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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Science and Religion 1860


For the laying of the cornerstone for the University of the South, on 10 October 1860, Matthew Fontaine Maury gave this speech before 8 bishops, 200 clergy and 4,000 laymen concerning my personal belief in religion as the basis for any comprehensive understanding of the natural world.


Physical geography makes the whole world kin. Of all the departments in the domains of physical science, it is the most Christianising. Astronomy is grand and sublime; but astronomy overpowers with its infinities, overwhelms with its immensities. Physical geography chars with its wonders, and delights with the benignity of its economy. Astronomy ignores the existence of man; physical geography confesses that existence and is based on the Biblical doctrine that the earth was made for man. Upon no other theory can its phenomena be reconciled. …

Here, the schools which are soon to be opened … the masters of this newly ordained science will teach our sons to regard some of the commonest things as the most important agents in the physical economy of the planet. They are also might ministers of the Creator. …

I have been blamed by men of science, both in this country and in England, for quoting the Bible, they say, was not written for scientific purposes, and is therefore no authority in matters of science. I beg pardon: the Bible is authority in everything it touches. What would you think of the historian who should refuse to consult the historical records of the Bible because the Bible was not written for the purposes of history? The Bible is true: and science is true … they are both true; … and when your man of science with vain and hasty conceit announces the discovery of disagreement between them, rely upon it the fault is not the Witness or His records, but with the “worm” who essay to interpret evidence with he does not understand. …

As a student of physical geography, I regard earth, sea, air, and water as parts of a machine, pieces of a mechanism, not made with hands, but to which, nevertheless, certain offices have been assigned in the terrestrial economy. It is good and profitable to seek to find these offices … and when, after patient research, I am led to the discovery of any one of them, I feel with the astronomer of old, as though I had “thought one of God’s thoughts,”—and tremble. Then as we progress with our science we are permitted now and then to point out here and there in the physical machinery of the earth a design of the Great Architect when He planned it all. …

Had I time I might show how mountains, deserts, winds, and water, when treated by this beautiful science in our schools, and even before man had endowed it with a name, saw and appreciated its dignity—the for each one has its part to perform in the great concert of nature. …

What have we heard chanted here in this grove by a thousand voices this morning?—A song of praise, such as these hills since the morning stars sang together—the BENEDICTINE of our mother Church, invoking the very agents whose workings and offices it is the business of the physical geographer to point out! In her services she teaches her children in their songs of praise to call upon certain physical agents, principles in this newly-established department of human knowledge—upon the waters above the firmament; frost and cold; ice and snow; night and day; light and darkness; lightning and clouds; mountains and hills; green things; fowls of the air; with beasts and cattle—to bless, praise, and magnify the Lord!

Thursday, September 23, 2021

MFM information


More information about Matthew Fontaine Maury.
In 1853 Maury coordinated the first international conference on wind, currents and meteorology on the seas. He got England, France and Russia to send delegates to Brussels for the conference during the Crimean War. The conference resolved to send data to Maury at the National Observatory on wind and currents, even in time of war. In return the U.S. would provide updated Wind and Current Charts to all participating countries. By 1858 over 186,000 vessels were floating laboratories reporting to the Observatory. In recognition for his work he was given the following awards:

 A member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences of Russia.

A member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences, Letters and Fine Arts of Belgium.

An associate of England’s Royal Astronomical Society.

And a member of some forty other learned societies in the United States, Europe, and the Orient.

The Emperor of Russia made him “Knight of the Order of St. Ann”.

The King of Denmark made him “Knight of the Dannebrog”.

The King of Portugal, “Knight of the Tower and Sword”.

The King of Belgium, “Knight of the Order of St. Leopold.”

The Emperor of France, “Commander of the Legion of Honour.”

At the request of Alexander von Humbolt, Maury received the Great Gold Medal of the Paris Universal Exposition.

A Great Gold Medal from the Emperor of France.

The Great Gold Medal of the King of the Netherlands.

The Great Gold Medal of Arts and Sciences from the Emperor of Austria.

The Gold Medal of Sardinia.

The Gold Medal struck especially by the order of the King of Sweden and Norway. 

The Pope sent a complete set of all the medals which had been struck during his pontificate as a mark of his appreciation of Maury's services in the cause of science.

The Czar of Russia and Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria sent jeweled pins to his wife, Ann. 

Most of these awards are on permanent display in the National Museum of the United States, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Up top date on MFM

 Still working on The Autobiography of Matthew Fontaine Maury: Life and Times of a Rebel.

