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

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.

Thursday, April 01, 2021


Todays words are: index, opposed, mark, suggest, depend

The game was well in hand. They were up by ten points against a worthy team with five minutes left. 

Coach Spain was happy with the team's performance and that they were pushed for the whole game. She called a time out and debated pulling Shanika out to see if the team could maintain the lead without her. If the score got under six points she'd send her back in.

Sure enough Delta State hit two three pointers and Shanika was back in the game. She posted up and the ball was passed to her. The defender deflected it and Shanika screamed. It hit full force on her index finger and bent it in half.

The ref called an injury time-out and the trainer took the injured player to the locker room.

Delta State inbounded and with another three pointer brought the score to within a point. Using her last time-out she told the team it was time to suck it up and win against adversity. "I depend on this team to win with or without Shanika. They're going to oppose the inbounds pass. Lisa break for the basket. Joyce throw it to her. I want a quick bucket and clamp down on number 4. Don't let her get the ball she's killing us. Now go get them."

Lisa caught the ball and was fouled on the lay-up. She took her mark for the free throw and it bounced off the rim. The ball bounced right back to her and was in her hand. She bounced it to Joyce who banked it in. Now they were up by four with twenty seconds left.

Delta State called a time-out. Karen told them to protect the three point line and let them get a two pointer. "Make them foul to stop the clock." She looked at Lisa, "I suggest you hit your shots, they're free after all."

Shanika was sitting on the bench with her finger in a brace and wrapped in tape.  They bumped her right hand before taking the floor.

The buzzer sounded to resume play.