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

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Walk through the neighborhood

Took dog for a walk today. Decided to take pictures of all the flowers in people's yards.

Some have cactus, some roses, others flowering trees. It makes for a colorful neighborhood.

Here's an example of a flowering tree. I think it's a magnolia. I'm not an expert on trees.

Here's some flowering prickly pear.

It can be difficult to take pictures when Sammie is wanting to sniff.

This if a gorgeous bush, don't know the name, but it is lovely.

Ever present Night Shade. Give them water and they'll take over the world.

More Churrasco cactus. 

Lovely rose bushes.

The Desert Willow in bloom.

More roses

I don't know what kind of tree this is, but it's amazing.

And lastly, more roses.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

The Good Fight

I'm breaking a cardinal rule for me. I'm writing a spoiler filled post. If you have CBS+ and watch the Good Fight, but haven't seen this weeks installment. Leave now. Come back after you've watched it, you may miss the hidden jokes at the end of the show.

This weeks episode has the firm asked by the DOJ to do a complete review of all the evidence on the death of Jeffrey Epstein to determine if it was a suicide or murder. They have two weeks.
The divorce attorney who has a celebrity client sees a picture as they are breaking down all the boxes of evidence. An inmate across from Epstein's cell tells them that Epstein mentioned he'd taken care of a package before he was arrested.
She recognizes a celebrity hair dresser getting off the jet when Epstein is arrested. She knows him and goes to see him. He has the package the inmate mentioned. He still has it and gives it to the attorney. (I know writing this up it is a bit of a stretch in hind sight, but it's like most mystery stories where one clue leads to another and I bought into it.)
The envelope has a key, a letter and on the inside of the envelope a phrase and series of numbers. The key word in the letter is BUD. The investigators for the firm start tracing down these leads. I won't go into the blow by blow, but the numbers are a code to pages, lines and spaces in a specific book. This leads them to finding out who Bill, is mentioned in the code.
The clues lead them to a cryogenics lab and the guy tells him that Epstein was obsessed with immortality. It mentions his house in New Mexico where he was planning on impregnating 100 women to keep his line going. The show then tells how Epstein's body was removed from the morgue and flown to Florida hours after his death, and his body is not in the crypt.
They trace the key and the other clues to a mausoleum on a private island. The two investigators trespass to go inside the building and find a wall where the key fits. They open it and find that the room is empty. They've reached a dead end and leave.
Then the camera tracks through a crack in the room leading to stairs and into another room where there are cryogenic machines with the first one holding a brain, and the second one genitalia, a plague under it reads BUD.
Bravo to the writer or writers. They recreated Citizen Kane.
The double joke is the original movie has the journalists tracking down the word Rosebud, and not figuring it out as the camera shows the boyhood sled named Rosebud. The second joke is that Rosebud was the secret word William Randolph Hearst used with his mistress for her vagina, them man used as a model for Citizen Kane. BUB being used for cock and balls made me laugh my head off.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020


Today is books set in my city or state.
It's not possible to count the number of books, graphic novels, movies, TV shows that have dealt with William H. Bonney or known as Billy the Kid. I've driven through Fort Sumner, NM. a million times over my life and never had the urge to visit the outlaw's grave. We drove through Lincoln, NM on the 4th of July and watched their parade celebrating the Lincoln County War.

Naturally I set one of my books in Albuquerque. It's about a physics professor wrongly arrested and accused of selling cocaine. He develops super conducting plates that will levitate and turn anything they're under into a magic carpet. Naturally he uses them to make flying cars, but how do you sell them after 911? For a review by Berthold Gambrel click here.

The first book I remember being set in Albuquerque came out twenty or more years ago and sold respectably here, but not much better elsewhere. We have an international balloon fiesta every year in October (doubtful this year). Balloons are a regular feature in the mornings if the weather's right, and it usually is. They fly over my house regularly to land in the mesa behind my back wall.

The best selling thriller author, Joseph Badal, moved to Cedar Crest on the other side of Sandia Mountain from Albuquerque and has written two series of books set in Albuquerque and New Mexico. This is a picture of me buying one of his Lassiter/Martinez books at Treasure House books in Old Town.
The Lassiter/Martinez books of: Borderline, Dark Angel and Justice is about two female detectives who have to solve crimes and battle sexual harassment.

