THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 249

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 249

…To discover that we are alive and living, 10 light-years away from Mars is a radical notion…

Radical Notion by Stephanie Holznecht

#Why would they believe that our intentions are to deceive? They surely will know we mean them no harm# Ekcello is relegated to speculation, when telepathy fails.

“You must understand Ekcello that they will have no precedent from which to draw from. Earth is still at odds with the whole UFO issue, without specific knowledge or tangible proof of alien visitation.”

#This is not true. Our ancestors, from the days on the Mother Planet, did indeed make contact with the civilization you call Egyptians. The artifacts you saw on our Explorer confirms direct contact#

“Yes it does, but I can tell you that all those Egyptians viewed you guys as gods, another thing to worship and pray to. And you “gods” never returned in their lifetimes–

–Even as far back as fifty and eighty earth-years, possible alien encounters were explained away as anything but.”

#There are other worlds with universal mobility in faraway galaxies. We know this as truth#

“Thank you for sharing, but until the people of Earth shake the hands of one of you dudes, the only true superior being is the God of our Fathers.”

#We must trust that your sons will be as open-minded as the rest of their family unit#

“We had five years to sort out the possibilities of where we were going and we had your ship to give us some solid clues,” Sampson recalls.  “I can tell you that nothing would please me more, but Deke & Gus are going to freak… this I know as truth

The huge sliding door, which looks like it weighs a million pounds, yet opens like a floating bee, leading to the spaceship “NOT FOR SALE” showroom.

“Obviously your congenial author enjoyed Interstellar the movie… I saw it in the theater… but I wrote this book back in 1986, so you can see why it connected with me.” – Gwenny


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 249


page 224

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 248

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THE RETURN TRIP Episode 248

…Together, teacher and student ready the Spaceship Expository for the modified Stellar Explorer…

An example of the growing bond between Earthman and Eridanian surfaces when the latter relinquishes control of the Space Expository to the former. He may not understand the need to keep busy {not just ponder the meaning of life}, like a parent handing the reigns of the family business, so has he to Sam, a trusted child.

For all his earthily stubborn quirks, Sampson made himself an unquestioned authority on the science and history of space travel. And though he is not allowed to rise above the foggy atmosphere, he wears the crown of the foremost space-travel-technician in the Milky Way Galaxy.

Together, teacher and student ready the Expository for the modified Stellar Explorer. Sampson is genuinely looking forward to getting his hands on its space-drive, for comparison purposes of course; the wrong way as opposed the right way. To accommodate his study, a berth next to the Eridani spaceship has been squeezed into the already crowded floor plan.

#I do not think that Deke & Gus will be pleased having their ship immobilized#, speaks Ekcello melodically. He is increasingly more cognizant and concerned over the state of the human mind. This is a palpable change for this mental being, formerly deeply rooted in the empirical.

 

“You’ve got that right Ekcello old boy! I was none too pleased back when we got here…and I wasn’t even on my own ship. After all, my guys were expecting a short trip around the Solar System. Instead, they are going to wake up with beards and hoping that it all is one bad SOL distorted dream.”

#Will they not be pleased to reunited with you their parents?#

The Eridanian translation into Sampson-speak is beautifully sung into his mind, allowed to mull about for consideration.

“I have the uneasy feeling that they will not trust what they see, sort of alien tomfoolery to appease their skepticism. I am positive that our “death” is part of their mindset, because of the demise of Space Colony 1. To discover that we are alive and living 10 light-years away is a radical notion.”


THE RETURN TRIP

Reunited by Jacquline Hurlbert.

Episode 248


page 223

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 247

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 247

…And though he will never admit it, Ekcello inwardly welcomes the challenge of hosting two more of those wacky Earthlings…

The whole planet, a planet that is a moon of another planet which is a dwarf sister star, is singing with uncharacteristic giddiness.

For Ekcello, the perennial leader of the High Counsel, this widespread behavior is disconcerting. He hearkens back to a time, way back, to the times when the mother planet was a thriving world. Things were simple and carefree, more of a stoic-free zone, where logic was not the defining methodology. But when they were forced to flee that global geophysical tumult and move their collective to the Moon Eridanus, did the present inhabitants of Eridanus lose their thirst for space travel and abandon memories of unfettered joy.

