NO STAR BURNS FOREVER - 05.18.2022
May 25, 2022
Good Wednesday morning! I'm novelist Richard V. Rupp, writing from Burbank, California. Welcome to RUPP'S NOTES/FBI SPECIAL AGENT HARTMANN SERIES posts.
Due to technical problems, I could not send out a post last Wednesday. That probably is a good thing as I had reflected on what was happening in the economy. I indicated that I'm keeping my fingers crossed that things get better. Later that day, I found out my finger crossing had not worked.
My mind was on our current economic conditions because of a chapter I had to add to my SKYWARD manuscript because of a generational timeline problem. I was either going to have 120-year-old characters or have to add a generation/connecting period to my plot. I had a "lost generation." Really lost! Here's the beginning of what I came up with to fix this problem.
* * *
Alise looked at the suitcase that John sat on the Mansions foyer floor. "Did I do something wrong," she asked?
John looked up at her. "Oh my God, no!"
"What's the suitcase for? It looks heavy."
"Follow me, and I'll show you."
John sat the suitcase on a table in the library and opened it. Alise looked down at what was in it and asked, "Why is the suitcase full of money?"
"Because it's safer here than in the bank."
"What are you talking about?"
"I may be wrong, and if I am, I'll put the money back in the bank. But I don't like what I see and hear from my business friends. Something is wrong."
Over the next few months, Americans watched as 9,000 banks failed, taking their former customers' deposits with them.
The parties at the Bowman Mansion went on a hiatus. In fact, parties across America went on hiatus.
On October 29, 1929 – "Black Friday," –– The Great Depression began. The wealthy had gotten very rich, while everyone else suffered. This wealth imbalance had consequences. Breadlines formed. Apples were being sold on the street corners by former bankers seeking any means to feed their families. Many average everyday Americans had tried to participate in America's capitalism by buying stocks, only to find out that their investments were worthless.
American blamed what was happening on families like the Bowmans'. They felt capitalism had created an era of unprecedented and unprecedentedly lopsided prosperity. John Bowman walked a tightrope as massive oil discoveries in Texas, alongside falling global demand for energy, sent oil prices tumbling downwards. That caused investors in oil firms like the Bowman Oil Company to suffer huge losses and contributed to deflation worldwide.
The Bowmans suffered along with the rest as the Great Depression hit the oil demand hard. Oil prices collapsed. The share price of the Bowman Oil Company dramatically declined. But, John Bowman's street smarts allowed life in the Bowman Mansion to remain reasonably nice for the family and the live-in servants during this period.
* * *
Here are a couple more segments I added to SKYWARD this week. First, while the Bowman Twins are working on their moon project, they have this discussion –
Norm asked, "Do you think time travel exists?"
"My mind can't grasp it."
"Do you think we will find out?"
"Maybe, but I doubt it. Why are you suddenly so interested in time travel?"
"It kind of goes along with what we are planning to do."
"Maybe. But I think being pioneers in developing the human colonization of space will keep us busy enough. I doubt if we will have time to try and figure out time travel."
"You're probably right. But it certainly would speed up what we are doing, assuming we could time travel forward. According to Einstein's Theories of Relativity, you know that if an observer moves close to the speed of light, time passes slowly for them. This results in moving forward in time."
"Yea, I also know that Einstein indicated that man can't go at the speed of light unless you're Walt Disney. At least for now."
"Does that mean it's theoretically possible but not humanly possible?"
"Something like that."
"Let's get back to figuring out our human-made moon colony."
* * *
Then as an example of why too many laws create problems (part of my theme), I added this –
* * *
On January 19, 1919, Congress decided America's fondness for drink must be stopped in its great wisdom. They ratified the 18th Amendment, banning the manufacture, sale, and transport of intoxicating liquors, dividing the country as respecting morality.
Laughing, Charles Shuttleworth set the newspaper down and commented to Francis, "We may want to convert to Catholicism."
"Charles, have you gone off your rocker? Why in the hell would we want to become Catholics?"
"So, we can have a Sunday sip of wine."
"What are you talking about?"
"The Catholic Church has gotten a dispensation from this Prohibition thing so they can serve real wine at their alters."
"Figures. I swear those priests look drunk most of the time."
"You are probably right. I quote you from the article, "A religious leader has to act as the winery's proprietor for its production and distribution, and that same leader has to ensure that the wines are used for religious purposes, not general consumption."
"I love our politicians. They just make laws to challenge people to figure out a way around them."
For every law, there usually is an equally strong opposing reaction. For the Bowmans and the rest of America, Prohibition just meant the start of a new industry – sophisticated bootleg operations, smuggling, and speakeasies came on the scene and fed the growth of organized crime. The era of whiskey and guns began.
