Youngblood Blog

Writing weblog, local, topical, personal, spiritual

Art of Self-Healing in a Post-Anthropocene Writing World

ART OF SELF-HEALING IN A POST-ANTHROPOCENE WRITING WORLD
First Wednesday in the Writing Cave—open to IWSGers, NaNoWriMos and Other Insecure Scribes


Age-Related Wisdom Spurned by Youthful Masses

Living in the Anthropocene Age—a world which has been changed by Man to near-unrecognizable proportions

Judging by how the #old are represented—or not represented—by the media, it’s fair to say we live in a society which likes to pretend #old people don’t exist
Richard Alpert, PhD @BabaRamDass

At this moment, amid north-Atlantic havoc wreaked by (late) hurricane Lorenzo, Climate activist marches, and *U.N. panel discussions attracting world leaders to instigate radical change, a little flurry of benefactors—unnoticed by mainstream media—have quietly continued their superlative support as the rest of the human race races towards apparent extinction. Melinda and Bill Gates are a good example. With their Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in addition to their celebrated Asian water reclamation schemes, they are upgrading an already well-established voluntary network of assistance/donation to earth’s most vulnerable continents, strengthening capability of on-site first responders, and funding local institutions to help communities prepare for and cope with potential future disasters.
*coined by film-makers Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier, in their documentary Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, shown at United Nations Climate Action Summit, end September 2019.

At current pace, we shall by 2050 have created an ocean containing more plastic than fish—Baichwal & de Pencier ‘Anthropocene: the Human Era’

News headlines may not have grasped that beneath the frisson of world leaders—yea, former enemies—reaching out to help one another in New York——q.v. Pakistan’s premier Imran Khan, 66, and his brave support for beleaguered Kashmir; Saudis lending assistance, U.A.Emirates sharing space capsules…there is another agenda emerging—solar panels in the Sahara; thousands of young trees planted in Pakistan, India, Canada, Venezuela; medical aid for East Africa. Things are beginning to change.

The cricket-fan and space fantasy-lover in me applauds such new initiatives. Besides, global darling outside the Hollywood stereotype, Prime Minister Khan communicates freely in their native tongue with Brits, Americans, Hindus and Muslims.

At this time, Hong Kong sentimentally—and crucially—decides to be British again—to assert its independence from mainland China—rejecting the 70-year old Communist celebration and its regime, and flying the Union Jack.

Oldies but Goodies—Seriously
While perhaps wielding a more ancient battle-standard in an effort to use less and give back more, Oldies from the ‘Sixties are still around, still calling some shots, playing music—at least keeping the peace-sign alive. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Woodstock in August, younger generation parties sprang up to venerate dead idols—sadly many now gone—like Hendrix, Morrison, Richie Havens. Keeping the flag flying, however, are Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Carole King and David Crosby of (you remember!) The Byrds, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Buffalo Springfield fame. Not only are these musicians still singing and playing their kind of music, but Croz with his son James Raymond played an iconic free concert at New York’s outdoor Lincoln Center on August 10/11th this summer. Release of their latest Sky Trails tour movie—Remember My Name—is imminent.

Solar-powered Yacht, Electric Hummer as Alternative Vehicles

Solar-powered yacht, commissioned by Monaco Yacht Club team Malizia & co-founder Pierre Casiraghi, grandson of Prince Rainier III to sail across the Atlantic

In a world where we are told half the population is now in the under-35 bracket, it is heartening to hear that Oldie and assuredly Hollywood-Goodie ex-Governor turned philanthropist Arnold Schwarzenegger [‘Terminator‘] has offered to lend his priceless electric automobile—a Kreisel Hummer—to 16-year old visitor Greta Thunberg, to use on her tour of northern territories and climate-marching school-truanters in New England, parts of Canada and, if support doesn’t run out for the autistic Swedish child, possibly Greenland.

It is good to know that the child has her father, Svante, along for the ride—presumably paying for some expenses. The north Atlantic section of the trans-Atlantic solar racing yacht trip, was commissioned by Team Malizia II of Monaco Yacht Club, with Malizia’s co-founder Pierre Casiraghi, grandson of Monaco’s Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace Kelly, sailing with them as sponsor from Britain to New York.

Back in the Writing Cave…
My writing co-conspirators, with guidance from our Ninja Space Captain, Alex, may—like me—feel a little out of our depth in waters muddied by a special needs teenager on so-called ‘sabbatical’, aka striking/taking off from school, and driving around in a borrowed electric car.

I concede that the driving age in the U.S.A. is sixteen. But in Europe—in both Great Britain and Sweden—the minimum driving age is 18-years old. So I guess, that’s why Daddy’s on the road trip.

I also happen to have inside info on our writing fraternity/sorority, and know that some of us Oldies AND Goodies are truly checking in from a different time—and space—planting both trees and words in our own beloved Cave-corner, sharing and enjoying with others new frontiers in these changing times.

Thanks for being there. Keep the flame burning in the Writing Cave. It’s all going to be worth it.
©2019 Marian Youngblood

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October 2, 2019 Posted by | authors, birds, blogging, consciousness, culture, earth changes, environment, nature, ocean, organic husbandry, publishing, rain, seasonal, trees, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Carnyx, the Games—Aberdeenshire’s Royal Farewell to Summer

THE CARNYX, THE GAMES—ABERDEENSHIRE’S ROYAL FAREWELL TO SUMMER
or The Royals know where to Party for End of Summer Fun

First Wednesday IWSG Party Time for Insecure Writers and other Scribes

March of the Lonach Men recalls the 1745 Rebellion, when wearing of the kilt was outlawed for 100 years

This Saturday, September 6th, 2019 finds the human Scots-Collective rallying at Braemar in extreme-inland-and-upland Aberdeenshire for the ‘Games’—the Braemar Gathering and Highland Games—in the 12-acre Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park in the town, attended by HM the Queen and her immediate family. It is her last (holiday) appearance in Deeside—and Scotland—before her return at the end of the month to business-as-usual in London.

Aberdeenshire’s Other Summereve’s Celebration

Braemar, on the river Dee, follows a rival tradition—over the mountain and through the pass to Donside—where the (178th) Lonach Gathering and Games was held last Saturday, August 24th in Bellabeg, on the banks of the Don.

Beloved of Lonach fans, Robin Williams at the 2001 Gathering at Bellabeg, Strathdon Aberdeenshire

Known as the Alternative Gathering because of its attraction for Hollywood stars and in-the-know Royals, the Lonach is more of a society promenade than a competitive event. Yes, caber toss, hundredweight lugging and tug-o’war with dainty Highland dancing are all going on within the stadium enclosure, but the action is where international alliances are being forged on the ‘champagne picnic circuit’ ringing the field. Scots actor Billy Connolly is not alone in having a gracious country house within spitting distance of the grandiose Beer Tent; and his international guests are legend—Steve Martin and Robin Williams among them.

