Somerset Steam and Gas Association, Somerset, VA

About three miles east of Route 20, Virginia’s Constitution Route, lies the small town of Somerset. Just beyond the town center, sits the Somerset Steam & Gas Engine Association. When we passed it last September, it was hosting a small event where the field was filled with steam tractors, trucks, engines that ground meal, popped corn, and baled hay. There were examples of mills, oil rigs, and other devices. It looked like a steampunk dream brought to life.

Purpose of the organization:

We are looking to bring together people of all ages to learn about the beauty behind the antique steam and gas engines.

To foster education and to promote interest and exchange information and provide the mutual assistance regarding such equipment. To own and display such equipment and to own and to operate any needed property, including but not limited to, a show-ground, workshops, museum and library.

Their main event is a pasture party (cancelled this year because of COVID.)

Hopefully they can have it next year.

Live in the Time of Coronavirus: Pt 19–Waiting for Someone at the Hospital

My husband and I are at an age where going to the hospital for tests is an occupational hazard of growing old. From blood work to emergency room visits, we have waited anywhere from chairs perched along the walls of busy emergency room hallways, where we dodge patient-filled guerneys and phalanxes of medical staff to private waiting rooms with a television and light refreshments. These are part of the experience within the University of Virginia medical complex.

Then came COVID…

If the patient is having a procedure which requires anesthesia, he or she may be permitted to have someone accompany them into the hospital. Otherwise you can drop the patient off or wait outside on a bench.

Today, I waited on a bench. Fortunately it was a lovely fall day, about 70 degrees with a light breeze. There were benches in both shady and sunny areas. I don’t know what the answer is if somebody has to go to the bathroom while they are waiting. Fortunately after a two hour wait, we left before I had to find out .

I was wearing my mask which meant my glasses kept getting fogged. I could not read very long through the foggy lenses which meant most of my entertainment was taking off my glasses to watch them defog then putting them on again and try to read an email before they once again got too cloudy.

Occasionally I would get up and walk around the front of the hospital and the building across the street. No smoking signs are prominently displayed every where on the hospital campus including the parking garages. I smelled cigarette smoke on the stair of the parking garage and saw stamped out stubs on the cement between the parked cars. One 200+ pound woman was lighting up while sitting on a bench beneath two large Smoking Prohibited signs. While she was smoking, she obviously was not wearing a mask.

Bench where the woman was smoking during my first walk.–Note the cigarette butts under the bench.

The shuttle between the hospital and a nearby medical park runs every twenty minutes as does the JAUNT bus which offers point to point service for people with mobility or vision issues.

Valet parking has been replaced with electric golf carts that will take people to/from the parking garage and between the hospital and the Emily Couric Cancer Center across the street. Hospital staff in scrubs walk back and forth between the two buildings to go to the cafeteria, take a break, or carryout missions that are not discernible to the idle watcher.

Neat Info

From an email


Glass takes one million years to decompose, which means it never wears out and can be recycled an infinite amount of times!

Gold is the only metal that doesn’t rust, even if it’s buried in the ground for thousands of years.

Your tongue is the only muscle in your body that is attached at only one end.

If you stop getting thirsty, you need to drink more water. When a human body is dehydrated, its thirst mechanism shuts off.

Zero is the only number that cannot be represented by Roman numerals.

Kites were used in the American Civil War to deliver letters and newspapers.

The song Auld Lang Syne is sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country in the world to bring in the new year.

Drinking water after eating reduces the acid in your mouth by 61 percent. Drinking a glass of water before you eat may help digestion and curb appetite.

Peanut oil is used for cooking in submarines because it doesn’t smoke unless it’s heated above 450F.

The roar that we hear when we place a seashell next to our ear is not the ocean, but rather the sound of blood surging through the veins in the ear.

Nine out of every 10 living things live in the ocean.

The banana cannot reproduce itself. It can be propagated only by the hand of man.

Airports at higher altitudes require a longer airstrip due to lower air density.

The University of Alaska spans four time zones.

The tooth is the only part of the human body that cannot heal itself.

In ancient Greece, tossing an apple to a girl was a traditional proposal of marriage. Catching it meant she accepted.