Upon their arrival, Sampson, Celeste, and Deimostra tickled the baser instincts of the average planetary citizen to get the everlasting fog a’swirling. The approach of the brothers McKinney has induced the 3 I’s of quantifiable excitement, without them having yet set foot in the Central Tower.

TowersInstinct

Klingon Prison Planet V1 by imaximus

And though he will never admit it, Ekcello inwardly welcomes the challenge of hosting two more of those wacky Earthlings. They had come such a long way from the sun-god worshiping, pyramid building, sphinx-ters that the orbiters of Epsilon Eridani had encountered in a millennia long past.

Similarly his relationship with that Sammy Mac guy, something like finding out you fathered a child with a Klingon Prison Planet guard, has blossomed into genuine affection. Just don’t tell that to Sampson… that Ekcello admitted to anything of the sort.

An example of the growing bond between EarthMan and Eridanian surfaces when the latter relinquishes control of the Spaceship Expository to the former. He may not understand the need to keep busy {not just ponder the meaning of life}, like a parent handing the reigns of the family business, so has he to Sam, a trusted child.


THE RETURN TRIP

Family Business by Peter E Malbrough

Episode 247


page 222

Wisconsin ~ My Home – WIF Geography & Humor

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Wisconsin ~ My Home

If Gwen can spell O-C-O-N-O-M-O-W-O-C, that proves she is from Wisconsin.

This is hysterical Wisconsin, according to Jeff Foxworthy:

If your local Dairy Queen is closed from September through May, you may live in Wisconsin.

If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don’t even work there, you may live in Wisconsin.

If you’ve worn shorts and a jacket at the same time, you may live in Wisconsin.

If you’ve had a lengthy telephone conversation with some…one who dialed a wrong number, you may live in Wisconsin.

If “vacation” means going anywhere North of Milwaukee for the weekend, you may live in Wisconsin.

If you measure distance in hours, you may live in Wisconsin.

If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you may live in Wisconsin.

If you have switched from ‘heat’ to ‘A/C’ in the same day and back again, you may live in Wisconsin.

If you can drive 75 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you may live in Wisconsin.

If you install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both doors unlocked, you may live in Wisconsin.

If you carry jumpers in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you may live in Wisconsin.

If you design your kid’s Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit, you may live in Wisconsin.

If the speed limit on the highway is 70 mph, you’re going 80 and everybody is passing you, you may live in Wisconsin.

If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow, you may live in Wisconsin.

If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction, you may live in Wisconsin.

If you have more miles on your snow blower than your car, you may live in Wisconsin.

If you find 10 degrees “a little chilly”, you may live in Wisconsin.

If you give directions and tell someone you live 30 miles East of Milwaukee, you are living on a boat and may be on the run from the Wisconsin State Police.

If you actually understand these jokes, repost this so all of your Wisconsin friends and others can see, you definitely do live – or have lived – in Wisconsin.

Gwendolyn Hoff currently lives in Illinois, but her heart remains in Wisconsin.


Wisconsin ~ My Home

WIF Geography & Humor

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 231

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 231

…“Certain family groupings on Earth seem to produce consistent numbers of like individuals; they are leaders, not followers, trustworthy and loyal, and the men are all extremely handsome.”…

Human Genome, Conceptual Artwork by Laguna Design

— As the time nears for the manned test of the SOL Project cruiser, the nerve endings of the concerned parties, which includes all but the criminally insane, are exposed, frayed, and on display. The tension slices through the engulfing fogs of Eridanus.

Though she would not be directly taking part in the hyperphysical expedition, Celeste works closely with Cerella, providing insight into the mental aspects and affectation, as they pertain to the two unsuspecting targets of this intrusion into the fabric of space and time. The fickle finger of fate is about to engulf her sons, who will certainly be confounded to the point of possible reactionary resistance, which would fall into the category of futile.

