Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Apollonius, New Echota's Samuel Worcester

Volume XIII, Issue IX

By Bob Kirchman
Copyright © 2017, The Kirchman Studio, all rights reserved

Chapter 3: Major Cohen

Not surprisingly, the hand-picked crew was Israeli. The first mate was Major Sarah Cohen, who had been in service with Ben Gurion before. Ben Gurion made it clear that the Major was his first choice for the position and that without her selection, he was not interested in the command. In simulator flight practice you could see the crisp performance of the two veteran flyers as they worked together. In fact, no one would suspect the great secret they had in common… they were husband and wife! They had stood under a chuppah by the Sea of Galilee with a few friends who were sworn to secrecy. When Abiyah’s crew was finalized, you must know that the bulk of his crew were secret couples as well. Since the crew’s quarters were in a sealed off area near the lift to the bridge, this would not present a problem… unless Apollonius insisted on occupying the crew’s quarters as well. Fortunately he could not resist the offer of the more luxurious VIP quarters in another sector and so as far as he knew he simply had the best flying team in Israel handling his starship.

In fact, the crew were pretty much unopposed by any serious competition for their assignment. A few reckless adventurers and such vied for the positions but Ben Gurion’s little group outperformed them all. They occupied the Great Northern as simulated flight situations were run through her cockpit… practicing over and over for the journey to Mars. Most of them had enjoyed remarkable careers in the IAF and this two-year mission would be a wonderful transition into civilian retirement. Sarah Cohen was young and ambitious, but she wanted a legacy most of all. Retirement might be difficult for Abiyah, if not downright impossible, but they both dreamed of children. That would have to wait until they were safely back on Earth.

Apollonius makes me nervous.” Sarah confided to her husband. “He seems to have more than colonization on his mind. Trust me, I can sense it.”

We’ll have him on our backs for less than a year, then we’ll coast home. We’ve been in tighter places before. The Divine is our Hope and Protector.”

You read PSALMS a lot, husband. I am glad they give you hope and comfort, but this Apollonius… I think we all underestimate him, ESPECIALLY Rupert Zimmerman. That may just prove to be our undoing.”

In Wales, AK, at the headquarters of the Zimmerman organization, a similar conversation was ongoing between Elizabeth Zimmerman O’Malley and Rupert’s assistant Hannah.

The numbers all add up, Hannah, but I just don’t see something here and I can feel that I don’t see something!”

I know.” Hannah replied. “Its like Rupert forgets to ask the really tough questions. Usually he’s the one to ferret it out when there is something not quite right. But, as you say, the numbers make sense and the use of SS/AC006 virtually eliminates the unknowns as far as risk. So far as the mission itself, It’s textbook except that we weren’t going to do a MANNED mission and no one saw any benefit to colonization. We sell space on linear induction launches all the time. The people going out to the colony are volunteers and we’ve kept the process rigorous so they have plenty of time to rethink. The crew flying Great Northern is the best we have… and loyal to a fault. Apollonius himself, well, he’s one smooth operator and he seems to deftly answer any questions. But there its like he’s TOO scripted… TOO ready with the explanation. Do you know what I mean?”

I know. Really, it’s his connection to the One World Government Movement that troubles me the most. AAR and Israel will get the credit for the mission all right, but is he pushing something else that we can’t see here that will further his statist designs?”

He’s out of the picture until he returns for the launch.” said Elizabeth. “In the meantime, I will work with Mr. Zimmerman to assure we have the proper oversight in place for the mission.”
(to be continued)


Around the World in 80 Days
By Jules Verne, Chapter VII

Which Once More Demonstrates the Uselessness of Passports as Aids to Detectives

The detective passed down the quay, and rapidly made his way to the consul’s office, where he was at once admitted to the presence of that official.

Consul,” said he, without preamble, “I have strong reasons for believing that my man is a passenger on the Mongolia.” And he narrated what had just passed concerning the passport.

Well, Mr. Fix,” replied the consul, “I shall not be sorry to see the rascal’s face; but perhaps he won’t come here — that is, if he is the person you suppose him to be. A robber doesn’t quite like to leave traces of his flight behind him; and, besides, he is not obliged to have his passport countersigned.”

If he is as shrewd as I think he is, consul, he will come.”

To have his passport visaed?”

Yes. Passports are only good for annoying honest folks, and aiding in the flight of rogues. I assure you it will be quite the thing for him to do; but I hope you will not visa the passport.”

Why not? If the passport is genuine I have no right to refuse.”

Still, I must keep this man here until I can get a warrant to arrest him from London.”

Ah, that’s your look-out. But I cannot —”

The consul did not finish his sentence, for as he spoke a knock was heard at the door, and two strangers entered, one of whom was the servant whom Fix had met on the quay. The other, who was his master, held out his passport with the request that the consul would do him the favour to visa it. The consul took the document and carefully read it, whilst Fix observed, or rather devoured, the stranger with his eyes from a corner of the room.

You are Mr. Phileas Fogg?” said the consul, after reading the passport.

I am.”

And this man is your servant?”

He is: a Frenchman, named Passepartout.”

You are from London?”


And you are going —”

To Bombay.”

Very good, sir. You know that a visa is useless, and that no passport is required?”

I know it, sir,” replied Phileas Fogg; “but I wish to prove, by your visa, that I came by Suez.”

Very well, sir.”

The consul proceeded to sign and date the passport, after which he added his official seal. Mr. Fogg paid the customary fee, coldly bowed, and went out, followed by his servant.

Well?” queried the detective.

Well, he looks and acts like a perfectly honest man,” replied the consul.

Possibly; but that is not the question. Do you think, consul, that this phelgmatic gentleman resembles, feature by feature, the robber whose description I have received?”

I concede that; but then, you know, all descriptions —”

I’ll make certain of it,” interrupted Fix. “The servant seems to me less mysterious than the master; besides, he’s a Frenchman, and can’t help talking. Excuse me for a little while, consul.”

Fix started off in search of Passepartout.

Meanwhile Mr. Fogg, after leaving the consulate, repaired to the quay, gave some orders to Passepartout, went off to the Mongolia in a boat, and descended to his cabin. He took up his note-book, which contained the following memoranda:

Left London, Wednesday, October 2nd, at 8.45 p.m. “Reached Paris, Thursday, October 3rd, at 7.20 a.m. “Left Paris, Thursday, at 8.40 a.m. “Reached Turin by Mont Cenis, Friday, October 4th, at 6.35 a.m. “Left Turin, Friday, at 7.20 a.m. “Arrived at Brindisi, Saturday, October 5th, at 4 p.m. “Sailed on the Mongolia, Saturday, at 5 p.m. “Reached Suez, Wednesday, October 9th, at 11 a.m. “Total of hours spent, 158+; or, in days, six days and a half.”

