Book Review: The Feather Thief, by Kirk Wallace Johnson

The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk Wallace Johnson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An absolutely amazing book! Here we have a three part well written book that gives one of the best pictures of the consequences of rampant human greed in the past from the historical perspective and in today’s obsessive cult-like behaviors as seen in the decorative fly tying world. I enjoyed ever facet of author Kirk Wallace Johnson’s journey as he went back into the early days of trout/salmon fly tying and documents the similarities and differences of making flies used for the different fish. I loved his descriptions of the epic journeys of the obsessive biologist Alfred Russel Wallace. The failures, successes and the conclusions he drew from his collections which paralleled those of Charles Darwin as to the origin of species. Then in Part II of the book, Johnson recreates and elucidates for us, from court and police documents, as well as interviews with numerous acquaintences, the 2009 theft of some of the rarest bird specimens on earth from the British Museum of Natural History in Tring, England. Following the theft and eventual capture of Edwin Rist for the crime. the author gives us excellent insight into the workings of the British system of justice and the kinds of pleas that can bring conviction or dismissal in such a case. This was simplly amazing to me. Finally in Part III of the book, the author does his best to follow up on the still hundreds of missing bird skins and feathers that are obviously still floating around the world within the fly tying community. Again an eye opener as to the methods of investigation, internet sleuthing and the closing up of ranks within the fly tying cult and rationalizations made to justify those who continue to deal in illegal feathers. All in all, I think anyone ages 15 through 90 would enjoy this book. A great one for a serious discussion on the whys and wherefores of the values that are portrayed by all concerned in the making of this work of art. Read, enjoy and discuss, you’ll love it!

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Book review: The Enemy, by Lee Child (Jack Reacher Series #8)

The Enemy by Lee Child

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lee Child as always does a great job of opening and closing a book. This tale fills us in on a lot of Jack Reacher’s life prior to departing the military for his walk-about stories. The stage for the story is set with a seemingly routine death investigation that then leads into a murder that is in no way on the ordinary scale. Reacher gets a strange transfer from a seemingly important foreign site job to an out of the way station for no apparent reason and soon finds out that a whole lot of his colleagues have also been transferred. Something is brewing in the higher echelons of the military and the MP commanding officers are being spread out in strange posts. Reacher disobeys a direct order from his commanding officer in order to follow up on leads that will eventually reveal how his commander is mixed up in a very complex scheme of murder and control of the new military order that is coming down the pipeline in the next few years. I recomment the book for readers who want to know a bit more about how Jack Reacher thinks and the quirks of his personality that bring him into conflict with higher authroities and ultimately lead to his leaving avtive duty. The book is a bit wordy in the middle with side stories that are unrealated to the overall central story of the book and don’t require the number of pages devoted to them to get across the message. I felt the book jumped hither and yon a bit too much. There was a bit too much of forging commanding officers signatures and jumping of the plane at a momnent’s notice, but it’s a good read and certainly a great escape novel for travelers or those on vacation in between more adventurous things like scuba diving. Enjoy once again a book written by a master of the genre.

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The Bomber Mafia, by Malcolm Gladwell – A Book Review

The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, a Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War by Malcolm Gladwell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
How big of bombs, and how many of them are necessary to win a war? Will Bombing civilian populations lead to the capitulation of an enemy and end a war sooner than targeted bombing? These are some of the questions this historical book: “The Bomber Mafia” brings to light.

Author Gladwell has taken a single theme, the Norden Bomb Site, and given us an excellent set of historical data that show us how far our technology has advanced since WW2 to give accuracy in bombing runs and instances when we would like to have pinpoint accuracy for the delivery of an explosive device that can take out anywhere from a single person ot a factory to a city to a sip on the high seas. All these things which we can do today, almost with impunity, were impossible during the second world war. The bomb site gave the American Air Corps the false illusion, for a period of time on both the Eastern and Western Fronts of the war, that pinpoint accuracy during daylight bombing raids could be achieved, and thus be more effective in knocking out the enemy’s ability to wage war. In the end on both fronts, the delusion had to be overcome by hard headed pragmatism of what our early air corps was capable of acheiving. In many ways the author tries to show how the idealists who wished to lower the collateral damage on civilians and the loss of innocent lives, finally lost out to the need to do broadcast bombing and the creation of firestorms, starvation and famine within opposing nations to achieve a victory in a major world conflict. it brings to light some discussion questions which still exist today and have not been answered, including the question of: How can we contain war to keep it small enough so that a victory can be acheived and the war doesn’t blow up into a world wide conflict that will kill hundreds of millions of people. Is it possible, or are we just postponing the inevitable which may be more deadly in the future than if we went all out in the present. Perhaps there is no “right” anwer.

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Book Review: Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick

Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Over one hundred years before the Revolutionary War, the pilgrims and the other settlers along the Massechusets colony along with the Puritans were just finishing up with a twentyfive year war with the Native American Indians known as “King Phillip’s War”. It’s a war I never hear about, and the lead-up to that war, as described by renowned author Nathaniel Philbrick, tells a completely different story of the Pilgrims and their settling along Plymouth coast from the one that I and many North Americans were taught during our upbringing. It begins with the fascinating tale of a religiously conservative group of English Protestants who are outcasts in their Roman Catholic governed nation. Their flight to Holland, then back to England and on to the Colonies in 1616 to 1620 gives us a picture of a tighly knit religious sect of Christianity whose members were completely unprepared and unaware of the challenges they would face in getting to and upon arrival in, the New World. The well researched opening tale drew me into the story and even then, I was unprepared for the kinds of hardships of cold, hunger, and disease that these folks would encounter upon reaching the wild coasts of the North American continent and simply trying to find a place to land, build a small stockade and weather the first year near starvation. The understanding that the first contacts with Native Americans were far from cordial took me by surprise. The fortunate outcome of some complex negotiations between the two peoples with vastly different world views wold not have happened save for the appearance of Squanto. We see how Squanto’s years as an English captive, coupled with his ability to persuade Massasoit, a revered sachem of the greater Wampanoag peoples probably saved the Pilgrims from a similar fate of several previous attempts at American colonization which had resulted in the wiping out of the entire colony. Thus almost two years after their arrival in the New World, the Pilgrims are able to have a blow-out feast with the native Indians, which has come down to us today in what we call Thanksgiving. Author Philbrick has again done an amazing job of enlightening us about a little known piece of our history that should take it’s place in numerous classes and on our bookshelves as we learn and teach about our own country’s past and the local and immigrant peoples who worked and fought each other to make it what it is today.

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Book Review: From the Center of the Earth (Stories out of the Peace Corps) edited by Geraldine Kennedy

From the Center of the Earth: Stories Out of the Peace Corps by Geraldine Kennedy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This excellent 13 story compendium of a variety of Peace Corps Volunteer stories, tales and activities gives a broad picture of how varied the Peace Corps experience can be. Much depends on where a volunteer serves, what job they are assigned to, and the local people with whom they work. Often the experience is tied into the individual’s growth and maturation as their inventiveness, and ability to stick it out when the going gets tough is tested on a daily basis in situations where thee is no backup or support during the random chaos that attends life in the bush, city, or slums with transport, disease or civil authorities in over 60 developing nations, worldwide. Every volunteer’s stint in Peace Corps is different. My own story and experience in Peace Corps intersects with the 1966 era tale told on page 169 by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith, in West Cameroon. I can empathize deeply with that tale, although my experiences there were as vastly different from hers as were the six miles of tropical rainforest that separated our postings. Definitely a book to read for those who would still have that urgent desire to cut the reins and go “out there.” These are the tales born while doing “The toughest job you’ll ever love.”

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Book Review: Evan Help Us by Rhys Bowen

Evan Help Us by Rhys Bowen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the nice things about reading one of Rhys Bowen’s Constable Evans books is that you pick up a lot of Welsh country lore. When a book is set in a tiny inbred village where half of the people are cousins and may have the same surname if not the same first name, it becomes important to identify personalities by their tasks in the village so it can be Evans “the butcher”, or Evans “the policemen” that distinguishes the characters rather than some unique first and second name as seen in the more cosmopolitan parts of the British Isles. Of course, this also means that outsiders like Annie Pigeon and Ted Morgan are always objects of comment and perhaps suspicion when it comes to murder and solving the mystery. I certainly enjoyed the easy read about the tiny village of Llanfair nestled in the shadows of Mt. Snowdon. Pay attention to the characters, the culprit can be deduced from the story, but it’s a canny novel.

