Youngblood Blog

Writing weblog, local, topical, personal, spiritual

Beating the Same Drum—for our Earthly Home

MONTHLY INSECURE WRITERS’ SUPPORT GROUP CORNER
Optimism as an Excuse for Delaying

Dr. Suess predicted our human dilemma in finding a balance with Nature

Dr. Suess predicted our human dilemma in finding a balance with Nature


“If we try to ‘save everything,’ we risk saving nothing of consequence. We’re already spread too thin, and losing ground every day”
Corporate ‘optimism’ of Dan Ashe, Director U.S. Fish & Game/Wildlife Service

One of the most facile excuses we have heard recently for the U.S. Government’s NOT upholding the Endangered Species Act.

Created in 1973 as Richard Nixon’s sole claim to humanitarianism on his exit from office, the Endangered Species Act is about to expire. And big business—along with its allies in the huntin’-shootin’-fishin’ aka “sports” community are just going to let it happen.

Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Dan Ashe told a small Defenders of Wildlife group that he sees a “giant clash” between those who favor conservation and those who favor economic development; he believes that conservationists “must accept a world with fewer wolves, salmon, and spotted owls.” The Director of the U.S. agency fully responsible for protecting the nation’s biodiversity went on to say that, in the name of compromise, we must accept “a world with less biodiversity.”

We already live in a world with “fewer wolves, salmon and spotted owls!” Humans used to be able to live in balance with nature, as part of nature. We’ve allowed ourselves to behave in ways that suggest we are above nature—where we have the right to decide which species deserve to survive.

During the current Obama Administration, anti-conservationists have launched no fewer than 100 attacks on the Endangered Species Act. Often hidden, attached as riders to must-pass legislation such as authorization bills for U.S. Dept. of Defense, appropriations bills for Dept. of Interior and other Federal agencies, nearly half of the bills prohibit protection of individual species, such as the grey wolf or the Northern long-eared bat.

The Endangered Species Act is also being dismantled from within. At critical leadership positions, U.S. Administration has chosen individuals uncommitted to preserving biodiversity.

Optimism as an Excuse for Decimating World Resources
It starts at the top. The Director of the Fish and Wildlife Agency, it appears, has the view, that we must live with less biodiversity. He states—

Clearfelling is illegal in CA, but Federal agencies turn a blind eye where conflict of business interests occur

Clearfelling is illegal in CA, but Federal agencies turn a blind eye where conflict of business interests occur


“Hellen Keller once said, ‘Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.’ The Fish and Wildlife Service, and the work we do, will continue to embody that spirit.

“That’s why we’re working hard to ensure that our organization is fit and capable to meet the challenges in front of us. And why we’re building and strengthening partnership-driven conservation efforts across the nation.”
Dan Ashe, Director, U.S. Federal Fish & Wildlife Agency

Helen Keller’s sentiments are laudable, but she was blind. So, it seems, are certain ‘partnerships’ chosen by U.S. government agencies to represent endangered creatures, once protected. Now no more.

Logging companies, careless in their custodianship of irreplaceable first-growth forest, are hungry to pick up scraps from the contested Klamath River watershed sell-off, in the wind-down to dam removal in 2020.

Green Diamond (so-called) Resource Company is one of these ‘custodians’. Touting in its conservation literature to hikers its success in saving the endangered California Spotted Owl from extinction merely two years ago, it is now implementing clear-felling in the bird’s target habitat of Humboldt County at the very moment its representative Endangered Species Act is becoming null and void.

California's Spotted Owl, survivors of forest fires, but  now unprotected—sweeties!

California’s Spotted Owl, survivors of forest fires, but now unprotected—sweeties!

In continuing to allow economic gain to dictate our future action—or inaction in the case of the Endangered Species Act—we the people appear to condone our political/business leaders’ attitude.

Is it not time to stop this blindness? Instead, to use our combined intelligence/compassion and search for a future where we may begin to see the Earth—our only home—recover?

Apologies to my fellow IWSGers—under our Space-Cap’n.Alex‘s superb guidance—along with his co-hosts—if I seem to bang on incessantly at the same drum. But we writers have always known we had finite resources—worked our way to make the best use of them—as the plight of the planet is dear to us, too. It is our only home. There is no Planet-B.

So, Dan Ashe and his fellow sportsman Neal Ewald notwithstanding, we need all the help we can get from the writers, creative people, those with a voice.

Thanks for listening and if you feel motivated, be my guest and speak up for us all.
And Happy Bealltainn!
©2016 Marian Youngblood

May 4, 2016 Posted by | authors, birds, blogging, culture, environment, nature, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fishing for Compliments—or a Living

INSECURE WRITERS’ MONTHLY SHARING CORNER or
EMPATHIZING with the UNSUNG aka Fishermen

Crescent City, CA marina April 2016 without boats, photo courtesy Tom Lesher F/V Jumping Jack

Crescent City, CA marina April 2016 without boats, photo courtesy Tom Lesher F/V Jumping Jack


Crab Fisherman’s Lament 1991-1992 & 2015-2016
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the hall
all the fishermen sat at the Conference Call.
Their boats, they were nestled all snug in the Bay,
in hopes that tomorrow would be opening day.
Bud with his checkbook and Vince with his pen
were just sitting down—they had done it again.
They had to come up with some new kind of story
“Well you know guys we’ve got way too much inventory.
“The most we could possibly pay you’s a buck.
“If you want more than that, well, you’re just out of luck.”

