Sunday, April 18, 2021

Space (part 6) - Lyrids and Other Heavenly Things


Meteor showers! Supermoon! Oh, my!

Nature will be putting on a show this week of 18 April 2021: April features a pair of cosmic spectacles: The annual Lyrid meteor shower and 2021's first supermoon

How To Watch The Lyrid Meteor Shower In April 2021? 

Check out the video below:

( reference: )

For all you sky watchers and star gazers, as the late astronomer Jack Horkheimer would say:

Keep looking up!



Monday, March 29, 2021

Americana (part 2) - What a Country!


What a Country!

That is the catch phrase of Russian immigrant comedian,  Yakov Smirnoff

Yakov had been an art teacher in Ukraine, then in the 1970s, he made it to the US from the former USSR. Later, in America, he earned a Masters in psychology and Ph.D. in Global Leadership. In between, he did his comedy acts, acted on TV shows and in movies. (reference: IMDb )

After Yakov became an American citizen on July 4, 1986, he starred in a show about immigrants taking classes to pass the American citizen test: What a Country (1986-1987):

Yakov's acting art on a TV series imitated life.

Many immigrants (like my grandparents) had entered the United States from New York City, so the comedy speaks to many of us. Many came for a better life...freedom...opportunity.

Fifteen years after What a Country! ended, there came the attacks on the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and a hijacking that ended in a plane crash. September 11, 2001.

And here's the rest of  Yakov's story as the artist:

"After the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade centers, he began working on a mural to commemorate the event. Just in time for the first anniversary of the event, the mural was printed on a huge banner, with the quote 

The human spirit is not measured
by the size of the act,
but by the size of the heart. 

It was hung from a nearby building where it was clearly visible from Ground Zero for over a year. Yakov financed the banner with $100,000 of his own money, but kept his donation anonymous, for fear that people would see it as a joke because of his reputation as a comedian." 

Reference: trivia

Yakov Smirnoff made us laugh,
then shared his art
to help us heal during a traumatic time.

Here's to a Russian immigrant
who loves his adopted country! 

What a country!

God bless him.

And God Bless America!


Previous post in the series:


Saturday, February 20, 2021

Space (part 5) - Perseverance



Its definition according to Merriam-Webster:

continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition : the action or condition or an instance of persevering : STEADFASTNESS

These qualities capture the essence of the latest NASA mission to Mars.  Thomas Zurbuchen, the associate administrator of the agency's Science Mission Directorate, explained:

"Yes, it's curiosity that pulls us out there, but it's perseverance that does not let us give up." 

Perseverance was chosen from its naming contest for students K-12.  The winning essay was written by seventh grader Alex Mather. For the full story:  What's in a name: Why NASA chose 'Perseverance' for its next Mars rover

And for an overview of this latest mission: Mars Perseverance Mission Overview

Perseverance was launched, July 30, 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, another testament to its name:

February 18, 2021, Perseverance successfully landed on Mars, a shown in this animation:


Modern marvels of technology recorded the actual landing:

And what a magnificent view!

Check out Mastcam-Z's First 360-Degree Panorama:

Thus Perseverance joins her four sister rovers: Sojourner, Spirit and Opportunity,  and Curiosity.

Reference: The Mars Rovers

So the Maritain Chronicles continue as we persevere!



Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Space (part 4) - Mooned in 2021


With 2020 hindsight, what will 2021 bring?

Leave it to astronomy to predict all the phrases we will be going through:

( reference: )

We've been mooned!

How nice.

Here's to 2022!



Other posts in the series:



Photo: phases

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

CC4 (part 2) - The Lord's Prayer


The Network TV Station Sign Off....

In the days before cable TV, the internet, YouTube, social media, TV network stations were not on-the-air 24/7. 

At the end of their broadcast day--usually around midnight, the network signed off the air. Usually playing a short presentation with a patriotic theme. 

Then came the test pattern and/or the white noise with the snowy screen until 6:00 a.m. 

A new day.

* When TV Stations Signed Off at Midnight

One of my favorite sign offs:

Nez Perce, The Lord's Prayer: Chief Shatka Bear Step offers the sacred Christian prayer in Indian sign language

(reference: )

This sign off prayer in Native American Indian sign language had moved me since my childhood.

And it was the inspiration for this scene of Book 4, Rainmaker, in The Commander and the Chief series.