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Book Review: RESOLUTION by Robert B. Parker

Resolution by Robert B. Parker

As you can see from this review, I have had two books going at once, the serious History from WW2 in “Sea Cobra as reviewed by me in my last posting and by bedtime story reading which is generally an escape from the real world in order to have sweet dreams. So here is your recommended next bedtime story for “those trying times”.

Resolution, a town just waiting to be taken over by someone who feels the need to own their world. A fellow named Wolfson owns the Blackfoot Saloon and has that kind of ambition. But of course he needs a little more back-up to accomplish his life goal. So when Everett Hitch rides into town looking for a place to rest his saddle sores, Wolfson hires him right then and there to be the saloon lookout and keep the peace, there being no marshal or sheriff within a day’s ride. It’s a typical set-up for a former West Pointer and Civil War veteran with a Wells Fargo background. Hitch sits in the high chair cradeling his sawed off eight guage and watchs the fun, until it isn’t. Then Hitch makes his point about where the power in the saloon sits. After a set-to with a local gunney, it’s only a matter of time before some power struggles take place between the local miners and their boss, the homesteaders arriving to take over new land, the cattlemen and of course the man who really wants it all, Wolfson. Wolfson begins to hire more gun slingers so about this time Hitch’s friend and partner in legalized crime, Virgil Cole arrives. As locals are shot or run out of town and gangsters brought in by Wolfson take charge of the town it becomes time for a bit more law and order to protect the common citizen. Virgil and Everett eventually have to take a stand with the local citizenry to stop a man who will only respect the law of the gun to check his greed and averice.
Once again, Author Robert B. Parker, R.I.P., has written a fast reading book that is just what you need to end the day’s worries and anxietes about the world we live in. Enjoy the ride, Virgil Cole still hasn’t been beaten when it comes to a shootout. That’s why he keeps coming back.

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Book Review of Sea Cobra by Buckner F. Melton Jr.

Sea Cobra: Admiral Halsey’s Task Force and the Great Pacific Typhoon by Buckner F. Melton Jr.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you want to understand the power of a Mother Nature when she comes at you with the fury of a Typhoon, then this is the book that really sets forth the whole picture in a well laid-out fashion for those of us who are not hardened sailors as well as for those who may have captained or voyaged on their own ships through major storms. Admiral Halsey was already a seafaring legend by the time he took his task force 38 north from the East Indies to support General Douglas McArthur in his 1944 invasion of the Phillipine Islands. Yet weather predictions during that time in history were hardly much better than they had been back at the time of Admiral Nelson, some one-hundered and fifty years previously. In fact, the addition of modern radio transmissions and the infantile profession of weather predictions in 1944 actually put Halsey’s military task force at a disadvantage with regard to some foul weather because reliance was placed on distant transmissions of fragmentary information from Hawaii and Guam, to Admiral Halsey more than a thousand miles away. Thus, instead of relying on the local wind direction and the fact that the local barometer reading was falling very rapidly, the weathermen aboard the Admiral’s fleet chose to predict that a major typhoon was hundereds of miles away when their old fashioned charts would have indicated a severe storm in under 24 hours. Consequently, the efforts of the fleet to avoid the storm resulted in their passing almost directly into its center. The descriptions of the damage that was done to Admiral Halsey’s destroyers, battleships and aircraft carriers and their superstructures is almost beyond comprehension. Author B.F. Melton Jr. has taken original reports from the commanders of the various ships, the survivors of sinkings and the final navil inquiry into this naval disaster and let the facts speak for themselves rather than trying to be an armchair admiral. Totally engrossing reading and lessons for the modern world about remembering how to use old fashioned technology when the modern techno-world fails us.

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Season’s Greetings!

Snowmen on a frosty Christmas Cake

Fire Glowing in the hearth

Cards coming from Worldwide Friends

Doth a Wonderful Holiday Season Make!

Happy Holidays to Everyone! 2022-2023

Book Review: The Teenage Brain by Frances E. Jensen, MD with A.E. Nutt

The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults by Frances E. Jensen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Here is an book that should be required reading for all Parents at the point their children are reaching the age of about 12 and certainly before they really hit their teens! Author Jensen who is a single mother as well as a neuroscientist tells it like it is, worldwide with the development of the teenage brain, key information to know about how your child’s learning, emotiions, sleep habits and risk taking will change as that childhood brain which you thought you had so well trained, clicks into a new growth spurt of neuron growth and connections that in a period of approximately 6 years will change you adolescent into a largely functional adult – OR NOT! The temptations that arrive with sexual development and awareness, peer group emotional stresses, the pressures of society and the internet world of Facebook, Twitter, TicTok and online gaming, to name a few are mind boggling. Parents need to be aware of how the developing brain picks up on stimuli, how parents can best inform or share their own concerns and worries, how best to approach giving advice and when to seek help with a behavior that might be antisocial, violent, depressive, etc. I’m a retired biologist, teacher, secondary school principal and career educator. How I wish we had had, all of this knowledge over 40 years ago when I began my career and being married and having children of my own was raising them in my world of ignorance. Right to the final pages on sports, crime and punishment and movinginto adulthood, this book will keep you absorbed. It’s my pick for the best book I’ve read this year.

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FREE! “Beachcomber Seashells of the Caribbean” on Kindle Books from today, Dec. 5 through Dec. 9, 2022.

The Caribbean and the S. of Florida are great places to visit in March, April, May and then in Sept., Oct., Nov. for lowest rates on Hotels! Diving! Boating, Fishing, Food! Etc.!

Going to be on the Beach! You need a Seashell Book! And because of the 2022 holiday season, you can now get the best e-book for identifying your seashells for FREE! Dec. 5 through Dec. 9, 2022 at

It’s not just any book, it’s the best and easiest E- Book to read and use to I.D. all those shells you kick up in the sand whether on Sanibel or Curacao , or in Venezuela, the Bahamas, or Barbados or Virgin.Isles

Get the Picture? It’s a dang good book for you shell lovers!

If miss the freebie you can still get the Kindle version for a rediculously low price on the site all year round:

Happy Holidays! Have a great read!

Read about a Black African Hero! – Ghosts of Ukuthula – Dec. 4, 2022 Last day of this year’s Kindle Free copy!

UKUTHULA (pronounced Ooo-Coo-Thoo-Lhaa) means PEACE! in the Zulu language. It was in search of “Peace” that the African National Congress was formed in South African and in the 70’s met at Maun Secondary School in Botswana -where I was working 

My 2022 holiday giveaway period for my historical fiction novel, The Ghosts of Uhuthula, finishes at midnight tomorrow!  That’s 12 midnight PST December 4, 2022. Give a Kindle Copy to any friend for FREE!  Get it here – Free!

If you are into:

  • Recent History of The Republic of South Africa.
  • A story behind the scenes of the Black African Liberation Movement against Apartheid. 
  • Historical Fiction that enlightens us about the battles for freedom in our own times. 
  • An African Hero for African Peoples. 
  • Nelson Mandela and why he decided to choose “Peace” rather than more “War” in the RSA.
  • The manipulation of African Politics by outside governments, past and present.

Then this is the book for you and your friends.  You can also get it here!

Happy Holidays! and Ukuthula!

Rick McBee


Africa before Ukuthula! Kindle version – The Ghosts of Ukuthula – Free Nov. 30 through Dec. 4, 2022

Black Power shall rise again!

Ukuthula! (Pronounced “Ooo-koo-thu-lah”) meaning “Peace” in the Zulu language didn’t exist in the 1970’s and 80’s ithroghout most of Southern Africa. Guerilla warfare reigned against the colonial holdouts in Rhodesia, Namibia, Mozambique and The Republic of South Africa. For the most part, Botswana remained a peaceful nation in the eye of a whirling hurricane. African hero’s rose from the villages to fight for their freedom! It’s 1988. The “Republic” is the last stronghold of Apartheid. Jacob Nkwe (The leopard) is the man who can stop mass bloodshed as talks for peace (ukuthula) begin. But he’s a spy who has been outed and needs to come in from the cold. Read “The Ghosts of Ukuthula” and connect with the freedom fighters and spies who fought the secret Glasnost attempts by Russia and others to subvert a peaceful removal of the final chains of Apartheid from South Africa. Now free on Kindle for the next five days.One of the best of African novels, similar to those of Wilbur Smith!

