tumble onto a sterile yellow surface.

I crawl and crawl, and then must rest. Then crawl some more.
Encounter moisture of some kind – enough to slake my thirst.
Suddenly a hairy surface plops down nearby, my prayers answered.
I leap on, and look for a thicket to hide in. This surface is bare and vast.
The giant hand swipes at me, and I am hit!
As I fall, mouth and legs reach and grasp for anything to break
the fall, and finally find a curled black branch to grab.
Barely saved, I cling and clutch and grasp, and claw my way up.

Now am in a thicket once again. This time I wait <*indeterminable time x 2*>
The hunger, the scent is too much. I move close to pink food,
sink hungry fangs in. The shudder is less perceptible. Good. I eat more.
The food-land moves about, but not too bad. I keep eating and drinking
the red juice that suffuses this food. Life is grand for me. Until

It starts to rain, a deluge, a waterfall. This rain is pungent,
and it contains poison. As soon as I become aware, I try to run.
My limbs are already sluggish. The world goes black. The land moves,
I tumble off into space. This will be the end of me.

Damn Rid-X.



- end



Sunday, November 24, 2013

Tales

      Stories surround me. Science-fiction splendors jump out of the movie screen and amaze. Dark mysteries captivate my interest, engrossing until the twisted, bitter end. Religious stories charm and enlighten, and fill me with hope. Sitcoms bring a laugh, or a groan. Superhero movies are popcorn-chomping funfests. Get the bad guy! Rescue the hero from near-certain ruination, and have them come out on top. Save the world, get the girl (or guy), live happily ever after. Or if it is a horror flick, get unceremoniously hacked to death. Freddie always comes back, and Jason never dies. A sequel is always in the works.

      Filled beyond my capacity, I leak one out of my own on occasion. Perhaps some day one of them will be good enough to sell, become a novel, or even a movie.

     And that would be a story wonderful to tell to my family and friends.

     Here is hoping all your stories have happy, or at least tolerable, endings my friends. Peace and out, until next time.

 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Two Minutes

A "Minute" is a poem consisting of three stanzas of 8,4,4 metrical feet or beats.   They are supposed to be rhyming couplets as well - and make some kind of sense.  Here are two attempts at them  :)


Breaking Bad


A television show got made
Cook Meth, for trade
Was Breaking Bad --
Made critics glad

old Teach offered the best deal
not rob, nor steal –
just sell to kids,
they hit the skids

Until his troops removed his self
Put boss on shelf
He had to hide,
then saved his pride.



Avoiding strife



I just wanted to have some fun
under the sun,
a time of cheer,
no ills nor fear.

My friend political depressed
me with his mess;
though I agreed
with his loud creed.

Intending he end with week's dose,
cut off my host;
Now I steer clear
if he is here.

- end



Thursday, November 14, 2013

We Earned it

Baby Boomers
paid into Social Security and Medicare all our working lives.
Queued up in line from the first day of school to the last day at work, along with our fellows. 
Some of us invented Personal computers, I-phones and various other conveniences.
Others went out into the streets and challenged government policies on everything from the Vietnam war to globalization.  Still others went on civil rights marches, bringing an end to segregation in the deep south.  You are welcome, youngsters.

   So now I see some posts out there, claiming we are bankrupting the government, and hogging all the resources, etc.  Social Security was supposed to be self-funding, and would still be if Congress hadn't raided the trust fund.  We paid into the thing all our lives, and by golly we deserve every dollar of benefits promised or "entitled" us. 

      We may not have been the "greatest generation" and yes, there was a lot of drug experimentation and partying.   Just like there is today on college campuses across the country.  We were young once, just like modern college students are now.   But we are entitled to the benefits we have paid for and accumulated.  So you can call us irresponsible, self-centered and the like.  But don't you dare steal our benefits.  We paid for them, we earned them, they belong to us.   You would want your property rights respected?  So do we.  Thanks for reading.


Monday, November 11, 2013

An Extra Helping of Spacetime


My empty wallet made me a nervous wreck,
eating dinner at Perkin's one fine evening;
I summoned a wormhole to pick up the check,
and it took all my friends before leaving.

There I sat, sprawled on the restaurant floor,
since the wormhole also swallowed the table;
Even a black hole could do little more,
scooping up all the matter it was able.

In some distant galaxy are a few perplexed diners,
their angst at picking up the whole darned check
overshadowed by the need to breathe air, a minor
problem on Earth – not so out there on planet Gechhh.


Thanks to the commotion I crawled out and escaped.
Made it home and kept my delicious free meal down;
From now on I will make my own strawberry crepes,
avoid pesky wormholes and making diners frown --
make sure my wallet is full at the grocery store,
after all, they just renovated it a month before.