In all of the ports there arose such a clatter
people jumped out of bed to see what was the matter.
“All right guys, calm down now, you’ve vented your spleen.
Perhaps we could gove you a dollar fifteen.”
“Enough of this bullshit—we’ve had it to here—
“We’re not goin’ fishing, we’re not setting the gear.”

Crab cemetery—dying to get in

Crab cemetery—dying to get in

So we tied up the boats, put away all the bait,
and we all settled down for a long season’s wait.
In Fort Bragg and Eureka, ‘Come hell or bad weather’
Crescent City and Brookings ‘We’re stickin’ together’
And even in Trinidad, Port Orford, too.
But we just didn’t count on that bad Newport crew—
“We’re not sittin’ around, nah, we’re setting the gear,
“The rest of you go stick a squid in your ear.”
Well, the wind it was calm, and the ocean was placid,
But then came those fatal words: domoic acid.
For some weird sort of chemical found in the guts,
They’re closing the season. Those guys must be nuts.”

We ranted and raved, but ’twas to no avail
‘cos the Feds and the bureaucrats always prevail.
After twenty-some odd days, we finally did go.
And over both shoulders some crabs we did throw.
But there weren’t too many—at a pretty poor price.
For a lot of us Holidays weren’t all that nice.

Well you knew things got screwed up. Now you know the reason.
So ‘tight lines’ to all—and maybe next season.
Tim Harkins F/V Maria Concetta, Trinidad, CA

Empty Marinas, Oceangoing on Hold

Rancho Chualar cropcircle December 30th, 2013, highlights the 1. 9. 2. and π 3.14159265359 ad infinitum

Rancho Chualar cropcircle December 30th, 2013, highlights the 1. 9. 2. and π 3.14159265359 ad infinitum

Pacific coastal fishing has been on hold since December last year. Ports in California and Oregon—Pacific Northwest—are hurting. Empty marinas everywhere—as in Crescent City photo, top. Bureacratic delay in decisions has affected a little-known segment of the food-provider chain—fishing boat captains and their crew—with their wives, families, dependents.

Government procrastination is only one aspect. Final pay-out—if any—of compensation to the fishing fleet is mostly eaten up in overwintering expenses, without income. Crew members are not covered by Fish & Game authority or Federal handouts. Generosity to deck hands depends solely on captains who have themselves reached near-crisis point.

In an election year, farmers with drought problems—e.g. Salinas CA last year—Chualar Crop Circle at left—and misfortunes of our Pacific hands-on fishing fleet in small coastal ports—may seem like small potatoes. Not high priority television news.

Business, Balance Sheets and the Biosphere
Tonight, however, and for two more evenings in the run-up to Earth Day and Earth WeekApril 20— Humboldt State university-influenced Arcata Playhouse will feature a presentation and film screening by EPIC of TREE-SIT: THE ART OF RESISTANCE followed by discussion with HSU environmentalists who may have found a way forward amid conflict with business, balance sheets and the Biosphere.

Survival of the human race may not be on our minds as writers who document or fantasize our way on to people’s reading list. But previous reminders by our ocean, our farming hinterland, our rising temperatures—80ºF today in NoCal—have been persistent—witness 2015 as hottest year on record.

And there’s more to come. I’m sure even our fearless leader, Alex, and his sci-fi acolytes would find a way to squeeze our plight into readable form, so we can pull out the stops together—even while we struggle with April A-to-Z challenge, we writers might make a difference.

It’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Getting through this together.
©2016 Marian Youngblood

April 6, 2016 Posted by | culture, environment, ocean, seasonal, traditions, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Oster Toaster—Our Weather Woes Won’t Disappear

MONTHLY INSECURE WRITERS CATCH-UP CORNER or
Even Scatty Writers Plan Ahead

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by”
Douglas Adams

Stepping out of the Pool—Plan Ahead

Stepping out of the Pool—Plan Ahead

With a whole *two month* chunk already bitten out of my twelve month schedule, planning ahead doesn’t always do the trick for me. But in a group of writers, where advice and help are freely given and nobody (hopefully) takes offense—our Insecure Writers Support Group I was thinking of specifically—there seems no place to cower in fear. We’re all encouraged to step up to the plate and at least try. With the third month of my year already begun, I’d better think of something.

Insecure Writers stick to the Grand Plan
Insecure Writers Support Group now has its own website, thanks to our Ninja Cap’n Alex who is always ahead of the game—comes of being constantly immersed in “future speak” and (successful) Space trilogies, ahem.

Stepping out of the Pool— into the Next Phase—Plan Ahead

Stepping out of the Pool— into the Next Phase—Plan Ahead

While 2016 may bring major change to us all—February has already broken historical temperature records worldwide—it’s sometimes comforting to believe we might all already be on a trajectory which could end on one of Alex’s famed remote star systems.
First we have the cyclical calendar anomaly—leap year adding a mandatory day to February or we’d all land back in the Middle Ages.

Southern city guarded by angels—Rio de Janeiro hosts 2016 Olympic Games

Southern city guarded by angels—Rio de Janeiro hosts 2016 Olympic Games

Then there is the four-year culmination of super-athletes preparing for Olympic Games in Hispanic Heaven—Rio de Janeiro. You thought the Super Bowl was huge, set for the first time in the brand new Levi stadium, south of San Francisco. Brazil will pull out all the stops for August. They’ve already had a mammoth Carnival—their Fat Tuesday equivalent of Mardi Gras. This year they’re speaking of its continuing right through Easter—the German Oster of my title.