Get the Book Here!

Enjoy! Happy Christmas!

Captivating Music of “Ukuthula!” (Peace! in Zulu)-for Christmas Pronounced: “Ooo-koo-thoo-lah!”

Ukuthula – Hlumelo’s Swansong!  Performed by the Cape Town Youth Choir as part of STBB s 121 year birthday celebrations Solo by Hlumelo Marepula Conducted by Leon Starker Watch Ukuthula:

The Zulu Word “Ukuthula!” When shouted out by a melodious African bass voice and followed by ullulations from high pitched female voices or when sung by a youth choir epitomizes a reaching out to the world and others with words of Peace! Love! and Hope! Enjoy!

As we look towards the holiday season of December, in a predominatantly Christian based society like the United States we often forget that there are hundereds, if not thousands of other religious traditions in the U.S. and throughout the world that have their own traditional celebrations around the themes of childbirth, health, well-being, meditation, the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and thanksgivings for good harversts which contrasts with the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere and the first fruits of the spring harvests. If you so desire, you can look up world religions and find that every day of December has some sort of religious celebration.

All of these traditions focus on the celebration of Joy, Peace, Light, Freedom, Seeking the Devine, and Spiritual Awakening.

Happy Holidays: <Rick>

Reminder! Free Kindle Giveaway of “Rough Enough” Ends Tomorrow, Nov. 29, 2022 at Midnight! Some Highlights!

Here’s Richard Headley Clow.  At 17 years of age he enlisted in the Union Army to fight at Petersburg and the final battles of the Civil War.  Stationed at Fort Hayes outside of Petersburg,  Richard Clow was in the first troops to enter Petersburg when it fell.   The fort is long gone, but a few ramparts remain under the blackberries.

Get the book!

If you were with the Union Troops, your view from Fort Hayes would have been much like this. With a clear swath of killing ground in front of the fort. Remeber that most of the trees were long gone al around Petersburg by the beginning of 1865 due to cutting for firewood, blasting to clear ground and constant cannonades.


Get the book!

Hope you enjoy the book!  Happy Holidays!

Don’t Forget – Starts Today! 25 Nov. 2022! Free – Civil War and Frontier History – “Rough Enough”

Are you a history buff? Like the Period 1860 – 1885? Montana Indian Wars? Dakota Territory Gold Rush? Ordinary Soldier Tales from the Civil War?

” Rough EnoughIt’s free – 25 Nov. 2022 to 29 Nov. 2022

Get the book!

“Rough Enough” the fascinating and amazing story of Richard Headley Clow during that period is now Free in electronic version from Amazon Kindle for your PC, Android, Kindle, Iphone… reader. It will keep you interested for days. learning about Clow’s upbringing in Boston, travels by ship to the front lines in Petersburg, The 56th Mass. Volunteers, The 13th Infantry in Montana and Dakota Territories and more.

Free fromNovember 25 through Nov. 29, 2022

Enjoy your Holidays!

“YES WE CAN!” But – Only if We VOTE! For Solutions!

This was the THEME of former President Barak Obama’s Campaign!

America can have whateveer it wants, But – Only if we stand up for what we want and VOTE! For Soutions!

American’s Issues:

  1. Home and Personal Security: Mass Murderers and Safety: America Doesn’t have to put up with mass murders with Automatic Weapons and Drive-by Shootings and Armed Robberies! We can do it all without taking away our Second Ammenment Rights to have Well regulated Militias and our right to Bear Arms. All we have to do is get out and VOTE! Right now! All we have with Automatic Weapons in the hands of Anybody, is No Control! Over This issue! If we VOTE we can put into office a Senate and House that will begin to work on sensible controls to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of criminals and crazies and to put those who do acts of violence with deadly weapons go to prison for a long-long period of time. Nobody has ever or will ever take away our Right to Bear Arms, so quit belly aching and get out and VOTE! for a Solution!
  2. Financial Security: A livable minimum wage: America Doesn’t have to put up with two people in a family needing to work full-time jobs and still having to live in a tent and not being able to afford food, clothing and shelter. There is a 2 part solution which Congress can implement NOW – called – A. making the richest members of our society and corporations pay the same minimun tax as the lowest level of tax payer. That is 15% of What ever they make before paying any dividends or bonuses to stock holders and executives! and B. By raising the minimum wage so that a single wage earner can take home enough pay in a 40 hour week to afford no-frills food, clothing and rent in their Community as calculated for that area. All our Children and their children deserve the right to earn a living wage in what has become the 40 hour per week and become financially secure. If you get out and VOTE – there can be long terms solutions to Family Financial Security!
  3. Cut Waste of taxpayer $$ in Governmen waste: Congress controls the purse strings on the American Budget. They can solve the massive waste of our tax money by A.Requiring all government purchasing to be put out on bid for all purchases from the private sector including : Presidential, Congressional, Military, Medicines, vehicles, Health Care, Health Insurance, Retirements, Military, etc…. B. Require all congressional and government and military travel, junkets office refurbishing and trips and hotels and food to be put out on bids andto pay only a per diem amount of Govt. Dollars to reimburse any expenses by government officials. C. Require all military gasoline and other purchases for transports to be bought only once out af any section’s budget. Additions outside budget need to be authorized individually by Congress. D. Cut all pork barrel deals and regulat Lobbying activities and contributions to politicians. We can get the graft and financial corruption out of our Politics by getting out and – VOTING!
  4. Take the big money pressure and graft out of Campaigns for Political Office: Get Back to One Adult Human – One Vote for our elections by Congress Making Laws Prohibiting Any Corporation, Person, PAC, or group from giving to Political Campaigns any amount larger than what he average American Citizen individually gives. IF we really believe in a Democracy of the Ordinary People controlling government, then we need to get out and Vote!
  5. Regulate Immigration: America needs workers to keep out economy going, both high paying wage earners and farm and domestic workers. Many of these workers need to be on Temporary or annual Visas instead of allowing them to immigrate. Congress must make laws that allow ample temporary visas for all sectors of our worker needs and also have strict penalties for individuals, including domestic household employers who violate immigration rules by hiring illegal aliens. Congress must also allocate $$ and incentives to other countries to have them remain stable and keep their people at home!.. You can do this if you get out and VOTE!

I have already VOTED in this election! I hope you ave or will VOTE also!

DRACULA – by Bram Stoker – A Book Review

Dracula by Bram Stoker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An amazingly interesting book about a subject and demonic personage that many people would tell you they know all about, although on questioning would have to admit that they had never bothered to read the whole book.
I would not call it a “horror” genre book simply because it doesn’t leave you with a feeling of horror, so much as a feeling of suspense, dread, and intrigue about what is going to actually happen next as the plot unfolds in a whole series of letters, diary entries and professional papers written in essentially chronological order by the victims, their lovers or spouses, and clinical psychologists of the 19th century.
The constant perspective of shifting the commentary from the viewpoint of the innocent victims detailing their nighttime encounters through a dreamy haze followed by the clinical observations of the signs and symptoms as seen by the doctors or friends of the afflicted person(s) gives the story a wholeness that grows into a complete picture that could never be fully depicted on the screen or by a group of actors.
I was continually impressed by the author’s depiction of the toughness, intelligence, fortitude, and persistance of the heroine and paramount victim of the story, Mina, wife of the real estate agent, Harker, who initially visits Dracula’s castle and begins to discover some of the underlying terrors that the Count holds and may bring with him in his impending move to an estate outside London. Mina is the one who loses her dear friend Lucy to the world of the undead and who then finds the she must continue to consort with the ephemeral vampire at night even while she knows that she is changing slowly into one of his kind.
This is a book that can hold you in its spell even after you have put it down for the night, as your mind sorts out all of the myriad details given by: Harker’s recounting of the rural Romanian peasants superstitions, the retelling of the terrible voyage to England by the sole survivor of the ship carrying the Count and his many coffins, and the crazed rantings of the zoophageous Renfield who becomes the Count’s means of entering the house wherein Mina is being kept safe through the power of the crucifix, the dust of holy wafers and garlands of garlic flowers.
The ending of the book brings to light the hiding places of Dracula’s coffins through precise detective work. Then the holy powers of the host and cross combined with the hypnotism of Mina to reveal the Count’s location, chase the demon out of England and send him fleeing towards the safety of his castle. The chase at the end should be followed by readers on their maps to gain some understanding of the remoteness that can still be found in the rivers and mountains of Romania where Castle Dracula stands and the Count is intercepted and destroyed.

