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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Enjoy the Season

Everyone have a very merry Christmas, even if you celebrate something else or don't believe in it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas is Progressive

Robert Creamer at the Huffpo has an article on the real attack on Christmas coming from the Right, not the Left. He discusses the importance of Ayn Rand's Objectivism to their philosophy. He compares that to Christ's parable of the Good Samaratan as the true spirit of Christmas and Christianity in general. He finishes with this statement:
A few years ago I read a book by a planetary scientist named David Grinspoon called Lonely Planets. It explores the question of extraterrestrial life.

     Toward the end of his book, Grinspoon speculates on the chances of survival for intelligent life in the universe. He argues that every civilization of intelligent creatures must pass through a gauntlet that tests whether the values and political structures of the society are capable of keeping pace with the exponentially increasing power of the society's technology. If its values and political structures can keep pace with technological change, the society may pass into a phase of enormous freedom and possibility. If it does not, the power of its own technology will destroy it. Perhaps, he postulates, civilizations are like seahorses. Many are born, but only a few survive.
     For the first time, a little more than half a century ago, human society entered that gauntlet. Our technological growth reached a point of takeoff that for the first time gave us the power to destroy ourselves and all life on our tiny, fragile planet. From that moment on, the race began.
The next several generations of humans will decide how that race turns out. We won't simply observe it, or describe it; we will decide it. Whatever the future holds will be a result of human decision for which we are all responsible.
     I believe that progressive values -- love your neighbor and empathy -- are our greatest evolutionary treasure.
     Progressive values: that we're all in this together, not all in this alone; unity not division; hope not fear; equality not subjugation; the premise that if each of us is better educated all of us will be wiser; that it is not true that for me to be richer you have to be poorer -- but rather that if each of us is more prosperous, all of us will have more opportunity; that our success comes from cooperation and mutual respect. These progressive values are the most precious assets that will give human beings the ability to make it through that gauntlet -- and to create a truly democratic society.
     That is just one more reason why at this time of year, we should celebrate these values -- the true spirit of Christmas -- and defend them from those who want to take society back to a time of social Darwinism, to the law of the jungle, to "survival of the fittest." Because the fact of the matter is that in the future, if we govern our society by the precepts of selfishness and the survival of only the fittest, we may find that human society is not fit enough to survive at all.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Life Comparison

My mother-in-law's funeral will be on Wednesday. She lived 92 years. A long life. When the funeral home and those at our church said, "Tell us about her." Our first thought was that there wasn't much to say. Something should be said.
The best way to explain some things is by comparison.
Rose didn't tell stories of her life, she was a very humble person, but she did tell me one thing about her growing up in Leadville, Colorado. As a little girl she remembered an old woman walking out of a wooden shack at the mouth of the abandoned silver mine and going into town to buy groceries. Everyone in town knew the old woman who always dressed in the same long black dress. Baby Doe Tabor.
Baby Doe Tabor had songs written about her, movies about her life and museums filled with her memorabilia. She married a Senator. Teddy Roosevelt attended her wedding in Washington D.C. Horace Tabor her husband owned a silver mine in Leadville, but when the Gold Bugs defeated all measures at Free Silver they went bankrupt. For the last twenty years of her life she lived alone in the shack widowed and abandoned by her children waiting for the price of silver to rise enough to reopen the mine and be rich again. She froze to death March, 7 1935 when she ran out of wood.
Rose was the daughter of an Austrian immigrant brought over to work in the mines of Leadville. Growing up her family never had much money, but got by. He older sister married and started a family in Belen, NM. Rose moved in with them to help with the children while her brother-in-law and sister ran a bakery. She met Ed during the war. He was stationed at Kirtland Army base and when he got leave would spend it with her. They married in 1947 when he started working as a parts manager in a car dealership in Belen. They lost their first child. Ed found employment with the Lincoln-Mercury dealership in Albuquerque and worked as its parts manager for 35 years through various owners and locations. Rose stayed home and raised two children, losing a fourth child. Ed and Rose lived a very quiet and simple life around friends, family and church. Ed was a deacon at their church and Rose was an active member in the Woman's Missionary Union. They bought their house in 1948 and made a few additions to it over the years. My brother-in-law married and moved to Nebraska. When I asked Ed for his daughter's hand out in the front yard at their house while he was watering flowers I thought he'd twist his neck with the double take he gave me. It didn't come as a surprise to Rose. When our children were born Rose was our day care giver. She helped raise them as much as we did.
Over the years we ate many meals at their house. Rose was a good cook. Her enchiladas were better than the ones in the most expensive Mexican restaraunt in town. We planned on having her move in with us after Ed passed away, but nothing could get her out of that house. Finally her health forced her to sell the house and move to Nebraska with her son and family. She had a nice cottage at an assisted living village managed by her daughter-in-law and spent the last year of her life in a nursing home surrounded by family and new found friends passing away peacefully. She lived a full life filled with love and loss beloved by all who knew her.
Our culture is obsessed with beauty, wealth, possessions, accomplishments, what good did all that do for Baby Doe Tabor? Yet when you mention that Rose was a housewife content to live her life taking care of husband and family you're looked at as if she was a Stepford wife or she lived a meaningless life. To those of us in her family and friends she had great meaning and accomplished much.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Time Passing

Mother-In-Law passed away today at age 92. A say week ahead.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Killashandrea Rhee has stopped singing.

Anne McCaffrey left us on November 23, 2011 at age 85.
When I started to read prolifically in junior high school like most boys at that time who grew up on Saturday afternoons watching Science Fiction Thriller movies. I was natural I'd start reading sf. Isaac Asimov, Rober Heinlien, Poul Anderson, Harlan Ellison, Andre Norton and Anne McCaffrey.
She wrote hard scienc fiction like her Crystal Singer series and Ship Who Sang then incoroporated it into fantasy with her Dragon rider stories. In 1986 she was one of the few writers in this genre that hit it big on the New York Times best seller list with the third book in her Dragon Riders series: The White Dragon.
I read the novella that was later turned into the first novel: Dragon Flight in an anthology of Hugo Award Winning Stories. (Hugo's are the top awards for sf & fantasy) What was fascinating about the dragons in her stories is they imprint and are linked telepathically to their riders. This makes the dragons equal characters with their riders. It is a total bafflement to me and I'm sure many of her fans why none of her stories have been turned into film. CG technology has been up to the task for at least ten years and I've seen numerous movies with lesser dragons than and stories than hers.
I joined the Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club and picked up about six books a year for nearly ten years through them. I dropped the club in the mid 80's because they stopped having books that were sf being mostly sword and sorcery. I fell in love with her Fire Lizards. A subset of the planet Pern where these stories are set in the Harper Hall books dealing with a young haper (singer) named Mennoly who imprints a clutch of fire lizards. After I read the first of these books Dragon Singer I gave it to Penni, who was in high school at the time, and the first thing she said after reading it was, "I want a fire lizard."
When I married decades ago I read all these stories to my wife. Reading to each other helps keep us close. The Crystal Singer stories with Killashandra Rhee were her favorites.
Notice how singing is so integral to her stories? It's not often any writer adds the importance of music to their make believe worlds.
Teaching 7th grade English I aquired a classroom set of Dragon Flight, and not all the students liked it, but I'm hoping I made a few of them Dragon fans.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Soul Searching