“No matter how fine-tuned that new translator of yours is, do not tell them that they are being hijacked for their own safety,” warns a mother who knows. “Gus used to hold his breath until he was blue in the face.”

#Why would a human willingly deprive themselves of oxygen?# Some things about mankind Cerella can never comprehend.

“Of course he would stop short of killing himself, but he will put up a titanic fight, if he thinks that their lives are in danger. Deke would consider his options; Gus McKinney may shoot from the hip.”ask-listen-learn

Cerella listens and learns.

“You know Cerella, you and Deke are nearly the same age, relatively speaking, physically, uh, well you must know what I mean,” not that a mother would ever play matchmaker for her son. Make that an intergalactic matchmaker.

#Is he like his father#, the inquiring mind of Cerella needs to know?

Mom does not know exactly how to answer that question. She is aware that Eridanians view Sampson as a square peg in a round hole, or maybe Cerella is speaking to physical similarities.

“I am sure Deke looks like his dad by now. And then there is that strong McKinney blood.”

#What#, is the telepathic equivalent that pops into Celeste’s brain.

“Certain family groupings on Earth,” explains the human bridge for diametrically opposed cultures, “seem to produce consistent numbers of like individuals. Sampson’s McKinney clan is such an example; they are leaders, not followers, trustworthy and loyal, and the men are all extremely handsome.”

#Do you mean pleasing to ones’ eyes# Aesthetics do seem to matter around the Universe.

“Consistently pleasant to look at and very talented when the lights go out…” Celeste stops short of a totally delicate topic of conversation.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 231


page 209

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 230

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 230

…Given their druthers, Ekcello and his like may well have dismissed Earth as a lost cause…

The Lost Cause, a.k.a “T-L-C”, started as a graffiti writer and consistently built up a body of work transitioning into characters, stickers and technicolor murals

Cerella, the most familiarly physical of these “people” and heiress to the High Counsel of Eridanus, has taken it upon herself to make the new resident aliens her personal project; the three+ on site and the not-so uncomplicated task concerning the fate and ultimate destiny of the other two McKinneys, one Deke and one Gus. A truer friend or advocate they could never find on this or any other distant world.

As constant companion to Deimostra Samantha McKinney, child of space and stellar student, Cerella has immersed herself into the Eridanian experience, from the visitors’ point of view.  “XO”, as Sampson refers to him, has assigned his daughter to assimilate the McKinneys to the ways of their new life. And now the stage is set for two additional contacts. She has displayed the knack for learned, deep compassion, a singular ability among her peers. She will require every ounce of that very soon.

For all the superiority and refinement on Eridanus, a tendency has rooted itself over the millennium. The auras of love and friendship have been supplanted by pragmatic substitutes, ones that infer oneness and shared ideals, a collective mentality if you will. Whether this switch to emotional temperance was coincidental or contrived, the task of not losing touch with those fleeting human qualities has fallen to Cerella. There is a worthiness factor to emotion that will benefit Eridanus, particularly because their current Earth-induced interaction is not going to end.

And that this prominent heiress has taken such interest is truly a stroke of luck for the McKinneys specifically and Earth in general. Given their druthers, Ekcello and his like may well have dismissed Earth as a lost cause. Without the “love” Cerella has shown, even Celeste would not have been able to comfortably call Eridanus “home” —


THE RETURN TRIP

Neo-humanity

Episode 230


page 208

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 225

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 225

…“If you tack another 5 years on for a return trip, we may just be aliens on our own world, an irrelevant leftovers from the past…

“Somewhere, deep in their youthful existentiality, they must have a basal need, an outlet for all their buried emotion.”

“You are really into their minds aren’t you?” Sampson is actually jealous, but doesn’t show it. Their relationship is still sound, for a human marriage, but there is always that nagging fear of her losing her humanity, in favor of these alien attitudes. “You’re not thinking about ditching me, are you Celeste?”

“Now that is a silly notion Sam,” she barely recognizes an insecure Sammy Mac. “Where did that come from?”

“Well you are so close to these people and I really think they have accepted you as one of their own… and then there is old Sampson McKinney, that Neanderthal caveman from Earth, a  pain-in-the-ass, word speaking fool.

