Friday, September 30, 2016

The Flintstones premieres 1960

Everyone's favorite prehistoric family, The Flintstones, debuted on September 30, 1960.  The series ran for 6 seasons, a record until the Simpsons.  Jean Vander Pyl, the voice of Wilma, was the only person who lasted the entire series, from first episode to the last.

The first episode: The Flintstone Flyer.

The Flintstones - "The Flintstone Flyer... by cosmo2161

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Growing crops on Mars

In preparation for sending people to Mars in the 2030’s, NASA partnered with Florida Tech in Melbourne, FL to research how certain crops might grow in a simulated “Martian garden”.  Earth’s soil contains nutrients and organics such as previous plant life, insects, worms, etc.  Mars’s soil doesn’t have any of those.  It is volcanic rock, and contains some toxic chemicals.

Studies are comparing plants growing in potting soil, and two simulated Martian soils, one with nutrients added and the other without.  So far, experiments have shown that lettuce, for example, germinates about 2 or 3 days slower in the nutrient-added simulant.  The lettuce tasted the same as the control but only half of the seeds were successful.  The studies might also include radishes, Swiss chard, kale, Chinese cabbage, tomatoes, snow peas and dwarf peppers.  

Prepackaged food will be available on the round trip which might last up to 2 ½ years, but having fresh food provides extra nutrition and will help boost the morale of the astronauts by providing a little piece of home (millions of miles away).

Billy Joel releases "The Stranger" 1977

My man Billy Joel released The Stranger September 29, 1977.  'nuff said!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Pointer Sisters release "Priority" 1979

My girls released "Priority" in September 1979, their 6th studio album and second with producer Richard Perry.  It only got to #72 on Billboard 200 and #44 on Billboard Top R&B/Hip-hop albums, but it has an entirely different sound than some of their earlier releases.  They were finding their groove and did they ever find it!

My favorite song from the album:

Realm of the Grizzly Bear - available October 29!

My new bearotica story, Realm of the Grizzly Bear, will be available from JMS Books, October 29!  This is a follow-up to my story featured in JMS Books' Stocking Stuffers: Realm of the Polar Bear.

Ever since Jarrod spent a night of passion with Caleb, his body is transforming into a bear.  After months of searching, he finds Caleb who explains he must be seeded by the other bears in the forest to complete the transformation.  It sounds easy but Logan, the large brown bear, is not cooperative.  Jarrod is determined to go through with it but it might cost him his life.

          The white bear hadn’t changed at all since their brief meeting so many months ago.  If anything he looked larger.  His bare torso maintained its muscularity and thin covering of hair, which had turned mostly white.  The pajama bottoms he wore low on his hips seemed to be held up only by the curve of his ass and did little to cover the bulge in the front.
          “Eyes up here,” Caleb said making Jarrod realize he had been staring.  He held out his hand and Jarrod took it, rising to his feet.
          Jarrod fell into his arms, kissing and stroking his body, not wanting to ever let go.  He vowed never to fall asleep in Caleb’s presence again, lest he find himself waking from a dream and alone.
          “Why don’t you two take that indoors?”
          Jarrod gasped, spinning around.  He forgot they weren’t by themselves.  A large black man with a shaved head and full beard stood with a beefy arm draped over the shoulder of an equally muscular white man with red hair.  The black man wore only jeans.  The ginger-haired man wore a sleeveless plaid shirt, hanging open to reveal chest and abs covered in red hair. 
          “Jarrod, this is Tyrone…”
          The black man nodded without smiling.
          “…and Gareth.”
          The ginger bear inclined his head with a pleasant grin.  “Nice to meet you.”
          Jarrod suddenly felt vulnerable and embarrassed, standing naked in front of strangers.
          Of course, nothing could be worse than the compromising position in which they first saw me, he thought.  “Do you think I could have some clothes, please?”
          Gareth and Tyrone laughed while Caleb slipped off his pajama pants.  He draped the legs over Jarrod’s shoulders and tied them in a loose knot as if they were a scarf.
          “Is that better?” Caleb stood back, hands on hips in his naked glory.
          Jarrod could not help but laugh himself.
          “We’ll catch up with you later,” Tyrone said as he and Gareth turned and walked into the woods.
          Jarrod watched them disappear.  He was alone with Caleb, what he had yearned for but so much had happened in the span of an hour or so, he didn’t know what to think.  Questions raced through his mind, trying to piece everything together but nothing made sense.  Even his first meeting with Caleb wreaked of fantasy.
          “You’re awfully quiet,” Caleb said.  He hooked an arm around Jarrod’s neck and kissed him on the head.
          Jarrod mashed his face against the hairy chest.  Now all of it felt so natural to him.  Standing naked in the middle of the forest in the rain with his lover.  Nothing else seemed to matter.
          “You still have a lot of questions, don’t you?”  Caleb’s chest vibrated as he spoke and Jarrod nodded.
          “The best way to describe this is we’re the guardians of the forest,” Caleb began, leading him into the woods following a narrow trail.
          “Guardians against what?” Jarrod asked.  It sounded even more incredible and he tried to wrap his mind around the concept.
          Caleb shrugged.  “Nothing fantastical.  Just trespassers, urban encroachment, anything that can harm the forest.”
          “This is a huge forest,” Jarrod blurted out.  “Hundreds of square miles.  Maybe thousands.  And just the four of you can protect it?”
          “I know it sounds incredible but when you have the powers of a bear, it’s not such a daunting task as it would seem.”
          “Wait a minute.” Jarrod stopped in his tracks.  “The powers of a bear?”
          Caleb smiled at him.  “Does that sound so crazy?”
          “It sounds impossible!”

