Home

Seventieth Anniversary

2 Comments

I was out for an early walk to avoid the heat this morning, and noticed how dark it is at 5:29 at this time of year, not the deepest dark, but still a while before dawn. It was seventy years ago today that the bomb was tested about two hours’ drive north of here.

I decided this would be the year I go to visit Trinity site. A lot of others made the same decision. The first Saturday in April was Easter Saturday, a time when many people travel. The site is opened only once or twice a year, depending on government cutbacks. Reports afterward were that while there are usually about 3,500 visitors at these openings, this spring there were 5,500.

Trinity site is located on White Sands Missile Range. The army is good at managing crowds. They were set up to check four cars at a time going in the gate. When I got there the back up at the gate was three miles long; it took me 55 minutes to get in. After that there is a 17 mile drive to a large parking lot so people get spread out. From the parking lot it is a quarter-mile walk to ground zero.P1000421.trinity walk

The army is not so good at other aspects of hosting visitors. There was a large golf-cart type vehicle providing rides from the parking lot to the site for those who couldn’t walk it, but I noticed there were not enough chairs at either end of the run to accommodate people waiting for the ride.

Some friends discouraged me from going. There’s nothing there, they said. It’s true that the crater has been filled in, to cover the radioactive green glass called trinitite which was the result of the explosion and to prevent its being stolen. There is trinitite for sale at locations around the edge of the range; some of it may still be the real thing. A few small samples are displayed at a table where the path meets the oval which represents the crater. There is a piece of one base for the tower which held the bomb, and two containers which helped move and protect the device. container 2

There are photographs hung on the enclosure fence, many of them of people responsible for the test, mostly white males looking pleased with themselves. If they felt any ambivalence about what they were doing, they kept it hidden from the camera.P1000424 cropped

It was once possible to view some of the trinitite on the crater floor. A structure was built with a window to look through. This is what it looks like now.P1000423

The army should have taken lessons from the National Park Service. “Years ago”? How many? And when was this sign installed? There’s no date given. “Years ago” sounds like the opening of a fable, or a tale of origins. It’s odd to find this in a place governed by scientific exactitude.

Outside the base, back at the road before the three mile backup, some people were protesting. They were not an anti-war group. They call themselves “Downwinders” and are asking for recognition and compensation for having been in the way of the radioactive fallout. No one warned them of danger. At the time of the bomb test no one had any idea what long range effects the radiation might have; though there had been accidents to show the immediate problems which high exposure caused.

The scientists acted as if they were testing in an empty space. No place on earth is that empty. I’ll let nature have the last word. This was along the path back to the parking lot.P1000430 flowers

Anniversary and More

3 Comments

The Biography

The Biography

Today, February 8 completes three years on this blog.  It has had its busy and its slack times, but I’ve enjoyed it all.

I began this blog to publicize my biography of John Emerson Roberts. This was one piece of an effort which involved a variety of Linked In Groups and even Linked In Ads, as well as connecting with other bloggers.

I named this blog “Freethought and Metaphor” in part because I hoped that I would in

My new poetry collection

My new poetry collection

future have poetry books to advertise – and now I have one.  I realized as soon as I came up with the title that these are indeed two sides of my mind, as my subhead says.  My left brain thinks about ideas and my right brain creates poetic material.  Sometimes these two sides cooperate, sometimes they wander down different trails.  And there are times when my left brain pretends to cooperate but really wants to run the show.  Those times do no produce successful poems.

Humans are bilateral, but who really had only two sides?  A third place where I put my energy is work on hunger and justice issues.  There are disputes about what constitutes justice, but most people agree on what hunger is, even when it is hidden under fancy names like “food insecurity.”

I was delighted to discover Word Soup, an organization which uses poetry to support hungry people by asking for a small donation to their local food bank to accompany submissions.  I couldn’t pass up the chance to combine these two usually separate parts of my mind.  They accepted two of my poems, which can be found at: http://wordsoup.weebly.com/issue-five-february-2015.html

My father-in-law used to count his age not by years completed, but by the year he was in.  He was well into his 99th year when he died.  Today is not the end of three years for this blog.  It is the beginning of the fourth year.  And I plan to keep going, though I have no plan laid out for it.

Please check back to see what I come up with.  And check out my books on the Books page.