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Modern Fables of Back to the Future – What it Will Take! Rents and Housing Prices Have got to Fall or Wages Rise!

The Current Spin about Housing and Land Prices and Rents: We can get back to living the good old days of life in the 50’s and 60’s by just electing the correct political party

Ha! Let’s Look at this Fable – Only one area today! Land/Rents and Housing Prices

First – Cost of Agricultural Land: Check out 1900 to just the year 2000!

National Agricultural Statistics Service – Publications – USDA from:…/Land_Values/index.php

In 2000, the average value of agricultural land and buildings was $1,050 per acre! That’s 52 times greater than the average of $20 per acre in 1900. Don’t even contemplate what’s happened to real estate prices on houses from 2000 to 2022!

You’ll see in a moment! Below!

Land and Residential House Cost: Determined by Location – Location – Location!

Approximate 2022 Cost of Land and Home Values in Each of the 48 Continental United States – taken from:

The chart below outlines the cost of an acre in each of the 48 continental United States as well as the average home value, total value of land, and GDP per capita. The discrepancies may be astonishing from state to state. (Want your own State’s multiplier? Just divide the Price per acre of your state by 20 as I did below)

StateValue per AcreTotal ValueGDP per capitaMed. Home Value
Wyoming$1,558 (78x the 1900’s)$97 billion$61,091$214,300
New Mexico$1,931$150 billion$41,619$171,300
Nevada$2,116$149 billion$44,812$258,200
South Dakota$2,135$103 billion$48,004$167,000
Montana$2,283 (114x the 1900’s)$213 billion$39,833$231,300
North Dakota$2,517$110 billion$64,911$194,700
Nebraska$2,936$144 billion$54,654$155,800
Idaho$3,435$182 billion$36,441$207,100
Kansas$4,220 (210x the 1900’s)$220 billion$47,435$150,600
Arizona$4,328$315 billion$39,583$223,400
Utah$4,664$247 billion$45,493$275,100
Mississippi$5,565$166 billion$32,447$120,200
Maine$6,142 (307x the 1900’s)$122 billion$39,521$191,200
Colorado$6,462$429 billion$54,026$348,900
Oregon$6,503$400 billion$51,312$319,200
Iowa$6,590$235 billion$52,284$149,000
Arkansas$6,739 (337x the 1900’s)$224 billion$36,714$128,500
Kentucky$7,209$183 billion$39,277$141,500
Missouri$7,233$318 billion$43,036$156,700
Oklahoma$7,364$323 billion$44,535$137,400
Vermont$7,439$44 billion$44,831$226,300
Texas$7,542 (377 x the 1900’s)$1.3 trillion$53,737$172,200
Minnesota$8,191$416 billion$54,805$224,000
Wisconsin$9,924$344 billion$48,666$178,900
West Virginia$10,537$162 billion$37,353$119,800
Alabama$12,356 (618x the 1900’s)$400 billion$37,508$141,300
Louisiana$12,908$354 billion$44,372$162,500
Georgia$14,242$528 billion$45,925$173,700
Tennessee$14,411$380 billion$44,348$167,500
North Carolina$16,230$506 billion$44,706$171,200
Washington$16,752 (837x the 1900’s )$716 billion$59,333$339,000
Indiana$16,903$387 billion$46,427$141,100
South Carolina$17,610$339 billion$37,637$161,800
New Hampshire$19,840$114 billion$52,509$263,600
Virginia$21,921$555 billion$52,124$273,400
Illinois$23,492 (1175x the 1900’s)$833 billion$55,102$195,300
Michigan$23,765$865 billion$44,201$155,700
Florida$28,961$1 trillion$39,842$214,000
Pennsylvania$31,923$914 billion$51,841$181,200
Ohio$32,077$838 billion$48,188$144,200
California$39,092 (1955x the 1900’s)$3.9 trillion$60,359$509,400
New York$41,314$1.2 trillion$65,220$314,500
Delaware$57,692$72 billion$63,955$252,800
Maryland$75,429$470 billion$56,375$312,500
Massachusetts$102,214 (5111x the 1900’s)$517 billion$66,500$385,400
Connecticut$128,824$400 billion$62,633$273,100
Rhode Island$133,730$90 billion$48,314$257,800
New Jersey$196,410$930 billion$56,776$334,900

Get the Picture?

Yikes! Great Grandpa! What’s Happened to the Great American Dream? Can you afford to buy a house? Wages will have to rise commensurately or housing prices will have to fall drastically in order for this American dream to continue.

Do you see any Congress

every doing anything about this?

It’s one big Fable!

Ask your Congressional Reps. How they are gong to fix this American Problem?

Body Counts -Vietnam -Guns -Children

What has happened to our National Perspective on gun deaths? Let’s think about the Vietnam era


The Vietnam War was a conflict in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, lasting from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. During that entire period of time, 19 years and 6 months, the total number of U.S. military deaths was 58. 220 persons.

This number averages out at just under 248 deaths per month or 2985 deaths per year, although we know from the overall annual figures that these numbers ranged from a low of 0 in several years to a high of 16,899 in 1968.

GUN COUNT USA : 1968 vs 2022

How many guns were there in the U.S. in 1968? versus today?

1968 – About 150,000,000 and now that figure is estimated to be 300,000,000 in 2021 – That’s three hundred million and we’re making more all the time as you can see from the stats on gun manufacturers productions. Think we have enough already?

Although not a direct comparison, because War deaths are for all causes, but just as a thought, I want you to think about 2 other figures from 1968 during this time. Remember, in general suicides make up about 55 to 60% of the gun deaths reported.

USA GUN Body Counts 1968

A. Total Number of Gun Deaths in the U.S. in 1968. – about 10 per 100,000 or just over 20,500 persons :

B. Number of School Shootings in 1968. – 4 students – (2 in Miami, 1 Chicago, 1 N. Carolina) See the link for all school deaths before 2000 from year 1840! :

Just in Case you are interested in some pretty chilling statistics: Brittanica Pro-Con Org. has full 1999 to 2016 compilations of U.S. gun deaths by year with breakdowns on Homicides, Suicides and Authority Mediated gun deaths :

NOW! USA Body Counts 2021

Active shooter incidents rose again in the USA in 2021:

Here’s 2017 – 2021 Numbers from the FBI:

A. Total gun deaths 2021: Over 45,000 gun deaths of which 53% were suicides!

B. Number of School Shootings in 2021: 34 School Shootings 53 injured, 15 students killed:

C. Number of Active Shooter Incidents: 693 Incidents, 702 Persons killed, 2884 injured :





Congressional Dereliction of Duty at State and Federal Levels: “Well Regulated Militias”

Our American History and our Constitution tell us that in certain times and places, what is defined as a “Well Regulated Militia” is of high importance to our country. In fact, the “Well Regulated Militia” is stated as being of highest importance by being framed in our Constitution as part of the Second Amendment to our Constitution as being the reason for our right to bear arms. o, who are the “Militia”?

THE MILITIA ARE – According to Wikipedia:

A militia is generally an army or some other fighting organization of non-professional soldiers, citizens of a country, or subjects of a state, who may perform military service during a time of need, as opposed to a professional force of regular, full-time military personnel; or, historically, to

 …See more

US Code #246 describes the classes of Militia as Organized and Unorganized in the following Link : Organized and Unorganized.

For any militia to be “well-regulated,” it requires standards. It requires training. It requires as sense of responsibility. And it requires that those who are irresponsible not be allowed in the militia. In other words, it requires rules called “regulations.”

