Saturday, June 1, 2013

As It Stands blog: Another asteroid zipped by earth yesterday

Radar images of asteroid 1998 QE2, taken when the cosmic traveler was about 3.75 million miles from Earth, revealed that the asteroid, with a 1.7-mile diameter, has a moon or satellite revolving around it.

Good Day World!

Isn’t it nice to know life as we know it here on earth wasn’t altered forever yesterday? We had another asteroid fly-by in case you’re wondering what I’m talking about. I didn’t see it.That’s just as well.Out of sight. Out of mind.

Scientists say we shouldn’t have to worry about another asteroid streaking near earth or right at us for that matter, for at least 200 years. Sounds like a good round figure to me. I sure hope the genius-types are right and we don’t get sent back to the stone age suddenly and unexpectedly.

Today, is a good day to be alive.

Here’s the story from NPR:

The fly-by marked the closest an asteroid will come to Earth for at least the next 200 years, according to researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory who led the radar observations that spotted the asteroid's moon. The point of maximum proximity came at 4:59 p.m. ET, or 20:59 UTC, Friday, according to the space agency. (Full story here)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, May 31, 2013

As It stands blog: You say greedy Capitalist Pig like it's a bad thing!

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Actually, I think the pig logo above should be worn by stock traders and venture captialists who live and eat money!

As It Stands blog: A gift from the Gods found in ancient jewelry

     Good Day World!

 You can’t blame the ancients for thinking meteorites were sent from the gods because they came out of the sky.

One can only imagine what significance was awarded to meteorite jewelry, but it must have been notable.

People today look at meteorites in a much more inane way; they’re worth money! Lots of it depending upon the size of the specimen. Scientists love studying them and museums love buying them. It certainly takes some of the mystery out of those flaming rocks from the night skies that once left puny humans trembling in awe. Now people see dollar signs instead!

Oh well, what can you expect from a society based upon capitalism? Anyway…here’s a story that you may find interesting: 

Ancient Egyptian space jewelry? Iron in bead came from meteorite

“The ancient Egyptians wore jewelry made from space rock, and meteors raining from the sky may have shaped their ideas of the gods, according to new analysis of a 5,000-year-old iron bead."The sky was very important to the ancient Egyptians," Tyldesley, an Egyptologist, told Nature News. "Something that falls from the sky is going to be considered as a gift from the gods." (Story here)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Cicades Among Us: Creepy crawlers get their own web cam!

  Good Day World!
 They’re back!
Don’t miss it.
After 17 years they’ve emerged from the earth hungry and horny! Bug-eyed little horrors are swarming along the East Coast and getting a fair amount of publicity.
How about their own reality show? Try web Cams for the little monsters! Now you can watch them devour everything in sight from the safety of your home.
As Larry The Cable Guy says, “Only in America.”
It’s not enough these creepy crawlers who look like invaders from another planet are making one hell of a racket 27/7, people still want to watch them give Mother Nature a buzz cut for countless miles!
Here’s the back story on the Cicadas among us:
“The great cicada invasion of 2013 has begun in earnest on the East Coast, with hundreds of thousands of the noisy, sex-crazed insects popping up from Georgia to Connecticut. is looking to capitalize on the peculiar craze with a cicada cam, providing live, streaming video of the Brood II cicadas covering a replica of the U.S. Capitol.

The great cicada invasion of 2013 is on. Watch here.
"Like a scene from a horror flick, these creepy crawlers emerge from the ground every 17 years to invade the mid-Atlantic," reads a blog post introducing the cicada cam.
"During the next few weeks, they will be emerging from their lengthy slumber to molt and mate. From North Carolina to Pennsylvania, little children and grown-ups alike will recoil in horror from the Cicada Invasion."
The cicada cam (
While their "loud mating calls and carpet of corpses may come as a nuisance to some," Megan Gannon writes on, entomologists are getting a rare chance to study the mysterious Brood II, a distinct cicada population "that only matures every 13 or 17 years." More from Gannon: (Go Here)
The Discovery site isn't the only media outlet inviting its audience to get in on the gross action. Earlier this month, WNYC's Radiolab rolled out an interactive Cicada Tracker for user-generated mapping of the so-called swarmageddon.
Time for me to walk on the down the road…

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

New Book: I highly recommend, ‘Wooden & Me’ by Woody Woodburn


        Good Day World!

It’s my absolute pleasure to introduce you to someone I always thought was a talented writer, Woody Woodburn. Woody worked for me at The Desert Trail Newspaper in 29 Palms back in the mid 80s.

As a matter of fact, it was his first job working on a newspaper. I assigned him to sports, which he quickly put his personal stamp on, making each article more than just a sports story. He loved to feature athletes and their stories.