I've written from his genealogy to the Civil War based on one biography that was a concise version of his life. I used it for the skeleton of his life, nut and bolts. I'm using another biography that has much more about his family life and longer quotes from his letters and speeches. This gives the story much more of a "In his own words," feeling.

Wikipedia isn't helping me with a particularly important person in MFM's life. William Lewis Herndon is referred to in most biographies (there are six so far I'm using) as MFM's brother-in-law. It's a family jumble of similar names and close cousins, normal at the time period where a married couple would have from six to fourteen children and giving them common first names.

MFM married Ann Hull Herndon. Her mother was Elizabeth Hull married to Dabney Herndon. Ann's parents died when she was 13 and MFM's elder sister, and mother of Dabney, also named Elizabeth, took Ann Hull and her brother, Brodie, in and raised them as her own.

MFM's uncle, Edward Herndon and aunt, Elizabeth were parents of William Lewis Herndon and others. 

This made MFM and William Lewis Herndon second cousins. MFM and Ann were fourth cousins. If MFM and WLH were brother-in-law then Ann would be MFM's first cousin. A big distinction today, not so big in 1820's.

Wikipedia counts Ann Hull and Brodie as children of Edward and Elizabeth Maury Herndon. It is confusing, but they should try to get this right.

I'm using a Maury Family Tree by Sue C. West-Teague, that spells this out in a confusing and absolutely impossible chronology.

I've still a bit of fleshing out to do with what I have on the skeleton before tackling the Civil War and MFM's return to the United States. He was under a death sentence far stricter that for Jefferson Davis, Alexander Stevens and Robert E. Lee! I'll explain in the book.

William Lewis Herndon was the captain of the steam ship Central America that went down in  a hurricane with millions of dollars worth of gold in 1858. It was recently discovered off the North Carolina coast. North Carolina, the U.S. and the salvagers are still fighting over what today is billons of dollars in gold coins. 

WLH had a daughter and she married a New York politician named Chester A. Arthur. MFM gave her hand in marriage as this was after her father died. It was Chester A. Arthur who pulled the political strings to get MFM back from London and to Virginia. 

Elizabeth Herndon Arthur died before Chester became Vice-President and later President of the U.S.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Memorial Service


My mother passed away last September. With Covid raging my brother couldn't make it out here from Oklahoma. He contacted me a few weeks ago and said he and his wife could be here the end of the month. I set up a memorial service for next week and plans were set.

He called me last night. His daughter, fully vaccinated, has come down with the Delta variant, she's a teacher and was setting up her classroom. She came down with before students were present. Her husband, fully vaccinated, also came down with it. Right now he has his two grandsons in his basement and his wife in quarantine as she has a compromised immune system, fully vaccinated, but not taking a chance.

This leaves him alone to watch the grandchildren, see them off to school and when they get home. He's staying masked around them. The oldest is vaccinated, but the youngest is seven, he had a fever last year and tested positive, but the fever only lasted one day, so it was the older variant that didn't bother children as much or a false positive.

Obviously he can't come any time soon, maybe next year at this time unless there's a new variant to fuck things up again because of superstitious morons afraid of a needle.

Memorial service will go on as planned, but it would have been nice for my brother to be here too. It will be zoomed.

Monday, August 16, 2021

It was a fight

 It was a fight, but I'm back on my blog. Google has made it impossible to log in.

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

WC 070721


I've been on a blogging vacation for a month, but I kept up with WC posts. I decided to contribute this time.

My best autobiography is the Autobiography of Malcolm X, As Told to Alex Haley.

This book had tremendous impact on me while I was in college. It affected lots of white, middle class Americans. It was a brazen window into the life of an African American and the troubles he faced, his conversion to the Black Muslims, becoming a spokesperson for them and after his Haj to Mecca the change in his faith, which caused his assassination.

Alex Haley did a masterful job of presenting his words and ideas in a relatable manner. 

The movie did not do it justice, but then they never do.

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Blog Vacation

 I'm taking a vacation from blogging to focus on my writing, don't know when I'll be back.

Friday, June 04, 2021

Friday Five 060421


Today is a twofor. Life got in the way last week so I'm doing both weeks in one post.

Resource, food, extinct, address, tumor

Image, bar, express, redeem, privilege


Shanika put her return address on the letter she was writing home. Word came to her that the doctor found a tumor in Mom’s breast, and she was going to have a lumpectomy. They’d talked over the phone for over an hour last night, but she wanted to express her deepest thoughts, things that couldn’t be said over the phone. The mental image of losing her mom kept her crying all night.

