Youngblood Blog

Writing weblog, local, topical, personal, spiritual

Splash of Light on Long Winter Nights—Comet joins Festive Show

SPLASH OF LIGHT ON LONG WINTER NIGHTS—COMET JOINS FESTIVE SHOW in December Skies
Winter CatchUp Corner for IWSGers, NaNoWriMos and All Writers

Comet 2I/Borisov, discovered by amateur Crimean astronomer in October, is being monitored by Hubble Space Telescope as it flits through the solar system

Firstly, most important—and also because we writers are an insecure lot—I want to say ‘well done’ to all writers, great and small, of any age and persuasion, insecure or self-assured, who completed their NaNoWriMo W.I.P., and who may now be editing! their next world-famous novel.

Next: how do we WRITERS intend to face the world through the winter, after keeping ourselves hidden from political mayhem on all continents, down in the dungeons and self-imposed depths of computer/typewriterdom?

Voilà, Comet Borisov to the rescue.


Comet for Christmas—Southern Hemisphere Style

Comet 2I Borisov is interstellar. Not one of our own Oort Cloud near-solar system (domestic) comets that take a quick dip around the sun—perihelion—and back home to the Cloud. Borisov has more hyperbolic ‘orbit’, merely grazing our solar system, scheduled for its closest solar approach in one week’s time—December 7-8th, 2019—a mere couple of AUs* distant, roughly on the inner edge of the Asteroid Belt, between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars. Its closest approach to the Earth—perigee—is 29th/30 December at a safe distance of around 2AU, just in time for Earth New Year. Sadly then only visible in Southern ocean skies.

*Astronomical unit (AU): unit of length used in astronomy equal to the mean distance of the Earth from the Sun—or about 93 million miles (150 million kilometers).

Crop Circle predictions, summer 2019 leading to December sky dynamics, graphic by Jonas Passos

“A comet with a parabolic trajectory (with an eccentricity of 1) would leave the Solar System in the direction it entered, having had its path altered by 180°. 2I/Borisov, with its higher eccentricity, has a more open trajectory and will have its path altered by only 34° as it passes through the Solar System” Gennady Borisov, comet discoverer, Black Sea.

Borisov entered the Solar System in October from the direction of Cassiopeia, near its border with Perseus. This direction indicates that it originates from the galactic plane, rather than from the (nearby) galactic halo. It will leave the Solar System in the direction of Telescopium, southern hemisphere’s Telescope constellation. In interstellar space, 2I/Borisov takes roughly 9000 years to travel one light-year, relative to our Sun.

Tree-felling in the Christian Tradition
How does this fit in with our OTT fixation on Christmas Trees? I hear you ask.

Don’t get me started on the Victorian encapsulated tradition of Tannenbaum in the English-speaking world. British Royals do it; Slavs & Lats do it; Niggas in their boats upon the Flats do it. Let’s kill another conifer for Christmas. With apologies to Cole Porter.

Oops. Just slipped out.

It’s the tree-planter in me waving an olive branch. Eventually, I hope, our 200-year-old heavily Germanic ritual of felling and decorating a live conifer for (Saxe-Coburg-Gotha) Christmas Eve festival of light may be replaced by fairy light branchlets and garden strewn sparklers. But that’s a future possible. Not an immediate likelihood. December is fairy light time, virtual or actual, worldwide.

Same old, same old: Laysan Albatross Wisdom, and her partner, sitting on the same old nest again this year, Midway Island Refuge

Thus we enter the Season of Goodwill and Peace to all Men, women, children, dogs, cats, wolves, whales and albatrosses.

I need to bring in my friend Wisdom from the Midway Island Pelagian Wildlife Refuge. She and her 64-year old mate have just flown half-way across the Pacific to return to their nest. Both veteran Laysan birds come zooming in—with their 12-foot wingspan and impressive haunting call, tidying up, preparing and then sitting on their nest for another year. It’s like two giant desks perched on top of a pillar of guano, their magnificent wings tucked in for comfort and warmth.

