Check Out Cave Music with the Great Stalacpipe Organ!

It’s your favorite child travel adviser, Tyler the Boy on the Move, once again bringing you the best in last-minute vacations. Your road trip planner for the weekend getaway to the coolest and strangest places in America. How do I know about them all? My parents are contract workers in the software industry and keep moving the family every 6 months…

My parents just got a job down in Luray, Virginia, a sort of sleepy little town with some interesting history. While my parents were at work, I liked to walk around downtown Luray which has some fun shops and eateries. The Page Theater is also pretty fun.

On the weekends my parents and I did some sightseeing together, checking out the Car and Carriage Caravan Museum, hiking up Stony Man Mountain, and exploring the Shenandoah Heritage Village. However, by far my favorite was the stop we made to the Luray Caverns — Luray is known as “the town where caverns meet the sky” after all!

Inside of the caverns (and covering just about 3.5 acres) is the world’s largest musical instrument, the Great Stalacpipe Organ! Whenever the organ is played, little mallets strike different stalactites all around the cave causing a beautiful and haunting tune. The whole cavern seems to pulse with the echoing sound!

The Great Stalacpipe Organ is technically not an organ at all (rather a lithophone)! It was designed by electric engineer and mathematican Leland Sprinkle, who worked at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virgina. When Sprinkle visited the caverns in 1954, he was inspired by how guides tapped the impressive stalactites to show their tonal range.

If you’re sold on hearing the “organ” but not on the tight spaces, you can always listen to recordings of the instrument (though it isn’t as cool as hearing it in person). And if a giant musical cave isn’t for you (which I don’t know why it wouldn’t be because IT IS AWESOME), Luray does have plenty of other fun stuff to offer.  I mean, even the drive through the Shenandoah Valley is pretty amazing! You could also visit the Hawksbill Greenway, the Luray Rescue Zoo, the Warehouse Art Gallery, or the Luray Singing Tower.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

~ Tyler

To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler’s latest book “Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida”. It is now available in paperback at most bookstores. Ask for it by name, and keep checking back for great cheap vacation ideas that might end up being the best vacation you ever had!

The Maximum Ride

Welcome back to my blog about balloons, rocket ships, airplanes, space travel, Star Wars, sci-fi, and everything about flying! Well, I was playing around in my local library when the flash of a wing on one of the book spines caught my eye. Of course, I picked it right up — wings, duh — and I fell into the amazing world of Maximum Ride!

The Maximum Ride series by James Patterson follows the life of one Maximum “Max” Ride (a great name, Max) and the fellow members of her Flock: Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman and Angel. Max and the other members of the Flock all have, get this, massive wings and can fly! They all got their wings (and other powers) through some crazy scientific experiments done at The School, an evil laboratory. I don’t want to give too much away, but I think if you like science fiction, fantasy, and flying anywhere near as much as me, you should check these out!

If reading isn’t your thing, there are also AMAZING manga renditions illustrated by NaRae Lee!

Until next time,

~ Max

To find out more about me visit Salem House Press and buy my book on Amazon.com! Now available in paperback at your favorite booksellers. Ask for it by name!

Did you Feed the Good Wolf or the Bad?

Rev barbara the Salem Love Psychic in front of her shop Angelica of the Angels

Welcome to another Coronavirus Astrology Report from the Salem Love Psychic, Rev. Barbara.

This Jupiter-Pluto conjunction came into orb (close enough to connect energetically) on 1/29/20 and will remain in orb through 1/7/21. Their first conjunction was on 4/4. The second is 6/30, and they’ll conjoin once more on 11/12. Quite an interesting Coronavirus astrology report we had in front of us…

So What have you been doing since the first conjunction? We all had gotten to a cliff and we all had found our own Genie in the bottle. What Power did you uncork?  You had since April 4th…

The Summing Up…

What did we all wish for? How many of us were true to our hearts? How many of us will be Selfish in our desire? How many of us learned about our own selves to know what would be beneficial for us to wish for? How many of us wished for what we believe is best for us and in turn caused great harm instead? Did we wish for what is good for the all, our own benefit, or what we think would be good for the greater collective, but let fear taint it and did great harm?

