Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #146

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #146

…Rochester or Tallahassee, hither and yon, you can find one; practicing the art of writing the law, knowing existing law, finding a way around the law….

Boston, Massachusetts is directly due east of Rochester, New York. The intervening 300 miles is richly historic land that was originally deeded to the Algonquin Indians, only to be replaced by the Iroquois, followed by the Dutch, English and finally independence.

Independence is the basis for James Ferrell, as he pursues his legal education, freeing him from the underlying despair of his southern roots. There are fine institutions of higher learning in his home state, but he could not pass up the opportunity to lose much of his regional accent and begin his career north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Vertical-001  For Harv Pearson to request his involvement in the formation of his new magazine is a lucky break on an epic scale. Attorneys are quickly becoming as numerous as the stars above. Rochester or Tallahassee, hither and yon, you can find one; practicing the art of writing the law, knowing existing law, finding a way around the law. Any and every number of them is as qualified as this upstart from Florida, but this first client comes from a place where people take care of their own, not completely without logic or potential of competence, yet bending over backwards to nurture and grow those families you know. Sow a seed, water it and watch it increase in your fertilized soil.

Vertical-001 James and Abigail Ferrell are promising seedlings without pretense, fully aware of how fortunate they are. And do not assume that Abbey does not contribute to the overall plant. She has and continues to work hard to support her husband in his loftier pursuits, both monetary and motivational. She seems to stay abreast of everything that James has in the hopper, like she is a fly on every wall of every room that he occupies. If he, in her opinion, has a deviant thought in matters of the law, she corrects him lovingly with faultless knowledge. James has since stopped wondering on how she knows things, she just knows.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #146


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The Most Secure

Bunkers in

the World

Heavily guarded buildings are awesome, and what buildings are better guarded than bunkers? These man-made cave complexes are custom designed to keep out everything that’s not invited in, and they’re often equipped with fantastic defenses and luxurious amenities that are a far cry from the brutal underground concrete boxes you probably imagine when you think of the word “bunker.” Let’s take a look at some of the most impressive ones out there!

10. The Nike missile bunker

The Nike missile bunkers (no relation to the sportswear manufacturer, as far as we know) were a pair of Cold War-era bunkers that were so secure, they were actually as effective offensively as they were defensively — if not more. The Nike bunker location started out as a strategic spot that defended the nearby Hanford Nuclear Facility, which is (in)famous for churning out two thirds of the plutonium used in U.S. nuclear weapons, including the plutonium used in the first atomic bomb that was tested in New Mexico in July 1945.

The bunkers were arguably at their mightiest from 1955 to 1958, when they housed a sophisticated air defense system of Ajax and Hercules missiles under the designation of “H-52.” The bunkers were later refashioned into an emergency operations center and, more recently, a Gravitation Physics Laboratory that was rendered in-operational in 2011. However, the legacy of Nike missile bunkers lives on in the Golden Gate Recreational Area in California, which houses a reconstructed Nike site that is open for public tours.

9. The Sonnenberg bunker

Every European and North American country worth its salt has a nuclear bunker or six thousand lying around, but few have gone as far as Switzerland. The alpine country is the home of Sonnenberg Bunker, an unassuming pair of mile-long motorway tunnels that can transform into a massive fallout shelter by closing the 350-ton blast doors at both ends.

The tunnels and the bunker complex hidden within them lie under the town of Lucerne, and was designed to house 20,000 people in the event of the nuclear threat everyone was afraid of at the time. However, soon after its completion in 1976, the Sonnenberg Bunker turned out to be a little less efficient than advertised. While it was highly secure and could technically house the amount of people it was supposed to, provisions were a problem. Since the kitchen facilities could only feed the bunker staff and the hospital, almost everyone taking cover inside it would’ve had to bring their own food with them — and store said food on the tiny bunk bed they were also supposed to sleep in. There was also the small matter that it took a whopping two weeks to close the blast doors and get the bunker operational, which seems a little slow for a structure that exists specifically to shelter people from a disaster that could come with precious little notice.