In what proved to be an eerie coincidence, the publisher of The Desert Trail once asked me who Woody thought he was…Jim Murray? He felt Woody’s articles were too long, and didn’t have enough sports scores in little boxes.

I never told Woody that, and when the day came and it was time for him to move on to bigger and better things, I wished him the best, but wasn’t sure if I’d ever see or hear from him again.

Long story short, we recently got back into contact and have had the opportunity to renew our friendship (I always felt he was more friend than employee). I also found out that Woody met and talked with Jim Murray, and his sports writing ability landed him in the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation’s Journalists Hall of Fame!

I told Woody what the publisher said about him all those years ago and he laughed. Typical Woody.

As his first editor, I can tell you Woody got even better over the years and his writing style will leave you informed, inspired, and impressed!

I’m going to let Woody take it from here: 

Quick summary: In 1987 as a young sports writer in Santa Maria and near-newlywed I WoodyWoodenColormet Coach, who soon became a friend and mentor through the births of Dallas and Greg; the death of my mother; career decisions; and more.

As I note in my just-completed manuscript: “One did not have to play for Coach Wooden in order to be one of his students, and of this I am a privileged example.

                                                (Woody Woodburn & Coach)

I was not one of his basketball players – except for one glorious week at his youth camp in 1975 – but make no mistake, I was his pupil. No coach or teacher or professor has taught me more, or taught me more important things.”

Just as Coach Wooden was beloved and revered by people of all ages and all backgrounds, readers from teens to parents to grandparents, sports fans and non-fans alike, will find Wooden & Me enlightening and inspiring.


Unlike the other books by and about John Wooden, mine is not written solely for the basketball fan or business leader, but rather is a relationship memoir of wide appeal.

Indeed, journalist and author Randy Robertson described my book this way after reading the manuscript: “WOODEN & ME is an inspiring combination of Tuesdays With Morrie and Chicken Soup for the Soul.”

(Greg(8-yrs old)and Dallas(10)Woodburn with Coach)

For their pledged support individuals will receive a personalized autographed paperback of WOODEN & ME this summer upon publication.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The conclusion of Rafter’s Redemption – Chapter 10

  Good Day World!

For those of you who have been following my novella – Rafter’s Redemption – here’s the conclusion.

If you’re new to my free novella, you can go here and start from the beginning.


Time stood still as a rivulet of blood dripped from the corner of his mouth. He croaked once. One of the agents leaned over as if to hear his last words. Then one word came out, clear and strong,“Pig!” 
The sound of gunfire filled the night.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Remembering vets with PTSD on Memorial Day

      Good Day World:

It’s Memorial Day and I thought it only appropriate that we look at one challenge our troops often experience, especially combat troops: PTSD.

It’s been in the news more often the last few years as awareness of the scope of the problem becomes evident. Our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken a mental toll on these men and women serving our country.

It was Vietnam veterans who were first introduced to the concept of PTSD, and ways to treat it. Treatments sprang out of rap groups, which is all they had for years. Now, there’s more and more programs addressing the needs of these wounded warriors. For many of them suicide seems the only way out of the agony. I’m remembering those who suffered with PTSD and took their own lives today. I also want to remember those who are still fighting wars in their head.

This article is about one of the programs helping PTSD victims: 

Unmasking the agony: Combat troops turn to art therapy

“The skull’s left corner is gone, leaving a jagged, diagonal edge drenched in red. The eyes are black and frantic. All of it resembles the Iraqi man who, in his final minute alive, stared up at Maj. Jeff Hall.

For five years, that face tortured Hall, once a sharp Army leader later shoved to his own ragged edge. Not long ago, a woman handed Hall a blank mask, brushes and paints. She asked him to see what may emerge on the surface.

“That image, seared into my mind, began leaking out of me,” said Hall, one of hundreds of active-duty troops who have created masks as part of an art therapy program at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. “I almost needed to regurgitate it. To be honest, it helped me let it go.”

Many more masks, some resembling Hall’s violent creation, some depicting abstract demons, adorn walls at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICOE) on the Walter Reed campus.

Slideshow: Art therapy helps soldiers coping with trauma

They reveal scars once carried and cloaked inside the minds of men and women back from war — troops diagnosed with mild brain injuries and secondary psychological issues, including post-combat stress.

Hall, 43, who titled his mask “The Shock of Death,” served a pair of year-long tours in Iraq spanning 2003 to 2005. Ultimately haunted by violent events he saw and survived in Iraq, including the loss of friends, Hall eventually contemplated suicide and became more isolated. His commander noticed Hall's behavioral changes and guided him into counseling in 2008.