“Sometimes I think that if weren’t for you, they would banish me to that prison tower they are hiding, or better yet, hand the keys of the NEWFOUNDLANDER over to me and give me a map back to Earth.”

“There you go, that’s what you really want isn’t it?” The question is rhetorical.

“For a long time that is all I could think about. What has it been, 9 years since we’ve seen Earth?” It has actually been 15 (2045), but the slowing of his body clock has made time passage moot. “If you tack another 5 years on for a return trip, we may just be aliens on our own world, an irrelevant leftovers from the past. Not to mention that we will have missed the prime years of Deke & Gus’ lives… and Braden, How old is he now?

“Not to mention being debriefed by Crippen until we turn green. I bet he is the president of some private space-travel agency by now: Roy’s Rockets.

At times like this, Celeste will listen; merely listen for positive signs of sanity in her man.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 225


page 204

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 208

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 208

…“What is modest?” Deimostra, the star-child asks, though modesty is conceptual and not easily explained…

Modesty Blaise by Robert McGinnis

“Do they have one nose or none, two eyes or one or a mouth with a tongue?” Deimostra reads way too much Dr. Seuss.

“Why don’t you draw me a picture?” asks Celeste.

“I have Mommy, here,” she pulls one of the precious pieces of paper on which she has doing her studies, art, music, mathematics, etc…

“That is pretty close Sammy; you must have looked at the autopsy photos.” Celeste often wonders on how those unfortunate space-travelers looked in the living flesh. From an aesthetic standpoint, she was selfishly hoping that they are not revolting to the human eye. She really wants to like the NEWFOUNDLIANS. “We can tell that they have a pair of arms and legs and we know they are a modest people.”

“What is modest?” the star-child asks. Modesty is conceptual and not easily explained, unless Mom can produce an example of conceit.

“Do you know how your Daddy acts like he is the smartest person in the room and continually looks for a reflection of his face?”

“Yes, but I think he does know everything.”

“You are your Daddy’s daughter. We will discuss that later… you see Deimostra; these people do not have a single photograph of themselves on this ship, while Daddy must check to see if a hair is out of place.  That may mean that how they look isn’t important to them. And they do not carry personal possessions with them, not even fun clothes.”

“I only have one dress Mommy, does that make me modest?”

“No that means we have nowhere to shop, to purchase other nice things. Do you remember me teaching you about Narcissus, who loved himself above all else?” The young girl nods at a mother who wants to mold an upstanding human being that anyone would be proud to know. She hopes mightily that she has been able to offset some of Sampson’s least desired traits.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 208


page 188

Chance Fluke Luck Quirk Random – Historical Coincidences

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Bizarre

Historical

Coincidences

Given how many humans have existed in the world and how many events and incidents, both big and small, happen every day, history is littered with examples of strange coincidences. But the ones we will be looking at today are so unusual that they strain credulity and, should they have come from the pages of a book, they would have been deemed contrived or unbelievable.

10. Poe’s Tale of Cannibalism

At one point, the ship wrecks during a storm and only four men survive and are washed ashore. With no food whatsoever, after a few days they resort to the most drastic solution – cannibalism. They draw straws and the unlucky one is a young man named Richard Parker who is killed and eaten.

At first, this would seem like a straightforward, albeit grisly story. But then we move forward 46 years and something strange happens. In 1884, a yacht called the Mignonette left England headed for Sydney, Australia. Carrying four men, it also shipwrecked and left the seafarers stranded with no food. As a last resort, they also cannibalized one of their own – a 17-year-old named Richard Parker. The only main difference was that the survivors saw no need to draw straws as the real-life Parker had fallen ill after drinking seawater and was considered a goner.

Eerie coincidences aside, the case that followed after the remaining men were rescued and arrested for murder represented a landmark ruling in English law. It stated that necessity does not excuse murder, meaning you cannot kill someone else to save your own life.