Meantime loads of attention will be focused next week—particularly in sea-level-rising Indonesia—where they will have an uninterrupted total solar eclipse March 9th, that will effectively black out the entire Pacific Ocean—for a moment of cosmic time—four minutes totality at zenith. Sadly it reaches mainland U.S. at dusk, and therefore we miss it. But writers in Alaska will be fortunate to see it as partial.
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Only by cosmic accident do we hear that Alaska is importing snow for its famous dog-sled Iditarod race

The Irish Input
Amid all these cosmic happenings, does it seem a little tame of me to mention the second annual Dublin Writers’ Conference June 24-26, 2016? Judging by last year’s sell-out crowd—it has some kind of Irish spell it casts on us pen-wielders, because when we get together, all kinds of literary explosions are possible. My rationale for bringing up the June date now is that many U.S. IWSGer travelers make plans for Europe months ahead of time when airline deals can still be made. Just sayin’.

St Patrick’s Day, March 17th, will be here in two weeks to remind us!

Dublin was home to James Joyce and still holds the treasured Book of Kells at Trinity College.

Meantime the plethora of Space movies which began with Ridley Scott’s The Martian, continues in remakes—don’t you adore Superman vs. Batman?—and as yet unreleased alien adventures even Mr Spock might show emotion for.

March came in like a Lion in my part of the world. Weather patterns influenced by a strong El Niño produced the hottest February since historical records began.

Climate will no doubt be the focus for 2016, if we can all think simple earth thoughts in between our rages and/or love affair with our Muse. Whichever takes root in our consciousness, I suspect we IWSGers will still find a bolt hole here—along with a phalanx of other Insecure companions.

May we survive the Ides of March, the heat of Equinox and the onset of an early spring with typical writerly calm. It is, after all, our metier, our trade, and it should remind us that, even if/when our world changes beyond recognition, our Muse, our inner writerly urge will still be there to pick up the pieces…

…And put them down on the next available sheet of paper😉 No wonder writers alone understand writers. How boring we can seem to the rest of humanity.

All the more reason to keep it coming.
©2016 Marian Youngblood

March 2, 2016 Posted by | authors, blogging, calendar customs, festivals, fiction, Muse, publishing, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Drawing Breath—Speaking up for Lungs of the Planet

MONTHLY INSECURE WRITERS’ ENCLAVE—
IWSGers Speak up for the Planet

Thanks 2Alex for getting on our case—writing-wise

Thanks 2Alex for getting on our case—writing-wise

Happy New Year to all Insecure Writers! And to the world at large.
Mostly, thanks to our prolific host and Ninja Cap’n, Alex, for allowing us crazies free rein on his excellent forum. It opens writerly doors, and allows us to vent, when things go wrong. May we all survive—nay, plunge into—this year and follow our dreams.

Sore Patch hidden by powerful local  'Resource company' under umbrella of social conscience offer to 'open woodland to public'

Sore Patch hidden by powerful local ‘Resource company’ under umbrella of social conscience offer to ‘open woodland to public’

2015 saw many changes in awareness of common responsibility for our country’s finite resources, both nation-wide and internationally, bringing accord which would have been impossible a decade ago. Politicians are—with careful research—actually clearing desks, allocating reserve funds to deal with the atmosphere-environment.

It is no longer an ‘issue’. Climate has become real time—Western nations’ new goal—to do good by the planet, our only home.

But don’t hold your breath.

Rattle in Seattle as Farewell to Old Ways
West Coast shakes over New Year ranged from Mag.4.7 in Seattle through M.6.2 Nevada/Utah border, to M.4.1 off Ferndale, CA. Judging by whale movement—on late migration south delayed by warm northern waters—quakes and movement are happening on the coastal plate, where the Gorda fault fissures to join its subterranean sisters under (human habitat) the land. Several landslides along the coastal Scenic Drive route north of the Eel and Mad Rivers—in Humboldt County—have made travel ‘difficult’—official sources.

Once again we realize our Earth Mama is shaking her feathers—a little ruffled by now with all the oil extraction and fossil burning we’ve been up to.

Seattle, Nevada, Baja Mexico echo New Year Mediterranean quakes

Seattle, Nevada, Baja Mexico echo New Year Mediterranean quakes

Lieber kleiner blauer Stern [Pale Blue Dot auf Deutsch]
Menschen habt ihn endlich gern
Tut ihm nun nichts mehr zu Leide
Nicht den Bergen, nicht der Heide
Nicht den Wiesen, Mooren, Flüssen
Nicht den Wäldern, Vögeln, Fischen
Liebt den kleinen blauen Stern
Pflegt und schütz ihn
Habt ihn gern
courtesy M.Asgardh

Snakes, ants, beetles, redwoods and humans—we all travel the Milky Way together and share the planet’s blessings
John Muir, founder of Sierra Club

Volcanoes, dormant since the dinosaurs, generating lightning storms in Nevada-Utah

Volcanoes, dormant since the dinosaurs, generating lightning storms in Nevada-Utah


Latest round of seismic unrest included quakes in Oklahoma, causing power outages, and widespread flooding damage in Mississippi basin.

In Pacific NW, several dormant volcanoes shook over New Year, alongside multiple larger (Richter Mag.4.2 or more) earthquakes rippling along faults extending N-S along West coast United States. Authorities remain vigilant, with such heavy movement currently underway.
If Mama is shaking us, what is it we’ve done to get her so annoyed?

Well, let’s take breathable air, for a start—yes, we decimated Earth’s fossil trees—so, what are we doing about it?