Clauses from Congress on the basics of Regulating Militias:

Are Militias Legal? A. Some are like your National Guard Units

B. Some aren’t. Here’s a link to a List of the illegals as compiled by Georgetown University :

So Who Protects our Country from Illegal Militias? Supposedly the laws of the states and federal government. But check out the lack of prosecutions of Illegal Militias.

2014 Questions that arose and were not acted upon by our government:

2021 – More inaction by our state and national government!

2020Here’s a great Interview with Georgetown Professor Mary McCord on why some of our Militias are Illegal! Read it! or Listen!

So who are the Illegals?

Here’s the list state by state of Illegal Militias that have not been acted upon by our state and federal governments. From Georgetown Univ.



Book Review: Coming Back Alive! by Spike Walker

Coming Back Alive: The True Story of the Most Harrowing Search and Rescue Mission Ever Attempted on Alaska’s High Seas by Spike Walker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Autor Spike Walker has done an amazing job of chasing down, interviewing and documenting the fishermen, coastguard members and family of the survivors of three of the most amazing rescues and rescue attempts by the Alaskan Coastguard. The helicopter pilots, swimmers and hoistmen who man the H-60 Jayhawk machines in hurricane force winds with waves topping a hundred feet as boats sink beneath the fishermen below them are under terrific stresses both emotional and physically to save those in the waters below them who were either brave enough, crazy enough or stupid enough to ply the waters outside the normal fishing grounds in search of mother lodes of fish swarming at certain times of the year off the Alaskan coasts. Following their modern day motto of “You have to go out, and you have to come back”, the Coastguard push the very limits of their machines and human strengths, intellect, ingenuity and endurance to carry out rescues in situations beyond the ken of ordinary persons. Spike Walker’s superb writing allows you to follow the lives of wives and families, and hear the stories from all sides of the picture as rescuers fight to maintain positions, altitudes and communications, wives and families wait for any notification of rescues, and the men in the water fight to ward off hypothermia in the most deadly seas on earth. Enjoy the action and love the characters. They are human in all respects.

View all my reviews

Book Review – Wolf Pack by C. J. Box

Wolf Pack by C.J. Box

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A GREAT three day read! I got started on this particular C. J. Box novel and couldn’t put it down! It keeps moving and the interplay of themes which include the real-live wolf pack as well as the human “wolf pack” keep you thinking about what the outcome of this series of murders and Sheriff Joe Pickett’s life problems will be. Author Box got it just right with the trade-off of chapters between the deliberate actions by Joe and the his sidekick Nate and the mayhem and chaos sown by the human wolves of the Sinola Cartel. The Western setting of Wyoming is where author Box does the best descriptive work being familiar with the Bighorn Mountains. I loved the falconry and the episode with the drone that sets the wildness of the area against the technology that is invading it. A couple of the murders are a bit over the top for Box’s normal action writing, but still do a very good job of setting the stage for the action in Saddlestring, WY and the fitting triumph of justice in the very fitting ending.

View all my reviews

Book Review: Eye for an Eye by Ben Coes

This is my first book by author Ben Coes and I think I’ll go right ahead and look for another of his books because he gives you a bit of everything in this action thriller starring Dewey Andreas, a former Ranger and Delta operative. The motion never stops, the motives for revenge are strong and the characters on both sides are cunning in their planning, double crossing and execution of plots that lead to the assassination of an Israeli Mossad mole, the killing of a U.S. National Security Advisor, the Kidnapping of a Russian arms dealer and the drawing out of Dewey’s most formidable opponent in covert warfare, Fao Bhang of North Korea. The author keeps you engaged, involved with the characters so that at times you actually empathize for the bad guys although you know good will triumph in the end. Enjoy the read.

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Starting Schools – Failure of National Leadership with Opening just around the corner!

The United States of America has become a disease ridden country through Failure of Leadership at the National, State and Local levels of Government with few exceptions.

Dont! Start School LikeThis!

+ =

If you disagree that school can open here safely without mandatory masks, testing, and social distancing, then answer these questions:

HOW can the USA with 329.9 Million people have 75,821 new cases of Covid 19 on 17 July 2020,


  1. China with 1 Billion 429.3 Million only has 22 new cases on this same day?

2. India, has 1 Billion, 380 Million People yet only 34,956 new cases on the same day?

3. Germany, U.K., Italy, France. Spain with 326 Million People combined has only 10,759 cases?

What is the USA doing wrong in fighting this Forest fire!

The Forest Fire rages because the President doesn’t support mandatory mask wearing and social distancing for all even as we go back to work. The President has not called a Nationwide conference of Governors to get everyone onto the same page with masks and social distancing. The Governors have not acted in unison to get their states to honor mask wearing and social distancing and to have CONSEQUENCES for Adults who can’t follow basic health rules.

Because we have no unified nationwide attack on this disease, which, by the way, doesn’t care whether you are rich or poor, doesn’t give a rip about your race, and really doesn’t care what age you are, it won’t stop as long as we keep feeding it with more juicy little bodies.

. + or and peace of mind?



Help Douse The FIRE OF COVID-19:

Wear A Mask and Social Distance! And demand that your Schools Open with this in mind!

visit to the Dentist: How Hypochlorous Acid Dispensers can help schools open more safely


I generally hate going to the dentist, but the other day, having been given the grace of three months by our COVID director, I went in for my annual inspection and tooth cleaning. Here’s what I found out which as a former Science teacher and Secondary School Principal gave me increased hope for modified openings of schools on a safer level for teachers and students.

My dental technician was suited up per usual in her scrubs, gloves, goggles and wearing her surgical mask per usual with the addition of extra masking even though I had already been quizzed about my recent contacts, symptoms, had my own temperature taken, and was wearing my mask.

“So you’re finally back at work. This must be one of the most dangerous types of profession for exposure to the Virus,” I said.

“Yes, we’re right up there at the top, about in the 97th percentile group of those most likely to get the virus from our work,” she replied.

“Not comforting,” I replied.

“No, but we have to keep the beans and bacon on the table. We were one of the first dental offices to close and one of the last to open, because the Dr. and all of us here wanted to get the safety thing right.”

“So what have you done?” She hands me the special glasses and tips me back i n the chair.

Dr. found a way to cut down the escape of aerosol splattering when we use our sprayers or do drill work with the water on as a coolant. He also found some great HEPA air filters that take COVID viral particles out of the air and are quiet enough to use in our office and work areas. Best of all! He found that Hypochlorous Acid in a safe anti-microbial mist in each room kills viruses on contact, by forming a protective film on the surfaces of the counters and anything we might touch so that any viruses are instantly killed.”

She pauses, reaches over and flips a little toggle and I hear a sucking sound coming from the little funnel just next to my left ear. The water squirter goes into my mouth and she cleans out the first batch of debris in the regular manner, while I feel a slight movement of air from my mouth, past my cheek toward the mouth of the funnel. She stops washing, flips the suction apparatus off, and says, ” Open wide” before I have a chance to say anything.

” Pretty neat, Huh?”

“Ungh-Ungh,” I manage as she presses down and scrapes the back of my lower incisors, going after a year’s worth of plaque.

“Good Gums!” she says, bearing down one more time on the scraper. “We all know the basic drill : Social Distancing, Don’t touch your face, Wash your hands and Wear a Mask! If everyone did these things, our country would already be out of this crisis the way many other parts of the world are.”


“Butwe don’t teach self-discipline in our country, so it’s like herding cats. Those of us who have to work need to look out for good old # 1, because the Dufus-ass who walks into our work place may not have the brains to folow the basics.” She lets me sit up for a second.

“So what are you doing to keep safe? 97th percentile doesn’t sound like a good place to be.” She leans me back.

We bought us these HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) Filters that take spores, bacteria, many viruses out of the air completely. See the link: They are so efficient that they take things out of the air down to 3 nano meters. Since Covid 19 Virus is qbout 120 nano meters in diameter. Bingo! Virus! Out you GO!

“But that can’t stop your Dufus from getting spit on your equipment or countertops. What do you do?” I manage to blurt out before the next round of scraping and cleaning begin.

Hypochlorous Acid!”

I must have jerked because she sat me up and let me breath for a moment.