It’s an excuse for the remote glen to entertain as many famous international guests as they can squeeze into the valley for their last summer party—and the noble families of Donside hinterland open their houses in force. Sir James Forbes, Bart, cousin to Lord Forbes, head of clan Forbes, leads his green-kilted warriors to pipe and march from 8a.m. until they reach the field at 11a.m. Other pipers and pike-carrying members of the Wallaces and former rival-clan Gordon—join them, swinging in down the winding track.

No Historial Reenactment—Lonach Men March Three Hours through the Glen

Sir James Forbes of Newe, Bart, Patron of the Lonach Highland & Friendly Society, Bellabeg Strathdon

“Scotland in 1823 was on the cusp of monumental change, finally emerging from the bleak post-Culloden years to resume her rightful place in the World. With so much change in the air our ancestors saw the need to preserve their heritage, whilst still embracing the new.

“This is no historical re-enactment. The Lonach March represents an unbroken link from our forefathers to the 21st Century. Encountering the Lonach Highlanders for the first time takes you back to pre-1745 Scotland.”
Sir James Forbes of Newe and Edinglassie, Bart.

The Forbeses were once premier barons of Donside and Mar. Today, despite dwindling fortunes and a rich, punishing history—but unlike rival Gordons—a Forbes remains in possession of the clan’s oldest stronghold, Druminnor—the original 1429 Castle Forbes, seat of Chiefs of Forbes for 500 years. The Gordons rose to become Marquesses and Dukes, lording it over Strathbogie and the North, but Huntly Castle is a ruin and the feud has gone into the history books. Nowadays Lonach Men march together as one.

Flying threadbare standards gifted by Queen Victoria (tattered replaced by new, 2011), the Lonach Men stop at several remote dwellings on their way through the pass, each marcher toasted in whisky, given a dram and ‘haste ye back’, before the next halt. By the time they reach the playing field three hours later, they are in fine fettle.

Drunk or sober, it is the pipers’ duty to play after the day is done, too. They beat the retreat at 5:30p.m. when everybody—upwards of 8,000 souls—starts packing up champagne bucket, shooting stick and cucumber sandwich leftovers, to drive home. There have been years when it took four hours to reach Aberdeen and the coast—42miles away—in single-track traffic from Newe. [For perfectionists, it’s pronounced N-y-ow, like Meow with an N].

Rallying Call to Battle Gathering—Pipes or Carnyx

Celtic continental influence in Roman Scotland, Deskford’s Carnyx battle horn rallied Caledonian troops to march—as haunting a sound as Lonach bagpipes

On a magnificent cloudless late August day, it is tempting to compare the faint haunting call of the pipes as the Lonach Men march into the valley with the battle cry of Pictish hoardes described by Tacitus in A.D.79 at Mons Graupius.

A recent collaboration by Aberdeen and Euro continental archaeologists, comparing the few examples of bronze-cast sacred battle horns—Roman carnyx—allowed a replica to be made which sounds authentic—John Kenny plays, photo left.

Its weird high-pitched call (to battle) is hauntingly similar to the sound of the pibroch from a single piper’s drone on a high mountain pass. The Deskford carnyx , found in 1816 Banffshire (now Aberdeenshire) was ritually buried (on a battlefield?) with gold, silver, bronze bell, the battle horn itself a stylized boar’s head with upturned snout, signifying bravery of an indomitable superior race.

Sacred to the Picts, carved Boar stone from Donside, Aberdeenshire approx. A.D.420-700—earliest clan animal of Forbes and Gordon, courtesy National Museums of Scotland

Pictish Symbols Distilled into Clan Heraldry
Roman legions called them the painted people. In A.D.4thC Ammianus Marcellinus’s historical accounts Dicalydones were northern tribes: one of two branches of Picti, Picts, Roman chronicler Tacitus’s Caledonians who inhabited modern-day Moray, Banff and Buchan. The second group were the Verturiones who occupied southern territories of modern Fife, Perthshire, Forfar (Fortriu) and Lothian. Carnyces have turned up in sacred settings along Roman routes through France to northern Baltic. There is a famous carnyx series embossed on the silver Gundestrup cauldron found in 1891 in a Baltic peat bog in Jutland, dating to around 2nd Century B.C. Its boar-headed shape has the same curvature, and was the work of Iron Age Celtic Franco-Germanic artists.

My fellow IWSG-ers and our Cap’n at the Helm, Alex will agree that we writers who have the advantage of Space-Time awareness, courtesy of our ancestral lineage, know how the power of sound/music—certain plaintive notes—can trigger a rush of joy, inspiration, fresh creativity.

Danzig Willie’s Craigievar William Forbes, creator of Craigievar Castle in Upper Donside brought the style of France to the Aberdeenshire hinterland, 1686

It may be my historical-fantasy-bias that drives me to compare the pale single note of an ancient Pictish battle horn against Roman battalions in rural Banff, with an even fainter soul-wrenching skirl of bagpipes played on a high mountain pass in Corgarff, but the heart beats faster when both are sounded.

Is my historical desire to link the fantastic Pictish family of animal symbols with the conquering (Scots) lineage A.D.845 so farfetched?

Forbes tradition has it that their ancestor, Pictish chief Ochonochar, trapped a boar which was terrorizing the neighborhood. Their emblem shows stylized muzzled boar. The House of Gordon has a similar legend for their boar crest worn by the Cock o’ the North. Pictish Class I Boar stone, as late as A.D.700, above, was a Donside symbol—just as the Pictish Bull is mainly associated with Burghead and Moray.

IWSGers with Scots-Irish ancestry, even when writing deadlines hover—today is Anthology Contest—know we all enjoy a dip in the gene pool.

Have fun. Take a last wild plunge before summer ends. Let me know how it feels.
Thanks for listening.
©2019 Marian Youngblood

September 4, 2019 Posted by | ancient rites, authors, blogging, culture, festivals, history, popular, publishing, ritual, seasonal, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Like Lightning Conductors & Orbiting Spacecraft, Let Writing Ideas Flow

LIKE LIGHTNING CONDUCTORS & ORBITING SPACECRAFT, LET WRITING IDEAS FLOW
Keeping the Insecure Writerly Mind Active thru Tricky Times

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin sets up solar wind sail experiment on lunar surface July 1969, photo Neil Armstrong, moondust footprints, right

Many of us writers think ‘something’ is pending: that summer feeling of the unknown hanging over us—as a species or is it just me? Are we IWSGers—or is everybody—for the first time in a long time–an Age–are we beginnning to think as One Planet?

