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

Friday, October 20, 2023

Imagine Nightmare (First post on Medium.com)


Imagine Nightmare


One of the most popular of all John Lennin’s songs, Imagine has endured because of it’s beautiful melody and wishful thinking. We all dream of living in peace and harmony, usually in time of war which we are facing in both Ukraine and Israel/Gaza.

There is a saying, “Be careful what you wish (dream), for. You just might get it.”

Let’s take to the logical conclusion what these words say and mean.


1. Imagine there’s no heaven

It’s easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us, only sky

Imagine all the people

Livin’ for today



I don’t have to imagine if there’s no heaven or hell. It’s call atheism or agnosticism. The concept of Livin’ for today, is the philosophy of “Life’s tough and then you die.” The philosophy of “The one with most of the toys before they die wins.” All criminals are “Livin’ for today.” Can you spell N-a-r-c-i-s-s-i-s-m.

God or no god what’s needed to live in harmony and the “Golden Rule,” is empathy.

The most important ingredient in love is to care about someone as much or more than yourself. You can love your neighbor as yourself whether you love of God or not. It’s a way of life not just “Livin’ for today.”


2. Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion, too

Imagine all the people

Livin’ life in peace



This isn’t a dream, it’s a nightmare. It ignores the entire experience of human beings on this planet. From hunter/gatherers, to herding to farming and creating civilizations those who don’t have will kill or steal to get what others do have.

Someone or deliberative body always has to make laws or you have blood feuds like the Montagues and Capulets from Romeo and Juliet where the prince steps in to lay down the law for the peace of the city.

Nothing it kill or die for… Imagine all the people living in peace? Infantile wishful thinking. Without laws you have anarchy. This appeals to nihilists who want to burn everything down just to glory in the glow. Kind of reminds you of our current congress. Isn’t this the worst nightmare for our democracy.




3. Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people

Sharing all the world



No possessions, I don’t have to imagine that. I see it on our streets everyday as the homeless beg for money so they can eat. They have possessions, but they’re in shopping carts or scattered around where they camp. Sharing the world?

How well did Communism work out for the Soviet Union and even today in China? That’s the philosophy of share and share alike. It wasn’t a good dream then or even today.



You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will be as one


I’m sorry all you fans of this song; this would not be a world I would want to live in as it would resemble more Mad Max than paradise on Earth.


Imagine Lyrics

Songwriter(s): John Lennon, Yoko Ono

Producer(s): John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Phil Spector

Released :11 October 1971 (US)


Thursday, October 19, 2023

Review of The Fall of the House of Usher


I started reading Edgar Allen Poe in 7th grade. Always loved his stories, not all horror. He invented the deductive detective story, Dupin was the prototype for Sherlock Holmes. Like his poems too.

In college I was assigned to write a term paper on "The Gothicism in Edgar Allen Poe's writings."  I reread all of his stories from years earlier and found deeper meaning in them. The one story I never read was Fall of the House of Usher.  Not sure why, saved it for last before writing the paper and finding someone to type it up for me.

Picture this. It's a midnight on a Saturday. Cross-Country was over and I had a free weekend. Roommate went home for the weekend. I'm all alone in my room, it's raining and windy outside, occasional lighting and thunder loud enough to rattles windows and make the dorm shudder. usual for late November in Plainview, TX. I'm in bed and start reading the story. Thirty minutes later I get dressed and run like hell to the SUB to watch TV. It was even scarier than having to watch and listen to Porter Wagner.

Jump an eon and Netflix comes out with a mini-series with the same title. Naturally I'm curious and with lots of time on my hands and with wife and daughter out of the house most of the week I'm finally able to watch what I want to watch on TV. 

Preface here: Berthold Gambrel posted on his blog the 2001 movie The Others. A movie I watched at the time and liked. I don't like mad slasher and blood and gore gross out movies. Horror is a genre I avoid as there is more to life and being scared.  Berthold mentioned that this was a ghost movie with suspense without the nasty stuff. 

This series is in the same mold. There are a number of quick shock moments, shots showing the damage done to the dead without watching it actually happen. From time to time, they haunt Roderick, reminded me of An American Werewolf in London.

 Nothing more gruesome than a CSI or NCIS.

To the plot. A federal prosecutor, C. Auguste Dupin (from the story Murders in the Rue Morgue played by Carl Lumly) goes to a decrepit house ready to implode. He meets Roderick Usher to hear his confession. Roderick is played by Bruce Greenwood. (JFK in 13 Days.) Gothicism permeates the meeting, there are creaking sounds, it's dark and gloomy all the light is on the two men. In the previous two weeks Roderick has buried all six of his children. There are none left. He starts his confession which leads to the telling of the story of his rise and now fall.

