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In celebration of my birthday on February 5, 2023, I am running a campaign to raise money to support my work here at Behind The Black. I do not run ads. My only support comes from my readers, which leaves me utterly free to speak my mind openly about space, culture, and politics. Please consider supporting me in this work by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, in any one of the following ways:


1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


2. Donate through Gabpay, using my email address zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

3. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.

4. A Paypal Donation:

4. A Paypal subscription:

5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

Virtual Railfan – 55 Trains in 5 Minutes!

An evening pause: As Steve Goodman sang:

And the sons of pullman porters
And the sons of engineers
Ride their fathers’ magic carpets made of steel
And mothers with their babes asleep
Are rockin’ to the gentle beat
And the rhythm of the rails is all they feel.

Hat tip Alton Blevins.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • Alex Andrite

    DAH DAH DIT DAH ………..

    Great collection.
    I once knew a camera repair professional, back in the day of single lens reflex cameras.
    His hobby was using portable top end stero recording units, and recording train sounds.
    He would travel the nation to specific, and well know places, and record train sounds, up close and personal, CLOSE.
    All the while narrating where, when, and which engine, and cautioning listeners to the sounds, deep bass, extreme squeels, etc.
    One of his many favorite recording locations were switching yards. Rumbles, clanks, squeels, slams and grinds, were amazing.
    He enjoyed recording the switching yard here in San Jose, CA for the diversity of engine and yard sounds.

    His major customer base was Japanese train hobbiests. That, coupled with his photo skills, made for an amazing and profitable business.

  • John C

    Love that Arlo Guthrie song.

  • Concerned

    Trains built this country and continue to keep it running. Still the most energy efficient means of heavy transportation.

  • MDN

    I wish the clip of the steam locomotive at just after 2:00 minutes was a bit longer. That thing was a monster!

  • John S.

    Years ago hopped the freights from West Covina, CA to Balto, MD. Nine days, plenty hobo jungles, rail side missions, two apprehensions by RR cops (“Bulls”). Tucson, Tucumcari, El Paso, Dalhart, Topeka, St L, Ind, Parkersburg WV, Brunswick MD, DC, Balto, Phil, and back again to Balto. Parents (great ones) never knew.. Hobo’s in general good crowd sharing Mission handouts. Sometimes yard workers would tell next train movement. Hopped a little later. Doubt it could be done today by normal young’ns.

  • wayne

    John S.
    Great back-story!

    circling back…..

    Hobo Nickel: Vintage & Modern

  • Jeff Wright

    My Dad worked for the L&N (Seaboard System, Family Lines, Chessie the sleeping Cat—now CSX)

    He bought me a Lionel toy train set. I had a friend who was a bigger train fan than even I was. He had epilepsy and was going through a hard time.

    It hurt, but I gave it to him as an adult.

    There are times I wish I hadn’t…but seeing his eyes light up with that and a CSX windbreaker was worth it.

    To me…it will always be the L&N..

    The UTU made sure that my Dad was cared for.

    On an unrelated note, here is a video on sacred numbers not found in soulless metrics:

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