Since I've started e-publishing I had like most writers lots of stuff gathering dust that they'd written, but either never got around to finishing or thought it wasn't good enough to send to a publisher. I'd been writing a flash story a day for some time. I'd choose a picture, describe it as practice for my other work. Eventually just describing a face or flowers or scenery became quite dull so I started weaving a quick little story of the picture. The person's expression was where I usually got started, if the person looked happy, why were they happy, satisfied, same thing, anger, sad...
I compiled these stories into three anthologies when I started e-publishing and then started going back and taking some of the flash stories turning them into short stories. I'd turn a 500 or 1,000 word story into a 3,000 to 5,000 word story. One I turned into over 18,000 words.
Most of the pictures I used for these stories I chose from the Playboy Cyber Club. Out of 30 pictures of a model only about 10 show nudity. They usually have a glamour shot of the model's face and many of those were my inspiration. If you can describe a person's face you can describe just about anything, and the women are gorgeous.
One of the flash stories I developed into a short story turned virulent on me. The characters took me to a place well past the line I thought I could go. There is a thin line between describing the human body in all it's glory and pornography. This story crossed that line and when I'd finished the story the characters wanted a repeat and I wrote a second story and recently a third. By the third story I went as far as I'm willing to go and now it's time to step back, say, "I'm glad I got that out of my system," and pull back.
A friend of mine, who I respect greatly read one of those stories. As a friend he told me how much it troubled him, not because he's prudish, more like giving a drink to an alcoholic.
Optimus: Praetorian Guard is my pride and joy. I don't want what this book and the subsequent sequel tarnished by these characters. I've unpublished them. Yes in this e-publishing world you can unring a bell.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Vander's is out

Way back in 1989 on a 286 pc without a hard drive using Bank Street Writer I wrote my first novel over the summer. It was for Ted Turner's Tomorrow awards. The story had to deal with a positive future. I didn' win.
Strangely I kept the story through all the different incarnations of computers and when I started e-publishing last March I dusted it off and have been editing this story. Today I pubished it at Smashwords.com and Amazon.com

Eugene Vanders is an electircal engeneering professor at UNM. He's living a comfortable life with wife and daughter. A student tells the police he's a drug dealer and they raid his house. The new police chief trying to avoid law suits and bad publicity has a standing order that all drug raids produce drugs. They plant cocain in Vander's garage and he is arrested.
While in prison his wife is murdered and daughter commits suicide. Vanders swears that those responsible will pay.
He develops silicon discs that can make anything placed on them fly. The first real magic carpet. He fights with corporations and government to market his invention and revolutionize transportation while getting even with those who set him up. He's torn between seeking revenge and giving forgiveness to rebuild his life with a new wife and step-son.
This story deals with the abuses and problems with our war on drugs which is just as pertinent today as it was twenty years ago. It also is about how difficult it is to market new transportation technology while fighting oil companies, automobile corporations and government regulations. It's positive message is that this technology is possible and it will become reality.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Crazy Year In Writing

A year ago I had a really bad case of something that kept me in bed for nearly the whole month. When whatever it was let go of its grip I needed out of the house, but still wanted to write. My client didn't have much legal work for me so I approached him about using the office for my writing and I'd do a few gofor things as a quid pro quo. He agreed.
I came across an article about Yellowstone being a super volcano that could explode at any time and that it would nearly wipe out mankind when it does. I started a novel with the premise that if we can fly into space, build underwater hotels, survive in the arctic and antarctic that our technology is now capable of meeting even this challenge. I hit 80,000 words starting my story The Fan Plan in 1963, but the back story reaches to 1948 and worked my way up to 1990. I set the eruption around 2017 to 2020. I hit a wall at that point so I put it aside. I finished editing Human Sacrifices which I had worked on for ten years while editing and printondemand publishing: Optimus: Praetorian Guard. I submitted it to Publish America after Anne Littlewolf did a wonderful cover for it, but then discovered the wonderful world of e-publishing. I backed out of the deal with PA and felt a 900lb Gorilla fall off my back.
I published HS and the first 40,000 words of The Fan Plan (up to 1976).
For years I'd been writing descriptive flash stories based on pictures as an exercise. I compiled them into three anthologies and published them.
The very first novel I wrote Vander's Magic Carpet over the summer of 1989 on a 286 pc with monochrome screen on 51/4 inch floppies for Ted Turner's Tomorrow Awards. A 50,000 word piece that didn't win. I discovered that I'd transferred it to 3.25 floppies and then from hard drive to hard drive of numerous computers and still had it. My client looked it over since I start the story with a court case and he gave me advice on how to make it more authentic. I started editing it and then discovered that marketing flying cars around the year 2000, which was the future when written wouldn't sell today with our war on terror. I've put it on the backburner until I have time to edit it more for the present. I think the story will still work.
So projects in the works:
  • Update Vander's Magic Carpet.
  • Finish Fan Plan
  • Research and write sequel to Optimus: Praetorian Guard
My client suddenly needed me to do some actual work, taking documents to the courthouse, getting ready for a trial, which has been put on indefinite hold, and now that documents are being submitted digitally I scanned his current cases and have just finished scanning all his dormant files. For the past three months I haven't had a lot of time to write. I was also doing 10 hours a week volunteering at a golf course to get free golf. I'm kind of thick at times. After three months I figured 10 hours to golf once a week for free wasn't worth it. That has freed up some time.
With scanner at the ready I've given my card to numerous attorneys and said, "Have scanner will archive." So far no takers, which is good for my writing.
While doing all of the above there was no sense in working on novels. I started looking at some of my flash stories and developed them into short stories. It's been so nice that once I have a 3 to 5 thousand word story done I can post it at Smashwords and Amazon for Kindle. Smashwords then sends them out to Kobo, Nook, Sony or readers can download a HTML or PDF files. I've even been getting royalties. Wow who would have thought it a couple of years ago that the average author could now get royalties instead of rejection letters or be an indentured servant of print on demand!
I'm hoping to have the second part of Fan Plan and Vanders ready for publishing by the end of December so I can get serious about Stephanus (my sequel to Optimus).
That is if my client doesn't tie me up with legal work or I get takers on digitally archiving.
Where's this coming from?  I ran into fellow teachers at a Mickey D's yesterday and they asked if I was getting by on retirement. I handed them my card with pmprescottenterprises.com on it and said, "Check it out and see how I'm doing."

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Ethics and Virtue

I'm tying a few scattered thoughts into a thesis so stay with me as I connect the dots.
Point 1:
I recently received a newsletter from Logsdon Theological Seminary tied in with Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene Texas. It was two lectures on T. B. Maston the best know ethics professor in the last century among Southern Baptists. You can listen to the lectures here. The first lecture was a biography and the second on his thoughts. I was very impressed with the summation of Maston's thoughts and will share a few, which I wholeheartedly agree with concerning Christian Ethics.
So what is ethics: the term 'ethics' is singular. Second, ethics has to do with oughtness-with what a person or a group of persons ought to do, with what is right.
Okay, so what should a Christian "ought" to do?
The basic characteristic of the cross-kind-of-life is self-denial or servanthood. Maston wrote: "The first or basic law of life is not self preservation but self-denial and self-sacrifice. This is the 'way of the cross. " He emphasized that the cross involves the crucifixion of self with selfish ambition and purpose because Jesus made clear that the cross calls for selfdenial in the life of the Christian. Maston often quoted Jesus' statement recorded in Matthew 16:24: "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me." The first followers of Jesus knew the cross not as jewelry or architectural symbol but as an instrument of suffering and death. They clearly understood Jesus to be calling them to a life of sacrifice and servanthood. (bold emphasis mine). Let me be clear here. This applies to Christians only. I am in no way saying that everyone in the U.S. or the world for that matter should apply their ethics by this standard. However since so much of the Republican party and the Moral Mafia do feel this way, and that they call themselves Christians I feel this should be a standard applied to their thoughts and actions over the last thirty years when they first got in bed with a major political party.

