Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #69

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #69

…One by one, Siegfried pulls out an instrument of examination or healing, explaining purpose and use…

“Fine, fine blend I must say. Not expected from a cigar of this size.” John Ferrell is impressed.

“We are planning on boxing them in quantities of five. Here is the artist rendering of the picture on the box, wrapped in cellophane, of course,” Love foretells.

“Loyal Campbells… Mmmmmmmmm. I believe that handsome man standing next to that monster tobacco plant is you Willy?”

”Yessir, that be Mr. Love’s idee,” the soon to be somewhat famous caricature explains. He is attempting to keep Alfrey from fidgeting, suddenly bored after a long day.

“What is your name, son?”

 “Alfrey, sir.”

 “Well, Alfrey, why don’t you go into the house? I bet Ziggy has a treat for you… go ahead, don’t be bashful.”

The youngster ventures into the house. The adults talk business amidst a lingering cloud of aromatic smoke.

Ziggy is always prepared for visitors, especially children. wife Frieda provides him with a continually replenished stock of chocolate covered rum balls, an incredibly tasty treat and never turned down.

Ziggy’s handmade adult delight named, cherry bounce, is a jar of cherries aged in homemade brandy will be saved for later.

A handful of rum balls consumed, Alfrey discovers the doctor’s well-worn black bag, presenting it politely for possible exploration.

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“Let us go to my office unt see vat ve can see.” He takes Alfrey by the shoulder, ushering him to an impressive room with walls of books, most of them labeled with letters unfamiliar to the lad who doesn’t read English yet, let alone German. They sit down on a black leather sofa, fully ten feet long. One by one, Siegfried (given name) pulls out an instrument of examination or healing, explaining purpose and use. A life-size skeleton, a scary presence for one who has never seen, serves as a visual aid in the detailed explanation.

“Put these into each ear… put za metal horn der.” Ziggy serves as a flesh and blood skeleton, providing a strong heartbeat for Alfrey to hear. “Is that not someting?”

Alfrey cannot speak, for his intense interest. If Ziggy is the water, the young Negro boy is a sponge.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Ziggy’s Office

Episode #69


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #68

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #68

…If Matthew Brady had snapped a picture, the photograph would capture the very essence of the South…

Mathew Brady’s New York Studio

When the Love Dairy & Ice wagon finally pulls up in the yard of the Bavarian castle, they see John Ferrell on the front porch swing, cradling a child who is fast asleep, or was fast asleep before the resident Dachshund propels its little legs out from under the front porch, yapping all the way to greet the Quincy contingent. Ziggy and Frieda, clothed in gardening garb, come out from the back. From inside the house, Laura Bell appears, covered in the flour used for the Wiener schnitzel dinner she is preparing. It is a house favorite, honoring Maggie’s father presence. If Matthew Brady had snapped a picture, the photograph would capture the very essence of the South; five people that you would not normally associate with each other.

But as different as they appear to strangers, they have an easygoing look about them.

Pleased to see that Herb Love had found his way here, forgetting all about being seen with his baby, Ferrell hands her over to Frieda. After he introduces the Endlichoffer menagerie, the menagerie withdraws to the house, leaving the veranda for transactions and negotiating.

“Gentlemen, I was afraid you were not going to make it.”

          “You were afraid? We may still be at your house, if it were not for a polite exit,” states Love with man to man frankness.

          “She does have a way of commanding one’s attention,” a reticently beleaguered husband admits. “Tell me, what do you have for me that have piqued my curiosity so?”

Loyal Campbells-001

Herbert Love defers to Willy Campbell, who has a canister of Loyal Campbells in hand.

“Well, Mr. Ferrell, we was hopin’ you’d find these to your likin’.”

John Ferrell plucks a single Loyal from the container, drawing its five inch length across his nose, reaching its base and moistening it. He knows what to do with a cigar. Willy strikes a wooden match to begin a smoldering fire that will eventually consume it. After several critical puffs, he concludes, “Fine, fine blend I must say. Not expected from a cigar of this size.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #68


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Outer Space Tracings – WIF Space

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Scary Things

About Space

Image result for space gif

Since the dawn of man (and woman), humankind has gazed longingly at the flickering stars high above in search of meaning, guidance, and inspiration. A gradual progression in science and technology has taught us much about our faraway skies — namely, that it’s cold, dark, and tantalizingly mysterious up there. It’s also scarier than Hell.

Nonetheless, it’s hard not to daydream about the outer limits or simply laugh at Captain Kirk and that space lizard in the worst fight scene ever filmed. Although many elements of the final frontier remain elusive, recent discoveries have revealed an array of terrifying threats that will keep even the bravest star warriors hiding under the covers with the lights on at night.

