June 28, 2020

The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (Review)

his strange little book came to be in my Astronomy Club – they had a “for a good home” cart of books and I scooped this one up. Oddly, it comes from quaint old 1989, so yes, a lot changes in thirty years. I’ll take my cheap shots early – the book is certainly dated. Mr. Ashpole (the author) is operating in the post-disco era. Several times he notes that no extra-solar planets have been detected (now there are hundreds). The Hubble is still a dream. All the technologies he discusses are outdated. Not his fault. That’s looking back from […]
June 23, 2023

On Sheet – Extra Board

t all started with a yawn. A fella was running coal on my Tuscarora a year back. To make interference for the local, the computer would come up with a random list of coal runs to make (such as make three  loaded laps one way, two empties the other, run the engine light to the far end, run three more laps…). When I asked if he was okay, he told me he was bored. Everyone else on the railroad was working hard and pondering how to do their jobs. He was just chauffeuring coal. To fix this, I had a […]
March 3, 2024

Extra South (Review)

ne of the things that stuck with me in the movie The Flim Flam man (set in the “old South” at the end of the fifties) was the railroads. You saw L&N, Southern, and even Monon trains doing their small-town switching in their rural ways. I was reminded of it in Extra South, a wonderful book by author H. Reid. Here he focuses (in anecdote and pictures) of what the mid-to-late century was like on the sleepy lines of the South. From sugar cane railroads to tiny branch lines, even the railroad that went to Virginia Tech (my Alma mater, served […]