Sunday, November 26, 2023

Philosophy (part 1) - Stupidity


Thomas Paine, American Revolutionary War influencer, best known for his pamphlet Common Senseonce said:

To argue with a person
who has renounced the use of reason
 is like administering medicine
to the dead.

Otherwise - Stupidity.

A casual observer sees displays of stupidity in politics every day. But when the emotions in a crowd get out of control, we can have....

Mob Rule

The 20th century experienced much madness. One such gripped Nazi Germany during the 1930s.

Some resisted the devolution from a democracy with rule of law into a police state under a tyrant. But it was not enough to stop the escalation into World War II.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German Lutheran pastor, theologian, and anti-Nazi dissident was one of the resistors. He was arrested as part of a failed plot to assassinate Hitler, imprisoned, and hung in April 1945, weeks before Germany surrendered to the Allies. 

But he wrote of the evils of stupidity in his letters from prison while waiting execution:

To sum up stupidity:

The way of fools seems right to them,

but the wise listen to advice.

Proverbs 12:15

And our philosophers speak in the art of film:

And that's all I have to say about that!



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Photo: Thomas Paine/wikipedia

Sunday, October 1, 2023

CC4 (part 3) - October Surprise on Halloween.


October surprise on Halloween?

This surprise in the theme of this chapter of Book 4, Rainmaker, in The Commander and the Chief series.

Part 9

Chapter 8
October Surprise


This year, the Duke and Duchess of Yorkchestershire were throwing a costume party at Barrett Manor. And Nova and Reggie arrived a few days early to help with the decorating. A pleasant break in the English countryside from the hubbub of London.

Nova wore baggy sweatpants and a loose T-shirt as she helped alongside the servants. All under her mother-in-law’s supervision.

But Nova needed more rest than usual. She didn’t want to admit anything was wrong. Though memories of her dad haunted her. Especially during his last year on earth, before he had succumbed to cancer.

Dad had needed a lot of breaks. Tired easily. And Nova tried to put Dad out of her mind as she joined her mother-in-law for tea.

Regina looked over Nova. “Is everything all right, dear?”

“I’m fine,” Nova lied. Then changed the subject. “But, hey. It’s the end of October already. And this time in America, we brace ourselves for the October Surprise.”

Regina set down her cup. “What surprise is that?”

“When a scandal is leaked in the media,” Nova said. “Especially during an election year. With little time for the political target to recover from the allegations.”

“Oh, that.” Regina waved a hand. “Politics as usual. Like over here, they’re all crooks.”

Nova sighed. “I need to take something for my stomach.”

Regina returned a skeptical look as Nova dismissed herself. The Duchess had her ideas as to what was going on with her daughter-in-law. But kept her thoughts to herself.

* * *

Anton Orlovic had been at Barrett Manor for the last month, after he got back from the States. He was the nephew most like Nova’s dad. He could fix most anything. The Barrett Great House was in fine shape. But maintenance was ongoing. And Anton had critical skills. He knew what he was doing and cared to do a good job.

Before long, the outside was encompassed by lit jack o’ lanterns. Trees strung with cobwebs and bats and orange and white lights. Inside, the trappings of a haunted mansion.

After sunset, it was party time.

Alfie Dawkins greeted the precession of guests. Dressed in a black mask like a highwayman from the Regency Period.

Jane Meyer saw to the refreshments. She wore an owl mask. Her favorite bird. And she perfected her hoot so the guests knew she was coming. And gave a hoot.

Sir Robert Barrett, the host, dressed as Henry VIII. Pumpkin pants. Royal robes. Tudor flat cap. His hair and beard tinted red.

Dame Regina, in red hair and wide dress, made a convincing Queen Elizabeth I. She said, “Off with your heads!” like the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland.

Reggie morphed into a convincing Nikola Tesla. Dark hair with the part in the middle and fake mustache. Dressed in a dark jacket, white shirt, waist coat. Holding a model of a sparking Tesla coil. And he had perfected that wild mad scientist look.

Nova made her entrance downstairs as Wonder Woman. Her favorite female superhero. Twirling her golden lasso of truth. But she had to alter her costume. And discreetly, Jane had helped take out parts of the suit so it would fit.

Anton dressed as a cowboy and brought his rope. And Anton and Nova demonstrated their lassoing skills. Nova caught Reggie a few times.

