Newton’s 3rd Law Governs Both Physics and Politics

PREFACE: While the late Dr. Carl Sagan’s views / summations still profoundly resonate within the hearts and heads of critical thinkers everywhere, regrettably, he may’ve been prematurely optimistic. After all, Cosmos… both his published book and PBS aired TV miniseries predate… by nearly four decades… our post-Obama America and world.

 

No advanced degree in Psychology is prerequisite to our having a handle on basic human nature… or more to the point… to our understanding of how inflammatory rhetoric… targeting one nation… oft generates a shedload of contagious contempt, mistrust and malaise that can ripple outward to span our entire globe. As you may’ve already surmised… long sigh… ONCE AGAIN… we are talking about Donald J. Trump.

Were he either book or people smart, he would not be resorting to snorting out, daily, his wildly unpresidential, savagely undiplomatic, monumentally ignorant and/or insane on-camera tantrums and online Tweetstorms. Check out just one sample of his verbal defecation…

“Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force.
In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration.”

As if what? The Trumpster expects his bluster to bully the enemies of his own making? Force them into waving the white flag? Not a chance! Instead, the demeanor of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani… understandably… predictably… has been far from submissive. A far more apt assessment would be aggressive… as in their aggressively relaunching their nuclear WMD, R ’n’ D program.

While it’s true that Iran’s reactions are totally consistent to human nature… or more to the point… are strongly rooted in human survival instincts… our understanding them, as such, should not be akin to our unconditional acceptance of an unacceptable nuclear armed world.

Nukes must be deemed an ALL or NOTHING prospect. And it’d be far, Far, FAR better to opt-in to the latter. Humanity’s only hope is for my compatriots’ diligence (enough to elect a new POTUS come Election Day 2020) and for Iranian patience (enough to temporarily ignore that DC ignoramus until our ballots Constitutionally oust him).

In retrospect, Trump’s worst blunder was flipping off the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) thereby granting Khamenei and Rouhani carte blanche.

There are deeper issues afoot, too… e.g., our world’s insatiable thirst for Iran’s oil, which could lead to unholy alliances long before they begin test lobbing missiles. Undoubtedly, their allies would fight against Trump were he to ever be stupid enough to provoke a new endless, no-win war. One that might even escalate to a nuclear WW-III ( . or ? – your choice)

Setting that abhorrent abstract aside… The yuge [sic] question remains. Have Khamenei and Rouhani been playing right into the small-minded, Dirty Dealer Donny’s (tiny) hands? Are they now ruffling Tweetie’s feathers to the point where their genocidal, sworn nemesis will, someday, carry out his indefensible, inhumane threat to wipe Iran off the map?

Donny’s own words (uttered during his 2016 campaign) do paint an unflattering portrait of him… portray him as an itchy trigger-fingered sociopath. Check this out…

“Mr Trump, the Republican nominee, was said to have (thrice) posed the question during an hour-long briefing on foreign affairs, saying: ‘If we have nuclear weapons why can’t we use them?’”

Is it any wonder why the national security issue is driving Iran down a rocky road that could very well lead to a nuclear dead end… with emphasis on the word, “dead”.

Reality Check #1… All foolhardy Donny has managed to do is trigger, yet, another insane round of the nuclear arms race… one which cannot be contained within the Iranian borders. Other nuclear nutties (e.g. Kim Jong Un) are bound to pile on.

Reality Check #2… IF humankind is to survive, we can no more accept Trumpian nuclear machinations than the nuclear ambitions of Iran (or for that matter of any other like-minded nation). Changing Donny’s nuclear launch codes and then denying him access to the new sequences would be humankind’s first giant leap on the path to nuclear sanity.

Reality Check #3… While it would take calm, sane leadership to prevent humanity’s annihilation, there’s next to nothing about the Trumpster that’s either placid or lucid. He, himself, IS the roadblock to denuclearization.

To cut to the chase…

• Left to their own devices… stupid little boys playing with their nuclear toys could be the death of us all.

• It’s entirely possible that the world’s most dangerous world “leader” throughout recorded human history… is none other than Donald J. Trump. (btw… considering his love of himself and superlatives… he might even mistake that previous sentence for a compliment).

• The fake prezzy’s dangerous high drama can only succeed were Iranian leadership stupid enough to believe the welfare of their people hinges upon caving into unhinged Trumpian threats / demands.

• In all likelihood, both Khamenei and Rouhani will deem a nuclear armed Iran to be their one, best shot at securing their homeland’s well-being / survival.

• The ultimate irony, here, is how the Trumpster… most assuredly no man of science… has actually proven how Sir Isaac Newton’s 3rd Law… “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”… not only governs physics but politics, too. In other words…

• The Trumpian mission to denuclearize Iran WILL nuclearize Iran.

