Edith May Hopp — 1925-2016

Edee HoppIt must have been the Irish in Edee Hopp that made her so funny, quick witted, and sometimes sharp-tongued. She inherited—probably from her Irish immigrant Burke forebears—an ability with language that could best be described as Blarney. She knew the words to hundreds, if not thousands of old songs, and would sing them out whenever the music was playing. This gift of gab lasted right up to the last days of her life, despite Alzheimer’s Disease that took away most of her other memories. In her middle years, she could recite whole poems by rote, not the least of which were Robert Service’s The Cremation of Sam McGee and The Shooting of Dan McGrew, in their entirety.

In her prime, Mom had movie-star good looks and a penchant for zany humor that evoked a brunette rival to Lucille Ball. She loved doing whacky routines at family gatherings or in skits and shows performed at Sahalie Ski Club, where Spring Carnival would find her singing ribald songs with made-up lyrics wearing crazy costumes, often with one front tooth blacked out.

The Irish in her also gave her a hot temper, and she could quickly go from hilarious to horrific. I can recall times when she yelled at my brother Jerry or me or our father Ed, with such vocal force that the doorbell chimes would ring in reply.

But she was fundamentally a very caring person. Over a lifetime she fostered pets large and small, and welcomed into her home a succession of neighborhood kids. When I was young it seemed that all my brother’s friends, and my friends as well, tended to prefer Ed and Edee’s house as the location to gather and carry on. This extended into my teen years, when several budding rock-and-roll bands rehearsed in the basement with rarely a complaint about noise from the folks upstairs.

Mom cared for family pets large and small, whether they be dog, cat, bird, lizard, or amphibian. I was forever bringing home something from the local tropical fish stores, including an iguana named Iggy who grew into a five-foot-long monster under Mom’s care, and a piranha that became so large on a diet of beef liver that it could have bitten a hand off. Edee also took care of a succession of stray animals. One of my earliest memories is of her throwing bacon out the back window of our housing-project apartment, calling out for poor, broken-winged Cedric the Seagull to come and get it. Several years later, neighbor kids brought her a baby robin that had fallen from its nest. She promptly named him Peepie and had my father dig worms from the garden, which she fed him until he was big enough to fly away. When I was a teenager, she brought home from the beach a weird-looking black bird that had been injured and couldn’t fly. This strange creature, a coot, lived in our basement for a few days until a representative from the zoo and local radio personality Lan Roberts came to take him to a recovery facility.

Her largess extended to people too. My bandmate Tim Turner came to live with us when his relationship with his father turned violent because he grew his hair long, hippie style. She took him in and helped him make it smoothly through his transition from frightened kid to working rock musician. Tim has proudly continued this job for a lifetime with amply expressed gratitude to Edee and Ed Hopp for helping him through his most trying times.

Hydro MommaMom was a pharmacy clerk for Bartell Drugs for most of her adult life, working in downtown Store #1. She sold prescriptions to many thousands of people including a succession of celebrities, sports stars, and socialites who came to town and found they needed one pharmaceutical or another. She only retired from her endlessly intriguing work when my father suffered a mild stroke when they were both 71. Even though this slowed things down, they moved on into a rollicking retirement that included innumerable trips to Hawaii and other stops around the world in the company of their many friends and especially her sister Florence and her husband Ralph Penz. The two sisters were nearly inseparable in later years, and often would break into song together in two-part, perfect harmony. All four of them could be seen cheering from dockside as Jerry Hopp drove his super-hot hydroplane race boat to victory after victory. There were few dull moments in Edee, Ed, Flo, and Ralph’s retirement years.

In leaving this world at age 91, Edee Hopp could look back on a long, full, loving, and often hilarious life. Brava!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 4 Comments

Hillary Clinton’s Candle Smoke Allergy

It's candle smoke allergy, HillaryPlease help me launch this meme. I hope this image of Hillary and the cause of her health issues will circulate until she sees it herself.

As I wrote yesterday, Hillary’s symptoms exactly match candle smoke allergy. I also explained what she can do to improve her health. And I wrote previously about the many toxic substances emitted by burning candles. She needs to avoid these allergens.