While the Roaring 20s impacted the tenor of the Bowman parties, Prohibition did not. John, through Jimmie Flood, had developed a friendship with Joseph Kennedy, who made sure the booze kept flowing at the Bowman parties. Butler Charles served 'Kennedy's Jazz Cocktails' and "Kennedy's Silk Hat Cocktails,' produced in Canada and smuggled into the USA. San Francisco's Chief of Police Daniel O'Brien loved them.
Chief O'Brien leaned over toward John and raised his glass toward him. "Don't you just love religion? Evangelical Christians want to create a sober and pure world through abstinence and purity. And my Catholic priest friends want to make sure they still have some booze by taking over the vineyards."
Taking a sip of his drink, John responded, "Chief, there's no question we live in crazy times."
"Your right about that." The Chief added, looking around the room, "I must admit I do like the change in the ladies' outfits. Those flapper dresses and their low necklines and slits up the side do flaunt their assets."
"Yes, they do."
* * *
With respect to the Disney comment above, I watched a video of how one of the scenes for the movie DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS was made. The scene was entirely computer-generated. I couldn't believe what some of the software settings did as I watched the technicians change them. The software developed by Disney and its partners is unbelievable. Yes, they can create a multiverse. Or even destroy it. Doctor Strange's adventures find him hopping across the multiverse, meeting alternate versions of himself and his enemies as he tries to save our universe and every universe. In popular media and our imaginations, Doctor Strange isn't alone. We surround ourselves with concepts of a multiverse, which present the tantalizing possibility that our reality isn't the only one.
On my character Chief O'Brien's comment, "Don't you love religion." This is from an article in THE WASHINGTON POST by Fareed Zakaria. "Since 2007, the U.S. has secularized with astonishing rapidity and now ranks as the 12th least religious country in the world. But that rapid change has created a 'strong backlash' among Americans who are religious. In a 2018 Pew study that asked whether religion should play a larger role in their society, 71% of self-identified conservatives said 'yes' while just 29% of liberals agreed. That 42-point gap 'was off the charts compared with other countries.' This tension has split us into two countries: one is urban, educated, multi-cultural, secular, and socially liberal . . . and the other is largely rural, religious, traditional, and less educated. . . That raises a troubling question: 'Can these two Americas find a way to live, work, cooperate with, and tolerate one another?"
Continuing from previous posts with the Bowman Lunar Colony Plan, here is the Assignments Section of the Plan. Everyone in the Colony after the age of eight has one of these titles -
- OVERSEER – Instead of calling the head of the colony governor, the clique decides Overseer is more appropriate. At the outset of the Bowman Moon Colony, the Bowman Twins act jointly as Overseers or top administrators of the Colony. This position is held unless 60% of the colonists. The Britannica Dictionary definition of OVERSEER is a person who watches and directs the work of other people in order to be sure that a job is done correctly.
- COUNSELOR – These are advisors to and serve at the pleasure of the OVERSEER.
- ADMINISTRATOR – Individuals selected based on professional background and experience to head up a UNIT (i.e., Utilities Unit, Agricultural Unit).
- TEAM LEADER – The head of a section or specialty within a Unit.
- ASSISTANT TEAM LEADER – The head of a subsection or advisor to a Team Leader of a Unit.
- SENIOR TEAM MEMBER – An experienced Unit member who often has individuals reporting to them.
- TEAM MEMBER – An individual assigned to a Unit because of their skills.
- JUNIOR TEAM MEMBER – An individual assigned to a Unit on a probationary basis. A worker.
- APPRENTICE – A child assigned to an adult member of the Colony to learn that person's skills.
- AGENT – A unique designation that only applies to the Bureau of Investigation or law enforcement unit members.
I finished reading the New York Times bestseller SEA OF TRANQUILITY, a novel by Emily St. John Mandel. I loved it. The line that stays in my mind about the novel is, "No star burns forever." It comments on Earth's past, present, and future and what's beyond. Of course, it grabbed my interest because it involves the multiverse, moon colonies, and time travel. I recommend it as an exciting read written in a unique style.
A new word for me is "blagging." Blaggins is slang that describes a social engineering act of obtaining someone else's personal information without their consent. I came across it in an article in THE WEEK about Sienna Miller. She indicates that she realized the tabloid had been "blagging" her medical records by pretending to be one of her representatives.
Keep your eyes and ears open in this day and age, or you will get an unexpected surprise.
Until next Wednesday,
Richard V. Rupp, Author
Website – www.richardvrupp.com
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright©2022 by Richard V. Rupp