- end







Saturday, November 09, 2013

Under Thier Noses



Nocturnal creatures not vampires so feared,
We creep in high darkness to roam,
feed on other entities our usual way,
seek food hidden under forest loam.

We hunted bandits must avoid two-legged gods,
their onslaught of technology and proliferation;
Must crowd lairs into shrinking habitats and try
to maintain natural rhythms, not made to cry.

Dawn soon approaches, a time to hide.
Rumbles, whooshes, clangs and bangs
inform lesser beings to take cover now.

The mighty ones are stirring, the world-shapers
who take so much, leave only crumbs and scraps.
One last four-legged meal stolen on the fly,
Before we retreat into hidden lairs to savor our prize.

Daytime siestas underground become populated –
Monochrome dreams of better days gone by.
Soon darkness brings renewed vigor for the survivors.

-end

Architectural salvage

Went into a place I had often heard about but never saw.  A four-story building full of all kinds of treasures from the past.  Giant signs, ancient typewriters, every kind of chest, bureau, dresser one can imagine.  Dolls, glass bottles, doors and wall murals.   A photo bug's dream.  So I looked and snapped, and marveled at the things yet unseen in the ol home town.  What a find.  Good to meet up with Central Iowa Photographers group there too.  Was a fun thing to do on a Saturday afternoon in November.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Paperback Cassette Dream





The lust was always there,
craving for techno-storage,
instant electronic companionship -
used to excite me to the bathroom
back in those dim Saturday nights.

What if I could build some magic device
to store all the data on newspaper articles,
and then retrieve it on demand?
What if I could cobble together some circuits,
connect it all to the phone line,
find friends, love, sex everything?
It was an enchanting idea at age 19, 20, 21...

But we had to (and did) content ourselves
with cassettes and records,
paperback novels,
grainy black and white Dr. Who reruns,
cigarettes and beer and microprocessor dreams.

The 1990's Internet tsunami changed it all,
then the 2000's swept away any memory of
analog 80's life - and the 70's?
Wasn't that the time when people did drugs?
Wait, we still do – all the time.


But we have the cellular Internet,
so we never, ever have to get
stoned alone again.

--




Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Finally

Common sense rules, and they are coming close to passing a debt limit increase.

"Trying to defund Obamacare was a fool's errand"    Love it!

on an unrelated note - check out the website:

http://dycen-alexander.com/links-of-interest   

Thanks.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Close Call


Close Call


They came close to agreement yesterday,
Pundits on TV were predicting success;
Last-minute sabotage meant no hoorays,
Hard-liners complained about supposed excess.

Financial ratings downgrade our government,
paper and commodity markets gyrate and plummet;
Uncertainty paints our future predicament,
as we wait on these fruitless, acrimonious summits.

Is it finally time, then, for the world to bail us out?
Replace weak American dollars with stronger currencies?
We seem reduced to gridlock, leaders just pout and shout.
The constitution did not plan for these contingencies.

Broke and bankrupt, we have to start over somehow,
Pull our system up and get our act together, right now.

-end



Monday, October 14, 2013

One Afternoon at the Quality Inn

It's 2:15 on a Sunday afternoon,
and I have no idea what to do.

In New York and Chicago many are
starving, destitute, lost – addicted.
In Cairo, Egypt, streets are splashed with blood
flesh, screaming torment and misery.
In Damascus, Syria, citizens fight
government might with small arms, or
shelter from jets raining down bombs.
Across Africa there is bloody civil strife.
Other places around the globe also suffer misery...

But


It's 2:15 on a Sunday afternoon,
and I have no idea what to do –

So I look out my 7th floor window and daydream.

Why is the world the way it is?
How can I make it better?
Why should I bother?
Wonder if room service is still open?

A prosperous westerner
feeling a touch of conscience.

Fortunately, it soon passes,
I decide to take a swim -
A nap-
A meal.

I am thankful...
Life is good here at the Quality Inn.

-end




Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Meditations during October Bicycle ride


I drink in cool air,
autumn-scented beauty surrounds --
Sun sinks lower,
lights up color in tree tops and hillsides,
yellow light suffused into the browns, reds, greenery.

Summer's heaviness dissipates under
northern influences;
The blood quickens,
gives new energy for winter preparation
or other less productive pursuits.

Time to stash the foodstuffs,
seal up the lodge,
stack the firewood,
tuck in extra buffalo hides
or craft-sale comforters.

Winter's white chill will soon
be upon us –
the helpless shivering
times we must endure.

Hurry up and prepare,
before giving thanks,
then tucking in for the long
cold white blast.

The Sun will come back,
life will renew,
we will be able to venture out once again.
Years' cycle constantly repeats.