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

European Space Agency launches SMART-1 2003

European Space Agency launched the Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology (SMART-1) September 27, 2003. The spacecraft was small, only 1 meter in diameter and weighed 809lb, only 633lb was non-propellant.  The first ESA probe to the moon, it used an ion propulsion system, using xenon ions to give it a specific thrust three times what conventional, chemical rockets can achieve.

On September 3, 2006, the probe was deliberately crashed onto the surface of the moon, adding more space junk to what the Soviets had been accumulating since 1959 and the US since 1962.  Japan is a distant third with China and India following.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Shannon Lucid returns to Earth after 188 days in space 1996

Oklahoman Shannon Lucid set a record for the longest single-mission spaceflight endurance record on the Russian space station Mir. She spent 188 days, returning to Earth on September 26, 1996.  While on board, she traveled 75.2 million miles.

Shannon took off on the Space Shuttle Atlantis March 22, 1996.  It was the 16th mission for Atlantis and the third Shuttle mission to dock with Mir.   She returned on Atlantis on its next space flight which took off September 16.

Lucid was inducted into the Oklahoma Woman's Hall of Fame in 1993.

Star Trek: The Next Generation premieres 1987

One of the best shows ever to be broadcast, Star Trek: The Next Generation, premiered on September 26, 1987.  It introduced all the major characters, including Mr. O'Brien (Colm Meaney) who would later play a major role on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) commanded the fifth starship to be named Enterprise.  The cast didn't have much hope the series would last but it went for seven seasons and ended on a high note in 1994.

It won 34 awards including 18 Primetime Emmys, mostly for technical achievements such as sound editing, sound mixing, wardrobe and makeup.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Sting releases "Brand New Day" 1999

Sting released his sixth solo album, Brand New Day, September 24, 1999.  It earned Sting two Grammys: Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.  I was reading Dune for the nth time when Desert Rose was hitting the charts, and it just seemed to appropo.

I still crank it up!

Book review - "Trapped at Pearl Harbor" by Stephen Bower Young

During a recent trip to Hawai'i, we visited the USS Arizona and USS Oklahoma memorials on Ford Island.  Of course, I had to peruse the book section in the museum store and found Stephen Bower Young's Trapped at Pearl Harbor: Escape from Battleship Oklahoma.

Young was just 19 years old, serving on the USS Oklahoma, when the Japanese attacked December 7, 1941. He became trapped when the battleship capsized.