Second Anniversary Thank You

4 Comments

Today is two years from the day I began this blog.  It has been an adventure for me, a learning experience, often fun and sometimes frustrating.  I began in order to publicize my biography, John Emerson Roberts: Kansas City’s “Up-to-date” Freethought Preacher.  I did make some connections and sell a few books through this effort.  Soon I will be using this space to do more publicity for my forthcoming book of poetry, Made and Remade, a set of poems responding to the God as Designer work of William Paley.

Those of you who follow and who regularly read this blog know all that.  Thank you all for your interest, for your “likes” and especially to those of you who comment – it turns blogging into dialogue in a very nice way.

The name for this blog was not carefully chosen; it came to me as a sudden inspiration, and I saw at once that it would stand for what I have made the subtitle: Two Sides of One Mind.  I may be doing poetry now, but I’m still thinking freely, and I am interested in conversations in both areas.  I promise more from both sides of my mind – at least for one more year.

Here’s another sunrise to suggest another new year.  These thin clouds are more typical of our skies than the big splashes I’ve posted before.

P1000029

First Anniversary

6 Comments

Today, February 8, this blog is one year old.  A year ago I thought it would be quite a challenge to keep going so long.  This is my 102nd post.  Perhaps I am hitting my stride.

The life span of blogs is more like that of cats than humans.  At one year old this blog is past its infancy (It has learned to walk and talk) and adolescence (I’ve learned a variety of techniques and made some long term connections) and is into the stage of young adulthood, finding its on-going role in the world.

Much of this blogging world is still a mystery to me.  I’ve seen some blogs disappear, others go dormant.  Some have thousands of followers, and I can’t figure out how they got there.  My numbers are small in comparison, but I appreciate all who follow, and all who comment.  You have been a wonderful audience.

Sotol on Baylor Canyon Trail

Sotol on Baylor Canyon Trail

 

I’m moving into my second year of blogging with the expectation of new and better things to come: guest blogging perhaps, and more recommendations, and links with other like-minded blogs.  But I’ll continue to pretend that my mix of freethinking and metaphor is unique, special.  Aren’t we all?  Plants may be fine examples of their species, like this sotol I noticed on a hike in January, but every human being is different.  Thank goodness!  Keep visiting to see what comes next.

Thanks to All My Readers

2 Comments

This is the first anniversary of the publication of my biography, John Emerson Roberts: Kansas City’s “Up-to-date” Freethought Preacher.  I’m celebrating, first by saying thank you to all who have read it, are reading it, or are reading about it (along with other things) on this blog.

I’m also celebrating by offering two free copies on Goodreads, one of the places I first made connections beyond my existing circles.  If you’re interested, go to www.goodreads.com and check out their giveaways.

The book’s “launch” was a soft one.  Xlibris is good at fast turnaround.  They kept me moving to the next stage of production when I thought I’d have more time to prepare for marketing.  Suddenly the book was done, while I was on vacation, and they wouldn’t wait until the date I wanted to start publicity.  They sent out press releases – to whom I could not figure out from the data base they sent me – three weeks before I was ready.

I know about book signings, presentations, emails and post cards and went at those steps eagerly.  But this book is a niche item.  It appeals to people interested in freethought, history, and/or Kansas City.  We are a relatively small group.  Yet I know I have not gotten the word out to all of those who would enjoy reading the book.

I didn’t know what to do next.  I looked up freethought groups, religious historians, regional libraries and sent a variety of letters, announcements and sample copies.  “You need to market on line,” people said.

Xlibris wants to do marketing for its authors.  They set up a website for the book as part of my production package, but I have no access to it.  They will happily provide additional services, many at more than the cost of production.

“How will you target the niche this book is intended for?”  I asked.

“Librarians,” they answered.  “We will put an ad in their journal and send out emails to librarians across the country.  For you, a $500 discount on the price.”

“No, thank you,” I said.

“New York Times Book Review,” they suggested.  It must be nice to see your book as one of eight on a full page Xlibris ad in the New York Times, but there’s no room for any of the words I’ve carefully crafted to explain why it’s a good story. [See my Books page, if you haven’t already.]

I felt I was very considerate not to laugh out loud at the Xlibris salesman who suggested television ads.  Was he going to survey freethought historians before deciding where to place those ads?  I thought not.

I’ve learned a lot this year, connecting on social media, getting advice from many sources, sending out more letters, creating this blog.  As a “platform” this is still a bit wobbly, but I progress.  If you can’t find your niche, you make one, right?

Such was the beginning of my non-fiction book in the world.  Next time, I’ll turn to the beginnings of the story IN the book – for those of you who haven’t read it yet.