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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sex and the Sordid Details

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

C’mon guys,
Is this really necessary?

Another day, another scandal. Forget the new 'Sex in the City' movie. Leave the yet to be released 'Brittany Sex Tapes’ for another day. This is the week polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs takes center stage. How does this happen in America? Gosh, I hope to hell I’m being rhetorical, cause it’s a question to which I’d rather not learn the answer.

According to CNN, Jeffs, age 52, is in a Utah prison, serving two consecutive terms of five years to life, following conviction on two charges of being an accomplice to rape in connection with a marriage he performed in 2001. He also faces trial in Arizona on eight additional charges, including sexual conduct with a minor, incest and conspiracy.

It’s not the kind of story this grown man even cares to read about, but I must admit, I was caught off guard by the photos of Jeffs making kissy-mouth with little girls. I certainly would not associate with a man who conducted himself in such a manner around children. Shouldn’t there have been flyers up in the post office warning parents Jeffs lived in the neighborhood?

In the real world, Warren Jeffs is considered by most to be a pedophile, not a prophet. He may see it differently, but then, it is the intent of the pathological mind to overlook the obvious. Mission accomplished, I suppose.

So now the media is awash with these outrageous photos, and for once, Brittany will get a few days out of the headlines, whether she likes it or not.

My real concern, of course, is for the children. Most of us more or less start off on the right track, but it’s a difficult road ahead. I can only imagine what these kids are going through. I would like to believe the majority of them will pull through just fine, but this is far from my line of expertise, and thus the source of my anxiety.

Children of the future, unite. In doing so, please rest assured not all adults are bad. Some of us however, may be more than just a tad confused. It is not always easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys, either. You just sort of learn as you go along. Don't worry though, little one's... us adults will be keeping an eye on you, and hopefully, with any luck at all, none of us will be leering.

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

Sound and Recording - Sound Foundation - National Newswire - The Infinite Echo - Impeachment Now! - Skate the Razor -
Skate the Razor Blog - blogment

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

An Era of Steel and Steam

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

Rainbow Train Arriving It was an age of steel and steam. It was a time of great power and wealth. Soon the world would be forever changed by this new mechanical marvel, the steam locomotive, the driving force behind the industrial revolution.

For centuries, man had understood the potential of steam as an energy source, but it took until 1803 before Samuel Homfray was able to successfully harness that energy with his invention of the steam engine. The first successful railway followed soon after, when on March 25th, 1807, England began passenger service between Swansea and Mumbles.

Across the pond, America was developing it’s own railway, and by 1869, eighteen hundred miles of track connected Omaha, Nebraska with Sacramento, California. The resulting improvement of trade routes was felt throughout the world. Within a decade, the industrial revolution was on a roll.

Steam Engine

By 1893, the U.S. had completed five transcontinental trunk lines and no less than 260,000 miles of track. Monopolies flourished. A brilliant engineer named Theodore Judah successfully persuaded Washington to pony up ten to twenty square miles of land and at least $48,000 for every mile of track completed. The track was laid by armies of imported Chinese ’coolies’, laborers who toiled relentlessly while rail barons were popping champagne corks and charging glasses in celebration.

Enter, Andrew Carnegie, philosopher and opportunist, and in later years, philanthropist. At age 18, Carnegie caught the eye of Pennsylvania rail baron Tom Scott, becoming his personal secretary and telegraph operator. Carnegie however, had great plans for the future. The unbreakable grip of the iron industry was about to give way to steel.

By the turn of the century, William McKinley was president, and in 1903, New York State enacted legislation prohibiting the operation of steam locomotives south of the Harlem river, thus ushering in the era electrified tracks. The first use of internal combustion engines began in 1913, and was quickly superseded by the invention of the diesel locomotive, which proved more effective. The times, they were a changing.

During the great depression, the railroad became symbolic of the American struggle. Today we look back on these amazing machines as products of a bygone era. The mighty iron horse has been put to pasture. Or has it?

The steam engine may be a thing of the past, but today, light rail tracks and monorails are springing up in greater numbers. Perhaps these are not the romantic machines made famous by daring engineers like Casey Jones, but they provide safer, if not more efficient service. Meanwhile, thousands of miles of railway still grace the countryside, as modern locomotives pull seemingly endless processions of freight cars, hauling lumber, cattle, and virtually everything in between.

Away in the distance, a lonesome whistle blows. Tonight, perhaps further in the distance than in recent memory. The age of steel and steam has passed, but the dreams of those who dared make it happen, remain. An era, vanishes in a puff of smoke. A new era begins.

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

Sound and Recording - Sound Foundation - National Newswire - The Infinite Echo - Impeachment Now! - Skate the Razor -
Skate the Razor Blog - blogment