Meteor Moon

Only a few more sleeps until May 24 and the much anticipated Camelopardalid meteor shower. A cosmic event void of any reference points, a never before encounter with debris from Comet 209P Linear. Science offers a “best guess” of peak action between 2 and 4 AM EDT on May 24. Estimates range from 200 – 1000 meteors an hour, cautioning this is pure speculation based on projections and models taken from available data. As an unknown event, it’s possible outbursts could occur suddenly at any time on the 24th.

Earth isn’t the only recipient of 209’s debris trail – the Moon is in line for meteor action. If you have a backyard telescope, time to dust it off and focus on possible explosions as cosmic dust impacts the crescent moon.

Nobody really knows for sure what will transpire on the 24th. We know every speck of debris left behind since 1803 is out there somewhere – we don’t know if that amounts to a hill of beans. Meteor storm or cosmic fizzle – if your sky is clear, take a leap of faith and gaze at the sky. If you can’t be bothered or need your beauty sleep – the link below the picture will direct you to a meteor cam poised to capture the show, as well as great background information. For those in a hurry – directly below is a link to the meteor cam.

According to NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office, the best time for amateur astronomers to scan the Moon for lunar meteors is after 0800 UT (4 a.m. EDT) on May 24th.

Road Trip


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My Dad’s house, the only remaining corner of the old farm, served as a focal point for my recent impromptu road trip. I can’t call it my house – I kicked up dust trails, screeching tires as I bolted 36 years ago, Nary a glance in the rear view mirror – no thoughts other than to escape a perceived rural prison.

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Keremeos B.C.

Hitting the freeway out of Vancouver, traveling the 100 miles or so to Hope and the point at which rain forest, farmland and open space gives way to sharp ribbons of mountain highway – the only change in perception is one of feeling my trip has begun. Familiar surroundings still void of emotional attachment. I know what’s coming, understand precisely which bend in the road will ignite inexplicable memories – yet find myself awestruck each and every time. It begins to simmer at Princeton, by the time I reach Keremeos I’m hopelessly lost in another time and place. It isn’t regret or longing, rather an appreciation for the place I came from.

In no particular order, some images of “home”…..

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The place I was raised will never be home again. I can’t “wish back” sprawling acres of fruit orchard we inhabited by telling all the vineyards to go away. It serves no purpose to boo-hoo our baseball diamond – now a parking lot for wine tours or whine because our long driveway now leads to many houses. Beneath the surface I can still make out dirt roads once traveled by our tractor, the “cactus hill” in the middle of my old stomping ground may have a strange home perched on top, yet cactus still bloom and remnants of our old forts still litter the periphery.

What I can do is embark on a road trip – a restorative reminder, not of a physical home but the home that shaped me. A home of sagebrush, rolling hills, clay cliffs, wildflowers and wooden structures. These photographs aren’t impressive, particularly well composed or artistic. What they are is “home” – images that mean something to me.


Arc to Arcturus

Neglecting “baby steps” to the cosmos weighs heavily on my mind. Some weeks ago I vowed an attempt to impart my cosmic awe and wonder through simple descriptions of the sky above. Nothing fancy, no pretentious gobbley gook –  observations intended to build confidence by way of baby steps. Occurring to me the big picture was daunting, the logical approach being to build interest one little step at a time.

Not foolish enough to think wonder grows from baby steps – my secret hope rests with enthusiasm being contagious. Even a mild case of inexplicable star gazing or random reference to sky points by a single reader of my baby steps project would make the world a better place.

Arcturus is a massive star in the constellation Bootes – a bit of a rogue, Arcturus doesn’t follow along with other stars in the Milky Way. Instead it travels perpendicularly at 150 kilometers a second, a path that will completely remove it from earthly skies a few million years from now. Find the last star on Big Dipper’s handle – draw a line with your eye until you reach a large orange star. Say hello to Arcturus.

Arcturus isn’t particularly large or predominant – that isn’t what matters. All that counts is you try to find it – once you find and file Arcturus in your mind you’ll be wiser and stronger than before.


Bush Comment

I wrote this in response to a comment received yesterday on my post “Bush League Ponder”.


