Sunday, September 9, 2018

Biblia Files (part 8) - What's Yom Kippur?

Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur/

What's Yom Kippur?

It's the Day of Atonement. Its origins found in Leviticus 16 as well as other places in the Old Testament. And it's still observed. This year, the most holy day falls on September 19, 2018.  After the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana.
[ reference: Jewish Holidays 2018-2019 ]

For a good summary of its history and modern observances, here it is in 60 seconds...

Yesterday was a shadow...

The law is only a shadow
of the good things that are coming—
not the realities themselves. 

For this reason it can never, 
by the same sacrifices
repeated endlessly year after year, 
make perfect those
who draw near to worship. 
Hebrews 10:1 (NIV)

Today, full atonement through faith...

God presented Christ
as a sacrifice of atonement, 
through the shedding of His blood—
to be received by faith.
He did this to demonstrate
His righteousness, 
because in His forbearance 
He had left the sins committed
beforehand unpunished— 

 He did it to demonstrate
His righteousness at the present time, 
so as to be just and the One
who justifies those
who have faith in Jesus.
Romans 3:25-26  (NIV)

Blessings for the New Year of 5779!


Photo: Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur/

Monday, August 20, 2018

ED (part 1) - Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!

Bennet School 1912/

It's the end of August...

For most students, that means the start of another school year.

The classroom is open. So let's begin with a history lesson and some music and irony. A protest song from 1979 against the rigid education system:

Actually, Another Brick in the Wall.
It fits the theme of the old brick schoolhouse, above, doesn't it?)

We don't need no education 
We don't need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teacher leave those kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!

Another Brick in the Wall was Pink Floyd's only number-one single. So this one must have really hit a chord with the people and resonated.

Lots of talk. Much has been discussed about public education. What's being taught. Who dictates the curriculum. Why little Johnny and Susie can't read. And why kids are exposed to mature and sensitive topics beyond their tender years.

Reforms? In 1979, President Jimmy Carter had signed a law to create a Department of Education. Just what we needed. Another layer of bureaucracy between the government and the people. More money thrown at the problem.

Since then? Common Core. Some charter schools. Homeschooling. Private schools for those who can afford them. Or are lucky enough to get scholarships. But most of the America's children are educated in public schools.

We don't need no thought control...Teacher leave those kids alone...

Conformity. It still seems to be the norm. Though the norms have shifted--some say a radical shift to the Left--since 1979. Creativity still stifled. Beat out of kids in grade school. Dissent not tolerated in the name of tolerance.

Diversity.  It's championed big time. But only certain kinds. Like physical attributes of perceived oppressed victim groups. But diversity of thought punished and censored. Only sanctioned group think seems to be rewarded.

Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!

Other experiences? Here's what another musical artist said about education when he was a child,

“When I was 5 years old, 
my mother always told me 
that happiness was the key to life. 

When I went to school, 
they asked me what I wanted to be 
when I grew up.
I wrote down ‘happy’. 

They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, 
and I told them they didn’t understand life.” 


Sadly, John Lennon was murdered in 1980, a year after the release of Another Brick in the Wall.

Instead of Another Brick in the Wall,
may there be Doors!
 (The Doors is another iconic band of the times. It's a joke.)

So begins another rip roaring thread -- Education or ED


Similar posts in the series:

LOL (part 3) - Year in the Life of a Teacher  (2017)

PC Watch (part 2) - The South Park Offense  (2013)

ZAMM (part 3) - Chautauqua, then and now  (2011)


photo: Bennet School 1912/

Sunday, July 8, 2018

CC2 (part 2) - Trinity

Trinity Detonation/

Near Socorro, New Mexico
July 16, 1945

The first atomic bomb exploded at the Trinity Site. 

It was the culmination of The Manhattan Project which birthed the weapon designed to bring an end to World War II.



There is a brass plaque on an obelisk that reads – “TRINITY SITE WHERE THE WORLD’S FIRST NUCLEAR DEVICE WAS EXPLODED ON JULY 16, 1945.”