But today I enjoy October's crisp palette,
and give thanks for this world,
its endless variation
that I (still) live in.

-end




Sunday, October 06, 2013

auto-correc

Thanks to the ever-handy spellchecker software, the previous post has been vetted and changed for accurate spelling.    You are welcome -    

                              - The Computer

Hu-memorial




We are controlled by our computers.
Auto-formatting, letter changes, etc
force us to put down
what we did not intend.

The computer always knows better than
some wannabe artist,
reduced to a desktop ornament
at the whim of the ruling chips,
discarded at their leisure.

Once Humans ruled this world,

alas - no more.



Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Enough - time to settle it!


Shutdown Again!


      Just do not understand why these representatives of the people cannot get their act together and come up with a compromise. Everyone from the President on down needs to sit down together and haggle out a compromise of some kind, and get the government in operation. Delay the Mandate? So be it. Tax some medical equipment? Why not, we tax everything else, sometimes more than once. We need to get over the stupid recalcitrance and get on with our lives.

     Or should we call the USA a failed state? Maybe request governance as a UN Protectorate. The Blue Helmeted soldiers from distant lands could be stationed in every governmental department, every statehouse even. Have to oversee these bankrupt broken governments somehow, don't we?

     It would be easy to blame the debacle on one or another party. But the fact is, presidents over the last six administrations have wrestled with the question of health care and how to better administer it. Obama is merely the latest president to address it, and he did so in a big way. The rich hate it, and the poor applaud it.

     But in any case, we need to get past these minutia, and hammer out some kind of agreement. For everyone’s' sake. Thanks for reading, and keep an eye out for those blue helmets, coming soon to a street corner near you.

-
 



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Accidental Literacy


There is so much accidental literacy in life these days. Computer literacy, writing literacy, social literacy.


      I post on Facebook or send an e-mail, and must naturally try for a modicum of skills at writing English. Most email and social network editors will underline my misspells, and let me right-click to correct them. Perhaps I will even pay attention to the correct spellings and remember them – stranger things have happened.

     Sometimes I'll follow a link and read an article in the New York Times or the UK Guardian. My tired brain is presented with a well-laid out logical progression of facts and positions. I assume these have been thoroughly proof-read. Some of my sharp-eyed friends catch errors in these articles, but I rarely, if ever, see any. So I get immersed in literacy once again.

     Even if I never wrote another poem, nor short story nor essay or even a Facebook rant, the act of using the Internet for everyday life functioning soaks me in a sea of syntax and grammar, quips and quotes, theses and theories. Where once I had to actively seek out books and look for learning, now I cannot escape it. Since I do not plan on giving up the Internet (arguably the most important of modern conveniences), this will go on until the day I am planted underground.

     Mostly, it is a gift. Human minds have effectively been inter-networked to the degree that our knowledge has become meta-knowledge, a living, growing entity that will last as long as the electricity is on. Difficult to imagine my teenage years in the previous century, those dark times when all we had were record albums, paperbacks or comics, black-light posters, and the regularly-practiced stupefaction of doing drugs. Determined to be dumb, we succeeded in a stellar fashion. Today's teens could chew us up and spit us out in their stride: they seem far brighter than we were. There are exceptions to every rule, of course.

     If there is a point to this rant it is this: Literacy (whether or not it is of high quality) is a mouse click or finger twitch away these days. And that is very good, or at least darned convenient.


Thanks for reading.

-





Friday, September 13, 2013

Special


     The news came out that the U.S. And Russia have reached some kind of agreement regarding Syria. Sounds good to me, since I really did not want world war III. Vladimir Putin's attitude still rankles, though. The USA is special – if for no other reason than we are made up of immigrants and refugees from every other nation on earth (native Americans aside). Refugees escaping harsh living conditions and even harsher regimes from many of the same countries that “we” came from. So, yes, Mr. Putin, we are special. We are made up of those fleeing your society and many others, hoping for and working towards a better life. Although far from perfect, I think we have done pretty well.

But hey, I'm all for keeping the peace, when I rationally consider the alternatives. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Putin writes an article


Putin pouts at us

It is really amazing how the Russian leader criticizes us. Their human rights record is abysmal, and their client state, Syria, is massacring its own citizens. We have to bull in there and threaten to strike just to get their attention.

Assad had said that if a patient cuts off an arm that has gangrene, this is not terrorism or massacre – comparing his gassing the rebels with amputation, I suppose.

If the West took this same philosophy, we should “amputate” Syria – or even Russia. Maybe it is finally time to settle the big unspoken question once and for all. What to do about Russia. Maybe throw everything we have at them and scorch the continent down to bedrock. Make it glow for ten thousand years. It will remind the rest of the world to stay in line and act civilized.

