...a site for amateur astronomy,folk music, humanism, and more...
Who is PAUL DERRICK?
When this web site was created in 2002, it was exclusively an amateur astronomy and stargazing site -- hence the title and domain name. Although the site's focus has broadened, I like the title and domain name and therefore am keeping them. Since turning 70 in 2010, I've been gradually disengaging from some commitments and re-directing my attention and energies. Thus in some of the following, I am now retired or semi-retired (as indicated).
- AMATEUR ASTRONOMY
Stargazer column (retired)
From 1990-2012, I was author of the "Stargazer" column which appeared every other week in the Waco Tribune-Herald and some 60+ other newspapers. Most of the 587 columns (except 1993-1997) are archived and can be read at STARGAZER COLUMNS.
Stargazer Facebook posts
May 2023, I revived Stargazer as Facebook posts rather than newspaper columns. It consists of a weekly Stargazer narrative (posted every Sunday night) and The Sky Tonight (posted daily) highlighting Moon, naked-eye planets, and morning and evening events worthy of note. If you're not already a Facebook friend, find me as Paul Derrick and send me a friend request and a brief personal FB message informing me of your interest in the posts.
Sky Calendar (retired)
The monthly sky calendar which was a feature of this site for several years has been retired. The web sites of Sky & Telescope and Astronomy magazines have sky calendars and a wealth of other information -- check them out. Programs, star parties, and classes (semi-retired)
Since 1989, I have presented programs, conducted star parties, and taught classes for children and adults in schools, camps, parks and many other settings. While I have cut my schedule back considerably, I am still available for limited engagements by request. See PROGRAMS for my schedule and more information. [See MAPS & DIRECTIONS for star party areas near Waco.]
(A Beginner's Guide to) Learning the Night Sky, 3rd Edition The rights to this book have been donated to the CENTRAL TEXAS ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY from whom it may be purchased.Stargazing Information
Stargazer's Life List Hard copies of this boook are out-of-print, but .docx and .pdf e-copies (not Kindle) are available at no cost using Dropbox. You may read about this book and download it at BOOKS.
You can find some basic stargazing information, especially helpful to new stargazers, at INFORMATION. CTAS
Paul is an active and charter member of the CENTRAL TEXAS ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY which owns and operates the Turner Research Station near Clifton, TX. TRS is the home of the Meyer Observatory which houses a 24-inch robotic research-grade telescope.
Total Solar Eclipse Countdown
Now that we've experienced the awesome Aug. 21, 2017, total solar eclipse of the Sun, it's nearly time for the next one April 8, 2024, which passes over the heart of central Texas, from Texas to Maine. Make your plans early! For more information see TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSES 2017 AND 2024
- FOLK MUSIC
See Paul's MUSIC GIGS schedule and his MUSIC PHOTO HISTORY pages. (If you've ever played music with Paul you might be in one of the photos!)
In 2007, I created a "History of Waldo's Coffeehouse" Power Point program highlighting many of the talented performers who appeared on Waldo's stage between 1993 and 2006. In February 2007, this program was part of the opening set for a Waldo's concert featuring long-time favorites Christine Albert and Chris Gage. [DOWNLOAD free from Dropbox, one Power Point file, 22MB]
In 2012, I created "Pete Seeger & Malvina Reynolds," a Power Point program highlighting these two folk musicians and songwriters which I presented to the UU Fellowship of Waco. (Both Seeger and Reyonds had a connection with Unitarian Universalism.) [DOWNLOAD free from Dropbox, one Power Point file, 16MB]
NOTE regarding Dropbox: Documents cited herein are available free via Dropbox where they can be downloaded onto your computer. You need NOT have a Dropbox account, and the service is free. So that you can find the downloaded files, note into which folder on your computer the files are downloaded; depending on your operating system you may be able to direct the files into your folder of choice, or they may go into your general Download folder. Once downloaded, they may be read on your computer and/or printed.
- HUMANISMHaving been a devout Christian in the early part of my life, for the past 50+ years I have been an agnostic secular humanist. I am also a member of First Unitarian Church of Des Moines (Iowa), and before moving from Waco in 2014, was a long-time member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Waco. I am also a member and supporter of the American Humanist Association and the Humanist Society of Iowa.
- In my 80-page booklet, From "Good Christian Boy" to Agnostic Secular Humanist, I tell of my personal journey from theist Christian to agnostic secular humanist. I explain what "agnostic," "secular," and "humanist" mean to me. I share how I can live a fulfilling, purposeful, contributing, ethical, and satisfying life without a god or traditional religion. The booklet also includes an additional 35 short essays that reflect aspects of my secular humanist life philosophy. [DOWNLOAD free from Dropbox, one PDF file, 2MB]
- As a non-religious yet reflective humanist, for some time I sought a humanist-oriented daily reflections-type book. When all I could find were religiously oriented books that did not met my needs, I decided to create my own DAILY REFLECTIONS - a compilation of a full year of widely varied readings for daily reading and reflection which speak to my humanist and liberal social philosophies, and which are available for download via Dropbox.
- Over the years I have made many presentations to UU congregations around Texas which might be of interest and are available for download. See some of these PRESENTATIONS here.
- AND MORE...
From time to time I have given other presentations, and I have created and presented a Janus Legacies Life Planning workshop and workbook. See more about these OTHER PRESENTATIONS here.
- JANE'S WORKS
My wife, Jane Derrick, the granddaughter of Texas naturalist Roy Bedichek, has created a photo history of the highlights of his life and works - especially stories from his best-known book, Adventures with a Texas Naturalist, published in 1947. She has presented this program to several groups over the years. [DOWNLOAD free from Dropbox, one PDF file, 11MB]
Also a breast cancer survivor, Jane has written See Jane Beat Cancer: A Guide for the Newly Diagnosed. In her book she relates the story of her journey from diagnosis (triple-negative breast cancer in 2012), surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and back to health by adopting an anticancer diet and life-style including a variety of mind-body techniques. A copy of the book may be obtained from Jane directly at no cost by request: BirdStar Press, 3119 N. Josephine St., Denver, CO 80205 or firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-715-7827. Also check out her website at seejanebeatcancer.com and her Facebook page under See Jane Beat Cancer.
- AND FINALLY... (and this will be of interest to only a few)
Some 10 years ago I compiled family histories of families of my ancestry. Being a writer rather than a genealogist, I utilized a wealth of information, photos, and documents researched and collected by my mother, Flomar Cushing Derrick, and aunt, Bernadine Derrick Field. Families include Derrick, Gordy, Bock/Dischinger, Cushing, and Walsh/Smith/Goodnight. Also available are "William Paul Derrick II, A Personal History from Birth to Marriage" and "Jane Carroll Derrick, A Personal History from Birth to Marriage." Should you have family or genealogical interest in any of these histories, they are also available via Dropbox. Email me at email@example.com
and I can send you the link(s).