What do oil executives, vampires and NASA bureaucrats all have in common? They fear solar energy.’ Michio Kaku, Japanese American theoretical physicist

We are–through our younger generations—perhaps thinking quicker. Also, is it imaginary? or is Time–along with our learning curve–speeding up, too?

It is possible that, with current seismic catalysts—deep Pacific trench high-magnitude shakes, and unrelenting eastern California faultline displacement (Ridgecrest Naval Base China Lake, CA), we are becoming, what Nikolai Kardashev via Michio Kaku calls a Level One Civilization.

Sunset at full moonrise—& eclipse Hampshire crop circle Rodfield-Tichborne July 16th, 2019, photo Nick Bull

Nikolai Semenovich Kardashev (Никола́й Семёнович Кардашёв) (1932-2019) was the Russian astrophysicist, and director of the Russian Space Research Institute (Institute for Cosmic Research) at Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, who died last week. He authored a (1964) paper in Soviet Astronomy “Transmission of Information by Extraterrestrial Civilizations”. He devised a scale of three categories by which a civilization is classified, by the amount of usable energy it has at its disposal–plus a degree of space colonization. Others have added two higher categories.
Kardashev Type I civilization is one able to harness all the power available on its (single) planet. The implication is that in so doing, it is able to function as ‘one’ and therefore to have mastered the supreme mark of a self-realized group: peaceful interaction.

Kardashev Type II civilization is able to harness all power available from its star.

Kardashev Type III civilization can harness all the power in a single galaxy. With the power of an entire galaxy at its disposal, a type III civilization would be able to come up with radical new power sources.

Abandoned Russian Space vehicle, Buran (Blizzard) on launch pad at Baikonur cosmodrome, destroyed when roof collapsed 2002 due to extreme temperatures in Kazakhstan steppes

By extrapolation, a Kardashev Type IV civilization would have access to the power of an entire galactic supercluster. Kardashev Type V would be a civilization that occupies the entire universe.

Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist at New York’s City University, instigator of the Big Think discussion thinktank, and author (2011) of ‘Physics of the Future‘, suggests that, even with an African-Asian-Pacific food crisis (eliciting world humanitarian response), the Earth is as yet not a Category One civilization.

Rusting in Russian Space Hangars
Carl Sagan estimated that Earth qualifies as a Type 0.7 civilization. Before he died in 1996, however–and in spite of his agnostic view–he had hopes that we might overcome our aversion to living in harmony–or rather, to lay down our weapons of war, and interact peacefully with one another. “Decency,” he said (and humility and community spirit) “in this demon-haunted world may be all that stands between us and the enveloping darkness.”

Russian spacecraft—created during the Soviet era 1957-1988, using confiscated German WW-II V-2 Rocket technology and designs, were capable of sending human operators to the Moon, Mars and beyond. With the fall of the regime, and creation of Russia and Ukraine as separate countries, former vast treasuries became unavailable, leading-edge technology languished, and amazing space vehicles were left to rust in their hangars.

Abandoned on outskirts of Moscow, an original Tesla generator-conductor still capable of producing enough electricity to run all of Russia’s power grid

Throughout space there is energy. Is it static or kinetic? If static our hopes are in vain; if kinetic—and this we know it is, for certain—then it is a mere question of time before men will succeed in attaching their machinery to the very wheelwork of Nature. Nikola Tesla, Croatian-US physicist (1856-1943)


Lightning as Power Source

A similar fate seems to have befallen Tesla’s unprecedented invention using unlimited solar—and cosmic—sources of power to run Earth’s machinery.

Still operating—but in infrequent bursts—the Marx Generator at Istra on Moscow’s fringe is a Tesla-designed instrument creating (unlimited) electrical power when fully operational—now all but abandoned. Unlike the U.S.’s High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) facility, the Marx generator in Istra was not constructed to modulate the weather. But, like HAARP, it did help design weapons for the future.
*Photo courtesy http://www.4turista.ru

Soyuz TMA-11M rocket 38 rollout to Baikonur launch pad by train 2013, photo: NASA/Bill Ingalls

If all of this space voyaging is too much for you and you need real inspiration—take an early morning walk before dawn to see the Perseid Meteor shower, peaking this Sunday.

Otoh, if you feel like some high-powered relaxing in a Hilton twin-tub while attending this year’s Annual Writers’ Digest Conference, then go —August 23-25 New York Hilton—have fun!

I, for one, count on our revered Space Capsule Commander Alex Cavanaugh to steer us through (muddy) orbit trajectories into shiny solar re-emergence, like a rotating moon capsule revealing a new Earth dawn, but it’s still up to each one of us to do the right thing, isn’t it? If a Writerly Share is what you need, Now’s the Time:

And keep on writing!
©2019 Marian Youngblood

August 8, 2019 Posted by | ancient rites, art, Ascension, astronomy, authors, blogging, environment, history, nature, sun, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Royal Prerogative—Generosity of the Monarch in a 21stC World

Generosity of the Monarch in a 21stCentury World
Monthly Pointers for Insecure Writers and other Wanderers in Time

Generosity was historically how a Monarch was judged by her people. Nobles who usurped their position—or took handouts—didn’t make it into the history books.

HM the Queen shares a smile with POTUS her guest at State Banquet in the palace ballroom

The bard was asked who of the kings of Prydein
is most generous of all
‘And I declared boldly
That it was Owain’
The Gorhoffedd, 12thC Brittonic heroic poem

We in the known world have this week been treated to a vision of the splendour and magnificence which comes out when great dynasties meet. A State visit by the president of the United States of America to Great Britain—regardless of decade or political swing—is not taken lightly in royal circles. When Her Majesty the Queen decides to commemorate a ‘special relationship’ with military undertones, nobody born in the last hundred years is going to stop her. Her generosity shows.

The Palace knows how to pull out all the stops—and last week they did.

Buckingham Palace ballroom was setting for State Banquet for 170 guests given by HM Queen for President Trump and First Lady of USA, June 2019


June 6th marks seventy-five years this week since the Allied forces of Europe and America made D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy. The second world war (WWII) ended one year later in 1945.

During President Donald Trump’s visit, HM the Queen presented him with a gold leaf embossed first edition of Winston Churchill’s Second World War 6-volume set. And she will also attend a ceremony with him in Portsmouth—English channel coast—to mark the D-Day event, before he leaves.

If anyone can carry off a grand banquet, a major wartime memorial, inspecting four ‘Trooping the Colour’ Royal Guards Birthday ceremonial parades with two 41-gun salutes, on three cups of tea, this beloved monarch can. She also celebrated the anniversary of her own coronation and accession to the throne of Great Britain [Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland] this week.

