Group Writing: “Gentlemen, Start Your Bloomin’ Engines!”

 

Well, here we are just a few days from the start of this year’s Indianapolis 500, and the delivery of the famous exhortation to begin. From 1977 to 2017, the phrase was amended to include “Ladies” as well, if there was one or more competing. Such a rational response in this day and age that it almost boggles the mind. However, in 2017 political correctness and inclusivity caught up with Indy, and the phrase is now an anodyne “Drivers, start your engines!” I have no idea what they’ll do when the first self-driving car muscles itself into the pole position. No doubt their highly-paid consultants and lawyers will think of something.

But since it seems that the actual wording of the phrase is fluid and can be altered at will, and because this is May:

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Warning – this is another post about GPS I’ve been speaking and writing about the history of GPS since 2006 (and blabbing about in on Ricochet since I joined in 2015). The two major predecessor systems, Project 621B and my father’s Timation, both date to 1964. I have a 1966 621B document which dates it […]

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Quote of the Day: Mummy’s the Word

 

Grauballe ManThe Grauballe Man

As if he had been poured
in tar, he lies
on a pillow of turf
and seems to weep

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The Quote of the Day is the easiest way to start a fun conversation on Ricochet. You don’t have to be intelligent, pithy, or eloquent yourself. You can share a written passage that you find interesting, or even something from a favorite movie. You can present the naked quote, or add your thoughts on how it […]

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Member Post

 

Don’t let the month go to seed! Quick, click through to the May 2019 Group Writing Theme: Blooming Ideas! We have five plots left for you to plant an idea and let us all watch it bloom. If you do not have an idea yet, browse through the other posts like a seed library.   […]

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Member Post

 

Linda Florida! fair land of flowers!Thus hailed thee the bold Spanish adventurer as standing upon the prow of his caravel, he first caught sight of thy shores. Thy forests are still virgin and inviolate; verdant thy savannas; thy groves as fragrant as ever – those perfumed groves of aniseed and orange, of myrtle and magnolia.Still […]

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Susan In The Sky with Spring Flowers

 

Madison Wisconsin, Spring 1975

She was house sitting, that week, as memory serves. The teacher’s home had an adobe-style wall fencing in a plethora of dogwoods and cherry, plum and almond with an occasional Japanese maple thrown in. There were hydrangeas and rhubarb, the stalks of irises, and some jonquils so newly yellow peeking out from behind some type of vegetation.

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[T]he great Ulysses—the Yankee Generalissimo, surnamed Grant—has expressed his intention of dining in Vicksburg on Saturday next, and celebrating the 4th of July by a grand dinner and so forth. When asked if he would invite Gen. Jo Johnston to join he said. ‘No! for fear there will be a row at the table.’ Ulysses […]

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Quote of the Day: Fake News and the Early Space Program

 

Roy Anderson recalls the story of tracking Pioneer 4:

Three tracking stations demonstrated the ability to track Pioneer 4 to the great distance: Jodrell Bank in England with its 150-foot diameter antenna, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at Goldstone Lake, California with its 85-foot antenna, and a temporary setup at the GE Research Laboratory, Schenectady [where Roy worked], with an 18-foot diameter parabolic antenna.

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Growing a Green Thumb

 

When we arrived at our tiny little craftsman house, fresh off the plane from a honeymoon in Central America, the first thing we noticed was the yard. It was one of many little delights and surprises that our loved ones had left us as wedding gifts while we were out of the country. It was nearing dark as I carried my new bride across the threshold, but we could just barely see that someone had done something out there in the yard; it felt cleaner, fresher, and prettier. The next day’s sunrise revealed a freshly mowed lawn, some simple planters had been outlined and cleared of weeds, and a few flowers placed tastefully throughout. It was far from a complete landscaping job; it was an invitation… an invitation my wife bluntly refused.

I would not say that I am a particularly green thumbed individual. In my youth yard work was a chore: my folks were always adapting and changing their yard, and my siblings and I were pressed, rather than recruited into their labor force. In hindsight, the labor was easy and the bosses were more than generous, but to my childhood mind, gardening was a step above the gulag. But familiarity breeds a sort of contentment. By the time I left the house, I was still not anything close to an avid gardener, but I always felt most comfortable if I had something green around me. Largely unbeknownst to me, I also had a base level standard for what a yard should be. When I bought my own house, there was a joy in the process of bringing the dilapidated yard slowly from a scene of chaos and nature unchecked, to one of order (albeit loose), harmony, and beauty, even though * gasp * it was gardening.