The Curtis Chronicles are about a doctor, who's also a retired Navy SEAL, who moves to Cedar Crest. His sister is murdered in Hawaii and when he goes to her funeral he tracks down the drug king pin who murdered her and takes down his empire. The drug dealer then decides to take revenge on Curtis and his family, trying to live peacefully in New Mexico.

George R. R. Martin lives in Santa Fe, where he writes his Game of Thrones books. Lew Wallace was the territorial governor of New Mexico and wrote Ben Hur in the Governor's Palace.

Tony Hillerman wrote about murder mysteries on the Navajo Reservation.
Please pray for the Dine people, they have been hard hit with Covid 19. The other native peoples across the country are struggling too.

Anne Hillerman, Tony's daughter has continued his work.

No Place for Old Men, and Best Picture Oscar winning film was filmed here, and of course the TV Shows: In Plain Sight and Breaking Bad, the spin off, Better Call Saul is still filming here. We now have three studios in the state with filming on hiatus right now, but it won't be long until they're making more.

My regrets to Dr. Irene Blea, Hank Bruce and Jonathan Miller who I've already posted about their works from Southwest Writers and Writers2writers.

Monday, May 25, 2020

10 Influential books no comment

Here's a meme from Facebook. Ten books that influenced my life the most. Without comment.
That's really hard!

Friday, May 22, 2020


Time to post pictures of pets. The Chihuahua is Bandit, the terrier it Sammie and the cat is our 18 year old Pippin. Named for Peregrin Took after the Fellowship of the Ring came out.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

WC 052020

Hmm, How would I  survive a zombie apocalypse?
At my age I couldn't outrun them. With physical problems I couldn't fight them. I'd get a shotgun and blow my brains out, so I couldn't become one.
Hope that's not too pragmatic for others.

I have written three books in how to survive a super volcanic eruption and volcanic winter. 
Just remember: When it hits the fan, you need a plan!
Available on Amazon unlimited.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Family pictures

 Had a call today. My brother is in the hospital for a heart attack. He's feeling better and wanting to go home, but they want to take tests and can't do that today. I'm sure he's driving them crazy and he's a bear when not feeling well. Here's some pictures of us growing up.

This was the day Mom brought me home from the hospital. Dad is as usual taking the picture.

This is us feeding squirrels. They could eat out of your hand. 

This is Bruce and me in front of the Record Music Company. The business owned by my Grandparents. Pueblo gets cold in the Winter.

And this is all of us, Dad taking the picture. Mom, Bruce, Penni and me.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

WC 041320

A villain you would like redeemed and why?
Had to think about this one. I mean Scrooge was redeemed, did it make all the pain he inflicted any better? He gets to jump about and laugh, everyone else is still dirt poor. Daytime dramas always start a character as a bad person then redeem them through love. Been done to death.
Okay, here goes. Saruman for LOTR.
He was a good guy, just seduced by Sauron. Gandolf wanted to rehabilitate him. What if Wormtale didn't kill him. Maybe once Sauron was defeated Saruman would have come to his senses.


Joseph Badal's latest book, Payback. It's a standalone not part of his pervious series of books. I tend to like his standalones better than the later books in a series, that applies to all authors not just Badal.