 

 

 

 

 

Ashes to Ashes… StarDust to StarDust… May 21st BlogCast

My thoughts…

Ancient stardust are we, ashore oceans and shoals
Our love eternal, soars skyward, to departed souls
They live on in our hearts, we, too, feel their pure love
Interwoven with starlight, from the heavens above

 

PianistaItaliano covers Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust

Rob Steinberg covers Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock

Ms. Mitchell’s lyrical thoughts…

We are stardust
We are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9/11 Message ~ Sagan’s WorldView (Hindi Translation)

Originally, Carl Sagan’s stellar oratory had summed up his eloquent reaction to the Valentine’s Day 1990, Voyager 1, Pale Blue Dot snapshot (taken from our solar system’s outer edge). However, on this day, the 17th anniversary of 9/11, the wise, heartfelt, timeless sentiments of this American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science popularizer and science communicator take on extra special meaning.

Indeed… his words do live on… but… will we?

Such a spot-on, soul searching speech exemplifies the common bond we humans share with each other… translates out well… spans the ages, acreage and cultures of Earth. No better proof of this fact is the above video featuring Azhar Meghani’s English to Hindi translation / voice-over and editor Lokesh Kumar’s skillfully juxtapositioned, cross-culturally appropriate imagery.

Terrorism and warfare would soon vanish off the face of the Earth were the entire human race to fully embrace Dr. Sagan’s worldview. Consider this his urgent appeal for peaceful co-existance amongst all Earthlings everywhere!

 

So fleeting a video’s existence can be… so vital is Sagan’s message… I’m including this text version, too.

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

 

A 9/11 Memorial Message… Carl Sagan’s WorldView

On this day, the 17th anniversary of 9/11, the wise, heartfelt sentiments of the late Carl Sagan take on extra special meaning. The words of this American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science popularizer and science communicator live on. Will we?

Terrorism and warfare would soon vanish off the face of the Earth were the entire human race to fully embrace his world view.

Consider his timeless words to be his address to all Earthlings everywhere.

Since videos are oft short lived I’m also providing an alternative, offsite YouTube clip to view and the full text to read below.

Dr. Sagan’s reaction to Voyager 1’s Valentine’s Day 1990, Pale Blue Dot photo (snapped at the outer edges of our solar system)…

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

 

Calling All Stargazers and Kindred Spirits

 

Back in 1979, astrophysicist / author Carl Sagan and writer / producer Ann Druyan were both working diligently towards successfully launching their Sci-Fi film… Contact… off the Tinseltown storyboards and into our cineplexes.

Within six years, undue, unwanted, unproductive behind the scenes, Hollywood “drama” had begun to undo this dynamic duo’s momentum and, at one point, had even threatened to scrub their mission. As it turned out, it would take the transposition of 1979’s ending 7 and 9 digits before this film could be completed.

Sadly, mere months prior to that, Dr. Sagan, had succumbed to myelodysplasia (a pre-leukemic syndrome) and wound up shuffling off this mortal coil.

Had he survived, he certainly would’ve been on hand to high-five Contact’s screenplay writers James V. Hart and Michael Goldenberg, director Robert Zemeckis and the entire cast and crew. He’d have especially applauded the multifaceted actress, Jodie Foster, for her stellar performance… for her breathing so much life into the film’s protagonist… the multidimensional astronomer Ellie Arroway.

Seeing how Sagan and Druyan’s core principles / personae had become so thoroughly infused into the Contact script’s pages (in a sense, right down to the atomic structure of the ink toner and papyrus) it was inevitable that Foster would tap into their attributes throughout the film… especially during the emotionally charged denouement… i.e., where Dr. Arroway had so passionately addressed the conclave of her wholly skeptical and wildly infuriated adversaries… had spoken of the life changing, journey to the cosmos, which had further heightened her pre-existing, astronomer’s lofty outlook on life.

Said she…

“I… had an experience… I can’t prove it, I can’t even explain it, but everything that I know as a human being, everything that I am tells me that it was real! I was given something wonderful, something that changed me forever… A vision… of the universe, that tells us, undeniably, how tiny, and insignificant and how… rare, and precious We all are! A vision that tells us that We belong to something that is greater then ourselves, that We are not, that none of us are alone! I wish… I… could share that… I wish, that everyone, if even for one… moment, could feel… that awe, and humility, and that hope. But… That continues to be my wish.”

SIDEBAR: Ironically, in an earlier scene (set within this same venue) many of these same inquisitors had expected agnostic Arroway to take a leap of faith… to no questions asked / no skepticism allowed… believe in the existence of a Supreme Being. YET… by film’s end… they, themselves, flat-out refused to take a similar leap of faith… to no questions asked / no skepticism allowed… believe in the existence of the superior alien civilization she claimed to have made first contact with.

So… why have I opted to review a 21-year-old film?

Contact makes contact with the very hearts and souls of everyone who has ever given a damn about the survival of our civilization. It is the skywatchers of our world who, perhaps, feel this the strongest… be We the professional or the backyard variety… be We telescopically enhanced or relying solely on the naked eye.