Warner Communications paid 28 million for the copyright to the song Happy Birthday, which was written in 1935!

Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.

A comet’s tail always points away from the sun.

The Swine Flu vaccine in 1976 caused more death and illness than the disease it was intended to prevent.

Caffeine increases the power of aspirin and other painkillers, that is why it is found in some medicines.

The military salute is a motion that evolved from medieval times, when knights in armor raised their visors to reveal their identity.

If you get into the bottom of a well or a tall chimney and look up, you can see stars, even in the middle of the day.

When a person dies, hearing is the last sense to go. The first sense lost is sight.

In ancient times strangers shook hands to show that they were unarmed.

Strawberries and cashews are the only fruits whose seeds grow on the outside.

Avocados have the highest calories of any fruit at 167 calories per hundred grams.

The moon moves about two inches away from the Earth each year.

The Earth gets 100 tons heavier every day due to falling space dust.

Due to earth’s gravity it is impossible for mountains to be higher than 15,000 meters.

Mickey Mouse is known as “Topolino” in Italy.

Soldiers do not march in step when going across bridges because they could set up a vibration which could be sufficient to knock the bridge down.

Everything weighs one percent less at the equator.

For every extra kilogram carried on a space flight, 530 kg of excess fuel are needed at lift-off.

The letter J does not appear anywhere on the periodic table of the elements.

And last but not least:

Good friends are like stars. You don’t always see them, but you know they are always there .

Poem for the end of a war

Some people continue to deny the truth, no matter what war or conflict is being fought. My least favorite group are the Holocaust deniers.

Pacific Paratrooper

B-29 air raid damage in Hachioji, Japan, 1 Aug. 1945

The End and the Beginning

After every war
someone has to clean up.
Things won’t
straighten themselves up, after all.

Someone has to push the rubble
to the side of the road,
so the corpse-filled wagons
can pass.

GI hooks a tow rope to a Type 97 Te-Ke tank during cleanup of the Okinawa battlefields at the end of WWII in 1945.

Someone has to get mired
in scum and ashes,
sofa springs,
splintered glass,
and bloody rags.

Someone has to drag in a girder
to prop up a wall,
Someone has to glaze a window,
rehang a door.

Photogenic it’s not,
and takes years.
All the cameras have left
for another war.

We’ll need the bridges back,
and new railway stations.
Sleeves will go ragged
from rolling them up.

U.S. and Japanese soldiers collaborate to rebuild Japan

Someone, broom…

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Reblog of the Forgotten Mechanic

“Planes can fly without pilots, but they can’t fly without mechanics.”

Remembering the Forgotten Mechanic 

Through the history of world aviation many names have come to the fore. Great deeds of the past in our memory will last as they’re joined by more and more.

When man first started to labor in his quest to conquer the sky, He was designer, mechanic and pilot and he built a machine that would fly. But somehow the order got twisted, and then in the public’s eye the only man that could be seen was the man who knew how to fly.

The pilot was everyone’s hero, he was brave, he was bold, he was grand. As he stood by his battered old biplane with his goggles and helmet in hand. To be sure, these pilots all earned it, to fly you have to have guts. And they blazed their names in the hall of fame on wings with bailing wire struts.

But for each of these flying heroes, there were thousands of little renown, and these were the men who worked on the planes but who kept their feet on the ground. We all know the name of Lindbergh, and we’ve read of his flight to fame. But think, if you can, of his maintenance man. Can you remember his name?

And think of our wartime heroes Gabreski, Jabara, and Scott and all the acclaim that they got. Can you tell me the names of their crew chiefs? A thousand to one you cannot.

Now pilots are highly trained people, and wings are not easily won. But without the work of the maintenance man, our pilots would march with a gun. So when you see mighty jet aircraft as they mark their way through the air, remember the grease-stained man with the wrench in his hand; he is the man who put them there.

Sandals in the Graveyard

Strands of curling grass

anointed my sandal-clad feet

with cool dampness

where the sun had not yet risen

high enough to dry the dew

covering the tombstones and grass.

No sound disturbed the

absolute silence.