Point 2. Read Paul Krugman today. He had an article concerning people who concider him (Krugman) to be hypocritical because he makes lots of money, but advocates for higher taxes on the rich and a strong social safety net. He ties in Mel Gibson's movie The Patriot and another person's critique of how patriotism wasn't a virtue of the film because the film's hero didn't fight for his country, but only out of revenge for the British attack on his house and family.

So to say what should be obvious but apparently isn’t: supporting policies that are to your personal financial disadvantage isn’t hypocrisy — it’s civic virtue!
But, say the wingnuts, you say that rich people are evil. Actually, no — that’s a right-wing fantasy about what liberals believe. I don’t want to punish the rich, I just want them to pay more taxes. You can favor redistribution without indulging in class hatred; it’s only the defenders of privilege who try to claim otherwise.
Lind’s essay about Mel Gibson ended with concerns that we may have lost the sense of what citizenship and its duties mean. Indeed. If people can’t comprehend what it means to work for larger goals than their own interest, if they actually consider any deviation from self-service somehow a sign of phoniness, we, as a nation, are lost.

Point 3: Cognitive dissonance is believing two diametrically opposed ideas at the same time, and that is what is happening in the Republican party. It's a coalition of different types of conservatives. Social conservatives such as the moral mafia that fight against abortion, same sex marriage, dancing, drinking, breathing, etc. and Physcal conservatives or financial conservatives that are against regulations on big business, taxes and are for wars because they're good for business and deplete the surplus population. The bible for the business crowd is Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.
Ayn Rand's philosophy is 180 degrees opposite of Maston's Ethic.
Atlas Shrugged page 953-4 (paperback 35th anniversary edition)
"'Sacrifice' does not mean the rejection of the worthless, but of the precious. 'Sacrifice does not mean the rejection of evil for the sake of the good, but the good for the sake of  the evil. 'Sacrifice' is the surrender of that which you value for that which you don't...
"If you want to save the last of your dignity, do not call your best actions 'sacrifice' that term brands you as immoral."
Rand has John Galt end her doctoral disseertation on economics by saying page 993:
"You will win when you are ready to pronounce the oath I have taken at the start of my battle...
I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."
If those in business want to live amorally, fine. The only beef I have with them is using pennies out of their pockets to buy congress critters to legislate them Billions of taxpayer money when they don't chip in and help out and get us into needless wars for their profits. That's an economic and political difference.
I have nothing but scorn for the leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention and the others of the moral mafia who have sold their souls to the crooks for lip service on their pet issues. The physcal conserevatives have stacked the Supreme Court and got what they wanted: Corporations have human rights. Roe v. Wade hasn't been overturned yet, nor will it because the crooks know that once the moral mafia gets what it wants their votes will melt away.
Christians and patriots know that giving is better for those around us and even for our own sense of self-worth. It's what makes us human. Sociopaths are only in it for themselves. Too bad so many of those who claim to be Christians are really sociopaths only interested in the money and power.


Thursday, November 03, 2011

Between Cake

Yesterday was daughter's birthday and tomorrow is Grinnygranny and my 33rd anniversary. Had a nice dinner with all the family for daughter. Tomorrow we haven't decided about yet. I might work a little while in the morning if my client has something for me to do, if not we're both free to get away for a few hours.

National advertising and numerous critiques heralded a movie named Anonymous. It deals with the Oxfordian theory of authorship for all the works of Shakespeare. I read a few posts by Michael Prescott (no relation) on his blog a few years back and it peaked my interest. I fall in the catagory of who the bloody hell cares, but thought it would be a nice period piece set in one of my favorite time periods. Guess what. None of the theaters in backwoods New Mexico is showing it. Not happy.

I have a post at the Captain's blog concerning a military approach to economic stimulus.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Economic Anorexia

There's nothing more horrifying than watching someone struggling with anorexia. They're purposely starving themselves to death all the while deluding themselves that they're getting more and more beautiful. Isn't that what the fresh water economists are doing here and in Europe. Cutting taxes, cutting spending starving the economies and deluding themselves while millions of people are losing jobs, homes, cutting education, adult children unable to establish independence after graduation, underemployed dying without health insurance etc. and the economic experts look at the economic starvation all around them and delude themselves that this is beautiful.
Just as a human body needs food to maintain all aspects of the body so does an economy need money to feed all those living in the system. Governemt spending is that food. It's needed now.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

John Denver Lives On

One of the many memories of going off to college in 1972 out on the windy dusty plains of Texas was an up and coming singer that had songs about mountains. The one thing I was really homesick for over those years were mountains. When I fell in love, many times over those four years, there was the perfect song for someone passionate about a woman: You fill up my senses... (Annie's Song) Not hard to sing along with if you drop an octave.
  It's hard to imagine it's been 14 years since John Denver's plane ran out of fuel and his voice was lost to the world. At one time his album An Evening With John Denver was the biggest selling of all time. Of all his songs the one I love the most on this album is: Grandma's Featherbed.
Today on the anniversay of that tragic day his Windstar foundation in Colorado is hosting an open house and auction to continue his work.
John Denver is one of the celebrities that purchased a painting from Anne Littlewolf. She recently did a John Denver collection of paintings based on his songs, and Windstar accepted them for their auction. Over the next month I'll put on the paintings on my heading. I've started with Portait of a Hawk.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Security surrounded by enemies

Bruce has a post concerning Israel, here's my take:
Israel: A militaristic state surrounded by enemies outnumbering them 10/1. Yes they are a democracy, but their only weapon of survival is keeping those surrounding them in fear of their military. It worked in 1948 when they created their country. They used their armed forces to good advantage in 1967 and defended it well in 1973. Since then no single country around them has tried to invade them and they are on the defensive against terror attacks. Their only real chance of survival is to increase their population, which they've done by birth rate and taking in Jews from Eastern Europe, and then slowly driving out the Palestinians with settlements in the occupied areas gained from the 1967 war. The U. N. can recognized Palestine as a separate country, but slowly and surely Israel will shove them out and fill up what they conquered. The stubborness of the surrounding countries refusing to admit them as refugees is delaying Israel's success, but won't stop it. This will not be a process for the squemish and hasn't been since the British left and the whole mess got started.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Long Time Ago...

When I was 14 I made a friend that my parents didn't exactly approve of. He lived down the street. He was in 7th grade and I was in 8th. He was a bad influence on me. He got me smoking. We were going to a very fundamentalist church at the time. The preacher didn't think Christians should go to movies, watch TV other than Dallas Cowboy Football, and the usual no smoking, drinking, premarital sex, playing cards, dominoes...
In the fall only 9th graders played football so there wasn't anything to do after school until basketball started up in November. M and I sometimes with someone else would go to his house until I knew Mom would get home from work. I'd bang around on his drum set and we'd smoke. During lunch there was a vacant house with a back yard bordering the school. We'd jump the wall and smoke. Mom's reading this so I won't tell anyone how we got the cigarettes. We got caught and were suspended from school for three days. Mom was not pleased. I had to read John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress and write a report. She had some other punishments for those three days.
What this did was give me an out from smoking. I really didn't like it. Every time I'd light up I'd look over my shoulder to see if someone was around that would tell my parents and I knew God wasn't pleased.
I could then tell M that I wouldn't smoke anymore. He stopped having anything to do with me and I wasn't all that upset about it.
We had little contact the rest of that year or the next. I didn't play basketball that year, but made varsity in track. I went on over the years to be state champion in the mile, get a track scholarship to college and so on.
A few months ago when we joined a house church pastored by the man I currently do legal assistant work with. M and his wife are also members of this church. He and S (the pastor) worked in a prison ministry. I don't know all the details how M came to find tthe Lord, but it's been nice to meet again. The problem is that his is dying from the forty plus years of smoking and won't quit. It's sad for his wife to come alone to church because he's too sick to get out of bed and see her tears knowing he doesn't have much time.
To a certain extent his story could be mine if I didn't have parents who cared and a faith to help me overcome peer pressure at that time.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Happiness or Nothingness

Dimitri Hamlin, an ontalogical anarchist, wrote a piece in the Huffpo. Arianna Huffington even suggested to him the title of the piece: Is That All There Is?
This is his conclusion:

Nothing is the positive yet indeterminate impression on the horizon, just before becoming something definite. It is nothing and it is not-nothing. Together with the present, it is the future and it is the past. It is the pure potential and freedom to experience -- the initial "I can" of intentional consciousness that provides for my participation and correspondence with wonder.
I think the world is interesting because I actually care about the possibility of nothing.
Singing, "Is that all?" the chorus calls for us to recognize the continually conspicuous presence of an absence. Disappointment is not so much the problem now if we believe in nothing; because nothing, by definition, actually exceeds all possible expectation: "wherefore it is right that What Is be not unfulfilled; for it is not lacking: if it were, it would lack everything." (Parmenides, fr. 8.33) I think that sometimes we mistake things for their absence and for this, in the end I trust, there will always be more to say about nothing.