They already have one egg they’re taking turns hatching. Albatross monogamy is supreme in birds—64 years is a long time to be together.

Thanks for an inspiration to all of us to be faithful and true to our (writerly) selves and keep on keeping on.

Write-Edit-Publish Footprints

And if you still have energy and can’t wait to write, there’s the IWSG December W.E.P.Challenge—Write, Edit, Publish in 1000 words—and the theme is Footprints.

Footprints in the sand…Footprints in the snow—they don’t have to be human—alien, monster, unknown creatures all in 1000 words. Details here.

May I offer you my own compliments of the season.
©2019 Marian Youngblood

December 4, 2019 Posted by | ancient rites, art, astronomy, authors, blogging, calendar customs, crop circles, culture, festivals, fiction, nature, novel, popular, publishing, seasonal, sun, weather, winter, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Through Uncharted Waters—Navigating the MotherShip by the Stars

THROUGH UNCHARTED WATERS—NAVIGATING THE MOTHERSHIP BY THE STARS
Monthly Muse-driven Medley for Insecure Writers and Wannabe SciFi Scribes

Sparticles Wood Crop Circle June 21st finally brought the classic back to its native English chalk downs, after a foray into Normandy beach heads

The Silly Season—Now it Begins
The combination of Wimbledon, Royal Ascot, Henley Regatta and the appearance of crop circles in the chalk downs of Hampshire-Wiltshire-Surrey countryside seem to get the Brits into holiday mode.

While the United States of America—in one cultural bloc—conspire to break their own world record of shooting off the greatest number of fireworks, rockets and Roman candles in a 12-hour period for Independence Day, across the Pond the short English summer begins. Hats and finery are front and center. Tennis, cricket, football (soccer) and polo horses dot the landscape; rowing teams, barges and punts moor next to pubs on placid waterways. There are Garden Parties.

In this festive mood, Wimbledon Week began with a bang. On opening day, HRH Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, recently asked by HM Queen to take over her role as Patron of the illustrious All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, was treated to a magnificent debut. From her royal box she watched Wimbledon legend—and eight-times champion, Venus Williams—be overturned in an amazing first round win by a 15-year old novice/disciple——Coco Gauff—beating her idol in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.

July 1st Danebury crop circle—decidedly drone-like—coming in for landing at Winchester’s 2500-year old hillfort, photo Nick Bull

HRH Prince William and other Royals are revving up their summer schedules. Her Majesty already set her Edinburgh Royal Week in motion, with help from bekilted Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Forfar/Wessex to host her renowned garden parties. Princes William and Harry will keep the home fires burning at Royal Polo Club’s 49th International Day, July 27th, at Home of English Polo—in newly-appointed surroundings—the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club, Windsor.

Within this heightened summertime atmosphere of expectation and delight, it’s not unusual for classic crop circles to appear in the clay-filled electromagnetically-charged fields of Wiltshire et al.

Meanwhile in the Marianas
Across in the Pacific by contrast, the week’s events focused volcanic unrest in Java and the islands of New Guinea; with a series of continuing high magnitude earthquake sequences in the Marianas, off the Philippines in the Mindanao Deep.* They occurred synchronously with Tuesday’s total solar eclipse—seen as partial here in the Bismarck Sea. Other Antipodean nations, viz. all of Antarctica, the Falklands, Sandwich Islands, Solomons and Indian Ocean—beginning to emerge from their own midwinter—experienced four minutes’ totality.
* Mag.6.5 and greater; also coastline Japan, and Kamchatka peninsula.

Crop Circles and Normandy Landings
English crop circles had been few, so by solstice Croppies were thrilled when a classic circle finally appeared in a traditional chalk downs location, after several weeks of Euro competition. Unusual for northern France, earlier in June—at a time when most western nations were holding joint ceremony to commemorate the 1944 Allied D-Day Landings on the Normandy beaches—eleven crop circles—including one at the aptly-named Mieraville, Pas-de-Calais—popped up along the (English) Channel coast.