Young reported to his battle station in Turret No.4 when the attack came.  As the ship rolled over, he watched shipmates get crushed by 1400lb projectiles and some fall into the water and disappear.

Fortunately, most of us will never know the horror of being trapped in an upside-down ship with water rising and air getting stale.  Young describes his desperate situation with his shipmates as they waited in the darkness, wondering if anyone knew they were there, wondering if they would suffocate before drowning. He talks about the feelings of panic and despair among the trapped sailors as the hours ticked away.  After more than 24 hours, Young and his shipmates were finally rescued.

Young talks about the Oklahoma's crew, their relationships, who got along with who and who didn't.  It appears that for the most part, the comrades in arms got along well with each other, which helped when trying to keep hopes up while they were trapped.

I really enjoyed reading this book, because I had wondered what was going on in the minds of those sailors while they waited rescue.  It is always best to get information like this from someone else's first hand experience.

Friday, September 23, 2016

"Earth vs. the Spider" released September 1958

From the brilliant mind of Bert I. Gordon, Earth vs. the Spider (or The Spider) was released September 1958.

A town is terrorized by a gigantic spider that appears from a cave.  The sheriff and others manage to knock it out with DDT, thinking they have killed it.  So they store it in a high school gymnasium for study.  What could go wrong?

The band playing music and  teenagers dancing revive the beast and it runs amok through the town.

Joel and the bots skewered in Mystery Science Theatre 3000.  The best line (or worst pun):  "It's Carol's dad's Caverns!"  Ouch.

Mannheim Steamroller releases "Halloween" 2003

Mannheim Steamroller released their first album of Halloween music, Halloween September 23, 2003.  True to the Mannheim sound, this album does for Halloween what it did for Christmas!

Listen to "Toccata in De Mole", a pumped up version of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in Bb minor.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

"Tormented" released 1960

Tormented, released September 22, 1960, is another Bert I. Gordon "classic".  Although billed as horror, it's wonderfully campy and hilariously dissected by Joel and the bots on Mystery Science Theatre 3000.

An aspiring musician lets his ex-girlfriend fall to her death from a lighthouse so she won't interfere with his upcoming nuptials.  Soon, her ghost starts wreaking havoc on his life.

One of the biggest mysteries is why a young woman is marrying a man 22 years older than she is.  Actually, the actor playing Tom Stewart is 4 years older than the actor playing his future father-in-law.  Oh, well.

Anyway, Lugine Sanders, who plays the bride-to-be, is a native Oklahoman!  

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Tulsa police officer shoots, kills unarmed black man

I'm usually supportive of the men in blue but this time, after watching this video, I'm not.  From what I saw, the unarmed man with his hands in the air was tasered BEFORE he was shot.  He was on the ground when someone claims shots had been fired.

I know there are two sides to every story but what possible motivation could this policewoman had to fire a gun at an unarmed, incapacitated man?


Mannheim Steamroller releases "Halloween Monster Mix" 2004

Mannheim Steamroller released its second album of spooky holiday music, Halloween Monster Mix, September 21, 2004.  It contains some eerie arrangements of classic music pieces such as In the Hall of the Mountain King, Night on Bald Mountain and my favorite, The Sorcerer's Apprentice (listen below).  It also features Crystal from Fresh Aire IV.

Halloween Monster Mix was released just two days shy of the anniversary of the first album of spooky favorites, Halloween, which was released in 2003.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Luna 16 lands on Moon, blasts off again 1970

The Soviet spacecraft Luna 16 landed on the moon September 20, 1970, grabbed a sample of moon dirt and its upper stage blasted off just a day later.  It returned to Earth September 24 with 101g of lunar soil.

It was the first unmanned mission to return from the moon with soil samples and the third overall mission, behind Apollo 11 and Apollo 12.  Results of its analyses were similar to those of the samples returned from Apollo 12.

In other words, we coulda told them that!

Happy birthday, Isis!

The lovely Joanna Cameron, the actress who wowed Saturday mornings in the mid-70's as the super-heroine Isis, was born September 20, 1951 in Vail, Colorado.  The Secrets of Isis was the first show to feature a female super-hero as the main character.  I watched every episode and now re-watch them.