Headwaters Forest—Tragedy of 1990s

Trying to measure up to 1000-year Old Growth Redwoods is harder work than forestry companies imagined

“Standing among these ancient trees, a thousand years old perhaps, I am humbled by how long it takes to restore these forests. As I take one last look up into the stratosphere of canopy before heading back into the glaring light of second-growth, I wonder at the rôle of restoration in recreating the beauty I see before me. I think it will be a very long time before our forest will be what it once was”
David LaFever, Bureau Land Management Ecologist, after 2001 restoration attempt

Headwaters Forest was purchased in 1999 by State and Federal government agencies, and put under permanent protection. Clear-felling practice was legally reduced to a 20-40-acre maximum.

The logging industry finally sat up and paid attention. Its own resource was decimated; salmon runs and ecosystems had suffered in a mindless race for economic gain, with only table scraps left, in the view of Humboldt State University forest scientist Steve Sillett. ‘The challenge now is to improve management on the 95% of redwood landscape (felled) that is just starting into regrowth.’

Old Growth Sequoia Groves
Old-growth redwood forests are structurally diverse, with a range of tree sizes, reiterated tree trunks—high tree and stand biomass—and with complex canopies. Headwaters old-growth is characterized by a mixture of redwood (Sequoia sempervirens, 50-70% of overstory) and Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga Menziesii, 30-47%) with a density of 70-80 trees per acre. Conversely, unthinned second-growth stands are dominated by Douglas Fir (60-80%), with density of over a thousand trees per acre.

Sequoia sempervirens, redwoods as big as a Boeing 707

Growing trees like a crop of grain is no longer the enlightened view. Scientists from HSU have discovered that the older the redwood, the harder and more disease-resistant is the wood, and the tougher its ability to withstand weathering, damage. That there is more life-support value in one 1000-year old Sequoia, than in a thousand 10-year olds.

Forestry attitudes are changing too. Heavy Caterpillar earthmoving tractors, that caused such erosion—skid trails—with consequent pollution to streams and spawning pools, are being replaced by smaller, lighter shovel loaders on tracks that leave the forest floor intact. State law now enforces a mandatory buffer zone of trees now, along streams and rivers.

Finally the salmon and other native fish are returning.

Forestry business mantra is that they are ‘on target to create new forests’ (in one hundred years), like the ones protected in the Redwoods National and State Parks, begun by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1875-92. He and John Muir should by now roaring with delighted laughter in their (redwood) coffins.

At the time Headwaters was established in 1999, 60% of the area had been logged. In some areas, forests were only beginning to regrow from clear-cut harvests of the 1980s and 1990s. Inheriting unnatural second-growth forests dominated by Douglas Fir, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began restoration thinning in 2004. Goal of restoration was to accelerate forest development towards old-growth conditions, and restore a more natural species mix to each area—by cutting Douglas Fir and leaving Redwood and other less common species. From 2004 to 2013, BLM thinned 1,600 acres—approximately 21% of Headwaters Forest Reserve.

Thinning Understory in Attempt to Mimic Old Growth
In 2014, BLM began a second round of thinning with an idea of introducing more ‘spatial complexity’, to mimic conditions found in old-growth forests within Headwaters. BLM workers created a mosaic of tree density across second-growth stands, by building off recent restoration work completed in Redwood National and State Parks. They also completed their research project in partnership with Humboldt State University. Their report, published 2013: “Modeling Young Stand Development towards the Old-growth Reference Condition in Evergreen Mixed-Conifer Stands at Headwaters Forest Reserve, California”.

‘This study helped us understand the conditions in old-growth stands and allowed us to model trajectories towards old-growth under various restoration scenarios’
BLM ecologist D.laFever

Life without trees—lack of breathable air—would be a scenario more appropriate to Star Trek, CassaStar, or in our sci-fi leader*, Alex’s new ‘geek stuff’. But we breathe on, thanks to the lungs of the planet—threatened, decimated—broken but unbowed.
*If Alex can branch out into short stories—’geek stuff’—I can face the bureaucracy with a little non-fiction of my own—lol. Thanks, Alex and fellow IWSGers for listening.
Happy Epiphany!
©2016 Marian Youngblood

January 6, 2016 Posted by | authors, birds, blogging, consciousness, culture, earth changes, energy, environment, fiction, nature, rain, seasonal, seismic, trees, volcanic, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Below the Parapet*—Writers’ Safety Zone When All Around Are Losing Theirs

MONTHLY INSECURE WRITERS’ SAFETY ZONE orInsecure_Cover
What I Should’ve Done B4 All This Holiday Madness—IWSG CatchUp Corner

*parapet, ‘protecting the breast’—from Latin
pectus-i (m) breast, chest
paries-etis (m) wall, rampart, bulwark

All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch, we are going back from whence we came.
~John F. Kennedy, Newport speech before America’s Cup Races, September 1962

Trouble of the World

Fracking in Oklahoma or spontaneous cracking on Tex-Mex border—it's all the same to Mother Earth

Fracking in Oklahoma or spontaneous cracking on Tex-Mex border—it’s all the same to Mother Earth

‘There is so much going on–so much that could make a person just want to run away.
‘Our lives on this Earth are relatively short, so we shouldn’t get too overwhelmed by all the troubles we face while here’
Arlee Bird

Thank you, wise ole Bird, Arlee, for putting some of our anxiety into perspective. We writers tend to be head-down anyway—well below parapet level—and it takes some “venting” by a fellow scribe—wot knowzzz—to keep a calm ‘sough’. That was good old Rabbie Burns‘s word for the windchill factor
“November chill blaws loud wi’ angry sough

We might also try looking at the way our world appears to be fighting back, after all the trouble and toil we’ve levied at her.