But back then

Here is the story of what happened that day in the words of  Elsie McMillan, wife of physicist Edwin McMillan, who worked on the Manhattan Project:

In 2008, I visited the site (opened twice a year to the public) at White Sands. And I wrote about it in the article reference below:

*  The Trinity Site: Where the first atomic bomb was exploded
     (published in November 18, 2009)

The same Trinity site is mentioned in Counting Coup: Book 2 of The Commander and the Chief series: 

Dr. Nova Orlovic, "The Chief," rendezvouses with Premier Yasser Nasser--Dictator of the Desert--in his massively complex bunker. She is escorted by her nephew,  freelance journalist Nick Orlovic III.

Nova comes bearing Native American gifts and Yasser tells her what he wants from her:

“What’s that in your other hand?”

“A present from my people.” Nova held up Kaya’s dream catcher.

The Premier invited Nick to his other side. An aide snapped a picture of Nova presenting the Dictator of the Desert with her Native American artwork. After the camera flashed, Yasser bowed. “I’m most honored by this precious gift, Chief Orlovic. Made this yourself?” 

“I’m afraid I’m not that crafty, Premier.” Nova returned a self-deprecating smile. “It was made by a dear friend, a Cheyenne Indian lady.”

Then Yasser gushed forth praise for his guest of honor. As Nova was a Native American Indian, he considered her a victim of the white male oppressors of the West. Yet Yasser overlooked that her father was a white man. And Nova didn’t think it prudent to remind him of that right now.

Following the Premier’s lead, Nova and Nick settled into a couch and partook of tea and hummus appetizers, set before them on a coffee table. From a drawer, Yasser pulled out the Ms. Indian Summer issue of Gentleman’s Delight. He wanted the Chief to autograph it, and Nova did so, using the moniker, Dr. No.

After a good belly laugh, Yasser explained that from Ms. Indian Summer, he had learned many things about her. He flipped to a picture of Nova in a white leather bikini holding a Geiger counter, asking, “When August Adolf chose you for his Gentleman’s Lady, you were nuclear physicist, no?” 

“I guess seeing me squat in front of that Ground Zero obelisk at Trinity, New Mexico—which just so happens to be the place where the world’s first atomic bomb exploded,” Nova let out a chuckle, “that gave me away.”

from Part 6: In the Belly of the Beast, Chapter 2: Tiger Lily


The book is available in paperback or eBook (kindle, Nook) form. Likewise, the first book, His Tribe of One, and its sequel, Peacemaker.

Details here: The Commander and the Chief Series

Your readership is appreciated.


Peacemaker, Book Three:

CC3 (part 1) - Peacemaker  (2017)


photo: Trinity Detonation/

Saturday, June 30, 2018

America's Story (part 22): Our Lives, Our Fortunes, and Our Sacred Honor

Independence Day/

Did George Washington sign the Declaration of Independence?

Short answer. No.

Actually, he was very busy at the time. As Commander of the the Continental Army, General Washington was defending New York City in July 1776. But on July 9, 1776, as directed by John Hancock,  Washington read The Declaration of Independence to the Army.

[reference: Did any of our "Founding Fathers" NOT sign the Declaration of Independence? ]

Here is the reenactment:

Note the last line:

“And for the support of this Declaration, 
with a firm reliance on the protection
of Divine Providence, 
we mutually pledge to each other 
our Lives, 
our Fortunes, 
and our sacred Honor.”

So what happened to the 56 signers and their families?

The late Paul Harvey tells us the rest of the story:

The signers were prosperous men, with everything to lose. But they considered liberty much more important than security. So they pledged--

Their lives,
their fortunes,
and their sacred honor

Today, may we remember what they were fighting for

We hold these truths to be self-evident: 
that all men are created equal; 
that they are endowed by their Creator 
with certain unalienable rights; 
that among these are 
the pursuit of happiness. 