No, silly, you’ve had chemistry, Not that stuff! That would Kill you! I said: HYPOCHLOROUS” She spelled it out, “H-Y-P-O-C-H-L-O-R-O-U-S”


The good Doc walked in about that time. “Tell him about hypocholous acid, Dr.,” she said.

“A Great natural killer of bacteria and viruses,” he said. “Your body makes it is certain blood cells. In the office and here, it can be disseminated in an aerosol of 200parts per million by a machine in hospitals, operating rooms, our dental office, even regular work offices. We have a special generator for it. Kind of our extra insurance policy that we don’t get COVID19 here in our office. Here, Let me give you the link to a Dentist who really explains it. Got your Cell Phone?

I whip out my phone!

Here’s the link! Dentist During Corona Virus: with a Video!

“Wow! “Could this be used to safely disinfect schools during COVID?”

It’s approved by the FDA and The National Institutes of Health have done studies on in for Office use for exactly that purpose! Here’s a Link to that really important set of informtion!

Is it being used?

“Well it’s been used in a number of schools that had Influenza problems and works on a rotational basis. Here’s one good one that all Educational Leaders should be looking at right now. Fort Smith Schools did it with just one Fogger Per School! ! I’ll bet it will work for everyone in the country if we can just persuade some leaders!

The Doc glances around my mouth. “Hmmm, Nice Gums! Keep up the flossing!” Then He’s headed out the door.

Thanks Doc! You may have just saved one heck of a lot of lives! “


Veterans! Re-purposing Those old Military Uniform Buttons

It’s been a Loooong…. time since I wore any part of my old military uniform. Kind of like 50+ years.

Mainly because I worm most of my old fatigues out (I do still have an old set of Tigers) or gave a couple of shirts to my daughters who wanted to wear them back in the late 90’s when it was cool at school. My dress uniform hung in the closet until it actually got clothes moths in Roseburg, Oregon and I decided to decommission it by removing the buttons and then giving it the old back yard cremation and burial.

So for 40+ yrs. I’ve had the buttons kicking around with my medals and coin collection. What to do with them in an age when I now wear hearing aids, glasses and gimp around at half the pace I could sustain at my peak at 25?

Then a buddy gave me an idea on a hike!

We are walking along through the woods headed up to Burnt Lake on the side of Mt. Hood and I note that he has buttons on his glasses frames. Buttons on your Glasses Frames ..You say?…..

So he asked me, “ Have you ever had your COVID 19 mask straps catch on my hearing aides?”

No Duh, guy. Who hasn’t at our age?”

So he whips out his mask from a pocket and slips it on, hooking the elastic behind the two buttons on his glasses frames rather than onto his ears.

Intense watching on my part. Memories of my ‘Old Man’ saying, “Watch and Learn!”

Then he whips off the mask and stuffs it back in his pocket. “Cool Huh?”

Whoa, Dude! What a great idea! I’ll bet I can do that too when I get home!”

At home, searching through buttons, I come across a lone ‘fake military button’ that has a great flange on the back with a rectangular hole. Eureka! No messing with thread, D-rings, or elastic, this will fit right on the glasses frames.”

I dig out my Real buttons.

Plunge the curved earpiece ends of my wire frames into boiling water, straighten the curved ear piece and pull off the plastic ear pad. Slip the button on so that the eagle is upright, slip back the ear pad and put a drop of glue to hold everything in place. Voila!

Here are my glasses!

Here is my mask.

Here it is on! Great!

Patriotic and Useful! Yeah!

Remember, there are only two weapons we have against this Virus which is beginning to look like it’s getting lose like an Oregon wildfire with a 50mph wind:

1. Wearing masks and 2. Social Distancing.

You don’t want to get downwind of this baby or your Goose could be Cooked! If you haven’t watch Dr. Fauci’s presentation, click here. this guy is the expert and doesn’t beat around the bush.

Keep Safe, wear those masks, Veterans!

Most Deadly! Malaria vs Covid-19

When I was 16 my father gave me a copy of “Animals without Backbones” by Ralph Buchsbaum (1957). In it is a sentence that still applies to much of our world to day: ” Malaria is the most important disease of man in the world as a whole. At least half the people who die, from all causes, are probably killed directly or indirectly by this disease” Wow! Holy Cow! ….“The apalling social and ecnomic consequences of this widespread disease make it a problem that requires attack not by individuals alone, but by Governments”

In 1966 when I went to Cameroon for two years, my Dad, a microbiologist, talked to me about his concerns that I would be working in an area of the world known at that time as The White Man’s Grave! because of all the parasitic and other diseases.

Even today, despite modern medicine, Malaria is a disease to recon with for humanity. It has developed resistance to many of the drugs used to treat it, and still kills between 1,000,000 and 3,000,000 persons each year, many of them children. In fact, under the age of 5 years of age, Malaria kills 50% of the children who contract it and are not treated. Now wonder the deadly genetic adaptation of Sickle Cell Anemia, developed in Africa as a way of saving lives from Malaria, because it gives some ability to fight off the disease to about 50% of persons who carry one gene while killing 25% who carry two genes and leaving 25% of the population with no gene to take their chances. Whoa! Heavy! Dude!

People in areas of the world with Malaria take precautions when in Malarial areas of the world They take the latest medications prescribed by their doctors, sleep under mosquito nets, wear insect repellent or clothing impregnated with repellent, don’t go outside in the evenings, drain swamps, spray swamps and houses with insecticide, etc. Here’s what the Brit’s recommend and it ain’t just having another swig of your Gin with Quinine tonic water:

Now let’s look at Covid-19 also a nasty customer.

  • World Wide – 9,180,000 Cases – 475,000 Deaths – 5.17% mortality of those identified with COVID 19 – USA – 2,390,000 Cases – 123,000 Deaths – 5.15% mortality of those identified with COVID 19
  • Doesn’t sound too bad when compared with the Stats for Malaia you think?
  • Well Think again. This disease is spread by human contact not some bug that just happens around.
  • If every infected person touches, spits on, shouts at yaks for several hours with, dances with …with other humans and only gives three other people the disease and and those three each only give three more people the disease, and so on, the progression is :
  • 1,3,9,27,81, 243, 729, 2187, 6561, 19683, 59,049, 177147, 531441, 1,594,323, 4,782,969, 14,348,907
  • 16 x with 2 weeks in between each of these gives us over 14,000,000 cases possible in 8 months
  • We’ve done a bit, but we don’t have many things we can do. fortunately we can pause the viral spread in the USA with more attention to:
  • Social Distancing
  • Wearing Masks
  • Washing our hands
  • keeping to small groups
  • etc. as the good Dr. Fauci recommends

Now watch this very short Graphic Video comparing reported COVID 19 death to Malaria and othercauses of death:

AMAZING! Watch it again if you didn’t catch what is happening to the COVID 19 stats!

Don’t stop the precautions folks, cause the next 16 weeks could be really bad since we aren’t starting at 1!

Varied Pandemic Response is not new! Look at National Geographic’s 1918 – 1920 Spanish Flue information – Revealing!

We always tend to think of ourselves being on the cutting edge of innovation and change as we move forward in our human endeavors around the world. In fact, History and Geography can tell us as far back as written history goes, that we have been locked into certain human behaviors that haven’t changed a lot since we walked out of the caves in Africa some 2 million years ago.

The 1918 Flue Pandemic illustrates how with one hand we can try to modify human behaviors with rules and with the other we can choose at the drop of a hat to ignore or avoid those same rules. The Geographic’s description of trying to get mask use in Paris -1919 is one example:

The Geographic’s description of how Philadelphia came down hard on various behaviors in 1918, and then only days later allowed a parade of over 200,000 people is another:

If History and Geography are correct, don’t expect you will see an end to our current Covid -19 Pandemic for quite some time as the bug keeps moving along at it’s own pace. Note our own recent changes in outbreaks across the country and as people loosen up too much, wait 15 – 20 days and watch for the blips that will appear in various localities.

Hood River Oregon is a typical example of social gatherings that result in the virus getting into the very safety conscious fruit packing houses and then spreading into our community. Some who get the disease will be deniers of the problem, others will be persons who have worked hard to avoid getting the disease. Random chance and mother nature don’t pay a whole lot of attention to our human opinions, wishes and behaviors, they are just facts of life.

