Sunday, April 09, 2017


Issue #538: Is This the End?

Certainly not. The Blog from Chaos Manor South has been rolling along for ten years, and I have every intention of continuing it into the foreseeable future. B-U-T. For a number of reasons, I’m backing away from weekly updates—at least for now.

The Astro Blog actually began considerably more than ten years ago, well before it came to It was first offered on AOL’s long-gone dark ages blog service, What was it like then? It was short and it came out irregularly. I published when I wanted to, whether that was a week after the previous entry or a month.

It’s been obvious to me for some time that the Blog can’t continue as is on a weekly basis. So, what should I do? Shorten it or publish less frequently?

I’ve demurred on “shorter.” One of the joys of doing a blog is that, unlike in a magazine article, I can stretch out. If a subject needs 3,000 words, it can have 3,000 words. That leaves “less frequently.” How less frequently will it be? I’m considering every other week as a reasonable schedule. But don’t hold me to that. It might be “once a month.” On the other hand, if there’s something I really need to talk over with you, only a week might elapse between entries.

Is this the way things are going to be from here on out, then? Not necessarily. When the current semester ends and I have a whole summer of semi-idleness before me, we could get back to once-a-week. Don’t count on that, but I suppose it could happen. How will you know when the Blog is updated? Follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter.

So, what’s an Uncle Rod True Believer to do on Sunday mornings? If you are new to the flock, there are months and months and months of archived articles for you to peruse. I like to think most of them are as useful and as much fun as they were when they were first published.

Do you find this disturbing? If you do, THANK YOU. It’s been my pleasure to bring this blog to you almost every Sunday year after year, and I am constantly amazed and gratified at how much of a looked-forward-to routine it’s become for many of you. That is reward enough for the labor that has gone into this and is THE reason I intend to continue the Little Old Blog from Possum Swamp.

Count me as one of those "Uncle Rod True Believer"s! Will welcome whatever schedule you end up settling on but have to admit the no-blog Sunday's will be a bummer.

Your blogs are a real asset to the astro community and the archives are a treasure trove for novices and the more accomplished alike.

You'll be missed Rod. I loved your monthly newsletter and the jar. Did you used to send a link to the newsletter? I can't remember how I got it. My fav part was industry news.--Jack Estes
Here are most of those old newsletters (a few got lost over the years)...
Calendars are for working stiffs :) When a blog like this becomes work because of it's pace, then it's time to change the pace, not the blog. Sporadic is just fine with me, especially knowing it will be more of a joy and less of a burden to the author!
Thanks Unk! On those hot or cold cloudy nights for several years, I think I've read most of the archives. After reading the one on accessories, I bought the same tackle box you use. Really handy for all those odds & ends.
I will continue checking on your blog. Hope all is well with you and yours.
Clear Skies!
I already feel the withdrawal symptoms coming on !!!

Have really enjoyed your blogs in the past, and will look forward to those that do come out in the future.

- George Bailey
Hello,Rod Mollise.I have ben reading your blog on Sunday morning for a long time. I all so read your articles in sky and telescope magazine. You provide lots off information to everyone who has a interest in astronomy. I look forward to reading your blog as many tines as you write it. Thank you for having your blog. Will W
Well our "relationship" started a long time ago on Sci.Astro.Amateur or whatever it was. Then you helped me select what was my first real scope (as others had told me my C90 was not a "real" scope) and as it turns out my last "real" scope. I have enjoyed reading your posts and think you have been a bright "star" in this period of astronomy losing interest to the masses. Take you time and enjoy yourself, and I will continue to check in from time to time.I have to say you were right when you told me the best all rounder was a C8 - mines 15 years old and still does everything I've ever wanted a scope to do and actually more. Talk at you later, until then clear skies.
How dare you, Rod! But seriously, you do have a life ;-)

I very much appreciate the wisdom and knowledge you've shared over the years, and look forward to whatever blogging schedule you choose.

John O'Hara
I have been truly enjoying and learning from your blog. Your back issues are indeed a treasure trove. Thanks!
Over eight years I have been reading your weekly blogs and it has very much become part of my weekly Sunday routine. I used to get slightly disappointed already when you were out to a starparty and would show us a few pictures with the full story a week later. Bummer that you will tune down the frequency, but fully understandable. There is so much I have learned from your contributions. Will always be grateful for that and hope there is still more to come, albeit less frequent.
Just like the real stars, Uncle Rod is not immune to the effect of precession! Nothing stays the way it is forever. Wobble onwards, Uncle Rod!
This will indeed leave a void in my morning Sunday reads. Your weekly post will be missed..but like the others have said, this will make it all the sweeter. Keep us posted.
Hi Rod, please don't give up completely, understand you'd like to spend a little more time with your scopes, but please don't stop altogether, your blogs and your books have kept me interested for so many years now!

This afternoon, as I discussed with you on here months ago, I finally deforked my Nexstar 9.25". I had a pal from the local astro club round to help and we had your YouTube video of Big Bertha playing on the TV and followed your instructions carefully! And, guess what, it worked! It only took us about an hour (those four screws on the left-hand fork were a bit recalcitrant, but we got there in the end). Next step, got to get a dovetail (not sure which one yet) and then get her on to the (don't laugh, we'll give it a go) AVX.

Your advice and the entertaining nature of your blog is very, very much appreciated.

Keep up the good work!

Best regards!

Phil Edmonds, Salisbury, UK.

aww man!!!!!!! Now I'm going to have to do dumb things Sundays like talk to my wife.

All seriousness aside, I hope you get to recharge your batteries a bit and smell the roses. I frequently go back 2-3 years and re-read many of your posts, so I suspect that I will continue doing so.

Clear skies, and much Rebel Yell.
Totally understand Rod, if stepping back a bit means we still get to hear your entertainiing and informative thoughts, then I'll live with it! Keep posting!
4 years and counting on my Sunday news feed. Hope Uncle Rod will continue to explore the wide wide world of astro stuff as it is always changing....Pat Utah
We thank you for your effort, it is a great blog. And first it is your life, the time is the most valuable resource in the Universe
My best wishes
Good for you Rod. While I do admit checking for your blog each Sunday is a treat in itself, you are (semi) retired, so enjoy it. Hope you do continue this for another 20 years at least. Will start following you on social media so I know when you posted an article.

I've been a follower for many years. Your advice is so helpful and practical. I'll view your archives to ease the withdrawal from weekly blogs. I admit I enjoyed a new blog every Sunday but I'll manage. Thanks again.
Dear Uncle Rod,

I than you for funny and inspiration. I will stay following you.

Greetings to Brazil,

Túlio Aguiar
I have enjoyed your current comments and your archives, and my interests in the hobby have tracked the topics you were blogging on pretty closely. Your gift for explanation caused me to 'try that out too', and has deepened my enjoyment of amateur astronomy. So, Thanks for what you have given, and I will still be checking weekly to see what else you might come up with.

Mike Bechtel
I have enjoyed your blog, and my enjoyment of amateur astronomy has been enhanced by it, a lot. I will continue to look weekly in case you have something new for us. Thanks!

Mike Bechtel

Thanks for the many, many entertaining reads Uncle Rod. You are a Star!

Regards and clear skies

It's like not getting the Sunday paper anymore. :o(
I think that with the extra time between postings your writing may well become even more better.

Still waiting for the cold warrior stories......

Thanks for all the hours and effort you've put into the hobby!

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