9. Where the War Began and Ended

On July 21, 1861, the First Battle of Bull Run marked the first major engagement in the American Civil War. Of course, the war was horrible for many people, but it was a particularly strange inconvenience for one wholesale grocer named Wilmer McLean. He lived on a plantation near Manassas, Virginia, and the Bull Run River passed right through his land. In fact, most of the battle took place on his property and the Confederate leader, General P.G.T. Beauregard even commandeered McLean’s house to use as his headquarters.

Obviously, McLean and his family couldn’t live in the middle of a war so they relocated. A few years later, they were residing in a house near a village called Appomattox Court House. As it happens, that is where the last battle of the Civil War took place. Afterwards, Confederate General Robert E. Lee officially surrendered to Union leader Ulysses S. Grant. And he did it in the parlor of Wilmer McLean’s new home.

The McLeans later moved back to their previous estate and simply abandoned the house in Appomattox County. They also defaulted on the loans they took out to buy it so “Surrender House”, as it came to be known, was confiscated and sold at auction. Today, it operates as a museum and it is a designated National Historical Monument.

As for Wilmer McLean, he liked to say that the Civil War “began in his front yard and ended in his front parlor.”

8. The Curse of Tecumseh

Ever since 1840, American presidents have died according to a pattern which is remarkable enough that people have ascribed it to a curse. Every president who is elected in a year ending in 0 (something which happens every two decades) is fated to die in office.

First was William Henry Harrison. Elected in 1840, he died of pneumonia a month after being sworn in. Then, in 1860 came Abraham Lincoln, and we all know how that ended. In 1880, James Garfield was elected president and he was also assassinated by a man named Charles Guiteau.

William McKinley might have escaped this alleged curse if he stuck at just one term. Alas, in 1900 he was elected president to his second term, and a year later, he was shot and killed by an anarchist. Next up was Warren G. Harding, who suffered a stroke three years after being elected in 1920. Afterwards came Franklin Roosevelt who passed away of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1945. While he did die in office, he didn’t actually die during the term which allegedly sealed his fate. And last, but not least, there was JFK, who won the 1960 election and whose assassination is all too well-known.

As you can see, seven presidents followed this extraordinary pattern. Many see it for what it probably is – a series of incredible coincidences, but others claim it is a curse placed originally on William Henry Harrison by Tecumseh, leader of the Shawnee people, for the former’s role in Tecumseh’s Rebellion.

Ronald Reagan would have been next in line. He was elected in 1980 and, although someone did try to kill him, he survived his injuries and died of old age decades after he left office. Even if the curse was real, it appears that he broke it.

7. The Church Explosion

At 7:25 p.m., March 1, 1950, the West Side Baptist Church in Beatrice, Nebraska, exploded due to a natural gas leak ignited by the fire from the furnace. It was a Wednesday and every Wednesday at 7:20 p.m. sharp, the church choir gathered there to practice. People were expecting the worst as they approached the smoking rubble, but it soon became apparent that nobody had been injured in the blast. Even though the choir director was very strict about tardiness, on this particular night, none of the 15 choir members arrived on time.

It wasn’t one single thing that caused the delays, either, but rather a series of minor occurrences that detained each person enough to evade the deadly blast. The reverend and his family, for example, were late because his wife had to iron a dress at the last moment. Two sisters both had car trouble. Two high school girls wanted to finish listening to a radio program, while another student was struggling with her geometry homework. The pianist fell asleep after dinner. A man was late because he wanted to finish writing a letter he kept putting off, while one woman was simply feeling lazy because it was cold outside and her home was warm and cozy.

And so went all the other excuses. Unsurprisingly, given the nature of the circumstances, some people considered it divine intervention.

6. Right Place, Right Time

Joseph Figlock became a hero of Detroit due to a bizarre series of events that happened over the course of a year. One morning in 1937, Figlock was at his job as a street sweeper when he was struck by something that landed on his head and shoulders. That “something” was a baby girl who fell out a four-story window. Because Figlock broke her fall, the infant survived her drop that, otherwise, would have almost surely been fatal.