We can feel an affinity with all who have ever seen… who still see… beyond the pure science… all who speak of the awe, humility and hope, which our viewing experiences conjur up. Such a state of mind endures whether We are virtually traveling thru our ethereal, vast starlit cosmos or are wandering about our hometowns, homelands and home world.

Although we do remain resolute re the awe and humility aspects, holding onto hope is not always so easy. You see, its just as the celestial images begin to fade into the daylight… just as we’re coming back down to earth… where / when the heavyhearted dismay tends to resurface. Once again, our worldly thoughts zero in on the godforsaken, power-hungry, posturing, avarice driven, dictator zeros who usually wind up calling all the shots… and… in that capacity… are to blame for our global, sociopolitical and ecological disarray.

The run-of-the-mill, disconnected from our universe autocrat could never, truthfully, claim to be the humble servant he is supposed to be… could not even begin to fathom / embrace Saganesque awe, humility and hope. His typical reaction to viewing celestial objects / events would not likely garner much more than his yawned out words…

These are just dots in the sky, what more do you expect Me to say?

Me oriented leadership is precisely the problem. That odious, oafish What’s in it for me, Me, ME? bad ‘tude is the driving force behind virtually all of our societal ills. Their tormented, subjugated victims, while (oft literally) crying out for some much needed liberation, seldom possess the power to empower alternative, We oriented leadership.

Indeed, it’s the We oriented philosophy, which is so harmonious with the stargazers’ awe, humility and hope. This is amply illustrated within that above Arroway quotation where she thrice uttered the word “We”. And let’s not forget to include her inclusive language such as “us”, “ourselves” and “everyone”. Were such sentiments fully taken to heart by our leaders, We would already be well on our way to saving humanity from ruin.

It is no accident that Founding Father / author Gouverneur Morris began the U.S. Constitution’s Preamble with the words “We the People”. He and his constitutional compatriot co-writers deemed those three words so crucial that even the likeminded calligrapher, Jacob Shallus, had so boldly pen stroked those three key words in an enlarged font.

“We the People

of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence [sic], promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

When such a proclamation births such a great nation, one has to wonder how any electorate could ever tap into some lame, Donny-Come-Lately’s slanderous, spurious / fake claim that America is no longer great. Ironically, such an entity is usually the one who… in the end… winds up threatening the very greatness of all great nations.

Why oh why is it that the nations of our world suffer such a deficit of We oriented leaders? One would expect admirable attributes such as awe and humility to be innate. Even if advancing this attitude involves nurture more than nature it should still be easily attainable.

Metaphorically speaking, We are all participants in the human race… a relay race. In the course of running our laps… concurrently upon our planet’s orbital path and the more down to Earth race track… the intergenerational passing off of the baton of human decency should occur without a hitch… a simple matter of the hand-off from each awe-humility-hope-harboring elder trainer to each awe-humility-hope-hungering youngster trainee.

I do have my parents to thank, for they not only deeply encoded / embedded awe-humility-hope into my infinitesimal DNA during my conception but also reinforced these attributes by handing off that “baton” to me during my formative years.

What a pity so many, who fancy themsleves leaders, cannot make a similar proclamation.

I do suppose that Awe-Humility-Hope sentimets… that We trumps Me ‘tude… all being second nature to the stargazers and other kindred spirits of our world, this is what accounts for our expectations that the rest of humanity will be willing to follow suit.

Let us hope that such sentiments… such expectations… are not overly optimistic.

 

 

A Sense of DNA Level Déjà Vu [Part 3]

 

Over the course of this blog series’ first two installments, you and I’ve been teleporting back to my July 28th, telescopic “travels” to Mars. While, we’ve been exploring my astronomical, philosophical and theological observations / musings, we have yet to ferret and flesh out the underlying causes of my chronic, Mars Mania “affliction”… that is until now.

With Part 3 about to unfold, I pause to announce a slight course correction re my mission to the cosmos. Rather than revisiting this past Saturday’s viewing session, we’ll be reliving the return to my backyard open air observatory at 3:50 a.m. EDT (0750 GMT) on this very day… July 31st. I just had to “be there” at that precise moment… at the very pinnacle of 2018’s Mars and Earth rendezvous… to experience the almost palpable cosmic magic in the air.

Remaining ever mindful of Part 3’s content prerequisites, as I metaphorically wander about the heavens and the recesses of my mind, I start to zero in on the origins of my personal obsession with Mars.

As I wistfully gaze upward, I briefly consider the possibility that aliens might be doing the same. Only my not wanting to wake up my neighbors prevents me from yelling skyward at the top of my lungs, “Is there anybody out there?” Of course, my dismay regarding the present-day ideological disarray of my homeland… our home world… has certainly, detrimentally impacted my attitude (not unlike a meteor hit). How so? Well, were any ET’s to ever flyby my neighborhood, I’d instantly stick out my thumb and attempt to hitch a ride. Even if their motives were unclear… even if it’d be a certain, one-way trip for me… in a heartbeat… I’d still take my chances and opt to forever leave planet Earth.