Some of my generation believe we still have a chance to right the ‘wrongs’ we initiated. Our attitude to confronting our errors—from nuclear power to trashing earth’s resources—has made us cautious, nay, appreciative of finding the best in what’s left. This (antiquated?) belief may not go down well with the Millennials—a generation who inherited our mistakes, but who prefer to smile and slide on through—but, as even they know, this is the only home we’ve got. So why not pull together on a few issues?

Robert F Kennedy jr. confronts climate control last weekend in New York city

Robert F Kennedy jr. confronts climate control last weekend in New York city

Weather—the great Leveler
While December traditionally finds a way of leveling—wind, rain, hail and snow being not particularly creature-friendly—it can be a gift of time for us scribblers. Above or below the parapet, we can wield a computer (or ice-pick) to hack out a story. No pun intended. Sometimes that’s just what we have to do.

So to all my fellow moaning Minnies in our tight little IWSG corner, keeping head down can be a VERY GOOD THING.

We may have to leave the concept of climate control for another season—when life begins anew and buds start to bud again…and we catch a whiff of w-a-r-m
But meantime, why not allow our ever-fertile Muse to raise her head above the bulwarks. We might be surprised by her dexterity.

p.s. Ninja Cap’n: my preference is for Dragons

“When a dragon offers you a helmet and a parachute, put them on. “

Unknown

©2015 Marian Youngblood

December 2, 2015 Posted by | authors, blogging, consciousness, fiction, publishing, seasonal, weather, winter, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Autumnal Angst—Getting Even the IWSG Way

INSECURE WRITERS’ MOANING MINNIE CORNER

Arctic Cathedral of light, Tromsø, Norway, triggers communications blackout , courtesy SpaceWeather

Arctic Cathedral of light, Tromsø, Norway, triggers communications blackout , courtesy SpaceWeather

While my heart goes out to all those East Coasters who have been suffering in their recent bout of inclement weather, –hurricane Joaquin notwithstanding: I believe “he” did a 360º turnaround and headed not for Britain after New England, but back to Bermuda!—I have to claim extenuating I.T.-related circumstances, as this monthly missive has had to be hand-written, agonized over, and finally in frustration thrown into the mix unedited, unpolished, and under-quota for IWSGers’ standard of writing… ;(

I am clearly in the minority here, at least six hours behind schedule—plus the extra three hours all good (true) Californians steel themselves to be in the office by six a.m., because that’s 0900 hours New York City time— well, I’m well over that.

So, my abject apologies to our ever-indulgent, forgiving and forgetting—but also hugely talented when it comes to such sci-fi antics in the fantasy world—Ninja Captain Alex, who is ALWAYS on time.

When it happens in the “real” world, however, I’m not sure anyone on the East Coast feels suitably badly-done-by to send condolences. But I need something.

I am told it is a total communications blackout—Pacific Northwest-wide—emanating from a small C.M.E. alongside a man-made under-the-R.A.D.A.R. [i.e. undisclosed] microwave blast centered on our ozone layer over Nevada-Arizona, to induce RAIN. But it caused other disruptions. RAIN did not fall, guys of NOAA persuasion. We are still arid here.

Don’t get me started on weather manipulation and climate control…

More alarming—solar unrest is just revving up. There are more solar disruptions to come. Don’t blame me. Blame SpaceWeather, see sidebar right.

Oldies But Goodies Going in Style

Veteran actors Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin toast each other in Brooklyn Park movie set

Veteran actors Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin toast each other in Brooklyn Park movie set

Instead, let those of us of elder persuasion—no, not all you young IWSGer-chicks—take heart from three—nay four—veteran actors, and plod on regardless. It’s called “being a trooper”. Michael Caine would know the phrase. He has over fifty movies to his credit and, at 82, isn’t thinking of holding back now.

According to studio release from the set of director Zach Braff’s remake of 1979 George Burns movie, Going in Style, the comedy presents Morgan Freeman, 78, Alan Arkin, 81, and Michael Caine as desperadoes. Braff, huge on laughs, has ‘Scrubs’ to his television credit. He’s cleverly persuaded Ann-Margret, 76, to perform as well.

Yeah-h-h for us oldies-but-goodies. UR not old, Alex😉

Getting the cops steamed up: Michael Caine takes Morgan Freeman to hell in a basket

Getting the cops steamed up: Michael Caine takes Morgan Freeman to hell in a basket


“Desperate to pay the bills and come through for their loved ones, the three risk it all by embarking on a daring bid to knock off the very bank that absconded with their money.”

Braff says Going In Style is about three seniors who lose their pension, because the company they worked for their entire lives sold overseas, and all of a sudden they have no money at all to live off, and they’re barely scraping by as it is.

‘And even though they’re older guys, they decide they’re going to try. They’re going to attempt to rob the very bank that’s withheld their pension money.’

Sometimes I wish life were as easy as robbing a bank—to get even.
But it isn’t easy to get even with a hurricane, floods in the basement, or a blanket communications blackout. SpaceWeather usually covers it: solar flares—CMEs—incoming.

May I send my fellow IWSGers a token solar flare—just so you know I’m late, but—like Baba Ram Dass—I’m still here.

Post-scriptum: Thanks to Alex for such a l-o-n-g list of links to us IWSG not-so-moaning-minnies on his new all singing dancing website, and for allowing me this time for ‘getting even’.*
*I so love your critique on Matt Damon’s The Martian. Evokes memories of Bruce Dern’s ‘Silent Running’, my fave sci-fi-realism fantasy.

When all around are losing theirs, give up.
And laugh.
©2015 Marian Youngblood

October 8, 2015 Posted by | authors, blogging, fantasy, fiction, rain, sun, volcanic, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

August Musical Express: Insecure Jazz-Jamboree to Nirvana

MONTHLY INSECURE WRITERS’ MIRACLE MANIFESTATION CORNER or
Sounding One’s Own Trumpet

Glorious summer skies: our parent Milky Way galaxy, colliding slowly with Andromeda, fires off Perseid meteor showers every August

Glorious summer skies: our parent Milky Way galaxy, colliding slowly with Andromeda, fires off Perseid meteor showers every August

Hailstones the size of walnuts in Boston, floodwaters inundating the Rio Grande on TexMex border, volcanic unrest in a new Atlantic seamount off the Falklands, Pacific Northwest arteries ripped by forest fires; no glaciers left in Glacier National Park.
What in the world is happening? you may ask.

Is it a bird, a plane, a super cloud?
No, Batman. It’s called ignoring/misleading public/human condition, in the final horse race to the political gate.

Bread and Circuses—Fodder for U.S. ‘uninformed’ Masses

U.S. adds three new Parks to conservation list, as last glacial ice melts in Glacier National Park

U.S. adds four new Parks to conservation list, as last glacial ice melts in Glacier National Park


Political press liken both parties’ cavalier attitude to the American Constitution to Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
Do American politicians still remotely believe the public is listening to their rhetoric?

We in Ninja Cap’n.Alex‘s IWSGers stalwart group of writers know when it’s time to throw in the towel—allow Nature to take over the reins.. After all, we are INSECURE. And it’s summer—festival season. This is no time for intellectual—or intellect-less mind games. Carpe diem—seize the (day) moment. Time to look to the skies and aim heavenward—or hole up and w-r-i-t-e—or even go into permanent meditational mode: achieve mental freedom of Nirvana—or something even more (insecurely) celestial.

What Did You Do in the War, Daddy

What did you do in the War, Daddy? Jeb Bush worldview

What did you do in the War, Daddy? Jeb Bush worldview


Every Gun made
Every Warship launched
Every Rocket fired
signifies a Theft from the Hungry not fed, the Cold not clothed, and the Homeless left unhoused
Dwight D.Eisenhower, U.S. President 1953-61

Analogies with the Roman Colisseum are not totally inappropriate, in 2015-2016 election fever. The so-called uninformed public is now—courtesy of the Internet and the Cloud—hugely well-informed. Where gladiators and gore, pythons and phalluses were customary fodder for ignorant pre-Christian masses, two thousand years down the line, we’d hope we might have learned a little sophistry in leading humanity along a more enlightened path.

Music—Food of Love—Live Transmission
Music heals and regenerates human cells. With recent research confirming what Galileo discovered about acoustics, when he devised the first western scale.

Summer music festivals, it seems, are not just mindless, letting off steam—they are, since the times of Lughnasadh, Bacchanalia, Lupercalia and Saturnalia, an essential release mechanism for the human psyche from the shackles of (cold, winter, drudgery) ‘responsibility’.

Trumpet High-notes Only a Dog Could Hear

Three nights live music under Douglas Fir canopy

Three nights live music under Douglas Fir canopy

If the ‘Father of Jazz’ were alive, he would be 114 years old today. Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong, born August 4th, 1901 in New Orleans, died July 6, 1971 in New York.

As a bandleader, his virtuoso arrangements and seminal trumpet playing earned him the moniker Satchelmouth. Among other predominately black musicians like Duke Ellington and fellow horn player Cat Anderson, we have him to thank for freedom expressed through music, preserved for posterity in this digital age. Louis and Cat were reputed to reach high notes only a dog could hear.

Tribute bands to those former icons—including Janis Joplin, Grateful Dead, the Beatles—provide substitute Nirvana for live festival attendees. And August is jamboree month in the Pacific Northwest.

If Burning Man in Nevada isn’t your style, maybe you should go for down-home 31st Annual Reggae-on-the-River in Mendocino; or Oregon’s Jamboree.

Whatever your summer addiction—in this group, it HAS to be writing-related—even the hardest taskmaster will allow you a little time off. Thanks, Taskmaster Alex.
#IamWriting.
©2015 Marian Youngblood

August 5, 2015 Posted by | ancient rites, art, Ascension, astrology, astronomy, blogging, calendar customs, consciousness, culture, festivals, music, nature, publishing, ritual, seasonal, sun, volcanic, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Survival: Celebrating Spring the Insecure Writers’ Way

MONTHLY IWSG GET-TOGETHER

Darth Vader snow sculptures help relieve ongoing weather stress

Darth Vader snow sculptures help relieve ongoing weather stress


Spring has sprung
Da grass has riz
I wonder where da boidies iz—

Da boid iz on da wing—

Dat’s a funny t’ing
I t’ought da wing wuz on da boid—
Ain’t it absoid?
attributed c.1940 to Two Black Crows

Writerly Guilt
While weather is usually a poor writing subject, we may be forgiven this month for waxing eloquent on continuing and (apparently) continuous freak weather circling the globe. If my writing suffers, blame the Cosmos, IWSGers. Or alternatively pleeeeze lay blame where it is due: at door of our long-suffering Cap’nAlex.

Spectacular aurora borealis mirror accelerated CME solar activity

Spectacular aurora borealis mirror accelerated CME solar activity

Were we of less hardy FANTASY Sci-Fi stock—blame that on our fearless Ninja leader, too. Space Captain Alex has a wizard A—Z challenge on Cult Classics—oooo😉 this month—
—And I am not forgetting all my [non-sci-fi but hugely scary] fellow insecure buddies here on the First Wednesday—we might hide our heads in metaphorical sand and write on.

There are, however, unforeseen dangers in the cosmic waters ahead.

SOLAR WIND INCOMING—Man All (Earthship) Decks
Last week’s coronal mass ejection was deflected by a freak shift in our father, Sol. This week’s CME is coming straight at us.
Duck.

Last week's CME missed us. This one won't:. Electromagnetic image courtesy SOHO

Last week’s CME missed us—deflected at last moment by Earth’s radiation shield. This one won’t miss. Solar Wind Incoming. Electromagnetic image courtesy SOHO

Coronal holes are places in the sun’s atmosphere where the magnetic field opens up and allows solar wind to escape. In the extreme UV image, right, curved lines trace the sun’s magnetic field. Arrows indicate the flow of gaseous material (solar wind) out of the deep-purple coronal hole.

Because this coronal hole crosses the sun’s equator, the solar wind it spews is likely to hit Earth squarely this time—no misses. ETA: April 2nd or 3rd.

Italics and Earth Warning message are entirely those of SpaceWeather, but we might be prudent to prepare for a little more than pretty aurora ovals… just sayin’…

Nightly dose of cosmic fireballs add sparkles

Nightly dose of cosmic fireballs add sparkles

Within the inner solar system, left, all fireball orbits intersect at a single point–Earth. Orbits are color-coded by velocity, from slow (red) to fast (blue)

And, in case we were wondering if life can throw any more at us, enJOY the magnificent total lunar eclipse, Saturday morning, April 4th, sky watchers in the USA can see a brief but beautiful occultation of the Moon. Totality will be visible from Mexico, western Canada, across the entire Pacific Ocean, Australia, Indonesia.

Earthship or Jefferson Airplane? Home is Best
When all around are losing theirs———I don’t have to repeat favorite poésie to my erudite IWSGers to capture the mood.

When in doubt, do what Jefferson Airplane and Janis Joplin said a long space-time ago—with Big Brother and Holding Company and many of us singing along— in a famous long-ago song:
Keep Your Head.

Thanks, as ever, Alex, for letting me “rabbit’ on. 🙂
Happy skywatching. Easter-Passover has never had it so good.
©April 2015 Marian Youngblood

April 1, 2015 Posted by | astrology, astronomy, authors, birds, blogging, earth changes, fantasy, fiction, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

March in Like a Lion: SpaceWeather for IWSGers

MONTHLY INSECURE WRITERS’ SUPPORT GROUP CORNER

Full Virgo Moon + pre-equinoctial Pisces Sun + stellium of conjunct planets herald series of 2015 eclipses

Full Virgo Moon + pre-equinoctial Pisces Sun + stellium of conjunct planets herald series of 2015 eclipses

Space Commander Lexicon Edition
Because continental U.S.A. is suffering right now—and I’ve never been one to crow during others’ misfortune—PacNW experiencing tropical weather window—I choose to commiserate for this month’s IWSG get-together, rather than stress how fortunate I am to live where I do. Breathes deeply.

Let me try to put our current earth-shivers in a more space-time perspective—as does our revered leader, Space Ninja Captain Alex, who can conjure a blockbuster sci-fi series whenever real life gets tough. Bless him for continuing to inspire—me, at least.

The space/sci-fi scenario which follows is not quite Alex’s professional air-tight Science FICTION— sadly rather it borders on Science fact. But, you know what they say:
It’s All in the Stars.

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE

Apocalypse HQ, NWPacCoast
Earth, Sol.3
Milky Way—Andromeda Arm, 5.6
Millennium2—Einstein—Kardashev Era-Timeline Civilization.Zero

Until we cease fossil fuel drilling, we remain zero-rated on Galactic scale

Until we cease fossil fuel drilling, we remain zero-rated on Galactic scale


All Vessels Please Respond|Relay-to-Galactic HQ
Earth and its Resources Depleting at irreplaceable rate. Counterbalance by Earth-Support Groups having little effect.
Apocalypse scenario in 50% floodplains, Emergency agencies battling counterproductive volcanic/seismic activity associated with fossil extraction, ongoing.
In spite of damage, Earth still reclaimable—with interGalactic assistance. Please help.
Despite Earth’s schism:lower echelon civilization K-type-0 in 48.2% population, there remains powerful 51.8% K-type-2-cerebral-zen-SETI-based group working to regenerate earth meadows and mountains.
All civilization please respond. Earth can be resurrected

Small explanation, in best sci-fi index/Matrix style:
In 1964, Russian astrophysicist Nikolai Kardashev categorized civilizations by total energy available to them. He isolated three levels of civilizations, based on their capacity to harness and use power. These have since been expanded to include a further four—in light of increasing speculation spawned in cross-discipline math/theoretical-physics.
Earth is a zero level civilization.

The Kardashev Scale now with seven levels of civilizations, bases its categories on (putative) galactic civilizations and their power consumption—but more implicitly on their technological advancement and enlightenment.

A type III Kardashev civilization would be able to harness energy resources of an entire galaxy

A type III Kardashev civilization would be able to harness energy resources of an entire galaxy

Type I civilization would be able to marshal energy resources for communications on a planet-wide scale, equivalent to the entire present power consumption of the human race, or about 1016watts.

Type II civilization can surpass this by a factor of approximately ten billion, making available 1026 watts, and exploiting the total energy output of its central star.

Type III civilization is evolved enough to tap the energy resources of an entire galaxy, enabling access to power sources, approx. 1036 watts.

KARDASHEV CIVILIZATIONS and SETI
Carl Sagan pointed out that the energy gaps between Kardashev’s three types were so enormous that a finer gradation was needed to make his theory work, e.g. Type 1.1 civilization could expend maximum 1017 watts on communications, while Type 2.3 could utilize 1029 watts.

Kardashev estimated—on a discriminating scale—that the human race at present qualifies as approx. Type 0.7. But neither scientist figured in the extra oomph which comes, when Mother Earth decides to add a little pizzazz to the equation.
Volcanic eruptions 7.2 Kamchatka Feb. 23; earth tremors California ongoing; volcanic explosions Villarica, Chile March 2nd, ongoing.

MARCH COMING IN LIKE a LION
Weather, on the other hand, will always get a rise out of someone. We do not have to submit to wall-to-wall volcanic earth movement, or anomalous El Niño weather to get our pad out, intellectual pencils sharpened, and brandish our critique.

In 2010, I wrote how March came in like a lamb, but went Out Like a LION.
This time, the LION is biting at March’s open door. And we seem to have no reprise. Grand Cross lingers, on top of celestial fireworks: aligning in the heavens—perhaps to give us hope.

Celestial Alignment—Cosmic Crossroads
Great combination for stargazers, but poor Earth suffers under huge stresses in her—subterranean—tresses. Her petticoats are leaking out at the edge of her dresses. Pollution finally raises its oh-horrendously-ugly head.

Eclipses for equinox, with more karmic cleaning for us to do, as the celestial Grand Cross continues.
Buckle up. This year, it might be quite a ride.
©2015 Marian Youngblood

March 4, 2015 Posted by | astrology, authors, blogging, calendar customs, culture, earth changes, environment, nature, seismic, sun, volcanic, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

December: Season of Gratitude and Merlot-Fruitcake Thoughts

Monthly IWSG Writers’ Block

Egyptian quinquireme,, restored on an Aegean shore, evokes 2ndC BC Salamis, Thermopylae sea battles

Egyptian quinquireme,, restored on an Aegean shore, evokes 2ndC BC Salamis, Thermopylae sea battles


Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine
John Masefield [1876-1967]

When it comes to love and war, give me an Egyptian Quinquereme manned by five rows of oarsmen, capable of outracing Greeks, Macedonians, Persians and Carthaginians—with a mermaid locker at the bottom of the deep blue sea.

My way of saying I retreat, like a lot of us writerly introverts, I suspect, into inner — #IamWriting— worlds, when real world conflict raises its warrior head.

Aux_Egy_Archers_Five

The waters of the world begin in the dribble-drain down by the road and the tall ships, the galleons, the quinquiremes nudge on the hawthorn twig that goes swirling, seawards, there

Alighting on her prow

Alighting on her prow


Before she lost her arms, which have never been recovered, Nike’s right forearm is thought to have been raised, cupped around her mouth to revel in her shout of Victory. Her headless but otherwise ravishing beauty is considered to be the epitome of Hellenist art. She is flawless; inspired billions! Art historians are transfixed by her.

Her pose is symbolic of a place/moment where violent motion and sudden stillness collide. Her graceful balance and her figure’s draped garments ripple compellingly, as if in a strong sea breeze.

For me, she is true warrior goddess.

Wargames Ancient and Future
Ships ancient and modern have evoked images, ideals, dreams in the mind of Man since time immemorial. We are still better at dreaming victory in far-away lands by “imagining them distant” than in coming to terms with the reality of the killing fields.

Glorious Nike, ice-gray marble goddess of victory alighting on prow of victorious quinquereme 200BC stolen by Napoleon, pride of Louvre

Glorious Nike, ice-gray marble goddess of victory alighting on prow of victorious quinquereme 200BC stolen by Napoleon, pride of Louvre

It is not for me to bring politics into the festive season; nor, more importantly, into our small supportive group of Insecure Writers, led by our fearless space commodore, Alex J. Cavanaugh, whose initiative IWSG has ticked along nicely for three years: quite some time, now🙂

It has not escaped our notice, however, that little by little our heart-centered family-and-community-oriented season of celebration may be marred by a reality check or two:
1. conflict in Ferguson, MO
2. conflict in Cradle of Civilization.

Neither conflict —in Ferguson, MO or Arabian Gulf—should have an immediate connection one with the other or each with us as individuals, I pray. But they are somebody’s sons and daughters out there, being told by a robot military machine to kill first, take prisoners second.

Not my idea of mellow fruitfulness.

My moan, therefore, Alex—forgive me—is less of a writerly struggle—more a prayer of gratitude: Thanks to you and our little community for holding each others’ hands thru close on forty months. We love you.

And——
May we all survive the commerciality of Christmas, the nuances of New Year’s, Jewish 5775, Nassim Haramein’s Non-Time, and arrive safely in 2015.
©2014 Marian Youngblood

December 4, 2014 Posted by | calendar customs, culture, fiction, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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