We are again at a time of great power to change the world, and it is still in our hands! How do we handle it? How do we move forward in the new economy as we open up from the Coronavirus? In this time of Business reopening, do we relook at the work-life balance or jump back in with two feet into our nation’s obsession with work? Do new communities grow out of this time and old friends renew their friendships? Will our record employment continue, or will businesses take this time to cut wages and hours? How many of us will find this time to let go of outdated employment and find our true calling? How many of us will take any job out of fear?

All of these questions come back to the two wolves; which one will you feed! This time more than any other we have the two hungry mouths; do we feed the Good Wolf or the Bad Wolf? How well can you move past your own fears and desires?

We have been finding ourselves faced with the Great Nothingness from The Neverending Story. There is a great opportunity to let go of Desire that results in the removal of Fear that you will not get it. This is the most basic example of the fear and desire paradigm. If you remove the desire to live that may be the forefront in your mind; you also remove the fear that you will not. Normally this may be a good thing to come into the existence, the act of just being, but this time calls for decisiveness! So will you want vanilla or chocolate ice cream? The Genie is out of the bottle, so choose! Its Time to Name the Emperess!

So let us look into the details of this conjuncture again in our Coronavirus Astrology Report.

Let’s start with the Good Points:

  • The tools for success will present themselves
  • Resources for Gigantic Changes are at Hand
  • The Strength for Success is Accessible
  • Great Teachings at our Disposal
  • Immense Drive for New Learning
  • The knowledge that Great Power can Harm or Benefit All
  • Right Makes Right over Might Makes Right
  • Regeneration and Transformation are Present
  • Great Time to Rid Yourself of Old Wood
  • There is Gret Intensity for Change
  • Its Time to Delve into the Subconsciousness for Success
  • The Precipice for Change is at Hand
  • There is Intense Idealism
  • There is a Large Faith that the Universe can Change
  • Unity through Philanthropy and Community
  • Positive Transformation will Become Contagious
  • There is a Unifying of Large Communities
  • Plus the Truth will Wins Out

The Flipside:

  • Extreme Greed
  • False Pretences of God Like Feelings
  • Vain Glory
  • Political Drama
  • Nietzche Superman Complex
  • Great Abuses of Power
  • Hitler Complexes
  • I am the Law Feelings
  • The Elite March Forward
  • Plutocracy
  • Obsessive Righteousness, Fanaticism, and Overkill
  • Misplaced Moral Righteousness
  • False Religion
  • Totalitarianism at the Excuse for the Better Good
  • Amazing Waste of Shared Resources

Now the Saturn-Pluto Conjunction will continue on for the next year and:

  • Create Extreme Discipline, Strength, and Endurance
  • Generate Self-Control
  • Deliver Great Fortitude for Discomfort
  • Provide a Profound Sense of Responsibility
  • Present Challenges to Change the World
  • Will Call People to Let Go of Popular Success for Personal Success
  • Will Grant the Power to Continue when All Resolve has Failed
  • Create Great Anxiety and Fear
  • Deliver Negative Forces
  • Create a Great Tide of Change
  • Generate Profound Times with Great Consequences
  • Brings the New Order to the World
  • Calles for Great Display of Personal and Group Will
  • Needs Unbending Faith
  • World and Personal Transformation is Being Created by the Conjuncture

So great cosmic changes are still being presented to us. Like in The Matrix Humanity was given the opportunity to wake up, hold on to a dream of Paradise, or a dream of a consistent level of pain; we are presented with the same choice as a collective. Which way will we go? You had time to think about it, which way are you leaning?

That was another Coronavirus Astrology Report.