Wormhole with insect emerging, design by AnimalAlien inspired by solstice crop circle at Sparticles Wood, Surrey

Sparticles Wood Bee/drone appearance brought rejoicing in the (British) corn.

Recent research into collective behavior of animals from whales through insects, and by analogy from metasequoia to micro-organisms, indicates that all creatures can communicate—some like bees, ants and birds, over vast distances.

Both crop circles use insect—drone buzzing—bee imagery—one through the wormhole of time; the other perhaps its own timewarp instrument. Insect longevity as a species on earth, with its ability to communicate over distance—on level of pheromones, taste, smell and in the case of the honey bee, the bee dance—make it immortal.

In a few short years, recreational drones have become commonplace.

Drone and Beehive Community

Beehive fulfillment center towers would supply drones with packages no heavier than 5lbs

‘The company has applied for a patent for towers that bear a resemblance to beehives that would serve as multilevel fulfillment centers for its delivery drone service’
Amazon Prime Air

Amazon has been awarded a patent to allow sale of surveillance drones for personal property, with fears of the Megalopoly becoming all-powerful in the private arena.

The vision is of drones taking off, landing and picking up deliveries from these vertical beehive structures, right, located in densely populated areas. Shades of Bruce Willis’s Sixth Sense multiple level transit system.

What do we IWSGers see? Looking into our own future?

Two exquisitely layered, lovingly laid wheat mesh networks, several Mag.7 rumblings in the world’s deepest ocean, and a total solar eclipse—almost completely invisible anywhere in the Northern hemisphere—unless you live on Midway Island—blatant admission that I share our revered Space Captain Cavanaugh’s passion for time travel action movies and IWSG fantasy scenarios.

Teaser for Midway, due for November release? The trailer says it all: Woody Harrelson as Admiral Nimitz, Dennis Quaid as Vice Admiral Bull Halsey. Directed by master hand behind Stargate, and Independence Day, Roland Emmerich. Plus CGI. Howzat for star-studded navigation? If it inspires us Insecure Writers to keep on writing…Enjoy.

And a reminder that IWSG’s 2019 Anthology Contest is now open. For those doing summer writing, may the stars be with you.

At the helm—
©2019 Marian Youngblood

July 3, 2019 Posted by | art, astrology, astronomy, blogging, calendar customs, consciousness, crop circles, culture, earth changes, environment, fiction, Muse, nature, ocean, ritual, seasonal, traditions, 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

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

Fairies, Fantasy & Fabulous Royals—Imaginary Friends in our Comfort Cave

FAIRIES, FANTASY, ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS FODDER for our IWSG COMFORT CAVE
MONTHLY HIDEOUT for INSECURE WRITERS—FANTASY or OTHERWISE

Flights of fancy are more than just soaring imagination—away with the fairies

With Flower Fairies of the Spring, a Victorian classic published 1923 illustrated by Cicely Mary Barker (1895-1973), and read by generations of British children, came a late Art Deco/Bohemian breakaway from traditional, classical portrayal of the Faerie realm. Prior to her designs, C.16th Edmund Spenser classic, The Faerie Queene—reputed to have inspired Shakespeare—was traditional English fare.

Victorian myth and local legend combined to fill a child’s imagination

Bohemian Breakaway from Faerie Queene
The Faerie Queene (1590) epic poem by Edmund Spenser (c. 1552–1599), follows the adventures of a group of medieval knights. The poem, written in deliberately archaic style, draws on history and myth—particularly the legends of Arthur, beloved of Brits.

Each book/canto follows the adventures of a knight representing a desirable virtue—holiness, temperance, chastity, friendship, justice, courtesy—each having that quality in him or herself tested by the plot. The Faerie Queene is allegorical—praising Elizabeth I—Gloriana—Faerie Queene herself, the virgin Belphoebe, and Elizabethan notions of virtue. The poem uses contemporary history and politics to celebrate and criticize the Tudor dynasty, twisting religious controversies and reforms of the time under Mary and Elizabeth. Spenser wrote that one of his intentions was that reading his work should ‘fashion a gentleman or noble person in virtuous and gentle disciple’. Yet somehow it satisfies current hunger in movie audiences for historical realism.

