Doodle

I never liked school, not from the first day to the last. Like Louis L'Amour, I found that it got in the way of my education. Sadly, I wasn't as wise as L'Amour. He left. I didn't.
First Day of School
Click to read The Reluctant Scholar (a short story)
Well, to be honest, I did leave, twice, the very first day. L'Amour waited until he was a bit older and able to escape those who would take him back.

I have told and retold the tale to my friends and family too often. They don't need to hear it again.

So, I decided to share it with you...
 
 

Doodles

“The science is settled” sounds more like a pronouncement from a cleric than anything a scientist would ever say, doesn't it? It's the kind of thing tyrants say to quiet dissension and impose their will upon their subjects. Well, that is in fact what is happening in the global climate change debate. The only thing to be settled is who will control the people and how will they control them. Pseudo-scientists like Al Gore are using the threat of global catastrophe by severe weather to scare the minions into submission. Indeed, if the former Vice President should ever decide to pursue another career, I believe he would make a remarkable actor. He already has an Academy Award for his work in science, the documentary film An Inconvenient Truth. I could well imagine him among the cast of Monty Python's Flying Circus...

 
 

Good Read

I'm not lucky all of the time. You could say that I'm lucky to just break even on every chance I've ever taken. (If you met my first and second wives you'd understand just how true that statement is) However, I did get lucky, really lucky just once while writing my first novel...

When I wrote my first novel, Rebels on the Mountain, I crafted a hero to fit the role of a soldier/spy observing Fidel Castro and his revolution in Cuba. It seemed obvious that my man would have been too young to have fought in World War II and thus learned his craft in the Korean War. As the story evolved, it became essential that he have friends in France and be fluent in their language (you'll have to read the story to understand why). Thus, I had him fight in a desperate battle alongside French soldiers. A quick check of the history showed me that there were French forces among the UN command there and thus I felt I had factual backing. 

My lack of in depth research came back to bite me when I decided to write a prequel to Rebels, The Accidental Spy, a story set in the Korean War. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the amazing story of Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Monclar and his French Battalion, and the battle of Chipyong-ni. As luck would have it, I had accidentally placed my hero in the midst of one of the most significant battles of that war fighting alongside a unit that won a Presidential Unit Citation for gallantry in that action.

 
 

America

Hillary Clinton already has a campaign war chest reportedly exceeding $2.5 Billion. Her opponents in both parties are attempting to match it.
White House
Click to read the short story "Lights Out"
Despite the obscenity of campaign spending for elected office in America, there doesn't appear to be any political will to rein it in. Why? Could it be that the prize is simply too great to scrimp on spending to achieve it? 

What if instead of treating the illness - campaign spending - we focused on reducing the value of elected office?

Lights Out is a short story, a dream of mine, in which campaign contributors learn that the return on investment for campaign contributions is suddenly diminished.

Would campaign finance reform be a mute topic?
 
 

Writing

In case you're wondering why this website exists, I'm trying to sell my books. Sadly, I have to say that because its purpose is not reflected in its results. Also unsuccessful are my efforts to sell books via social media - Twitter, Facebook, and the like. Even sadder, I don't have the financial wherewithal to advertise in more traditional venues.
Picture
Click to enlarge
Some authors have written for specific genres in hopes of finding an audience. If they can't find one that works for them, they create it. Boomer Literature was such.

Claude Forthomme championed and nurtured Boomer Literature after publishing a couple of works. Both were well-written but, like mine, remarkably poor sellers. Her advocacy caught my attention early on, but I failed to get it. What is Boomer Literature I wondered: Books for old farts or books by old farts or, maybe, both? I fear that I still don't get it.

I'm not sure how well Claude's scheme has worked for her. We haven't discussed sales in some time. However, I think I'm ready to take the plunge. I've come up with two concepts that seem as though they might be sure-fire best sellers.