One can only fantasize. But it would be nice if everyone could get along. Yeah, another fantasy there. Oh well, Glad tomorrow is Friday. Maybe there will be another war to watch on CNN by the weekend.






Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Twelve years later


War memories cascade past,
repeating images of huge planes striking
immense buildings, ejecting fireballs –
Screams of fear and misery, that
muted drumbeat of thousands
running for their lives.

Bodies tumbled out of windows,
Absurd leaps of faith a last hope;
Concrete and steel flattened like some
giant defective cake, crushing
everything in its path.

Cloud of deadly dust hung over NYC for days.

Gas spiked, panicked lines formed.
Many left work early,
only thing flying were
national guard helicopters.


The world turned upside down that day,
and we are still reeling.

Twelve years later, the
wounds have scabbed over,
but may never heal completely.

Memories of the dead are honored,
heroes who gave their lives in our defense
even more so – they will not be forgotten.

We got the perpetrators,
delivered our rightly harsh response.
Yet it seems we have been forever changed.

Nine-eleven burned into my brain,

then,


now -


always.



-end

Monday, September 09, 2013

Goodbye Max


Rest in Peace, Max


Bright-eyed fluffy surprise,
eager tail and happy bark –
puppy Max made our spirits rise,
scampering around on some lark.

Our happy four-legged presence
lightened our mood and our days,
Made complete our residence,
unless he had to go out (without delay).

We'll miss you, little buddy –
not only Lew and Kath
but everyone else in the family,
who petted you and got a tongue bath...

Kibbles and kisses and lovins and more,
you left us with cheerful memories galore.


-end






Wednesday, September 04, 2013

so much for resolutions

Already missed a day - but I blame a writers meeting that occurs once a month - was a great source of inspiration, and fun besides.   If anyone is reading this that is a fledgling writer, a regular groups is a precious resource - join one if possible, either online or in person.  

I see we are moving closer to a strike in Syria.   After the two very costly wars we recently extricated ourselves from  (the US I mean), I just cannot fathom it.  There have been numerous casualties inflicted by other means, some say over 100,000 dead.    But now because of some evidence of a chemical agent, the US feels it has to go in and smite the Assad regime with missiles.   Right in the middle of a bloody civil war, we have to go in and clobber one side.   Now, what is a European power did something like that in the midst of our civil war?   Would we just stop, lay down our rifles and say  "okay, we are sorry".    Perhaps some power might have been aghast at the wholesale burning of cities like Atlanta by the GAR, and decided to step in and punish A. Lincoln by an offshore bombardment of New York or somesuch.   It is absurd, of course.

      Why every president we have gets such a hard-on for military action these days is beyond me, unless it is sheer egomania.   But some evidence of chemical attack on a relatively small group of people, in the midst of much larger slaughter, is no reason for the USA to sacrifice more blood and treasure  (or IOU's) for some damned foreign power on the other side of the globe.   Again.

But we will - you watch.  

Monday, September 02, 2013

30-day challenge

Another author came up with the idea of writing a blog post every day for 30 days, so, why not - sounds like a great idea.  But poems just don't grow on trees, so many of these will be rambling prose by necessity. 

     Day 1 - Sept 1st.    The river was shallow, but the sun canted a little bit sideways, the air lost a bit of humidity, and the temps felt perfect on our exposed skin.  We splashed about in the water, walked along sandy banks, took pictures and more pictures, chatted about anything and everything.  As the sun fell towards 7:30 P.M., we gathered up our things and made our way back to the car.   My body felt so alive, invigorated and relaxed at the same time.  It was another delightful river outing.  A unique one as only these two friends and I can pursue.    And it only cost us the gas to get there, and any drinks we took along.  Perfect.

Day 2 - today.  Thinking ahead to a possible trip to Palm Springs.  The hotel costs a fortune, airfare is not cheap either, and then there is car rental.  I should be saving my meager scraps for retirement, not going on a trip like this.   But my aging body informs me in its own way that time is passing, I won't be here forever.  Perhaps I need to do a few trips like this, to see some things I've only read about previously before my "meter runs out".   The debate rages back and forth.  I think 'how dare he, he knows I earn very little, etc etc.'   Then,   'Maybe I ought to be glad, having someone goad me to go do things I would be too reluctant or even timid to try on my own.'    February is a long way off, and the jury is still out.   We shall see.   Meanwhile, it is a gorgeous morning here in Des Moines, with cool temps and sunshine.   Glad for that in any case.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Earth Scents Me


My fingers work the soil in myriad ways,
sometimes with tools like hoe or shovel;
When I get into the yard on nice April days,
begin to prep dirt canvas without any trouble.