Alas… long sigh… on this night… there are no such, extraordinary, extraterrestrial vehicular light patterns in the skies… soooooo… I must make the best of the ordinary.

And I do that, precisely, by granting free rein to my boyhood recollections. Naturally, Mars themed literary works come to mind. First up, my Middle Schooler era, figurative feasting upon my book club purchased, paperback copy of H. G. Wells’ page turner, Sci-Fi novel, The War of the Worlds. Next up, come my elementary school library visits… my checking out astronomy textbooks… their authors’ content, eventually, proving to be more fiction than fact. About the only thing they had ever gotten right? The Red Planet’s 24 hour and 37 minute diurnal rotation!

That’s about all anyone could ever expect from authors “infecting” themselves with the “contagion” of astronomer Percival Lowell’s over-imaginative “strain” of Mars Mania (and I do good-naturedly employ those enclosed in quotation marks, italicized words). Their perpetuation of his fantasyland… an irrigation canal networked, hospitable to humans, environment… coupled with my younger, overly impressionable mind… accounts for my own fantasies of becoming a spacefarer aboard NASA’s very first Mars-ward bound spacecraft.

My mind next crossfades to the plights of Sci-Fi stranded astronauts portrayed in films such as 1964’s Robinson Crusoe on Mars (which takes literary liberties with the Daniel Defoe classic) and in 2015’s The Martian based on Andy Weir’s sci-fi book of the same title.

As these big screen drama scenes dissolve to the realm of the Sixtes era, small screen, Sci-Fi TV sitcom, I catch myself smiling as I recall My Favorite Martian episodes featuring earthling Tim O’Hara comedically interacting with his spacecraft crashed and marooned, ET “Uncle Martin”.

The TV images soon shift from the ridiculous to the sublime. Philosopher / astrophysicist / author Carl Sagan… via both his book and PBS miniseries Cosmos… presents his Blues For A Red Planet chapter / episode #5. That late, great man… the consummate scientist and dramatist… so adeptly, fact checks / debunks Lowellesque Mars Mania yet, simultaneously rekindles it with seasoned-by-science sanity. In his chapter’s / episode’s epilogue he even speculates…

“The power of Lowell’s idea may, just possibly, make it a kind of premonition. His canal network was built by Martians. Even this may be an accurate prophecy: If the planet ever is terraformed, it will be done by human beings whose permanent residence and planetary affiliation is Mars… The Martians will be us.”

It’s at that moment where my thoughts begin to set, along with Mars’ orb rapidly nearing the hazy, southwestern horizon. As I naked eye glimpse that bright orange dot slipping behind the approaching, thick veil of clouds, I begin loosening the clamps, separating my scope from its tripod.

As I look up one last time, my thoughts of Dr. Sagan’s Cosmos crossfade to his fictional work, Contact. It is during one of that film’s final scenes where silver screen star Jodie Foster… in the lead role of astronomer Ellie Arroway… so fervently… so eloquently… so tearfully serves upward, her own cosmic perspective as…

“A vision of the universe, that tells us, undeniably, how tiny and insignificant… and how rare and precious we all are! A vision that tells us that we belong to something that is greater than ourselves. That we are not… that none of us are alone! I wish i could share that. I wish that everyone… if even for one moment… could feel that awe and humility and hope. That continues to be my wish.”

To continue conveying and living those same sentiments is my wish, too! Hopefully, you feel similarly!

While the gradual dimming of that bright orange dot… a.k.a. Mars 2018… is inevitable in the days and weeks to come, my oneness with our universe shall shine on brightly… eternally. My continually blogging about Mars… on similar cosmic topics… will be unavoidable. After all…

“Transcendental moments, such as these, are where one’s worldly concerns dissolve into the rarefied air. Minds tend to free associate / wander and welcome the timelessness of it all. A sense of DNA level déjà vu also enters the mix… after all… has not humankind been stargazing ever since first standing up on two feet? Ever since that (then) newly evolved posture first allowed us to look upward to the eternal heavens?”

 

As for part 4 to this series… stay tuned…

 

 

Rising the Phoenix from the Radioactive Ashes?

 

It’d be an understatement to say January 2018’s events had been unnerving. It all started with a Tweet, posted by a cyberbully who, due to his well-known character flaws of self-importance, imprudence, impudence and ignorance, needs no further introduction. Said he…

 

“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018”

 

How reckless of “Tweetie” to further engage and enrage his temperamental North Korean nuclear nemesis… particularly considering how their past rounds of infantile squabbling have already left the entire world on the brink of WW-III.

