Dawn Over The Strip

I can confirm that the sun does in fact set on Las Vegas — and it rises the next morning, too. When I looked out my hotel window this morning I saw dawn’s first rays striking the garish gold Trump hotel across the street, and learned from one of the huge neon signs for the neighboring Wynn hotel that Paul Anka, of all people, is one of their featured acts. Paul Anka!

Gold buildings, neon, still-performing figures from the ’60s, dusty desert mountains in the distance . . . I’ve definitely arrived in Las Vegas.

Why I’m Thankful This Thanksgiving

As this Thanksgiving Day dawns, I am thankful for many things.

First and foremost, I am thankful for my lovely wife, Kish, who is a truly wonderful person.  This year we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary, and thanks to her patience, sense of humor, and generous spirit, they have been 30 fantastic years.  We are happily looking forward to many more to come.

I am thankful for Richard and Russell, our strapping and interesting sons, who are pursuing their dreams and passions with the independence and sense of adventure that is essential to personal success — however you might define it — in our rapidly changing world.  I’m thankful to every teacher who worked so hard to help shape the intelligent, creative young men whom we are happy to welcome home for the Thanksgiving meal.

I am thankful to live in this great country, where freedom is our birthright and our beliefs in democracy and tolerance and fairness are shared by so many people of good will.  I am thankful for my mother, brother and sisters, for my uncles and aunts and cousins, for our neighbors and friends, for my partners, clients, and colleagues, and for our Webner House readers, all of whom add such richness and texture to our lives.

And this Thanksgiving, especially, I am thankful for the American medical system — for the well-trained doctors, for the miraculous procedures and equipment, for the cheerful and professional nurses, and for the dedicated rehabilitation specialists and therapists and assistants who aid those who are hurting.  When you have a loved one who is experiencing health issues, it is so deeply reassuring to know that they are in the hands of gentle, caring people who will do their very best to help them get well.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

 

Bye Weekend

It’s a “bye weekend” this weekend.  No Buckeyes game today and no Browns game tomorrow to plan around.  So, how to spend our precious, wholly unscheduled weekend hours?  Dinner and a movie, perhaps?  Lounging on our patio and finishing up the books we’ve been working on?  A few easy household chores to make us feel like we haven’t been complete slugs?

It’s supposed to be a spectacular weekend of Indian summer weather, with temperatures reaching the upper 60s, so time must be allotted for some outside activity.  Step one:  enjoy a spectacular sunrise this lovely Saturday morning.

Colors Of A Morning

 

As any patient reader of our blog knows, I like dawn photos — usually of the act of dawn itself.  The rising sun does not simply brighten the eastern horizon, however; the morning sunbeams also throw the surrounding countryside into sharp contrast and bring out every bit of color.  One of our Lake Temagami sunrises turned the spindly pines and dying grasses on our island into a beautiful study in different shades of green, rust, and orange.

At The Crack Of Dawn

My grandmother was an early riser.  She liked to get up “at the crack of dawn,” she said — and she passed that trait along to me.

I like being out at dawn.  There is something special about the refraction of the light at that moment and the colors that are painted as a result.  When dawn came today, the shadows seemed deeper and richer, the pastels in the sky and clouds were softer, and the grass and trees seemed especially dewy and lush.

The crack of dawn is a magical time.

Close Encounters In The Asteroid Belt

Although the space shuttle program is ending — more on that in a later post — U.S. space exploration efforts continue unabated through use of unmanned probes.  Tomorrow one such probe, called Dawn, will begin to orbit Vesta, one of the largest asteroids in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Once it settles into orbit, Dawn’s mission will be to photograph the asteroid, deploy instruments that can detect the minerals and elements found on the asteroid, and gather data that will allow scientists to assess the geological forces that shaped the asteroid.  After orbiting Vesta for a year, Dawn will move on to Ceres, an even larger asteroid.

For science fiction fans like me, the mineral composition of the asteroid will be of the most interest.  Lots of good science fiction deals with asteroid miners and mining colonies, and potential exploitation of minerals is one of the reasons why space exploration may end up being of great interest to private concerns, too.  If we learn that Vesta possesses a treasure trove of minerals, and Dawn proves that navigating among the asteroids can be safely accomplished, we may move one step closer to significant commercial interest in space — and in this era of tight governmental budgets, moving forward in space exploration and technology probably will require significant investment by private entities.