Maybe Queen said what he's trying to say better in Bohemian Rhapsody: "Nothing really matters, nothing really matters at all."

Interesting ideas, even compelling to many, but there is nothing more like Hell on Earth that a state of anarchy. Anarchic societies are fear zones. Women must be protected at all costs or they will be kidnapped or raped or sold into slavery. They can't leave the house without protection or being covered from head to foot so no one knows what they look like, their shape or age. Men walk around carrying machine guns ready to shoot at anyone who looks funny at them. Homes are forts built for protection. There is only the law of the gun. But what the hell, there will always be something to say about nothing, because nothing really matters.

Compare this to "Persuit of Happiness."
Definition here: Happiness as meant by Greek thought and used by Thomas Jefferson means contentment, fulfillment, completeness, not just having a good time.
This is closer to Maslow's top on the pyramid: Self Actualization
Happiness is something, not nothing. Happiness is something to strive for, work for, appreciate what you've done, learn from your mistakes, regret the harm you've done to others.
To look back and see that you did SOMETHING in and with your life. You loved a woman or many, you had the joy and despair of being a parent, you worked not just for money to live on, but your labor mattered, you were part of manufacturing products, repaired stuff, grew and harvested plants, nursed the ill, taught children, raised children, kept a clean house, bounced grandchildren on your knee before your knee replacement.
When you have done SOMETHING with your life there is accomplishment, pride, fulfillment, sorrow, pain, regret, completeness, contentment: HAPPINESS.
All of these are emotions some are even opposites, you've loved and hated sometimes the same person at the same time, your feeling good, you feel sorrow, anger, laughter. When you do something you feel something. You feel.

The only emotion anarchy satisfies is greed, selfishness, fear and numbness concerning others. A great philosophy for serial killers, rapists, theives, drug dealers, corporations. Whenever this philosophy is prevalent society is ruled by tyrants, dictators, secret police, and fear.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Golfing again

Got wifey out to play Friday, we did all 18 holes and had fun. We went to play again today, but the course had a tournament. Not often I can talk her into playing that often.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Pleasant Surprise

Finally got the bill from the hospital for wife's gall bladder surgery. PPO dismissed most of the bill, paid a good portion and it looks like we'll be able to pay it off in one year. A little belt tightening but not nearly as bad as we feared. Flex account has covered all the other bills.
Now cross fingers that we remain healthy for the next few years.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Magic Kindle

I have a magic kindle. Whenever I have to go to the doctor or take someone to the doctor and in the waiting room to be called, or am waiting for the wife to finish before we can leave, or just about anytime I'm waiting for someone else all I have to do is take out my kindle and start reading and magically they show up before I can get one page read.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Matthew Iglesias has an interesting post concerning file sharing of e-books. Kind of like file sharing of music a few years back. Most e-book readers like Kindle or Nook are specific, but many e-books are PDF's and can be easily downloaded onto other computers or readers. He's really upset about file sharing books in the public domain, his example: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin.  I wonder if you can get it free from Amazon or Barne's & Nobles, or get it free by getting it e-mailed to you by a friend, what's the difference? It's public domain!
Here's my beef. I went to Amazon and checked my book. Optimus: Praetorian Guard. They still haven't dropped the kindle price down to $7.99 to match the price now set by Publish America. But if you look at the NEW books offered by different book sellers the price ranges from $8.99 to a whopping 874.25. Most in the 30-40 range. Here's my question. These are new books which should only be sold new by Publish America or through their distributors to book stores where the sales should generate my royalties, or by me after I buy them from Publish America and sell them at a book signing. HOW CAN THESE BOOKS SELLERS GET NEW COPIES OF MY BOOK AND SELL THEM WITHOUT PAYING ME A ROYALTY?
I can understant the used books offered, but if the books are new I should be getting my cut for my work and my copyright.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Busy busy busy

Took a "tag you're it" trip to Santa Fe. Had to hand deliver a letter to someone concerning a case Attorney X is working on. Here's a tip, never trust a google map. Had to buy a map at a gas station to find the place.
I've been running ragged taking papers out to Rio Rancho's courthouse. Twenty miles out and another 20 back. Air conditioner works good in the car, but the heat still gets to you. It's nice going into a quaint little courthouse that's not filled with people hustling and bustling. I just hate the drive.
I don't know what got into me on the last story I published. Normally I write R rated stuff to add a little spice, but the characters in this story were a lot randier than normal. It seems to be getting a lot more hits on smashwords than my more tame stories. Perhaps there's a lesson to be learned.
Publish America has lowered the price of the softcover of Optimus: Praetorian Guard from $27.95 to $12.95. There's still the PAper back for $9.99, and they lowered the e-book price down to $7.95. Amazon last time I checked had the kindle edition still at the 27 buck price tag, but it should be coming down soon. I expect PA will hike the prices back up after the first of the year, so if you don't own a copy and want one, now is the time to buy.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Perk starting to pay off

Volunteering at a golf course is starting to have its benefits. Had a nice round of golf Tuesday and today got wife out for nine holes.
Saw a rabbit take off running and a red tailed hawk swoop down from a tree. The rabbit dropped in a hole and the hawk sailed to another tree not missing a beat. Nature is awesome some times.

Sunday, August 07, 2011


Wife's work had a retreat and we stayed at a local hotel for two nights. Nice room, had the pool all to ourselves Friday afternoon while everyone else went shopping. Banquets Thurs & Friday nights and on Friday morning seminars. Banquet rooms need better chairs. Sitting through the presentation over three days in those chairs is nearly deadly.
The couple that presented had good skits and a well needed message. Friday night we saw the movie Courageous from Sherwood Baptist Church that did Fireproof. It will have a theatrical release in September. It's an excellent movie with lots of humor to break up the more serious parts.
Dropped the wife off Sat morning and did 5 hours as a marshall on the golf course. Strip club had a tournament, but it was more about a bunch of guys with a girl or two seeing how much beer they could guzzle. Course made a mint on the booze.
Came home took a quick shower and we went to the Isotopes game which had a fireworks night. 'Topes were up 20-7 at the end of the 4th inning. The only thing that kept the crowd there was the fireworks. We only go to the Isotopes once or twice a summer. Before they built the new stadium and when the kids were little going to the Dukes was a cheap form of entertainment. You could park in the outfield for little money and tailgate. They had family night coupons and you could take in your own cooler and parking was free.
Now it's 5 bucks to park, you have to buy drinks and food there, tickets are still fairly reasonable, but the whole experience is not the bargain it was with the Dukes.
Needless to say I spent most of today napping trying to recover. I have to marshall for 5 hours again tomorrow. What I have to do for free golf, only after putting in the hours as a marshall I haven't had the time to get out there and golf for free.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

A good trip

Took a trip with the churc to Elephant Butte Lake over the weekend. If you stretch your imagination that butte does look like an elephant.