It would be a shame if Hillary were to lose the election due to health problems, simply because she doesn’t know the cause of her repeated allergy attacks. But candles will be on every table at most banquets and restaurants where she will dine on the campaign trail. They must not be lit or she will get sick again!

So please pass this post along to your friends and contacts. Repost it, or hit the Facebook or Twitter tabs on the side. Let’s spread the word until someone close to Hillary passes this vital piece of information on to her. Then we will see her health improve dramatically!

Posted in Candle Smokers, Food and Drink, Health | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Candle Smoke Allergy, Hillary

It's candle smoke allergy, HillaryHillary Clinton’s debilitating allergy attacks and recent hospitalization for pneumonia fit the pattern of a strong sensitivity to candle smoke. The violent coughing attacks, bloodshot eyes (click the image for a better look) shortness of breath, and even dizziness and nearly falling down, can all be the result of exposure to candle smoke. And Hillary must be encountering candle smoke at nearly every dinner and banquet on her campaign trail. If you care about her and her chances to become president, then you will pass this post along until it reaches her or someone close enough to her to tell her its message.

Hillary knows she is suffering from a strong allergy, but apparently she does not know the exact source of her problem. It is not allergy season, after all. It is campaign season. It is a time of travel and dining at restaurants and banquet halls. And candles are waiting on every table. If Hillary were to insist that no candles be burnt in her presence, then she would quickly recover her voice and strength.

sixteen candles per table!How can I be so sure candles are at the root of her problem? Two reasons. First, I took my medical research training at one of the top ranked medical schools in this nation, Cornell Med. Second, I suffer from candle smoke allergies myself and know just how debilitating they can be. A single evening spent at a restaurant or banquet where candles are burnt, and I am racked by strong allergy symptoms for four days. After that I recover just like Hillary has stated, saying her allergies clear up after “a few days.” But on the campaign trail, a new exposure to candle smoke comes at each dinner or banquet.

This is an unusual type of allergy, caused by inhaling the fine soot from candles (even the so-called smokeless liquid-fueled candles, which are not really smokeless at all). When fine particles of candle soot are inhaled, they contact the airways and stick to moist secretions. And then they dissolve their loads of highly toxic chemicals onto the airway surface. From there, the allergy sufferer’s immune system overreacts to the chemicals and becomes his or her own worst enemy.

Lamp oil looks harmlessThis is not your usual allergy, with immediate sneezing and sniffling symptoms. This allergy follows a completely different, more subtle, and more insidious course. Called Type IV allergy, or contact hypersensitivity, it is very slow to develop. Most often, there is no immediate reaction at all. But in the course of the next two days after exposure, a white-blood-cell mediated inflammation sets in on the skin or sensitive membranes where the candle soot landed. One characteristic of such an allergic reaction is that it does not respond well to antihistamines, the go-to drugs for most allergies. Hillary mentioned she takes antihistamines. But I know only too well that antihistamines are largely ineffectual, given that this is a Type IV, not a Type I allergic reaction.

The hallmark of candle smoke allergy is the WHERE and well as the WHEN of it. As I mentioned, it strikes two days later, not immediately. And it strikes the airways where the air is most turbulent when inhaled. That is, it strikes in the voice box, and in the swallowing area of the throat. Both these areas are narrower than other parts of the airway, causing the smoke particles to be deposited most heavily right where they can do the most harm.

The result is a very diagnostic and peculiar set of symptoms. Several days AFTER candle exposure, the sufferer experiences extremely violent fits of coughing that involve both the vocal cords and the flap of skin called the epiglottis, which keeps food from going “down the wrong pipe.” Instances of coughing often arise when the sufferer swallows food or even a drink of water. This is because the inflamed epiglottis is half-paralyzed and does not shut properly when swallowing, and the food or drink do indeed go down the wrong pipe.

Furthermore, the cough itself is incredibly persistent. And it can be so intense that it brings tears to the eyes, strains belly muscles due to the power of the cough spasms, and literally takes away the sufferer’s ability to speak.

So, what is to be done, Hillary?