HM the Queen’s coronation took place on June 2nd, 1953 in Westminster Abbey*, when she was 25 years old. Her father, George VI, died on 6 February 1952. She has reigned for 67 years and has been visited by all but one of thirteen U.S. Presidents—Lyndon B. Johnson—during that time.
*Foundation of the abbey church laid by Edward the Confessor in 1065.

Buck House to Kilt-buckled Deeside

Both HM Queen and her son Charles are reputed Beatles’ fans, seen here pretending to ignore Macca, right

“English winter—ending in July,
To recommence in August”
Lord Byron, Romantic poet and satirist, 1788-1824

Most of the month of June is filled with high profile royal engagements—a time in Britain when the weather has been known to improve. One high point of June is Derby Day at Epsom Racecourse—her Majesty making it a twofold party last weekend, June 1-2, 2019, while she enjoyed this year’s equine lineup from the comfort of her Royal Box.

Often considered a high point of the fashion year, Ladies’ Day at Epsom is outclassed and outshone only by Royal Ascot, this year’s five-day event spanning solstice from June 18-22, 2019. The Royal Box will be filled to capacity, with aristocratic fashion statements being made all over the place.

By end July, nearly every royal—except Prince Philip, who turns 98 on June 10th—will have performed multiple civic and charitable duties around the country and—for Commonwealth interests—around the globe. All without assistance from the former Civil List, cancelled with Royal consent in 2011.

August brings recreation and rest.

Ultima Thule provides Country Retreat

Balmoral castle, half-way between Ballater and Braemar Aberdeenshire, Royal Deeside retreat from London

The Sovereign—and significant portion of her household—decamps for Balmoral—a baronial hall rebuilt by Victoria and Albert in rural Aberdeenshire at the least-accessible tip of the Royal Deeside Railway Line, plus a six-mile hike in the direction of the Cairngorms beyond.

That’s mostly accomplished by helicopter, these days.

Her Majesty’s sole duty during her month in Scotland—and it is said, she looks forward to it—is to attend the last highland games of the Season—the Braemar Gathering—always held first weekend of September. That’s before the mountains close in and Ballater and the Highland passes become impregnable.

We recall how unprecedented was the upheaval—upon the death of HRH Diana, Princess of Wales, August 31, 1997, of rearranging the Royal household for an emergency return to the capital, with the royal vacation technically still in effect centered within the sight of Glen Shee, Ben Avon (pron. A’an) and the Devil’s Elbow—escape route to central Perthshire.

Abandoning Aberdeenshire—at 57º05’N latitude—c.f. Juneau, Alaska—to prepare for its ski traffic and winter sports, the Royal household’s return to London and their extended autumn schedule signals resumption of an English way of life.

I suspect our Insecure Writers’ self-appointed Commander-in-Chief, Alex—along with some other urban Americans-of-that-Ilk—may resonate with the excitement of urbane Kensington or with Kentucky’s Derby millions, but my country origins leave me with a fondness for Braemar.

Romans termed any territory North of the Highland fault line, running West to East from Argyll to Inverness, Ultima Thule. Some of us locals call it affectionately the Back of Beyond.

This rural backdrop, however, with its pristine breathable air, is just the place for our future forests, protected fishing rivers and World Heritage sites to coalesce and bring new hope and vital regeneration to a marginal agricultural economy.

God Save the Queen.
©2019 Marian C.Youngblood

June 5, 2019 Posted by | ancient rites, art, authors, blogging, culture, fiction, history, ritual, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Avengers-Endgame—Super-Life Fantasy or Life Support?

AVENGERS:ENDGAME—SuperLife Fantasy for Beyond-SciFi Fans
Monthly Distraction Corner for IWGers and Wannabe Insecure Scribes

Avengers—Endgame images to die for, so many reasons to stay alive, but do they?

Having succumbed to temptation—aided and abetted by iGen granddaughters—to attend the première of Captain Marvel last month, and believing the hype created by the Marvel Cinematic Universe for mass consumption, I was drawn last weekend into one of the first million seats to view what I thought might be a prequel.

Avengers-Endgame is no prequel. Not even a sequel. It has its own time.

ENDGAME Surpasses Box-Office $357Million Predictions its First Weekend

Having allowed myself the adrenalin rush of multiple technicolor slo-mo explosions as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel found her niche on Earth, I was prepared to suspend disbelief and await developments—secretly hoping to see my fave characters reappear in EndGame.

The film is a fairly transparent heist caper, along the lines of Ocean’s Eleven—both the Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin (1960) and the luscious George Clooney (2007) versions—where the gang splits into sub-teams to steal the life-snuffing Infinity Stones from Thanos in a time-warp effort to undo his genocidal finger-snap. Ocean’s Eleven tactics induce familiarity, just so our comfort zone can be ripped apart.

Her powerful appearance in Avengers—Endgame is too brief—Brie Larson as Capt.Marvel

That’s all folks! Marvel Studios have done such a great job of keeping the central plot device concealed, I dare not reveal more. What I will say is that, while the mission takes the characters into new territory for them, it is territory which has been explored by countless non-Marvel film and television productions before. War Machine and Ant-Man even list the films their latest adventure reminds them of—a shrewd way of making you an ally, but a hint that you’ll have seen a few twists and jokes before*.

*Teaser—Sometimes it’s a John Wayne-ism; maybe a hint of Band of Brothers; no, that was Donald Sutherland’s Kelly’s Heroes (1970); several James Bond renditions; even some old Burt Lancaster coastline in Aberdeenshire—where the Cove Bay ‘Scottish Unit’ is on location.

Beleaguered Baby Boomers Get the Plot

Much emphasis has been placed lately on how the ‘younger’ generation leads world thinking in conservation, fashion ideals and the future. Current ‘oldies’, having led culture away from wars and into the Peace movement, are now having a hard time amid a youth invasion of media-supported teenagers who have (mostly) only seen war on the silver screen.

Refreshingly, in mid-Brexit-Angst Britain, on the other hand, slightly-oldie but cuddly politician Boris Johnson—former Lord Mayor of London and potential Prime Minister, has grabbed the baton and bravely stated—

Familiar? Iconic egg hatching on original Ridley Scott Alien (1979) set resonates with EndGame Infinity Stones hatching in nonTime (2019)

“With all due #humility to my #juniors, I intend to be #alive for a very long time”
~Boris Johnson, Conservative MP for Ruislip, Middlesex

Thus, familiar Boomers appearing in the Endgame cast, below, seemed to me like avenging angels.

While losing myself in the imagery and effects of Avengers-Endgame, I became immersed in a separate world—one of my own [Boomer, age-related] making. Because I hear around one-third of normal human soundtrack—including plot, storyline, nuances of dialogue—I enter an even-more-rarified time capsule. This I clearly admit is the world of the ‘Sixties Generation looking for recognizable pillars, posts, roadsigns along a rocky new road of the iGens in the 2020s.