A good time was had by all. The lake is really low, but that didn't stop lots of people from ski-doing, fishing, skiing and swimming.

Campers next to where the friend with the boat were next to caught a 20 pound bass with thier skido. They hit it and pulled it up with their hands as it bobbed up and down stunned. An interesting way to catch dinner.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

To the lake

Member of our church has a boat that can hold twelve people so we're going to hold church services on a lake this Sunday. It's a house church and twelve is the normal attendance. Wife is feeling good enough to go. She's been working the last two days and is getting stronger. It should be fun.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Getting Back To Normal

We had a pretty busy weekend. Took wife and daughter to see Harry Potter and a nice lunch at Fudruckers and we went to church yesterday. Wife is starting to walk more and can stay up longer as long as the painkillers are working. She has a tendency to wait too long before taking them and they take longer to kick in.
She's going to work tomorrow half time and we'll see if she's up to going back on Wednesday.
I want to thank all who have offered their prayers and special thoughts through this time in our lives.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Slow going

Wife feels good one day, get up and walks around the house, sits in the living room and the next day she's exhausted and has trouble getting out of bed. The doctor said she'd have good days and bad days and she is. The progress is slow, but healing is happening and there should be more good days than bad days coming up.
Convention got together some meals for us and our freezer is full. Many thanks to those who shared their generosity with us.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Slow Recovery

Wife is home and she's feeling better today than yesterday. It's going to be a challenge for me to keep her from trying to do too much. She doesn't like lying in bed with nothing to do. She's doing word searches, working on her plastic canvas and we started watching all the Beauty and The Beast tv episodes on the Wii.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

All's Well

Surgery went well, did lapro so she should be home tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011


Surgeon couldn't fit wife's in to the schedule today, she'll have surgery in the morning. If he can do laproscopic her recovery time will be much quicker. The extra day of antibiotics should help. She was feeling much better and needed the pain meds less than yesterday.

Monday, July 04, 2011

It May Be Dry Here, But For Me It's Raining.

Yesterday our van's transmission died, son found a car from a friend on the cheap so he has a ride to work. The van will have to sit until hell freezes over or I find a few thousand dollars to fix it.
Wife had heartburn all last night and nothing helped. It got worse and I took her to the emergency room. EKG was fine so they did an ultrasound and found gall stones. They admitted her and she's talking to a surgeon in the morning. Insurance is good, but the 20% it doesn't pay has me scared. Daughter's hospital stay last year forced me into bankruptcy and retirement. Not much of a safety net left.

Friday, June 24, 2011


I'm posting the poems of Mary Prescott at my Captain's Log blog.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Beaulah Colorado

Blogger friend and fellow curmudgeon One Fly posted that Michael Martin Murphey donated the easement on 120 acres in Beaulah, Co to the consevancy district.
It's amazing what memories that brought back.
My maternal grandparents owned a small cabin in Beaulah. The road curved around a hill and there was a bridge over a small creek. The pink stucco cabin was on the inside of the curve. It had a large main room with couch, chairs and book shelves on the wall on one side and on the other was a sink, wood burning stove, table and chairs. There was a bedroom past that and the back door. Behind and a ways off was an outhouse. It did have electricity. The book shelves were full of reader's digest, coronet and national geographic magazines, misc. books and lots of reader's digest condensed books. When you went there it was for peace, quiet and reading. Lake Isabel is not far away and lots of times we'd spend the night at the cabin and go fishing at the lake.
Between the cabin and the creek were willow trees. Grandpa had some long butcher knives and gave one to Bruce and one to me. We attacked those poor willows and made bows & arrows. The willow branches were too flexible to make much of a bow and the arrows never sailed very far. On the other side of the road was a hill with a flag on top. We would always have to climb the mountain (when your 7 years old just about anything is a mountain) and reach the flag.
We lived in Pueblo then and it was only a forty five minute drive to get away from the heat of town and relax for a weekend. Grandpa's brother, Frank, lived in a beat up trailer there for a few years and we (Bruce and I) would hike up to his trailer to say hi whenever we were there. Frank was moved out of his trailer and put in a retired journalists home in Colorado Springs. Mom took us to visit him once before he died.
A rancher there would rent out horses for riding and I remember Dad would have Bruce in front of him and I'd be in front of Mom as we went horse back riding. It was a big deal when they let Bruce ride alone. We moved down to Albuquerque before they thought I was big enough for that priveledge.
Perhaps the singular memory of Beaulah was a labor day weekend. We drove up on Friday night in the rain. The plan was to go fishing on Saturday and Sunday at Lake Isabel. Mom woke up and started trying to make a fire in the wood burning stove, but filled the cabin up with smoke. Dad got up and looked out the window to see four inches of snow on the ground and it was still coming down.
We ate breakfast and as there wasn't much else to do while hoping the snow would let up and perhaps we could get some fishing in on Sunday we sat around the wood burning stove. Either Mom or Dad chose a book named Pioneer Go Home by Richard P. Powell. They took turnes reading it aloud. Around noon the wood was giving out and Dad went out to get more coming back with a bucket of coal. By late afternoon they decided the fishing trip was a bust and we went back home.
This event was burned onto all our memories particularly that book. By chance we found it was made into a movie but renamed Follow That Dream starring Elvis Presley.
We moved down here. The Record Music Company in Pueblo fell victim to discount stores and Grandpa sold the building and the cabin. When Mom and Dad went back for class reunions they found that the cabin had been leveled, cleaned up and restricted for habitation not to contaminate the stream. My fondest memories before the age of ten are about Beaulah.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I came across a book of poems from this lady and found I like them. Thought I'd share some.

Mary Newmarch Prescott, American author and sister of Harriet Prescott Spofford, was born in Calais, Maine, August 2, 1849, the daughter of Joseph Prescott and his wife Sarah Bridges. Her parents removed to Derry and afterwards to Newburyport, Massachusetts. Mary was educated chiefly at home by her mother and sister. Her first story was written as a school composition, but was sent to Harper's Magazine and accepted. After that she wrote many poems and short stories which were published in various magazines. She died at the home of her sister, Mrs. Spofford, at Deer Island, Amesbury, Maine, June 14, 1888.




Though underneath the silent clod

Thy body rests—thy soul with God

Doth mount on wings of prayer and praise

To swell the measure of thy days.

Even though the grass is tall and green,

That grows thy heart and mine between.

Even though thy face be hid from me.

My Father's will I clearly see.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dad through time

Fathers day makes us stop and reflect on the role our Dad's played in our lives.
There are various fazes as we grow up. I remember Dad when I was little and him running after Bruce and I after he told to run and how surprised we were how quick he caught us. When he stopped being taller than us and we fought over whose socks were whose. Teaching for a few weeks across the hall from each other, that was special time. Staning out in the yard talking while he watered his flowers and shrubs. Seeing the look on his face when he held his grandchildren. Some things can never be forgotten.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Good news

The last two messages from the hospice nurse in Milford have said that Mother-in-law is eating, gained two pounds, sitting up and aware of things and had a hair cut. Didn't think she'd make it to her 92nd birthday.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Real reality

Vivian Norris has an interesting article at Huffpo today. Being a teacher and writer I watch documentaries and channels like Nat Geo, History, Bio, stuff that my wife huffs and puffs about. She's much happier with her daytime drama. Norris is afraid filmmakers will stop doing docs because large corporations hit them with law suits. In my mind the more the corps fight them the more interest they generate and more people watch them. My fear is that documentaries will die because no one wants to watch them anymore. Escaping into the oblivion of explosions, car chases, body dismemberments, who cares about "real" reality?