Despite its flaws, the Sonnenberg Bunker remains operational, though only at a fraction of its intended capacity: In 2006, it was wisely downsized to only accommodate 2,000 people.

8. Survival Condo Project

Survival isn’t just a primal instinct. For some people, it’s a chance to turn in a sweet profit. Larry Hall is one of these entrepreneurial spirits, as evidenced by his Survival Condo Project, which combines luxurious accommodations with all the Armageddon-proof safety that a nuclear missile silo can provide. In 2008, Hall coughed up $300,000 for an old nuclear missile silo in Kansas, and spent a further $20 million to turn it into a series of luxurious homes, complete with communal spaces and luxuries such as swimming pools and cinemas. Hall even has plans to open a small grocery store within the complex.

Homes in the Survival Condo Project start from $1.5 million — well, started, since they were all sold out way back in 2012 — and apart from their underground location they’re virtually indistinguishable from your average inner-city apartment, complete with all the expected amenities such as dishwashers and washing machines. There are even LED screen “windows” that show live feed from the prairie range outside, though it’s probably safe to assume their view will be significantly less idyllic if the bunker is ever put to serious use.

7. Vivos xPoint

Somewhere in the Black Hills area of South Dakota, near the city of Edgemont, there’s a vast field where sturdy concrete bunkers litter the land like molehills. These 575 identical structures are Vivos xPoint, a luxury “survival community” for the people able and willing to tie themselves down to a down payment of $25,000 and a 99-year annual lease of $1,000. For that price, you get a barren bunker in one of the statistically safest locations in North America, ready to ride out whatever shelter-worthy disaster might strike.

While you’re free to ride out future disasters in an unfurnished concrete hole, the company also offers all sorts of luxurious refurbishments for your bunker — for a price, of course. They also offer “24/7 security” in the shape of trained guards and camera systems, and should the doomsday scenario allow you to exit the bunker every once in a while, there are also amenities such as a shooting range and a hot tub spa.

6. The Houston Bunker

The owners of the Houston Bunker (or “The Bunker” for short) claim that the site has “perhaps the most interesting history of any data center ever built.” While this may or may not be true, there’s no denying that the complex has a pretty wild past. Unlike your average converted Cold War -era nuclear shelter, the Bunker is a relatively young structure: A man called Louis Kung built it in 1982 as part of a supposed HQ for his Westland Oil company. The construction site was extremely secretive — armed guards and all — which is why most people didn’t know that Kung’s building also included a massive nuke-proof bunker.

Kung’s bunker was meant to save the families of Westland Oil employees (and, of course, that of Kung himself) from large-scale disaster, and it was equipped to house 350 people for three months. Apart from the usual nuclear shelter amenities such as filtration systems, water reservoirs and medical facilities, it seems Kung was also prepared for various Mad Max-style scenarios, seeing as he equipped the complex with machine gun nests and prison cells. Even the mundane office building parts of his structure featured bulletproof glass, emergency generators and other end-of-the-world features.

While Kung’s apocalyptic fears never came to be, the sturdy structure of the Bunker came in handy later, when the building got a new life as a data security center. In this role, the structure has proved its worth by surviving disasters such as hurricane Ike with zero system downtime.

5. Europa One

Remember Vivos, the company behind the xPoint bunker community? Turns out, they can do one better. When storms of fire one day raze the world, Europa One is where billionaires will go to ride things out. This giant structure in Rothenstein, Germany is an old Soviet Cold War bunker that has been converted into an underground city of unparalleled luxury that can be compared to a five-star cruise ship. Opulent swimming pools, stylish art galleries, comfortable cinemas, elegant bars and medieval-style cathedral spaces litter the complex, and if you don’t feel like hanging out in the communal spaces, you can always retire to your private accommodations, which with their plasma TVs and bedroom aquariums are not unlike a presidential suite.