Keep wearing those masks and maintaining social distancing folks!

Saving the Postal Service – national Treasure to Protect Freedom of Speech and Voting -Thank a Mailperson

As a kid back in the 50’s, living in rural Montana, the arrival of the daily mail was always an adventure. We would run out to the mailbox on Sourdough Road and thumb through the letters hoping for that next birthday card from Aunt Pat with a 2$ bill in it since she worked for the railway, or the small packet of new stamps from the Littleton Stamp company, or the next chess move from our chess-mail opponent. After summer church camp it was always in hopes of having that one sweet note from the girl who held your hand at campfire.

Now, 70 years later, in rural Oregon, I am still expectant of the daily mail. It’s a common ritual for my Welsh Terrier to run up and wait for the leash each afternoon during the warmer months so we can hike up the quarter mile to the Dee Highway and collect the latest magazine, or the Hood River News (now delivered by mail), or the Christmas and birthday cards hidden amid the piles of junk mail and requests for donations from a plethora or charities and non-profits. At least twice a year I collect my voting ballot from the box so that I can complete my civic right to vote for local, state and national representatives and ballot measures because Oregon is a vote by mail state.

The mail is a method of mass communication in our nation, whether it is from politicians, corporations or friends. It has a real purpose and function in unifying a nation through a safe system of information dissemination while we receive more and more misinformation through the electronic world disseminated electronically by our political leaders, multinational corporations, and scammers of all kinds who face no penalties for lying, cheating and stealing in the manner set up by our nation to guard the sanctity and safety of postal transactions.

When I receive a registered or receipted piece of mail through the post office, I know automatically that I have legal protections which have protected Americans for over a century. I don’t have to read and e-sign ten pages of disclaimer and give up my right to sue and got to arbitration to solve a problem, No, I know that if I do have a problem, I can report it to the Postal Service and they will follow up on it with the full power of the federal government including the FBI behind them.

So why is it, fellow Americans that our postal service is in danger of: being shut down? going bankrupt? ceasing essential services? Being taxed with burdensome retirement penalties that do not apply to the rest of the federal government? Why in a time of social distancing, massive losses of jobs, rampant unemployment, prohibition on large group gatherings, fear of going to the crowded ballot box lines and halls do we not utilize the postal service for some things that if funded properly, they already have the infra-structure and personnel to handle more smoothly than any of our other governmental agency?

We are in danger of losing one of our most important governmental institutions at a time when it can rise to the aid of the country and smooth over some real crisis areas.

For instance:

Voting by mail is one of the most secure methods of getting to and from the ballot box in troubled times! The Federal Government’s penalties for tampering with the U.S. mail are already in place. Check it out on Google for tampering and vandalism – up to $250,000.00 fines – per incident! No wonder people don’t mess with the U.S. Mail!

Getting out Unemployment Checks and Stimulus Checks to individuals and local business recipients quickly and efficiently! Who else but our Postal Service should be handling and sending out these vitally important payments ? Where else is the best place to print these checks off and get them directly into the hands of the people who are so in need of these funds? Where could any Citizen with proper identification go to fill out governmental forms and apply for passports in small towns, pick up social security and pension checks? Who already has the trained personnel to deal with the public in a friendly, professional manner and not put you on hold for 20 minutes with a robot? The Postal Service!

Getting out non-fraudulent information to the public. We need a system in our country for distributing our news in a form that will have rules and severe penalties for lying, fraud and mis-information from all levels of the government. Who better than the U.S. Postal Service.

Next time you walk into a Post Office – Thank a Postal Worker for what they do. Tell them how glad you are that they get things done efficiently and professionally.

Next time you write Congress or the Senate, tell them to support this essential part of our Federal Government and to take away the penalties that are forcing it to go out of business. Tell them to give some more duties to the Postal Service because they are one of the truly honest and efficient pieces of our Government and are essential to the unity of the nation.

In Unity There is Strength! Unity demands Justice! Make sure you vote in November!

Our nation is in need of Unity. It is in need of a leader who can pull us all together to solve problems and not be divisive. We need a President who will tell us the truth even when it hurts and a President who stands for Justice!

General Mattis has put it very clearly for all of us who are now or were as I once was, that we :swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United Sates of America.

The General notes that since the very beginning of our country’s existence, this show of unity for the common cause of Liberty, Equality for all, and Justice for all under one set of laws, as described by James Madison, gives us a unified strength that is a world wide deterrent to foreign intervention. With this unity we have faced down dictators who would “bury us”, as well as stood fast in the face of the military dictatorships of Stalin, Hitler and Mao.

We, as a nation, have continued sporadically to work on this unified front until the past three and a half years, when we elected a President who has had nothing but a divisive agenda and personality which he is using to destroy our national values. The single most powerful man in our country who could unify us all has systematically worked for the past three years to tear down the culmination of Presidential leadership in government for the past seventy years. He is purposefully damaging work on improved civil rights, international cooperation, scientific research, a safety-net for the needy, and solid public education. All these things go by the waysdie as he lies to the most vulnerable and gullible people and continually postures in an attempt to make himself look good for photo ops.

Now the President’s quest for disruption of our unified society has only been amplified by his inability to lead and take responsibility for being a commander in chief of a battle to fight a pandemic having an unprecedented effect on our nation’s health, economy and the plight of the massive numbers of working wage earners who are not receiving the needed long term benefits of a national safety net covering the health, salaries, job security and families of these workers. As people demonstrate in hopes of getting him to work on a more equitable system of legal justice for over 1/3 of our nation’s people. he condones tear gassing and the shooting of rubber bullets at peaceful church members doing social work with peaceful demonstrators so that he can hold up a bible as if he were Moses with sacred tablets leading us towards a promised land. Unfortunately, his promised land for the majority of American people will be as smaller piece of the American pie for all of them as systems of our nation collapse due to his inattention and uncaring personality.

Instead of getting Congress to compromise across party lines to solve the Pandemic, Economic and Social problems our nation faces, he urges division. Instead of fighting for more funds for further long term support for the workers of our nation, the President continues to regard them as “low life” only acceptable if they are willing to eat the crumbs that fall from the tables of the wealthy who are raping the nation’s resources. The President’s actions exacerbate party divisions and his demand for a politically motivated investigation of the man who will oppose him in the November election is only one more sign that he has his own agenda, which is not the one needed by the American people. Instead of concentrating on being the person where “The buck stops here”, the President continues to pass off every medical, financial and social responsibility to governors, or others whom he can blame, ridicule and make fun of when there is any weakness in their unsupported work. A President who will commit blasphemy to his own religion of Christianity as well as denigrate the religions of others is not fit to be in the highest office in our land.

Tyranny can only survive when the good people of the world turn their backs and hide rather than standing together and confronting the tyrant. We all need to recognize that the “Emperor,” who is not wearing any “Clothes,” is our current President of the United States of America, Mr. Trump.

We all need to show our strength at the voting booths or by mail-in ballots that we want a person in the Presidency who will unite our nation, not divide and destroy it. Make sure you get out and vote!

Remembering My brother Christopher A. McBee and his Silver Star

This is a time for us to remember all of the soldiers who have served our country throughout the ages. In particular, today, I wish to share my memories of my younger brother, Chris, who passed away on September 15, 2019.

Chris was a go-getter, in 1968 when he chose to become a U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman. He wanted to pursue his dreams of becoming a medical doctor, but also was called to service because of our long standing family traditions of military service haring back to our father, Richard McBee who served in WW II, all the way back to and including both the Revolutionary War with Captain Vardry McBee and the Civil War with Richard H. Clow. Chris had a desire to make the world a better place and so chose to enlist in a helping profession that would give him excellent training to come out of the service and pursue further medical training.

Chris served two tours of duty in The Republic of Vietnam during his four years of service. The first tour was as a corpsman attached to Company D of the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion of the Third Marine Division: Motto Swift, Silent, Deadly. The unit operated out of the Quang Tri Combat base with numerous patrols. During this service, Chris was cited for gallantry in combat in Vietnam.