In Payback Bruno Padace is a partner in an investment firm in 2008. He finds out from his secretary, who's having an affair with a senior partner that he's being set up to take the fall as everything is about to hit the fan for Wall Street.
Bruno grabs as many documents as he can get and bonds then disappears.
Ten years later one of the bonds he's stolen is cashed in California. Sy Rosen, one of the senior partners learns of the transaction and has a PI/hit man go after Bruno.
The plot of the story takes a number of twists and turns at this point. Janet Jenkins, who works at a battered women's shelter and is upset coming from a hospital where a woman was nearly beaten to death, but will return to her abusive husband and she can't do anything about it. 
She sees a homeless man clutching a battered briefcase as two thugs try to steal it. She chases them off and checks on the man to see if he's okay. Bruno follows her to her work and a few days later he meets with her at work and asks about her work. He devises a way to cash in all the bonds he still has and turns the money over to St. Anne's so they can expand their program.
The PI/hitman then follows Forsythe, the broker who cashed out the bonds and blackmails Forsythe into setting Bruno up. I'm leaving a few things out here, but Janet drives Bruno to meet Forsythe where the hitman kills Forsythe and shoots Bruno. Janet drives into the hitman pinning him against a car. Forsythe dies, but Bruno survives.
Forsythe was an alias for Carlo Massarino, of the Massarino crime family in New York. He and Bruno had grown up on the same block, went to high school and Harvard together. Carlo changed his name and moved to California to get away from the family business.
This is the set up for the Payback. Normally I don't that in-depth, but without that background what happens next wouldn't make sense.
Bruno goes back to New York and meets with Carlo's younger brother, Louis, who took over the family business. He claims he's gone legit as RICO had shut down most of the illegal business.
They devise a plan to make Sy Rosen and his partners pay for their sins. Bruno has a tough time convincing Louis to set them up financially and ruin them instead of just killing them.
Rosen meanwhile hires a professional hitter to find Bruno. The PI/hitman in is linked back to their investment firm and the DA in California is filing criminal charges for the murder of Carlo and attempted murder of Bruno. Rosen now wants Jenkins killed as well.
The suspense builds from this point on keeping the reader guessing. Janet flies to New York to be with Bruno and the DA sends two detectives to follow her so they can give Bruno a subpoena. At this point you have two detectives, a hitter, a mob boss with his crew and Bruno running a scam as Janet acts as a magnet bringing them all together.
Joseph Badal knows how to tell a remarkable tale that keeps the reader guessing the whole way.
I have one quibble. The whole action is started by Bruno cashing in that first bond that sets Rosen on his trail. It is never explained why after ten years of hiding out on the streets he cashes it in. An explanation would make the story have more sense.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

TTT 051220

Today's topic is last ten books I've abandoned. 
No problem coming up with books I've bailed on, but I'm finding that most of the fellow bloggers on TTT are into genres of literature I'm not familiar with and not interested in. I've read a number of books that have been raved about like Six of Crows, and enjoyed it. But for most of them like Red, White and Royal Blue they weren't my cup of tea. So I'm bailing on the group. I'm one post out of up to two hundred a week. I'm sure I won't be missed.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Requium on Blogging

