Lonely Mountain

It’s both intriguing and heartbreaking to read this headline: Mountain-Size Asteroid To Fly by Earth on Monday.

It’s intriguing because this will offer a valuable chance for Earth-bound scientists to examine a large asteroid without having to leave the ground. The asteroid, known as 2004 BL86, will glide by at a distance of 745 thousand miles – roughly three times the distance from here to the moon.

In space terms, that’s close.

Not close enough to be dangerous but sufficiently close for radar observatories in Puerto Rico and California to collect images and data that will help us understand more about 2004 BL86’s surface, composition and orbit.

The resolution possible at this distance with radar telescopes is said to be good enough so that the pictures will reveal details as small as “the length of a typical car.”

If nothing else, we’ll soon know if 2004 BL86 has enough parking.

But it’s heartbreaking because the author of the source article called the asteroid a “mountain“, which fixed an image in my mind that I can’t shake.

While we’re watching it, what if it’s watching us?

I see a solitary wanderer, roaming the universe, looking for a home and scouting the nearby terrain for something that appears familiar and, if not friendly, at least fun.  A space mountain would spot many likely companions on Earth’s surface, including (of course), Space Mountain.

They say we’re safe from a collision with 2004 BL86, but that doesn’t account for the power of loneliness and longing.

Twinkle, Twinkle, lonely peak.
Is our planet what you seek?
As you fly by, so detached,
can you spot an earthly match?
Twinkle, Twinkle, if you please.
Just don’t join the Pyrenees.

Have you ever crashed a party?  

54 thoughts on “Lonely Mountain”

  1. Good morning. I’m not much for going to parties. I may have crashed a party or two when I was a university student. If I did, I don’t have any memory of doing this.

    I do remember one incident that you might call party crashing. This occurred at an outdoor concert. I was trying to find a good place to sit when I realized I had slipped in between several people who were sitting in a group. It was a good place to sit and I wanted to stay there. However, I soon came to the conclusion from the looks I was getting that I shouldn’t have wedged myself into a small spot in the middle of that bunch of people.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m with you, Jim. I don’t do parties. I rarely go to those I am invited to, so crashing one would be just too much effort.


  2. Yes, I crashed the comment section of World News Daily thread. They were having a love fest about how President Obama was the Anti-Christ. My posting was a line from an old Star Trek episode, Return of The Archons. “You will be absorbed. Your individuality will merge into the unity of the good, and in your submergence into the common being of the Body, you will find contentment and fulfillment. You will experience the absolute good.”
    I was promptly labeled a spawn of the Devil and banned.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I’d be embarrassed to admit how many parties l’ve crashed. My neighbors across the county road have had a huge party with a live band every summer for 14 years, and each time l sit here aching to join the fun. lt’s truly upset me, so this last one, l just marched over there and asked for the party’s host. l’d thought maybe l should tell him, “Either you invite me to this or l’m gonna call the police about the noise”; but ended up just telling the man that l’ve yearned to join in for many years.

    Predictably, he welcomed me to participate every year from now on. lt was such great fun. Better yet, it’s the only time l can ever drink while dancing because l can just walk home!

    Now then, l’ve crashed multiple wedding parties with live bands because after the attendees get drunk, nobody notices a stranger. On week ends when there’s no Motown band locally, l just go to the Layfette Club across the bay and follow the sounds of music.


    1. We had a housemate from Amsterdam who instructed us that where she came from, it was very rude to have a party not invite the neighbors. So she would march over to these complete strangers and invite them to our weekend party. A few of them came, and it was fine. Plus, they didn’t call the cops when it got loud.


  4. As far as I can remember, I’ve crashed one party – back in my early college days. Our neighbor came knocking on our door one evening, he’d heard of a party at a house a few blocks from ours, did we want to join him? None of us had been invited, but our neighbor didn’t think an invite was necessary. We didn’t have any other plans, so why not?

    As it turned out, the party was hosted by Tia and her roommates (Tia is my best friend whose mother’s 100th birthday party we recently attended in Chicago) and when Tia answered the door she screamed “Oh my god, Michael look at who’s here.”

    She and Michael had been regulars at the small steakhouse where I had worked during the summer. I had come to know them as the odd couple – the short, loud, heavy woman with the flaming red hair, and the tall, lanky, rather mysterious guy – I didn’t know their names.