Placing the letter in the out box in the dorm mail room she headed to the dining hall. The food was normally tasteless, but today it was like sawdust. Trying to get her mind off this she went to the library looking for resources for the term paper due in two weeks.

The term paper was on how different varieties in a species fail to adapt and go extinct and others adapt and survive. Looking through the biology books the librarian came to her, “Is there anything I can help you find?”

Normally she tells the kind lady she prefers to do research on her own, but today she needed it. “If you don’t mind?” she said.

With a smile, “It would be my pleasure, why I’m here.”

She told her, “I need to find information on the Saber Tooth Cats and modern cats.”

“Doctor Moser’s biology 101,” she nodded. Going over to a cart off to the side, "You’ll find everything you need right here, but they’re restricted to the library for the other classes.”

“Thanks, you’ve saved me a lot of time,” Shanika said.

Two hours of taking notes later she left for the snack bar in the SUB, she had a coupon to redeem that was in the last Traveler, the school’s newspaper.

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

WC 060221


Casca is the Roman soldier cursed by Christ in AD 32. He can't die. He goes through the centuries traveling all over the world as a mercenary. 

This is a series of books now numbering over 50. It would make a great TV series where every season could cover one book. History Channel or SciFi Channel would work. Might be good for CW or TNT.

It would take a young and upcoming actor to start w current young actor comes comes to mind. It would actually be best to have an unknown. Supporting cast would change from season to season as they'd be in different times and locations.

I don't think they'd make good movies over the long term. Think Conan movies. One or two and then they stop. A series would be better.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

WC 052621


My fantasy vacation

This is a package offered to teachers over summer vacation a few years ago. Not in my budget then, but I would still like to take it. Still not in my budget.

Fly from New York to Rome, spend two days in Rome, bus to Venice, Florence, Genoa and down to Naples, two days at each stop.

Get on cruise ship and sail to Syracuse then to Athens and a week visiting different Greek Islands. Fly back to NY from Athens.

2nd fantasy vacation. A month seeing the sights in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

3rd fantasy vacation visit the Louvre, Versailles, Fountaine Bleau.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Friday Five 052121


Publish, loss, dragon, result, pest

It was a long bus ride home. It was their first loss of the season. Karen expected it, but it still stung. They kept the game close and were only down five points with a minute to go in the game when Shanika fouled out and the result was Tennessee scored six points and put the game out of reach.

They beat UNM by ten points in the consolation game, but it was little comfort to know they were that close to the top ranked women's team in the country and fell short.

Shanika was in the back brooding. She fowled out on a bad call. It was a clear charge and the ref called her for blocking. She needed consoling.

Going back and sitting next to her she said, "You played two great games, why so glum?"

Shanika spat it out, "That ref called me for blocking three times and I established my position every time. We was robbed."

"That's the dragon you'll have to slay during every game," Coach said. "No ref ever decides who wins or loses. Bad calls are a part of the game and you have to find a way to win regardless."

"What should I have done differently?"

Sighing, "It's partly my fault. We've had so little real competition I haven't focused on avoiding fouls. On that last one you had a choice, gamble on getting a charging call or fouling out of the game. What was more important?"

"You mean I should have let her score?"

"Yes, it was only two points. The ref already called you twice why risk your last foul like that? You're no good out of the game. You were hitting three pointers and so was the rest of the team. We could have traded two pointers for threes and won the game."

She hung her head, Coach hugged her. "We went toe to toe with the best of the best and held our ground. Sometimes you learn more from a loss than a victory. Hold your head high and don't be ashamed of losing."

The rest of the team was gathered around so Coach Karen decided to do some teaching.

"You all know about the Flying Queens of the 1950's. They won a hundred and thirty one straight games, seventy-six of them under coach Harley Redin. Of everything published about those teams it's what Coach Redin said on the night of their first loss after that run. 

"Calling a time out shortly before the game was over and they were going to lose, he said, 'You held your heads high for four years with grace and dignity and you are to do the same after losing as you've done winning.'"

Going back to the front of the bus, Karen thought, now what do I have to do to get that pest of a ref fired?

My freshman year at Wayland was the last year the Harley Redin coached. He was a truly great man and coach.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

WC 051921


Recent topics I've googled.

I'm currently writing the autobiography of Matthew Fontaine Maury. This is one of the five biographies I've purchased as well as the many sites I've googled on this man's life.