First, there's Cooking at Room Temperature. The idea was suggested by my predilection to forget  to turn on the burner under pots and pans when I  cook meals. The second is Jack's After Cooking Cookbook which will feature suggestions for dishes to prepare on the stove top or in the oven after failing to remember to turn them off using the scraps leftover from the earlier meal  (and thus allay your spouse's fears that you are a candidate for the Alzheimer's academy).

The true genius of this series of books lies in the fact that I can expect old farts like me to repurchase many times inasmuch as they will have forgotten they already have copies on subsequent visits to the book store.

At least, that's the plan...
 
 

Army Life

Yes, it's a highly over-used phrase that all service members sign a blank check which they are prepared to redeem with their lives. But is there a higher price than life? Inasmuch as terrorists can't meet US armed forces head on in traditional combat, they resort to IEDs which have left broken and maimed bodies in their wake. Many of these veterans have fought valiantly to redeem their lives while others languish in psychological hell. Is this a way to help them?
Picture
Click to read full article in the HuffPost
LA-based fitness photographer Michael Stokes is putting a different spin on how wounded veterans are depicted. He's raising money on Kickstarter for a book called "Always Loyal" that features stunning photos of 14 U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps veterans of the Iraq War, Gulf War, and War in Afghanistan. 
I published this same post on RallyPoint (a blog and discussion forum targeted at military personnel, both active duty and veterans) and my VFW post website, and received enthusiastic responses that yes, these veterans are very sexy.

Well, if nothing else, they look far sexier than me...
 
 

History

I'm certainly not the smartest. Just spend about ten minutes with my first wife and you'll be convinced of that. However, I am smart enough to learn from my mistakes. Just spend about ten minutes with my current wife and you'll see what I mean. So, I must be smart. But a truly smart man learns from the mistakes of others.
You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can't possibly live long enough to make them all yourself." - Sam Levenson 
Now some say that President Obama is the smartest man in the room. Well, if that is so, why hasn't he learned from the mistakes of others? Look at how he handles strife in the world and you'll see what I mean
There has always been strife in the world. No leader has succeeded in eliminating it. However, some have handled it better than others and we don't have to look back very far to witness numerous successes and failures in dealing with it. You would think that a leader such as the President of the United States would study them to employ the best or, at least, avoid repeating the failures. Sadly this President seems to have a penchant for repeating failures much like a prize fighter who leans into a left hook. At the very least, he would create new failures. Why does he have to repeat the old ones?

 
 

Americana

The lives of many people were ruined just because they were suspected of being a communist. Some lost their employment, their fortunes, and their sacred honor merely on the basis of suspicion. Some even lost their minds. Some suspect that such a suspicion hurried Ernest Hemingway to his grave by way of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. There are records of his treatment for a nervous disorder brought about by innuendos that he was a communist.
Hemingway with fighters
Ernest Hemingway in Spain during its Civil War (1937) Click to enlarge
The U.S. State Department thought Ernest was a communist. The Soviets thought he was a communist. J. Edgar Hoover thought that everybody was a communist. However, it seems that the rumor began when Hemingway reported on the civil war in Spain and sided with anyone opposed to the fascists. This made him appear to be sympathetic to communism. The libel then took on a life of its own and followed him the remainder of his life.

 
 

Doodle

Life is a tragedy when characters are brought to ruin or suffer extreme sorrow as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness or inability to cope with unfavorable circumstances. 
Life in these United States feels like a tragedy these days, doesn't it? 

 
 

Vietnam

All bloggers love getting comments on their postings. I'm no exception. It proves that we're not just whistling in the dark.
61st Medical Det
61st Medical Detachment, 9th Infantry Division Headquarters, Dong Tam, Vietnam (1967) Click to enlarge
Some of my favorites come from others who served in Vietnam and share their experiences. Recently I received one from a Vietnam Vet who responded to my posting about French Fort. It seems that the French built many forts in Vietnam that Americans universally named “French Fort”. Thus, my attempts to research the one in my experience returned information about all but that one. However, my complaint about the confusion elicited a response from David Hagen who was there and had photos to prove it. (David is the tall skinny lieutenant, front row, second from the right)

David's contribution then created a new problem: Too much information.

What shall I now write about?