    We became fast friends, and hung out a lot till Tia graduated, two years ahead of me. There are so many Tia stories that I could fill a book with them, but that was the start of a friendship that has endured the test of time.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. here on mother earth we sit
    with stuff in space all around it
    sitting in the living room
    on the planet like a womb
    watching astroids from afar
    like valets with spaces to park cars

    saw a george clooney movie a couple of weeks ago where he lived out of a suitcase and had a jillion frequent flyer miles. he stayed in hotels and would go down to the shindigs put on by the companies renting out the ballrooms and he would put on a nametag and just go in as the guy whose name was on the badge. I used to do that when I was traveling a lot. you meet the nicest people in the corporate affairs. the people there don’t know you and don’t care. a 30 minute relationship is all you need sometimes. someone once explained to me new york city is not a big city its a whole bunch of small neighborhoods (small cities) bumping into each other. people are the same thing. its a giant world out there and the people are clustered in groups of 3 or 4 familiars and it is not that difficult to break through.
    have I mentioned meetup.com before? you to steve in portland… its a really cool .com thing where you go to meet up and look up what you are interested in and find a group that has that in common with you. you can join the group and do stuff with other people who have the same interest. museum visits, going to broadway musicals. into starwatching, woodworking, poetry hiking photography. its like an invitation to crash a group of people who party down on stuff you care about on a if you can make it type of invitation.
    I joined the mushroom society last year. it is a group of people whocare about and love to talk and search for and cook and educate about mushrooms.
    oooohhh I want to do bonsai trees also. there is a group I met at the state fair that rocks. and african violets ,, and bees and wine. I did join a guitar playing group and a couple of business start up groups and entrapreneural groups. its wonderful to be amongst kindred spirits.
    life is too short. go crash a group or two.
    but be careful, some of the groups I crashed in the past like the gay wedding party at the bar in new orleans and the bah mitzvah in chicago make you stand out a little. all in good fun but a little weird.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. When I am in a party I’m usually oppressed by the ambient noise, standing there holding my drink in some inconspicuous corner, hoping nobody will try to talk to me, just waiting for when I get to home again. So, do I crash parties? That’s like volunteering to have dentistry done on me.

    One night our family was walking around that gravel road by my cabin. We stopped in front of a cabin whose owners we did not know, a geodesic dome. People there were singing folk songs that rang out in the night air. I kept arguing for crashing that party, as I felt full of the milk of human kindness for my fellow man. What I was really full of, however, was scotch, and the decision to bypass that party was surely wise.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. One of the most disparaging things that can be said about a person out here is to be identified as someone who goes to funerals just to get a free lunch. I guess that counts as crashing a party.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. and that velveta on hamburger buns with ha slice usually sucks.
      steve would have enjoyed my uncle dicks funeral dinner. they served little bottles of johnny walker red with his picture/ dates on the back side of the bottle. had a couple there and have a couple still sitting in the bar in his honor

      Liked by 1 person

    2. It used to be that in Spring Green, Wisconsin, people would announce their weddings in the local paper, and it was accepted that that was an invitation to the dance.

      I knew several people at American Players Theatre for the summer who looked for these announcements regularly.

      I suspect it was cash bar and the dj was paid the same no matter how many people showed up. Probably good business for the venue.

      And no, I never attended.


      1. In my childhood there were several old town halls around us, many former one-room schools. The best, and only one remaining today, was in the valley right below us. People then would hold a wedding dance at one of these or an anniversary dance, as in Spring Green, they were an open dance. Beer for sale, BYOB. All ages would come. My father was an unpaid deputy sheriff, so people would ask him to come to settle any issues, which he sometimes did. Beer to minors was ignored to some extent. It was a different sense of community. Community was community that way community was community in Northern Exposure, one of the reasons Ioved that show.


  8. Hey all – I can’t recall a party I’ve crashed I did crash AT a party once – back in my single Northfield days. I assume I drove myself home but I don’t remember it. It was a sobering experience to wake up not knowing how I got home; it was the first and only time I’ve drunk to excess like that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I had one such episode too, vs. It’s a great story, but certainly not one I’m proud of.

      It was shortly before Christmas, and I had just separated from wasband a few months before; I was in a blue funk. A man I had absolutely no interest in dating had invited me to the NCO Club at Fort Snelling for a little Christmas cheer, and I had accepted his invitation because I couldn’t bring myself to say no.

      That same day was our company’s Christmas party, held at the now defunct Minnesota Club, a rather posh establishment next door to the Ordway. I had two gin and tonics at the party, enough to make me completely oblivious to time and place – and apparently everything else as well. I had reasoned that having a couple of stiff drinks would make my upcoming date more bearable. As it turned out, I forgot all about him, and didn’t show up for out date.

      Sometime later that evening, I became aware that I was dancing at the Smuggler’s Inn. I had no recollection of how I had gotten there, but there I was with a bunch of my coworkers. When I announced that I should probably go home, my firm’s office manager said “Margaret here’s your coat,” and handed me a short, blond mink coat. I said “Martin, that’s not my coat,” to which he responded “well, I’ve been sitting here watching it for you all night.” The Smuggler’s Inn wouldn’t let you check a fur coat because they didn’t want to be responsible for it, so Martin had been watching it while I danced. I left Smuggler’s, without a coat, leaving the fancy mink on my chair.

      One of my coworkers offered to drive me home, but the problem was that my house keys were in the pocket of my coat – a dark, long muskrat bought at a Goodwill store on Lake Street – so I had to spend the night at her house.

      The following morning I wondered who would know what had transpired the night before. Mary, an older secretary in our tax department, seemed like a good bet, so I called her. Mary told that when the official office party was over, a bunch of us had decided to continue partying at Smuggler’s. I had donned the short, blond mink coat from the unattended coat rack. She had protested that that was not my coat, but I had assured her that it was, that I had two fur coats. I seemed perfectly normal, she said, so she believed me.

      At this point I realized that I had left The Minnesota Club wearing a mink coat that didn’t belong to me. I immediately called the club to ask if my coat was there, to which they responded “are you the woman whose $5,000 mink coat was stolen last night?”. “And no,” they added, “it hadn’t been returned.”

      Oh lord, can you imagine how I felt at this point? I had left a $5,000 mink coat – that had been reported stolen to the police – slung over the back of a chair at Smuggler’s Inn.

      I was lucky enough that the coat was still there when they opened a little later that morning. I returned it to The Minnesota Club and retrieved my own $25.00 muskrat which was still hanging where I had left it.

      I was very lucky that this story had a happy ending, but I can assure you I learned a lesson about my capacity for handling hard liquor.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. That’s the crazy part, tim, they didn’t have a coat check person, just a rack where you hung your own coat. The following day when I came to retrieve my old muskrat and return the stolen mink, I had to go looking for someone to give the mink to – I wasn’t about to leave it on the coat rack – and my old coat was still hanging where I had left it the night before.


  9. In related news, the rocket to Pluto has arrived and started taking pictures.

    Wonder if they would have sent it if they had known Pluto was going to get demoted.

    Wonder if the s&h has just had his “I feel old” moment, as he is a fan of Pluto and remembers that rocket getting launched very well


      1. you know the timing is the same i assume. pluto got his name from walt because of the brewhaha over the discovery of the new planet. for us oldsters some things just get astericks next to them. pluto being proclaimed and unproclaimed are but footnotes in how far science has come in our lifetimes
        i wonder what stuff getting proclaimed today will get umproclaimed before we are dead.
        im in favor of giving roger maris the home run record and taking lance armstrong off the books
        the snows of kilamanjaro will be proclaimed the former site of the snows of kilamanjaro
        the blackhole of calcutta was a premonition not an actual black hole.
        i think s&h is cotrect to be a fan of pluto, nothing changed but an opinion and you know what they say about opinions… everybodies got one. i still hang on to lots of stuff i am told is outdated and been replaced by more current proclaimations. my universe has pluto still on the celestial map. me and s & h can celebrate the way the universe ought to be not the way it has been proclaimed. he doesnt have to wait to be old to be a misfit. he can join the ranks now

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Actually, Mig, the Pluto probe won’t take good photos until May and it won’t have its closest approach until July. The experts say right now the pictures from New Horizon are no better than what they can get with Hubble. So Pluto is still open to the influence of our imaginations, at least until facts start to arrive!


      1. Do not distract me with your facts. It is close enough to count for us!

        After yesterday’s disastrous showing at a robotics tournament in our household, the idea that you can shoot something way out into space a decade out and actually have it end up where you intend doing more or less what you want is pretty awe inspiring.

        Two such feats in less than 12 months is almost too much to take.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. This was the last qualifier for going on to state (in this case, regionals come after state- confusing that). They were utterly flattened, they came in last.

          I personally think that the fact that the first time they ever drove the robot and got to check out the programming was in the competition might have been part of the problem.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. After the s&h gets over the disappointment, I hope that he and his compadres figure out what mistakes not to make again. Sometimes disappointment shuts you down; other times it makes you rise to a bigger challenge; I hope the latter is the case for the s&h.

          Liked by 2 people

        3. i had a guy talking about how the robot group his kid wa sin was being canceld by the school district because it cost somuch to do. i would think that there would be sponser who would help wiht the costs. was the problem with practicing something that could be done differently next time? check with medtronics and the nest thermostat people.


        4. Actually, tim, going after sponsors is a part of the competition, as is working with a budget and writing grants (our teams- the school has 3, wrote a grant for a 3-D printer and got it.

          What the s&h’s team of rookies really needs (I think) is some thorough grounding in project management and scheduling that assumes that you need time to practice controlling the robot and maybe tweaking your coding once you see what it really does.

          or as they say, “hope is not a method”.

          That, and as a group of mostly freshman/sophmores, an acknowledgment of the 24 hour day would be a good idea. Several of them (including the s&h) were over-booked and were skimping on the time they needed to put in.

          We shall see about lessons learned.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. I am too Minnesotan to crash a party. I may have shown up without a specific invitation as an unannounced “plus one,” but good manners (well, okay – let’s face it, not manners at all but Scandinavian reticence) has kept me from party crashing.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: The Mink Caper

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