From Part 4. Chapter 3: Poetry and a Prayer

The set up:

One Sunday afternoon, the town of Hanging Tree Wyoming was celebrating in Rainmaker Park. Many have gathered to hear Cowboy Poetry, Shakespeare in the Park and the Coyote Calling Contest.  Mayor Bill Clark was the Emcee. 



Bill Clark straightened his bolo tie. Decked out in cowboy hat and boots, he took center stage. 

“As Mayor of Hanging Tree, I welcome you all to our week of Independence Day celebrations. First up, Cowboy Poetry. Where some of our finest home-grown artists will share their life experiences and philosophy of the Wild West.” 

Dudes and dudettes recited their works. Some brought their guitars and sang their lyrics. Various versions of Home on the Range. The Cowboy Way. Clingers to their God and Guns. Lovers of Freedom. Ode to Wyoming as to what America used to be.

After the final poem was recited, Bill Clark announced the last act of the set. “I’m pleased to introduce our native son, Anton Orlovic. And our Native American Chief, Nova Orlovic.”
The Orlovic Cowboy-Indian duo stepped on stage.

The Chief, Nova Orlovic, and her nephew, Anton Orlovic, are the final act of Cowboy Poetry.

Anton wore cowboy duds with old chaps that had belonged to his grandfather, Nick Orlovic Senior. He also wielded his grandfather’s acoustic guitar. Refurbished. Tuned.

Nova had put on her mother’s beaded white leather dress with matching knee-high moccasins. Her war bonnet of eagle feathers flowed down to her thighs. It had belonged to her great grandfather, Chief Elijah Rainmaker.

Plucking broken chords in a haunting Spanish sounding tune, Anton recited the Lord’s Prayer. In consort, Nova stood center stage and translated the words, phrase by phrase, into Native American Indian sign language:

Our Father who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy Name.

Thy Kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not in temptation,
But deliver us from evil:
For Thine is the Kingdom
And the power, and the glory,
Forever and ever.

Many in the audience teared up as Nova signed a rolling wave— eternity. Then pressed her hands together in prayer. 

A perfect act to follow church that morning.


And a perfect act to end 2020 and begin 2021. 

With a prayer.

The Lord's prayer.



Peacemaker, Book Three:

CC3 (part 1) - Peacemaker  (2017)




Rainmaker: DAVIS creative

 Plains Indian Sign Language/

Sunday, November 29, 2020

CC4 (part 1) - Rainmaker


DAVIS Creative


It's out there and for sale.

Book 4 of The Commander and the Chief is available as paperback or Kindle: Rainmaker

The story continues from Books 1 - 3.

President Todd, after his questionable re-election, weaponizes the US justice department to take down his enemies. And the Commander, Reginald Barrett, and the Chief, Nova Orlovic, are in Todd’s sights. Meanwhile, reporter Kim Chi Li pursues a pair of unsolved mother-child murders tied to the Todds’ rise to power. For Kim Chi, it’s personal.

Then terrorists strike at the Barrett-Orlovic reunion in Wyoming. Sabotage of oil and gas wells and the western power grid spark Armageddon in the West. With trust in government at abyssal levels, will the ensuing destruction ignite another Civil War? It will take a Rainmaker and a miracle to quench these fires and serve justice on behalf of the living and the dead.

The video below givesa taste of what is to come in Book 4. From November 27, 2019 news of wildfires and rain in California:

( reference: )

Cold cases, Cold War relics, 
revenge served cold. 

All spark fires of biblical proportions 
that only a Rainmaker from heaven can quench.

For the rest of the series: The Commander and the Chief

Your readership is appreciated.


Peacemaker, Book Three:

CC3 (part 1) - Peacemaker  (2017)


photo: DAVIS Creative

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Nostalgia (part 9) - Downtown

Downtown Las Vegas Strip/

Social Distancing

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, the lockdowns began. Asking citizens to stay at home and practice social and physical distancing.

Before this time, there were so many everyday pleasures we took for granted. Especially human contact. Gatherings. Schools. Religious ceremonies. Going to various stores and restaurants and shows. 

Once such social activity is expressed in this hit song by Petula Clark, Downtown, released over 55 years ago, in November 1964.


A song longing for contact with the community.  

Meanwhile, we wait for the day when Downton will fully re-open again. And relish the simple pleasures of living.