Archive for July, 2013

Today I want to touch on the topic of wind farms.  One of many sets of turbinesIt’s a subject quite different from my posts of the past.  Harvesting wind power has intrigued me for a long time.  As long as the wind blew, I believed, wind turbines would give us cheap power.

Like with most things I like to draw on what history tells me for confirmation.  After all, isn’t past experience the best predictor of future success or failure?  Looking at the use of wind power of a couple centuries ago I note the success of the Clipper Ship.  Before steam engines replaced them the Clipper dominated the seas with Clipper Ship  Aits marvelous speed.

The windmills of the past used the wind to turn a huge grindstone  that ground grain into flour.  The invention of the windmill saved many hours of manual labor and was seen as a benefit to people.  These and other inventions speak favorably of seeing in wind farms a cheap way to light our homes.  It appeared safe to me to draw the conclusion that using what nature gives us freely can only benefit us all. DSCF0348

For that reason I applauded the construction of a wind farm on the northern tip of the island.  After all we get windy days almost all of the year. The power a portion of the turbines produce , it seems, is now hooked into the hydro network.  We should soon see a benefit to our hydro bills, shouldn’t we?

The experience in countries that have gone to wind farms to solve their power issues suggests otherwise.  Stories from England and Scotland now tell us that all is not as it should be.  The turbines don’t produce as imagined.  There are days when the wind does not blow or blows to hard, and backup power generators are needed.  The cost of constructing these giant towers with their huge turbines may never be repaid by the power they generate we learn.  We also hear of birds being killed in no small numbers.  Germany saw in wind farms the way to eventually dismantle their nuclear power plants.  The most recent news from that country suggests that it was a pipe dream, one that could set that country’s booming economy back a century or two. DSCF0349

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For this week I thought it would be the right time to post the final excerpt from my novel, “Beyond the Breaking Point”.  In the few paragraphs of the excerpt we see Monty, the main character, attempting to confront the gangster boss who had ordered his men to eliminate Monty.

Walking up the steps of the cathedral toward the large front door, Monty nervously touched the starting gun in his pocket as if to reassure himself.  “If Barney’s account is right, Tony will be in the entry way,” he murmured.  “To get to his boss I have to eliminate him quickly.  I better start my act right now.”  He stopped for a second, let a bit of spittle roll down his chin, began to walk unsteadily and started to mumble over and over, “Father Anton I got to confess.”

Monty had found the priest’s name among others on the sign in front of the church.  He hoped the Father or any of the other priests were not inside the sanctuary.  Pretending he had trouble opening the door he made himself stumble inside.  Out of the corner of his eye he saw Tony standing to the side of the entryway a few feet away from the right side of the door leading into the sanctuary.  Seeing Monty enter he began to move toward him.

Monty stopped, made himself sway a little and acted as if he needed to find his bearings.  He burped before he pretended to finally see Tony who had stepped in front of the door into the sanctuary.  “Father Anton I got to confess,” Monty slurred the words and saw Tony smirk and relax the grip by which he held his handgun.

Monty stepped toward the door that Tony blocked.  “Do yourself a favor and come back in an hour,” Tony said and laid his hands on Monty’s shoulder trying to turn him around.  But Monty sidestepped him and a second later pointed the starter pistol at Tony’s temple clicking the hammer back.  “Make one sound or a tiny little move with your hands and you’re dead Tony,” Monty hissed trying to sound desperate.  He clearly saw the shock in Tony’s face at the sudden change in the man in front of him and his reaction to the cold barrel of the gun at his temple.  For a moment he seemed frozen to the spot.

Unblinking, he watched Tony trying to collect himself and gain time by asking, “What do you want, man?  If you want money, let me reach into my pocket.  I’ll give you my wallet.”

“Do you think I’m stupid, man?” Monty asked imitating a sneer.  “I’ll get my money from the collection box in there.  He pointed to the door by tipping his head toward it.  “You just turn around nice and slowly.  We’ll go in there in a second, and you can reach for the money in the collection box for me.  See, you can be my partner.”

Monty didn’t want Tony to know that it was Carlos he wanted. Tony turned around slowly.   For a moment he took           his eyes off Monty, who seeing it hit the man’s temple hard with the pistol he had still held to Tony’s head.

A groan escaped Tony, and he slowly sank to the floor.  Monty caught him by wrapping his arms around his chest.  He eased him to the floor and dragged the prone man to the far side of the entry way.  Pulling the handcuffs from his pocket that he had taken from Harry’s house he clamped one cuff on Tony’s right wrist.  He wound the chain around one of the metal bars that had been fastened by thick metal rings in front of the large stainless glass windows that reached from the ceiling to the floor and snapped it on the man’s left wrist.  Next he took a small tablecloth from the table nearby, tore off a large strip and stuffed it into Tony’s mouth. Searching through Tony’s pockets Monty found a handgun and a switchblade knife.  Working quickly he placed the pistol into his own pocket, slid the knife down the slot of a collection box fastened to the wall at the left side of the entryway and quietly stepped to the door leading into the sanctuary.  DSCF0346

For a moment Monty stopped to listen.  Not hearing any sounds coming from the sanctuary he opened the door slowly and quietly walked in.  He took several careful steps inside before he stopped.  It took him a moment to adjust to the candlelight inside.  Looking around the sanctuary he let his eyes sweep from pew to pew.  All stood empty.  For a moment he wondered if Carlos had been warned and had managed to escape through one of the side doors.

Monty took several quick steps forward.  He saw Carlos kneeling on the bottom of the red carpeted step to the left and below the altar.  He saw that the man’s hands had gripped the carpet of a step above him.  His head lay bowed between his outstretched arms.  He did not move.  Monty could not detect any rise and fall of the man’s shoulders.  He wondered if the gangster had stopped breathing.  But listening carefully he heard him mumble softly.  Deep disgust for the man lying at the foot of the altar praying swept over Monty.  I’m going to have to shoot him to get my freedom back, he thought.

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