Friday, August 05, 2022

St. Louis and the Gateway Arch

 I've finally returned to St. Louis long enough to take a ride up the Gateway Arch. 

Eads Bridge

Gateway Arch from Washington Ave.

Gateway Arch for ants at the Museum at the Gateway Arch

Old Courthouse as seen from top of Gateway Arch

Focus on St. Louis thru a Gateway Arch portal

Mississippi from the top of the Gateway Arch 

Looking straight down from the top of the Gateway Arch


Sunday, July 31, 2022

Goodbye Nichelle Nichols

My impression of Nichelle Nichols from our brief meeting is that she was a thoughtful and friendly sweetheart. The world is less bright without her.

Nichelle Nichols, 12/28/1932 - 07/30/2022

Saturday, July 30, 2022

George the Welder

On a whim, I decided to get myself Krispy Kreme today.  I drove to the one nearest to my home.  As I approached the entrance to KK, a mother opened to door for her young son while holding her baby and bady bag in her left arm.  Then she did something rather strange. While juggling her baby and baby bag, she actually attempted to hold the door open for me as well.  I was like "Thank you, but I should be holding the door for you" as we exchanged smiles.  I politely reached over her to hold the door for them, and then again for the inside door.  She then took her son to check out the donut making machinery while I went to the counter to order my donuts.  

I got a warm and gooey glazed donut, along with a raspberry-filled donut, and a milk.

As I left the counter with my order, I decided to sit in the dining area.  After quickly devouring my glazed donut, I then pulled my raspberry donut from the bag to eat it.  That's when I was approached by a tall man, a gentleman.  He was wearing a rather colorful and intricately patterned shirt.  His hair and beard were long long since white, his face weathered, his stance slightly crouched, and his demeanor friendly.  I hadn't noticed at first though.  My face was down in my phone, playing a tired but engaging game.  

This gentleman approached me and got my attention by mentioning the fact that we were both eating raspberry-filled donuts.  He then asked me if I fish or hunt.  "I don't."  He asked how long I've in Colorado. "It's been a few years.  How about you?" I asked with expressive interest.

This sparked a conversation that lead to him asking if it OK to sit down at my table.  "Of course!" Our conversation continued.  He asked,  "what do you do for work?"  I replied with "software design", knowing full-well he wouldn't have the first clue what that is.  However, I answer this sort of question forthrightly and directly as a matter of respect.  As expected, he didn't know how to progress with that topic, so he just took the opportunity he needed to talk about his life, his father and family.

As we talked, I caught a glimpse of the mother as she was grabbing a table for her family. She give me knowing expression, like she briefly sympathized with me for getting roped into my situation.

Well, it turns out this gentleman has seen a few things in his long 88 years.  He has a sister that is 94. He moved to Colorado in the 50's from Chicago.  He was a welder.  He was in the Air Force, though I'm not sure if he was a welder in the Air Force, or not.  He mentioned how he was on the basketball team for the Air Force that won a championship.  I inquired about this further, thinking he might be someone I could look up later.  However, it turns out it was a league made up of the various squadrons, not college.  His team was the only team to have a black player.  It's my impression that he felt the need to make an excuse for this fact by saying the black guy was the only other member of his squadron willing to do the required daily run of four miles.  If so, it's interesting that he felt the need to make such an excuse. He was clearly proud that he was a part of the championship team.  I'm guessing that others at the time felt like his team cheated by accepting a black guy in the team?  However, my impression could be wrong; maybe he had other reasons for mentioning this fact in this manner.  Either way, this makes me question, what excuses am I making now for something that will be perfectly normal in 30 years?  

He talked about his time at Rocky Flats (backup link) working on equipment for the production of nuclear bomb triggers, I presume as a welder. This was his segue to discuss a particular incident that lead to multiple diseases that he now suffers.  I'm not going to talk about specifics of the incident or his resultant diseases, other than to say some incidents at that site are public knowledge and can be read about separately.  However, hearing his first hand account solidifies concerns over the defunct Rocky Flats facility.

We talked about other things too, but I did more asking than telling because I can see he was man facing his own mortality and seeking to share his experiences.  He just needs someone to listen.

His name is George.

No one knows why humans have chins? Hmm, maybe I do...

"Humans are the only animal that have a chin, and no one knows why."  Well, I think know why.  Chins acts as a third hand to hold things against your chest when your actual hands are full or otherwise occupied in some sort of tool. Chins are very important for rudimentary tool use, or just lugging things from one place over short distances when your hands are full.