According to a post in Facebook this photo was taken of the L.A. skyline the morning after the Christmas storm of this year, 2021. It’s been a while since the city of my birth has shown itself off like this.
If you look closely at the bottom right corner of the photo you can see a stepped, pointy building barely peeking out above one of the smallest buildings making up that skyline.
I was ushered into existence on this planet somewhere in the middle of that group of buildings. California Hospital at 12th & Hope. At the time that building you can just barely see (it’s City Hall) was the tallest building in downtown Los Angeles.
As a young boy growing up in the fifties I was always envious of New York and Chicago’s skyscrapers. Now we’ve got ’em and I’m not sure it’s a good thing.
I stayed up last night to see if I could catch a couple of Leonids. After all, some of the news stories were predicting the possibility of a half storm (as many as 500/hr). Well . . . truth to tell, by the time yesterday rolled around the reality was that if it was going to be that strong anywhere on the planet it would be in Asia, but they were still saying there should be 25 – 30/hr in North America, with the possibility of as many as 200/hr. I don’t live in the darkest part of the world, but Simi Valley is a somewhat sleepy little town and my back yard is reasonably dark.
My first experience with a meteor shower was about thirty years ago, out in the Mojave Desert where some friends and I had gone to view the Perseids, one of the more spectacular showers that usually peaks on or about the morning of August 12. It’s a good time to view them – the weather at night in the desert can be quite pleasant and it was. I saw some beautiful bolides; a couple being bright enough to cast faint shadows on the desert floor. Spectacular! Wondrous! Unfortunately, life intervened and I was never able to get out to that spot again, but I’ve attempted viewings many times since; just never in a really dark location. Now that I have more time, or at least my time is more flexible than it’s been for the last couple three decades, I’m beginning to wonder if my eyes are giving out. Surely my patience is wearing thin.
This year I’ve so far attempted both the Perseids and the Orionids and haven’t seen a damn thing! Last night (this morning) was no exception. I did see two meteors, but neither was a Leonid. One came out of the West and was bright and extremely fast. The other came out of the Northwest and was a bit slower and quite a bit fainter. However, the Leonids were a no-show for me. Perhaps I should have planned to stay out all night, but I just couldn’t afford to give up all of today. I guess I’ll have to content myself with the knowledge I have seen at least one spectacular showing and, perhaps, that will have to be good enough. I’ll probably try again; the Geminids are coming up next month. <sigh>
I retired nearly 13 years ago, though I've continued to work during most of the time since then. I'm hoping to return to work on the RS-25 rocket engine program (formerly the SSME) which will power our return to the moon. Mostly I'm just cruising, making the most of what time I have remaining.
Although my time is nearly up, I still care deeply about the kind of world I'll be leaving to those who follow me and, to that end, I am devoted to seeing the forces of repression and authoritarianism are at least held at bay, if not crushed out of existence.
I write about things that interest me and, as an eclectic soul, my interests run the gamut from science to spirituality, governance to economics, art and engineering. I'm hopeful one day my children will read what I've left behind.
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