My only companions were

the imagined feet of

priests and pilgrims,

friars and nuns

as we strode though


and holy places

clad in sandals,

wet from October’s

early morning dew.

Thoughts from Election Days Past

This essay from 2018 seemed appropriate for today, amidst the many controversies swirling around the 2020 election.


I am old enough to remember past election days when there were concerns about the candidates’ religion, marital status, age, and race.   Many of the fears from those other elections proved to be irrelevant, but at the time, they were real concerns for some voters.  (Alibi–these are my recollections and may or may not be accurate.)

“I am not the Catholic candidate for President.”

Religion.  John F. Kennedy was not only the youngest man elected as President, he was also the first Roman Catholic candidate.  Many voters were concerned about the Pope calling the shots if he won the Presidency.  Kenndy had to address that issue during the campaign.  Mitt Romney face similar questions about being  Mormon when he ran as a Presidential candidate in 2012.

Divorce. Gerald Ford ran for re-election in 1976, following his first term where he became president upon the resignation of Richard Nixon in…

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Phil Eakin Earns Over 16,000 Volunteer Hours for the USS Midway (CV-41) Library

A man year equals 2080 hours a year. Phil has been volunteered the equivalent of over 8 years.

Some of the highlight from Phil’s profile in the Scuttlebutt, by editor Carl Snow.

  • Philip Joseph Eakin was born on March 14 and grew up in Ft Wayne, Indiana
  • After graduating from Central Catholic HS in Ft Wayne, he attended and graduated from Villanova University near Philadelphia, PA
  • After graduation with the financial aide of an NROTC scholarship, Phil was commissioned a Navy Ensign and after some preliminary training,was assigned to USS Higbee (DD-806) as first the navigator and then the CIC (Combat Information Center) Officer
  • During his tour on the Higbee he was involved in the “Battle of Dong Hoi Gulf” where the Higbee was bombed by a North Vietnamese MiG-17
  • Phil admits that this tour was his most rewarding in terms of professional development and contribution to a naval unit
  • Phil changed focus from being a ship handler to work for Navy Intelligence. He worked for Defense Intelligence Agency and was later assigned to tours in San Diego, Hawaii, and Australia.
  • While in Australia, he met his future wife, Carol, who was working for the Australian government at the time.
  • After Phil left Australia, he received orders as the Intelligence Officer on the USS Tarawa (LHA-1). When the Tarawa was on a West Pac deployment, Carol arranged to meet Phil in Hong Kong where they sort of became engaged.
  • Phil married Carol in Canberra. They moved to Sabre Springs, north of San Diego, CA
  • Commander Phil Eakin and Carol had back to back tour in Hawaii where Phil retired. They moved to Australia after that: Melbourne, Perth, and finally Darwin.
  • During his time in Australia, one of Phil’s job was a punter, where he used his database and intelligence skills to bet on horse racing for a living, working for the leading Australian bookmaker in Darwin.
  • Meanwhile, Carol got a UN job supporting the East Timor mission.
  • They returned to San Diego, but Carol got recruited for another UN post to Khartoum, Sudan. Phil remained in SD.
  • In 2006, Phil took some guests aboard the USS Midway and impressed by the Docents. Because he had thought about getting a Masters in Library Science, he became interested in the Museum’s Library. He worked for a docent for two years and has worked the library for about fourteen years.

Why does Phil volunteer for the USS Midway?

Being around good people. I missed the camaraderie of the Navy and found that again at the Midway.”

October Holidays to Celebrate

October is the tenth month of the year in the and and the sixth of seven months to have a length of 31 days. The eighth month in the old calendar of Romulus c. 750 BC, October retained its name (from the Latin and Greek ôctō meaning “eight”) after January and February were inserted into the calendar that had originally been created by the Romans. In Ancient Rome, one of three Mundus patet would take place on October 5, Meditrinalia October 11, Augustalia on October 12, October Horse on October 15, and Armilustrium on October 19. These dates do not correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar. Among the Anglo-Saxons, it was known as Ƿinterfylleþ, because at this full moon (fylleþ) winter was supposed to begin.