It’s pointless to ask how much it costs to enter this lap of luxury, because if you have to ask you almost certainly can’t afford it. Even if you can, entrance is by no means guaranteed. First, a potential Europa One resident has to apply for Vivos “membership,” after which they’re moved to a vast pool of prospects, from which the company selects “best candidates” for the shelter.

4. The Shanghai Complex

It might be wise to take the stories about Shanghai’s massive underground bunker with a grain of salt, since it appears most reports of its existence are from 2006 and can be traced back to a single article by the Shanghai Morning Post. Still, even if just a fraction of its scale is true, it’s a massive feat of engineering that easily earns a place on this list. We’re talking about a colossal, nuclear-proof, million-square-foot bunker complex that can house a reported 200,000 people for up to two weeks. “Miles of tunnels” connect the shelter to a number of buildings, shopping centers, and the city’s subway system.

While the scale and existence of this particular shelter might be debatable (even the Shanghai Morning Post article didn’t go into too many specifics), it wouldn’t be too surprising to find out it’s real. After all, there’s no denying that China’s large cities have a long history of large-scale bunker building, and Shanghai alone built many large shelter complexes during the Cold War. To get a sense of the scale, you only need to take a look at another large Chinese city, Beijing, where an estimated million people live in the city’s old, forgotten nuclear shelters.

3. Burlington bunker

At first glance, the Burlington bunker seems less like a real location and more like a video game level. Located 100 feet under the cobblestones of the quintessentially English small town of Corsham, this massive complex is a little bit larger than your average doomsday prepper’s concrete bunker: A full-on 1950s “Cold War City” that features an insanely complex, mile-long labyrinth of nuke-proof underground structures and 60 miles of criss-crossing subterranean roads. The climate-controlled location was designed to house up to 4,000 people, ran on massive generators that powered over 100,000 lights, and was chosen because a vast network of natural limestone caves that was already running under Corsham.

The Burlington bunker’s amenities include usual Armageddon fare such as control rooms, kitchens, storage rooms and a pneumatic tube system for messages. It also features a hospital, the second largest phone exchange in Great Britain and, of course, an underwater lake that supplies the drinking water. A fully equipped TV studio allows whoever’s left of the government (and, for that matter, the British royals) to address the people, which is why the site used to feature a secret rail line that forked from the main line between London and Bristol.

People only learned of the top secret Burlington bunker’s existence after it was decommissioned in 2004, at which point most of its supplies had been drained and a small staff of four people was running the entire bunker.

2. Raven Rock

Where does the Department of Defense go when things get really hairy? Like, “actual bombs are falling on the Pentagon” serious? The answer is Raven Rock. This mountain complex, which is also known as Site R, was built underneath Pennsylvania’s Blue Ridge mountains, and is connected to Camp David (the country retreat of the President of the United States) with a 6.5-mile tunnel in case the POTUS needs evacuating as well.

Raven Rock is basically every Cold War -era fear rolled into one giant bunker complex, which comes as no surprise seeing as it was built between 1951 and 1953 — the heyday of the post-WWII Red Scare. It’s basically the Pentagon, but as a huge, ultra-safe underground structure that was (at least theoretically) self-sufficient enough to shelter the country’s best and brightest for an indeterminate period of time. Some of its tunnels are large enough to house several large buildings that, in turn, are designed to house hundreds of high-ranking folks. The site also has its own power plant, two water reservoirs, and even a well-stocked bar. Being a military project, its price tag was equally impressive — its original budget of $35 million eventually ballooned into $350 million, adjusted for inflation.

Despite all of its obsolete Cold War glory, Raven Rock remains fully staffed even today. It was even used for emergency evacuation during the 9/11 attacks, when Vice President Dick Cheney sought shelter there. However, it’s hardly a top secret location — in fact, the Obama administration even started offering tours of the site as part of their “Weekend at Camp David” program.