As I mine the compost pile rich scents awaken my senses,
inspiring efforts to amend bare earth with the rich loam;
Once the soil has been worked, planting commences,
Fresh flowers and vegetables will grace my home.

That early joy of planting genesis of future treasure,
fades when the weeds start to grow, little by little;
Persistence of thinning them out is a good measure
of a true gardeners' determination and mettle.

The delightful treat of new colors, smells and tastes
remind one that persistent effort has not gone to waste.

-end



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sign on my Forehead


Sign on my Forehead





I am not an international terrorist,
Nor baby-snatcher nor serial rapist;
The only thing I molest is my shopping list,
Only one (verbally) abused might be my therapist...

No visions of grand larceny crowd my brain,
No drug deals loom within my domain;
A quart of Old Milwaukee my only refrain,
Employed and keeping self clean, is that insane?

Though I am an older single male,
who likes to sight-see alone,
walk or ride over hill and dale,
visiting area spots close to home.

So please grant me a sequestration,
please cut me some mental slack;
I feel your suspicions as I field your questions,
you are not, but I feel like I am, under attack.

Media have sold me on the appeal
of many area gardens, lakes and trails;
Although I visit these with zeal
Do not run me out of town “on a rail.”

Thank you very much.

-end












Monday, July 15, 2013

Flutter



Thought wanders and jumps like a butterfly,
concerns and wants crowd out firm direction;
Need to do this, want to do that, would like to do the other -

Too often sensible things get pushed aside.

At times I can take a breath, steel self and forge ahead.
When I relent, imps of misdirection leap back to the fore,
taking me on yet another half-planned misadventure.
Memories are friend and foe, pleasing and disappointing...

Somehow I make it through work,
traffic, grocery shopping and banking.

Things need to get done.

Dreams of romance or exotic adventure
rarely derail the necessary items of life,

no matter how hard they try.

-end

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Expanding Reality


     If you ask 10 different people what some burglary suspect looks like, you are liable to get at least several different answers.    Something that has been proven in history to the best of my knowledge.   This just shows me that reality is perceived differently by different people - our minds and brains interprets what we see, what is “out there.”

 
So all we can do is gain a close approximation of reality that is agreed upon by most.   We can never really know what is truly   “out there” - aside from a personal opinion of what it is we are sensing.

 
     Therefore, when we look at a stack of perfectly organized facts, and a “something” creeps in from around the edges or even the middle, we probably should not be surprised.   It is just another part of the meta-verse finally detected and processed by our crude but persistent wetware.    

 
     But this can be looked at in an optimistic way - there are amazing discoveries awaiting us.    It seems that as long as the universe is expanding, our reality will also expand.    Incredible things lie ahead, and I envy the future generations that will make these discoveries.  

 
     Still, it has been a great trip to be alive these years, and hope to log a few more decades to enjoy the view.   See you on the outer edge of this bubble we call reality!

Saturday, June 08, 2013

what a surprise


     The revelations came out this week that the Internet is being spied upon regularly, with many of the largest providers giving access to the government.   Sine the Internet basically came from government-designed and funded networks in the first place, there is no real surprise here.    Government designs and builds a worldwide communications network;   Government spies upon it’s gift to the world.    Surprise, surprise.   

 
      What does seem to be a loss is the comfortable illusion we had of the Internet as an open free-for-all.   In the beginning it seemed wide open, for good or ill, and anything was possible.   Now it seems  reduced to just another outpost of the TSA, another place to be scrutinized in minute detail.  I pity the young people coming up, who never even knew the illusion of what the Net used to be.    Our ever-present spy apparatus is keeping them safe, and laying bare their lives.   Privacy vs security, and security wins.     What more can I say?

-end

Friday, May 03, 2013

A strange day


May 3, that is.  Over 24 hours of snowfall right here in Des Moines, Iowa.  Amazing.   Something I have never seen in all my years.   I do recall a mid-April snowstorm around 1981, that wiped out many a flower garden.   But this one really takes the cake.   It felt so surreal, looking out the window at work, and seeing everything in black-and-white relief, just like it looked in December - or February.     Part of my mind thought  “was all that greenery and balmy breezes a ruse?  Are we stuck in perpetual winter - a new ice age?”
 

     The weatherman says it is not so.   It should warm up to the 60’s by this weekend, 70s by next week.    All I can say is, it better.   Not fair being robbed of spring like this.  Who knows what the summer will bring - maybe 100s followed by 50’s.      Strange - a day to tell your grandkids about someday.     
 
(feels like any other Friday - only cold!)
 