October is also Health Literacy month. In this time of Covid, with so much conflicting information, we need 20/20 vision to understand what is myth and what is real. On October 1, Donald Trump tweeted that he and Melania both tested positive for COVID.

Health Literacy Month is a time for organizations and individuals to promote the importance of understandable health information. This annual, worldwide, awareness-raising event has been going strong ever since Helen Osborne founded it in 1999.

Greatest wealth is health

October is also Bullying Prevention Month. Anti-bullying activities include STOMP Out Bullying™’s signature campaign World Day of Bullying Prevention™ on the first Monday of every October.

Little Free Library in Norfolk, VA that is filled with anti-bullying books

October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. By working together, we can inspire hope and become a force for good “to get her” access to the care she needs.

Columbus or Indigenous People Day is October 12.

Columbus Day is a U.S. holiday that commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the Americas in 1492, and Columbus Day 2020 is on Monday, October 12. It was unofficially celebrated in a number of cities and states as early as the 18th century, but did not become a federal holiday until 1937. For many, the holiday is a way of both honoring Columbus’ achievements and celebrating Italian-American heritage. But throughout its history, Columbus Day and the man who inspired it have generated controversy, and many alternatives to the holiday have proposed since the 1970s including Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Indigenous peoples first proposed the day during a 1977 United Nations conference on discrimination against them. But it wasn’t until 1989 that South Dakota became the first state to switch Columbus Day to Native Americans’ Day, celebrating it for the first time in 1990. It is observed in Maine, New Mexico and South Dakota.

A blue moon will occur on Halloween. It is called a Blue Moon because it is the second full moon in a month. The first full moon is October 1 and 2 and is called the Harvest Moon. There are also seasonal blue moons.

Seasonal Blue Moons first. It’s an older definition for Blue Moons, stemming from old skylore. A year has 12 months, of course. A month – or “moonth” – has a length more or less based on a single orbit of the moon around Earth. What we call a season – winter, spring, summer, fall – typically lasts three months, and typically has three full moons. So this would be a fourth full moon withing a season.

Merriam-Webster Homophone Quiz

If you know what I am writing/righting/riting/ about then you know what I am up to/too/two. It’s a homophone quiz where you have two or more words that sound alike but are spelt differently and have different meanings.

The quiz is not too difficult (or is that to difficult or two difficult?)

I missed the first one because I selected the wrong spelling and I missed the second one (which I knew) because I ran out of time.

Water for Tea

I like coffee but am essentially a coffee wuss. I get the Blonde Coffee at Starbucks to put it in some perspective.

French press coffee usually reminds me of waste water. If the coffee is strong enough to take the enamel off of your teeth or so dark that cream and sugar can not touch it , then I usually order hot tea.

Most restaurants are much more likely to offer you a refill on coffee than they are to remember that you had asked for more hot water so you can make a second cup of tea.

If they are reluctant to provide additional hot water, why do they bring you a single, undersized tiny pitcher of hot water that will not fill your mug.

This is the how full the tiny metal pitcher of hot water was able to fill my mug. I could have used the tea bag again but nobody asked me if I wanted anymore water. Would a larger metal pitcher be too much to hope for?

The coffee and tea cost the same price

To receive the same cupful would also be nice.

COVID-19 What We Knew in June that We Didn’t Know in February

A professor of pharmacy at U of Toronto sent this clearly worded update to his family.

For this pandemic there’s a greater chance of survival for those getting infected 3 months later like June 2020 than those who got infected 3 months earlier say February 2020. The reason for this is that Doctors and scientists know more about Covid-19 now than 3 months ago and hence are able to treat patients better. I will list 5 important things that we know now that we didn’t know in February 2020 for your understanding. 

1. COVID-19 was initially thought to cause deaths due to pneumonia – a lung infection and so Ventilators were thought to be the best way to treat sick patients who couldn’t breathe. Now we are realizing that the virus causes blood clots in the blood vessels of the lungs and other parts of the body and this causes the reduced oxygenation . Now we know that just providing oxygen by ventilators will not help but we have to prevent and dissolve the micro clots in the lungs. This is why we are using drugs like Aspirin and Heparin ( blood thinners that prevents clotting) as protocol in treatment regimens in June 2020.