Berthold today had a post on blogging. He was responding to Lydia and Audrey who also wrote posts about it. They made me nostalgic for the days of Blogging before Myspace and fb truncated communication. I don't bother with twitter or Instagram ad nauseum.
Bruce, my brother, introduced me to blogging either in 2000 or 2001. He is hyper political in both secular and religious circles. He had a long list of fellow bloggers. I was writing Optimus: Praetorian Guard at the time, but a few of friends and family that I was sharing the work with mentioned my female characters were weak. I wrote a short story entitled Human Sacrifices about a female teacher trying to save her students from gangs by teaching them to read and think for themselves. It was purely an exercise in getting into the female mentality to make the ones in Optimus more real.
When I created my first blog it was called Captain's Log. It was personal journal of what my day or week was like. Then I created my writing blog, Tiglathpilezerx, where I serialized Human Sacrifices turning it into the novel it is today. I then created this blog for my family and the friends I've picked up along the way.
I enjoyed posting comments on Bruce's blog. He'd get lots of trolls and I had fun arguing with them over being in Iraq and Afghanistan. There were the fundamentalists that he infuriated and it was fun arguing with them over premillennial dispensationalism verses amillennialism. I love a good spirited debate. Bruce got tired of the trolls and blocked them. He's always bee a bit of a spoil sport.
I can't remember the name of the assistant principal of a middle school in Oklahoma that had a great blog. He had a large following and every week he would provide links to his faithful commenters and it was fun to hit the links and have my link included. When I published Optimus he bought a copy and I mailed it to him. He did an excellent job of reviewing the book. The best one of all time. Amazon took it down for some reason along with about a dozen others. They set a policy that they won't publish a review if it includes that the writer is a "friend." Grr. He became a head principal and didn't have time to devote to the blog. I've really missed him. It's been so many years I can't remember his name of his blog.
There's one blogger I picked up from Bruce that I still blog with. For a number of years we lost track of each other, but recently we're blogging buddies again. Yogi lives in Tulsa and he loves to geocache. He has lots of pictures of all kinds of things. Recently he got a drone and it's adding to his pictures.
On my writing blog a woman started commenting about how much she liked the story and I started following her Kimdergarten blog. She lives in Mississippi and blogged about trying to live through Katrina which made what was happening in that part of the world more real that just the news. That storm disrupted the lives of people in five states, but all that was reported was about New Orleans. Her son went into the military and was deployed in Iraq, that also brought home the reality of war. She stopped posting and shut down the blog at that point. She's been greatly missed.
On my Captain's Log blog I made friends with two guys in Colorado and the brother-in-law of a fellow teacher who taught next door to me. Butch told me about Russ, saying he was a radical liberal like me. I also encountered Woody. We became the Curmudgeons. Our posts and comments were lively, funny and made for great comradery. The two from Colorado decided that we should all meet. They drove down and the five of us met for a night of beer, gourmet hamburgers and lively talk. Woody, Russ and I decided we'd keep meeting about once a month.
Russ was a professor at UNM, Woody was a retired professor from Oklahoma and LSU. This was about the time I retired. We had lively discussions. Woody is an avid poster on fb, but his health is giving him problems.
Our meeting stopped when Russ's wife was dying. He dropped off the map after her funeral for a time and found another love. In 2012 right after Obama's reelection he announced he was running for president in 2016. I became his campaign manager and we had a press conference announcing his run. He considered this as political comedy. He made up buttons and I posted on this blog and it was great fun. Here's a link to that post. Berthold and Russ were both Gilbert and Sullivan fans and got along.
Russ dropped from sight and only comes out every so often now. He's missed.
Another blogger I miss is Michael Manning. He had a great blog with every year a Steve McQueen festival. He wrote reviews of his movies, interviewed a number of his co-stars and knew all kinds of trivia. He talked on all kinds of different topics. He finally shut down and is greatly missed.
Scott Horton was and is my all time favorite. He's on fb now, but his blog was amazing. He had legal information and posted about the hatchet job that was done to the democratic governor of Alabama. He posted artwork and wrote detailed descriptions of the artist and interpretations of the piece. He's still at it on a much smaller scale today. He recently moved to New Mexico and has started posting pictures of the state.
In 2006 Playboy magazine had an inteview with Anne Huffington of the Huffington Post. I wrote a post on my blog making a few comments on what she said. About a week afterwards I got a call from Playboy. They wanted permission to put part of my post in their letters to the editor page. I agreed and that's how I got a "letter" in Playboy.
That's enough of memory lane for today.

Wednesday, May 06, 2020


Favorite holiday

One of the proudest moments of my life was watching my son being raised over my wife (caesarian delivery) and hearing him cry.
Another was when my daughter was born, and then my grandson and granddaughter.

My favorite holiday is Father's Day. It aside from my birthday is the only day where in the family it's my day, now shared with son. It's also a day for me to remember that no matter what I accomplished as a teacher or any other profession I've worked in, that all turns to dust. My posterity is not my bank account or my possessions. It resides in my children and grandchildren and then with theirs.

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

TTT 050520

Today's topic: What kind of bookish party would you throw. Once the pandemic is over.

Guests: I agree with Artsy, you dear reader would naturally be invited. Also would be my writer's group. My spiritual twin, she's a painter, but let's me use her art on my covers, and is my fiercest critic.
Venue: A triclinium. There are three couches formed in a U shape. Each person reclines. In the middle of the U is a mensa or small table. Servants bring in each course on a platter with the serving in small pieces so the diners can eat with their hands.
Attire: Men wear a plain linen tunic with short sleeves in color of choice. Women wear a stola with V neck or Chiton with a square neck and silver or gold cord under breasts and crossed between them. Fabric can be linen, cotton, or silk with many colors and patterns.
The menu: 
Beverage: Wine, ale, Meade, tea or coffee.
the appetizer is fresh fruit: grapes, cherries, apricots, sliced apples. Between courses, servants bring a bowl of water with roses floating to wash your hands, and then dry on paper towel.
 Vegetables: carrots, fresh asparagus, radishes, cherry tomatoes, cut celery stuffed with strawberry crème cheese.
Entrée: Cut pieces of chicken, beef, pork, lamb, mutton, shrimp, scallops, oysters, filets of cat fish. trout.
Dessert: Ice cream: Vanilla, Spumoni. The only course using a spoon. 
Conversation: The latest book each person has read or the one they currently writing.