Unfortunately, the studio did not pick up The Secrets of Isis for a third season, despite it being a popular show.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Houston announced as NASA's spaceflight center 1961

Houston's spaceflight center under construction in 1963

Just shy of four months since JFK delivered his speech setting the goal to land humans on the moon and return safely to Earth, NASA announced September 19, 1961, its new spaceflight center would be located in Houston, Texas.  More than twenty sites competed to host the center but Houston was chosen above the others because of its its all-weather commercial jet service, transportation by barge in ice-free water and its "mild climate."  You'll have to follow the link to see for yourself.  Yes, NASA said Houston's climate was MILD! LOL

Of course, the main reason Houston was chosen was because of politics.  Powerful politicians in DC including then Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson campaigned heavily for the Texas site.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Arnaldo Tamayo-Mendéz, first Cuban in space

Arnaldo Tamayo-Mendez became the first Cuban into space September 18, 1980.  He blasted off in Soyuz 38 with fellow cosmonaut Yuri Romanenko and cocked with Salyut 6.  After almost 8 days in space, they returned to Earth, making a night landing.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find a video of Mr. Tamayo-Mendez in English.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Book review - McDougal's Honolulu Mysteries

I was a bit confused reading McDougal's Honolulu Mysteries, an anthology, edited by Glen Grant.  According to the notes, the stories are oral histories from Arthur McDougal, a detective in 1920's-1930's Honolulu.  Hawai'i is U.S. territory, not a state.  People still remember, and are bitter about the end of, the monarchy.  The book is more detective noir fiction, rather than a whodunit.  More answers by fist, instead of the little, gray cells.

At the end of each story, Grant inserts a note discussing the validity of the events in McDougal's adventures, which in very few of them, can he.  Therefore, my question is: Was McDougal a real person?  I can't tell and I can't find out, either.  It took away from the enjoyment of the book (a little) because it read as McDougal is a fictional character.

Still, the book was a fun read.  I most enjoyed the first and last stories, which had elements of the paranormal.  And some were true whodunits.

The glimpse into Honolulu's past was one of the pluses of the book.  The stories, not in chronological order, occur from just after WWI to 1934.  Places, events, and events of the era give the stories an authentic feel.

McDougal's Honolulu Mysteries: Case Studies from the Life of a Honolulu Detective is a good read. It's more along the lines of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammet than Agatha Christie.

M*A*S*H premieres 1972

Our favorite war comedy-drama M*A*S*H premiered September 17, 1972.  It ran for 11 years and its final episode is one of the most watched television shows ever.  It won 62 awards, including Golden Globes and Primetime Emmys.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Happy birthday, Cat!

Danny John-Jules, born September 16, 1960 in London, England, has made me laugh as his role as Cat in Red Dwarf.  He is also providing laughs as Officer Dwayne Miles in Death in Paradise.

Here's a series of clips from Red Dwarf featuring Mr. John-Jules as Cat.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Inhofe stoops even lower, animal cruelty

As if Inhofe is trying to become more despicable!

Read the story below:

Mannheim Steamroller releases "Christmas" 1984

My most favorite Christmas album and one of my favorite albums of all time, Christmas, was released September 15, 1984.  I wore out the vinyl so I had to buy the CD.  Now it's in my iTunes and I listen to it several times between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Kilauea Caldera, Hawai'i

We landed in Hilo, Hawai'i and drove to Volcano National Park. 

Steam vents, where steam is released from ground.

The Kilauea Caldera was active that day and we could see it "splattering".  Notice the orange flames just visible in the center of the photo.

The area around the volcano looks like an alien, barren landscape.

Ioa Valley, Maui, Hawai'i

The beautiful Ioa Valley, Maui, Hawai'i

Kahului in the distance

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Road to Hana, Maui

Maui was our first stop on the cruise.  We rented a car and took the Road to Hana which is said to be one of the most beautiful drives anywhere.  It certainly had some breathtaking views.

Waterfalls were in abundance and lively due to rains from Hurricanes Lester and Madeline.

Waves crashing over rocks at Waianapanapa State Park