-- Thomas Jefferson, 1776

Have a Blessed Independence Day!


Other posts in this series:

America's Story (part 19) - Trinity and "The Long Peace"  (2015)

America's Story (part 20) - Patton's Weather Prayer (2015)

America's Story (part 21) - Is America Great?  (2017)


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Science 101 (part 7) - Sun Henge

Summer Solstice Sunrise over Stonehenge 2005/

The Summer Solstice 

As of this posting, it's coming up June 21, 2018.

When the day will get as long as it will get this year. At least in the northern hemisphere.

The Science?

It's explained in this video:

An intriguing spot to observe the solstice is in England.


Many gather there for various reasons to observe and experience the turning point of the seasons. For the Solstice can not only be reduced to a scientific fact. But also one of myth and lore and wonder.

The video below relives the longest day of the year at Stonehenge with sunset on 20 June and sunrise on 21 June, 2017.

For many, the Solstice is a mystical, spiritual, even religious experience. 

And in that vein of thought, let's go back to the revelation of the origin of the seasons:

In the Beginning...

As in Genesis 1:

And God said, 
Let there be lights
 in the firmament of the heaven 
to divide 
the day from the night; 
and let them be 
for signs, 
and for seasons
and for days, 
and years:

And let them be for lights 
in the firmament of the heaven 
to give light upon the earth: 
and it was so.

And God made two great lights; 
the greater light to rule the day, 
and the lesser light to rule the night: 
He made the stars also.

And God set them 
in the firmament of the heaven 
to give light upon the earth,

And to rule over the day 
and over the night, 
and to divide the light 
from the darkness: 
and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:14-18 (KJV)

And for a Summer Solstice that is really out of this world, check out the view from the International Space Station:

And God saw 
every thing
 that He had made, 
and, behold,
 it was very good. 

Genesis 1:31 (KVJ)

So marks the changing of the seasons.

Have a blessed summer!



Wednesday, May 30, 2018

CC (part 11) - Tying the Knot Across Both Sides of the Pond

Prince Harry/Meghan Markle/
It's the stuff fairy tales are made of. 

A hard working woman, a commoner,  marrying a royal prince. Like Cinderella.

And on May 19, 2018, life imitated art in the royal wedding of Meghan Markle--an actress, an American, a divorcee--to Prince Harry, now fifth in the line to the throne of England.

For more details, check out: The Love Story of How Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Actually Met

The royal wedding in a nutshell is shown below:

But this is not the first time an American divorcee married a British royal. In the 20th century, an American socialite, Wallis Simpson, divorced twice before, was set to marry the King of England, Edward VIII.

To avoid a constitutional crisis of marrying a woman with two living ex-husbands-- this was 1936-- Edward abdicated the throne to marry "the woman I love."

More info: Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson

Part of that story is shown here:

And it was because of the King's abdication, Edward VIII's younger brother ascended to the throne as George VI, father of the current reigning monarch (and longest reigning monarch to date in England), Queen Elizabeth II, grandmother of Prince Harry.

And there have been some comparisons between Wallis Simpson and Meghan Markle. But also great contrasts. As the Wallis Simpson story seems darker and filled with intrigue, especially in the days leading up to World War II.

Yet, tying the knot across both sides of the pond can bond two nations even tighter and make them stronger.

During World War II, there was a son born of a father of British aristocracy and an American mother. That would be Lord Randolph Churchill and New York native, Jennie Jerome.

Their son? Sir Winston Churchill.

And as Prime Minister, Winston Churchill forged an alliance with the United States to defeat Nazi Germany in World War II.

More info: Winston Churchill


In the first book of The Commander and the Chief series, His Tribe of One, there is a mention of  Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson.

The British Commander Reginald Barrett shows a love interest in his client, the Chief, Dr. Nova Orlovic. And he asks her about her major-domo Lord Frederick Wise, who had arranged their expedition into the Forbidden Area of the Middle East in search for answers about Nova's late husband. As they are heading back to base camp with the leader of the expedition, Colonel Jack Sheffield, is driving their hi tech Jeep.