And to what end? I mean, here we witness the so-called prez, perhaps obsessing over not measuring up below his own bloated belly’s bellybutton? Maybe compensating for that shortcoming by boasting, online, about the size of his “nuclear button”?

As if that weren’t already bad enough, on January 13th, Hawaiians faced down what they believed to be a nuclear nightmare-come-true. Indeed, they had (erroneously) received the stark warning that a ballistic missile was already en route, inward bound… that thermonuclear exchange and the annihilation of humanity was imminent.

Then, on January 15th, I had unwittingly exacerbated my own anxieties… i.e., by switching on my FM radio at precisely the wrong moment. It had been quite disconcerting to hear the Emergency Alert System attention signal already blaring away… likely the exact same menacing monotone that had needlessly scared the crap out of my Hawaiian compatriots. My first reaction… “WTF did that numbskull narcissist do now?” Yep, I actually had groaned that aloud.

Of course, in that instance, it had been an actual alert… an AMBER Alert to help track down the whereabouts of a missing, perhaps abducted child.

My nerves, nonetheless, had become a bit frazzled. I was more than ready for some much needed escapism… perhaps courtesy of the Comet TV Network? However, once more, this proved to be ill-timed. I was now watching their feature presentation: Panic In Year Zero… a low budget, post apocalyptic film… a production that would have never won any awards for special effects. BUT it sure as hell did offer up a plausible portrayal of nuclear war’s grotesque side effect… societal breakdown… e.g. the male characters, first, becoming hunter-gatherers and, next… once their testosterone poisoning began kicking in full force… they further devolved into little more than knuckle-draggers… their predominant MO being pillaging, raping and manslaughter.

Then… just about when I thought it was safe to go outside, again, and get on with my life… on January 16th, a totally unexpected flash over my home state lit up my nighttime skies and generated an accompanying, minor, sonic boom… wound up fully backlighting my closed, thickly insulated kitchen and dining room curtains and “rocking” my home’s brick, mortar and drywall. Once more I groaned, aloud, “WTF did that numbskull narcissist do now?”

All the sudden I found myself desperately searching though my brain’s “files” for some “plain vanilla” type explanation… oh… say… thundersnow. However, just as quickly as I had hatched that theory, I had to debunk it. True, there had been a heavy  snowfall on that day… BUT… the extreme cold air mass, which had descended immediately afterwards, certainly would’ve made wintertime lightening… already a meteorological rarity… even more so.

The good news was that night’s 11 o’clock news story, which fully cleared up the mystery… a meteor had plunged to Earth. Yet, I could not help but wonder. Had that rocky space debris’ flight plan, instead, sent it streaking over Washington DC, how would “Prez” Tweetie have reacted / overreacted?

Factoring in his repugnance for intellectuals and all time honored, scientific principles (e.g. recall how he stared… sans eye protection… at 2016’s solar eclipse after being warned not to), it’s easy to see how his response would’ve been to trust his (cheeseburger glutted) gut and “go ballistic”.

The late astronomer / author Carl Sagan postulated along similar lines. From his book, Cosmos… Chapter IV – Heaven and Hell… I’ve condensed his observations from pages 73 – 76 (inclusive)…

 

“In the early morning hours of June 30, 1908, in Central Siberia, a giant fireball was seen moving rapidly across the sky. Where it touched the horizon, an enormous explosion took place. It leveled some 2,000 square kilometers of forest and burned thousands of trees in a flash fire near the impact site. It produced an atmospheric shock wave that twice circled the Earth.

This remarkable occurrence is called the Tunguska Event [and] was probably caused by an icy cometary fragment about a hundred meters across – the size of a football field – weighing a million tons , moving about 30 kilometers per second, 70,000 miles per hour.

If such an impact occurred today it might be mistaken, especially in the panic of the moment, for a nuclear explosion. The cometary impact and fireball would simulate all effects of a one megaton nuclear burst, including the mushroom cloud, with two exceptions: there would be no gamma radiation or radioactive fallout.

Could a rare but natural event… trigger a nuclear war? A strange scenario: A small comet hits the Earth… and the response of our civilization is promptly to self-destruct. It might be a good idea for us to understand comets and collisions and catastrophes a little better than we do… this is a real possibility and underscores the dangers in an age of nuclear weapons of not monitoring impacts from space better than we do.”

 

January’s unsettling events have since compelled me to seriously evaluate how I’d react IF… more likely WHEN… “Tweetie” provokes WW-III. One certainty… we could never expect a “prez”, ignorant enough to use social media for such an antisocial purpose, to ever effectively cope with the resultant nuclear wasteland… and far more importantly, even begin to sense the “survivors'” physical pain, mental anguish and emotional drain. Nope, he could never rise that phoenix from the radioactive ashes.