Lavender fairy, courtesy Cicely Mary Barker

In Book 2, the knight Guyon reads an old history of Faerieland, which gives Spenser the opportunity to recount a chronicle of British rulers. In Canto 10*, he tells the story of Leyr/Lyr. The story is similar to that told by C.12th historian Geoffrey of Monmouth. In Spenser’s version, Leyr is looking to retire in his old age. After the love test and division of the realm, he weds Gonorill to the king of Scotland, and Regan to the king of Cambria/Wales. Cordeill/Cordelia is sent dowerless to Aganip of Celtica (France). In a gripping ending, dutiful daughter Cordeill restores Leyr to the crown and later inherits it herself; only to be overthrown by her nephews. In Spenser’s version, Cordeill hangs herself, rather than stabbing or cutting herself—and this is probably source of the method of Cordelia’s murder in Shakespeare’s play.
*Stanzas 27–32 (pp. 332–34)

Classic English Rose, High Queen of Summer

Swinging in her scented bower, Wild Rose Fairy is High Queen of Summer, 1925

I am the queen whom everybody knows:
I am the English Rose;
As light and free as any Jenny Wren,
As dear to Englishmen;

Fold on fold of purest white, lovely pink or red that glows; deep, sweet-scented—what delight—to be Fairy of the Rose


As joyous as a Robin Redbreast’s tune,
I scent the air of June;
My buds are rosy as a baby’s cheek;
I have one word to speak,

One word which is my secret and my song,
’Tis “England, England, England” all day long.
Wild Rose Fairy
Cicely Mary Barker, 1925


Royals Rev up in Fabulous Fantasy Fashion

“England, England” may only rarely be shouted by joyful football fans these days, but we are fortunate in our IWSG underground fantasy writing cave—where all intrepid but insecure introvert writers hole up over the holidays to have instant internet access to inspiring full-frontal videos of beautiful young British Royals flaunting a fashion statement in a kingdom relatively unchanged since the 16th century, while at the same time showing us writers a way to keep the flag flying.

HRH Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex at Sandringham for Christmas

HRH Diana, Princess of Wales, who died over twenty years ago under dramatic circumstances, led the then reluctant British monarchy out of their closeted rule-bound protocol existence, venturing across mine-strewn warfields, embracing young unknown admirers in a royal walkabout. Her sons, Princes Wills and Harry, have taken a lead from her. Both their wives, HRH Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex, left, are encouraged to meet the public, and displays of genuine affection have jumped from royal bedchamber into commoner children’s street life. Diana would have loved all this sharing.

It just happens that our vintage Space Cap’n Alex is a movie maestro—with current historical-realism featuring high on his pick list—Mary, Queen of Scots and The Favourite (elderly spinster Queen Anne) shine light into a royal system unchanged for centuries—until now.

It’s an open secret that Prince Charles is happier in his organic garden than in the throne room. HM the Queen shows no sign of faltering, bless her handbag. Young fairytale princesses in phantom gowns have her approval. And always make us feel better.

May angels surround us through 2019.
New Year resolution? May we expect the unexpected.
©2019 Marian Youngblood

January 2, 2019 Posted by | ancient rites, astronomy, birds, calendar customs, consciousness, culture, elemental, fantasy, fiction, nature, publishing, seasonal, 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

Millennial or Generational Divide: all Baby-Boomers’ Fault

MILLENNIAL OR GENERATIONAL DIVIDE: ALL BABY-BOOMERS’ FAULT
Monthly IWSG Writerly Hideaway for All Generations

Ernst & Young report on Rise of Gen-Z shows 2001+ iGen overtaking Millennials worldwide

“Millennials are more focused on what’s in it for them. They look outside to others—companies and colleagues—for solutions; whereas the younger people naturally seek to create their own solutions.”
Marcie Merriman, Exec.Dir. Ernst & Young LLP

Children born in 2001 will turn 18 next year. In U.S. many will enter university, vote and, depending on their choice, may smoke and drink alcohol without breaking the law. These are the Gen Zers or iGens. They have never known a non-digital world and have grown up amid a world aware of terrorism and global recession.