Here's an excerpt from Part 5: The Badlands, Chapter 12, The Wise Empire Builder:

During the final stretch, Reggie asked Nova, “What’s between you and Lord Wise if I may ask?”
cover by Becki Davis
Nova turned to Reggie. “Let’s say we have a wonderful working relationship.”
“Any romantic feelings between you two?”
Jack raised his eyebrows. “Is someone jealous?”
“It’s okay to ask, Commander.” Nova tittered. “As you know, I’m Fred’s employer … that was after he left UK Geophysical, and he left with a bang. He got from me the exclusive oil contract on all the mineral rights owned by the Sapphire Mountain People Trust. And since then, he’s done marvelous things managing my ranch in Wyoming, the tourist sites, reviving the Wild West shows, starting up the winery in California.”
“Wise is a builder of empires. So it says in his book,” Jack said.
Reggie leaned toward her. “I’m surprised he didn’t ask you to marry him. That is, after you were widowed.”
Nova looked into Reggie’s soft brown eyes. “He said he’d love to marry me, but–”
“But what?” Reggie asked. “You must be one of the most eligible women in America, if not the world right now.”
“But for all the wrong reasons.” Nova flexed her left hand in her sling. “Number one reason is money.”
Jack straightened up. “That’s a good reason.”
“But I fear it’s just the money that makes me attractive. I’m not sought out for who I am, but what I have. I’m always suspicious my suitors are false-hearted lovers. Same problem my mother had, which was why she married so late in life.” Nova sighed. “And I know that Frederick deeply love me, but he said his father, a baron or something–”
“The Baron of Summerset,” Reggie said. “My parents know him.”
“Then you must know something about Fred’s father. He wishes his son to marry an English girl with a title, though Fred seems to have settled on perpetual bachelorhood.”
Jack squinted at her. “But you have many titles: Doctor, Counselor, Indian Chief, Boss Lady.”
“But Fred’s father would disown him for marrying an American. And Fred’s attached to his ancestral property and a title that goes back for some eight hundred years, he said.”
Reggie shrugged. “But the British don’t let things like that stand in our way of love. King Edward abdicated the throne of England to marry an American. Ever hear of Wallis Simpson?”
“Of course. But I understand being attached to the land. And, at one time, it looked very bleak as so many conspired to take my land from me. That’s why I fought so hard to keep the ranch when the odds were stacked against me.”
Reggie arched his dark eyebrows. “So is that why you paid off all his father’s debts before the Wise ancestral property went into foreclosure?”
“Who told you that?”
“You just did, darling.”
“You tricked me–”
“If it’s any consolation, that was a most noble thing to do, darling.” Reggie returned a pleasant smile. “And I see why Wise is so loyal to you.”
Then Nova confessed, “Actually Frederick said he’d throw his title away and marry me, anyway … like King Edward did to marry Wallis Simpson. But after much thought, he’s quite a logical man, we both knew we didn’t love each in that way.”
Reggie raised an eyebrow. “Then is he … gay?”
“Gay? Oh, my, no.” Nova chuckled. “From his stories, he’s had many dalliances. But Fred doesn’t like to be tied down. And there’s much of his life before UK Geophysical that’s secret. Though I may have guessed some of it from his stories.”
Reggie smirked. “So you two, you’re just … friends?”
“Very good friends. He’s my chief confidant and counselor.” Nova raised her shoulders. “And I trust my life and my fortune with him.”
Jack raised his blond eyebrows. “Indeed, we all do at this point.”



The book is available in paperback or eBook (kindle, Nook) form. Likewise, its sequels: Counting Coup, and Peacemaker.

Details here: The Commander and the Chief Series


Your readership is appreciated.