2. Previously patients used to drop dead on the road or even before reaching a hospital due to reduced oxygen in their blood – OXYGEN SATURATION. This was because of HAPPY HYPOXIA where even though the oxygen saturation was gradually reducing the COVID-19 patients did not have symptoms until it became critically less, like sometimes even 70%. Normally we become breathless if oxygen saturation reduces below 90%. This breathlessness is not triggered in Covid patients and so we were getting the sick patients very late to the hospitals in February 2020. Now since knowing about happy hypoxia we are monitoring oxygen saturation of all Covid patients with a simple home use pulse oximeter and getting them to hospital if their oxygen saturation drops to 93% or less. This gives more time for doctors to correct the oxygen deficiency in the blood and a better survival chance in June 2020.

3. We did not have drugs to fight the corona virus in February 2020.  We were only treating the complications caused by it… hypoxia. Hence most patients became severely infected. Now we have 2 important medicines FAVIPIRAVIR & REMDESIVIR … These are ANTIVIRALS that can kill the corona virus. By using these two medicines we can prevent patients from becoming severely infected and therefore cure them BEFORE THEY GO TO HYPOXIA. This knowledge we have in JUNE 2020… not in February 2020.

4. Many Covid-19 patients die not just because of the virus but also due the patient’s own immune system responding in an exaggerated manner called CYTOKINE STORM. This stormy strong immune response not only kills the virus but also kills the patients. In February 2020 we didn’t know how to prevent it from happening. Now in June 2020, we know that easily available medicines called Steroids, that doctors around the world have been using for almost 80 years can be used to prevent the cytokine storm in some patients.

5. Now we also know that people with hypoxia became better just by making them lie down on their belly – known as prone position. Apart from this a few days ago Israeli scientists have discovered that a chemical known as Alpha Defensin produced by the patients White blood cells can cause the micro clots in blood vessels of the lungs and this could possibly be prevented by a drug called Colchicine used over many decades in the treatment of Gout. So now we know for sure that patients have a better chance at surviving the COVID-19 infection in June 2020 than in February 2020, for sure.

Going forward there’s nothing to panic about Covid-19 if we remember that a person who gets infected later has a better chance at survival than one who got infected early. Let’s continue to follow precautions, wear masks and practice social distancing. Please distribute this message, as we all need some positive news…

Holidays to Celebrate on Sunday, 27 September 2020

Gold Star Mother’s and Family Day is a day “for honoring families of those who have received The Gold Star – the military award no one wants. The award commemorates the tragic death of a military member who has perished while in the line of duty and hopes to provide a level of comfort to the parents and families that are left behind. Since World War 1, a “Gold Star Family” has signified a family that has lost one of its members in combat. The family can display a Gold Star Service Flag for any military family members who have died from any honorable cause – each gold star on the flag signifies a death. Though today only around 1% of the country is involved in military service, as compared to the 12% during other times of war, like World War 2, there are still a significant number of surviving Gold Star families – not to mention, a Gold Star lives on in a family’s legacy.”

Khzir Khan is the Gold Star father of Captain Humayun Khan, killed in 2004 at the age of 27. Mr. Khan became famous in 2016 after challenging Donald Trump over remarks about Muslims.

Donald Trump, you’re asking Americans to trust you with their future. Let me ask you, have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy. In this document, look for the words “liberty” and “equal protection of law. Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders, and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing—and no one.

National Crush Day is a chance to remember the environment. Crush a can and put it into the recycling bin.

National No Excuses Day. Although it originated in Canada, it is a good day for all of us to do something fun, or that needs to be done. Make Memories, Not Excuses.

World Tourism Day is hard this year because of the Pandemic. But plan to do something next year!

Yom Kippur–from the website.

Begins sunset of  Sunday, September 27, 2020
Ends nightfall of  Monday, September 28, 2020

Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year—the day on which we are closest to G‑d and to the quintessence of our own souls. It is the Day of Atonement—“For on this day He will forgive you, to purify you, that you be cleansed from all your sins before G‑d” (Leviticus 16:30).