First, you must make sure that no one burns candles at any stop along your campaign trail. This will take some doing, because every banquet facility puts candles on every table, and they are quite sufficient to trigger strong allergy symptoms within two days of exposure. Restaurants are no better. Almost every one puts candles on every table. So even if you have a quiet dinner on the road to escape the hectic banquet scene, you will be exposed to a dose of soot that will wreck your speech-making ability two days later. Eat in your hotel room if you can’t find a candle-free dining place. And it’s no good to tell everyone around you to blow out their candles. I’ve tried that strategy myself. But extinguished candles always smoke heavily, putting out extra heavy doses of soot and making matters worse.

Hillary, you will need to be proactive about this problem, because candles are everywhere. They are produced by the oil industry and are a major source of revenue, so hordes of salespeople have assured that candles are present in greater than 98% of dining establishments. Therefore, you had better plan in advance to make sure upcoming venues on your campaign tour know they are to leave their candles on the shelf while you are there. Too late if they must run around and snatch them up off the tables, or God forbid, blow them out. The invisible toxins are already in the air at that point.

Finally, given the unique and insidious nature of this allergy, let me dispense a little curative advice. The following are observations from years of candle allergy suffering on my part:

1. Do not use steroid inhalant sprays. These can indeed diminish a Type IV allergic reaction for a time — BUT — a steroid-suppressed Type IV reaction will come roaring back stronger than ever after the steroids wear off. Furthermore, the blanket suppression of immunity caused by steroids can reduce your natural resistance to pneumonia. Sound familiar?

2. Do use ibuprofen. This is a great pain killer and anti-inflammatory drug. Taking just one tablet four hours before a speaking engagement will dull the irritation that brings on coughing fits, and reduce the swelling of the epiglottis that brings on choking and gagging attacks.

3. Non-drowsy antihistamines may have some slight benefit if your allergy is Type I plus Type IV, so give them a limited try but don’t rely on them to fight coughing fits. Drowsy antihistamines may also help you sleep better at night.

4. Limit dextromethorphan. This classic cough remedy can help reduce coughing, though not the inflammation that causes it. And it is stupefying. So if you take a little too much, then you will come off as a dull and slow-witted speaker. Ibuprofen is your key remedy.

5. But most of all, AVOID CANDLE SMOKE. It would be a shame if you were to lose the election due to a product of the oil industry. How ironic if the minions of the candle companies were to take down the candidate who is most willing to battle mighty corporations on behalf of the people. If you are knocked off the campaign trail again and again by your allergies, then the oil giants will be on the brink of throwing the election in a most insidious way.

So there you have it, folks. If you are concerned about Hillary’s health and her ability to carry on her campaign, then pass this post along to your friends and contacts. If enough people do so, then it may eventually reach someone who can pass its message to Hillary. Until she learns what the source of her health problem is, she is at its mercy. Unless she does something about it, the very real possibility exists that her hopes to become president will be thwarted by her allergy to candle smoke!

Posted in Candle Smokers, Food and Drink, Health | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Songs of Joy

ParijeeWe have forest on two sides of us up here on Cougar Mountain. The seasons are right on schedule, with very heavy growth of green foliage and incredible amounts of salmonberries (finished now) and red elderberries (just finishing). The birds are gorging themselves: song sparrows, goldfinches, band-tailed pigeons, spotted towhees, crows, parijees (Swainson’s thrush), western tanangers, chickadees, and dark-eyed juncoes, not to mention those awesome songsters, the Douglas Squirrels, who seem particularly vocal in the cedars all around us this year. The deer and bunnies have neglected to molest our flowers, presumably because of all the lush foliage everywhere they turn. And, what with the pattern of heatwave, drizzle, heatwave, drizzle, the white fungus that usually strikes the forest in late spring is completely missing in action this year.

Doug SquirrelAll the leaves are still bright spring green and shiny. And the birds and squirrels are bursting with song–Shelley says they are singing out with the joy of being alive in such a fine and lovely place. The parijee songs are awesome soaring flute concertos in the forest canopy. The Douglas squirrels chirp and chitter in counterpoint, often timing their calls to those of the parijees. Enchanting!