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Animals are infuriating photography subjects. They dart away at the slightest noise or movement. They move constantly or at the very moment you take the picture. Even familiar animals in the wild look at you as if all your previous encounters were just patient preparation for finally eating them. (Which farm animal ratted me out?) […]

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Rocky Mountain Gardening: Ice to Blooms

 

When I signed up for Group Writing this month, I thought I was going to write about the challenges of gardening in a high-altitude, arid climate with capricious weather requiring a certain ruthlessness. Plants which underperform don’t last long in my garden and meet their inglorious end in the compost pile. But, the promises of spring and surviving the last battle (God willing) of late freezes (yes, multiple) have mellowed my mood. So, instead, you’ll get some photos working backward in time.

Ice on the Serviceberry tree (Amelanchier Autumn Brilliance):

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Ever-Blooming Garden Ideas

 

My maternal grandfather started his garden every year in the basement with grow lamps. When the Farmers Almanac said the time was right, the plants went into well-prepared soil. Weeds dared not grow there.

My mother inherited the green thumb. My father, who grew up in the country, before it was swallowed by suburbs, is not so much of a gardener but very handy with the tools needed to garden. So, between them, their home has always been alive with all manner of plants.

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Quote of the Day: Borders

 

“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,” — Acts 17:26, English Standard Version

While on the way to a Bible study months ago, John Lennon’s Imagine came on the radio. I started ranting to my wife about the insipid lyrics. I remembered a guest on “Red Eye” years ago who said that he hated “Imagine no possessions” worse than “Imagine no religion” as the latter can be chalked up to adolescent babbling, but private property is key to being free men or something like that.

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We have plenty of days left this month for you to join in the blooming fun. For May, our theme is “Blooming Ideas,” after all, April showers bring May flowers. All you need do is write a short essay to start the conversation. Perhaps you could ask a question or two to get the conversation […]

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Beauty Blooming All Over

 

The monthly theme of “Blooming Ideas” made me immediately think of my mother and her flowers. It is an appropriate topic for the spring season and Mother’s Day.

As if she didn’t have enough to do, what with the eight kids, cow milking, baling hay, laundry, cooking three meals a day, she maintained a very gorgeous flowery yard. She wasn’t unique in this endeavor. All of her friends and peers had carefully tended flower beds, too. She learned it from her parents. I loved visiting my grandparents in the summer for many reasons, but one, in particular, was that Grandpa had planted a section of flowers by his house that was specifically for grandchildren to enjoy. It was a big bed of pansies, and he showed us how pansies had a little face. And we could pick some of them! We totally loved that we could hold them in our hands and play with them. Also, did you know that snapdragon blossoms can be manipulated to look like they are talking to you? And they’ll sing you a little song, or just say hi? My grandpa…

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M-3: Calm Before The Storm

 

Today was a day for introductions & preparation. Tomorrow and Saturday will be incredibly busy.

Introductions are in order, but not all the faces are new. Overall command and expertise lies with the Steel Rose, our fearless leader and lead florist. She has decades of experience to draw on. The number one rule around here is do what she says. Silence handles IT and communications with the various wire services like 1-800-FLOWERS, BloomNet, and FTD. Each uses a separate system and has random eccentricities, like repeatedly sending orders we cannot complete, sending orders with obscenely low prices where we can’t make a profit, and general errors / omissions. It requires an expert geek, and Silence is certainly qualified, having delivered flowers and managed the wire services for decades. Besides, it is appropriate that a military history major manages our logistics. Honeybee is our dedicated assistant florist; she has several years of experience and is very helpful.

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M-1: Until The Last Bloom

 

Previous Entries in Operation Bloom: M-4 M-3 M-2

Something not widely known is that most florists do not deliver on Mother’s Day itself. This includes the shop I am working at — even the Steel Rose needs a day of rest. This means today is the big day.

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Previous Entries in Operation Bloom: M-4 M-3 M-2 M-1 M-0 Mother’s Day is actually celebrated on a wide variety of days worldwide. Interestingly, it is associated with the Virgin Mary in many countries, which I imagine makes sense. Former communist bloc countries celebrate it on International Women’s Day. More

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