Peacemaker, Book Three:

CC3 (part 1) - Peacemaker  (2017)


Photo: Prince Harry/Meghan Markle/

Sunday, April 15, 2018

CC3 (part 2) - Barrett's Farm, Ground Zero for the American Revolution

Paul Revere's Ride/

Patriot's Day

It's observed to remember the Battle of Lexington and Concord, near Boston, the start of the American Revolution in 1775.

Maine and Massachusetts have marked the third Monday in April as a state holiday, but Wisconsin sticks to the actual date of April 19th. { reference: Patriot's Day in the United States }

On the evening of April 18, 1775, Dr. Joseph Warren of Boston summoned an express rider Paul Revere to bring news to Lexington, Massachusetts that British regular troops were about to march into the countryside northwest of Boston.

It seemed these troops had planned to arrest Samuel Adams and John Hancock, who were staying in Lexington. Then continue on to Concord. { reference: The Real Story of Revere's Ride }

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow immortalizes Paul Revere and these events, as shown below in the reading of this poem:

There was some artistic license in this account. For the rest of the story about Paul Revere's Ride:  Longfellow's Poem, "Paul Revere's Ride"

What brought the British regulars to Lexington and Concord?

It seemed British spies had gleaned that illegal arms and other military contraband were hidden on Colonel James Barrett's Farm, which was three miles northwest of Concord. In fact, Colonel Barrett, commander of the Middlesex Minutemen, directed the stashing of arms and supplies and having them stored on his farm.

So on April 19, 1775, the Redcoats crossed the North Bridge over the Concord River. But musket fire from 6000 Minutemen under the command of Colonel Barrett turned them back.  
This was the first American victory of the Revolutionary War , now celebrated each April on Patriots Day.  { reference: Barrett Farm, Concord, Massachusetts }

Hence, Barrett's Farm is a key catalyst for the American Revolution: James Barrett's Farm

*  *  *

In the series, The Commander and the Chief,  the Commander is Reginald Barrett of Her Majesty's Royal Navy. But Book 3 reveals he had some revolting American cousins, who colonized across the pond a few hundred years ago.

In the following scene, the Commander's best friend, Colonel Jack Sheffield of the British Army Reserve, is engaged to former US Navy Lieutenant Charlotte "Charlie" Dickerson. The venue of their marriage? Peacemaker Chapel on the Chief's ranch in Wyoming.

But  Charlie and Jack swing by Nevada first to visit Colonel Frank Dickerson, retired. A patriot himself, Frank did some research on his future son-in-law's best man, Commander Barrett.

Frank discusses the upcoming wedding, after running Charlie and Jack through the Assault and Prepper Course near Devil's Basin, Nevada:

Frank grew a wide grin. “You know guests come from all over the world. Pay good money for this, Jacko.”
“Right-o.” Jack skewed his mustache. “Like that old American story. White Washing the Fence.”
“Good old Tom Sawyer.” Frank punched Jack on the arm. “Mark Twain, he was on to something. And this course, it ain’t cheap. Consider it one of my wedding presents.”
Charlie finished her drink. “I thought we’re going to do this course on our honeymoon, Dad.” 
Jack raised his blond eyebrows. “And I can think of other things I’d rather be doing with you on our honeymoon.” 
“So Charlie told you, Jacko?” Frank asked while Charlie was mouthing – No, Dad.
“Tell me what?”
“During your honeymoon.” Frank slapped Jack on the back. “The Appleseed Shoot.”
“You mean like shooting apples from heads? As in William Tell?” 
“Of course you wouldn’t know. You’re British. But I guarantee you’re gonna like this.”
Charlie pulled down her eyebrows. “Maybe not the last part, Dad.”
“Tell me, Frank.” Jack squinted at him. “I’m in your circle of trust.”
Frank thought they’d cap off the wedding celebration in Wyoming with an Appleseed Shoot. A few days after the kids tied the knot. It was scheduled for April 19. Patriots Day. The very date that marked the start of the American Revolution in 1775.
Each exercise in this shoot came with a lesson in American history. Like Paul Revere’s midnight ride, warning the patriots that the British were coming. 
One, if by land. Two, if by sea. … Yada yada yada. 
“And the course ends,” Frank said, “with us patriots shooting paper targets of British Red Coats.” 
Jack snapped open his eyes. “Now that’s not very nice. You know I’m a Red Coat…in the British Army Reserve.”
“It’s all right, son,” Frank said. “You’ve patched things up with us in the last 200 years. And don’t forget we saved your ass in World War One. And World War Two.”
Frank continued with the history lesson of the shot heard around the world in the Battles of Lexington and Concord. And Barrett’s Farm was Ground Zero. The storage site for the Concord Militia’s arms.
“Even back then, the goddam government was grabbing guns from patriots,” Frank said. 
“So when the Crown lost the colonies.” Jack chuckled. “It all started in this row over arms on Barrett’s Farm? Why does that name sound familiar to me?”
“Glad you asked. You see, I’ve done some research on your good buddy, the Commander. Who bears the same surname as our patriots. Such as the great Colonel James Barrett, who owned Barrett’s Farm.” 
“So? Reg is British. In Her Majesty’s Royal Navy. A son of a duke.”
“But ah-hah! Some of the Commander’s distant cousins were American colonists. Sided with the Continentals during the War. And some of them were the Barretts who owned Barrett’s Farm. Where the Revolution started in 1775. By that shot heard around the world.
“In fact, it was the Minute Men, the militia under the command of Colonel Barrett, that fired their muskets at the Red Coats. As they crossed the North Bridge over the Concord River. Turned back the British Army. It was the first American victory in the Revolutionary War. And April 19th has been known as Patriots Day ever since.”
Charlie looked worried. “Dad? Don’t’ tell me—”
“My present to the Commander. A certificate that he’s a bona fide member of SAR.”
“S.A—what?” Jack asked. 
Sons of the American Revolution.” Frank grinned. “The Chief sure knows how to pick her men.”
“Right-o.” Jack rolled his eyes. “Reg is going to love this.”

From Part 6: Land of Nye; Chapter 2, Assault and Prepper

*  *  *
The Sons of the Revolution, SAR, even have their own website:

Likewise, the Appleseed Shoot, a real event: Project Appleseed

And from the Project Appleseed about page:

Why “Appleseed?” “Appleseed” comes from Johnny Appleseed, the American folk hero who toured the country, planting appleseeds so that future generations would benefit. Project Appleseed is designed to ensure that future generations of Americans will learn and benefit from the lessons of our colonial past. 

Such as School House Rock did as shown here:

And to think if the British had won, we'd all be speaking English!

Back to the series:
* * *

During the wedding reception in Wyoming, Jack has some words about his best man.

“Just one more thing,” Jack added. “To remind this crowd of Americans and Brits. America’s England’s fault.”
“Not only that.” Jack put his arm about Reggie. “I learned through my new father-in-law, it’s the fault of my best man. Commander Reginald Barrett. As the American Revolution started in a row over arms on Barrett’s Farm. Owned by one of the Commander’s ancestors. Colonel James Barrett of the Massachusetts Colonial Militia.”
“And I have here,” Frank spoke up waving a paper, “a certificate that the Commander’s a bona fide member of SAR. Sons of the American Revolution.”
Reggie was expecting this and took a bow. “So the secrets out, everyone. America’s my fault.”

From Part 9: Sapphire Mountain Ranch; Chapter 8, America's England's Fault

And shortly after this toast, all hell breaks loose.

But you have to read it. So....

Buy the book:

* amazon (paperback or kindle)

* Barnes & Noble (paperback or Nook)

And remember, everyone...
America's England's fault!

Happy Patriot's Day!


Peacemaker, Book Three:

CC3 (part 1) - Peacemaker  (2017)


Photo: Paul Revere's Ride/