It's been an experience channeling this extraordinary man's life and writing about him in the first person. I cite Robert Grave's I Claudius and Margret George's The Autobiography of Henry VIII as the vehicle to make an historical figure come to life.

There is more to this man's life than the fact he sided with Virginia in the Civil War.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Friday Five 051421


Ban, Cane, Angle, Firm, Mind

This was the first real test of the Flying Queens. They play in the NAIA and this weekend they're going to be playing NCAA powerhouses. Their first team on tonight is Tennessee and if they win that they'll play either Texas Tech or New Mexico.

Tennessee won the championship before UCON became the perennial powerhouse.

Tech won the championship under Marsha Sharp, a former Flying Queen and assistant coach. UNM hasn't won the championship, but always fields a competitive team.

Coach Spain spent sleepless nights getting her game plan ready for all three teams. She was leaving nothing to chance. Tennessee and Tech had a center two inches taller than Shanika and more experienced. UNM didn't have a tall center, but three power forwards made up for it.

She sat in a cane chair in the motel visualizing Shanika against Janet McClusky. Shanika would use her hook shot a time or two and when the forwards moved in to stop her she'd pass to Sasha for a three pointer. When she went under the basket if she was blocked another pass to Vicky and when they closed in to stop that she'd move out for a three pointer. There was always an angle open for a clear shot.

It was time to get on the bus and face the music. She banished any negative thoughts. Today Wayland would reach the heights of women's basketball that they had in 1978 when they made the final four of the NCAA tournament.

The buzzer sounded for the opening tip off. The team gathered around her. They linked hands, "Be alert, be firm, be sure and kick their butts."

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

WC: My favorite indulgence


Today's topic is: My Favorite Indulgence.

I'm a chocoholic. Diabetes be damned I'm going to have my chocolate.

I try to get as high a cocoa count as possible. 70% to 80% and I limit myself to one level a day when I'm being good. I tried 100% one time, like eating saw dust.

It's easier now I'm on a medicine that's only one shot a week. It gives me a mild case of sea sickness (how I describe it) my stomach is queasy all the time. 

When I was on insulin I craved sweets like a ravenous dog. Mounds bars, Almond Joy, Three Musketeers, Milky Way, chocolate covered raisins, hot chocolate, chocolate milk, ice cream with chocolate syrup, chocolate milk shakes.... Need I go on?

With this new medication I've lost thirty pounds in six months. I can finally bend down and pick up what I've dropped without busting a gut. 

Friday, May 07, 2021

First Friday 050721


Exchange, first-hand, friendly, jump, trick


Coach Spain was worried. They had a Thanksgiving tournament in Houston in two weeks. The team got by the mid-terms with everyone having a 2.5 GPA or better. She had first-hand knowledge that this tournament could make or break the season. Going into it undefeated was a liability. So far none of the teams they’d played put up a real challenge. They would be walking into a buzz saw against the three other teams in the tournament.

She had scrimmages with the men’s JV team three times the previous week to get them in shape. Shanika was turning into a first-class center and the other six players had perfected their jump shots getting lots of three pointers. It kept the other players from crowding Shanika on the inside.

Tony Adams was impressed by their play. His players upped their game the past few weeks. They were much better defensively against three-point shots. Ray picked up the jump hook after getting burned by Shanika with it. At first the scrimmages were friendly, but as the girls got better his guys realized they needed to take them seriously. It was turning into a good exchange of training for both teams. Next year when this group of freshmen and sophomores replaced his seniors, he’d be much more competitive.

Karen purposely kept Shanika from shooting three pointers to this point in the season. After regular workouts the tall woman kept practicing her outside shots, but it was important to perfect her inside game. The last scrimmage against the men she turned Shanika loose and let her rain down three pointers. They beat the men by ten points.

“That was a dirty trick,” Tony said shaking his head after the game.

“I know,” she said. “I hope it works well in Houston. Shanika won’t be the tallest player against those teams.”

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

WC Fictional Characters


Fictional characters I'd like to meet.

I decided to narrow this to ten female characters I'd like to meet. Can you figure out in what story they're from?