10. Meteor Showers

Imagine cruising along in your Honda or Chevy GUV (Galactic Utility Vehicle) blasting sound waves on the ol’ satellite when suddenly out of nowhere — BLAMMO — you’re blindsided by a huge boulder. Not only is your insurance rate going to skyrocket, but the nearest space side assistance is billions of miles away. Bummer.

Although this scenario may seem like a sci-fi nightmare, a similar occurrence actually occurred on planet earth in 2013 after a meteorite exploded over the Ural mountains in Russia. By the time the dust settled, over 400 people had been injured, underscoring the disturbing reality that cascading debris can strike without warning.

Fortunately, most large falling objects burn up while traveling through the earth’s atmosphere. Space travelers in the future, however, will have to dodge a spate of other potential hazards, including meteors, comets, and asteroids.

9. Black Holes

Q: What traps light, warps time, and operates on a colossal scale but yet can’t be seen? A: Black Holes. True to its enigmatic label, black holes have been mythically confounding ever since Albert Einstein first introduced the notion with his general theory of relativity in 1916.

Recently, astronomers took the first image ever of a black hole via the Event Horizon Telescope, a network of eight linked telescopes around the world. Although many questions still remain unanswered, black holes are characterized by the way they affect nearby debris, stars, and galaxies — and typically form out of the death of a large star called a supernova (more on that that later). Unlike a planet or star, a black hole doesn’t have a surface but rather occupies a region where matter has collapsed on itself. The amount of concentrated mass is such that nothing can escape its gravitational pull — not even light — and certainly not an astronaut who makes a disastrous wrong turn while lost in space.

Black holes exist in many different sizes, and similar to tornadoes, they tend to move around at high speeds, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Even a small one in our Solar System would be catastrophic, tossing planets out of orbit and ripping the sun to shreds. Although intrepid explorers will be tempted to visit these dark voids, nothing so far has ever survived a trip to a black hole.

8. Solar Flares

Our sun is a glorious, awe-inspiring star that provides warmth, light and the necessary temperature for precious life to exist. It’s also steadily expanding —and will someday completely destroy earth, torching our beloved planet like a marshmallow that’s been left too long around a campfire. Fortunately, that won’t happen for billions of years, but in the meantime, solar flares are capable of inflicting tremendous damage with little or no warning.

solar flare is a violent eruption that occurs when stored energy on the sun is suddenly released. This produces another one of those ridiculous hotter-than-Hell numbers, releasing a flash of radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum.

Scientists classify solar flares according to their brightness and in relation to x-ray wavelengths. The largest of categories, X-class flares, are large, disruptive events that can severely damage satellites, wipe out power grids, and basically relegate all “smart” technology to stupid pieces of crap.

7. Eridanus Supervoid

First of all, stop your juvenile snickering. No, this isn’t slang for an epic bowel movement or anything of the sordid kind. The Eridanus Supervoid is believed to be a massive empty section located in the Eridanus Constellation just south of Orion. However, what makes this discovery so intriguing is that it’s not only the largest structure ever observed in the Universe, but it’s missing about 10,000 galaxies — or around 20 percent less matter than other regions. As a result, the oddity could possibly contain an “alternative reality” within this ominous patch of sky.

In 2004, cosmologists at University of Hawaii observed a span stretching 1.8 billion light-years across and located about 3 billion light-years away (1 light year = 5.88 trillion miles). They identified a large Cold Spot on the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), a map of the radiation left over from the Big Bang, providing a critical tool to study the origin and development of the Universe at cosmic timescales.

The startling revelation presented a perplexing conundrum: the enormity of the cold spot doesn’t align with our current understanding of how the Universe evolved. While it’s not uncommon to find a few small warm and cold patches on the CMB, cold patches of this magnitude are a head-scratching anomaly. According to one report, it’s “too big to exist.”

6. Fermi’s Paradox

In 1942, an Italian-American physicist named Enrico Fermi led an all-star team of scientists to build the world’s first nuclear reactor. This monumental effort was part of the Manhattan Project, a top-secret U.S. government operation that produced the atomic bomb. Afterward, Fermi shifted his attention and extraordinary acumen on solving another complex subject: why haven’t we detected any other alien civilization despite the billions upon billions of other Earth-type planets that most likely exist?

The theory, which came to be known as “Fermi’s Paradox,” posits how the high probability of extraterrestrial life is contradictory to the lack of fact-based, demonstrable evidence supporting it. Naturally, this school of thought discounts the myriad of claims made by people who have allegedly witnessed UFOs or experienced alien encounters — not to mention phenomenons such as Crop Circles and Cargo Cult Theory.