They are grandchildren of the Flower Power peace people of the ‘sixties Boomer breakaway. They have seen mistakes made by parents and grandparents, and are determined to do things better.

Psychedelic Dragon by 12-year old GenZ artist

And they have the IT capability to make it happen.

Baby Boomer Baggage
Boomers, born after their parents returned from war in 1945, were radical—not rad like their great-grandkids, but countercultural enough to up-tentpoles and follow their rock idols (as groupies) anywhere; some experiencing Vietnam, took the advice of Berkeley guru-of-all-trades, Timothy Leary:—

“Turn on, tune in, drop out”
Timothy Leary, UC Berkeley, 1966
Mantra of the ‘Sixties psychedelic generation

Millennials, on the other hand, are accustomed to external motivators, according to a recent report by Ernst & Young. Time Magazine called them “The Me Me Me Generation” because they want it all. To Psychology Today they are known as confident, entitled and depressed.

Apex hippie flower power Boomer music curve, Altamont 1969:— “If U remember, U weren’t there”

Born between 1980 and 2000, incentives, trophies, and praise were used [by their parents, the Baby Boomers, themselves struggling to survive] to motivate Millennials as they were growing up. Many Millennials lack internal motivation to overcome career impatience.

iGens are DIY-motivated, independent; i.e. if you want it done right, do it yourself—75% of them believe there are alternative ways to get a good education than attending college, according to Sparks & Honey 2018 survey. Nielsen’s recent research survey finds:

“Each generation comes with a unique pattern of behavior, presenting challenges for those targeting them. Gen Z are bombarded by messages and, as a generation, can quickly detect its relevance to them.”

Demographic switch-over is welcome news for delivery services, gadget makers and the so-called gig economy.
But it means headaches for educators, event planners, luxury brands and travel companies. Golf and world cruising are relegated almost exclusively to Baby-Boomerdom. Golf is now a game where the average age of players is 50+. Tiger Woods, 42, would be pleased to know he is an anachronism.

Rôle-Hopping or Job-Hopping

Which generation burns the candle at both ends? CatGen, of course

Growing up fast in an on-demand culture, the Millennial generation [b.1980-2001] has little patience for stagnation, especially when it impacts their careers. They switch jobs. Or hold down multiple after-hours work themes.

Generation Z don’t want to miss any valuable experience. They flex their super-aware learning antennae by multi-tasking: marketing, accounting, human resources—always with IT—within an organization. Or work from home.

iGens say they’d rather have a reliable internet connection, than a functioning bathroom, according to Nielsen. They make do with what is—while continuing to communicate with a network of roughly 150 friends—see Dunbar Numbervia Memes, wordplay, game slang and graphics.

Global Citizens or Spectators

IWSG Anthology contest continues thru Nov 4

Nielsen states 58 percent of adults worldwide aged 35+ agreed “kids today have more in common with their global peers than with adults in their own country.”

Millennials were the first global generation. They saw significant world events in their life times and share character traits and international values across borders.

Gen Z interacts with global peers with greater fluidity than any previous generation. As more people come online and geography continues to shrink, Gen Z see themselves as global citizens.

We Insecure writers are mostly head down tunnel-visioned introverts. Our Ninja Cap’n.Alex helps us draw inspiration from the future—his prequel CassaDawn is reviewed as rivaling Asimov’s Foundation. Asimov (1920-1992) was of the classic “Silent Generation”. Think Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford, Dean Martin and the Ocean’s-11 Rat Pack—themselves prequel to 2018’s Ocean’s-8.

A great way for us—in-between Boomer groups—to cherish our ancestors!
©2018 Marian Youngblood

October 3, 2018 Posted by | authors, blogging, culture, fiction, history, novel, publishing, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment