Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Author’s note: Trill is a fictional female acquaintance who makes it possible to write in a style that is easy for me. 

My Dear Trill,

       Such an outburst! I never expected to find you so emotional about the election. You need to relax a little. Hopefully, there are many  presidential elections ahead. Getting too wrapped up in any of them risks losing your charm.
I’m not surprised at all that the upcoming election has you thoroughly confused, facing a choice  between a narcissistic, egocentric, sexual predator  and a woman of considerable experience but  having a history of using her husband’s presidency, together with her husband, to acquire substantial personal wealth.
        Hillary Clinton will probably win the election, possibly by a wide margin. There is one reason I believe she will make a decent president. It will be upon her to validate the idea of a woman president. If she fails, the future will be bleak indeed for the success of another woman having a run at the office. She knows this, because above anything else, this will be her legacy.
Here’s the way I see it. Donald Trump would lead  the country into danger. How else can you interpret his question: “We have nuclear bombs. Why don’t we use them?” As a strong nation, it is commonly believed that the office of the presidency is also the office of the leader of the world. Donald  knows little of politics and has demonstrated nothing regarding relationships with foreign countries and their populations.
On the other hand, Hillary Clinton has a thorough knowledge by virtue of her tenure as Secretary of State. She will have better support in Congress than Obama did. Senator Sanders. Senator Warren, and Senator Feingold  (if he gets elected) will be a strong supportive force for a progressive agenda.

Monday, October 10, 2016


Now in our countdown years
the consequences of our actions can be weighed.
The measure of a person’s candor is revealed, writing one’s
own obituary.
It says nothing of wrong turns, what might have been.
Nor does it aver to having
lived a road to redemption.
In the best of circumstances
the text would read:
We did no harm, or tried not to. We tried to do good.
We had many friends
and spent our days productively. We apportioned time
to relax and play.
We loved someone dearly. 

Saturday, October 1, 2016


      In my 1994 book, “The Future of U.S Rocketry” there is a section on ultra large launch vehicles (ULLV).  Included is a design concept for a launch rocket wth a 600,000 pound payload to low earth orbit. Also included are ideas on how a manned journey to Mars could be accomplished with three  launches to low earth orbit of spacecraft elements, including propellants, that would be assembled to accomplish the mission.
      Interesting is Elon Musk’s recent presentation to  the International Astronautical Congress on September 26 of his plans for a manned journey to Mars. It would involve launching three ultra large launch vehicles with a payload lift capability to low earth orbit of 600,000 pounds each, followed by assembly in orbit of the spacecraft elements and loading propellants necessary for the mission.

      Not everything that was predicted came to pass, but that’s how it goes with predictions. The book shows a concept for the follow-on to NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) which is right on the money.

Monday, September 12, 2016


  Flash Fiction    

Stanley backed the boxy twelve seat trans-orbit packet slowly away from its berth on the orbital Amazon fulfillment station. He jockeyed the craft to  the propellant storage outrigger where  an array of fluid and gas tanks were secured like tits on a hog and  “gassed up.” He checked the system status board on his craft, then punched in the coordinates for  US Station 12, a quarter orbit distant from his present location. Stanley was a skilled pilot and the orbital mechanics for transfer within the orbit had become second nature, but this time he wasn’t taking any chances. He would let the Orbital Positioning System (OPS) determine a least-energy route. It was his final mission, and considering the value of the payload at Station 12, it was understandable. Stanley hoped that Julia would be packed and ready for departure. He hadn’t heard from her recently. Busy winding things up, he thought. He turned on a Mozart recording and relaxed. The proximity beacon at Station 12 would wake him, should he fall asleep. 
The Third Presence in space began at about the time the International Space Station was abandoned. Russia peeled off its modules to establish its own smaller station and NASA maneuvered the remaining  part of the station into a fiery trail that ended in the Pacific Ocean.
At the same time, China, Russia and the United States concluded independently that the answer to a robust presence in space is in a community of small stations, about the size of the original Skylab. They would occupy the same 500 mile orbit. They would be turnkey stations to avoid years of expensive orbital assembly time and weigh within the lift capability of heavy lift rockets under construction in Russia, China and the United  States, The stations would be styled for various purposes - research and development, manufacturing, hospitals, observation and tourist destination. All would be serviced by a common orbitial fulfillment center, which , in addition to  providing food and supplies, berthed a fleet of transfer craft called packets, designed to both provision the stations and return materials, trash and waste to the center for deorbiting to Earth.
Earth to otbit routine transfer was solved by the successful development of Skylon by the  English firm, Reaction Engines. Two were built. Each  made a bi-weekly trip to the fulfillment center, carrying material, passengers and propellants. 
Skylon 1, presently being loaded for the return trip to Earth, was due to depart within twenty four hours. Stanley gave little thought to the likely tumultous reception upon Skylon’s next arrival at Cape Canaveral. We’ll just have to wing it, he’d said to Julia. 
Stanley became aware that he was was closing in on  Station 12 when an audio warning began beeping. Still, he  had nothing to do, as docking and securing were fully automated.
Julia was waiting just inside, fully suited for the trip except for head gear. She was surrounded by smiling well-wishers, aware they were taking part in a historic event.
Julia smiled as she handed Stanley a transparent acrylic box in which Stanley junior lay snuggled, fast asleep, wrapped in a soft blanket - the first baby born in space.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


So much of modern sculpture appears to be just an assemblage of previously created objetts that in and of themselves had a use and assembling them into a disorderly collection, or taking a collection of  disparate found objects and assembling them into an orderly collection. 

More articles are appearing almost daily about automobile companies succmbing to the  idea that  a driverless car society will be better and safer. I sincerely doubt it. They even plan for driverless trucks. Somehow I can’t picture an eighteen wheeler backing down a delivery alley by itself. It takes remarkable skill to back a trailer under any condition.

Sunday, September 4, 2016


Steam locomotive starting up

Fog horns

Burbling brooks

Harley motorcycle accelerating

Harley motorcycle idling

Bugle sounding taps

Hallelujah Chorus

Hand plane smoothing wood.

Aeolian tones from telephone wires.

White noise from aeolian tones in pine forests

Horses snorting

Horses whinneying

Horses galloping

B-36 drone from engines and propellers

Wolves howling

Bowing a cello

Baby laughing

Whip-poor-wills and Loons

Friday, August 19, 2016


Author’s note: Trill is a fictional female acquaintace who makes it possible to write in a style that is comfortable for me.

My Dear Trill,

Congratulations! You are growing more and more perceptive, as with your recent question, “What’s wrong with this tale? A grieving father is subverted at the Democratic convention by the same woman  who supported a contrived war that got his son killed.” It’s a page right out of ancient Greek drama, catapulted into the muck of present day politics.
The cynical side of me believes that a deal was probably struck in the form of a  job offer once she becomes president. I find it hard to believe that a man would allow himself to be used in this manner, but level of intelligence may be a factor, or in some way, his personal tragedy may have, as they say, “driven him off the rails.” I know nothing of the man. These are just personal observations.

But the incident does tell us to be watchful. I was particularly disappointed when a favorite legislator,  Elizabeth Warren, appeared to have abandoned what seemed to be synergy with Bernie Sanders,  to support instead a candidate with a history of opportunist activity within her job, and with whom she has not much commonality other than being a woman. It would be great if the two Senators could continue work amiably in the new Senate, but I would not blame Sanders if he were a bit distrustful after  experiencing Warren’s decision to support the Clinton camp.