“You’ve branded me already, darling.” He showed her his wedding ring. “Now, let me go,”

“But I don’t want to let you go.” She drew him to her and they kissed.

Halloween was also Reformation Day. It was Halloween night of 1517 that Martin Luther had nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany.

And Lord Fredrick Wise reminded everyone that it was the German Prince, Frederick the Wise, who had protected Martin Luther and made the whole Reformation thing possible.

Wise was tempted to come as Frederick the Wise. But it was like coming as himself. So he came as Martin Luther. Dark cap and robe. Holding a copy of the Ninety-five Theses.

And his wife Sharon dressed as Martin Luther’s wife and former nun, Katharina von Bora. Ivory wimple, black dress, white apron.

Jasmyn took little Elijah Rainmaker Barrett down from the nursery a few times. The baby wore a beaded head band with a small eagle feather and colorful streaks of war paint on his cheeks.

Elijah was quite the scene stealer. The Duke’s second grandson. The last of the Rainmaker line.

One of the guests looked over Jasmyn’s torn jeans, tie dyed T-shirt, tattoos, spiked hair streaked with purple, orange, and pink.

“I love your costume, Nanny,” she said.

“What costume, ma’am?” Jasmyn answered with wide eyes.

Eventually, the guests settled for a big screen showing of the old cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Center stage was that sweet transvestite. Dr. Frank-N-Furter. From Transsexual, Transylvania.

Many at the party knew all the movie lines and sang along, like:

Let’s do the time warp again.

The scene came when Dr. Frank-N-Furter, off stage, hacked Dr. Scott’s nephew Eddie to death with an ice pick. When Frank-N-Furter came out of the freezer with blood on his gloves, Nova threw up.

That stopped the show.

At least paused it and sent the servants scrambling for cleanup. After which, the show would go on, so they could party into All Saints Day.

* * *

Reggie instructed Jane to make a special purchase at an all-night chemist. And Jane did not seem surprised by this request.

Then he escorted Nova upstairs and helped her undo her costume. Unzipping the back. Tugging off the suit.

“I see you’ve been putting on a little weight, darling.”

Nova spun around with a look of murder in her eyes. Like if she had an ax, she’d give Reggie forty whacks.

Reggie snapped open his eyes. Backed away. Raising his arms in self-defense. Then Nova sunk into the bed and broke out into heaving sobs.

“Oh, God.” Reggie waited for Nova to calm down some.

He shook out his handkerchief and dried her tears. Slipped a robe over her. Then he took off his jacket and fake mustache and got comfortable for a long night.

Reggie rubbed Nova’s back. “What’s troubling you, darling?”

“I miss my dad.” She blew her nose.

“What brought this on?’

“Halloween. The pumpkins. My dad grew the biggest pumpkins. He used to take Nick and me down to the river and suck up water into his sewer truck. Then irrigate his gardens with it.”

Reggie widened his eyes. “I can imagine what came out of that thing.”

Nova wiped her tears. “We always got the biggest corn and the biggest pumpkins. And Dad was the one that carved the jack o’ lanterns.”

Eventually, there was a knock.

“Enter,” Reggie said.

“Is everything all right, Commander?” Jane asked.

“We shall see.” Reggie received the goods. “Thank you, Jane. I’ll call if we need anything else.”

Jane responded with hoots.

Reggie coaxed Nova into the loo to pee on a stick.

He looked at the results on the indicator and arched a dark eyebrow. “No more strong drinks for you, darling.”

“Now it makes sense what Kaya told me.” Nova let out a breath. “Elijah’s not the last of the Rainmakers, is he?”

Reggie chuckled. “Surprise.”


Happy Halloween
Happy Reformation Day

Be safe.

All published books (paperback, Kindle, Kindle Unlimited) of The Commander and the Chief series are linked as a set on amazon: The Commander and the Chief series

Your readership is appreciated.



For more in this series, search blog:

CC1, CC2, CC3, CC4, CC5, CCx
The Commander and the Chief series



Photo: Halloween/Kobe/wikipedia

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

CCx (part 1) - The Commander and the Chief series


cover art by DAVIS Creative, Becki Davis


The Commander and the Chief series updates.