1. Cassandra, to ask her about always knowing what's going to happen and not being taken seriously.

2. Penelope, was Odysseus worth waiting for twenty years? 

3. Shahrazad, ask her to tell me more stories. 

4. Dulcinea del Taboso, what it's like to be loved by a lunatic?

5. Lessa, what's it like to talk to dragons?

6. Mina, now you're not a vampire, what's next?

7. Katerina, where you really tamed?

8. Ophelia, was suicide really your only option?

9. Lisa Kelly, can I be your slave?

10. Peggy Olsen, was it worth it to succeed in a man's world?

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

TTT My Last Ten Reads


I'm currently writing a novel about the life of Matthew Fontaine Maury and am researching through five different biographies. I've decided to re-read some of my favorited authors to catch up for the next book in their series due to come out this year. They're like curling up on a couch in front of a fire and having a chat with old friends.

I just finished the 54th book, The Killer, in the Casca Eternal Mercenary series. Tony's written now 30 of them. In this one he's fighting in the Algerian Civil War during the 1950's for the French Foreign Legion. I'm not re-reading the other thirty books, they're stand alone.

There are currently five books in the Dark Elvin series: Dark Blade, Heir of Gorridan, Okra's Tower,Faerown's War, The Mountains of Butchock. A new one is due out this year. The last few books Roberts has unleashed Faerowen's sensual side.

The Kastania Chronicles are by far the best fantasy series I've ever read, even better than Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. They now comprise Prince of Wrath, House of Lust, Patch of Pride, Throne of Envy, and God's of Gluttony. I can't wait for the next one coming out this fall.
All told there's many more than ten books here, but I count each series as one extended book.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Friday Five 043021


Today’s words are: proper, brand, husband, pigeon, offend


Coo coo coo, Shanika felt like throwing a shoe and knocking that irritating pigeon off the tree limb outside her window. If she did that she was sure it would offend some bird lover and catch holy hell for being mean to a poor bird. Coo coo coo. She buried her head in the pillow and tried to go back to sleep.

It was Thursday and that meant chapel. Getting into her seat next to little miss prim and proper Martha Smith, there was still a few minutes before they dimmed the lights and the proctors with clipboards counting heads were walking the aisle. Three of them came up to Martha and congratulated her on getting engaged.

It's not even midterm and she’s engaged?

The mousy gal was beaming and showing off a ring with a miniscule diamond chip. The lights dimmed and she took a needed nap after that damn bird woke her up at the crack of dawn.

In the locker room Martha’s finding a husband was the topic of conversation. On a small campus with just over a thousand students anything was fodder for gossip.

Beth Shumacher, the point guard griped, “She’s the reason why freshmen women can’t get an A. The professors think we’re only here to find a husband.”

The lone senior on the team, Candice Clark, shook her head. “Pity the poor girl, she’ll drop out find a job and start on her PHT degree.”

Shanika was curious, “What’s that?”

Candy gave her a look, “Putting Hubby Through. She’ll see him through college and graduate school. Then when he starts earning real money, he’ll trade her in on someone more intellectually stimulating leaving her to raise two or three kids.”

“Just because that’s what your Daddy did to your Momma, doesn’t mean that’ll happen to Martha,” Beth said.

It was time to go out on the court. They looked on the ball rack and low and behold there were ten brand new practice balls. Shanika grabbed one and felt the fresh nibs as she shot a three pointer, nothing but net.



Wednesday, April 28, 2021

WC 042821 Favorite outdoor activities

 Today's topic is: You're favorite outdoor/nature activities.

Golf. At least it used to be. My broken hand and strained back have put an end to the most expensive pleasurable activity I've ever know. The picture is of PAAKO Ridge on the eat side of Sandia Mountain. The shot is of a par three hole going down to a par four hole and then a par five on the dogleg left. The most spectacular golf course in New Mexico.

Isotopes/Dukes. I grew up watching Albuquerque's AAA baseball team. They were the Dukes for decades. I watched Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Oral Hershiser, Pedro Martinez, and todays Joc Petersen play in our city. Kirk Gibson was in town the year after the Dodgers won the World Series. He was rehabilitating and only playing a couple of innings  a game, but I witnessed him hit a home run that was thirty feet over the scoreboard. They measured it at over 500 feet and the ball was flat on one side. The old Duke stadium had a drive up area beyond the outfield. I had a truck at the time and we could sit on the tailgate and hope for a home run to get a souvenir.

Alas, the team was sold and lost the name Dukes. It was renamed the Isotopes (credit the Simpsons here). Grrr. The stadium was rebuilt and prices went up, even having to pay for parking and no bringing in snacks. They have retro days where the play in the Dukes uniforms and those are the game we attend. They also have the Mariachi's uniforms for special days. The first picture is of the Dukes uniforms. The second picture is of the new mascot called, Orbit.

I also like taking my dog for a tug.


