Friday, May 21, 2010

Dr. Sabar and His Quest for NEO's.

Dr. Carl Saber

Carl Saber is the Director of Cloverdale Community College’s Rooftop Observatory. In addition to his duties in the observatory on the roof of the PE building, he teaches beginning physics to the first year students. Many of his students volunteer several evenings per month in the observatory, using the school’s twelve inch reflector to help Carl with his research on Near Earth Objects or NEO’s.

Cloverdale Community College's Rooftop Observatory

Dr. Saber received a grant of $3000 from the Confederacy Aeronautics and Space Ministry (CASM) to find objects in space that could pose a threat to Earth. In his application for the grant, Dr. Saber impressed the judges panel with his stern warning of impending doom if any unfriendly NEO encounters Earth.

“Such an incident would cause mass panic and confusion. Rioting would be expected and acts of civil disobedience would turn the peaceful streets of the Confederacy into avenues of blood!”

Dr. Saber continued by describing NEO visitations in ancient times and how their appearance affected the planet's biological history. In his slide show he included a picture of dinosaurs, to give one the impression he was referring to the mass extinction of dinosaurs millions of years ago when a large asteroid hit Earth just off the coast of Mexico. What he didn't say was his belief that aliens visited the planet and brought dinosaurs with them, thus making all species of dinosaurs alien in origin.

“It’s only a matter of time before more NEO’s arrive and change human history forever. We cannot sit idly by and let this happen. We must locate these unwelcome guests into our solar system and find ways to protect ourselves from their influence,” he wrote in his grant summation.

The panel was moved by his paper and released the money with a statement urging him to find NEO’s “for the safety of all mankind”.

In a press conference, CASM’s director announced the award, telling the Confederacy’s population that his agency was taking decisive steps to locate all Near Earth Objects in hopes of preventing Earth impacts. When asked for the definition of Near Earth Objects, the director replied,
“Near Earth Objects are comets and asteroids with a mass great enough to cause a partial to complete extinction of life on Earth.”
Many in the audience applauded the Director’s decision to spend tax dollars on such a noble endeavour. It was the Director’s greatest accomplishment for the year. He stood proud with his chest out and chin tilted upward for photographs.

What the director didn’t know was Dr. Saber’s definition of NEO’s. You see, Dr. Saber’s is the President of Cloverdale’s “Close Encounter’s Club”. The CEC is an organization made of those who claim to have survived close encounters of the third kind (actual encounters with an aliens from another planet). Dr. Saber skillfully manipulated the wording of his grant to give the judges the impression he and his students would be searching for asteroids and comets whose orbits cross Earth’s; when in reality he was planning to use the money and the school’s telescope in a search for UFO’s.

“Aren’t unidentified flying objects actually near Earth objects as well?” he explained to his 2:00 P.M. beginning physics class in an attempt to justify his deception. Those not texting or tweeting nodded in agreement. “Well, our job is to keep this misunderstanding with CASM ‘A Misunderstanding’ . Right?” he asked his students while tapping his forefinger against the right side of his nose, the international signal of secret keepers.
“Now to change the subject, anyone in this class interested in taking tonight’s watch in the observatory?”

“Me,” shouted Scott Simmons. Everyone turned to look at the star of the community colleges regularly defeated basketball team.
“What I meant to say was that Susan and I will take tonight’s watch,” he continued. Susan smiled and blew him a kiss from across the room. Everyone knew Scott and Susan were an item. Everyone that is except Dr. Saber. Everyone also knew that neither of them had any intention of using the telescope or searching the night sky for UFO’s or NEO’s or anything else. They were planning on doing research of another kind.

“Excellent!” Dr. Saber announced. “Now that’s the kind of dedication to our cause I’m looking for.”

Of course, no one expects the college or CASM to discover Dr. Saber's deception. How often are real NEO’s discovered by Earth’s best astronomers using the planet's best telescopes? The answer is - rarely.

Everyone wins with this this grant. CASM receives great press at a good price. Dr. Saber get’s his UFO research funded by the government and many of the college’s student get a nice quiet place to get to know each other.

Life continues here in Cloverdale, our community of the bewildered on the banks of the Clover River in Clovershire.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Leonard's Bad Day

Today was one of those days Leonard Card of 42 Victoria Way, Cloverdale hopes to forget. This was the day his class at Confederacy Primary School took their end of year exams. His teacher asked them to get a good night’s sleep. Leonard wanted to do well on the tests so he skipped his favorite TV show to go to bed early. Choosing between that extra hour of sleep and Hell’s Kitchen with Chef Ramsey was the toughest decision he’d made the entire school year.

Leonard was woken by the sound of choking thirty minutes after falling asleep . He knew it was his little brother above him in the top bunk. A moment later he felt something moist and warm drip onto his exposed leg hanging out of the covers and off the bed. The smell that followed pulled him right into the world of the conscious. He sat up and looked at his leg,
“Oh Gross!” he shouted. “Mom, Skip just threw up on my leg!”
Skip’s head appeared upside down from the top bunk looking down at his older brother.
The lower half of his face was smeared in an chunky orange liquid. He had tears in his eyes. Leonard held his anger. Chewing Skip out wouldn’t solve anything.