Under those dire circumstances, the “survivors”, most assuredly, would need flawless leadership… someone possessing the resolve, resourcefulness and reasoning power of Sci-Fi botanist / astronaut, Mark Watney… portrayed by actor Matt Damon… in the Hollywood big screen film, The Martian. To synopsize the plot and Watney’s plight, after winding up marooned on the otherwise barren of life, totally inhospitable Mars, he was left to figure out… every single minute of every single “Sol” (day)… all that he’d need to accomplish to survive. He wound up summing everything up, thusly

 

“So, in the face of overwhelming odds, I’m left with only one option: I’m gonna have to science the shit out of this.”

 

 

So what would the Trumpian response be? Well, once the fallout had settled, the holed up in his underground “prez” would emerge from his lead encased bunker… utterly clueless as to how to cope with an unearthly, uninhabitable Earth. He could never possess even a minuscule fraction of Mark Watney’s textbook knowhow and survivor instincts.

Worse yet, the “prez” would know no real life “Watneys” and even if the scientific community did step forward to offer their advice and services, “Tweetie” would still turn a deaf ear… would denigrate and spurn them. Consequently, the “prez” would preside over his world… no strike that… rule over a shithole nation and planet of his own making. Even far worse than that, he would still expect high praise and applause from countless hordes of beleaguered walking cadavers who’d be sloughing off their burnt flesh, puking their guts out… and dropping dead.

Returning to the here and now… IF… more likely WHEN… our Emergency Alert System starts signaling the end of the world… I’ll be lacing up my Sketchers and jogging, full speed ahead, towards Ground Zero… not away from it. I mean, given the two options of…

A. Existing within Donald Trump’s virtually lifeless, hopeless, burnt to a cinder, irradiated shithole nation and planet.
B. Dying and taking my chances with attaining either eternal life or facing down godforsaken oblivion.

I’d opt-in to choice “B”.

So, my readers, my comment section is the venue to tell the whole world what you’d choose. It’ll only take a few seconds to type in your one character… either your “A” or “B”… response.

Of course, other lengthier comments are also welcome.

 

 

BlogCast: Tom’s Top 20 Countdown “2” Christmas: Song 10

On this occasion, once again, my BlogCast becomes more than a great venue for playing holiday music. It also affords us an appropriate forum to posthumously pay tribute to Rock ’n’ Roll pioneer, guitar virtuoso, cultural commentator / lyricist and recording artist, Chuck Berry, who at age 90, departed Wentzville, MO on 03/18/2017… soared upward to take center stage within that great spotlighted concert hall in the sky.

As mere mortals, we can only envision the journey he may’ve taken. He likely went into the light / attained the speed of light and, en route, whizzed way past NASA’s Voyager I and II space probes (which, at present, are cruising through interstellar space). As many of us know, thanks to the efforts of astrophysicist Carl Sagan, Berry’s recording, Johnny B. Goode, is aboard both of those spacecraft… among the multitude of tracks found on each of those Golden Records, titled: The Sounds of Earth.

As many of us easily recognize, Johnny B. Goode ties in well with this BlogCast’s holiday theme for it’s musically similar to Run Rudolph Run.

While ISO the perfect video to showcase Mr. Berry’s Christmas classic, I discovered oodles of BlogCast worthy musicians… both the famous and wannabe famous… who supplied their own unique interpretative covers of this track… inclusive of jolly ol’ St. Nick, himself.

Yep… Santa Clause sat in with the US Navy Fleet Forces Band during their 12/09/2016 holiday concert. Whatever our age may be, his kick-ass performance is sure to elicit our hearty, “HO! HO! HOs!” and bring out the kid in us all. Give ‘em a listen…

Since I found plenty of other BlogCast-worthy covers, I now offer you the option of checking them out as well…

Sheryl Crow
Abby Ahmad / Mark Marshall
Missy Lynn
Steady Rush

On a more somber note… in view of how our world’s present day, so-called leadership has become far, Far, FAR more politically and mentally unstable… more so than ever before… further considering the vast body of work Chuck Berry left behind and how that would not likely survive WW-III, it’s entirely possible the Voyager I and II Golden Records will afford him his best and only shot at living on through perpetuity.

We can only hope that whatever intelligent extraterrestrial lifeforms may exist out there, they’ll be sufficiently hip to make Chuck Berry, Johnny B. Goode and The Sounds of Earth… respectively… their number one recording artist, song and album of the year… in whatever year they first give ‘em a listen.

 

I now thank you for spending your precious time listening to my musical mix featuring spiritual content, social commentary, secular and even some humorous elements. My plan is to get as many of us into the holiday spirit as is possible. Towards that future, I’ll continue presenting my selections… classics all… counting ‘em down one-a-day… from now until we reach #1 on the 25th.

 

So… be sure to stop back here again. If not daily, schedule your return visits as often as your time permits.

 

I’d also like to invite you to click back for my regular monthly BlogCast… one that typically features anywhere from 3 to 5 songs that, when segued, transform everything into an appealing theme… this program slated to hit the www “airwaves” on Sunday, December 24, 2017.