1. The Oppidum

And then there is the Oppidum. Where other luxury bunkers stuff their underground complexes with high-end features and millionaire opulence, this super-secure compound in the Czech Republic takes things even further.  Apart from the five-star nuclear bunker comfort you’d expect at this point of the list, the Oppidum’s living quarters are two-part affair where you can go from living in your palatial above-ground residence to an equally lush underground bunker, which can be sealed with a sturdy blast door in under a minute.

Because the whole structure is surrounded by mountains and located in a peaceful country with no ready enemies, it’s unlikely to be nuked to oblivion in the first place, but should the situation demand taking things underground, the massive two-level bunker is reportedly the most luxurious “residential doomsday shelter” in the world. Incidentally, it’s also the largest, at a ridiculous 323,000 square feet. The Oppidum isn’t shy about using all that space for sheer extravagance, either; apart from unexpectedly fancy living quarters, the complex features amenities such as a spa, a wine cellar, and even a nice garden with “simulated natural light.” Oh, and to protect the luxury compound from attacks by mutants of the radioactive post-apocalyptic wasteland, the Oppidum also features state-of-the-art defense systems, ranging from high walls and sensors to “automated defense technology.”


North Korean Dreamin’ –

WIF Underground

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #145

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #145

…“Great minds think alike!” insists  Harv Pearson…

“I would like to throw a goodly sum into your initial investment. I hope I am not too bold, folks, but we all know that the more cash you have in the beginning, the greater the chances are for real success.” Herb Love knows business.

Pearson-Eastman, Eastman-Pearson nod to each other.

“It looks that we will have a built-in board of directors, Herbert. You have got to know that Judith’s brother, George is in for one-third… make that one-fourth, but that is where it will stop, too many cooks in the kitchen, you know.” Harv thinks logical boundaries are prudent.

“Capital idea! Excuse the play on words, but I did not know what your reaction would be to my proposal.”

“Eastman/Pearson/Eastman/Love. Sounds like the partner list at Beacon Hill.” It may not be U.S. Steel, but Harv recites an impressive roster in its own right.

“And you finally have the order right… Eastman-Pearson, what do you think Mister Love?” Judith will not let up.

“I will be the silent partner,” he promises, “but I hesitate to say that the opposite is more melodic; consonant first, vowel second.”

 “All men think alike!” Judith is thwarted.

 “Great minds think alike!” insists Pearson.

  “Thinking men like women with great minds! The best of both worlds,” states Herbert Love, master of Washington diplomacy.

“You, Mister Love, will be the perfect foil for me. I look forward to our association and thank you for your confidence in our magazine.” Her appreciation is real.

“That goes for me as well, Herb. To tell you the truth, I hadn’t given you a thought and I could kick myself for not doing so earlier; it would have saved us hours of soul searching.”

The Florida-end of this 1000 mile connection concludes from his heart, “Speaking of soul, remember that as children of God we must keep Him at the center of our earthly tasks. If God is in it, how can we fail?”

Enough said.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Episode #145


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #144

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #144

…There is no big winner in the “Who’s Calling Game” this time…

Who Calling Game-001

The photography lab telephone reverberates noisily on the wall. The mystery of who is Related imagecalling is a relatively new game played by two or more people.

 “Jackson!” Harv thinks it is his editor.

“George!” Judith guesses it is her brother.

“Herbert Love for Harv Pearson, please,” requests the caller, not recognizing Judith’s voice across a fuzzy, long distance connection.

“He is right here, Mr. Love.” She hands the receiver to Harv. There is no big winner in the “Who’s Calling Game” this time.

Your-ears-are-burning “Herb, your ears must have been burning,” greets Pearson. “I mentioned your name the very minute you called.”

“Nothing bad I pray?”

“Oh no, Herb, I’m sure you haven’t done anything bad since you wore short pants,” he flatters.