 

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

A little about a lot - this and that

Wonder why these truckers do not monitor the height of their loads?   They are always crashing into overpasses and bridges, despite signs and warnings?   Can there not be some standardization of bridge heights and/or load sizes?    Every one has an excuse from the drivers  (they just hook up and haul)  on up the chain.   Can no one take respnsibility for this expensive, ongoing debacle?   Seriously?  Ridiculous.

So ther are three accomplices to the Boston bombings.   Good, lock them up and throw away the key.  Thou shalt not blow people up, nor help those who do.

The Keystone pipeline helps no one but the oil companies.   Why not build a refinery in Canada?  They figure it is somehow easier to ship the oil 3,000 miles south and then refine it?   Hmmm.   Yeah, let's pollute the Oglala aquifer, where the entire midwestern US draws drinking water from.   Who needs clean water anymore - we can sip crude and breathe gas.  Yeah.

We somehow need to go in and prevent the Syrian government from using poison gas on their people.   And we need to bomb Iran to protect Israel.   We can't even keep Afghanistan under control.   What if we declared an invasion on the U.S. and did some nation-building here at home.  Repair decaying bridges and roads, but also enhance our energy grid, and help renovate inner-city housing.   Help make the US a modern country - again.   

Just wondering.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day 2013

You call this progress?


We have planted trees all over the city,
Oftentimes right up next to each other.
Recycling bins are ubiquitous,
education programs rampant.

But 40-acre or 160-acre plots still vanish,
trees and grass bulldozed for massive
family fitness centers with spacious
parking lots.   For all those big SUVS.

Enormous data centers come in to
suck our power and water resources,
employing a few lucky or unlucky souls.
The mantra of economic benefits gets chanted.

Their secrecy is understandable considering
what they take from future generations,
and what they offer as compensation.
Environment thieves do not openly advertise.

Hope that future generations enjoy
poking their gadgets and playing games,
while they breathe some foul soup that will pass for air,
and wonder where all the real trees and real angry birds
disappeared to, once upon a time, before they were born.

-end

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Conquering Virus Day Three


The misery sneaks up on you,
one minute you feel okay,
the next a barrage of sneezes escape;
Nose drips steadily as you run for a tissue.

Thinking feels clear even though sinuses hurt,
head stuffed with cold crud instead of ideas sought.
You keep thinking, “why bother?   May as well watch TV”
But then who would know about your second bad cold of this year?

Someone has to document the misery, the intensifying sneezing,
scratchy throat, headaches, malaise.    Who better to tell it
than the person who is sick with it?

Rhyming lyrical style is beyond your patience today.
Just want to get it down before dashing for another
tissue, cold pill, coffee or even cookie.
Whatever it takes.
Damn cold.
Yuck.


 - end

Monday, April 15, 2013

Here we go again


So here we go again.   Another series of bombings, more bloodshed, tragedy, disaster.   Hand-wringing and soul-searching, and asking why.   Don’t have any answers here, just questions.     How can we allow dangerous weapons to proliferate on our streets, like gasoline in a burning village?    How can we allow members of a religion into our country, when every time there is a terrorist attack, it is by a member of this same religion?   Why we cannot hold a normally festive event like a marathon any more without being fearful?    Don't know.

 
     My heart is greatly saddened today.    While I realize that our nation was never perfect, and always has had difficult times, it seems that these days there is so much more random killing and senseless violence.    It just defies logic.  But it is the world we live in, however depressing.   Hang in there, everyone.    And hug a loved one tonight - they probably need it.
 
 

Monday, April 01, 2013

Tinpot


Look at the porcine little dictator,
strutting about and uttering threats.
Thinks he is a big, bad alligator,
this tiny person, so pathetic.

A laughing stock outside his borders,
would be the object of pity if it were not
for his built-up military that follows orders.
There is a time for peace, if it can be got --

Is it  time for the rest of the world to get together
and wipe this scourge of stupid swagger off the map?
We can all agree he is full of threats and bluster,
Time to teach him a lesson, give his knuckles a rap.

Rub his piglike snout in bloody grime of defeat,
Enjoy teaching the lesson, our victory complete.



-end

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Inspired Perspiration


     I was watching an old biography of Thomas Edison on TCM channel.   It was fascinating to watch him just travel to a big city  (New York), and talk his way into a good job.   Of course, it also helped that he repaired an early stock ticker  (or “indicator’ as it was called).    That set me to thinking, how would someone like that do in this day and age.

     Of course, a modern analogue might be Steven Jobs.    Tinkerer, inventor, highly driven.    A young Tom Edison might hitchhike out to Sunnyvale, California, and talk his way into some company or other.  I have no doubt he would get himself hired, and then rapidly move up.   At least if the tales of the past are any indication.  