Thursday, April 22, 2021

Friday Five 042221


Today’s words are: Increase, retire, dairy, hiccup, verdict.


The alarm sounded. Shanika hit the snooze button and moaned. She hated chapel. It was only twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday, but she didn’t have a morning class those days and having to get up for chapel interrupted her sleep.

Going into the auditorium she found her assigned seat sitting next to Martha Smith and Alex Baumgartner. Martha is a PK (preacher’s kid) and Alex is a preacher boy. She usually, once whoever was giving the lecture or sermon started, scrunched down and went back to sleep. Martha and Alex stayed alert and attentive the whole hour.

Today the president of the school was giving the lecture. She remembered the freshman welcome he gave at indoctrination. She never heard anyone say so much without it meaning anything. A nice jumble of words and that was about it. This guy should retire and maybe the next guy would increase the attention span of the student body!

Dr. Slaughter began his mouthing of verbal inanity and she went promptly to sleep. For some reason half-way through she started to hiccup. She sat up and had another and another. “Crap,” she said starting to get up and bothered the line of sleeping students for the aisle and a water fountain. Even Martha and Alex were passed out.

A couple of gulps and the spasms stopped. Going back to her seat she heard Dr. Slaughter say, “There was no doubt in Pilate’s mind that the verdict on Jesus should be not guilty, but the crowd wouldn’t let him…”

After waking up the slumbering students again she was pissed off that she wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep and had to listed to this guy droning in monotone for another fifteen minutes.

If had to pay to attend here, I’d go back to my parent’s dairy farm.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Creative Outlets

 Creating Outlets I Enjoy:

Reading: there is nothing more creative than nurturing your imagination by escaping to another time, place, or universe in the written word. By becoming another person and living through that person in their world.

Writing: To look at a blank piece of paper or computer screen and create another world, time, place, and populate it with other people, monsters, aliens, mythical beings takes imagination and a sense of wonder. 

Plastic Canvas: While watching TV my wife and I make tissue box covers, place mats, coasters, office inboxes, note pad holders, legal pad folders, book marks and other items using yarn and plastic canvas. It keeps us from adding calories by eating in front of the idiot box. 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Friday Five 041621


Today's words are: Long, tin, party, witch, earthquake


It felt good to get the brace off her finger. It was still a little sensitive, but before long it would be good as new.

Shanika got out of the shower, sprayed on some perfume and dressed in T-shirt, jeans, sandals and put in earrings. It was a Friday night and there wasn’t a game on Saturday. For the tall woman it was the first time since the semester began it was time to party.

The men’s JV team invited the Queens to a bonfire. They’d practiced with them for three weeks now on Tuesdays. It wouldn’t hurt to socialize.

It was behind the gym and on school grounds, which meant no booze. Small Baptist universities have a tendency to expel anyone caught drinking on campus; also, no weed. They like locating 40 miles from the nearest known sin.  

The real bummer about coming here. She had her stash wrapped in tin foil hidden in her closet. It would have to stay there.

Ray Spradling was the six-foot-eight center she practiced against. The first time she tried driving on him she bounced off and landed on her bottom. It felt like an earthquake had hit while trying to get up. She swayed too and fro, never feeling like that before. 

She learned how to drive around him and hit a jump hook, or swing under the basket and do a backwards Bankshot. It added a new dimension to her game.

Walking to the gym she could see others heading there too. Her spirits deflated, the Dean of Women, Mrs. Carpenter was walking that way too. “Witch is going to take all the joy out of tonight!”

Finding Ray by the fire she made him bend down to whisper in his ear, “Not a party if there’s a chaperone, is there some place we can go for some fun?”

He picked her up to eye level, something she wasn’t used to, and said, “My car awaits. There’s miles of farm land perfect for fun.”




Tuesday, April 13, 2021

WC If I won the lottery


Today's topic: If I won the lottery I would...

I will never win the lottery because I don't throw my money away that way. The first episode of Numbers explained that if you bought 20 lottery tickets a day your chance of winning would be one in 20,000 years.

Okay I'll play along. Say I win a hundred million dollars. Great. Federal Taxes are 50% off the top. State and local taxes depend on where you live, but they take a bite.

A million bucks just became around 400,000.00. Great I can spend all that. Guess again, that is income for this year which places you into a higher income bracket and come recording time you're socked by federal and state taxes again. This is how those who win the lottery wind up bankrupt within two or three years. They go wild spending everything the first year and then the tax man cometh.