As always…

WITH THE LOVE OF ANGELS
Rev. Barbara Szafranski
The Salem Love Psychic

 

Get her latest book:
Burnt Toast and Oranges


Father and Son Make Front Cover

Years apart, they both make it to the front cover riding motorcycles

Gerald Dowgin on 65 Honda Scrambler for the cover of Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Magazine at a car show.Gerald Dowgin is featured on the cover of Vintage Japanese Motorcycle for the months of May and June. The article it supports is 46 Years with my Scrambler detailing his time with his beloved Honda bike and some mechanic tips on keeping it ship-shape. Now, this is not the first Dowgin to be photographed on a motorcycle to make it to the front cover.

Gerald’s father is on the cover of The Complete Book Of Police And Military Motorcycles by Joseph Berk. Gerald’s father Captain Ralph Dowgin’s of the NJ State Troopers photo was a favorite find in antique stores throughout the country due to the fact it depicts a police officer sitting on a Harley with an old Esso (Exxon) gas station in the background. It proved to be an iconic photo.

Ralph Dowgin on Harley Motorcycle with Esso Gas Station behind him
Harley-Davidson

Harley, is an American motorcycle manufacturer founded in 1903 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was one of two major American motorcycle manufacturers to survive

Not too far from the tree…

Both ended up in the legal profession. The son wrote the laws of the state working for the Office of Legislative Services and the father enforced them. Luckily, neither of them had become lawyers though. Now both of them have ended up on the front cover. One on an American made bike and the other on a Japanese roadster.

Highlights of Ralph’s career: Driving Joe Louis to the fights, solving the Hay’s murder case, and command of the NJ Turnpike. His brother commanded the  Parkway and was the lead investigator in the Lindenburg kidnapping. Highlights of Gerald’s career: legislating laws on diminutive people tossing at bowling alleys and juice bars with strippers. More importantly the homestead tax credit for the state. But, now they both made it to the front cover!

Check out the article and also Gerald’s book Yes Santa! chronicling Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer during the offseason making sure children continue to believe in Santa Claus. Do you still believe? Maybe after reading Gerald’s book, you will!

So Said the Cook

Welcome to our first installment of Get A Clue!

So Said the Cook

by Sadie Amelia Hofmeester

Set far back from the main road was an extravagant home owned by one Mr. Greene. Lined by tall trees, the winding drive up to the property transported the driver from a rather banal country highway to a faraway land. Once one turned onto that near hidden drive, the evergreens seemed to swallow all sounds from the road and make them feel so very far away.

Resplendent with turrets and stonework, Greene’s massive home domineered the grounds — though those spilled near endlessly beyond the mansion’s backdoors. Even though the highway couldn’t be more than a 10 minute drive away, the only noise that drifted on the fir-scented air was jazz music. 

Though no one seemed able to decipher how (or when exactly) Mr. Greene had accumulated his incalculable wealth, he did have rich taste in music. Anytime someone entered his foyer, a soulful jazz danced about the room. And tonight, one of his renowned soirées, was no exception. 

Though Greene himself was nowhere to be seen, his guests enjoyed the jazz band situated in the music room. As Miss Scarlett swirled past the grand foyer in her crimson gown, the music seemed to follow her, folding into near every corner of the house. In the grand hall, Professor Plum pontificated about the moral quandaries of “proper” English between bites of smoked salmon canapés. Mrs. Peacock, appearing utterly enchanted by the music and some new pharmaceutical of her choosing, swayed to and fro, touching every suit pocket and dress front she could. Enamored with the textures, she lurched past the stoney faced policeman no one knew who had invited, and limpet-ed herself onto the unfortunate Mr. Wadsworth, Greene’s head butler. Especially delighted with Wadsworth’s jacket lapels, much to his chagrin, she began languorously rubbing herself on him as he precariously balanced a tray of lobster parmesan croquettes. 