A year later, the street sweeper was back at his job when he was, again, hit by a falling object. And you guessed it – it was another baby. This time, it was 2-year-old David Thomas who also fell out of his window on the fourth floor. This baby did sustain some injuries but, once more, had escaped certain doom thanks to Joseph Figlock being in the right place, at the right time.

5. Miss Unsinkable

Violet Jessop was born in Argentina to Irish immigrants in 1887. When she turned 21, she found work as a ship stewardess and, in 1911, secured a position aboard the RMS Olympic, the first of the Olympic-class ocean liners built by the White Star Line at the start of the century.

At the time, these were the largest, most luxurious ships in the world. Jessop was probably thrilled with her new job but, pretty soon, she might have reconsidered her fortunes. In September 1911, Jessop was onboard the Olympic when it collided with a warship called the HMS Hawke. The collision wasn’t too bad and the ocean liner managed to make it to port without any fatalities.

This incident didn’t deter Jessop from continuing her career as a stewardess. Although she was content aboard the Olympic, her friends persuaded her that it would make for a much more exciting experience to work aboard the White Star Line’s new ocean liner. After all, this vessel was proclaimed to be “unsinkable” and its name was the Titanic.

You already know how this went down – just four days into its maiden voyage, the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank. Jessop survived the ordeal as she was lowered down into lifeboat 16 which was later picked up by the RMS Carpathia. She later recalled that, as the boat was being lowered, an officer put a baby in her lap. Later, aboard the Carpathia, a woman leaped at her, snatched the baby and ran. Jessop always assumed that was the mother, but she never saw either one of them again.

Then World War II started and Jessop served as a nurse for the British Red Cross. She worked aboard the Britannic, which was the third and last of the Olympic-class ocean liners and had been repurposed into a hospital ship. In 1916, the vessel suffered damage from a mine explosion and sank in the Aegean Sea. For the third time in five years, Violet Jessop had survived a shipwreck, retroactively earning her the nickname “Miss Unsinkable.”

4. The Opposing Graves

Just outside the Belgian town of Mons sits the St. Symphorien Military Cemetery which serves as the final resting place for over 500 soldiers who died in the First World War.

Many of these men perished in the Battle of Mons which took place on August 23, 1914, and is considered to be the first major action of the British army in the war. One of these men, however, died a little earlier. John Parr was a private who was born in London and lied about his age so he could enlist. He served as a reconnaissance cyclist and scouted the area ahead of his battalion. However, he was gunned down by enemy fire and died on August 21, at only 17 years of age. He is generally considered to be the first British serviceman killed in action during the First World War.

His grave is at St. Symphorien and opposite of it, just a few yards away, is the grave of Private George Ellison. He died years later on November 11, 1918. This date is significant because it is, in fact, the day that Germany and the Allies signed an armistice, bringing an end to the war. George Ellison was killed just 90 minutes before peace was declared, thus giving him the unfortunate distinction of being the last British soldier killed in the war.

These two graves face each other, although this was done completely unintentionally as nobody was aware of their “first” and “last” positions when they were buried.

3. Death at Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam was one of the greatest, most ambitious engineering projects of its day, but it came with a heavy price as a lot of people died during construction.

Exactly how many is a matter of debate. Officially, the death toll was 96, but historians argue that the real number would be much higher because the official version didn’t take into account workers who died off-site of construction-related injuries or illnesses. An inquiry by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation increased the number to 213 deaths between 1921 and 1935.

The first fatality was a surveyor named John Gregory Tierney who drowned in the Colorado River on December 20, 1921, after he got caught in a flash flood. Technically, another worker named Harold Connelly died first, but his demise was completely unconnected with the project as he drowned in the river when he went swimming.

Here is the truly tragic part – the last fatality registered during construction of the Hoover Dam occurred on December 20, 1935, exactly 14 years to the day after Tierney drowned, when a 25-year-old electrician’s helper plummeted 320 feet from one of the intake towers. That man was Patrick Tierney, the surveyor’s son.

2. The King and His Double

Some say that we all have a doppelganger somewhere in the world, a person who isn’t related to us in any way but they look just like us. King Umberto I of Italy found his doppelganger in 1900 when he went to eat at a little restaurant in Monza. He discovered that the proprietor looked almost exactly like him but, more than that, they had been born on the same day.