The only intelligent option if you win big on the lottery is take the yearly payments, put them in savings, cd's, bonds and live off the interest. 

Say after the tax man I net a million dollars. In a saving account that will generate around (depending on interest rate) $10,000.00 to 12,000.00 per month.

 With that I could upgrade my house and cars maybe add a summer home perhaps even a boat. There would still be money for travel and other living expenses without stretching your budget.

Finance, do not buy. Use each years' installment as income for the financing. Don't exceed your income and you'll do well.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Pathfinder of the Seas

 I've started writing a new novel. What has never happened to me before is that when I started researching the subject of my novel I was wondering how to write the life of a exceptional human being as fictionalized history. 

On a Friday night as I was trying to go to sleep and it hit me. Make it his autobiography, like Robert Graves did with I Claudius and Margaret George did with the The Autobiography of Henry VIII.

Then I started writing the story in my head. I couldn't stop it. All night I was telling his story. Saturday night the same, Sunday night it was driving me nuts. Monday I finally got to the office and am ready to write down everything I've thought about for three nights.

Reality hit. As I started writing I found that I needed names, dates, and the little details. I went in thinking that I would just magically get it all down in one day. I would up buying four biographies of the man, in book form, only one was available as an e-book. Then I had to wait for them to come in.

I've written the first ten pages and have the man finally getting ready to leave to be a midshipman in the navy in 1825.


This is the statue on Matthew Fontaine Maury as it looked in Richmond, Virginia.

On July 2nd of 2020, Levar Stoney, the mayor of Richmond, Virginia ordered the removal of the statue of Matthew Fontaine Maury. The statue names Maury as “The Pathfinder of the Seas.” It was erected in 1929 on Richmond’s Monument Avenue.  Governor Stoney used his emergency powers to bypass a state-mandated review process, calling the statue a “Severe, immediate, and growing threat to public safety.”

The statue had been vandalized with various colors of paint calling Maury a racist. When the Civil War broke out, he sided with Virginia, his home state and resigned his commission in the Navy as Commander of the U.S. Naval Observatory.
I understand the Black Lives Matters movement to remove statues of Confederate generals and statesmen. As an historian I regret the removal of any historical figure, but I understand why some would want this, but Maury was a scientist, not a general or politician. His contribution to the world is still felt today. It makes no sense to deem the memory of this man "an immediate threat." 

He became a midshipman at age 19 and never owned a slave. His entire life was devoted to the sea and making sailing faster, safer and understanding the world's oceans.

Judge for yourself if this man's statue should have been removed.

Here are the life’s works of a man today considered to be threat to public safety:

1.   The father of Oceanography.

2.   Father of meteorology.

3.   Father of Physical Geography.

4.   Compiled the first comprehensive study of the ocean currents, wind, weather, temperature, animal and plant life, depths; the Gulf Stream; the effects of currents on land weather.

5.   Created the first scientifically detailed charts of all the world’s oceans and wind currents used by all military and merchant shipping from their introduction in 1848.

6.   His study of the Atlantic Ocean’s depth made the telegraph cable connecting the United States with Europe possible.

7.   In the 1830’s his articles in magazines criticizing certain problems in the Navy led to Congress creating the Naval Academy.

8.   He published The Physical Geography of the Sea (1855). A textbook translated into numerous languages and used by most navies of the world in the 19th century. It was used at Annapolis into the 1920’s.

9.   By 1858 Maury had over 137,540 vessels from most maritime countries gathering data to record the weather. This created the largest fleet to act in concert in history. It was the first time for the United States to lead in a branch of science.

10.      He revolutionized naval defenses by perfecting floating mines and electric torpedo.

In September 26, 1927 in a forward to the book Matthew Fontaine Maury: Pathfinder of the Seas by Charles Lee Lewis, Admiral Richard E. Byrd wrote: Because I am soon to start my own expedition to the South Pole I am particularly interested in a letter (Matthew Fontaine) Maury wrote under the date of August 20, 1860, in which he said, “I have reason to believe that there is about the South Pole, a comparatively mild climate. The unexplored regions there embrace an area equal in extent to about one-sixth of all known land on the surface of the earth. I am quietly seeking to create in the minds of some an interest upon the subject, hoping thereby to foster a desire in the right quarters for an Antarctic expedition.”


Sixty-seven years after Maury wrote that letter and fifty-four years after his death his dream came true. Admiral Byrd reached the South Pole. 

He wasn't infallible. You could hardly describe the climate of Antarctica mild, or that the continent was that large. He had no idea how much of the area was ice shelf.