Hints of Seinfeld, Big Bang Theory, 2001:Space Odyssey and Little House on the Prairie floated in and out. Alien and Star Trek sets beckoned

But imagery—especially imagery that moves—is always a hit. Add to that psychedelic multi-dimensional lighting and effects, and I was hooked.

Fantasy has traditionally been a realm to retreat to when ‘real-time’ gets scary. Here, we writers/IWSGers try to do the monthly round and help other bloggers, while simultaneously keeping up our own creative level. It can take its toll!

So, when Marvel Studios-Russo Brothers beckoned a second time, I downed tools and followed.

I didn’t feel guilty reclining in the plush cinema seat captured by full surround-sound at high decibels—still could not make out dialogue unless lips were mobile—but transfixed by the animation, I holed up and waited for the Oldies-but-goodies to show.

And they did.
Clever Cartoon Cameo Roles
Apart from Samuel L., who did show for a microsecond, I was expecting more and was disappointed…loved his Nick Fury CGI-youthened image plus cat friend Goose in Marvel

Captain America, Chris Evans doesn’t actually die but his life comes to an end

ditto Annette Bening—expectations dashed
Brie Larson—far too briefly—taste only—she has other Universes to conquer—blatant audience bait
Gwyneth Paltrow—superb
Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man, has become a great ‘older’ actor
Michael Douglas! huge surprise
William Hurt—adorable old man—who would’ve thunk it?
Michelle Pfeiffer—unbelievably stunning
Rocket Raccoon’s clever voice-over Bradley Cooper
Marisa Tomei—like this auntie
Tom Holland flashes in as Spider-Man, black animated spider in tow
Robert Redford—surprised me, but makeup artist not as kind to him as in Man With A Gun. He does a Man with a Gun reprise here! Cleverly cartoonish.

If you were expecting the rest of the cast—vaporized in Marvel, remember?

My inner child was lulled. Excitement, surprise, fave olde actors and actresses in cameo sparkles, flanked by rainbow colored explosive graphics—entering constantly changing imaginary realms. When Thor’s hammer got too threatening, I looked at flashing lights.

Such adrenalin-satisfying; choline-intensifying, calm-inducing dreams afterwards.

Happy May Day-Beltane
A MayDay shoutout to hard-working A-to-Z Challenge winners, NaNoWriMo Campers and @TheIWSG for keeping the flag flying. Besides, our Space Capt. Alex was probably among the first million East Coast moviegoers to catch last weekend’s show.

You know, I think they need Sigourney in there somewhere…
©2019 Marian Youngblood

May 1, 2019 Posted by | art, authors, blogging, crystalline, culture, energy, fantasy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Clinging to Mother Earth or Exploding to the Stars—the Writing Option

CLINGING TO MOTHER EARTH OR EXPLODING TO THE STARS—THE WRITING OPTION
April—Busy Month for IWSGers and A-to-Z Challenge Writers

East Island French Frigate Shoals atols and seamounts in Polynesian Pacific ocean, with levels rising

One WORD after another WORD after another WORD is POWER
Margaret Atwood

Somewhere amid Pacific Ring of Fire shaking last night—two Mag.6.2pointers in Aleutians & Solomons, Mag.5s in Baja and Peru—a mother Humpback whale with last year’s calf in tandem, swims into spouting distance of the black sand surfing beaches of Big Island, Hawai’i.

No seagulls, no hummingbirds, but Big Island has Hawai’ian Green sea turtles and…

She will not be disturbed. Neither will the pool of Hawaiian Green sea turtles doing swim relay within yards of a famous surfers’ beach.

The Hawai’ian chain has no native species of terrestrial reptiles or amphibians. But loads in the ocean.

On land lizards, geckos, salamanders and Coqui frogs were introduced—in contrast to marine reptiles—green-sea turtles and sea snakes—that are native. Offshore vast schools of whales, dolphin, orca roam. The Islands are pitstop and mating grounds for hundreds of Humpbacks every winter; babies returning to visit the following year.

Indigenous to the islands is Nene, the Hawai’ian goose and national bird, along with Hawaiian Monk Seal and Hoary Bat which live nowhere else. Geographic isolation has triggered their evolution here as endemic—wildlife not seen elsewhere. The absence of hummingbirds is striking—importing them is banned—but multicolor treecreepers and honeycreepers are vivid and acrobatic.

From Whales and Turtles to Lava and Myrtles
Tragic errors were made by colonial benefactors. An example is the 1883 effort to reduce (introduced species of) rats, mice and larger rodents by allowing predation by the Indian mongoose.

…and exultant fire turtles exploding from neighboring volcanoes in active flows

Hawaiian crow, Hawaiian goose, and other endemic birds of the archipelago have been lost to this predator. Unlike hedgehogs beloved of motorists in Britain, these spiny omnivores are illegal in Hawaii—where the mongoose—not a rodent but an (Herpestes) Ichneumon akin to a shrew—has taken over the territory. Original reason for importing Mongooses to the islands is not clear. They are famed for killing large snakes in India. Kipling made sure children read and made friends with Rikki-Tikki-Tavi in Jungle Book. There are feral cats, dogs, boar, goats. Miraculously, no rabbits.

Coqui frog—Eleutheradactylus coqui—can climb trees and serenades at night

And there are no snakes in Hawai’i. No monkeys either.

Indigenous wildlife groups guard the islands from ‘invasive species’ like the (right pic) onomatopoetically-named Coqui. I find his mating nighttime frogsqueak charming, and his consumption of mosquitoes a blessing; but he is considered a ‘pest’. Mosquitoes hitched a ride from Asia.

Unlike the inhabitants of Easter Island who cut and burned their own trees to extinction, Hawai’ian tradition has cherished and nurtured successive forests of a miracle hardwood—Ohi’a—itself under threat from within. Indigenous, multi-tasking, adaptable in elevation, from sealevel, jungle to volcano peak, it has served as lumber for sacred structures, roof-tiles, fencing and fuel. Its flower is the Lehua, below.

Sacred Carving, Weaponry and Ritual
Volcano goddess Pele became jealous because she asked the handsome warrior Ohi’a to be her consort and he refused, saying he already had a lover, Lehua. In her anger Pele changed Ohi’a into a gnarled and twisted tree. Lehua was heartbroken, as she and Ohi’a were inseparable. The gods took pity on her and turned her into a flower on the tree.