At this point, you would think this was more a case of twins separated at birth, but the coincidences did not stop there. Both men had married women named Margherita and had sons named Vittorio. Moreover, the restaurant owner had opened his establishment the day of King Umberto’s coronation.

Shocked to his core by these revelations, the king invited his doppelganger or long-lost twin to an event taking place the next day. Sadly, neither one made it. The next morning, the restaurateur was killed under unexplained conditions. Just hours later, when King Umberto found out about his demise, he was assassinated by an anarchist named Gaetano Bresci.

1. The Writer and the Comet

The life of American writer Mark Twain has been inexorably linked to the passing of Halley’s Comet from beginning to end.

This famous comet visits us every 75 to 76 years. It will next be visible in 2061, but a noteworthy appearance happened in November 1835. Just two weeks after its perihelion (meaning the point of its orbit which is closest to the Sun), Samuel Langhorne Clemens was born in Florida, Missouri. He would go on to adopt the pen name Mark Twain and become America’s most celebrated author.

Throughout his life, Twain took a keen interest in science and he was well-aware of his connection to Halley’s Comet. In the early 20th century, the writer was getting on in years and knew that the end was near. However, he also knew that the comet was due to pass by Earth again soon, and he was convinced that he would not die before that happened. As he put it: “Now there are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.”

He could not have been more right. Mark Twain died on April 21, 1910, just one day after Halley’s Comet reached its perihelion.


Chance Fluke Luck Quirk Random

Historical Coincidences

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 101

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 101

…”I don’t know what I love, been chasing after the brass ring so long, I have lost track of my North Star.”

Roy points to the early night sky and Polaris, the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor…

north-star

“I have been avoiding my fiancée, some boring media banquet he wanted me to go to. Sometimes he treats me like a station commodity, not a future wife.”

“It sounds like you don’t see things his way.” Roy dares to test her loyalty.

“We are speaking different languages these days” True feelings bubble to the surface. “I think I have become his pet project, but that’s why I have a talent agent wedding-invite-001and I have no need of two.”

“Have you set a wedding date,” he forces the issue?

“A date, we’ve had 4 June dates and counting; not in the same year and I have managed to tiptoe into July every time,” like it is a Girl Scout badge. “Aren’t you going to ask me if I love him? I don’t know what I love, been chasing after the brass ring so long, I have lost track of my North Star.”

Roy points to the early night sky and Polaris, the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor.

Francine nods and goes on,“He has done a lot for me, but we are losing touch, both kinds.”

“Sometimes that happens,” like Roy has ever been serious about a girl since his high school physics teacher.

interuptus

Deke and Gus choose this moment to settle a dispute, “Didn’t you choose Mom & Dad to go to Mars because they were the best astronauts for the job? Bobby says that his Dad told him that it was for advertising.publicity-stunt

“That would be a publicity stunt, Gus and no that is false. A husband/wife team was first put on the table years ago,” Roy directs his recollection at Bobby.

“My father said they flat-out screwed up,” another 15 year old’s blather.

Francine steps in, “I think your father should get his facts straight! Who is he to say something like that?”

talk-bubble-001Roy leans over to whisper in her ear. “His father is the chairman of the Senate Space Appropriation Committee.”

“Then he needs to get his facts straight, nobody screwed up here.”

“What Miss Bouchette means is that the Senator from Oklahoma needs to reconsider his position, pending the results of our internal investigation.” He puts his arm around Bobby’s scrawny neck. “The entire world is rallying in support of Gus’ Mom & Dad.”

“THE 1st people on Mars and we are damned proud of them!!!” punctuates Deke, who has been encouraged never to swear… but there are exceptions.

Endless Space Video Game

Adolescent squabbles are best settled over high-tech video consoles. Bobby apologizes to the adults and off they go to the house.

“Thank you for defending Sampson & Celeste with such vigor.”

“I hope to have the privilege of meeting them soon,” she is sincere.

“I’ll hold you to that.”


THE RETURN TRIP

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Episode 101


page 96