 

I wish all of you all the best throughout this Holiday Season… and Beyond.

 

FYI, my past musical presentations are archived within my BlogCast and music categories.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, don’t forget to like, follow, share and comment.

 

Dormant Seeds? Unpromising Soil?

Over fifty Junes ago, my parents, sister and I wound up moving into a 30-year mortgaged, freshly constructed, three-bedroom ranch and went on to transform it into our home.

For our folks, that momentous occasion had been nothing short of a financial miracle considering the paltry income of public school teachers of that early sixties era AND how The Great Depression of 1929 had put both of their lives and livelihoods on hold… had caused them to meet, marry and get into the baby making biz quite late in life. How late?

Well… by the time I had graduated from college, my Mom and Dad were both in their early sixties and in the early phases of failing health.

It was my heartfelt, undying love and gratitude for all they’d done for me, which had motivated me to put my own life on hold… to not only accept but also embrace the intergenerational, caregiver role-reversal.

In the end, I wound up inheriting my boyhood home. That’s where I’ve been “hanging my hat”, ever since the age of seven. I am so deeply rooted here I literally know my microcosm right down to the flowerbeds… i.e., where my Mom, who’d been an avid horticulturalist, had planted her flowers.

And that’s where today’s story actually begins…

Our My home’s roof has an overhang, which oft prevents the rains from adequately reaching every flower. Even the shortest such drought is apt to result in deadly consequences. And that’s precisely what had happened.

While I’d been busily tending to other higher priority matters in my life, I had neglected to water Mom’s prized, purple Irises. Five years ago, their blooms and foliage had all but vanished off the face of the earth… or so I had thought…

Just mere months ago, while tending to her precious daffodils, out of the corner of my eye, I had spotted something green. Several double takes rapidly confirmed the “impossible”. One tiny, fragile Iris leaf was poking through the soil… desperately seeking out the warmth of the early spring sunlight. I immediately redirected my sprinkling can’s nozzle and, ever since, this plant has been the recipient of my intensive care.

In the past several weeks, several dozen more leaves have appeared, as well. While I’m unsure, yet, if this resurrected Iris has regained sufficient strength to bloom this growing season, I’m still keeping my fingers crossed.

I cannot help but walk away from this experience without considering the more significant, symbolic message here…

My Mom’s Iris is living proof of Marcus Tullius Cicero’s timeless wisdom…

“While there’s life there’s hope.”

To dig a bit deeper…

In view of America’s January 2017, horrific, deplorable, corrupt power shift… we can only hope that the imperiled seeds of human decency can weather and survive the present-day drought of intellect and morality, which is presently overhanging DC… one that poses a serious threat to noble ideas and ideals such as brotherhood, civility, empathy, philanthropy, honesty, transparency, ethics, liberty and justice for ALL.

In light of both my Mom’s rejuvenated Iris AND of how the authors of truly great literature are oft advocates of the above listed inventory of virtues, this brings to mind the late author Carl Sagan’s wisdom. His analogy has never been more relevant…

“Books are like seeds. They can lie dormant for centuries and then flower in the most unpromising soil.”

Will there be a sufficient number of folks, who still give a damn, to counteract the drought. If so, it’ll be up to us to fill the sprinkling cans… to ensure we redirect their spouts at all the hard to reach places… and then?

We’ll hope with all our hearts that it won’t take centuries for the precious seeds to bloom anew.

 

 

Nine Afterlife Scenarios

Is there life after death? Considering how one has to actually die to find out… we, the living, can only conjecture. As for my own theories? There are at least nine different forms of living on… in varying degrees… some of them earthbound… others otherworldly… some are somewhat short-lived… others could endure through eternity. The specifics…

Heaven Awaits Scenario ~ When the physical body expires, everything that ever made us uniquely different from everybody else… all of our memories, hopes and dreams endure. Everyone who has preceded us in death and has ever meant something special to us is present to welcome and usher us into everlasting life.

On one hand, Near Death Experience survivors corroborate. On the other hand, the skeptics contradict… claim these episodes are merely due to an end of life brain chemistry… one which causes the mind, normally accustomed to keeping us alive, to freak out when it cannot do so. Little doubt, oxygen starved brain cells and, perhaps, even some physician-administered pharmaceuticals are all in play. Factor in a lifetime’s worth of spiritual indoctrination and you’ve got the perfect recipe for hallelujah inspiring hallucinations.

My Own Experience… in an Actual Death Experience, my mother’s spoken with awe in her eyes, last words were, “They all came!” Since just prior to that we’d been engaged in a totally lucid conversation… since we were the only ones present in her nursing home room at the time… who, pray tell, were “They”?

Double Helix Scenario ~ Folks who are “fruitful and multiply” preserve their DNA… their human traits remain within the gene pool for generations to come. As for anyone who has opted out of parenthood, we’re now talking about pruned and felled family trees… bloodlines banished to oblivion.