While it’s tough to argue with a genius of Fermi’s stature (especially with our own limited, reptilian brains), we’re left wondering if it’s more frightening that we’re all alone or that hostile life forms are waiting to devour us like a Great White Shark munching seal snacks. Either way, it’s best to keep that aforementioned light on at night.

5. HyperNova

Many subjects dealing with the cosmos involve an impossible-to-fathom number. A hypernova is one of them. In this instance, the astronomical figure relates to the excessive amount of heat and energy generated from an explosion. But first, let’s review what is known about these fascinating wonders.

Novas are relatively small eruptions that occur in double star systems. When a white dwarf’s gravity pulls material away from a companion star, gas piles up and eventually becomes dense enough to ignite in a spark of nuclear fusion. Next, the Supernova, usually marks the death of a large star and the formation of a neutron star. The heat of a supernova can reach 120 million degrees — a temperature five times that of a nuclear blast.

Finally, a hypernova is an ultra-energetic supernova marking the birth of black holes and the release of intense gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), the most energetic form of light. As the mightiest of the Nova family, hypernovae are 5 to 50 times more energetic than a supernova. Additionally, for sake of completion, “Champagne Supernova“ is a song by the mega pop band Oasis, featuring lyrics of which scientists have yet to decipher the meaning…

4. We’re really, really, really small…

Although mother earth appears to be a gigantic sphere of bottomless oceans and endless roads, we’re relatively puny compared to other planets. How small? In terms of relative scale, Jupiter is 2.5 times larger than all the rest of the planets in the Solar System combined. But if you really want to feel minuscule, look no further than our sun — that big fiery 10,000-degree inferno 93 million miles away.

The Sun’s diameter is 109 times bigger than the rock we call home and is so large that 1,300,000 planet Earths could fit inside of it. While the luminous ball appears to be the largest star in the sky, that’s only because it’s the closest. The #1 star in the universe is the gargantuan UY Scuti, a Red Supergiant with a radius around 1,700 times larger than our sun.

But don’t despair, Earthlings. At least now you know how a ladybug feels, clinging to a thin blade of grass.

3. Rogue Planets

These wandering vagabonds (also known as nomad planets, unbound planets, orphan planets, starless planets, etc.) are objects with enough mass to qualify as planets but orbit a galactic center directly. The Universe, despite its vast expanse, consists of a jam-packed arena of activity that often resembles a well-choreographed dance. But a rogue planet disrupts this flow, stumbling recklessly to the beat of its own rhythmless hum while bumping into other cosmic bodies like a drunken ballerina.

Scientists believe rogue planets may have have been ejected from a previous planetary system or have never been gravitationally bound to another body such as a star. Furthermore, our galaxy (aka the Milky Way) alone may have billions of them.

Interestingly, some rogue planets feature a molten core, which combined with an insulated, cold exterior, could possess subterranean oceans that support life. A team of petrologists from Rice University recently theorized that a rogue planet the size of Mars possibly collided with earth 4.4 billion years ago, and could very well have planted the seeds of life while creating enough debris that later developed into our moon.

2. Space Junk

Ever since the start of the space race, man-made objects have been piling up in what has been politely termed “orbital debris.” But that’s being a little too kind. Let’s just call it what it really is: space junk. A wide range of discarded litter now includes thousands of metal fragments, cameras, spent rocket boosters, and even a complete 1958 U.S. satellite (Vanguard-1) that’s currently the oldest artificial hunk of metal still in orbit.

This overflowing galactic garbage, not unlike our polluted oceans, is rapidly nearing a critical juncture; the consequences could be detrimental for both astronauts and those below running for cover from the falling rubbish. There are currently over 1,700  satellites in operation, yet represents less than 10 percent of debris large enough to track from the ground. An obscene amount of smaller objects could also cause serious damage — and sadly, the number will only to continue to climb.

In just one single action from 2007, China destroyed a decommissioned weather satellite during one of its weapons tests, smashing the object into over 150,000 pieces. However, any attempts to clean up spiraling mess could present even more problems in terms of national security (surveillance equipment) and/or result in conflicts over territorial rights. In short, we’re doomed.

1. Zombie Stars

Just when you think we couldn’t be inundated any more movies, TV shows, and books about bloodsuckers and the undead, the science community has joined the fray with “Zombie Stars.”  Really? What’s next brainiacs, a Frankenplanet? Never mind.

