Something is Going Well Around Here!

The 1,000 “like” road marker disappearing in the rear view mirror…

The WP auto-post function just told me that I have accumulated 1,000 “likes,” which are all because the imaginary “you” have been appreciating what I’ve been pouring forth since June 22nd. It hasn’t been four months yet and I have so many “likes!” Who knew?!?

I’ve logged 87 posts (one was a repeat, so doesn’t really count and one was a reblog in respect for a new WordPress-induced friend) in 111 days, meaning that I’ve hit about 78% of the days between start and present. Not bad. Could be better. Let’s see if I can pick up the slack.

Thank you, everyone!


I Was Nominated (and Accept)

Confabler nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger Award!

My distant, yet close friend Confabler has nominated me for the Shiny Shiny Sunshine Award. I love her imagination and sense of whimsy; she lets her muse du jour lead and she follows. There’s a wonderful freedom to that which is (1) difficult to allow in the rational process of “writing” and (2) enjoyable to find.

1. If you were to choose an insect that would take over the world after human extinction, who would that be?

It sort of depends on our route to extinction. If it involved an epidemic, the population of flies might see a giant uptick. This would be a good one:

Gauromydas heros

If it is a slow process, then I nominate the Japanese Rhinoceros beetle because it would be awesome if creatures  with such improbably fashioned protuberances were to be the alpha species (Megasoma and Titan beetles would be acceptable alternatives):

Allomyrina dichotoma

 If our extinction took all other terrestrial life along for the ride, I would like to see this enormous isopod (a relative of our terrestrial roly-polies) rule the seas (note inclusion of actual human hands for sense of scale):

The underside of a male Bathynomus giganteus, a species of giant isopod captured in the Gulf of Mexico in October 2002.

2. How old were you when you first read Harry Potter? And your favorite author of course?

I was pretty old when I read my only Harry Potter book (the first one). I didn’t enjoy it enough to complete the series, although I’ve seen all the films and enjoyed them well enough. In the period I read that first one, I was typically reading a lot of history and didn’t find that it was a good use of my time. When I was really young, I read the Classics Illustrated versions of novels, which were quite good at introducing a curious young mind to the wonders of literature without having to do the work (sort of illustrated CliffsNotes (I didn’t use these in school though), if you will). When I was a little older, I read Robert E. Howard, Sax Rohmer, John Carter of Mars, H. Rider Haggard, Stanley Weinbaum, George McDonald fantasies, etc.

My favorite author is Gabriel Garcia Marquez for One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. His writing is so rich, amusing, full of simple wisdom and abundant humanity it is hard to believe he was just a human being writing about the lives he saw playing out around him. I literally would read some passages and have to put the book down as if I had just sipped the richest chocolate elixir in the world and needed to savor it until I sipped again. His Spanish-to-English translators did a good job in getting it right; Gregory Rabassa (OHYoS translator) was even praised by Garcia Marques himself!

3. If you were invisible what is the craziest thing that you would do?

Here’s an odd one: Go and hang around bigots, transcribe their conversations, and publish them for the world to see how terrible people speak when they think no one is listening (but, oh yeah, we have the internet so this already happens). If I could walk through things, which seems fair since I’m invisible, I would go around seeing what it felt like to do that—see if there were different textures to different things on the inside than on their surface.

4.what food makes you feel like a hungry hyena?

This has changed so much over time! These days, I don’t get this kind of urge anymore. In my early adult (late teen?) years… ICE CREAM!!!!

5. A song that makes you dream?

Gymnopedie #1 by Erik Satie

6. Have you ever planted a tree?

Yes. Unasked but answered: quite a few!

7. Choose your man: superman/ Spiderman/ iron man and if he was your best friend one thing that you would make him do?

Can I choose Supergirl? If I can, I would have her take me around to various places in the world, build shelters so I could stay there and visit free, then whisk me off to the next place on “our” list (she would be enjoying the sight-seeing with me, of course! What kind of boor do you think I am?!?!).