Sacred Hawai’ian hardwood Ohi’a tree with red Lehua pompom blossom, unique in creating its own subsoil on fresh lava, is under threat from within

Ohi’a hardwood was used for canoe decking and seats; for house building, cooking bowls, poi/pounding boards (traditionally beaten with a volcanic basalt pestle), furniture, spears and tools. The Lehua flowers and buds are used for ritual lei-making.

Folklore has it that if you pick the sacred flower, separating her from her tree lover, it will rain.

The tree grows in crazy places—tolerating a range of soil conditions, rainfall and temperature. At sealevel, in jungle, marshes and rainforest, all the way up to the treeline at 8,200feet on Mauna Loa—the world’s highest stratovolcano—twice the height of Mile-High Denver. There it forms a straggly succulent creeping plant, beloved of bees, unique in burrowing into fresh lava, establishing its own compost, root tendrils breaking down subsoil, creating new ecosystems.

In May 2018 lava emerging from under the cinder cone of Pu’u O’o several miles east of Pele’s Mauna Loa and Kilauea, completely submerged Leilani township in fresh basalt. The human residents left. But almost twelve months later the magic myrtle Ohi’a-Lehua has found cracks, created a new existence where nothing else could.

What do these ocean creatures and spirits have to do with writing, you may ask. Our fearless starcruiser Cap’n.Alex and #AtoZ Challenge Chief Arlee Bird might be busy bloghopping, but I think they’d agree—all of us—writers or readers—are going to be affected fairly soon by ocean rise, plastic absorption, mammal and fish death and by the need for clean water. I am the first 2nd.Lieut-in-writing to applaud their tenacity in reaching for the stars. Writers Rulez forever!

Thing about crises on a planetary scale, we writers-bloggers-A-to-Zers mostly just thank our stars we’re still breathing, turn back to the keyboard and…
Write on.
©2019 Marian Youngblood

April 3, 2019 Posted by | authors, blogging, calendar customs, culture, earth changes, environment, fiction, nature, novel, ocean, popular, publishing, rain, seasonal, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Earthquake Survivors—Bronze and Beyond

IT’S ALL ABOUT LOCATION, LOCATION
Monthly Grounding of Writerly Antennae for IWSGers and Other SpaceTimers

Arcata Plaza, site of Saturday Farmers’ Market, presided over by McKinley bronze—before last week’s removal


Having been assassinated in 1901, one would have thought that statesman, lawyer and (Republican) 25th President of the U.S.A., William McKinley had paid enough for his sins…

But his century-old bronze effigy—which survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire—will be changing locations once again.

The story goes of philanthropist Georg Zehndner, immigrant merchant in frontier Weaverville, seizing an opportunity presented by the late 19thC Gold Rush boom in northern California, to become (wealthy) Humboldt County rancher and (Arcata) citizen. When the 25th President was shot in 1901, Zehndner commissioned Armenian-American Bay Area sculptor Haig Patigian—also an immigrant—to create the bronze casting of the downed statesman.

Market Street, looking west to Twin Peaks. Both sides of street lined with ruined buildings Battery-to-Powell

Arcata Plaza was chosen as a suitable site in the growing town—although currently lauded northernmost campus of Humboldt State University was not founded until eight years later. Yet it is HSU academic/radical protests of ‘settler colonialism’ and damaged Native American tribes which resulted in the statue’s removal at dawn last Thursday.
Arcata is Yurok/Wiyot = place of the Lagoon*
*Yurok oket’oh = “where there is a lagoon” (Humboldt Bay), from o- “place” + ket’oh = “to be a lagoon”. Same name given to Big Lagoon, ten miles North.

Neighboring unincorporated township of McKinleyville, CA has more claim to the beleaguered effigy than the University town, having willingly changed its name to mark its namesake’s death in 1901. Previously called Minor (aka Minorville), it was settled in the late-19thC logging boom. After the president’s assassination it joined with (unincorporated) townships of Dows’ Prairie (settled by Joe Dows, 1860) to North and Calville, settled by employees of the California Barrel Company, South, taking its new name in his honor. McKinleyville post office opened in 1903. The town remains unincorporated, and is home to California’s certified “foggiest” airport—Eureka/Arcata, ACV.

Abandoned and Pointing to the North
Downtown San Francisco was on fire, consuming trolleys and neighborhoods, with horse-drawn water carts unable to dowse the flames.

No melt-down—McKinley found undamaged after 1906 San Francisco fire, his finger pointing North


Coming full blast after the deadly earthquake, many residents ran—sculptor Haig Patigian among them. He saw the bronze casting works go up in smoke and thinking all was lost, fled.

“‘Come on, boys, let’s save the statue of Bill McKinley,’ he cried and under his inspiration the workmen bore a ready hand.” San Francisco Examiner 1906

A passing worker—employed by the Ironworks—saw that the statue would be ruined if abandoned, and called to his co-workers who were saving their own belongings. The Examiner wrote: “They dragged the heroic figure to the center of the street and there it remained unharmed, resting on its back”, with an outstretched hand pointing to the sky.

Returning to the scene, Patigian noticed a crowd gathering near the Works. He hurried over to find his art piece lying in the street—the rescue vehicle used to haul it to safety a charred wreck. Twelve days after the great quake, George Zehndner, Arcata businessman and benefactor who ordered the bronze, received a telegram from Patigian stating the effigy had been saved.

San Francisco City Hall’s surviving dome, 1906, McAllister Street and Van Ness Avenue in charred ruins

Haig Patigian was a respected artist in his day, at the time of his death called by the San Francisco Chronicle “one of the giants of San Francisco’s Golden Age.” Many of his works survive in San Francisco, including one of Abraham Lincoln outside City Hall, itself regenerated and reconstructed after the demise of its iconic predecessor, Chronicle Archive picture, right.

Zehndner paid $15,000 for the original sculpture in 1906—lost, mourned and then recovered unblemished from the glowing coals of the surrounding foundry.

One hundred thirteen years later the now-politically-incorrect statesman found a new home—in Canton, Ohio—where the local residents appreciate his other works—including a McKinley Memorial Library and Museum. The statesman’s 8-1/2foot 800-lb bronze likeness will find a public stance nearby.

Fickle Finger of Fate and Finance

Last week brought some kind of closure to the beleaguered bronze. Through fire, earthquake, flood and (occasional student) harassment, the skilled lost-wax bronze rendering of the late 19thC politician will not bite the dust.

East along Market Street after 1906 Mag.7.9 earthquake—lavish art-deco Call building burns to ground

This time it will rise again on another plinth in another guise: Canton was McKinley’s chosen home town. He had planned to retire there. Now he will.

In Canton, the townspeople have $15,000 to spend. That’s exactly how much its benefactor Arcata resident Zehndner paid for the sculpture in 1906. And Arcata has accepted.