As one might guess, a zombie star is something that won’t die. Ever. The monstrous explosion from a supernova typically glows brightly for a while before the dying star is obliterated into space dust. That is unless, for reasons that have yet to be determined, the star manages to avoid death. Adding to the horror show, the zombie star can become a vampire star by sucking fuel and energy from a nearby star to revive itself.

The most famous zombie (for scientists, anyway) is known as iPTF14hls. The star first appeared in 1954 and was thought to have died over a half century ago — but a discovery in 2014 revealed it’s still alive with no plans of retiring. According to the renowned astronomer, Iair Arcavi, a NASA Einstein Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and the Las Cumbres Observatory, the star’s inexplicable behavior is the “the biggest puzzle I’ve encountered.”

Yikes. If he’s stumped, folks, all we can do is lock the doors to the space station and hope for the best.


Outer Space Tracings –

WIF Space

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #67

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #67

We lost our maid Olla to the Endlichoffers across the lake, which is where John went not too long ago… spends a lot of time there for some reason…

A huge English sheepdog bounds up Hillside’s lane, one of two such path, the other being a German version, branching off of San Luis Road. Just how that animal can distinguish friend sheepdogfrom foe through shocks of long gray and white hair covering his deep-set eyes, is a mystery. The Ferrell family dog may have been expecting to “see” his master. Upon further review, he adds an earnest bark to his bushy wagging tail.

The ruckus, interrupts another lazy afternoon, brings the lady of the house out of the large front doors. She greets the visitors. “Good day, Herbert… and Willy Campbell… so nice to see you.”

“It has been too long indeed,” Love admits.

“And you have a young little helper with you… Al____?” she tries to recall.

“Alfrey… Missus. Ferrell ma’am.” Willy fills in the blanks, eager to speak his peace. “We never properly thanked you fo everything you fo alls you did for us.”

“We were prepared to take you in, you know. If it weren’t for Jefferson Smythwick’s unfortunate end,” she points to a smaller version of her own home, the servant quarters, “that may have been your home. In fact, we have an opening. We lost our maid to the neighbors across the lake, which is where John went not too long ago… spends a lot of time there, for some reason. I imagine the old couple take the place of his mother and father, died within a month of each other a while back, hasn’t been quite right since.”

right churchLove politely takes in her rambling in his usually patient manner, before asking, “Would you kindly point us in the direction of John Ferrell?”

“Oh pardon me, yes.” Martha struggles to explain the amount of time he spends there, mostly to herself. It doesn’t help matters that she is not included in these many visits. She assumes it is because Olla is uncomfortable with the hastiness of her departure, the change of employment.

Endlichoffer Chalet-001San Luis Lake-001“You came in from the south, right, well then go back in the direction you came, around the second bay to the southeast side of the lake. The Endlichoffer house has a distinct Alpine flavor. It reminds me of the class trip my college French club took to Switzerland. It looks like it belongs on Lake Lucerne, not San Luis.”

“I believe we spied it ourselves.” Herbert tries to keep him and Willy from permanently bended ears. “We must be going, Martha. We need to be back to Quincy before dark.”

“If you find yourself without recourse, feel free to return here. I would enjoy having the children meet Mr. Campbell. They have been listening to the exciting stories of that liberation night very often. Oh, and we have adopted young Miss Abigail. Thankfully she has none of her late father’s inclination of keeping slaves. She is a fine young lady.”

The sun hurtles toward the western horizon, like a fiery ball downhill.

“Thank you for your kindness, Mrs. Ferrell, the fresh lemonade really hit the spot. Perhaps we will see you later.” Love sees that as a likely outcome, regretting that there is no way of letting those in Quincy know of their daylight dilemma.


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #66

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #66

…We’re almost at the Ferrells and alls we got left is couple bottles of milk, a block of ice and one lonely box of cigars…

Love Dairies-001

For those along the delivery route to Tally and back, they see what looks like lifelong business partners, pursuing the same goal. Together, the unlikely pair comprises one of the greatest natural hedges against prejudice that exists in the post-Civil War Florida, let alone the remaining rebel states.

Willy Campbell, for all his many travails, is younger than he may seem. The life of a slave is an arduous one, the hard work and sun taking a preemptive toll on his physical appearance. There is a 15 year difference in age of the two men, but you wouldn’t know it or even guess who is older, although he has never been more content. If nothing else, he feels younger.

 “Ain’t that sumpin’, Mr. Love? We’re almost at the Ferrells and alls we got left is couple bottles of milk, a block of ice and one lonely box of cigars,” Willy counts as their wagon rocks forth and back down the dusty road.

“Which is what we had to save back for samples,”Love Dairies2-001 Love reminds, thinking about all the potentiality of this trip. “Heck, if we had brought a gross of cigars and the milk from ten cows we could have sold them. In fact, I am going to make this a weekly trip. I hope we can figure out a back-haul.”

