Mary E. Adair
We herald August in our part of the world as one of the months expected to generate the highest temperatures of our summer. Hopefully, this year it won't be true, as we have already hit 113 degrees Farenheit during July. But why should we narrow our expectations in any regard to only our part of the world? Why only to Earth, even? With the announcement Friday, July 29, of the discovery of the tenth planet of our Solar System, congrats are extended to the astronomers at the California Institute of Technology's Palomar Observatory, north of San Diego, who first photographed the object in October 2003. Viewing and photographic attempts have been attributed to Mike Brown, a Cal Tech planetary scientist who made the discovery with colleagues Chad Trujillo of the Gemini Observatory and David Rabinowitz of Yale University.
Now they await the scientific community pronouncement declaring it is indeed to be considered a planet, even though it is already determined to be larger than Pluto, though much farther from Earth. Both Pluto and the new discovery are found in the Kuiper Belt, being part of an array of icy debris in the outer reaches of the solar system, 96 times as far from the Earth as the Earth is from the sun, or nearly 9 billion miles away.
According to CNN, the International Astronomical Union, the official arbiter of such disputes, has classified Pluto as a planet and recently declined to demote it. Brown said resolving the argument over whether the object his team found is a planet will take years. Meanwhile, in our household, we agreed that Janus would be a great name, as other planets are named for the Roman Gods, and Janus -- god of gates and doors (ianua), beginnings and endings, was the diety who looked in both directions, inward and outward, forward and backward and hence is represented with a double-faced head, each looking in opposite directions. On warming to the subject, however, we find the sixth satellite of Saturn's known ones bears that name already. Additional interviews on CNN put forward the name of Xenia, which would be a goddess name, so who knows at this point.
One wonders how soon astrologists will begin to include the as yet unnamed 'object' in their prognostications for their avid readers, since they already chart certain asteroids for their reports. Possibly as soon as the official name is announced. Luckily, our readers don't have to wait that long to enjoy this month's issue of Pencil Stubs Online.
Our Irish author, Mattie Lennon lends his column "Irish Eyes" to a friend Kay Forrestal who has some interesting points about "Suicide" to discuss. LC Van Savage in "Consider This," remembers a former teacher who helped shape her ethics and the scope of her writings. Gerard Meister, "Thinking Out Loud," regales us with another home repair incident, while Leo C. Helmer is busy in the kitchen concocting his recipe for "Cookin' With Leo." Eric Shackle's "Column" whisks a lot of us back to the days of WWII, and the ubiquitous signature-icon Kilroy.
Some of our columnists also did articles, expounding on subjects in more detail than their columns are built to handle: LC Van Savage with "Muhammad and Cassius;" Gerard Meister and his "Point of View;" and Leo C. Helmer editorilizes with multiple links to his reference material in "The Enemy Within," then does an additional chapter to his popular series of Western Swing info with "A Little More About Western Swing And A Lot About Some Other Music."
Three poets supply us with a wealth of verses for August. Not surprising to this editor, is the common link that runs through some of the writings received from different authors. This is a bit like the universal knowlege we used to wonder about, noticing that all at once, several different sources simply "came up with" like or nearly identical information. Both Bruce Clifford and Bud Lemire chose an 'Alice' for their poems, Clifford with "Alice In Wonderland" and Lemire - "Wandering Alice." Even the wander/wonder part is akin. Then the column by Van Savage and her School teacher, is chimed by Lemire's poem "School of Life," though his is a reunion, hers a remembrance.
Other poetry by Bruce Clifford this issue is "Never Be A Lie," "When It Rains," and "The Night Is Young." Additional work by Lemire is "An Earth Angel," "Nature's Magic," "Picturing The Spirit," and "Seize This Moment." John I. Blair turns to reminiscing with "Wagon Train," "Prairie Fires," "Big Date," and "Love Song #37," the latter two being sweetly romantic and much closer in time than the first two. His "Egret Crossing A Pond" and also "Worm" remind us that life and death are everywhere.
We begin a two-part story "My Journey Home" by an author known to the co-founders, but she chose to keep her identity hidden. You will find it magnetic, as it is not only true, but addresses the emotions that so many must be learning are part of their own makeup in these days of Terror. In the past, we have carried other true stories from soldiers. Here are the authors and links to their stories also:
"A Walk In My Boots"
and "A Walk In My Boots -- More"
A Walk...-- More
by Michael L. Craner;
then the "Vietnam Notes - Part One"
and "Vietnam Notes - Part Two"
by Robert Flynn. Those by Flynn carry a warning for language and violence.
Another story more in an imaginative mode is "Conversation" by the poet Lemire, and "Teen Titans- My Own Story - part 7" by Brooke Clifford is continued this month.
So, whether the new object in space is a planet or not may be (no pun intended, we promise) up in the air, Pencil Stubs Online is ready for your pleasurable reading right now.
See you next month.
Click on author's byline for bio followed by list of columns and articles published in previous issues of Pencil Stubs Online