 
     He might observe someone writing a C++ program, and suggest a better algorithm.   Or at the very least, suggest a more efficient way of burning in new EEPROMS.     Whatever, the driven young man would establish himself, and prove his worth by working long hours, doing whatever it takes to get to a good result.   He would probably be well on his way to a Billion in net worth by age 30. 

 
      The commonalities between the 1870’s and the present day are multiple.   Willingness to put in long hours.  Willingness to call on a high manager, and not take no for an answer.   Willingness to offer someone a solution to their problem, and then work night and day to make it a reality.   99 percent perspiration and one percent inspiration, and both are crucial.    A man like Edison can create a lot of careers underneath all of his efforts.   Here is hoping someone like him will stop in Des Moines someday, and hang his hat up here for good.   That old movie about him even inspired me to write about it.  Thanks for reading. 

-end 

 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Cannot colonize on ideas alone


We can’t colonize the Solar System on ideas alone

 

     Space colonization is on more and more peoples’ minds these days.   There have been two companies started recently for the purposes of mining asteroids alone.    Planetary Resources, Inc. and  Deep Space Industries, Inc.  are hoping to launch probes to first survey, and then mine, heavenly bodies near and far.  Other companies have plans for private stations, like Bigelow Aerospace.    One Dutch group named Mars One has plans to establish a colony on the Red Planet by 2023.  So there is a lot of interest in the subject.  Many people look outward, and see exciting possibilities.

      Disclaimer

     [ Before proceeding any further, I hereby state up front that this is an opinion piece, and may contain some errors.   If you want cold, hard facts, there are plenty of textbooks or web sources out there.  This is simply a reflection on the state of space exploration in 2013, and what it will take to keep it going.    The principal sources of my information are space.com, spacedaily.com, and associated press articles that come out announcing one or another space milestone.     For further inquiry after this article, see the sources listed below.]

      In Earlier Times

      During the time of the wave of exploration in Europe, many expeditions set out to find, at first an easier route to the west indies, and later, trips to the “new world”.     All of these early missions required funding sources.   Columbus and others trudged across Europe, trying to raise money for their trips.   Spanish, Portuguese and eventually, English governments of the day funded such missions.    Once word was brought back, along with samples of things like tobacco, cocoa and other items, the funding and interest really picked up.   But these early missions required big money for the day.  A simple commoner, no matter how bright, could not just go it alone.

      The British sea expeditions, notably the Beagle carrying Charles Darwin, made significant discoveries, excited public imaginations, and pushed back the boundaries of human knowledge.   Other countries also contributed.  Humanity found out what lay beyond the known edges of the world.   Imaginary dragons gave way to real tales of the north and south poles, the strange peoples and creatures that lived there.   At some point, ever more accurate navigation techniques were developed and employed.     One person, or even a local group of “fans of the sea” or some such, could not have done this alone. 

      Present-Day Efforts

       It is the same today.   For all the talk about students learning STEM  (science, technology, and Math) skills, they still require government or other large-scale funding to carry off space missions.   And these missions themselves generate the excitement, the dreaming and visioning that propagate other kinds of economic growth.    Governments and large corporations have to stand behind long-duration space exploration and colonization skills, in order to bring them off, and help move humanity outward. 

       Now, many people recognize the importance of exploring, developing and colonizing our Solar System.   The expanded living room offered.  The knowledge of our local space environment, especially the dangers that exist, is crucial.   Being aware of comets and their potential for destroying Earth regions seems pretty important.    Learning how to operate out there, to eventually deflect the interplanetary troublemakers  would be of great benefit.   The spate of private companies popping up is indicative of the interest out there.  Some businesspeople are putting their fortunes on the line to turn some of these space ideas into reality. 

       But it will still require governments to stay with it, to keep promoting and encouraging this progress.   Eventually things will reach a critical mass, and the space industries will support themselves.   But not for a good while, perhaps even hundreds of years.    So much energy is required to propel an object out of Earth’s gravity well, to make orbit, and then to escape orbit.   This in turn requires huge rockets, which require governmental funding, or at the very least, major corporate funding.   Advances are being made here, but space is still a costly, risky business.  Of course, there could be a game-changing technology that arises - one never knows.

      Why Space Exploration Matters to Us

      While there are of course many pressing needs here on Earth, it is still vitally important that we maintain a presence in outer space, preferably an expanding one.    It gives people a distant goal to look towards, something other than the humdrum, day-to-day grind.   It provides a wholesome alternative to our governmental science and engineering labs - space exploration is preferable to warfare.   It gives the young something to look forward to, something to dream on, to fire their imaginations.    Not to mention the mountains of valuable resources that ply stately orbits around the sun.    But to get there, we need the help of governments, and will for a long time to come.