As the jazz quartet played tirelessly, other servers floated around the first floor with plates of the night’s delights: smoked salmon mousse canapés, Beluga Sturgeon caviar on crispy cornmeal blinis, bacon-wrapped scallops with a light lemon aioli, and the like. As with all of Mr. Greene’s many parties, this evening followed a culinary theme — tonight’s was Jewels of the Deep. As he kept a ridiculously small staff for such a large home, Greene always brought in the same catering company and gave them free rein over his kitchen, pantries, and wine cellar. He didn’t believe in food prepped in any place other than his own home, wine brought up from anywhere but his own cellar. Odd…but given his immense wealth and gregarious nature, Greene was permitted this particular flavor of eccentricity.  Continue reading “So Said the Cook”

What was your Corona Virus Experience?

Corona virus

Well, things might start to open up soon. Are you going back to the old world? Well, in the larger picture, there might not be an old world, but I mean personally, what will your world look like? Now, this is a pie in the sky question. Blue sky thinking. What would your word look like after the coronavirus?

Do you go back to the same job? The same job, but with a few changes? Possibly a new job? This is pie in the sky thinking, don’t focus on the negative. What would you want to be doing?

Then ask yourself, will this job leave you time for things you remembered you loved to do. Did you reconnect to these hobbies during this time to stay home and reflect? You mean you did no reflection and just watched Netflix in the same sweatpants for three months, with no top? Well, some of you gals did this too, now admit it…How are you going into this new world? Will this job leave you time for friends and family? Will it give you time to yourself? Are those things important to you? What is important to you? Hopefully, you asked yourself these things. You didn’t??? OK, you did. You had me worried there…

What did you crave? What was taken from you? The walks in the park? Dancing at night clubs? Seeing the opposite sex? What did you miss the most during this pandemic? Will you hold it tighter to you now that you saw it could be taken from you?

Did you enjoy working from home? What were the advantages? What were the problems? It seemed most of America liked the personal experience of seeing inside of people’s homes on TV and such. Especially with Rate my Room an such.

Did you miss the rush hour commute? I remember an ad for Headhunters touting the morning commute being the walk in your slippers from the bedroom, to the kitchen, to the study. Did you experience that? How was it?

Imagine a world where we dropped emissions, less roadkill, and saved all those hours of driving! If a majority of us could telecommute we would move away from hub cities and give up our dependence on river and ocean towns and spread out. If high-income workers were evenly spread out throughout the nation, we could have the economy for the amenities we used to find in only larger cities. Imagine if we went back to Vaudeville or supported the local arts for real. Remove the all or nothing mentality from creative jobs and allow a creative sort to earn the same money as a plumber or a baker? Why should a creative sort not own a house from his occupation and not his side gig? Let us give up on national stars and support those in your town. Distribution of high-income wage earners will help this.  What about restaurants and coffee shops? The same. We could have local musicians, poets, authors, actors, lions tigers, and bears; oh my!

The time you saved commuting could give you time to see a play, hear a concert, or read a book.

 

Internet disparity in communities. Disperse the wealth and those high-income wage earners would call to fix the problems with connectivity.

How do we disperse the wealth? By not forcing people into choices early in their careers to move to our overpopulated centers where they force the cost of housing up due to lack of demand. What I have noticed living in an old city, families that stay in the same location for generations lift each other up. Isn’t that great, if we distribute the wealth a father does not have to stand at a train station, airport, or bus station and see his child go away for the next 20 years and only visit on holidays.

Disperse the wealth. Wealthy educated people do not get harassed by the police as much. Have you noticed as you get older, police do not bother you as much? That is because they believe as you get older you know your rights more and are not as likely to get pushed around. Plus people with wealth have lawyers. Disperse the wealth. How do you eliminate a police force that is stripping a community of its rights?

  1. Sue the chief. The officer is protected from immunity by deals with unions and your town. The chief is not.
  2. Sue the city and the mayor. Now the mayor puts pressure on the chief and chief puts pressure on the officer. Officer gets the shit details.
  3. As a group of people, bring litigation against the police department. If there are too many suits against the police department their insurance company will drop them. Then sue again till the next company drops them. Then repeat till they are forced to create a new police department. By then the officer will get fired with the rest of them. He will not have any friends left afterward.