All published books (paperback, Kindle, Kindle Unlimited) of this series are linked as a set on amazon: The Commander and the Chief series

The series overall theme:

The Commander, a British doctor, and the Chief, a Native American lawyer, take on the Deep State.

They team up to get to the bottom of the suspicious death of the Chief's husband. The trail leads to coverups, blackmail and bribery schemes, assassinations, and powerful villains with the shadowy characters that control them.

The Old World meets the Wild West when the two tie the knot in a till-death-do-they-part Anglo-America union. As rogue forces act to eliminate them, the Commander and the Chief cowboy up to keep calm and carry on.

Buckle up for a wild ride where the Big Sky is the Limit.

And in the Big Sky, may Blue Skies shine on you!

Thank you for your readership.


For more in this series, search blog:

CC1, CC2, CC3, CC4, CC5, CCx
The Commander and the Chief series


Photo: cover art by DAVIS Creative, Becki Davis

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

CC5 (part 1): Pow Wow


cover art by DAVIS Creative, Becki Davis

Pow Wow 

Pow Wow (powwow or pow-wow) has historical as well as modern meanings:

 North American Indian ceremony involving feasting, singing, and dancing.


a conference or meeting for discussion, especially among friends or colleagues.

Data from Oxford Languages

It's also the title of my latest novel (Book 5) in The Commander and the Chief series:

The Commander and the Chief take on the rogue Deep State:

the Gunfight at the UK Corral, 
missing Redcoats in the Nevada Triangle, 
and nuclear blackmail!

Available on amazon

Here's the next wild ride:

Speaker of the House Karl Kelly was never supposed to be President of the United States. But that happens when President Todd resigns and the VP kills himself. Then the rogue Deep State acts to remedy that.

First, take out the new VP, Laurel Hardy. Assassins strike in London, during her Pow Wow with Ambassador Nova Orlovic. But the women fight back as Wild West meets Middle Eastern terrorism in the Gunfight at the UK Corral.

Next, an attempt at US regime change escalates to nuclear blackmail. But Commander Reginald Barrett’s Methuselah project to reverse aging becomes the bargaining chip to forge dubious alliances to fight the Deep State.

Meanwhile, in the mysterious Nevada Triangle, provocateurs incite ET and prepper conventioneers to attack visiting British soldiers. But the Redcoat Regiment vanishes as the mob closes in, and conspiracy theories abound.

Will the Commander and the Chief defuse the nuclear threat and international tensions before it’s too late?


As for the Native American meaning of Pow Wow (spoiler alert), that is saved for the last chapter.

And below is a sample of the real thing:

For more information on Pow Wows, check out: What is a Pow Wow?

Your readership is most appreciated.


For more in this series, search blog:

CC1, CC2, CC3, CC4, CC5, CCx
The Commander and the Chief series


Photo: cover art by DAVIS Creative, Becki Davis

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Arts (part 2) - What's Opera, Doc?


My first big exposure to classical music was through the Saturday morning cartoons.

There was a good reason for this. Classical music was in the public domain. No copyright. No royalties. No problem.

A classic among the Looney Tune/Meerie Melonies cartoon series (which ran for 80 years) is the 1957 short morality tale...

What's Opera, Doc?

The long running feud between Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd continues in the setting of Richard Wagner's Die Walküre.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

"In 1992, the Library of Congress deemed it "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant", and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry, the first cartoon short film to receive such honors." 
(reference: What's Opera, Doc?

Looney Tunes meets Opera.

Best cartoon ever!


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Pop Culture


Friday, June 23, 2023

Arts (part 1) - The Starry Night


The Starry Night 

It's one of the most recognized and celebrated works by Vincent van Gogh.

A year before his suicide, van Gogh painted a depiction of the view from his asylum room window, just before sunrise, with an imaginary village in the background.

Over 80 years later, this 1889 Post-Impressionist painting inspired Rock musician Don McLean (of American Pie) to compose this tribute to van Gogh: his paintings, his life, his struggles, and suicide:

Don McLean - Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)

So begins a new thread:


Spanning the centuries of artists, we have the confluence of van Gogh -19th century painter - and Don McLean - 20th and 21st century rock composer.