Documentaries can be wonderful ways to lose ourselves in reality, not virtual reality, not reality tv, but "real" reality; they are not only enjoyable to watch, but because they are based on these facts, force us to question when we are fed lies. Good documentary filmmaking preserves our common human accomplishments and documents the natural world and ways of life (which in some cases sadly is disappearing. See a great doc about disappearing cowboys and shepherds in Montana called Sweetwater).

The phrase that Norris uses caught my eye: "real" reality. My things have gotten complicated when we have to distinguish which type of reality we're talking about.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Latest Novel

An asteroid hits Wyoming in 1965 and an oil company's computers predict that Yellowstone a super volcano already thousands of years overdue will erupt in 50 to 70 years wiping out all life on the planet.
James Eastman, president of the company decides to come up with a plan for "When it hits the fan."
This is a multigenerational story covering the last fifty years and how technology if used properly could save billions of lives should a catastrophy like this happen.
Part 1 covers 1948 to 1976. Part 2 is in the works.

Now available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Nobles and smaswords.com. For $2.99

At Smashwords if you put in the coupon PA52R it's free for thirty days.

All coupons for the other stories at smashwords have expired.
I've looked at all the different formats at smashwords and have found pdf to be the best.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

greetings from Nebraska

Visiting with Brother-in-law and family. Mother-in-law is not long for this life. Sister-in-law reading to her grandchildren.

Milford is a sleepy little town 25 miles from Lincoln.

They've been getting lots of rain, the really bad weather has been south of them.

Everyone seems to have beautiful flower gardens. They're waiting for warmer weather for the vegetable gardens.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Another prophet with egg on face

What about the Bible saying that no one knows the date and time do these idiots not get?
It's so easy for someone trying to make a name for themselves and attract non-thinking groupies to dream up a doomsday scenario and rake in the money.
Living a Christian life is a committment. Cheap Grace and sitting around waiting for the sky to fall in is only delusion.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Good Deal

To all friends and family who have given me advice and support over the years, here's my gift to you. Click on this link to my page at Smashwords.com and look at my list of books available. I have dropped the price of all short stories to 0.00. That right Free, and what's more you don't need a special app like Kindle or Nook to download the story.
I've reduced the price on my anthologies and novel, but here's the deal. You can download them for free too. Here's how you do it:

For Human Sacrifices when you go to "check out" put in coupon code PA52R (not case specific).

For Flash Stories: Married Love coupon code is RR26Q

For Flash Stories: Erotica coupon code is UY58W

For Erotic Flash Stories 3 coupon code is XF25Q

Have some time to read? What are you waiting for?

The Coupons are only good through June 6, 2011.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Touching words

Good friend at Private Buffoon posted his touching eulogy for his wife he delivered at her funeral last Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

About Bloody Time

I haven't been able to post in some time due to a mix up with Javascript.
I've published three short stories, three anthologies and one novel at Amazon.com, Barnesandnobles.com and smashwords.com.
Optimus is now at Amazon for $9.99 and at publishamerica.com for $27.99. I don't think PA wants to sell many e-books.
The other books are under Patrick Prescott:
Human Sacrifices $8.99 e-book only
A story about a young woman confronting a demon that feeds on the pain and suffering all around her. She's facing an abusive fundamentalist husband that fights to keep her from divorcing him, starting a teaching career and getting on with her life trying to reach her students and keep them out of the mouth of Mal, the demon she sees in the trees outside her window.
This story has the three things you should never talk about at a party: Sex, religion and politics.
Short Stories:
Bona Dea $.99 at Kindle and Nook, Bona Dea Redux at smashwords (long story)
A lonely security guard's spirit touches the spirit of a goddess that has been trapped in an eagle for hundreds of years. The goddess slowly comes back to life through Steve and his friends to start providing the world with love and happiness again.
Wife Quest $.99 e-book available at the sites listed above.
John Fletcher is a young knight helping escort is leige lord on a tour of his estates stopping at numerous other castles to find the Lord's son and daughters spouses. Set in 1190 England this story explores the different social classes and marriage customs of the middle ages.
Woman on the Beach $.99 e-book
A woman is distraught on a beach and lets her cover slip exposing her to all present. A family with small children and the man who has told her he's taken employment out of state. This story lets the reader understand the viewpoint of all involved in a chance encounter.
For years I would select a picture from the internet at first describing it in exact detail as an exercise for my summer writing. Quickly the description turned into flash stories (1,000 words or less) telling a story about the picture. The three short stories above started off as flash stories and the story grew. The remaing stories have been compiled into three anthologies.
Flash Stories: Married Love $4.99 e-book
All of these stories deal with marriage in all it's stages from newly weds to divorce, remarriage, mature marriages, loss and grief, fights, making up and many more phases.
Flash Stories: Erotica $4.99 e-book
My stories here are discriptions of the people involved and how they wind up in bed and it's aftermath. Nudity is described, but not the sex act itself. I leave that up to the reader's experience and imagination. Erotica not pornography got it?
Erotic Flash Stories 3 e-book $3.99

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sad State of Glorieta

There is one place in New Mexico that has a special place in my heart it's the Baptist Encampment at Glorieta. I can remember trips up there from age 10 on. I met my wife there on a church retreat. Penni was married there and her ashes are strewn there around her memorial bench in the prayer gardens.
When I was in high school in summers the place would be wall to wall kids all summer long. The chuck wagon had waits of thirty minutes or more. The huge dining hall was always full. The chapel was standing room only.
When we went to spread Penni's ashes in June we were the only ones in the chuck wagon at noon. The place was a ghost town. There was a wedding taking place in the prayer garden, but it was a Catholic wedding. I've seen more nuns at New Mexico hall the last few times I've been there than preachers. It's truly sad.
To me this is holy ground. There's something peculiar when humans get tied to land. They get rather proprietary. Look at all the fighting in a small sliver of land between Egypt and Turkey for thousands of years with everyone claiming it as holy ground.
This recalls a time where I thought Glorieta had been violated.
I was teaching in a middle school. APS set aside money for teacher collaborations from their training budget. The principle let those who wanted meet for a Friday night and all day Saturday meeting at Glorieta. When we got up there and in our rooms that evening everyone immediately decided to drive to Santa Fe for a drink. No problem. I had no illusions about them being good Baptists. It was the next day as we were in conference rooms and most of them started smoking.
There is no smoking at Glorieta period. Not even outdoors. This was in the early 80's and I wasn't tenured so I bit my tongue and didn't say anything, but it still rankles to this day that they would defile a building built, maintained and owned through the tithes of Baptists. You'd think teachers would have better respect than that.
I remember that every time I hear on the news Native Americans claiming certain mountains here as sacred grounds to keep development out. Even I have sacred ground that I feel touchy about even if the Southern Baptist Convention has all but abandoned it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Got One

Since I now have my novel available for Kindle I bought one today. I'm sure glad they've brought the price down.
I'll hold off on getting a Sony or B&N reader.
I found a really good digital camera on close-out so start expecting lots and lots of pictures.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Short Story published

Submitted a short story to Amazon and it will be available Monday for Kindle at only $.99.
Anne is working on the cover art for Human Sacrifices. When that's done I haven't made up my mind if I want it done in hard copy through Create Space. It's print on demand like PA, but they're much cheaper on the price of books. What I don't like is that their e-book price is the same as hard copy. I might keep it only as an e-book.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wisconsin's shame

I hope the great mass of average people out there are waking up to the brutality of the Republican party. When they can steal basic rights from teachers, state employees, police and firefighters what's to stop them from even more violations of citizen rights?