8.How much time do you spend in front of the mirror everyday?

As little as possible, which involves shaving and brushing my teeth. I find that shaving my teeth first helps with the brushing.

9.why you started blogging and tell us about the post enjoyed the most making.

I was having a bunch of conversations with people who did not seem to understand the wonderful humility of learning and doing science and wanted to see how well I could write about how science is a discipline that can assist us all in not leaning out too far over our skis (getting ahead of ourselves and pretending we know stuff we don’t). Blogging has become so much more than that since my first post on June 22, 2016, and I have had so much fun writing fiction and revisiting some poetry I wrote several decades ago (and finding them easier to “fix” than I remembered).

I’m not sure which of my posts I enjoyed the most. They’re all my children so I like them all? I probably like the odd bits of fiction that I had no idea were inside me when I woke up and then found them on the page looking up at me. I like The Big Day of these. Of the science posts, I like The Mess: Parts 1 & 2 and the Appendix 1 items best (maybe). Of the historical pieces, I like Risk Management. Of the life pieces, I like Building Blocks the best. Anyone who reads this is encouraged to make up their own mind; I am hopelessly biased.

10. Which social media platform are you addicted to (including WordPress)?

I don’t do much social media except WordPress. I don’t like Facebook at all and deleted my account. WordPress is addicting but in a very healthy way! You get to create something and share it with new friends from all over the world. That’s a great addiction have.

Now the rules:

1.thank the person that nominated you.

Thank you, Confabler. You are a true virtual friend, and I don’t mean that in any Pokemon way either!

2. Answer the questions from your nominator.


3. Nominate fellow bloggers you follow.

Hereinafter lie the following nominees in no particular order (order, of course, being an illusion):

Confabler – it would be completely wrong not to boomerang this thing back at her; how could I like what she writes and like that she nominated me but ignore why we share interests at all?

November_child –  in her poetry, every word is judiciously considered for its various meanings and the images they stir and she makes great short stories that are deep and playful and serious all at the same time

anonymouslyautistic – for doing an AMAZING job of writing about this misunderstood spectrum of living – and for inviting others who share her interest to contribute

English Lit Geek – because she searches the web and her library for poems that communicate her inner soul to us all out here in the ‘sphere and I appreciate this!

Wiser Daily – because this guy writes REALLY well about every single subject he wraps his mind around, because he is not a scientist but writes extremely clearly about science, because he is just a damned good writer!

Breathmath – because they are doing an astonishingly serious job of trying to get the world to see the beauty in mathematics

Sheryl – because she’s written a book, is working on others, has great tips for doing the same, and kindly visits my offerings fairly often

The Nexus – because he writes REALLY well about physics and does a great job of doing what I set out to do, whether I’m doing it on any given day or not

The Biology Yak – because she is passionate about biology and shares her passion in every word on every topic she chooses

afternoonifiedlady – even though I have no idea what it is to be an afternoonifiedlady, I love her rants about living with and without her ex and trying to wrestle with notions of romance – she is very witty and amusingly pissed off!

Yaskhan – for her lovely, succinct way with words

urbanagscientist – because she is at least as worried about the misunderstanding of science as I am

Luke Atkins – because he writes really well about difficult subjects and he writes like the stuff matters a lot, which it absolutely does!

And there are more in my list of 119 writers that I am following but this is enough for now.

4. Give them 10 questions to answer.

If you wish (and I clearly cannot impose this on any of you, please respond to confabler’s funny questions. I enjoyed them, maybe you will too!

Kind regards, MSOC

It was Generous of confabler to choose me. Now I have to Jump off and do other stuff!