Insecure Challenge and Update
We IWSGers know how Fate—and our writing Muse—tend to travel hand-in-hand. But there’s no telling how fickle financial finagling will affect any outcome.

IWSG question for March

Synchronously, we may therefore empathize with our fellow Insecure Writers in our March IWSG challenge/question

[choose one] Whose perspective do you like to write from best: the hero [protagonist] or the villain [antagonist]?
And why?

Now there’s something to get our [insecure] teeth into.
In McKinley’s case, he is both bad guy and good guy—depending on our —writerly/historical— perceptions.
Which would you choose?
Thanks, blog-Cap’n.Alex for allowing me such digressions 😉
©2019 Marian Youngblood

March 5, 2019 Posted by | art, authors, belief, blogging, consciousness, culture, elemental, environment, fantasy, fiction, history, Muse, nature, novel, popular, publishing, seismic, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fast Radio Bursts—Writing & Communicating Beyond the Galaxy

FAST RADIO BURSTS—FRBs—WRITING & COMMUNICATING BEYOND the GALAXY
Monthly Astro IWSG Corner for Insecure Space Cadets

Mysterious signals are coming from a distant galaxy outside our own Milky Way—picked up by a new radio telescope in British Columbia.

Excited Astrophysicists meet Elated Astronomers
Among thirteen fast radio bursts—FRBs—came a strange, repeating signal from the same area of sky, approx. 1.5 billion light years distant.

Such an event was only recorded once before—by a different telescope.

Highly excited electrically-neutron star collision 1.5billion light years distant seen by new radio telescope

This second repeater, found among the first few CHIME-FRB discoveries, suggests that there exists—and that we and other wide-field sensitive radio telescopes will find—a substantial population of repeating FRBs out there sending on super-low frequencies
Nature, January 2019 CHIME/FRB Collaboration

More FRBs—bright, short-lived pulses of radio waves that come from across the universe—have been detected by astronomers. The bursts, which originate from a galaxy 1.5 billion light years from Earth, repeated 13 times, and then stopped.

This is only the second time that repeating fast radio bursts have ever been recorded. The first was almost immediately after *CHIME’s launch last year—August 2018. Considering Earth hasn’t had the technology to scan such intra-galactic distances until very recently—2018’s FRBs were an answer to a—cosmological—prayer.

Astrophysicists from London, Berlin and Harvard-Smithsonian joined radio-astronomers from Puerto Rico’s Arecibo to B.C.’s Okanagan Valley in an excited discussion of its source.

CHIME-Fast Radio Burst Collaboration’s radio dish telescope array in Brit.Columbia

The team searching for FRBs published their discovery over a three-week period last summer during the recording of 13 repeat flashes—using the new radio telescope. Nature, British pinnacle of scientific investigation, offers a preview of the CHIME/FRB collaboration as a courtesy to the scientific community.

For only the second time ever—spanning more than sixty FRBs recorded to date, one of those FRBs was detected repeating.

It came from the same region of intergalactic space as the Arecibo signal. But it was only 1.5billion light years away. Arecibo’s repeater originated more than 3billion light years distant—with radio waves as low as 400-580megaHz—lowest ever recorded.

Speculation among the astro community ranges from dying neutron star flare, to Electric Universe theory to colliding supernovae, exploding White or Red Dwarfs, even intertwining galaxies. Harvard professors Loeb and Lingam have decided repeaters could be ‘leakage from planet-size Alien computers’.
*CHIME=Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment

Sacred Geometry in Intensifying Alien Signals
Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico was previously the only observatory where repeating bursts had been recorded—in 2015. FRBs were first detected by chance in 2007, when a burst was spotted in radio astronomy data that had been collected as early as 2001. Frequency was usually in 1800MHz range. The new radio frequency—below 400MHz—is the lowest ever recorded. “It is likely that many more FRBs with even lower radio frequencies often travel past our planet. Now our technical know-how may be up to the task of ‘hearing’ such a low range,” said Professor Loeb.

Milky Way galaxy colliding with Andromeda—’blooming’ on edges—FRBs where worlds collide

What is most surprising is that all geometries give diatonic—musical—ratios. Before us, only the Egyptians linked geometric theory with music. They called geometry frozen music.
Gerald S. Hawkins PhD
Author Stonehenge Decoded;
Beyond Stonehenge, decoder of Alien CC text

Harvard-Smithsonian has traditionally led ‘alternative’ Science since 1963, when Gerald Hawkins formulated his solar & lunar eclipse cycles for Stonehenge on its first IBM computer. A radio astronomer himself, studying under Sir Bernard Lovell, he transformed our understanding of crop circle messages before he died in 2003. He and his team of crop circle decoders—Paul Vigay among them—captured essence of the remarkable 1991 Milk Hill alien crop message—noting that it reads exactly the same backwards as forwards.

Our cultural leaders may need to inject a new mindset into investment in the Space Race if our alien brothers and sisters have started lending a hand.

We are indeed on a course of ‘Quickening’ with Andromeda.

For us Insecure writers and our Space Cap’n Alex—even more so than astrophysicists—the entry gate is narrow.
But it is a Stargate, after all.

New moon cycle brings Chinese Year of the Pig this week. Double Aquarius guides us in the direction we need to go.
It’s onward-skyward from here.
©2019 Marian Youngblood

February 6, 2019 Posted by | astronomy, authors, belief, blogging, culture, fiction, publishing, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Appearance or Disappearance? Loopholes in the Cetacean Matrix

APPEARANCE OR DISAPPEARANCE? Loopholes in the Cetacean Matrix
Monthly Disappearance Corner for Insecure Writers

My favorite margin edge: barnacles lining a humpback’s mouth as she blows

Birds do it; Bees do it;
Even educated fleas do it.
Let’s do it. Let’s fall in love.
Ella Fitzgerald after Cole Porter

Blowing One’s Horn
THAR SHE BLOWS is a culturally frowned-on expression these days. When Hermann Melville used it in Moby Dick, 1851, he was quoting the phrase by whalers of his day who scoured the northern seas for whale harvest. But Ahab also had revenge in his heart for the white whale he sought who had taken his knee on a previous whale hunt.

World whaling nations

Nowadays those nations who still hunt whales—e.g. Norway, South Korea, Australia, Iceland, Denmark/Greenland, Russia, get no support from world whale trusts, and public outcry to uphold a worldwide whale ban is now deafening. Unapproved or condoned, the whale has the greatest ability of all mammals alive these days to ‘blow’ her horn. Dogs do it, cats do it; even educated rats in spats do it [we’re told]. Probably the most famous human to do it—to blow his horn—was trumpet virtuoso Louis Armstrong, 1901-1971.

