Humble Contributions to the Peoples' History

Christmas Day: we all have very different ways in which we enjoy the holiday, whether serving a family dinner or happily receiving a present that we always wanted.


Weekly Photo Challenge:  Opposites

This year solstice coincides with the Strawberry Moon, a once-in-a-lifetime event. The June solstice won’t fall on the same date again until June 21, 2062. The moon looked bright pink on the horizon and then clouds slowly enveloped the colorful disk.








Schuylkill River Trail at Phoenixville, Pennsylvania


Weekly Photo Challenge: Curve

I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light
         –The World by Henry Vaughan


of miles from Foulwind, New Zealand  . . . along a coastal walk, signs provide distance in kilometers to Hong Kong, Moscow and New York, to name a few.


WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Numbers

More on New Zealand.

Say, don’t you remember, they called me Al
It was Al all the time
Why don’t you remember, I’m your pal
Say buddy, can you spare a dime?
–E. Harburg, J. Gorney


West Philadelphia, Summer 2015

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Spare

The Hollow Tree

Friendship  . . .
“I’m thinking that sitting with you in a cozily upholstered hollowed-out sycamore tree, with a view of the river, nibbling on nuts ‘n berries, dark chocolate, smoked salmon and cheese, just being together, talking – whatever, in the midst of nature sounds like birdcalls, chattering squirrels, and water babbling over rocks, sounds attractive to me.
I imagine the inside of the tree trunk sort-of pinkish and padded, with yellow and white stripped down-filled comforters and pillows . . . a long-healed wound forming the arched opening to the view of sunlight dancing and sparkling on the water a short distance away.”    J.D.C.



Hollow tree 2


Early_flight_02561u_2-205x300For those unfamiliar, steampunk combines elements of science fiction and fantasy overlaying elements of the Victorian era and industrialization, especially steam power. Steampunk literature features futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them. Fictional machinery that H. G. Wells or Jules Verne invented for their novels are models for steampunk. The steampunk genre presents a romantic idealization of the 19th century and an escape from modern realities. Steampunk culture values a more formal approach to manners and dress.

So how does the punk fit into this retro-genteel world?  Punk loosely references the cyberpunk style with anti-establishment sentiments. Various sub-cultures of punk have evolved since the late 1960s, but it seems the common thread of non-conformity weaves through most of  followers’ ideology.

While famous writers often receive all the credit for futuristic insight, other writers deserve credit for their insightful predictions. A friend just happened to show me a well-worn book that was recycled into a depository for redistribution and sale of no longer needed reading materials. The title: Tom Swift and his Photo Telephone by Victor Appleton, who published this novel in 1914. The telephone had been around for 35 years.

This novel was one in a series of science fiction stories, Tom being the main character. Appleton published more than 100 books following the adventures of Tom and his creation of many inventions. Tom is portrayed as a heroic character who uses science and technology to outsmart the “bad guys.”


Chapter 1 begins:

“It can’t be done, Tom! It can’t be done! To transmit pictures over a telephone wire, so that persons cannot only see to whom they are talking, as well as hear them–well, to be frank with you, Tom, I should be sorry to see you waste your time trying to invent such a thing.”

Illustration of Tom’s invention:


Favorite inventions featured in steampunk art and stories are the airships, submarines, flying machines, analogue computers and anything steam-powered. In this novel, part of the plot involves thieves stealing Tom’s airship. Alongside these representations, many gadgets accompany the story lines, such as time-travel weaponry, goggles, industrialized jewelry, and assorted timepieces. Steampunk encourages the imagination toward alternative technologies, frequently incorporating the Victorian aesthetic while thinking about what “punk” might bring to speculative future. Drawing from this novel, another invention can be added to the collection: the photo telephone.

Although Appleton’s novel is rarely included in the lists of science fiction predictions that came true, I think it is time to give this author’s writing in the post-Victorian era credit for providing a glimpse into future technologies.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Face

“To see the earth as it truly is, small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves a riders on the earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold—brothers who know now they are truly brothers.”

— Archibald MacLeish, American Poet

It never ceases to amaze me to watch the earth pass below as I sit comfortably in an airplane gazing at the landscape before me.

“The Earth was small, light blue, and so touchingly alone, our home that must be defended like a holy relic. 

— Aleksei Leonov, Russian Cosmonaut

Photo locations (approximate):

  1. Greek Islands
  2. Pyrenees Mountains, Spain
  3. Mediterranean Sea
  4. Delta along Chesapeake Bay
  5. Alps
  6. North Wildwood, New Jersey
  7. Cape Henlopen, Delaware


Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth

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