If you disperse the wealth, you will have help doing this. For wealth is not only the possession of personal property, it is intelligence.  Imagine if every little town did not have a brain drain; politicians might be held accountable. For all politics start locally and move up. Imagine how creative our town parks could be without the brain drain. Cities become amazing because they drain the brain from the rural areas of the country. People also move to the country to quaint towns with beautiful downtowns, parks, vistas, and amenities. Most of the time these locations are close to the major cities, which drive their prices up. Imagine these towns hours from cities with lower home prices? Disperse the wealth. Intelligence and talent should be able to stay within the towns they grew up in. Why are we all forced to move away and give up the life we built for 18 years, we should be able to prosper where we live. That is not too intelligent to do otherwise…

Disperse the wealth. Also, reduce the taxes on local small business owners. Tax the billionaires. When we stay local, it is our buddies and gals we grew up with who did well who could help the rest of us, but now we hit these people with paperwork and taxes which force them to pay people a non-liveable wage. Our friends are the key to a strong middle class. This will disperse the wealth.

Now if we change our way of living, we will disperse the wealth. What is disperse the wealth?

It is sharing our conversations, laughs, friendships, knowledge, love, time, and family in activities that bring us joy. Work sucks, but labor is fine. We all should be able to labor in our own callings and by decentralizing a workplace mentality and moving away from overburdened locations we will create the time and place to disperse the wealth.

So in this new world, pie in the sky; what would you be looking for? If you did not think about this question before, what are you thinking now? What would your world look like and how would you share it? How will you labor to make that world possible? Tell us below in the comments.

Watch Out Grand Canyon, Here Comes Palo Duro!

It’s your favorite child travel adviser, Tyler the Boy on the Move, once again bringing you the best in last-minute vacations. Your road trip planner for the weekend getaway to the coolest and strangest places in America. How do I know about them all? My parents are contract workers in the software industry and keep moving the family every 6 months…

When my parents got a contract in Amarillo, I talked to my friend Sadie Hofmeester because I knew her grandma came from down there. And she told me all about Palo Duro Canyon in Canyon, Texas outside of Amarillo. She even sent me this neat photo of her grandma when she was around my age horseback riding, cowboy style, in the canyon!

After seeing that, I knew I needed to plan my own adventure! I talked it up to my parents, and they agreed to make a weekend out of it. For just under $25, we had our campsite in the middle of the canyon, the second biggest in the country!

If you look carefully, animals seem to be everywhere in and around the canyon! Driving into the canyon, we had to stop short to avoid a greater roadrunner crossing the road — I guess he isn’t as clever as he seems on TV (meep meep)! As we set up a quick base camp amongst the cactus and sagebrush, my mom and I found a Texas horned lizard sneaking around our newly erected tent hunting grasshoppers! A few minutes after that we heard a tap tap tapping and turned to see a golden-fronted woodpecker! It was really cool!

After our camp set-up, I set out to explore (and to see if I could find any more creatures). I’m pretty used to exploring tight spaces like urban tunnels and maybe an underground bunker or two, so the vastness of Palo Duro was striking. Even though you’re so far down from the top of the cliffside, almost everywhere you go within the canyon, you can see brilliant blue sky offset by flaming red stone.

Wandering on one of the innumerable trails, I found a plaque explaining Palo Duro’s history. The canyon has been home to Indigenous Peoples for over 10,000 years. About 12,000 years ago, the Clovis and Folsom People lived in the canyon, hunting herds of North American mammoth and giant bison. In more recent history, the mighty Apache, Arapaho, Comanche, and Kiowa Peoples lived in and used the canyon’s numerous resources. As settler-colonists moved into the area, violence erupted. Though some chiefs called for peace and signed treaties, U.S. troops repeatedly broke their promises and attacked to seize the land. From 1874 to 1875, U.S. American soldiers attacked the Native Peoples to gain the use of Palo Duro Canyon in the bloody Red River War. Perhaps this violence is what stained the soil red.