You and I will never see eye to eye on Obama. You state the only “proof” available to you regarding his idiocy and destruction of America is what news media tells you. The only way I can describe my reaction to this is sadness and depression. I respect the right of any individual to follow their conviction – all I ask is these conclusions be reached independently – the result of thoughtful and individual weighing of the facts.

You couldn’t be bothered to read this post yet used it as an opportunity to remind me of your intention to “vote against every single Democrat I can” provided “Obama and his minions haven’t taken away our right to vote”.

I could remind you – the people voted, they elected Obama not once but twice. Democracy works this way – the people decide, a majority wins. It may be futile to ask you this but my ever optimistic curiosity can’t help itself. Are you angry with Obama or destined to be angry with any duly elected official deemed “un-American” by poor losers masquerading as legitimate, honest news media?

There are two sides to every story. I beg you to resist temptation of covering your ears and chanting “La,La,La ” when your mind collides with my next statement. I’ll be brief, hopefully delivering my message as painlessly as possible. Brace yourself, be brave and stay with me for the sake of your country….

The post you had to comment on but couldn’t be bothered to read described a new exhibit at the George W. Bush Library. An interactive installation where visitors pretended to make decisions as Bush – in particular his response to Hurricane Katrina. The primary “decision point” being “how to restore order”. (Geez – who knew Negroes would get a little uppity if left to stew for 3 or 4 days under lakes of brackish water without food, water, or hint the government gave a damn) Yep – a plethora of Bushganda, ( a play on propaganda not Uganda in case I confused you) a mecca for those clinging to “King George”, the last great American. On the off chance you’re still with me – the exhibit doesn’t allow for any scenarios or decisions not taken by Bush.

Being you’re adamant about gleaning facts from news media – I remind you, Rachel Maddox is a card carrying member of that club.

I have no illusions this response will scratch your “I loath Obama” armor or shed light on your part in undermining democracy in America. Your “news media” must have wet their delighted pants when Barrack Obama dared a middle name like Hussein. You’ve told me in the past he is a Muslim, hates God and is selling America to Islam.

Not that it will make a lick of difference, I’m going to sleep a whole lot better after saying this….

Bat shit nonsense, iron clad protestations and robotic lack of self determination will destroy America. We don’t have to agree. Diversity is something to cherish and learn from – I have nothing but respect for those who take the time to weigh both sides of any debate before making their point intelligently. On the other hand – those who can’t be bothered to look at both sides, those preferring to bully, pout and point fingers – frankly, it just makes you look silly.


The World According to Koch

In 1927 Fred C. Koch patented an improved method of converting heavy oil to gasoline – a catalyst paving  Wichita, Kansas roads of the early 1940’s with Wood River Refining and Oil dollars – later known as Koch Industries. I could blither on about how Koch Industries became the second largest privately held corporation in America. How staggering wealth was built on the back of oil, gas, chemicals, and methods to move these commodities about – or I could ask you to take my word for it, link to this timeline of Koch history, and move on to my point.

Brothers David and Charles Koch have “donated” an estimated 67 million dollars in funding and support of anti climate change initiatives. It doesn’t end with this “no shit Sherlock” denial of cutting the hand that feeds them.  Some of those millions support conservative “family values” (AKA – Tea Party and like minded fundamentalists) by way of Americans for Prosperity – a group founded in 2004, dedicated to no climate tax, no universal health care, no tax reforms hinting of increased or fairer shares for business, no government scrutiny of business at local, state or federal levels, and no Democrats in office if infinitely deep pockets and slick fabricated attack ads have anything to say about it.

A 2010 study released by University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries as one of the top ten polluters in America. Greenpeace dubbed them the “kingpin of climate science denial”.

Whining Koch protestations range from blaming “radical press” for branding Koch “whipping boys”, to spluttering, indignant outrage against  un-American critics of their righteous mission.Read this article from the New Yorker and decide for yourself.

I try to be polite. I don’t want to point fingers or pass judgement. The trouble is – every few weeks I’m incapable of swallowing the vomit in my mouth. Post after post slamming the government, comment after comment parroting diarrhea gobbled from “news sources” worthy of criminal charges, and incessant speculation over who’s actually running the show – these forces reach critical mass and my mind erupts to save itself.

This isn’t rocket science people! Anybody who still believes democracy reigns supreme hasn’t met power through money.Until people are willing to call bullshit on America according to Koch and associates, all I can say is speak out or shut up.