These dates were inscribed in an itinerary divided into columns, indicating the month, the day of the month, and the day for the stipulated and actual arrivals at each principal point Paris, Brindisi, Suez, Bombay, Calcutta, Singapore, Hong Kong, Yokohama, San Francisco, New York, and London — from the 2nd of October to the 21st of December; and giving a space for setting down the gain made or the loss suffered on arrival at each locality. This methodical record thus contained an account of everything needed, and Mr. Fogg always knew whether he was behind-hand or in advance of his time. On this Friday, October 9th, he noted his arrival at Suez, and observed that he had as yet neither gained nor lost. He sat down quietly to breakfast in his cabin, never once thinking of inspecting the town, being one of those Englishmen who are wont to see foreign countries through the eyes of their domestics.
(to be continued)

Around the World in 80 Days
By Jules Verne, Chapter VIII

In which Passepartout Talks Rather More, Perhaps, than is Prudent

Fix soon rejoined Passepartout, who was lounging and looking about on the quay, as if he did not feel that he, at least, was obliged not to see anything.

Well, my friend,” said the detective, coming up with him, “is your passport visaed?”

Ah, it’s you, is it, monsieur?” responded Passepartout. “Thanks, yes, the passport is all right.”

And you are looking about you?”

Yes; but we travel so fast that I seem to be journeying in a dream. So this is Suez?”


In Egypt?”

Certainly, in Egypt.”

And in Africa?”

In Africa.”

In Africa!” repeated Passepartout. “Just think, monsieur, I had no idea that we should go farther than Paris; and all that I saw of Paris was between twenty minutes past seven and twenty minutes before nine in the morning, between the Northern and the Lyons stations, through the windows of a car, and in a driving rain! How I regret not having seen once more Pere la Chaise and the circus in the Champs Elysees!

You are in a great hurry, then?”

I am not, but my master is. By the way, I must buy some shoes and shirts. We came away without trunks, only with a carpet-bag.”

I will show you an excellent shop for getting what you want.”

Really, monsieur, you are very kind.”

And they walked off together, Passepartout chatting volubly as they went along.

Above all,” said he; “don’t let me lose the steamer.”

You have plenty of time; it’s only twelve o’clock.”

Passepartout pulled out his big watch. “Twelve!” he exclaimed; “why, it’s only eight minutes before ten.”

Your watch is slow.”

My watch? A family watch, monsieur, which has come down from my great-grandfather! It doesn’t vary five minutes in the year. It’s a perfect chronometer, look you.”

I see how it is,” said Fix. “You have kept London time, which is two hours behind that of Suez. You ought to regulate your watch at noon in each country.”

I regulate my watch? Never!”

Well, then, it will not agree with the sun.”

So much the worse for the sun, monsieur. The sun will be wrong, then!”

And the worthy fellow returned the watch to its fob with a defiant gesture. After a few minutes silence, Fix resumed: “You left London hastily, then?”

I rather think so! Last Friday at eight o’clock in the evening, Monsieur Fogg came home from his club, and three-quarters of an hour afterwards we were off.”

But where is your master going?”

Always straight ahead. He is going round the world.”

Round the world?” cried Fix.

Yes, and in eighty days! He says it is on a wager; but, between us, I don’t believe a word of it. That wouldn’t be common sense. There’s something else in the wind.”

Ah! Mr. Fogg is a character, is he?”

I should say he was.”

Is he rich?”

No doubt, for he is carrying an enormous sum in brand new banknotes with him. And he doesn’t spare the money on the way, either: he has offered a large reward to the engineer of the Mongolia if he gets us to Bombay well in advance of time.”

And you have known your master a long time?”

Why, no; I entered his service the very day we left London.”

The effect of these replies upon the already suspicious and excited detective may be imagined. The hasty departure from London soon after the robbery; the large sum carried by Mr. Fogg; his eagerness to reach distant countries; the pretext of an eccentric and foolhardy bet — all confirmed Fix in his theory. He continued to pump poor Passepartout, and learned that he really knew little or nothing of his master, who lived a solitary existence in London, was said to be rich, though no one knew whence came his riches, and was mysterious and impenetrable in his affairs and habits. Fix felt sure that Phileas Fogg would not land at Suez, but was really going on to Bombay.

Is Bombay far from here?” asked Passepartout.

Pretty far. It is a ten days’ voyage by sea.”

And in what country is Bombay?”


In Asia?”


The deuce! I was going to tell you there’s one thing that worries me — my burner!”

What burner?”

My gas-burner, which I forgot to turn off, and which is at this moment burning at my expense. I have calculated, monsieur, that I lose two shillings every four and twenty hours, exactly sixpense more than I earn; and you will understand that the longer our journey —”

Did Fix pay any attention to Passepartout’s trouble about the gas? It is not probable. He was not listening, but was cogitating a project. Passepartout and he had now reached the shop, where Fix left his companion to make his purchases, after recommending him not to miss the steamer, and hurried back to the consulate. Now that he was fully convinced, Fix had quite recovered his equanimity.

Consul,” said he, “I have no longer any doubt. I have spotted my man. He passes himself off as an odd stick who is going round the world in eighty days.”

Then he’s a sharp fellow,” returned the consul, “and counts on returning to London after putting the police of the two countries off his track.”

We’ll see about that,” replied Fix.

But are you not mistaken?”

I am not mistaken.”

Why was this robber so anxious to prove, by the visa, that he had passed through Suez?”

Why? I have no idea; but listen to me.”

He reported in a few words the most important parts of his conversation with Passepartout.

In short,” said the consul, “appearances are wholly against this man. And what are you going to do?”

Send a dispatch to London for a warrant of arrest to be dispatched instantly to Bombay, take passage on board the Mongolia, follow my rogue to India, and there, on English ground, arrest him politely, with my warrant in my hand, and my hand on his shoulder.”

Having uttered these words with a cool, careless air, the detective took leave of the consul, and repaired to the telegraph office, whence he sent the dispatch which we have seen to the London police office. A quarter of an hour later found Fix, with a small bag in his hand, proceeding on board the Mongolia; and, ere many moments longer, the noble steamer rode out at full steam upon the waters of the Red Sea.
(to be continued)

Samuel Worcester. Archives of the State of Georgia.

Samuel Worcester
A Life of Service and Sacrifice

In 1828 the Reverend Samuel A. Worcester built his home among the Cherokee at New Echota. Working with Elias Boudinot, Worcester translated parts of the Bible and many hymns into Cherokee. The press at New Echota which also produced the Phoenix printed many of these works. Worcester planted a church at New Echota and also started a school. He served as the town’s postmaster.

As the state of Georgia passed laws that were oppressive to the Cherokee Nation, Worcester refused to obtain the permit the state required for a white person to live in the Cherokee lands. In 1831 he was arrested and sent to prison by Georgia officials.

His case was appealed to the United States Supreme Court. In Worcester v. Georgia, Worcester and the Cherokees won. The state of Georgia, however, continued to annex Cherokee land. In 1832 Worcester and his family were forced from the house when a white Georgian obtained title to it in the 1832 land lottery conducted by the state.

Samuel Worcester moved to Oklahoma where he continued to serve and advocate for the Cherokee Nation. As the town of New Echota disappeared and became farmland, his house continued in use by different families until 1958 when it was restored as a historic home.

New Echota
The restored home of Samuel Worcester in New Echota. Photo by Bob Kirchman.

The Varsity
Atlanta’s Horatio Alger Drive-In Story

In 1926, so the story goes, Frank Gordy was a freshman at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia. A professor supposedly told him to leave school because “he was too dumb to cook a hot dog.” Gordy dropped out in 1926, telling his friends he’d be worth $20,000 by the time the rest of them graduated. He transferred to Oglethorpe University for a semester and tried his hand at real estate.

The next fall, he acquired a small lot on Atlanta’s Lucky Avenue, near the Georgia Tech campus and built his hot dog stand. He planned to take advantage of the student market but also set his sights on the newly mobile population who owned automobiles. In the 1940’s the present building was constructed. When the Interstate was built through Atlanta it took part of Frank’s parking lot so he built a parking deck and more dining space bridged over the remaining lot. The result, it looks like a Sonic on steroids, sells more Coca-Cola products than any other location of its type and made Frank Gordy a very successful person.

The Varsity

The Varsity

The Varsity
The Varsity Drive-In. Photos by Bob Kirchman.

AIBD Conference in Atlanta

Here I am presenting 'The Art of Design Communication' at the American Institute of Building Design Summer Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. At this moment we are examining the beautiful rendering style of Architect Julian Abele.
AIBD Photo.

In the Nineteenth Century, the German poet Heinrich Heine studied the Gothic Cathedrals of France, England and Germany. A friend asked him, “Why can we no longer build such majestic structures?” Heine answered, “In those days, men had convictions, whereas we moderns only have opinions, and something more is needed than an opinion to build a Gothic cathedral.” In our workshop we studied the drawings of Julian Abele, [1.] who did create such majestic structures in the Twentieth Century.

Green Roof, Atlanta
Modern Atlanta towers above a green roofed building. 
Photo by Bob Kirchman.

Texas Grocer Helps Harvey Victims
[click to read]

ht/M. K. Hand

H-E-B, Texas' largest grocery chain responds to hurricane Harvey by rolling out a disaster relief convoy. According to H-E-B, the convoy includes fifteen vehicles, including two mobile kitchens, water and fuel tankers, portable generators, emergency grocery supplies and equipment.

H‑E‑B's DRUs (Disaster Relief Units) are fully equipped with an H‑E‑B Pharmacy and mobile Business Services unit, which allows displaced residents to fill prescriptions, cash checks and pay bills, as well as provide access to an ATM. The H‑E‑B Mobile Kitchens, two 45‑foot‑long food preparation facilities that are each designed to serve up to 2,500 meals per hour, will set up and serve hot meals to first responders and storm victims.

In addition, H-E-B dispatched a team of 100 employees to help assist in helping folks that have been impacted by the storm. HEB will be providing dry-ice, bottled water, dry-goods, and medicine. One of the mobile units includes a mobile pharmacy.

The convoy was dispatched to Victoria, Texas and staged at the HEB store at 1505 E. Rio Grande, Victoria, Texas. Another journalist, NBC5's Brian Curtis posted a video on Facebook showing the convoy on the side of the road preparing to deploy. (read more)

Dr. Katherine Johnson, shown in this 1983 NASA photograph, calculated the paths of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo Astronauts. This past Friday she celebrated her 99th birthday.
NASA Photograph.

Hidden Figures 
The Story of An Amazing Collaboration

Margot Lee Shetterly’s amazing book, Hidden Figures, tells the story of the women who made modern aviation and the space program possible. While the astronauts lived in the public eye, NASA was actually a work of epic proportions involving thousands of individuals from every conceivable background and from all parts of the world. If the nations were thwarted in the building of Biblical Babel – a tower to the heavens, by scattering, NASA actually did just the opposite in assembling the best minds to build a rocket.

The story follows the black women of Langley’s West Computing Division most closely, but Shetterly tells us of Doris Cohen as well, who published An Analysis of the Stability of an Airplane with Free Controls with Robert T. Jones in 1941. My fictional Sarah Cohen is indeed a tribute to her. My father worked for NASA in the 1960’s and the first person from the Middle-East that I ever met was a Turkish engineer who was his colleague. Though NASA did indeed seem like a bunch of white guys with white shirts and narrow ties, the agency went for the best talent where it needed it. That brought them the world.

The story is also that of all this amazing collaboration taking place in the midst of Byrd Machine Virginia and Massive Resistance. Even if you yawn at the thought of reading about engineers, the Civil Rights history alone is important in itself. The takeaway is remembering the very real grief that black people had to put up with in the days of my childhood. During those turbulent days, Shetterly recounts, the fictional program Star Trek was first produced. Nichelle Nichols played Nyota Uhura, the communications officer of the Starship Enterprise. She was ready to quit after the first season and handed her resignation letter to Gene Roddenberry, the show’s producer. Roddenberry told her to think about it over the weekend.

She was away at a conference of some sort that weekend when someone said that they wanted to introduce her to her greatest fan – it turned out to be Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. When she told him she was quitting, he begged her not to. For Dr. King, her character was indeed ‘living the dream.’ He convinced her that she was indeed an inspiration to young people and she remained on the program.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Apollonius, Sequoyah, Peacemakers

Volume XIII, Issue VIII

By Bob Kirchman
Copyright © 2017, The Kirchman Studio, all rights reserved

Chapter 2: The Great Northern

The Starship Great Northern rode in Geosynchronous Earth Orbit at Space Station/Assembly Center 005 of the Alaska Autonimous Republic. Indeed the crafty Apollonius had spun a tale of potential benefits to mankind. Also, he had invoked an odd chapter in England’s history where convicts and other undesirables were sent to colonize the remote island sub-continent of Australia and there they established a great nation. From 1788 to 1868, about 160,000 convicts were sent to penal colonies there. It was the unforeseen second chance that gave many Australians a hope and a future. Zimmerman, for his part was always willing to listen to any alternative to incarceration. His own incarceration in a U.S. Federal Prison weighed heavy upon him… that and the notion that Theodor Herzl had put forth that there could indeed be a society without prisons! Apollonius had opened his checkbook and the project had been accomplished in record time to build an interplanetary star ship. Cape Lisbon International Spaceport, for its part, provided new and unheard of economy and reliability putting men and materials in orbit. And so the ship, capable of carrying fifty souls on the nine month journey to mars orbited ‘at anchor’ at SSAC005. The ship was being stocked with 3D printers and plans for much of the space colony’s needed machinery, which would be created on the planet’s surface. The unmanned probe had already been sent and would confirm the resources were there to construct what the colonists required. The plan was to expand from the initial living pods out into a full-scale biosphere, much resembling the one on Big Diomede, to protect the colonists from the effects of Mars’s thin atmosphere which was mainly CO2. In the Zimmerman Organization offices in Wales, greenhouse designs originally created for the tundra were being reconfigured for use on Mars. The parts were also being redesigned for ‘printing’ in factories on the planet itself. Botanists were collecting and cultivating plants that would refresh the atmosphere even as they provided food for the settlers. “Eventually we’ll need to establish a colony of 40,000 people in order to allow for a healthy and diverse stock.” Apollonius had said. Still, the initial mission was defined by the limitations of budget and practicality.

The Great Northern had a forward section with a rotating centrifugal ring to create the sensation of gravity for the passengers and crew. It was compact but comfortable. Portholes in the compartments offset the claustrophobic compactness. The ship had been assembled from components destined for platform SS/AC006, the next orbital station to be built, and fitted with a fusion engine to become a large space-going vessel. The fusion engine was at the end of a long tube to the rear of the configuration and the bridge sat directly in front of the gravity ring section. At the helm was Captain Abiyah Ben Gurion, a veteran of the Israeli Air Force. A thoughtful man who spoke little, he had been at the top of his class in astronaut training and was given the opportunity to pilot the first mission to Mars. There was to be no forced assignment to this mission by Zimmerman’s decree. Even the ’settlers’ were to be volunteers. On this point he had won over Apollonius’s insistence that the crew be chosen by George himself and ordered on the mission. The result was a tight group of hard-core military personnel as crew and an odd mix of adventure seekers and condemned men and women who did not fit into society in the potential pool of settlers. Zimmerman and Apollonius would oversee the final selection. Captain Ben Gurion was typical of the crewmen, a silent loner who kept to himself but was known for his devotion to his fellow airmen. He was not unlike those seamen of old who captained oceangoing vessels under sail. His passion was music and he earned the nickname ’Nemo’ from the fact that he had a little midi keyboard in his cabin and the strains of his music often spilled out into the passageways. The crew loved it and almost never addressed him as anything but.

Nemo would be a man without a country for the duration of the two-year voyage. It would take about nine months to get there and then require about six months of orbiting the planet in a support capacity to the colony. After that, there would be the long return trip. The plan was to rotate crews each trip but Nemo secretly wished he could stay on for longer. “Not to worry,” he thought to himself. “Distinguish yourself in command and there won’t be many who seek to take it from you.”
(to be continued)


The Eclipse of 08.21.2017

Eclipse 08.21.2017
The eclipse reaches totality as recorded by a NASA telescope in Madras, Oregon. NASA Image.

2017 Total Solar Eclipse - ISS Transit
The International Space Station, with a crew of six onboard, is seen in silhouette as it transits the Sun at roughly five miles per second during a partial solar eclipse, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 from Ross Lake, Northern Cascades National Park, Washington. Onboard as part of Expedition 52 are: NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson, Jack Fischer, and Randy Bresnik; Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy; and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Paolo Nespoli. A total solar eclipse swept across a narrow portion of the contiguous United States from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. A partial solar eclipse was visible across the entire North American continent along with parts of South America, Africa, and Europe. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Eclipse 08.21.2017

Eclipse 08.21.2017

Eclipse 08.21.2017
The eclipse paints a 'pinhole camera' image through the trees in Staunton, Virginia. Photos by Bob Kirchman.

Around the World in 80 Days
By Jules Verne, Chapter VI

In which Fix, the Detective, Betrays a Very Natural Impatience

The circumstances under which this telegraphic dispatch about Phileas Fogg was sent were as follows:

The steamer Mongolia, belonging to the Peninsular and Oriental Company, built of iron, of two thousand eight hundred tons burden, and five hundred horse-power, was due at eleven o’clock a.m. on Wednesday, the 9th of October, at Suez. The Mongolia plied regularly between Brindisi and Bombay via the Suez Canal, and was one of the fastest steamers belonging to the company, always making more than ten knots an hour between Brindisi and Suez, and nine and a half between Suez and Bombay.

Two men were promenading up and down the wharves, among the crowd of natives and strangers who were sojourning at this once straggling village — now, thanks to the enterprise of M. Lesseps, a fast-growing town. One was the British consul at Suez, who, despite the prophecies of the English Government, and the unfavourable predictions of Stephenson, was in the habit of seeing, from his office window, English ships daily passing to and fro on the great canal, by which the old roundabout route from England to India by the Cape of Good Hope was abridged by at least a half. The other was a small, slight-built personage, with a nervous, intelligent face, and bright eyes peering out from under eyebrows which he was incessantly twitching. He was just now manifesting unmistakable signs of impatience, nervously pacing up and down, and unable to stand still for a moment. This was Fix, one of the detectives who had been dispatched from England in search of the bank robber; it was his task to narrowly watch every passenger who arrived at Suez, and to follow up all who seemed to be suspicious characters, or bore a resemblance to the description of the criminal, which he had received two days before from the police headquarters at London. The detective was evidently inspired by the hope of obtaining the splendid reward which would be the prize of success, and awaited with a feverish impatience, easy to understand, the arrival of the steamer Mongolia.

So you say, consul,” asked he for the twentieth time, “that this steamer is never behind time?”

No, Mr. Fix,” replied the consul. “She was bespoken yesterday at Port Said, and the rest of the way is of no account to such a craft. I repeat that the Mongolia has been in advance of the time required by the company’s regulations, and gained the prize awarded for excess of speed.”

Does she come directly from Brindisi?”

Directly from Brindisi; she takes on the Indian mails there, and she left there Saturday at five p.m. Have patience, Mr. Fix; she will not be late. But really, I don’t see how, from the description you have, you will be able to recognise your man, even if he is on board the Mongolia.”

A man rather feels the presence of these fellows, consul, than recognises them. You must have a scent for them, and a scent is like a sixth sense which combines hearing, seeing, and smelling. I’ve arrested more than one of these gentlemen in my time, and, if my thief is on board, I’ll answer for it; he’ll not slip through my fingers.”

I hope so, Mr. Fix, for it was a heavy robbery.”

A magnificent robbery, consul; fifty-five thousand pounds! We don’t often have such windfalls. Burglars are getting to be so contemptible nowadays! A fellow gets hung for a handful of shillings!”

Mr. Fix,” said the consul, “I like your way of talking, and hope you’ll succeed; but I fear you will find it far from easy. Don’t you see, the description which you have there has a singular resemblance to an honest man?”

Consul,” remarked the detective, dogmatically, “great robbers always resemble honest folks. Fellows who have rascally faces have only one course to take, and that is to remain honest; otherwise they would be arrested off-hand. The artistic thing is, to unmask honest countenances; it’s no light task, I admit, but a real art.”

Mr. Fix evidently was not wanting in a tinge of self-conceit.

Little by little the scene on the quay became more animated; sailors of various nations, merchants, ship-brokers, porters, fellahs, bustled to and fro as if the steamer were immediately expected. The weather was clear, and slightly chilly. The minarets of the town loomed above the houses in the pale rays of the sun. A jetty pier, some two thousand yards along, extended into the roadstead. A number of fishing-smacks and coasting boats, some retaining the fantastic fashion of ancient galleys, were discernible on the Red Sea.

As he passed among the busy crowd, Fix, according to habit, scrutinised the passers-by with a keen, rapid glance.

It was now half-past ten.

The steamer doesn’t come!” he exclaimed, as the port clock struck.

She can’t be far off now,” returned his companion.

How long will she stop at Suez?”

Four hours; long enough to get in her coal. It is thirteen hundred and ten miles from Suez to Aden, at the other end of the Red Sea, and she has to take in a fresh coal supply.”

And does she go from Suez directly to Bombay?”

Without putting in anywhere.”

Good!” said Fix. “If the robber is on board he will no doubt get off at Suez, so as to reach the Dutch or French colonies in Asia by some other route. He ought to know that he would not be safe an hour in India, which is English soil.”

Unless,” objected the consul, “he is exceptionally shrewd. An English criminal, you know, is always better concealed in London than anywhere else.”

This observation furnished the detective food for thought, and meanwhile the consul went away to his office. Fix, left alone, was more impatient than ever, having a presentiment that the robber was on board the Mongolia. If he had indeed left London intending to reach the New World, he would naturally take the route via India, which was less watched and more difficult to watch than that of the Atlantic. But Fix’s reflections were soon interrupted by a succession of sharp whistles, which announced the arrival of the Mongolia. The porters and fellahs rushed down the quay, and a dozen boats pushed off from the shore to go and meet the steamer. Soon her gigantic hull appeared passing along between the banks, and eleven o’clock struck as she anchored in the road. She brought an unusual number of passengers, some of whom remained on deck to scan the picturesque panorama of the town, while the greater part disembarked in the boats, and landed on the quay.

Fix took up a position, and carefully examined each face and figure which made its appearance. Presently one of the passengers, after vigorously pushing his way through the importunate crowd of porters, came up to him and politely asked if he could point out the English consulate, at the same time showing a passport which he wished to have visaed. Fix instinctively took the passport, and with a rapid glance read the description of its bearer. An involuntary motion of surprise nearly escaped him, for the description in the passport was identical with that of the bank robber which he had received from Scotland Yard.

Is this your passport?” asked he.

No, it’s my master’s.”

And your master is —”

He stayed on board.”

But he must go to the consul’s in person, so as to establish his identity.”

Oh, is that necessary?”

Quite indispensable.”

And where is the consulate?”

There, on the corner of the square,” said Fix, pointing to a house two hundred steps off.

I’ll go and fetch my master, who won’t be much pleased, however, to be disturbed.”

The passenger bowed to Fix, and returned to the steamer.
(to be continued)

New Echota, Cherokee Nation Capital
Photos by Bob Kirchman

New Echota
Many Cherokee farmers and their families were forced from small farms like this into stockades and eventually removed to Oklahoma in the 'Trail of Tears.'

It is a warm August day as I travel to Atlanta Georgia through what was once the home of a great nation. Pulling off of Interstate 75, it is a short drive to the reconstructed capital of the Cherokee, New Echota. It was never a large city but it would swell to an encampment of  hundreds of people when the council was in session.

New Echota
The offices of the Cherokee Nation's Phoenix, a newspaper published in both English and Cherokee.

New Echota
The Phoenix printing press.

Sequoyah's 'Talking Leaves.'

The Gift of Language
How Sequoyah Gave His People Written Words

Perhaps the most remarkable man who has ever lived on Georgia soil was neither a politician, nor a soldier, nor an ecclesiastic, nor a scholar, but merely a Cherokee Indian of mixed blood. And strange to say, this Indian acquired permanent fame, neither expecting or seeking it." -- H. A. Scomp, Emory College

He was hardly someone you would predict would create such a significant contribution to his nation. George Gist was born to a Cherokee mother, Wu-teh, a member of the Paint Clan, and Nathanial Gist, an English fur trader near the village of Tushkeegee on the Tennessee River. The year was around 1760 but no one knows for sure. Learning the ways of the Cherokee, young George became a trapper and a fur trader himself. He would probably have lived out his days as a man of the forest, but he suffered a hunting accident (or possibly succumbed to a crippling disease, depending on which version of his story you read), but the young man was permanently disabled, unable to earn his living by the skills he had been taught in childhood.

George Gist developed a talent for metal working. He learned to be a blacksmith and silversmith. His disability became both a source of ridicule (Sequoyah means "pig's foot" in Cherokee) and a spur to greater things. The man was a good learner and became a competent craftsman. A man who purchased one of his pieces suggested that he sign his work, but he was unable to. He could not write! And here as well his story might have ended, but events in the greater world were to spur him to his greatest work. Sequoyah married a Cherokee woman and raised a family. They moved to Cherokee County in Georgia where George learned how to write his name from a local farmer. Later he joined other Cherokees who fought under Andrew Jackson against England in the War of 1812. Though he never learned to read or write English, Sequoyah was fascinated by the white man's ability to create "talking leaves" by making marks on paper.

As early as 1809, Sequoyah was exploring the creation of a Cherokee alphabet. Though scholars believe there may have once been a written Cherokee language that was later forgotten, there was no written Cherokee language when Sequoyah was a youth. People suspected that the white man's words "moved around on the paper," and the time was right for Cherokee to be able to read things for themselves. Cherokee soldiers could not write letters home, read military orders for themselves, or record events they wished to remember. When he returned home from the war, he worked in earnest on a phonetic alphabet of 86 letters to write the Cherokee Language. Sequoyah became something of a recluse. His friends and family ridiculed him. Some said he was insane or practicing witchcraft. Moving West to Arkansas, he continued his great work.

He found that his young daughter Ayoka could easily learn to use the syllabary and demonstrated this to his cousin, George Lowrey, who encouraged him to demonstrate the use of the syllabary to the public. In a Cherokee court case in Chattooga, he read an argument about a boundary line from a piece of paper. In 1821 the Cherokee Nation officially adopted Sequoya's alphabet and within a matter of months thousands of Cherokee learned to read and write! In 1824 the Cherokee National Council at New Echota, Georgia presented him with a silver medal. Sequoyah proudly wore it for the rest of his life. He was given a $300 annuity and his widow continued to receive it after he died.

By 1825 the Cherokee had the Bible in their own language along with hymnals and all sorts of educational materials. There was even a large group of Moravian Cherokee. Legal documents and books of every kind were available, all translated into the Cherokee Language. In 1827 The Cherokee National Council funded the printing of Tsa la gi Tsu lehesanunhi," the Cherokee Phoenix. It was the first Native American newspaper printed in the United States. It was produced in the Cherokee Capital, New Echota on a press shipped there from Boston. The paper had parallel columns in Cherokee and English, printed side by side.

Sadly, the discovery of gold in North Georgia, unscrupulous men and treachery in treaty would lead to the removal of most of the Eastern nation. Sequoyah moved to Oklahoma were he served as an envoy to Washington D.C. to assist the displaced Eastern Cherokees. He continued to serve his people as a diplomat and a statesman. Well into his eighties, he traveled West again, looking for a band of Cherokees who were said to have moved to Mexico. He took ill and died in 1843 and the location of his grave remains unknown to this day. Two species of giant redwood trees have been named in his honor, as has Sequoia National Park in California. He gave his people the gift of literacy. His contribution is unique, as he, an uneducated, seemingly undistinguished individual, created a totally new system of writing for his beloved nation.

Remembering History

After the residents of New Echota were taken away in the ‘Trail of Tears,’ the town itself disappeared. The state of Georgia had held a lottery to redistribute the land and it became farmland. The houses were taken down, save for that of Samuel Worcester, missionary to the Cherokee and Postmaster. It survived in other hands. The trees that shaded the streets were cut down. The town itself was but a memory.

In the 1960’s a group of people came together who thought it important to remember the great nation that had once occupied North Georgia. They persuaded the state of Georgia to create the present park at New Echota. The principle buildings have been reconstructed and stand in silent monument to those who were ripped from their land a century before.

New Echota

New Echota

Cultural Transformation
Has Isaiah 1:18 Ever Actually Happened?
By Herb Reese
[click to read]

Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” – Isaiah 1:18

I memorized this wonderful and amazing verse as a child. At the time, I was told that it referred to my personal salvation; that when I placed my faith in Jesus Christ, God wiped all of my sin away and sees me as righteous in Christ Jesus.

Unfortunately, Isaiah 1:18 is not talking about my personal salvation – or anyone’s for that matter.

Of course, the Bible teaches in other places that at the moment of our salvation, God forgives us of all of our sin. “To the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness,” Paul writes in Romans 4:5. But personal salvation and forgiveness is not what Isaiah 1:18 is talking about.

What Isaiah 1:18 is talking about is cultural transformation. The reason we know this is from the context. “Woe to the sinful nation!” God says to Israel in verse 4. In verse 7, God again addresses his litany to the entire nation: “Your country is desolate, your cities burned with fire.” Then He turns his anger on Israel’s political leadership: “Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom,” (verse 10). God’s disdain for Israel even includes it’s religious leaders: “The multitude of your sacrifices, what are they to me? says the Lord. I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals” (verse 11).

In reality, what God is doing in the first sixteen verses of Isaiah 1 is making a case for judging Israel. God, as prosecutor, is about to haul the nation into court for judgement. But in verse 18, He’s saying, It’s not too late. We can settle out of court: “Come now, let us settle the matter.”

So what does God want Israel to do in order to settle out of court? In an extremely important statement that all believers need to pay very close attention to, God gives us His conditions:”Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” (read more)

Daryl Davis.

Daryl Davis's Unique Work
By Benny Johnson
[click to read]

There are many headlines in the news today about fighting white supremacy and the Ku Klux Klan with violence.

However, decades ago 58-year-old Blues musician Daryl Davis learned the most effective way to get a Klansman to give up his hood: friendship.

Daryl Davis has a unique hobby.

In his spare time, he befriends white supremacists. Lots of them. Hundreds. He goes to where they live. Meets them at their rallies. Dines with them in their homes. He gets to know them because, in his words, “How can you hate me when you don't even know me? Look at me and tell me to my face why you should lynch me.” (read more)


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Apollonius, Around the World in 80 Days

Volume XIII, Issue VII

By Bob Kirchman
Copyright © 2017, The Kirchman Studio, all rights reserved

Chapter 1: The Challenge of Moon and Mars

The first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, was reported to have said: “I went up into space, but I didn’t encounter God.” That story was often repeated by the Atheistic Soviet Regime that sent him there and by the Western powers as they refuted the claims of the Soviet regime. His friend, General Valentin Petrov, a professor at the Russian Air Force Academy had a different story. He said of his personal friend the Cosmonaut: “He always confessed God whenever he was provoked, no matter where he was.” Gagarin was a baptized member of the Orthodox Church. Petrov remembered Gagarin saying something quite different in fact: “An astronaut cannot be suspended in space and not have God in his mind and his heart.” It was actually Nikita Khrushchev who had mockingly said: “Why don’t you step on the brakes in front of God?” In the Cold War days the U.S. President, John F. Kennedy, deftly created the civilian space agency, NASA. The struggle to control the high ground of space became recast as a race to the moon and it captured the imaginations of millions. When Gagarin orbited the Earth, the Atheist Empire was dominating. The Russians were depending on immense boosters to go beyond low Earth orbit and when they created the larger multi-engined rocket they needed they couldn’t make it work dependably. Jim Lovell commanded Apollo 8 on a mission to orbit the moon on Christmas Eve in 1968. He read from the Biblical story of Creation. “And God saw that it was good!” The Russians had been lapped.

Apollo 11 landed on the moon and Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first men to set foot on another body in space!, fulfilling Jules Verne’s vision in “From the Earth to the Moon.” They actually celebrated the Lord’s Supper there in the lunar lander before they set foot on the lunar surface! It was an amazing time to be alive. Technological advances created as part of the space program enriched and saved lives as space technology found its way into other areas such as medicine. But the moon itself held no great riches. Men had come, but after Apollo 17 they never returned. Futurists often wrote about colonizing the moon or Mars as a way to ensure mankind survived. NASA, having inspired millions and having brought together incredible talents in the sciences, became another federal bureaucracy and even gave up the capacity to launch men into space. They had to buy rides to the International Space Station from their old competitors, the Russians! After the new world of the North opened up in the wake of the Bering Strait Bridge, mankind again looked to the stars. As money and goods flowed through the new world that had been opened up, there Billionaire George Apollonius was alarmed. His plans for one-world government had been thwarted by the free men and women of the North Country and in his alarm he began to lobby for the nations of the world to terraform Mars, that is make it fit for human habitation. He would have his one-world government… even if it meant building a new world!

But he lacked much of the funding necessary to do it and the engineering ability as well. NASA was but a shell of its former glory and the great advances were being made by Alaska Republic and Israel’s joint space launch complex at Cape Lisbon. Here Apollonius would seek an unholy alliance that would build a ship to take him to Mars. The Zimmerman Organization, for its part, was responding to a concern raised by the leadership of the Alaska Autonimous Republic. They wanted a platform for an enhanced version of Israel’s Iron Dome to protect themselves from rogue nations lobbing nuclear warheads. Space Station/Assembly Center 005 was the platform from which incoming missiles could be detected and destroyed. Its components were initially ferried into orbit by U.S. and Russian Boosters, but of late, the supplying of the station was being accomplished by shuttles launched from Cape Lisbon’s newly completed linear accelerator. Apollonius and Zimmerman had an odd connection, through which began their odd partnership… both were members of London’s Reform Club. Both men traveled quite a bit and were drawn to the club by its association with Jules Verne’s fictional Phileas Fogg, who enters into his famous wager there over a game of whist! Both had been recommended for membership by associates who were in the club and both enjoyed the congenial atmosphere and the fine cuisine.

How goes your work at Cape Lisbon?” Apollonius asked Rupert Zimmerman at dinner one night.

We’ve just begun linear induction launches of small shuttles to our space station.” the old man replied. “Research teams will then ascend to Space Station/Assembly Center 005. We plan to send an unmanned probe to Mars straightway. It will be far more sophisticated than Curiosity.”

Men?, will you then send human explorers?”

No, cost is way out of line with the benefits.”

I needn’t remind you, Mr. Zimmerman, that your precious free world will one day conspire to blow itself up! Where will mankind go when that happens?”

Oh, Mr. Apollonius, I don’t presume so as to think that man can thwart the designs of a loving God toward His Creation!”

Come now!, you are a world leader, even as you avoid title and publicity. You know damn well that God is just a fable for the weak. All that you see is all that there is. What would it take to convince you to team up with me to build a manned mission to Mars?”

I would have to see some benefit that made it worth the risk of human life.”

The survival of mankind is not worth the risk!” Exclaimed Apollonius.

But would you acknowledge, dear Apollonius, that there is more to this universe than you or I can see?” Here Zimmerman secretly wished his friend Jonathan Greene present, but the old man was here quite without his mentor in things unseen. It was Greene who had helped open Zimmerman’s eyes to the Truth he now sought to defend. But Greene was on the other side of the Globe, so to speak. He was in the biosphere town on Big Diomede in the Bering Strait. He was making animal pancakes for his daughter’s breakfast as it was the morning of a school day.

If they are unseen, they can be detected in other ways.” Apollonius responded.

Very well then, if you are an honest inquirer, I challenge you! And I invite you to come to Cape Lisbon and see for Yourself!”

The sun had set in London, but it was rising on Big Diomede on a brand new day. To Zimmerman’s surprise, George Apollonius accepted the offer to travel halfway around the world. “…on one condition. If I can convince you that the journey is worth the risk, you will help me organize a manned mission to Mars!”
(to be continued)


Around the World in 80 Days
By Jules Verne, Chapter V

In which a New Species of Funds, Unknown to the Moneyed Men, Appears on ‘Change

Phileas Fogg rightly suspected that his departure from London would create a lively sensation at the West End. The news of the bet spread through the Reform Club, and afforded an exciting topic of conversation to its members. From the club it soon got into the papers throughout England. The boasted “tour of the world” was talked about, disputed, argued with as much warmth as if the subject were another Alabama claim. Some took sides with Phileas Fogg, but the large majority shook their heads and declared against him; it was absurd, impossible, they declared, that the tour of the world could be made, except theoretically and on paper, in this minimum of time, and with the existing means of travelling. The Times, Standard, Morning Post, and Daily News, and twenty other highly respectable newspapers scouted Mr. Fogg’s project as madness; the Daily Telegraph alone hesitatingly supported him. People in general thought him a lunatic, and blamed his Reform Club friends for having accepted a wager which betrayed the mental aberration of its proposer.

Articles no less passionate than logical appeared on the question, for geography is one of the pet subjects of the English; and the columns devoted to Phileas Fogg’s venture were eagerly devoured by all classes of readers. At first some rash individuals, principally of the gentler sex, espoused his cause, which became still more popular when the Illustrated London News came out with his portrait, copied from a photograph in the Reform Club. A few readers of the Daily Telegraph even dared to say, “Why not, after all? Stranger things have come to pass.”

At last a long article appeared, on the 7th of October, in the bulletin of the Royal Geographical Society, which treated the question from every point of view, and demonstrated the utter folly of the enterprise.

Everything, it said, was against the travellers, every obstacle imposed alike by man and by nature. A miraculous agreement of the times of departure and arrival, which was impossible, was absolutely necessary to his success. He might, perhaps, reckon on the arrival of trains at the designated hours, in Europe, where the distances were relatively moderate; but when he calculated upon crossing India in three days, and the United States in seven, could he rely beyond misgiving upon accomplishing his task? There were accidents to machinery, the liability of trains to run off the line, collisions, bad weather, the blocking up by snow — were not all these against Phileas Fogg? Would he not find himself, when travelling by steamer in winter, at the mercy of the winds and fogs? Is it uncommon for the best ocean steamers to be two or three days behind time? But a single delay would suffice to fatally break the chain of communication; should Phileas Fogg once miss, even by an hour; a steamer, he would have to wait for the next, and that would irrevocably render his attempt vain.

This article made a great deal of noise, and, being copied into all the papers, seriously depressed the advocates of the rash tourist.

Everybody knows that England is the world of betting men, who are of a higher class than mere gamblers; to bet is in the English temperament. Not only the members of the Reform, but the general public, made heavy wagers for or against Phileas Fogg, who was set down in the betting books as if he were a race-horse. Bonds were issued, and made their appearance on ‘Change; “Phileas Fogg bonds” were offered at par or at a premium, and a great business was done in them. But five days after the article in the bulletin of the Geographical Society appeared, the demand began to subside: “Phileas Fogg” declined. They were offered by packages, at first of five, then of ten, until at last nobody would take less than twenty, fifty, a hundred! Lord Albemarle, an elderly paralytic gentleman, was now the only advocate of Phileas Fogg left. This noble lord, who was fastened to his chair, would have given his fortune to be able to make the tour of the world, if it took ten years; and he bet five thousand pounds on Phileas Fogg. When the folly as well as the uselessness of the adventure was pointed out to him, he contented himself with replying, “If the thing is feasible, the first to do it ought to be an Englishman.”

The Fogg party dwindled more and more, everybody was going against him, and the bets stood a hundred and fifty and two hundred to one; and a week after his departure an incident occurred which deprived him of backers at any price.

The commissioner of police was sitting in his office at nine o’clock one evening, when the following telegraphic dispatch was put into his hands:

Suez to London.

Rowan, Commissioner of Police, Scotland Yard:

I’ve found the bank robber, Phileas Fogg. Send with out delay warrant of arrest to Bombay.

Fix, Detective.

The effect of this dispatch was instantaneous. The polished gentleman disappeared to give place to the bank robber. His photograph, which was hung with those of the rest of the members at the Reform Club, was minutely examined, and it betrayed, feature by feature, the description of the robber which had been provided to the police. The mysterious habits of Phileas Fogg were recalled; his solitary ways, his sudden departure; and it seemed clear that, in undertaking a tour round the world on the pretext of a wager, he had had no other end in view than to elude the detectives, and throw them off his track.
(to be continued)

Art of Design Communication
Workshop Presented at the AIBD Convention

The Art of Design Presentation
Participants in the workshop I presented at the American Institute of Building Design Summer Convention in Atlanta Georgia. Robert Browne of Cadworks Consulting, originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, especially enjoyed the drawing exercise in 'traditional media.'

The Brookwood Designs
The Kirchman Studio's Own Neighborhood

Double Rainbow over the studio window.




In the studio, Mr. Kirchman sought to create an environment that was conducive to inspiration.

The Kirchman Studio Brookwood Designs are of note because they are projects in the vicinity of and including the studio space. In addition to renovations to the existing house for aging in place, Mr. Kirchman designed the studio, a residence next door and a shop/work-van garage in the form of a barn. The designs are of note because they attempt to honor the region's agricultural heritage and a very nice stone church by the firm of T. J. Collins, visible from the neighborhood. The residence draws from the simplicity of German stone architecture. The stonework itself is by mason: Lewis Wright.

The Patterson Residence




The Barn (Shop and Garage)




The Studio










House in a House

Here the garage is converted into a small house within a house with its own discreet separate entrance. It also has its own kitchenette. The perfect solution for multi-generational living.

Barbour Colonnade

Barbour Portico

Barbour Portico

This was a planbook house built on the highest point in Brookwood. The builder turned the house so that the 'back' faced the road and the deck was sitting on skinny 4" x 4" posts. This is my design to add presence to the elevation facing the neighborhood.


Residences in Albemarle County
Greenwood Residence

This was also developed as a house within a house concept to house the client's elderly mother.

Crozet Addition

Substantial space and a garage are added to a small house. The massing is hidden in the trees and invisible from the front of the original house.

Staunton, Virginia Commercial Work
Enterprise Centre


Here an old strip shopping center was given a new parapet and a new trussed roof. The original flat roof was not salvageable so it was trussed over.

Law Offices from Gas Station

An old 'box' style gas station at the corner of Greenville Avenue and Richmond Road received a new facade and an office wing added to the rear.


Creating Connection with History
A Sense of Place

Stonework on the facade creates a sense of connection...

...with the historic architecture of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church by the firm of T. J. Collins.

Copyright © 2017, The Kirchman Studio, all rights reserved.

Building Bridges II

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14

Our nation needs healing. I really believe that most people want healing. This Scripture is a wonderful blueprint for beginning the hard work of true change and healing. It begins with a change that is inward. Humility and reliance on the Divine happen in the quietness of heart that is not so easily seen – until it results in change. We turn from our old ways. We learn how to respect people because we learn how to see IMAGO DEI, the fact that they are made in the image of G-d! The important thing here is that old prejudices cease to inform our reactions, rather our actions are informed by our knowledge of G-d.

We need to look to the example of Angus Buchan in South Africa. He brought people together not to protest, but to pray. When Buchan began his ministry, his country sorely needed reconciliation and rain. Angus gathered people to pray for both.

The Scripture concludes with the wonderful promise that the Divine will indeed hear from Heaven. He will forgive our sin. He will heal our land. If I have but a small shard of Faith in a Loving Divine, don’t I want to see that come to pass?

The Magic Garden
Magic Garden Morning.

Once, I looked up and I saw Heaven, a world above me brightly shining. My heart cried for wings. I looked around me and saw pain and suffering. The world was grey. I looked down and I saw a child with tear stained cheeks I reached out and grabbed his hand he looked at me and smiled. I saw a flower bloom red and full of life. The child picked the red flower and turned to his mother. She stood alone sad and cold. The child gave the red flower to his mother and her hard face softened I looked and saw a blue rippling stream. The mother saw an old crippled man, who could not move his legs to get a drink. She carried the man to the stream and gave him water to drink. He cried tears of joy. I saw a yellow bird sing. The old crippled man learned the yellow bird’s song and shared it with all he could see and everyone who heard it would feel happy. I saw rainbows shoot across the sky. I went on my way reaching out, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, seeing for the blind, hearing for the deaf, befriending the friendless, singing to bring happiness, and loving the loveless. Then one day I looked back and realized I had wings all along. My wings had been the love reached out to heal others who were broken. My heart burst with joy.

-- Kristina Elaine Greer

The Road Less Traveled
A Story of Gracefully Overcoming Barriers

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
– Robert Frost

In the past months a truly great film was released. Hidden Figures tells the story of three very real women who faced some very real obstacles. Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan were ‘computers.’ In the days before machines, humans performed the calculations for engineering departments. My mother did similar work at the Martin Company in the 1940’s. Remembering conversations with Mom, I am pretty sure she knew about these women who worked at Langley.

They were recruited from the ranks of highly talented mathematicians. Had they not been tapped to go into engineering departments, they would have likely spent their entire careers as schoolteachers. But since male engineers hated the large task of performing calculations, they were happy to assign the task a ‘clerical’ role and bring in the ‘computers.’

Langley was unique in that its position in high speed aircraft research created an unusual demand for these talented people and they couldn’t find enough of them. Here is where the door of opportunity opened when Langley created its ‘Colored Computer Division.’ They recruited black women with strong mathematics backgrounds and as they transitioned into a space agency, these women broke all kinds of barriers.

Katherine Johnson calculated trajectories for Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. Dorothy Vaughan became NASA’s first African-American woman supervisor, overseeing the operations of Langley’s large IBM computer. Mary Jackson pushed the boundaries to become NASA’s first Black woman engineer. She went to night school and had to seek permission to attend the classes which were held in an all-white high school.

Author Margot Lee Shetterly discovered the stories of these women through church circles. She knew them growing up as members of her church. There were a lot of people in her community of Hampton who worked at NASA but she did not know how amazing their stories were. Shetterly does all of us a great service by giving them a proper place in history. They need to serve as an inspiration to all young people.

Rage is All the Rage
...and the middle classes love it
By Cosmo Landesman
[click to read]

Last weekend, I got into a conversation with the son of an old friend. He’s a nice middle-class boy, mid-twenties, who plays in a band and has lots of tats and piercings. We got into a conversation about summer festivals. I was telling him about a wonderful one I’d been to — the Curious Arts Festival — and then I asked him, ‘You been to anything exciting?’ ‘Yeah,’ he said with a grin, ‘I went to a riot in east London.’ (read more)

Frederick Douglass Remembered
By Breana Noble
[click to read]

Frederick Douglass returned to Hillsdale College permanently on Friday.

College President Larry Arnn unveiled the “fierce,” 7-foot-tall bronze statue of the famous freed slave and abolitionist orator — who spoke at the college on Jan. 21, 1863 — to a standing ovation of around 300 college students, staff, faculty, and visitors packed into Kresge Plaza between Lane and Kendall halls.

We think of him as a wrathful man too much,” Arnn said. “Really, he was a persuasive, thinking, talking man…[The statue] shows the emotion that drove that man, and that emotion was not hate. That emotion was love.” (read more)

Responding to Darkness with the Light
A G-dly Response to Racism and Hatred
By John Stonestreet
[click to read]

The nation is reeling from Saturday’s chaos in Charlottesville. The Church cannot sit this one out.

The book of Revelation, chapter 7, gives us an extraordinary vision from God of the Kingdom of Heaven in its fullness: “a great multitude … from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne of God and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God/who sits on the throne/and to the Lamb.’”

What we saw this past weekend in Charlottesville was the exact, fiendish opposite. Crowds filled with hate, bent on violence. We saw not dazzling robes of white washed in the blood of the lamb, but the stains of red from human blood spilled in demonic anger.

I learned of what happened Saturday afternoon after landing in the Dominican Republic, where I’ll be teaching this week. Yesterday on BreakPoint, we promised part two of our series on the American suicide epidemic, and we will pick that up tomorrow. But today, facing the specter of racism in our country, it’s time for moral clarity.

And here it is: As my BreakPoint co-host Eric Metaxas tweeted over the weekend, racism is the very antithesis of the love of Jesus for all. I’ll expand on that thought: every racist ideology, including the white nationalism and neo-Nazi rhetoric and images displayed by the so-called alt-right in Charlottesville, is rooted in the pit of hell. There’s no defending it. It’s not Christian. It’s not American. And it ought not even be associated with conservatism. (read more)

Volume XIII, Issue VIIa

Daryl Davis's Unique Work
By Benny Johnson
[click to read]

There are many headlines in the news today about fighting white supremacy and the Ku Klux Klan with violence.

However, decades ago 58-year-old Blues musician Daryl Davis learned the most effective way to get a Klansman to give up his hood: friendship.

Daryl Davis has a unique hobby.

In his spare time, he befriends white supremacists. Lots of them. Hundreds. He goes to where they live. Meets them at their rallies. Dines with them in their homes. He gets to know them because, in his words, “How can you hate me when you don't even know me? Look at me and tell me to my face why you should lynch me.” (read more)