After I walked around for a while, I got pretty hot (the sun sure is strong in the panhandle!) and headed back to camp for a well-deserved dinner: some barbecued brisket. At sunset, we managed to see a ram on the top of the ridge which was pretty cool. My parents and I roasted marshmallows under the stars that night. Looking up, the stars seemed so brilliant…somehow both close and far away. It looked like a giant quilt of the night sky.

When I woke up the next day, I went exploring again. I wanted to see if I could find an artifact, maybe an arrowhead from the War, but all I found were a lot of yucca plants and red dust. Just as we were leaving, I saw a bunch of collared lizards scurrying off of the rocks, they were sunning themselves on. I bet if you keep your eyes peeled, you can spot some collared lizards too — and if you’re fast like me, you can even catch some of them.

I hope you go and have as much fun as I did!

~ Tyler

 

To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler’s latest book “Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida”. It is now available in paperback at most bookstores. Ask for it by name, and keep checking back for great cheap vacation ideas that might end up being the best vacation you ever had!

Umm…Murder Hornets?

Welcome back to my blog about balloons, rocket ships, airplanes, space travel, Star Wars, sci-fi, and everything about flying! These Murder Hornets sound like science fiction but unfortunately are all too real! And likely headed to a place near you!

The Asian Giant Hornet, not-so-affectionately dubbed the Murder Hornet, is a really big hornet (in fact, the world’s largest!) that does not get along well with honeybees. Or beetles. Or really anything that it can eat. And these 2-3 inch hornets are moving around the world — though no one really knows how or why.

 

Though not as fast as dragonflies, these bad boys of the bug world aren’t slowpokes — they can fly as fast as 25 miles per hour. 

Luckily though, these hornets don’t seem to partially bother people (as long as you aren’t wearing a honeybee costume). And if you are stung, if you aren’t allergic to stings, you will probably be okay. Asian Giant Hornets are only really murderous when it comes to finding their next meal.

Until next time,

~ Max

To find out more about me visit Salem House Press and buy my book on Amazon.com! Now available in paperback at your favorite booksellers. Ask for it by name!

Get A Clue! An Online Penny Dreadful!

The Summer Street Library of the Salem House Press would like to welcome you to our latest online serial, Get A Clue!

Salem House Press has been publishing series of different periodical titles on our website. In that tradition, comes Get A Clue! Harkening back to the days of penny dreadfuls (also known as penny bloods), Sadie Hofmeester’s Get A Clue is a periodic short fiction series loosely based on the beloved board game, Clue. This serialized work of fiction revolves around one night, one murder, and many perspectives. Who is telling the truth? That is up to you to decipher!

Welcome to The Summer Street Library

 Welcome to our blog for readers, writers, and artists alike…

 

The Summer Street Library could be anywhere and welcomes everyone. We read a vast variety of different books with varied genres, topics, and writers. These books span the gambit from classics to contemporary, romance to historical fiction. The Summer Street Library is pro-pleasure and exploration — especially in the written world! Push yourself to pick up a book you normally wouldn’t consider or read an author you’ve never heard of before — you may find a new favorite. If not, no worries…simply pick up another and start again! 

The Summer Street Library blog isn’t just another list of books received and read through. This blog functions as a platform to spotlight artists of all kinds, working to centralize marginalized voices and push back against the broader racist, colorist, sexist, ableist, homophobic, and transphobic publishing industry. The Summer Street Library focuses on highlighting young, divergent, and or underrepresented writers and artists with an especial focus on unpublished or self-published writers. If you are interested in contributing to The Summer Street Library as a spotlight artist, please contact the blog’s founder, Sadie Hofmeester, at thesummerstreetlibrary@gmail.com. 

Be on the lookout for more from The Summer Street Library — here all Summer!