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More Writings

We Desmoi Are Full of Surprises

Niels Nielsen, 10/8/2011


Bucket M’ loy was the new Desmoi ambassador to the Galactic Council. A near miss for human, the Desmoi were nonetheless close enough to shop for clothes in much the same places that very large humans did. They could also eat and drink with ease in the same places that humans did; indeed, with great gusto- and in these attributes Bucket was a native son… but one with a problem. His stomach simply could not manage the heroism he expected of it.


The Crash Dummy Chronicles

Niels Nielsen, 10/2011


Remember 1965? Remember the neat stuff we had back then? First generation skateboards, with metal wheels (remember how much it hurt when you fell?). Eight-track tape players for your Ford Mustang, with the tank full of real leaded premium gasoline, like wow- 100 octane- for 39 cents a gallon. Pale blue stretch Levis. suede Beatle boots, Instamatic cameras, Carnaby Street fashions: Petula Clark in paisley prints (downtown, downtown), the Dave Clark Five, Dick Clark, Ramsey Clark, Ramsey Lewis, Jerry Lewis, Shari Lewis, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Playboy Clubs- all this, and Mad Magazine, too. And plastic 8-balls with all the answers inside.

Why I Don't Smoke and Drive

Niels Nielsen, 2015


Not long ago a friend asked me why I don't smoke and drive. He wasn't talking about cigarettes. I'm lucky that I don't get asked questions like that more often since more than one acquaintance has remarked that I look like I shot all the dots off my dice in the 1960's. But I didn't. The truth is that I was born with several dots missing and some others that weren't glued on too well. They fell off in the rain after I moved to Oregon, making me what I am today. That skull fracture in Februrary of 1966 has, contrary to popular myth, no bearing whatever on the matter at hand, which I'm sure I'll remember again in just a minute or two. Suffice it to say that's not why I don't smoke and drive.

Malloy, Mergenser, Z'Beard, Desmond, Osszefogva and the Intergalactic Pickle Prophet

Niels Nielsen, 1995


Once upon a time, in a land known to all as the Pickle Realm, there lived Pickle People in great number. Four of them - Bucket Malloy, the Drule Mergenser, Ozgood Uncle Z'Beard and Doctor Desmond (who wasn't a doctor in the usual sense of the word) met together every other Friday evening to discuss their grievances and hopes for the future.

He Takes Flight: A Remembrance

Niels Nielsen,  January 2012



June 25, 1914 – January 23, 2012


Niels C. Nielsen passed away at 4:00 AM on January 23, 2012 at his home in Fremont, California. His suffering is over, which is for the best, and mine is beginning, which is just the way these things work. But he had a damn good run and we should all be so lucky to live to be 97 years old.


Ingeborg Nielsen

March 24, 1926 – November 10, 2011


On the headstone which goes over the box with Mom’s ashes in it are two dates separated by a short dash: 1926-2011. Such a short dash it is, for someone who lived as long a life as she did; that short dash cannot really encompass the 85 years between those dates- all the places she went, the things she saw, and the experiences she had. To the extent we witnessed those experiences with Mom or heard her tell stories about them, we will hold them our hearts and minds, memories much bigger than the short dash between the dates that mark her beginning and her end.


Rocket Science 2011, Caldwell Winery, Proprietary Red

Niels Nielsen, Label contest winner 2011


Caldwell Winery holds an annual competition for the label text that will go on that year’s release of their “Rocket Science” red wine. The text must be science-themed and no more than 100 words long. I was one of the winners for their 2011 release, and this is the label.



My 1960 VW Bug

Niels Nielsen


This is the story of my first car, a ceramic–green, 1960 Volkswagen Bug. It had been our family car since new, so when I brought it to college with me in 1971 I was already intimately familiar with most (but, as we shall see, not all) of its quirks and weirdnesses. Automotive technology has come a long way since the 1960 Bug, and after thinking about it I realized that many things we take for granted in a car made today were absent from the Bug, which made the experience of driving one something that most drivers alive today would have no understanding of.

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