Two years later, Hall was invited to seek treatment for a traumatic brain injury at then-new NICOE, a Department of Defense facility offering research, education and treatment focused on TBIs and psychological health.

When service members initially enter the art-therapy studio, their faces often are blank and unyielding, hiding unwelcome war souvenirs within — the mental cargo they’ve lugged home but can’t shake. On their masks, they expose that secret turmoil: vulnerabilities, anger, grief or, often, fragmented identities.

“It’s intense. They get really invested in this. It becomes very meaningful for them,” said Melissa Walker, an art therapist who coordinates the masks program at NICOE. (rest of the story here)

Related stories:


Obama: Many Americans 'don't fully grasp' soldiers' sacrifice

No rest for 'Flag Man,' who honors fallen soldiers

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Sunday, May 26, 2013

AS IT STANDS: The IRS: a political tool since the start

By Dave Stancliff/For The Times-Standard
 There’s good reason why most Americans don’t trust the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Even though we have laws forbidding the use of the IRS as a political tool, it has been the plaything of politicians since it’s inception.
The most recent scandal involving the IRS concerns targeting conservative groups with Tea Party or Patriot in their names for audits during the last election. This was just a continuation of a tradition of corruption by the agency.

I realize why some Republican lawmakers call for new legislation to stop such abuse of power, but frankly they’re spinning their wheels. We already have laws on the books that forbid such activities. Of course, these laws are routinely ignored by members of Congress and the administration.
A more detailed look at the history of the IRS by author David Burnham reveals how the agency was misused by former administrations. Burnham’s book, “A Law Unto Itself: The IRS and the Abuse of Power (1990) is recommended reading on the topic.

The IRS has been used to intimidate congressional critics since 1925, when IRS Commissioner David Blair personally demanded $10 million in back taxes from Michigan's Republican Sen. James Couzens, who had launched an investigation of the IRS as he stepped out of the Senate chamber.
You might be surprised to know which presidents used the IRS to forward their agendas. Take President Franklin Roosevelt. He used the IRS to harass newspaper publishers opposed to the New Deal, including William Randolph Hearst and Moses Annenberg, publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
He also used the IRS to take on political enemies such as the populist firebrand Huey Long, radio agitator Father Coughlin, and former Republican Treasure Secretary Andrew Mellon.
Perhaps the most under-handed thing President Roosevelt did occurred in 1944. He simply spiked an IRS audit of illegal campaign contributions made by a government contractor to Congressman Lyndon Johnson. It’s not a stretch to say he saved Johnson’s political career, allowing him to become president later.

Contrary to his near-saintly image, President John F. Kennedy really set the bar for exploiting the IRS. In his first 100 days he denounced the “discordant voices of extremism” and derided people who distrust their leaders. 
   He signaled at a news conference that he expected the IRS to be vigilant in policing the tax-exempt status of questionable (read: conservative) organizations. Within a few days of Kennedy's remarks, the IRS launched the Ideological Organizations Audit Project.
The targets were all right-leaning groups, including the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade, the American Enterprise Institute and the Foundation for Economic Education.
Kennedy also used the IRS to strong-arm companies into complying with "voluntary" price controls. Steel executives who defied the administration were singled out for audits.
   I don’t think there’s anyone who hasn’t heard about Richard M. Nixon’s abuse of power. It started right after he took office. He created a Special Services Staff to target activities involving ideological, militant, subversive, and radical organizations.
It was quite a hit list with more than 10,000 individuals and groups selected because of their political activism or slant between 1969 and 1973, including Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling (a left-wing critic of the Vietnam War) and the far-right John Birch Society.
Tricky Dickey’s  enemies were listed for the IRS to deal with. In the words of White House counsel John Dean, "Use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies."
Nixon’s presidency was already circling the drain when his IRS abuses came up during congressional hearings in 1973 and 1974. Those hearings profoundly weakened him during the uproar after the Watergate hotel break-in. As a result, Congress enacted legislation to severely restrict political contacts between the White House and the IRS.

In 1995, Bill Clinton’s administration and the Democratic National Committee produced a 331-page report entitled, “Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce” that attacked magazines, think tanks, and other entities and individuals who criticized President Clinton.
His administration went after 20 conservative organizations and 11 individual high-profile Clinton accusers, such as Paula Jones and Gennifer Flowers.
  The ironic thing to me is the IRS went after small conservative groups like the Tea Party during this last election while ignoring the much larger big-budget organizations on the left and the right that were far more influential. They were all organized under a section of the tax code that allows them to hide their donors.
  What’s wrong with that picture?
 As It Stands, I don’t see anything being done about the IRS’s abuse of power by a collection of Congressmen and an administration that are just as corrupt!

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...