Cetacean Nation or Scrambled Ambergris
Constellation Cetus, which we see now in our winter northern sky, is a crossover from the southern hemisphere, a sea monster pardoned by Helios/Sun after being frozen by Perseus—with the aid of Medusa’s head which turned it to stone—and sent to shine next to Eridanus, the celestial river which connects northern and southern sky hemispheres. Poseidon created Cetus to represent the power of the deep sea, and sent the sea monster on many missions of destruction. He met his death when Poseidon punished Queen Cassiopeia for her never-ending boasting, and ordered the powerful creature to destroy the Ethiopian coast. Catalogued by astronomer Ptolemy, c.A.D.100 in his Almagest, he was the sea monster sent by Neptune to devour Andromeda, chained to a rock as a sacrifice. In Greek myth, Cetus was turned to stone but released to the Cosmos, to shine forever.

Celestial sea ‘monster’ Ketos/Cetus the Whale clambers into northern skies to remind us of our oceanic origins

Cetus is the fourth largest constellation in the night sky, occupying 1,231 square degrees. Cetus is intertwined with Aquarius, Aries, Eridanus, Fornax, Pisces, Sculptor and Taurus. The constellation has four main stars and nine deep space objects, including one Messier and three meteor showers.

Superstitious sailors believed in cetus as the bringer of a great storm or misfortune on the ship. They associated it with lost cargo, the presence of pirates, or being swept off course, and avoided any talk of it aboard ship. Cetus equated to having a woman on board. Both were considered unlucky—as the Sea was the Sailor’s only Mistress—so presence of both presaged superhuman disaster.

Ambergris forms the basis of human—female perfumes; whale oil (blubber) used for lanterns until the advent of kerosene in 1860. Theoretically no nation needs to kill for fuel any more; but ‘scientific assessment’ continues within the whaling nations, despite statistics of decline.

We IWSGers are no strangers to deadlines! ❤ Superstitious? Well, yeah, kinda. Goes with being a Writing Introvert. We like symbolism, but a gathering storm of politicos has consequences for all of us.

As our SciFi guru Alex, says, we need to grow up; let the skittles fall where they may—get on with our latest writing project—and start cherishing the special creatures in our midst.

Before it is too late.

According to world wolf/bear and whale survival statistics, the deadline has passed: it’s already later than we think.
©2018 Marian Youngblood

December 4, 2018 Posted by | Ascension, astrology, astronomy, authors, birds, blogging, culture, environment, festivals, fiction, music, novel, publishing, seasonal, traditions, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Birds of a Feather—The Cuckoo in the Nest

BIRDS OF A FEATHER—THE CUCKOO IN THE NEST
Monthly Perch for Insecure Writers & Others of that Ilk

Subterranean Samhain monster in partially submerged Oligocene strata, Antipaxos, Ionian Sea

Our current cultural vision may seem similar to that strange bird, the cuckoo—medieval cuckold comes to mind ❤ —who 'invades' a functioning bird family, usurping the nest, flinging his fellow flightless companions to their deaths and running adoptive mother (meadow pippet) ragged, while he—oversize and undernourished—tumbles overspilling—into first flight.

To divert us ISWGers from our tendency to dwell on our failings, forget that we are capable of greatness, I devised a strategy of timewarp which should please our Ninja Cap'n Alex—time travel.

Only on this occasion, we're doing it in reverse.
Let's go back. Way back. Buckle up. You might discover something new on the ancestral (animal) path.

If you’re pouncing broadly into Jurassic Park time, Jurassic World even, that’s mezozoic: 199.6million-145million years ago, a little early. Imagine beyond Tyranosaurus Rex, post-pterodactyl, after Smilodon

Jurassic Ancestors Die off after Global Cooling

The Oligocene Epoch, when our Ionian Ogre, top, appeared, came right in the middle of the Tertiary Period—at end of the Paleogene—approx. 33.9 million-23 million years ago. Although it lasted a ‘short’ 11 million years, a number of major changes happened at that time. Changes caused by global cooling include appearance of the first elephants with trunks, early horses, and an explosion of many grasses that fostered a habitat for a sudden influx of new quadrupeds.

As a result of cooling temperatures, life and habitat of many ocean organisms were directly affected. Marine eco-environments fragmented as sea creatures able to withstand cooler temperatures migrated to places further from warm equatorial current. This suddenly reduced diversity in marine plankton—foundation of the food chain.

Nocturnal raptors had an easier time in the Oligocene until daytime hawks & eagles joined in

On land, mammals like horses, deer/elk, camel, elephants, cats, dogs, rats and primates began to dominate—except in Australia.

In Western Europe there were 17 generic extinctions, 20 first appearances, and 25 mammal survivals. As the land fauna migration route between Asia and North America dispersed lineages of cattle, pig, giraffe, and camel to new continents, South American forest and pampas flourished. Apes developed both in the Amazon and in Africa simultaneously, but Africa alone created the first hominids. North America spawned the rat, his cousin the gopher and many lesser mouse companions.

Fossil Hyaenodon from White River, South Dakota, coyote ancestor found in Badlands National Park

The first feathered bird appeared with a beak that was mobile enough to catch insects—presumably our friend the pterodactyl couldn’t. The first deciduous broadleaves [oak, ash, hazel] started to infiltrate the previously dominant redwood (northern) rainforest.

Conifers were also losing ground to developing grasslands—spreading from Mongolia via the land bridge to American prairies and the Midwest—perfect habitat for newer, speedier grazing mammals. Buffalo, cattle, boar-pig—with supporting cast of voles and hamsters.

In the southern pampas, camel and giraffe diversified to become llama and alpaca. Tropical rainforest found refuge in equatorial Amazonia and Indonesia.

Primeval Beaver and Wiley Coyote

Racoon ancestral selfie

Daylight raptors, like falcons, eagles, and hawks, along with 7-10 families of rodents, first appeared proliferating new northern forests, strengthening along with the grain.

The ancestor of the American beaver built his first dam.

Burgeoning meadow grasses made for rapid and diverse genetic growth in horses, developing both in size and speed capability. Ancestor of the Mustang started here.

I liked the logic of the Aleutian land bridge being used by intelligent—and high-energy new creatures—along with their predators—in a competitive novel environment, bringing new lifeforms and muscle power to the New World. The present Kentucky racehorse may be the pinnacle of that growth curve.

Forgive my digression. I had to think laterally. The news is otherwise too distracting. For a writer, that is. NaNoWriMo is also in progress and I’m ‘resting’ this year 😉
Thanks to the Ancestors—fish and fowl, feline and four-pawed.
©2018 Marian Youngblood

November 7, 2018 Posted by | authors, birds, calendar customs, culture, festivals, fiction, history, nature, novel, publishing, trees, volcanic, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments