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Doc Bryant

Vacation, Whoo Whoo!

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I am preparing to depart for Oak Ridge, TN in the morning. Well, they call it morning. The time I have to depart I have another word for it. "Dark." Our little group of noisemakers has again rented a short line railroad that serves the former Manhattan Project Gaseous Diffusion Plant, now some Technology Park That Glows Int The Dark.I won't be bringing one of my locomotive horns or whistles, it's too much a hassle with baggage these days. Then there is the TSA, which employs people who have had their sense of humor surgically removed. Some also get the bonus operation of having their common sense removed at the same time.So, behave you rabble. I sure won't!Doc Bryant

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Sounds like fun! Just wondering what they sell in their souvenir shops, though. Radioactive geegaws? Miniature models of the bomb in snow globes? Whatever, be sure to bring some back. Hope you enjoy it and can't wait for the pictures.Best regards.Luis

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Luis,I went to Oak Ridge National Laboratories when I was a kid in school, maybe 10 years old. When we got to the gift shop, they were selling radioactive DIMES in a little half-dollar-sized aluminum key chain medallion with a plexiglass cover showing the face of Franklin D. Roosevelt on the coin. The radiation was so weak, it would not penetrate the aluminum or the plexi. I bet it was never irradiated.Jerry K. ThorneEast Ridge, TN

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That is incredible, Jerry. Probably they could not get away with that today and would face a battery of lawsuits if they tried selling such innocuous products. By the way, did you buy one of the dimes?Best regards.Luis

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Luis,It was the 1950's, of course I did.This was the time when every shoe store had an x-ray machine that would let you look at your feet inside the shoes to see how they fit. Those things are definitely a danger to everyone.You also have to remember the US government conducted atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons. A lot of folks in Utah were down wind from the testing sites in Nevada. John Wayne was a cancer victim from filming so many westerns in the downwind zone from the nuclear test sites.Jerry K. ThorneEast Ridge, TN

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Right, John Wayne also knocked back a couple packs of cigarettes a day, so no way of really telling whether it was Pu239, U238 or Camels that did him in.I'd bet on the cigarettes, win place and show in this case.I did not bring back any souvenirs, took only a few pictures, but did vow to drive to Oak Ridge next year. It wasn't too bad flying to Knoxville on Thursday, but the return trip home found me visiting Cincinnati, Ohio for almost twelve hours, causing me to miss my flight from Dallas into Midland. So, at Midnight Sunday night, I got a rental car more suited for Stuart Little than human beings and ventured off into the night. Five hours later, I was in Midland.Airline buddy passes are nice when things go well, but when they turn pear shaped, your priority compared to other standby folks is lower than whale poop. The renta clown car cost me my savings in airline fares. I must say though, I did not have to pay any baggage charges on American or Delta. And I checked a bag!The short line railroad line we rented for the weekend has it's tracks going right through the Manhattan Project site. The site is now being cleaned up of radioactive debris and other nasty goo. The railroad is moving quite a bit of the debris out to disposal sites.Doc BryantBad Government...make citizens glow in dark.Good Government....citizens now speak German, Japanese and Russian.

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