The only scientist to have more impact on world knowledge in the 19th century was Charles Darwin.

Why have I decided to write his life story? I married a Maury.

The first time I met my soon to be Father-in-law and we were getting to know one another he mentioned MFM, and said "No one has heard of him because he was a rebel."

Shortly after Linda and I were married I found a biography of MFM at a used book store. I gave it to Ed and he enjoyed reading about his ancestor. He gave it back and I read it. What an eye opener and I felt at the time that his life would make a great novel. 

I started writing Optimus: Praetorian Guard and it took me ten years, then when I retired I started writing other stories. MFM was always on the back burner until they removed his statue. I feel his story needs to be told to the world now more than ever. He was a man of his time and sided with his native state when the country split apart, but that should not negate all that he did and what he learned still has impact today.

The USNS Maury launched in 2013. It's an oceanographic survey ship. There have been other naval ships that bore his name. 

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Friday Five 040921

 Todays words are: hell, railroad, chief, abridge, past.

Shanika had to abridge her workouts. She could dribble with her right hand and throw two handed. She was very careful when catching it. She told me, “The slightest hit hurts like hell.”

I could sympathize. I suffered the same injury on my right hand while playing. The more she used the hand, the sooner it would heal.

Saturday, we had a home game against a junior college. They can be some of our toughest opponents or a cake walk. This team had two women that I was interested in recruiting. They were iffy academically in high school and I passed on them. I’m hoping they’re getting their grades up and I can have them to replace seniors on the team.

When they walked on the court, I recognized their new coach. He played for Texas Tech the last four years and was an outstanding power forward. He wasn’t quite good enough for the pros, and he most likely passed on junior high and high school wanting to coach at the college level.

From the tip off, Chief Lawson was yelling at his players. They scored the first point on a free throw and then the railroad hit them.

I didn’t play Shanika and when we were up thirty to one, I pulled first string. It was a massacre. He kept his first string in the whole game and yelled his head off the whole time. The more he yelled the worse they played. Final score 101-01.

I told the team to go over and hug every one of the other team and give them what encouragement they could. “Cry with them in sympathy, not pity.”

When Coach Lawson came to shake my hand, I refused and told him to follow me to my office. I’ve never been so angry in my life.

Behind my desk I could tell he was about to give me a piece of his mind about me running up the score. I beat him to the punch.

“I don’t care about how good a player you were in the past. You are an abomination as coach. I’m filing a complaint to the athletic director at your school. You are a bully, and have no business coaching a women’s team.”

I expected him to get angry and leave, even cuss me out. Instead, he hung his head in shame. That I could work with.

“You’re not married, are you?”

 “No,” he shook his head.

“Spent all your life with Mommy cleaning up after you and in the locker room.” He nodded his head. “You have no idea what women are like. Now either listen to my advice or quit. You are doing too much damage to good players. I was interested in Jolly James and Heather Smith, but after today I’ve a feeling they’ll drop out and go back to the inner city of Houston and wind up being single mothers working three jobs to put food on the table.”

Shaking his head, “This is the only way I know how to coach”

Listen up, Chief. “In a game even men and especially women need the coach to cheer them on. Everyone needs encouragement in competition.”

I took a breath, he nodded.

“The time for criticism is looking at the game tapes. Women need praise to keep them going. Negative reinforcement works for men. Women need positive reinforcement. Are you understanding what I’ve said?”

“Yes, Ma’am,” he said.

“Good. I’m calling every coach you’re playing for the next three weeks and if they tell me, you’re still yelling at your players, we’ll all write a letter to your athletic director.”

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

 Todays topic is books I've chosen based on cover or title.

The first of many James Clavell books. I'd seen the cover in bookstores and news stands and it looked interesting. When it was announced that there was a min-series of it I bought it and read it before the mini-series started. I've read everything by Clavell since then and loved all of his books.

Fellow member of Writers2writers here in Albuquerque wrote this special book after seven women's bodies and one fetus were discovered buried on the West Mesa of Albuquerque. It's a tribute to the families of those who lost their daughters.

The first book in this series has the most eye catching cover and I just had to read the book. I've read every book in the series to date and eagerly awaiting the next.

Tony Roberts has the franchise on the Casca series and I've read all of the 25+ that he's written. He came out with a elf fantasy series, Dark Blade, and the covers caught my eye. They're not the usual type of covers. They are painting done in expressionist style. I really like them. I've read and re-read these books three times. They are fantastic.