The first episode introduces all the family. They are on trial, and the key witness is dead. The prosecutor informs the judge that he has a key witness that he will not name for fear of his life, but that he is inside the Usher family and will come forward.

This causes all the family to get together and start blaming each other as the informant. We're now introduced to the family.

There's a flashback to Roderick as a young man with wife, Anabel (Anabel Lee), as he's working at Fortunato Phamaceutical, for his legitimate half-brother and being cheated by him for an idea he brought to him for the miracle pain killer that doesn't cause addiction.

You see him and his twin at a bar meeting the woman, Verna (anagram of raven) who tells them she can give them their hearts desire. Verna appears in all episodes either in human form or raven.  

Back to the confession Roderick starts talking about his mother (Anabeth Gish) and the life he and his twin sister (Mary McDonell) lived growing up. It's inferred that they are the children of her boss that lives not far from them where she is his secretary.

The mother gets sick, and they run to her boss for help, and they are refused. She dies and they bury her. She rises from the makeshift casket on a dark and stormy night and goes to her boss and kills him with a kiss. The title of the first episode is "On a Midnight Dreary," the first line of the poem The Raven.

Each episode is about the death of the six children all titled after a Poe short story playing out their demise. In order are the 2. Mask of the Red Death 3. Murder in the Rue Morgue 4. The Black Cat 5. The Tell Tale Heart 6. Gold Bug 7. The Pit and the Pendulum. 8. The Raven.

The series starts with the beginning of the poem and ends with the poem.

It's not until the last episode you see the flashback with Verna and the twins as they're told they can have their hearts desire, but the price is they will bury their children.

Enough of the plot. 

The acting is superb. Top notch for everyone. Cinematography is spot on. Pacing is perfect. Musical score sets the tone and mood that gives you goosebumps, without feeling like you need to puke.

When the house crashes and buries the House of Usher it is the ultimate climax.

There is a nice twist at the end.

I started teaching middle school English in 1981. I found the textbooks no longer had any Poe stories in them. I got a classroom set of Poe stories trying to interest the boys, girls were willing readers, boys were reluctant mostly because the stories weren't written for them. 

I had to explain every other word. In the fifteen years since I was their age the vocabulary of 7th grade dropped like a stone down a very dark well.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

WC101823: Favorite Scary Monster


What is my favorite monster?

I've always been partial to vampires. Grew up with Boris Karloff, and many incarnations of Dracula. Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee's, many movies were nice, but not that scary.  

I like the 1979 version with Frank Langella as Dracula. He personified Dracula to me. The Gary Oldman version was okay but was too weird at first.

Then I started reading Anne Rice and her vampires, then witches and mummy other books. 

Still Lestat was the consummate vampire. She broke away from the Bram Stoker rigid restrictions on vampires. Making them even scarier.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

WC101123: My Most Creative Halloween Costumes.


My most creative Halloween Costumes.

One year teaching English in mid-school. I dressed in a tunic and toga. Had my classes in the library and told them the short story King of the Jews, from James A. Michener's The Source

It's a close friend of Herod the Great telling about the rise and fall of the most infamous of all the kings of Judea. By far the best of all the short stories in that book.

Another year teaching world history, I had a plush red and black terrycloth robe with a hood I wore with one of my wife's silver belts with a round bronze medallion draped over my shoulders. It acted as a chain of office in medieval times.  I was Thomas Wolsey recalling being a Cardinal and Chancellor of England. (Gave the robe to my son as it no longer fits. I loved that robe.) Cardinal Wolsey was the subject of a number of my papers in college and in Three Medieval Battles.  

Thursday, October 05, 2023

For Nema: Anne Littlewolf


I gave Nema LaCuyer the pastor at Mesa Vista United Methodist Church a copy of Friends Forever by Anne Littlewolf. This last Sunday she said she liked it but had a hard time getting through it. She read it at the 11:00 service to the children.

I told her that I would have to share with her about the author/illustrator of the children’s book at a later time, as it’s a long story.

Nema as all pastors has limited time for long stories so I thought I’d post about my “Twin” here on my blog and then repost it on Facebook for her.

Anne Littlewolf was not the name she was born with. She legally changed it when she became an artist. I met her at Wayland Baptist College our freshman year as Pat Penny.

Her father was the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Farmington, NM. It so happened that in 1966 for six months my family lived in Farmington and that was the church we attended. When I found out where she was from and the church, we talked about some of the people both of us knew. A friend that lived two doors down from us was now married with a child and a deacon in the church.