Posted in Nature, Northwest Tales | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Songs of Joy

“A Dangerous Breed” re-published!

Skull DogIt’s a scary world we live in. And it just got scarier.

Just released this week is a revised version of one my oldest and creepiest short stories, “A Dangerous Breed.”

This chilling tale has just the right amount of cooling for one of those hot “dog days” of summer. Imagine getting shivers up and down your spine while basking on a chaise lounge on a resort beach. This one will take you there.

Most people worry about getting GMOs in their food. But how many people worry about becoming food for GMOs? That’s right, these gene-altered canines have a great liking for mankind, and I don’t mean the run-and-fetch-the-ball kind of liking. More like, “Mmmm-mmmmm tasty!”

As is so often the case, Dr. Peyton McKean is called in on this case long after the cat is out of the bag–or in this case, the dog. I mean coyote. I mean, well, maybe you should read the story and find out all about what I mean.

If you happen to have already read this chiller when it came out five years ago, you still ought to give it a look. I added 33% to the length of the story to fill in more detail and make it just a little more scary–and believable. I even found a way to add a twist of happy ending to it. If you’re wondering how that could be possible when hungry, hyper-intelligent canines are running amok in the deserts of Eastern Washington, then definitely have a look. The Hound of the Baskervilles was a lap dog compared to these pooches!

Finally, let me point out that my publisher, normally so tight-fisted with money, has seen fit to make “A Dangerous Breed” available FREE for a limited time in Kindle, Nook, iBook and other formats. You can get your copy in several different ways. First of all, if you click this link, you can sign onto my author mailing list, which will keep you informed of other deals like this in the future. Once that’s done, you’ll be given a link to get the free copy. People who are already on my mailing list can get their copy by contacting me directly, because they already have an email connection to me (list membership hath its privileges).

So there you have it. Cool those hot summer doldrums down to industrial-strength refrigeration levels–if you dare!

Posted in Peyton McKean | Comments Off on “A Dangerous Breed” re-published!

The Duwamish In Me

Old DuwamishSeattle’s Native American Tribe, the Duwamish, features prominently in several of my novels and short stories. I have a strong affinity to the original people of my hometown and to the river that bears their name. Duwamish, or more properly, Dwf’Du’Absh, means “People of the Inside.” The name’s origins are obscure but it probably refers to their village’s location inside Elliott Bay where it was sheltered from the prevailing storm winds by the headlands of West Seattle. Another possibility is that the village was directly between the Cascade and Olympic Mountain ranges. Furthermore, Elliott Bay is midway along the length of Puget Sound, so the village was at the geographic center of the region, and also at the center of the ancient trade and travel networks that coursed through it. The Duwamish were, and are, very much a people of the inside.

So, how did I come by my strong affection for the Duwamish? I’ve got no Duwamish blood in me that I know of, but I still feel a kinship to the tribe. Most significantly to me is one of my earliest childhood memories. There’s not much to it but a brief flashback. I was about three years old, and was getting a severe scolding from my mother for having once again tracked mud into the house and onto the carpet.

That mud was Duwamish River mud. I was in big trouble for two reasons. First, as I mentioned, I had soiled the carpet once again. And second and most importantly, my mother had warned me severely against going down to the riverside alone–she feared I might fall in and drown. But I was a plucky little kid and hard to discourage from something that fascinated him. We lived in a government housing project that had been built on the banks of the Duwamish, on land once occupied by the longhouses of the tribe. I would scamper among the many long, low apartment buildings of the complex to get to the river, where I never tired of tossing sticks and rocks into the smoothly flowing muddy waters. But my little sneakers paid the price, often getting globbed up with river mud.

So the connection I feel to the tribe lies in my earliest memories. I grew from an infant to a small rambunctious boy in the exact place the tribe called home before the 1850s brought American culture, strife, and diseases that nearly annihilated them. The link I share with the Duwamish Tribe comes from our common place of origin.

Come to think of it, the South Park Housing Project’s long, single-story buildings—each with several apartments where families lived in the same building—now seem reminiscent of the longhouses that predated them on the same spot. And like those longhouses, the project’s buildings are all long gone. Paved lots and large concrete warehouses now coldly reflect on the river’s waters. So I am like the Duwamish people in that way, too. My home place is no more.

