A Day of Honor

It’s Veteran’s Day.  A day to honor each and every person in America who has served our great country.

I am proud of all of my family, friends and fellow countrymen and women who have made this commitment and who have sacrificed time away from family, friends and careers to ensure that our country stays safe.

And I say another thank you to those who have supported those who have served.  Your sacrifice, too, is one to be recognized and honored.

So, today, step up to those who have dug deep into their souls and who have demonstrated such courage – step up to them.  Shake their hand.  Hug them.  Look them in the eye and tell them how much you appreciate the privilege of living in such a great country.  A country that we all believe in.

A country that – above all – remains free.

I thank you – and honor you – today and always.

Peace.

Saying Goodbye to Summer!

Given that it’s Labor Day weekend, my mind has officially shifted gears from the never-ending heat-filled days to looking forward to enjoying cooler weather.  The kind of weather where you can sit out on your patio and enjoy the day or evening.  The kind of weather the Snowbirds flock to in the winter to escape their icy cold, snow-filled days.

The desert is already beginning its transition.  Instead of overnight temperatures of 90 degrees (or more), we were pleasantly surprised to see that last night’s overnight temperature dropped down to 69 degrees.  (Now that’s a cold snap!)

Our typical monsoons which usually span the July and August time periods have lingered.  And not quietly, either.  We have seen three storms in the last 10 days.  Each started with a colossal dust storm, followed by winds (one touching 59 mph) and torrential rain and hail.  As I was driving home from the office during one of these storms, the traffic was forced to stop under an underpass because to venture forward through the thick white veil of rain and hail would have left you guessing where the street was because you certainly couldn’t see it.  That, coupled with constant flashes of lightning accompanied by a BOOM! loud enough to make you jump proved, in the end, to be a nerve-jangling experience, to say the least.

And it’s not just the desert that has felt the changes spawned by El Nino.  Just the other day, the weather maps showed five hurricanes that were lined up in the Pacific Ocean as if they were aircraft staged for landing at LAX.  And they just keep coming.

But, as I turn and look over my shoulder, the beauty and the stillness of an evening sunset is beginning to unfold with all of its glory.

Sunset 9-5-2015

 

 

 

And now, all that’s needed is the Chorba bubbling on the stove, coupled with a good Contadino Pinot and I’d say, it’s good … it’s all good here.

 

 

Dog Days of Summer

As we wake to another day of being subject to an Excessive Heat Warning in the Desert Southwest, the phrase “Dogs Days of Summer” came to mind.  I had the image of a dog laying down, too hot to do anything but rest and pant, on the porch of a Southern Plantation.  Curious, I started poking around.

Actually, the images associated with that phrase couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Instead, it really has everything to do with astronomy.

The star Sirius is known as the “Dog Star,” prominent in the constellation of Canis Major (Greater Dog).  It is a binary, main-sequence star with a white dwarf companion, making it one of the most common stars in the universe, as they orbit around a center mass (4/5 of every star you see in the night sky is a binary!).

It is a star visible everywhere in the world.

In ancient Egypt, it marked the flooding of the Nile.  A bright sighting often meant hot temperatures which would scorch the crops; a “blurry” rising (inhibited by the atmosphere) was associated with a milder climate and a more bountiful harvest.  For the Polynesians, it was an important star in their navigation in the Pacific Ocean, as it rises with the sun.

Greek astronomers described Sirius has having a reddish hue.  This hue was often associated with a “glowing” or “scorching” effects which is where the modern-day association with heat comes from.  To most of us with an untrained eye, it appears to be flashing red, white and blue hues at horizon levels.  It is estimated as being 230 million years old and its brightness will be visible to us for the next 210,000 years.  Pretty humbling figures.

And so, as the Desert bakes away at record temperatures like 117 degrees a few days ago on August 14th (and 122 degrees in June 26, 1990 – the hottest ever recorded), I will turn my eyes to the sky and see Sirius making its bright, flaming appearance in the sky in the constellation of Canis Major, marking the Dog Days of Summer.

Join me.

(Wikipedia.com; space.com)

Salute To An Old Friend

I’d like to take a moment to congratulate an old friend on an amazing career!  I recently had a chance to read about him and the 13 patents and 2 publications and tons of (well-deserved) accolades he has received in his career.  Absolutely awesome!  I thought I would share a photo from days long ago …..

Mark/Buffalo, NY
Mark/Buffalo, NY

Moving The Needle

I’m now in full marketing mode (although I’d much prefer to be in full writing mode) — in an effort to move the needle in the sales of my books.  (Have you read them?)

Six weeks ago, I purchased some space on Kindle Nation Daily and the ad recently ran for three consecutive days.  Good exposure, and a few sales made.  Now the search will continue for another worthy source with a wide reach — wish me luck!

For those who haven’t read my books, you can download them from Amazon in the Kindle store.  Need an app?  Amazon will let you download the Kindle app for free.  So, you see?  You’re only a few clicks away from taking the journey!

Here they are in order:

Esperance

Zurich

Zurich Legacy

Shamar.

Happy reading wherever you might be this holiday weekend!

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Another Mighty Fine Wine!

For all my wine loving friends (and believe me, I have many!) — and especially to those Sauvignon Blanc lovers ….. this recent discovery was a total delight!

A big YAY for this 2013 vintage from Chile!  Buen Vino!!!

 

Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc

Did Our Justice System Do Its Job?

As I performed my chores today, my mind kept wandering back to the now-known fate of Dzhokar Tsarnaev — one of two “Boston Bombers.”  Was it a just trial?  Twelve jurors thought so when they handed down the verdict and sentenced him to death.  But, any time we talk about the death penalty, it becomes more about whether we as a society have a right to take someone’s life.  Some consider that to be barbaric.  I’m not one of them.  “Barbaric” by definition means “savagely cruel; exceedingly brutal.”  Sounds exactly like the actions  Tsarvaev and his brother took that awful day in Boston.

Is it a fair sentence?  Who says we have to be fair to a convicted murderer in order to live as a civilized society?  Was he fair to his victims?

Some are concerned with the near-certainty that he will appeal the decision — a process that could drag on for 10 years.  I say, let him.  At least we know where he is — and that he can no longer end lives — or forever change the lives of other innocent victims.

The way I see it, I think our justice system did a fine job ….