Gutta Serena: Man in Repose

The man with cold sockets and empty eyes is crouched, his backbone snapping terse remarks…

The man with cold sockets and empty eyes
is crouched, his backbone snapping terse remarks
in mocking praise of his hard-bought old age.
The empty man with wrinkled lips and fixed
eyes staring through the limpid rain-washed glass,
is clutched by molded plastic from below,
nestling blackened fingernails amongst
his hound’s forgotten hairs and grimy bones.
His room is not a room but brutal thoughts
from distant places drawn to cuddle him
until his heart stops stirring memory.
He waits and watches past persistencies…

“I see past scenes congealed in liquid time:
in our old home, my father rules the world
and lets glimpses of my past appear and
freeze me; it is as always—hate between
the two of us—he is lord over what
is real, criticizing my wish to be
more than a clutter of old flickerings—
his stark and sinister repose at home,
voiceless thoughts in water-streaming walls,
a nest-like kapok couch, and sand-drip lamps.”

“The somber grasp of mildewed cloth is still
within my mind, replete with lace. Its clutch
is cold, dusty with old suns, wet with light
refracted through the rains. Translucent skins
stretched on wooden frames for eyes; each night is
searched for hopeful escape from crazing fear
and constant change. My patron’s muttering maw,
lips—spitting words and smoke through a cigar,
grinning, pointed, rotten teeth—contort to
tell stories I never wanted known …”

“‘Your birth occurred three times, my son, and each
poor child demanded change. Your first, a pig
with visage furred in black, we strung from ear
to ear and waited for your matter to
go dull. The next, a snake, was colored black
with spiraled carmine hoops; we took the skin
and burnt it, waiting for your third.
You were the third and most unfortunate, damned
to death in life. No curiosities
left me, I lost all interest in your being.'”

“‘Your simple mother went, with gauze and glass,
to catch, she said, some scrod in the close vale
that lies beyond the vine-enshrouded pass—
those dogs like spiders—blasted chunks of trees.
Before she passed, so swollen, sliced, and blanched,
she told me all she saw in that miasmal
place. Gray waters hovered, clotted, in that
bleak, wasted cut. Silverfish flew through
the mists and used their scythe-like fins to shred
and poison. She shivered and bled in my arms.'”

“‘When you were ten we sat upon the porch
of this slump-shouldered shack for weeks on end.
The fields of wheat, once golden star-touched wands,
each seeded head perfection in itself,
then turned to black spore fungus as we watched
it spread its pox until each single stalk
became a swirl of putrid verdigris
quite like an unpent sea of sporing molds.
The waves would never touch our house but sprayed
the unbound foam our way and sickened you.'”

“My eyes, blinded inward from present storms
by silver mirror drops within my skull,
can see the image of my past alone,
which was so glorious in contrast to
this life that I cannot resist the warmth
of it. The mossy calm. The rains and suns.
The thought and not the feel are all I have.
I do what I must to eat and drink.
I dream and await my patron’s memories.
I know my dream and shed my mottled skin.”

The watchman, spending time withdrawn, timeless
with clocks and punch cards, leads his dog through pipes
and cauldrons, listens as the liquids spill through
silver tanks to rusted railcars, watches
moonlight, twists a watch key in the pouched clock.
He shuffles to the wash room for a slow hour’s rest.
The man with icy sockets sits, drinks some
coffee from a thermos, strokes his mongrel,
stares through midnight rain and lightning, grabs his
knees, clasping his calves in the wrinkled palms
of his fists; his fœtal softness in an armchair,
seeing his shoulders touched by father’s hands.


Featured image

© me, 1975, previously unpublished

A Brief, Mysterious Biography

I was born in 1953 to people I don’t know and raised by people I wish I knew better. I have an academic background in literature and science and have worked in positions of increasing responsibility for over thirty years in one realm of the healthcare industry.

Biographical note: I was born in 1953 to people I don’t know and raised by people I wish I knew better. I have an academic background in literature and science and have worked in positions of increasing responsibility for over thirty years in one realm of the healthcare industry. I am interested in many areas of knowledge; literature and science (obviously), but also film, art, many types of music, various episodes in our peculiar, shared, often ignored history, political behavior (rather than politics), various religions. I wish there were more time in every day and more days in every life. I have more books than I know what to do with and keep on adding things to my wishlist that I may never get to read, but it is better to be curious than not, alive than dead.