But the Duwamish River remains. The banks where I once played like generations of Duwamish children before me, those banks still exist. And the river still rolls by placidly. Some things never change.

I have written about the Duwamish People in my short story, Blood Tide, and in my most recent novel, Rainier Erupts. To research these works, I have attended Lushootseed language classes at the Duwamish Tribal Museum. In that new building overlooking the Duwamish River I found tribe members to be welcoming, warm, and helpful to me even though I am formally an outsider to their community. Perhaps they sense as I do that my origins give me a special kind of kinship with them. I am, after all, one of those people whose earliest childhood memories are of playing beside the Duwamish River.

Posted in Indian Country, Northwest Tales, Seattle | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on The Duwamish In Me

Tales of Bravery and Heroes

Purple HeartOn this day dedicated to fallen heroes, it’s worth considering how much we owe them and how much we owe those who served and survived their ordeals. The notion that we may live in peace and security is founded on their personal acceptance of risk, hardship, injury, and even death.

My novels and short stories nearly always deal with heroes and heroism. I come from a family with a long tradition of military service. I am surrounded by soldiers, sailors, and airmen, living or existing now only in memory, who took up the weapons of war. Each one, I am sure, bore those weapons not with dreams of glorious conquest, but with thoughts of obligation, service to others, and hope for lasting peace.

In my stories I often delve into the hearts and minds of warriors, not so much to extoll their ferocity in battle, but to examine their thoughts of home, their reasons for fighting, and their love of those they strive to defend or rescue.

In RAINIER ERUPTS! I focus on military rescue helicopter pilots and their crews, flying into life-threatening situations to save victims of a volcanic cataclysm. In HERBERT HOPP’S STORY I followed my Uncle Herb’s World War II experience in a torpedo bomber shot down onto a jungle island after striking a Japanese warship. Herb was the only man to return alive and he bore physical and emotional scars for a lifetime. Even in my science fiction series DINOSAUR WARS, much of the action keys on brave Captain Victor Suarez, whose tank troop faces an overwhelming invasion even while they are uncertain their families are safe from attack at home.

Time and again, my stories enter the hearts and minds of warriors on the side of good, whose dearest wish is to live in peace but whose mission is to fight–and perhaps to die.

On this Memorial Day 2016, it’s worth contemplating words penned in 1913 by Katherine Lee Bates in the second verse of America The Beautiful. These words say much about the men and women who take upon themselves the honored mantle of the warrior:

“O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy, more than life.”

Posted in Author, Guadalcanal Aviators, Uncle Herb | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Tales of Bravery and Heroes

What if Mount Rainier Erupts?

Blow up!I’ve got some scary news. If Mount Rainier erupts, it could spread glowing hot ashflows as far as Tacoma, or into the suburbs of Seattle and Olympia Washington.

Now, I don’t mean to make anyone lose sleep over this, because all the volcanologists of the world agree Rainier is not likely to blow up in our lifetimes. But um, er, what if it did?

Things would get pretty messed up for many miles around. That red circle on the map is measured at a 43-mile radius from the peak of Mount Rainier. And 43 miles is the greatest distance that a hot ashflow, also called a pyroclastic flow, traveled from Mount Mazama. From Mount Who, you ask?

Mount Mazama was the tall volcano that existed once where Crater Lake now lies in a hole in the ground in Southern Oregon. Seven thousand years ago, that mighty peak annihilated itself in a cataclysmic series of explosions that turned its 12,000 foot tall mass into hot, pulverized detonations of rock, ash, steam, and death that blanketed the land around it with deep piles of red-hot dust and rock.

Native Americans who witnessed the horrors of it all — and survived — have passed the legends of the event down through time to present day tribes, although they transformed the story into an epic battle between the god of the underworld and the sky god.

Someday, Rainier may blow its top in a similar way. And from that day forward the legends of the survivors will grow.