For more info:

* Biography:  Vincent van Gogh - Vincent van Gogh from 1880 to 1890 | Britannica

* Biography: About | Don McLean

* Painting: The Starry Night | History, Description, & Facts | Britannica 



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Pop Culture



Photo: wikipedia/StarryNight

Monday, May 29, 2023

Music (part 11) - Edelweiss


Winter of 2022-2023 was a tough season in my parts.

Never thought the snow would end, even after it was officially "Spring."

Now, the snow has turned to rain. We see green instead of white. And new life.

With this turn, I think of the beautiful song from The Sound of Music (1965 ) -


The version below is sung up in the mountains.

May the optimism of Spring, expressed in this beautiful song, carry you throughout the year.



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Photo: Edelweiss/wikipedia

Friday, April 14, 2023

LOL (part 6) - California Fleein'

California Dreamin'

John and Michelle Phillips had written the song of that title in 1963.  

The lyrics reflect the longing for Los Angeles warmth during a cold spell in New York City.  It also would define a popular California sound of the 1960s counterculture. (Reference: California Dreamin'

And it had become a hit. 

The Mamas and the Papas (1965) performed one of the best-known versions of California Dreamin', but later a music video was made by The Beach Boys as shown below:

In 2023, 60 years later....

 The Babylon Bee  parodied this Beach Boys California Dreamin' video reflecting the sign of the times in California. Denizens were fleein' instead of dreamin' of coming there.

California Fleein'


What makes comedy funny is that it based on truth--when everything woke has turned to crap!


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Tuesday, March 7, 2023

LOL (part 5) - Breaking Bad meets Star Trek and Pies


Pi(e) Day is March 14 

An obvious mathematical pun - 3.14.

A few years ago, Breaking Bad (2008 - 2013) was a hit as a crime drama thriller.

Its premise: "A chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer turns to manufacturing and selling methamphetamine with a former student in order to secure his family's future."

But there was some comedy relief, such as Season 5, episode 9,  as shown in this scene between the banter of characters Badger and Skinny Pete. 

While one of main characters, Jesse, is having a breakdown, Badger pitches his ideas for a Star Trek script over pizza.

For the animated version of Badger's script, courtesy of Matt Czap:

There you have it.

Breaking Bad meets Star Trek and Pies!

And hopefully it brings a laugh -- LOL -- for Pi(e) Day!



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Photo: Pi Day

Friday, February 24, 2023

Americana (part 4) - Do you remember these?


Just a little fun....

A trip down memory lane with the music of the Statler Brothers: Biography

Enjoy this slice of Americana!



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Photo: Ghost sign

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Politics (part 2) - I, Claudius vs the Senate


Robert Graves wrote his historical novel, I, Claudius (1934) as an autobiographical memoir of the Roman Emperor Claudius (reign 41-54 A.D.)  

The memoir spanned the time of Augustus Caesar, Tiberius, Caligula, and Claudius' succession to emperor after Caligula's assassination.

 The novel is filled with political machinations, lust, and murders. Ironically when the Petronian Guard chooses Claudius as the new emperor, he doesn't want it. Yet, he soldiers on for 13 years until he's allegedly poisoned so Nero could succeed him. 

In 1937, Robert Graves' book was to be made into an epic movie, I, Claudius, starring Charles Laughton as the title role. But the serious injuries of one the irreplaceable actresses aborted the completion of the epic movie. 

Some of the archives of this shelved film were recovered in the 1965 documentary, The Epic that Neve Was

One of the greatest scenes: 

I, Claudius vs The Senate

Charles Laughton gives this moving performance as he's presented to the Senate to succeed the murdered Caligula.

Complaints of politicians sound familiar?

* Attaining their position through bribery

* Profiteering from their position 

* Abusing their office with excesses, such as gluttony

* Providing substandard goods to agencies for great cost

Promises of the new regime sound familiar?

* Stop profiteering and bribery
* Replace corrupt politicians with those who love their country better than their purses

* Drain the Roman swamp

2000 years later...

The complaints about politicians and promises of reformers amount to the same old same old.

So far, the book has not been made into the epic movie. Yet, it did eventually make it to the small screen of television.

In 1976, the BBC produced a 13-part miniseries, I, Claudius, with a cast of great actors and actresses. 

Here's the trailer:

The 13-hour series develops  the characters and the spirit of first century Rome more than perhaps an epic movie ever could.

It's a great yarn. 

Passion, Pathos, Power, Prophesy, Poison, and especially ....  



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