Guest Contributor – War Pig – On Boys’ Books and Real Rocket Ships

Loved the book (Treasure Island) as a lad. In fact, I read it to my brother who was not old enough to read at the time and we played pirates for months on end. One of the greatest boy’s books ever written, true. I’d put it up there with Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn. Billy Bud, Call of the Wild, Johnny Tremain, Old Man and the Sea, Old Yeller (and Savage Sam), Robinson Crusoe, Swiss Family Robinson, Red Badge of Courage, the Time Machine, War of the Worlds, White Fang, both Jungle Books, Have Space Suit – Will Travel, Tunnel in the Sky, Podkayne of Mars and Rocket Ship Galileo.

Along with the old Boy Scout Handbook, circa 1950-ish.

There was another series, the title/author of which I cannot remember, written for boys. The hero was a Poindexter-like young genius who solved issues such as he broke a case because the witness said they saw a squirrel backing down a tree. Squirrels always run down a tree head first, so the witness lied. A bit Sherlockian but set in Middle America. A bit like the Hardy Boys but better written, I thought. The hero used his brain and his studies and as a skinny young lad never resulted to violence or other like heroics.

One of my favorite Jules Verne novels was turned into a classic comic. “Steam House”, about a group of British nationals traversing India in a trailer thing pulled by a stem powered, mechanical elephant. I read all of Vern’s novels as well as a lad. I was amazed at seeing things he predicted in his novels come true.

I read Big Little books as well “Phantom”, “Mac and the Marines”, “Alley Oop” etc. Heck, I practically taught myself to read on the pulps like “Amazing Stories”.

“Rolling Stones” was pretty good. Castor and Pollux showed up again in “Number of the Beast” which was definitely NOT a children’s book. I preferred “Between Planets” until I learned what Venus was really like on the surface, which Heinlein could not have known at the time it was written. Blast you, Carl Sagan. 😉

I was an omnivorous reader as a child. Sci-fi, dad’s Zane Gray and Louis L’Amour books, anything written by Sam Clemens and Rudyard Kipling. I went through the child’s section at the local library in short order and then onto anything written about dinosaurs and aircraft/space. Dad worked for North American Aviation, later called Rockwell then Rocketdyne. He helped develop the X-15, OV-10, A-5, B-70 and others, as well as worked on the Saturn V boosters and Dino-Soar reentry vehicle and ICBM’s. He brought home color photos and posters for me to hang on the wall of the aircraft he helped develop. He also recommended many books on jets and space vehicles, as well as westerns (his favorite genre).

Dad and mom had rings made from a reentry missile nosecone that had been in space and suffered the fiery reentry. Whatever it was made from, only diamonds could cut it and it took them time. It was like white gold but never tarnished and no chemicals ever had any effect on it.  It must have been some titanium alloy as it looked like white gold and easily survived reentry.  It had his first name and hers on their rings, and the engraving took a week with a special diamond tip. Both were buried with them.

Unapprove |  |  | Edit | Spam | Trash |  Stick |  Close

Congrats to Elon Musk for Resurrecting the US Space Program

Space-X successfully launched US astronauts back into space on an American spacecraft for the first time in ten years.

Regardless of whether any practical goals for our space program currently exist it’s a morale boost for Americans to know that we still have the right stuff when it comes to technology.  As an American who as a boy who watched the Apollo 11 landing and saw it as science fiction coming to life I’m thrilled to see a visionary like Musk making technological breakthroughs reality.

At least a small victory amid the chaos and stupidity we are surrounded by.

Trump vs the Martian

(Scene 1 – White House West Wing)

Mike Pence (MP):  Mr. President, I got your message.

Donald Trump (DT):  Hello Mike.  Yeah, I need some help.

MP:  Yes, what can I do?

DT:  Until our NSF man is appointed I need to get someone to get the eggheads working on something for me.

MP:  Sure I’ll get someone on the phone right away and have them line up the subject matter experts you need.  What is the subject?

DT:  Nukes.

MP:  Mr. President, isn’t it a little early in the term to start rattling sabres?

DT:  No not bombs, power plants.

MP:  But why Mr. President?  With fracking and the lower prices it isn’t economical to build nuclear power plants.

DT:  Think big Mike.  Sure, oil’s cheap now but it isn’t infinite.  We’ve got to look for a fuel that will still be around in a thousand years and solve the problems before we’re already using it.

MP:  Alright, that’s true.  But right now the environmentalists are up in arms about the climate change thing and are ready to start a war with you.

DT:  Exactly.  And that’s how I’m gonna sell it to them.  I’ll make them put their money where their mouths are.

MP:  How?

DT:  I’ll simply say if they believe that global warming is real then they must support an alternative to fossil fuels.  It’s just been shown how useless wind and solar are for practical power generation.  I’ll tell them if they want to save the planet, they’ll have to sign on to this initiative.  They’ll be too scared to admit the whole thing was a hoax so they’ll be backed into a corner.  And once they agree it’ll utterly piss off the Gaia crowd who hate nukes worse than they hate me.  It’s a real win win.

MP:  Sounds like an interesting idea.  Where do you intend to locate this new project?

DT:  Detroit.

MP:  No, Mr. President!  The optics would be terrible!

DT:  Wrong again.  This program would generate jobs all the way from PhD’s down to janitors.  Putting Americans to work is the best kind of optics there is.  And Detroit needs jobs like nowhere else.

MP:  Maybe you’re right about this.  But why are you suddenly interested in nuclear power?

DT:  Because I’m from Queens.

MP:  I don’t understand.

DT:  Have you ever seen the site of the 1963 World’s Fair?

MP:  Well yes.  The Unisphere and the flying saucer towers that they showed in Men in Black.

DT:  Yeah.  Well I was a teenager when my parents brought me to it.  And I saw a vision of the future that included unlimited power, space travel, a cure for cancer and flying cars.  Well I’m seventy years old and the only space age thing I see is the cell phone in my pocket.

That doesn’t cut it.

My grandkids are going to live in a world without limits.  I’m tired of losers whining about why we can’t do the things we know we can do.  And I think it’s about time we start doing them.  I’m also going to restart the space program.  But we’re gonna need a better propulsion system to get to Mars.  I saw Matt Damon raising potatoes in his own poop because it took two years to get to Mars.  With nukes we could get there in two weeks.  That’s what we’re gonna do.

MP:  I’ll get them on the phone.

DT:  Oh, and see if anyone has a background in underwater construction.  I always wanted to build a hotel in the Gulf of Mexico.  Good winter vacation spot.