What we ran into was the similarity of our names. The professors couldn’t tell us apart on the seating charts. Pat Prescott and Pat Penny were just too close. We remarked on it and I’m not sure who suggested it, but we decided we must be twins. We started calling each other twin.

Pat was the type of person who never knew a stranger. I dated other girls, but she was always around and friendly. She made two other friends, Nora, and Judy. All three would go into the TV room at SUB, watch TV and knit. Someone kidded them about being old woman, and that started one of them talking in a cranky old woman voice and they decided they would start a sorority: Omicron Beta, it stood for Old Biddies.

Because Pat was always around me, she was relentless, if I wasn’t interested her that way, we were still going to be friends. That meant Nora and Judy were usually around too. Judy was the only one who had a car.

Soap Opera Time.

Judy and Nora were from Albuquerque and one spring break my parents couldn’t come get me and I asked Judy to if I could go home with her and come back. At the time Judy, a year ahead of us, was engaged to David. We had a nice ride home. On the way back. We got to know each other well.

I was, and until the invention of word processing, an absolutely abominable typist. Pat would type up my term papers. It was aggravating as we were both majoring in history and English as she would want to rephrase what I wrote, and I didn’t want to say it that way. She won as she typed it. The only thing she wanted in payment was I take her out on a date.

Judy and David broke up and this is where it got weird. Pat latched onto David and then Judy and I got together. Dave and Pat married our sophomore year and six months later had a bouncing baby girl. I remember sitting next to her while she was pregnant in History of the American Revolution in a lecture hall where the seats had a swing up desktop. She took her notes on her belly as the desktop couldn’t swing up.

Judy and I got married the end of my junior year. Judy graduated early in December and was living in an apartment. I blew out my knee the middle of the track season and lost my scholarship. We all graduated and lost contact with each other.


Judy and I divorced, I remarried, now coming up to 45 years. Started teaching, two children and now three grandchildren. 1986: Melissa was born two weeks before my first reunion and I didn’t go. 1996: Linda and I went and met Nora. She told me about Pat and David's divorce, she remarried and was in the process of getting divorced again, there being abuse involve. 2006: Nora was there again, but technology came about. Pat had changed her name to Anne and was living in Gunnison CO. Nora gave me her e-mail address.

I got in contact with Anne, and it was like thirty years evaporated. She was living in Colorado, but she was wanting to come down to Albuquerque to see if she could get some of her artwork in Old Town or other galleries.

She drove down and stayed with her sister. She showed me her artwork from her portfolio, and I gave her a copy of Optimus: Praetorian Guard.

She also showed me her children’s book Friends Forever. Her third husband died suddenly, and this was her catharsis in grief. 

It’s a story about friendship, loss and then making new friends. Not many children's stories deal with grief. 

She wanted to know how she could get it published. I told her that "print on demand," like I used for Optimus was way too expensive.

I was teaching at the time and APS has a print shop called D’Lites. Teachers could go there get large quantities published for minimum cost, even cheaper if you brought your own paper.

I scanned copies of the pages and took them down with card stock to be printed on. All the pages were also laminated. Thirty copies came to $200.00. She gave me the money. I told her that when these were gone, I’d desktop publish them. She gave me the money to buy a binding machine. She took twenty of the copies home with her and I kept ten.

When I was having book signings for Optimus, I’d sell Friends Forever too. It was a book signing at the Tesuque flea market where a man bought two of FF's. He said he was an oncologist and thought they would be good for his waiting room.

In Gunnison Anne was working on a mural in a nursing home. She showed FF to the hospice workers, and they sent a few copies to the national branch thinking they would be good for all their nursing homes. Nothing came of it.

When all the laminated copies were gone, I started making copies on ink jet printers, but they don’t take cardstock, so I had to use regular paper bound with plastic clips.

Anne came down as she’d found a café in Old Town that would let her put up paintings on commission. She brought down paintings on wood cuts. She also had a small oil painting. She asked if I’d be her manager and keep track of what sold, and collect the money, and make sure they were still on the wall if they didn’t.

I dropped by about once a month for six months, and all was fine, nothing was selling, but they were still there. I went and the café was gone a construction crew was gutting the place and no artwork anywhere. We were unable to contact the owner. Coming Storm is the one she lost along with her wooden paintings like this one.

This is Aspens in Colorado; she gave it to me on her first trip down. I liked another of her painting in her portfolio, but she'd already sold it. She painted another and gave it to me. White Wolf.