Monday, March 07, 2011

At Last

Click here to find Optimus: Praetorian Guard for your Kindle.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Supreme Court Ruling

Today the supremes ruled 8-1 against a father who sued a baptist church and won a 5 million dollar judgement against the protesters that have been harassing soldiers funerals for the last ten years. The supremes overturned the civil court decision on the basis of free speech. Is standing outside a cemetery with signs that read God Hates Fags, God Hates America, and other offensive slogans truly free speech?
1. Can the government charge the protestors with a crime?

The Supreme court ruled in the case of Skokie Ill, that the American Nazi Party could hold a rally in a town with a large population of Holocaust survivors and give speeches. The citizens of Skokie, however had the option of not going to the rally. At a funeral that is not an option. Arizona passed an ordinance before the funerals of those killed in that senseless attack last month that any protests would be held in a separate location away from the grieving families. They used the same law Bush set up so that he would not have to see any war protestors. Protests of this nature have not been outlawed, but are now regulated depending on state or city.

2. Can the family sue for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Obviously the supremes ruled today that you cannot bring a civil action against protestors of this nature. Why?

This is the law on Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress:

Cause of Action for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Eric M. Larsson, J.D.



• A prima facie case in an action for intentional infliction of emotional distress requires proof that:

1. the defendant's conduct was extreme or outrageous;

2. the defendant acted intentionally or recklessly;

3. the plaintiff suffered severe emotional distress; and

4. the defendant's conduct was the proximate cause of the emotional distress suffered by the plaintiff .


• Action may be brought by the person toward whom the defendant's conduct was directed and, under certain circumstances, by a person who was not the object of the defendant's conduct but who witnessed the conduct.


• Primary liability will be imposed against the person whose conduct caused the plaintiff to suffer severe emotional distress.

• Other persons may be vicariously liable.


• Action may be brought in state court, or in federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction.


• Action usually will be subject to limitations statutes that apply to personal injury actions.


• Compensatory damages are recoverable for the emotional distress suffered, bodily harm which results from the emotional distress, economic losses which result from the emotional distress or its physical consequences, and loss of consortium.

• Plaintiff may be entitled to punitive damages.

By this ruling the supremes have nullified this major part of defamation law. If this case does not fall into the category of Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress what does?

The reason for civil suits of this nature is to maintain order in society. Instead of duels to defend a person's honor there are now lawsuits to settle the matter. It's not about free speech, it's about keeping people from killing each other when offended by the other persons speech.

On the CBS evening news the father who brought the lawsuit expressed this point very well. He said if the government won't protect the grieving families then they will and the blood will be on the hands of the Supreme Court.

There is a legal defense called "Fighting words." If someone says something to you that is so offensive that you can't control your anger and you resort to violence. It's justified and is considered self defense.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The Power of a Teacher

In the debate linked to in my last post Bruce repeatedly quotes from Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. The two writers of our nation's most important documents. Jefferson, Madison and James Monroe, three of our earliest presidents had a teacher in common. The Reverend James Maury. While they were students. Maury brought a lawsuit against Virginia concerning his salary provided by the state. What a case! It's known as the Parson's Case. Patrick Henry's father was the judge, Patrick Henry represented the state. To sum up the case Anglican preachers were paid in tobacco set at 16,000 pounds which under normal conditions sold for two pence a pound. In 1757 there was a drought and the price of tobacco increased to six pence per pound. The colonial legislature passed a law known as the Two Pence Act basically taking away their windfall. The King, being head of the Church of England overturned Virginia's law. Maury sued for the full market value. It is in this case that Patrick Henry lays the foundation for the Declaration of Independence Jefferson would write 19 years later. Henry argued in substance "that a King, by disallowing Acts of this salutary nature, from being the father of his people, degenerated into a Tyrant and forfeits all right to his subjects' obedience." (Ann Maury, "Memoirs of a Huguenot Family," G.P. Putnam & Sons, 1872, letter at pages 418-424, quote at page 421). The jury found in favor of Maury, but awarded only one pence per pound effectively cutting his salary in half instead of tripling it. I wonder if this case that all three men witnessed first hand laid the seeds of our first ammendment separating church and state.

Aside Scott Horton today on his No Comment Blog has an article on the historical use of jury nullification.

I'm currently writing a novelized life of Matthew Fontaine Maury, the father of Oceanography and Meteorology, reverend James Maury's grandson. My father-in-law was a descendant of reverend's fourth son Lt. Abraham Maury. Matthew Fontaine Maury was the son of Richard Lancelot Maury, the reverend's seventh son.

My point in this post is that Jefferson, Madison and Monroe didn't dream up the blue print for our country in a vacuum. They were grounded in the classics, that meant knowing Latin, Greek and reading classical literature. Most importantly Polybius. Who wrote about the need for monarchial equilibrius which Montesquieu used to for the idea of separation of powers that Madison incorporated in the Constitution. How much of Reverend James Maury's teachings rubbed off on these men? BTW Matthew Fontaine Maury is buried between Madison and Monroe.

The Reverend James Maury (17191769), Unfortunately no picture available.

Was a son Matthew Maury, a French Huguenot, who came shortly after his birth to Virginia from Castel Mauron, in Gascony. His mother was Mary Anne Fontaine, daughter of Rev. James Fontaine and Anne Elizabeth Boursiquot, his wife. He attended The College of William and Mary, and on July 31, 1742, was appointed usher of the grammar school. In February, 1742, he went to England and was ordained a minister. Returning to Virginia he became minister for one year of a parish in King William county and then went to Louisa to Fredericksville parish, which was afterwards in Albemarle county. As a minister he was highly regarded for his piety and learning. He opposed the Two Penny Act of 1757 and brought suit against the collectors of the parish for the full amount of his salary in tobacco. This suit, known in American history as The Parson's Cause was an important legal and political dispute in the Colony of Virginia often viewed as an important event leading up to the American Revolution involving the question of taxation. It was defended by Peter Lyons, afterwards president of the state supreme court, and opposed by Patrick Henry, who denounced the interference of the King in setting aside the law as treason to the people of Virginia. Mr. Maury won the law suit for only a small amount. He continued to hold the esteem of the people of Virginia. Afterwards the Rev. James Maury wrote a letter in reply with and explanation of the event that was later termed as "The Parson's Opinion of 'The Parson's Cause'" by a writer, a copy of which is located on wikisource s:Maury, Reverend James vs Henry, Patrick -- "The Parson's Opinion Of The Parson's Cause". Maury was still minister of his parish when he died, June 9, 1769. He had married Mary Walker, daughter of Captain James Walker and Anne, his wife. source: Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, Volume II; VIII—Prominent Persons

The Reverend James Maury taught instruction in classics, manners and morals, mathematics, literature, history and geography (Dabney 110), and also Latin and Greek. Most of Reverend Maury's pupils boarded at his school, as home was too far away to leave school and return the next morning. (Writings of Thomas Jefferson) Therefore the boys knew another well as young adults and as adults they (Jefferson & "Counsul James Maury) worked to make this nation great.

Thomas Jefferson lived with Rev James Maury's family for two years while he was being educated. Jefferson and others naturally went home on special holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas and sometimes on the week ends. Jefferson was enrolled in Rev. Maury's Classical School for Boys immediately after his father, Peter Jefferson, died.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Family Pride

Bruce has a video on the Mainstream Baptist blog of a debate he was in on the resolve: The U.S. Constitution is not a Christian document. The video is of excellent clearness and volume, depending on your speakers. Warning: It is a full debate and takes over an hour to watch all of it.

He has six posts under the video writing out his introduction, questions, conclusion and answers to questions asked.