      Today, NASA funding is giving companies like Orbital Sciences,  SpaceX and Deep Space Industries, Inc. the support to pursue some novel technologies for continuing the quest.    This in an important example of governmental underpinning, that will be needed for the foreseeable future.   Thanks for reading.

 
For further inquiry, see these websites:

 

http://www.space.com

http://www.spacedaily.com

http://mars-one.com/en/

http://www.deepspaceindustries.com

http://www.planetaryresources.com

http://www.spacex.com

 
-end
 

 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

New Collection soon available.

Pre-order your copy of this new collection, featuring a story by yours truly.

http://www.hadrosaur.com/kepler.html

Hope that one and all had a happy St. Patty's day.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Close Call


Woman with coffee in a hurry to cross

 

She eyed me coming in my red car, stopped
as I slowed and considered stopping.

I changed my mind and sped up and on,
just as she walked into my car, continuing to cross.
As if she had a death wish, and I a kill wish.

I passed through the moment and wondered
what had come over us both.

What happened to courtesy, why could I not stop?
What happened to common sense, why didn’t she?

No, we were both stubborn,
we both went, and risked a collision
that never happened.

Never checked if she spit or listened for a curse;
I just had to get away so I could re-assess it all.
I can still see her eyes, and feel the situation.

 
 - whew

Sunday, March 03, 2013

To celebrate MoMath

In honor of the Mathematics Museum opening in NYC...


Their days are numbered 

     Sitting in his easy chair, Three ran through the probabilities for his evening.  He said to himself,  “It’s time to blow this buffer and transmit myself elsewhere!”   He made himself presentable, and then translated out to the main bus.  He glided along that,  and got off near the Downtown area.   He sensed One coming from the opposite direction, and they fell into synch.

Three greeted one genially.

     “How are things in the numberverse?”

     “Just digi-riffic,” replied One.  “Been scaling up vectors all week.”

     “Good.  Our bosses will be pleased.  Say, want to have a drink?”

     “Sure, why not?  Let’s go to that new place on First street, “ said One.

     “You mean the Irrational Cat?  Been meaning to check it out,” said Three.

     “I talked to Four, and he said he would be out tonight.  He is after  a new One.”

     “Him and his hot Ones,” said Three.

     So Three and One wandered downtown and soon located the Irrational Cat, located on First and Main.   They tried to enter, and almost collided with Nine. 

     “Hey, how are you guys doing?  Long time, no calculate.”  Nine slurred his words a bit.

     “Oh, just been marking time, I guess.  We’re going in for a drink - care to join us?”  said Three.

     One looked at him, perhaps thinking that Nine was already pretty sloshed.  But he stayed silent.

     “Sure, why not?  Lead the way, gents.”  

     The three numbers made their way through the portal into a dimly lit room.  A long bar ran down most of the length of it.  To their left, the bar curved around, and the room opened up into an area with pool tables, and beyond, a small dance floor.

     Three, One and Nine approached the bar.  Four was seated there already, sipping on a quantum fizz.

     “Hey, Four!  Good to sense you here,” called Three.  Four turned and waved a few digits.

     “Hi, guys.    Wondered if you would show.  Just waiting for my Hot One to get out of the restroom.”

      Three, One and Nine plopped down on barstools on either side of Four.   They ordered Higgs Lights, with Stringshot  chasers.  It was going to be a festive evening, Three could tell that already.    He felt glad he had ventured out of core tonight.

     Four spotted his hottie making her way around the bar, exiting the restrooms.   He motioned to Three and One, and said,  “There she is.  Fellows, could you make room for my sweetie?”

     “Sure,” they chorused.   They shifted positions, and Three ended up contending with the Hot One’s purse wedged between the stools like a painful punctuation point.   Meanwhile, Five,  Nine’s racetrack buddy, had just walked in.  He wanted to chat with Nine about the results of the last race.    But Nine was gracious enough to move down a stool, so that Four wouldn’t have to subtract his place.   

     The Bartender took Five’s order, a Gamma Gulper.   Finally getting all of them served, he stood a moment, smiling, listening to their idle chatter traffic.  Then he came out from the other side of the bar, and made his way around the front, checking on a sticky door hinge, his flash memory racks, and other Nano clutter.  At one point he looked at the digital dudes iterating along the barstrip.

 
   He thought to himself, 

“Jeez.  With Three, the Hot one (with jutting purse between her and Three), Four, One, Five and Nine here, this is going to be one irrational place.  Who else could possibly show to make it worse?”

      Just then the door opened, practically right behind him, and he heard more Euclidian gibbering.   ‘Oh no.  It was Two and Six...’ he thought glumly.  There goes the neighborhood!

 
Pi end