Most of Anne’s work was in oil paintings. She sold a work to Ricky Skaggs and John Denver. Her work was on the internet from time to time with different galleries and she made a fairly good living. She did landscapes, snowscapes and eagles, lots of eagles. 

She did four eagle paintings and donated them to John Denver's foundation in Windstar, Colorado. They kept two of the paintings for display and were grateful for being able to sell the other two for the foundation. This is Eagle on a Post. It gets cold in Colorado. Not one of the ones she took to Windstar.

She was having trouble with the altitude in Gunnison, and it took some time to convince her partner she needed to move to a lower altitude. They moved down here and found a place in Tijeras where they could keep their horses.

Anne came down before they moved, Nora had moved back home, and we had both over for Thanksgiving dinner. We had a good time entertaining Linda and Melissa about all the trouble we used to get into living 40 miles from the nearest known sin.

We’d meet about every two or three months where either she would call, or I would and ask if we wanted to wake up the dead in some poor restaurant in town. We’d meet, I would take Linda and Melissa along with me and she’d keep us in stitches telling jokes for an hour. Entertained the others there if they liked it or not. But wherever we went they knew and welcomed her.

From time to time the attorney I worked with would need witnesses for a will. Nora and Anne were willing to help out. It was another way for us to keep in touch. Anne would read my stories as I was working on them and give me advice and I was always amazed at her artwork.

I asked her if she would redo Friends Forever as a coloring book. The cover and back could stay colored, but the inside a coloring book. She got it to me, and I started making copies. They didn’t sell, but I was working in an office and when clients came in to see the attorney with children, I’d give them a copy to color while they waited.

 Anne loved my mom. She stayed with Mom for a bit during the transition from moving down here, and when Mom moved from her townhouse to a senior facility, she and her partner brought their two trucks and helped her move. She sang in a church choir and on Sunday afternoons once a month they’d sing where Mom was staying. I drove Mom to church and back and Anne would drag me up with them to sing.

The last time we met she switched from oil to using colored pencil and crayon. She showed me some of her work and they were gorgeous.

I tried to get in touch with her after that, but her phone wasn’t working, and she wasn’t answering her e-mail. In November I got an email saying she was losing weight and energy. I got another email in February saying she was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. Then nothing.

I kept an eye on obits and was worried. Finally, I called her church where she was on the governing council. This was in August of 2022. The secretary said Anne died in April. No obit, no memorial service, no funeral.

What I had left of FF I gave to the nice ladies from hospice when my mother was in their care. After I heard about Anne, I took the master copies and had them printed at Office Depot on glossy paper and used wire binding. I also made more coloring books. I have copies of FF, but they are not for sale. They are free. This is my way of honoring Anne and her work.

Books on the Bosque on Coors Blvd not far from Mesa View has children's coloring night once a month. I took all the coloring books and gave them for the children to use. I can make them much easier on a laser printer if I need more.

Anne's daughter was raised by David after the divorce, but she kept in touch. Karen Sue is working at the Smithsonian Institute and kept her mother busy making different items for the children’s museum there in D.C. Anne was a great seamstress and loved helping her daughter out.

One Last Story

Pat (Anne) was in the TV room in the SUB on a Saturday around noon, all alone doing her knitting and watching a special with Engelbert Humperdinck. Three basketball players came in and changed the channel to a football game. They found out just how sharp knitting needles can be in the hands of an enraged Old Biddy.


Wednesday, October 04, 2023

WC100423 Do You Believe In Karma? Why or Why not.


Do you believe in Karma, why or why not?

I'm taking the popular definition instead of Hindu or Buddhist thoughts. 

Karma: What goes around comes around.

Here are some examples of why I believe in Karma.

A) Hegel's Dialectic.

Hegel thought everything was conflict. There was a Thesis and an Antithesis that came into conflict and produced a Synthesis. The Synthesis then became the Thesis which produced an antithesis resulting in another conflict and so on ad nauseum.

Taken this way it becomes a dog chasing it tail as it becomes circular to the point that the original thesis becomes a synthesis, and you repeat the process.

B) In Pearl Buck's The Good Earth you have a Chinese peasant who gets married, takes over his father's rice paddy and with hard work and children to help him he buys more land and then more land until he becomes very wealthy. In old age he tells his children to never sell the land, but at the end of the story his children are planning on doing just that. The cycle of Chinese wealth.

1. Start as peasant, gain land. 2. Get rich. 3. Children sell land. 4 Grandchildren live off the wealth. 5. Great-grandchildren back to peasant. 

C) History is about the rise and fall of empires. With the technology the size and scope of the empires grow in size, but what causes them to all fall is that the desires of the military exceed the capacity of the empire to meet it.