“You are too kind… say, was that Judith Eastman picking up the line? Yes? Good, because what I have to say concerns both of you. I was speaking with John Ferrell the other day and he told me that James was working on his first big project – something about you two lovebirds dreaming up a new news rag. And I mean to tell you, any undertaking that you two are involved in has to be success etched in stone.

  “Then I stopped by the bank and Finley told me that he was scrambling to come up the cash for your withdrawal. There is a reason I know this,” Love assures.

“It is a magazine, not your normal rag Herb, but go on,” Harv prompts, sharing the receiver bell with Judith; familiarly of cheek-to-cheek closeness.

“Without beating around the bush, or sticking my nose where it doesn’t belong, I would like to throw a goodly sum into your initial investment. I hope I am not too bold, folks, but we all know that the more cash you have in the beginning, the greater the chances are for real success.”

Pearson-Eastman, Eastman-Pearson nod to each other.


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Episode #144


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #143

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #143

…with Eastman’s talent for capturing the moment on nitrocellulose and Harv having the knack of being in the right place at the right time, this venture, into an established literary format, may well succeed…

Judith Eastman responds to poor-mouth Harv Pearson, “Hurricanes and assassination and who knows what else have given you the most respected by-line I’ve seen in years. Your name has been mentioned in the same breath with Horace Greeley. Small town, my eye!

“And I don’t mean to change the subject, but have you found a hot-shot lawyer to draw up our partnership papers yet?”

“Oh yes, for the Pearson-Eastman Journal?”  Harv suggests. Judith rolls her eyes at the order of the surnames. He ignores her exaggerated pantomime, prefacing his real answer with, “Do you remember that young couple, the Ferrells?”

“Yes…?” She recalls them as handsome and young.

“Well I thought it would be good business to give the lad, James, his first taste in contract law.”

“Is he old enough to vote?” she wonders aloud.

Kodak_HQ_1900

Kodak Building

“Well, just this year, but he must be the brightest student at Harvard Law School… that is what his mother said.”

“My dog, Frisky, is smart. But I don’t expect he’ll be running for Congress any time soon.” With that analogy, she summons the regular lighting in her Rochester, New York laboratory, which is just down the hall from her inventive brother George’s same.

Judith Eastman will be as formidable an associate as she is a companion. If he has any thought of pulling a fast one, perhaps assuming she does not care or notice this or that, he can take those unilateral notions and pitch them out with yesterday’s garbage.

  “I can see where you might be skeptical and I apologize for wanting to aid in the career of a hometown boy,” he invites sympathy for his cause, “but you see, he is interning at Beacon Hill Partners. The senior attorneys will be supervising the entire document.”

“Thank you for clarifying those details for me. I am betting my long range security on this magazine, Harv…” she feels fully exposed to the whims of fate, “not to mention giving myself to you… like some daffy girl in prep school.”Daffy wallpaper

  “What’s wrong with that?” It sounds perfectly normal to him.

   “It’s just not like me! I am going to be forty years old in a couple of years and I’m holding hands and kissing, not to mention making my banker very nervous.”

          “Do you think I do this every day myself?  Noooooo. My assistant editor thinks I have lost my mind. They are sending my picture to post offices asking, “Have you seen this man, he’s gone daffy?”.”

“They aren’t, are they?”

“No, silly, but you can believe my banker is feeling the pinch. I may have withdrawn 25% of their assets – the Quincy National Bank is a fancy name for 2000 life savings that probably averages less than a thousand dollars, and that is if you don’t count Herb Love.”