I have anticipated such tales in my new book, RAINIER ERUPTS! If you’d like a first-hand look at what that day of disaster might bring, then grab a copy by following this LINK. It’s available in ebook and paperback versions. And I promise — the horror and heroism I have described in detail will shock and amaze you.

Posted in Author, Northwest Tales | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on What if Mount Rainier Erupts?

News Flash! Hydroplane Outraces Volcanic Eruption!

Go! Go! Go!This just in. Intrepid waterborne speedster Jerry Gregson outraced a tidal wave caused by a volcanic eruption and survived! Not only that, but he set a world speed record doing it. How’s that for having a nice day at the racecourse?

What’s that, you say? No one has ever outraced a tsunami in a hydroplane?

Well, there is a first time for everything. In my new novel Rainier Erupts! just such a thing happens because, well, I wrote it that way. I just combined a few facts I know well and came up with a storyteller’s dream.

Fact: My brother Jerry Hopp and his son Greg Hopp are champion race drivers in the super-hot field of Grand Prix Hydroplane racing. They just set the world speed record in their “Happy Go Lucky” race boat a few weeks ago, at over 170 miles per hour!

Fact: They both drive shiny yellow boats, the GP-12 and the GP-15, and each has more race trophies than they know what to do with. So I combined their names to come up with the fictitious character Jerry Gregson. Pretty clever, huh?

Fact: Rainier is not a dormant volcano. It is an active one. Sure, it’s been lazy for the last five hundred years or so, but give it a little more time and it’ll prove how active it is. And past eruptions have flooded nearby valleys with hot lava and mudflows that surged into nearby lakes and Puget Sound, causing tidal waves.

Hence my fact-based saga of a race driver in a near-death experience with a tidal wave on Seattle’s hydroplane racecourse.

If you can’t bring yourself to believe it, then it might help if you got a copy of the book, just released last week as a paperback and in Kindle, Nook, iBook, and other versions. Click this LINK and it will take you to where you can grab a copy at the still-reduced price of $1 off. Hurry. Like the lull in Rainier’s record of eruptions, this offer won’t last much longer.

My thanks go out to Chris Denslow, who took the picture of Jerry flying over the water in his race boat. The snapshot of the mountain is mine.

If you would like news of my next thriller release, to be announced later this year, join my newsletter mailing list at the link above.

Happy Reading!
-Tom

Posted in Author, Northwest Tales | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Rainier Erupted a week ago

AmazonEruptsAll righty! It’s been a week since the launch of Rainier Erupts!, my new thriller about a rather nasty day in the Seattle/Tacoma area.

And I’m proud to announce that the book did remarkably well in its first week of existence. While it didn’t run up the charts all the way to number one, it made it to number 11 on Amazon’s Kindle category lists. That’s a delight for me. One step away from the top ten bestselling books in its category. Sure, I would have liked to see it up a bit higher, but this isn’t over just yet.

And there’s another thing to crow about. As the image shows, Rainier Erupts! was recognized on the Amazon web site as a “Hot New Release.” That means somewhere in the massive empire that is Amazon my book got noticed by actual people. Let’s hope it gets more of that kind of attention in the future.

In the days since its first run up to prominence Rainier Erupts! has settled down a bit. It’s back to number 57 as I write this. But it can rise again, and I’m sure it will.

There are many ways a book can rebound and head up the charts again. Like word-of-mouth. That’s where people who have read it and liked it recommend it to their friends. And the feedback I’m getting so far is, yep, people are reading it and liking it. So if they follow through and tell family and friends, then Rainier Erupts! will rise up the charts again. More slowly this time, but more lastingly.

So, how’s about a little help here? If you haven’t yet grabbed a copy of the ebook or paperback, get one today. And if you have a copy, don’t forget to write and post a review on Amazon or another bookseller site. Every review helps. The first reviews to come in have been running very positive, but the more the merrier.

Right now, the ebook versions at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and elsewhere are still a dollar off the retail price of $3.99 ($2.99 if you don’t have a calculator app handy). Here’s a LINK to find your favorite version.

So far, this book launch is going pretty well. With your help, it can do even better.

Thanks. And Happy Reading!
-Tom Hopp

Posted in Author, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rainier Erupted a week ago