Overall it's an enlightening video and series of posts. Naturally I side with Bruce's position. Debates never change minds, if anything they reinforce the beliefs each person holds before it begins. Curmudgeons and other readers who want to weigh in on the topic I welcome your comments.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

We teach revolutions

The wingnuts have bullied America for years. They've attacked the poor and the oppressed calling them wellfare queens and have gotten away with it because the poor don't vote. They've nearly killed all trade unions by sending those jobs overseas.
I could go on and on about what's happened for the last thirty years, but now they've stepped over the line.
Education has been under attack since 1986. They've badmouthed teachers and their unions (there are two AFT and NEA) and finally thought they could outlaw public employee unions. The last bastion of unionism left. Finally someone has decided to stand up and protest the impoverishment of America by our politicians and corporations.
The governor of Wisconsin wants to keep the unions from collective bargaining except for salaries claiming it's a way to ballance the budget. Collective bargaining on salaries is the only part of the negotiation process that impacts the budget. Benefits like health care and retirement are part and parcel to salaries and are taxed as such by the IRS. Other aspects of collective bargaining have to do with non budget items like hours, working conditions, grievance proceedures, hiring and firing, stuff like that. So why do they not want public employees, not just teachers, but state and city workers, firefighters and police, to negotiate these items. They want to hire and fire without due process. Mainly to fire anyone who belongs to the union.
Protesting in the streets will only do so much, but it is getting the attention of voters to see what's really happening and at the next election things might change, for a couple of years at least.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Back to normal

Starting to recover from long drives on the trip. 2,000 miles in four days took alot out of us, but we needed to get away from home, enjoy the beautiful scenery of Northern New Mexico and Colorado, spend time with friends. We got to pet and spend time with Anne and Daryl's horses, dogs and cats. Everything was white with snow, but the roads were clear. I took her a carepackage of green chile and more copies of Friends Forever, her children's book I desktop publish for her. We had good food and pleasant conversation ending way too soon. They're wanting us to go back up this summer to go horseback riding. There's still a lot of water under the bridge between now and then, but it would be nice, if not this summer then the next. Driving up to Denver from Gunnison was spectacular. Anne said it started snowing right after we left, but it stayed on the other side of Monarch Pass. It was nice and clear on the side we were on.

In Nebraska we visited Linda's brother and mom. Time is getting short for Rose so the little time we spent was important. She's in an excellent nursing home; Bob and Glenda check on her and she's eating three good meals a day and at the last check-up with the doctor her heart is still strong and lungs are clear. She can't wait for it to warm up and spend time outdoors. Driving home across Kansas was rather dreary after the snow topped mountains of Colorado. Between Clayton, NM and Springer we stopped at Gladstone general store. Talk about in the middle of nowhere! It had nice tourist type stuff with horses on everything and different types of homemade flavored honey and jam.

We had planned on staying home in our jammies Saturday to recover and it was a good thing. We had up to 77mph winds all day long. A real good day to stay inside.
I spent yesterday getting malware cleaned off my computer. I cost a hundred bucks through McAfee and three hours for one of their online technicians to go through everything and clean it up, but that's a lot cheaper than the tech companies around here that want $200 just to look at it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

On The Road

Going up to see Anne, if the roads are clear, then over to Nebraska to spend some time with Mother-in-Law.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Tragic Actresses

On Christmas day 1970 we went to see the movie Paint Your Wagon at the Sunshine theater. Mom and Dad had the broadway play album and we grew up listening to the songs: Wandering Star, I Still See Elisa, They Call the Wind Mariah, Hand Me Down Them Can of Beans. Mom couldn't wait to see the movie. To an extent she was disappointed. Her favorite song on the broadway album was What's Going On Here, and they left it out of the movie. Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin mangled their songs something awful. Harve Presnell did a fantastic rendition of They Call the Wind Mariah. In the movie's story a Mormon comes into an all male gold mining camp with two wives. They auction off one wife and Lee Marvin's character Ben Rumpson bids the highest.
The movie does have some great lines and one of the best is when the auction proposal has been made someone says, "You can't buy a woman for money."

Ray Weston's character, Mad Jack says, "You just try to get one without it."

There's an interesting legal point that the marriage is based on mining law, and that she is Ben's legal claim entitled to all her mineral rights. After a humorous marriage ceremony sung to Ben's Wedding Day the couple enter a tent. Ben rips open Elizabeth's boddice exposing only the top half of her ample bosom. I was 16 and that was the most exposed woman flesh I'd seen in a movie up to that time. My eyes nearly popped out. Even today this scene is erotic. Jean Seberg is that beautiful.
The movie grows on you and I enjoy it on both Video and DVD.

When googled wikipedia lists quite a few movies that Jean Seberg starred in from 1957 to her death in 1979. Married three times, none happily, she overdosed on pills right before delivering a daughter that died two days after birth. She tried to commit suicide every year on the anniversary of her daughters death until she succeeded.

I don't know that there's a moral to these posts. I've just seem to have come across a number of actresses in movies that I have recently watched or are my favorites lately.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

So Sad

Huffpo sold out to AOL. Most of her readers and I'm sure contributors are a little miffed.
I'm hoping that at least for a while it'll stay on the progressive side since there's not alot of voices out there, but it will eventually be made bland.
Daily Beast is talking about how the Huffpo followers are upset, but they sold out to Newsweek, talk about pot calling the kettle black!

Saturday, February 05, 2011


Huffpo has an article about fashion designers Duckie Brown denigrating Steve McQueen.
I grew up with the adage that you don't speak ill of the dead.
The designers are a little miffed by the perception in fashion that McQueen is concidered a real man. Then they start a character assassination. There no need for that thirty years after the man's dead. It riles up his fans and causes pain to his family for no reason at all.
Compared to celebrities today, whatever human failings McQueen had they are miniscule by comparison.
I have problems with Jane Fonda's politics, but she's a fantastic actress and I watch her movies like 9 to 5, Julia, Klute, Coming Home and Barbarella.
The same goes for Shirley McClain, Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen, Robert Downy Jr., Mel Gibson and others. When I watch a movie I enjoy it or hate it based on the performances and if it had a good story. Their personal lives don't bother me.
Steve McQueen was a great actor. He could communicate more with a look than most actors with a soliloquy. His movies still stand up, Pappillon, The Great Escape, Bullet, Junior Bonner, and many others. If he has a reputatin as being a real man these movies are proof. Would any other actor today shoot a chase scene at over 120 mph over the hills of San Fransisco and still be in one piece after the brakes failed?


Watched a Real Time with Bill Maher a couple of weeks ago. He had a Republican from Georgia on his panel. After watching the show I was puzzled. For most of the panel discussion he was open, friendly, seemed human, even made sense, but when certain issues (evolution, climate change) came up his face closed up and he went into the party line.
Now I know those are the issues he uses to get votes, then it dawned on me, he didn't really believe what he was saying, he was reading from a script and it's just an act.

I wish just once when there's a debate on evolution that both sides knew what they were talking about. The argument is over MACRO evolution. The creationists are against all evolution which shows how silly they are over a stupid word. MICRO evolution is present all around us. Look at the different varieties of dogs and cats, mules, bacteria that become disease resistent. Micro is changes within a species. Macro is where a species develop into a new species.
If both sides understood that maybe the arguments wouldn't seem so silly.

Denial of climate change is just plain stupid.There is more than enough imperical evidence showing the melting of the ice caps to prove it exists. The argument should be what we can or cannot do about, not whether or not it exists. Then again there are people who still believe the world is flat, but their belief doesn't change reality.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Cold Snap

The sun is shining, but the flags are still standing straight out. The wind kept the snow clouds away from town last night, but black ice makes driving deadly. It's been nice to stay inside and look out at the weather. Son has to work and is driving in the mess.
It'll take a few days for everything to warm up around here, the rest of the country will take a little longer. In about a week or ten days I'll be back out on the golf course. There are some good things about living in a desert.