“Maybe Mr. Ferrell will have sumpin’ to take back with us,” Willy speculates.

“So right good fellow.” Herbert is so comfortable in the company of this responsible and reliable man. “Would you be willing to make this run every week? It would be a good way to end the week and we would be well stocked to meet possible increases in demand.”

    “Make sense to me, good way to see the country,” concludes a man who had seen precious little beside Fort Sumter South for much of his life.

“We are an hour late for our appointment, Willy,” Love worries. “I hope John Ferrell will not be put off.”

Their initial entrepreneurial venture to Tallahassee takes more time than they had guessed. Even though they started before the break of dawn, it is already 1:00 P.M. and they have but pre-winter daylight with which to operate; only six hours to make it back to Quincy.


Alpha Omega M.D.

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode 65

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #65

… “Alfrey is a bright boy, Willy. He will do well at whatever he does.” Love means what he says. Unfortunately for Willy, cigar making may be setting his sight too low….

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“That is it, by golly! Picture this: Our five-pack cigars in a box with a window to view them and a picture of you standing proudly beside one of your seven foot tobacco plants. We will call them Loyal Campbells——get it? Royal Melbournes and Loyal Campbells!” Herbert Love can see it plain as day.

Loyal Campbells-001

Willy responds modestly, partly because he has never seen a picture of himself, only reflections on glass or other shiny objects. The artist rendition that Herbert Love has in mind will nearly immortalize Willy Campbell, the very essence of tobacco growers in America.

“I knows you will do right by me, sir,” he correctly trusts, “and can we take Alfrey with us when we call on the Ferrells? Ima tryin to light a fire under him, not much inerested in tobacco, caint figure out a direction.”

“He is a bright boy, Willy. He will do well at whatever he does.” Love means what he says. Unfortunately for Willy, cigar making may be setting his sight too low.

“Say, for tomorrow, let’s load half the wagon with ice and half with milk. No use wasting a trip.” Ever the consummate businessman, he figures that before they get to Hillside Estate, Love Dairies-001they will be stopped by folks wanting and needing what the wagon holds. With an eye to the future, as soon as Herbert can devise a better mode of transportation, he is toying with delivering house to house, not just store to store.

The next day, someone who flirts with the top of the world and his protégé, someone who has previously flirted with inconsequentiality, join forces for an exploratory mission of marketing and good will. Neither man is aware of all the possible ramifications of the trip, across rough roads and many stops along the way, leading to an end only God himself knows of the conclusion.

For those along the way, they see what looks like to lifelong partners, pursuing the same goal. Together, they comprise one of the greatest hedges against prejudice that exists in the post-Civil War Florida, let alone the remaining rebel states.


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Episode #65


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #64

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #64

…That is it, by golly, picture this: Our five-pack cigars in a box with your name on the box…

Loyal Campbells-001

Cigar smoking, a practice with its beginnings much earlier this century, has achieved a loyal following, with the finest brown cylinders coveted greatly. You can hardly get your hands on a Royal Melbourne, Savannah Cigar’s flagship product. Smokers freely part with a single sawbuck for this aromatic creation that literally disappears goes up in smoke.

“Willy, I think we should take this new product of yours around, you know and sell it to stores like, say, Ferrell Grocery. They have three stores and two hundred professorial types thereabout, sure bets as new consumers,” suggests Herbert Love, whose only vice is consuming that which he speaks of, sampling the smaller cigar, a less expensive version that will have wider appeal and marketability.

    Willy Campbell has blossomed under the tutorship of Herbert Love. What a glorious opportunity and what a gaudy difference one short year can make. November 1897 finds him and his family living in a completely different world; breathing the same Panhandle air through nostrils of freemen.

“But I ain’t made but a couple of these nor got a name for dem yet.” He is worried that things are going too fast, still haunted by stifling self doubt.

“We could sell them in bulk at first. That would mean wrapping them in cellophane individually. I know I said they look tempting in boxes of five and they will,” Love promises. “As for a name, we will not make the mistake R.J. Reynolds made. Dutch Masters–what a perfectly tasteless name for a cigar.”

“Yessir, fo sure an they ain’t made by hand, union made, by fancy machine I hear.”

“Good point, Willy. We may never be the biggest, but we will make the best. That is what keeps our customers loyal…” He stops mid-thought, an idea overtaking him. “That is it, by golly! Picture this: Our five-pack cigars in a box with your name on the box. We will call them Loyal Campbells——get it? Royal Melbournes and Loyal Campbells!”


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