Mother put Skip in a warm bath. Leonard had instructions to change the bedding for both beds. Of course he couldn’t do that until he cleaned the stinky discharge from the mattress and carpet. One hour later all was well. Skip was in mother’s bed for the night so Leonard could sleep undisturbed.

This morning Leonard woke up late. His mother was up most of the night with Skip and slept through her alarm. His teacher told them to eat a good healthy breakfast so their minds would have the necessary nutrients to stay focused. Leonard rushed out the door with a piece of toast and jam and a Pop Tart. Hardly what his teacher would classify as "Nutritious".

Of course he missed the bus. The Fates were turning against him. His mother was back in bed asleep and Leonard’s dad had the car at work. He sat down on the curb, ate his Pop Tart and reviewed his options. He wanted to go back to bed but knew he couldn’t get out of the year end exams. If he didn’t take them today he’d have to go in on the make up day, usually a Saturday. He wasn’t going to give up a Saturday.

Leonard decided to ride his bike to school. A good idea until he found his front tire flat. So much for that. That left running. Leonard broke into a fast run, covering the two miles in record time. He was hot and sweaty when he got to the school.
Celeste Botts, the pretty girl that sits behind him, commented that he smelt like a wet dog. Leonard didn't need to hear that.

At 10:00 A.M. the class hunkered down into testing mode. Every student was issued a sharpened No. 2 pencil, the test booklet and the bubble answer sheet. Leonard was tired and in a very bad mood. Part way through the test he turned to his friend across the isle and asked for the time. The teacher told them it was a timed test but Leonard wasn't paying attention. The teacher misunderstood the nature of the short conversation and assumed Leonard was attempting to extort answers from his more intelligent classmate. That led to a disqualification. A disqualification meant he had to stay after school and take the alternate test for that section.

Of course he missed his bus. He called for a ride home. His mother was at the doctor with Skip and his dad was still at work. He surrendered to fate and started the long walk through Cloverdale back to Victoria Way. Leonard was in one of his very bad moods. His mother doesn’t like him very much when he’s having “A Meltdown” as she puts it. She usually sends him outside until he calms down.

Leonard decided to save himself the chewing out and banishment to the outdoors by taking his time on the walk home. Of course his plan wasn’t to fall asleep on the footpath but he saw a few interesting cloud formations and stretched out to watch them sail by. His delay in arriving home frightened his mother. She called his father. He left work early to search for Leonard. It didn’t take long to find him.

Leonard was forgiven for the fright he’d caused his parents. After hearing about his day his mom and dad took he and his brother to the Wonderland Bakery for a special treat.
Leonard went to bed that night feeling better and happy the school year was nearly at an end.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cloverdale Weekend Television. Sissel. Going Home

A perfect song for the end of the day as the Coastal Express pulls into Cloverdale's Train Station. It will be a slow walk in the cool of the evening past the shops on the High Street, a turn at the canal and home.

Welcome Home........
Cloverdale, Always at Rainbow's End.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Senior Fencing at the Nearly There Home for the Aged and Infirmed

Cloverdale’s Recreation Department joined forces with Clovershire’s Committe on Aging Well to create new leisure activities for the over 60’s in Cloverdale and the surrounding communities. One of the new courses offered is Senior Fencing, taught every Monday and Wednesday at the Nearly There Home for the Elderly and Infirmed in Cloverdale.

The seniors were reluctant to enroll in the class, thinking it difficult to hold a saber while maintaining one’s balance with a cane or walking frame. But after seeing it demonstrated, they reconsidered and the class quickly filled; it also helped when the Home’s Director ran a week of Errol Flynn Pirate Movies during the Movie and Mint Theater held in the Home’s Common Room.

The aged have their supper at 4:00 P.M. followed by warm milk laced with a sedative. Supper is usually followed on Wednesday’s and Friday’s by the Movie and Mint Theater. The residents get a video served with mints (peppermint patties). Popcorn is banned, the kernels are too hard on their dentures and bridges. The evenings festivities end for bedtime at 8:00 P.M.

“The old dears are magic at fencing,” said Jim Foyle, Director of the Shire’s Committee on Aging Well. “Safety comes first so actual contact is forbidden in Senior Fencing. We encourage the Dears to take a few steps, establish their balance then cross swords three times, then they repeat the process until exhaustion sets in. They get knackered quickly so the matches are short.”

The Home’s nurse is on hand to deal with anxiety and injury. Occasionally a spectator must be removed. The sport can be too much for those disturbed by a violent contact sport like Senior Fencing.

Spectators are encouraged to come to the matches and cheer the Seniors on. Please consider staying on past the match to listen to the residents talk. The old Dears love to tell stories and the staff have heard them over and over.