Of course, procreation does have its limitations… can only immortalize 23 of each person’s 46 chromosomes per conception. Genetic duplicates having never been Ma Nature’s game plan, there’s virtually zero chance that anyone would ever wind up totally replicating themselves… right down to the freckles and fingerprints. Furthermore, even if such an identical copy were to exist, that person would not grow up with the same life experiences.

Send In the Clones Scenario ~ While the technology to create genetic duplicates exists, human cloning is still considered a huge no-no by principled politicians (if there are any such animals), bioethicists and theologians.

If this ‘tude were to change, someday, clones would only be physically identical since, as I’ve already mentioned above, they’d not share the unique life experiences of the original being.

Donor Gametes Scenario ~ A man and woman can procreate without having actually met… in fact… neither of them even need be alive. Harvested female and male germ cells, once thawed out from the cryogenic deepfreeze, combine in the in vitro fertilization petri dish and the surrogate mother does the rest.

Donor Organs Scenario ~ Harvested human hearts and the other major bodily organs can prolong recipients’ lives for decades. In a sense, donors can live on for many decades, maybe even longer when recipients utilize their new lease on life to become new parents. IF both parents and offspring then go onward to make something of their lives… oh… say… contribute something of great value to society… THEN (albeit indirectly) so would the organ donors.

In a horror film sense, people with “yuge” ego problems (think Donald Trump here) could, someday, even resort to some ghastly surgery… could “donate” their own heads… have them bolted onto new, recipient bodies. Fortunately… so far… and to the best of my knowledge… there are no real life equivalents of fictitious Dr. Frankenstein’s monster out there… way, Way, WAY out there.

Surviving Elements Scenario ~ The basic chemicals, which make up our bodies will eventually get recycled, at first, here on Earth (e.g. during cremation) and, eventually, back into the vast, inky dark, cold cosmos… the very place from where humanity had originally borrowed these elements.

The late astrophysicist, astronomer, philosopher, educator, author and TV host, Carl Sagan, the master of simplifying complex science, once wrote…

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.”

Naturally, disembodied elements, (even if human brains were their original source), will not possess any intelligence… will never really be us. While it’s a virtual certainty that we’ll “survive” in this sense… we’ll never know it.

Intellectual Property Scenario ~ We live on in the memories of others. To remain a household name throughout perpetuity, one would need to be some sort of superstar scientist, physician, psychiatrist, philosopher, theologian, educator, engineer, architect, inventor, sculptor, painter, lithographer, publisher, poet, playwright, author, actor, entertainer, comedian, singer, musician or world leader (or some combination of the above). Even people who history would judge to be our worst-nightmares-come-true can be remembered… as examples of who NOT to emulate.

For the vast majority of us… who don’t make the history books… who would not even be an obscure footnote in such a publication… we’ll be forgotten as soon as all who ever knew us are dead. Even if our pictures were to appear in some handed down from generation to generation photo album, would an ancestor, three generations down the road, truly know us beyond the lifeless, two dimensional depiction? Once there’s no one to give a damn anymore, family photos will eventually wind up getting trashed. Only if today’s landfills were to become tomorrow’s archaeological dig sites would anyone ever try to remember us.

Good Mentor Scenario ~ Throughout our lifetimes, we’ve all been teachers (no formal classroom required). This face-to-face intergenerational imparting of everyday knowledge and skills is how we leave our small mark on the world. It even counts, e.g., when we demonstrate the fine art of tying shoelaces to a youngster. While this mundane stuff easily goes towards the betterment of our society, to be remembered, by name, for making such contributions is highly unlikely.

Internet Scenario ~ This involves anyone who, anywhere and at anytime, ever did anything great or small on the WWW.

Over the course of the past decade, I’ve made my own presence known here in cyberspace… at MySpace, Xanga, Blogger and WordPress. I’ve got to believe that some of what I’ve said made some small difference in the life of someone… somewhere… sometime. Maybe that person shared my thoughts with someone else… and that person did the same… and so on… and so on… and so on…

True, I’ve blogged many a time and netted not more than one “like star” click… but does that mean all is lost? Carl Sagan didn’t think so. To quote him once more, he observed…

“Books are like seeds. They can lie dormant for centuries and then flower in the most unpromising soil.”

I suspect if the good Doctor S. were alive today, he’d have no problem making the words, “books” and “blogs”, interchangeable.

Beyond that, it has oft been said that once posted, nothing ever really dies on the Internet, and so, if that, indeed, is really true… well… I know that, someday, as I’m taking my last gasp of oxygen, I shall live on…

Hmmm… to leave my mark upon the world via the World Wide Web? Not bad. To maybe even witness this actually occurring, while my loved ones and I reside in our Heavenly Home throughout eternity?

Yeah… for me… that’ll do…