The new magazine will have start-up costs of nearly a million dollars, but all indications are that with Eastman’s talent for capturing the moment on nitrocellulose and Harv having the knack of being in the right place at the right time, this venture, into an established literary format, may well succeed. They are gambling that pages, filled with equal portions of word and picture, will entice Americans to make the Pearson-Eastman Journal a monthly must read.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Getty STILL LIFE / REPORTER'S DESK WITH TYPEWRITER & BOX CAMERA

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #142

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #142

…Aw heck, Judith, you know I’m just a small town paper guy. I am grateful for any scraps you send my way…

Small Town Boy-001

“Now that was one hell of a picture!” asks Harv Pearson of Judith Eastman. The two of them have been literally attached at the hip since their serendipitous meeting. Together they are taking photographic journalism to another level. Pictures taken at the Pan-American Exposition are gaining form in one of the three baths of liquid in this very dark room. A dim red bulb allows them to see their work, but little else.

“I was actually setting up for John Philip Sousa. When I heard the shots I turned the tripod, approximated the angle and snapped.” The President had not reached the ground in the aforementioned image; a moment frozen in time, for human eyes to see, now and forever.

“You do realize that you have a pretty good look at the gunman…..here?”mckinley_assassination-P

“I thought so,” Judith agrees, “though at first that bandage on his hand looked like real wound dressing”

“So, how many duplicates does this make?” This particular picture is in great demand, making Judith an Eastman known in her own right. She is not exactly Matthew Brady, but neither is he and dying in a charity ward like him is not in her long-range plans.

“Ten, but do you remember what a time we had getting the government to release it for publication?”

“Don’t remind me. All my articles on the assassination ran with file photographs of McKinley.”

“Well, how soon we forget,” she quips with mock indignation.  “What about all the other pictures of the Exposition, including everyone and his brother with the President! Were they but chicken feed to you?”

Harv does his best backpedal, lest he be banished from her good graces. He can ill-afford to lose either her technical skills or her friendship, especially since he is not far from expressing his undying love for this incredible woman. If you throw in the national magazine the pair is envisioning, he cannot let professional considerations to be divisive.

Quincy Reporter-001“Aw, heck, Judith, you know I’m just a small town paper guy. I am grateful for any scraps you send my way.”

“Don’t give me that poor old country boy routine.” She parts the dark to embrace him, fully appreciating that authentic charm. His nose for news and unfailing loyalty do not hurt his chances either. “Hurricanes and assassination and who knows what else have given you the most respected by-line I’ve seen in years. Your name has been mentioned in the same breath with Horace Greeley. Small town, my eye!”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Small Town America by Tom Brown

Episode #142


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #141

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #141

Chapter Eight

DEEDS TO A DYNASTY

…Normalcy, or some semblance of it, has returned to those of Florida involved with that brush with Washington celebrity…

1600 Pennsylvania

Normalcy, or some semblance of it, has returned to those of Florida involved with that brush with Washington celebrity, i.e. William McKinley. With his death, which came after all but Herbert Love and Harv Pearson had returned home, you could say that nothing would be the same.

Tallahassee 12-001

  • The Ferrells, the John’s and James’s, separate once again to their south and northeast venues, profoundly affected by the experience.
  • Doc Ziggy may never regain his faith in his healing contemporaries, still cursing their handling of “his patient”, McKinley.
  • Alpha Campbell has set his young sights on medical school, though at 13 years of age, he first must successfully negotiate puberty.
  • The pharmacist and the teacher, forever lumped together, will proceed from here with an acute sense of mortality.
  • The elder Campbells, whose lives are least altered, because of an uncomplicated mind set, contentedly care for Love properties and watch their second son blossom into someone they can barely fathom.

Even Herbert Love’s world ratchets back to a simpler time. James Wilson has recovered from his lengthy battle with poor health, a reprisal of his role as Secretary of Agriculture within two months of the Roosevelt, Theodore administration installation on 14 September 1901. Wilson’s immune system fights off the Black Plague; there is no amour to protect McKinley from shots fired by an East European anarchist who has no other agenda than to get notoriety by killing a world leader, any leader would do. With the loss of his friend, Love knew that his dalliance with national politics should end and that he can be proud of what he accomplished in his thirteen months. If they need him or his advice, they know where to find him: City Hall, Quincy, Florida.


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