Citation: “On the night of Sept. 3, 1969, the seven man reconnaissance team of which McBee was a member, was occupying a defensive position approximately one mile southeast of Quang Tri Combat Base when the Marines came under intense fire from approximately 30 enemy soldiers. Reacting instantly, McBee unhesitatingly exposed himself to hostile fire as he fearlessly moved about the perimeter rendering aid to the casualties. When one Marine was wounded by an enemy rocket – propelled grenade, which nearly severed his foot, McBee rushed to the aid of his companion. Determining that an amputation would be necessary to prevent further complication, he skillfully performed the necessary surgery while hostile rounds impacted near him and his patient. His heroic and timely action inspired all who observed him and saved the life of his patient.”

Following the action, Chris and most of the unit were evacuated due to wounds suffered in the action. After recovery, Chris was trained as a military recon. diver and then rotated back to the States where he was based in San Diego for nearly a year before volunteering to be posted again to Vietnam near the DMZ for the remainder of his time in service.

After the war, when we met up and were recounting our separate military service activities while drinking a few beers overlooking the Madison River outside of Bozeman, MT, Chris explained his view from the “ground” version of the action for which he was awarded his Silver Star. This is as I remember his story.

“We had been out all day on recon outside Quang Tri. We were with a different Lieutenant than usual because ours had a bad case of some fever. As night came on in the woods we set up our perimeter with tripwires and Claymore mines as usual and prepared to spend the night. It was all quiet and I snoozed a bit, the way you do when half your brain still is monitoring what’s going on in the woods. Somewhere about midnight I heard what I thought was rustling in the brush and the click of something that sounded maybe like a rifle safety. We woke everybody up and listened, but everything was quiet. In this kind of situation, with our regular Lieutenant we would have blown our mines and made our escape right then because we were pretty sure something was going down but we weren’t sure exactly what. It was only a minute or so later that I heard what must have been a grenade ping as a handle was released and then all hell broke loose. We had incoming fire and at least one or two explosions. Everyone were yelling and screaming at one another while I tried to see where the fire was coming from. Then it was one thing after another with the guys being wounded and automatic fire coming straight in on us. I just crawled to everyone and did what I could for the wounds. The one guy hit badly by shrapnel from an RPG had his foot dangling so I cut off what was holding the lower leg and fixed him up as best I could. We called in for covering artillery. Nothing came, but it wasn’t more than ten minutes later that we saw a searchlight and an armored unit literally came over the hill. The next thing I knew someone in the armored unit opened up with the 50 caliber machine gun, the hostile fire ceased and we were yelling “Cease Fire”to keep the guys from shooting us up. In the end, I look back on it and sometimes wonder why I got the medal because I was just doing my job and what I’d been trained for.”

Chris returned to the U.S. and began studying Premed. at Montana State. His Vietnam experience never left him and he fell into depression, suffered catastrophic PTSD and dropped out of school. He became a reclusive digital watch repairman for nearly 15 years, fathered two children with his caring wife, Karen Smith, and then because of psychological was divorced. He eventually, after extensive therapy, was able to return to Montana State to study Psychology. He specialized in the treatment of veteran’s PTSD and Compulsive Behavioral disorders throughout the State of Montana and his work had a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of his patients. He became the proud grandfather to 5 grandchildren now living in the vicinity of Bozeman, MT, with their parents: his son, Shiloh and Liz McBee and his daughter, Moriah and Matt McKee, from his first marriage. Chris eventually remarried and had over 20 years with his second wife, Kathy, who cared for him until he died peacefully at the age of 70, of a metastatic stomach cancer, likely exacerbated by his exposure to Agent Orange while serving his country fifty years previously in Vietnam. R.I.P. Chris, you are a true hero. From your brother Rick.

Dodging Africa: by D. Lou Raymond – a book review

Dodging Africa by D Lou Raymond

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A super good coming of age book in Africa and the U.S. during the late sixty’s hippie protest era of the Vietnam War in the U.S. and the 4th Peace Corps group out in Botswana, Africa.
Two sisters, separated in mid-childhood life by the estrangement of their parents, grow up in very different cultures on separate continents and face the challenges of late adolescent development. The questions to be resolved abound in this book and are dealt with by author D. Lou Raymond directly, but with cultural sensitivity and understanding that can only be found in those who have walked in the shoes of that period. They are the universal questions for all persons at some point in their lives and are excellent ones to be discussed by book groups, senior high school classes, and university level courses including: Do I love or hate my mother/stepmother/father? Do I go off to college and pursue the direction my parents and interests have selected for me in life, or, do I rebel, and run away, to a drug experimenting flower culture? How can I fit my multicultural experiences of African life and native medicine into my interests in pursuing modern medicine in an upper middle class white community? Do I explore premarital sex and learn the consequences in the the school of hard knocks?
Those of us who are products of the era will love the back and forth discussions, displays of emotion and decisions made by the two protagonists, Willa and Nora as they wend their way through the journey of life. An excellent multicultural book. Enjoy!

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Hope is eternal! Story Review: My Pick for the Best Children’s Story of the Year!

As one of my medical friends said in a reply after watching this brief children’s video story:

This is probably the very best work on HOPE that I have seen coming out of the Covid 19 crisis.”

I agree and I hope you will spend the three minutes watching this and take it to heart.

The Story:

Life will be different after this crisis is over and we can go a long way to making it different! Just like the hope in the flowers that come every Spring!

Putting on the Covid = 19 Pounds!

Dear Friends,

I don’t know how many of you have found that living at home can have both it’s ups and downs, but let me clue you into something my wife and I have been discussing this past week as we spend more and more time traveling between the Kitchen and the Garden.

It has to do with the temptation to snack every time you come in from pulling weeds, planting seeds and trying to do all those little outside jobs that have been hanging fire for a number of years as you put them off one more time to go: Diving in Curacao (Oops, ain’t gong to happen in 2020) Orienteering at National and International Meets (Oops, those are cancelled everywhere), Going back to Africa one more time to see old haunts (Oops, diseases, diseases, diseases not to mention Covid19)….. I could go on…to visiting family – no motels, camping out – no campsites….. Darned depressing? Yeah, a way of life is changing right now as we live through things for the next 12 months.

What do we tend to do? Seek Comfort food! Of Course! So:

  1. Once a week: Call up the Mesquiteria – Steak and Shrimp are good for me – but Ohh! the Chocolate Bombs with Vanilla Ice Cream! – Sinful! – Yummm!
  2. OK, now what are we going to do special for another day! Fry up some more of those great Morel Mushrooms I collected this spring and eat them with dinner, or munch like candy, or slather them into a great spaghetti sauce! Getting Hungry?
  3. Wow, woke up again from my afternoon nap after busting my rear making fence around the garden to keep the deer out! Hungry? You bet! Rhubarb Upside-down cake for tea, anyone? undefined
  4. Breakfasts can last a long time since I don’t have to rush out the door – Sourdough pancakes! undefined or we can have my home-made raisin bread. undefined or…. one of my favorites! Blueberry muffins! undefined
  5. Lunchtime seems to be always popping up in the middle of the day so quickly and there is nothing like a piece of an English Lady’s – Sausage and Leek Pie to get you ready for another nap? undefined
  6. But dear we have so many eggs from our 9 chickens and four ducks, so we just have to have a little custard for dessert. undefined

As you can see, it’s a good thing I’m working 6 to 8 hours a day outside and taking my Statins and cutting out my alcohol intake because you can see where all of this good food is leading……! Got to stay in CONTROL!

Seriously, we are now having discussions as to how we can keep our weight from BALLOONING!

Enjoy the good cooking, but MODERATION in all of this is also important for our good health and being since the last place I want to end up right now is in a HOSPITAL!

Love to you all, Keep well!

Book Review: Partner in Crime, by J. A. Jance

Partner in Crime by J.A. Jance

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the side stories that accompany author Jance’s very interesting murder mystery and the personality descriptions and characters of Sheriff Joanna Brady and J. P. Beaumont, from two different worlds of law enforcement, who need to cooperate to solve a very complex murder of a Bisbee, Arizona artist. The personality clashes along with the character descriptions make the story. Right up to the final hundred pages, you won’t know who ratted out the Washington State Witness Protection Program, who killed the three Arizona citizens and how Beaumont’s former wife played a part in this whole story. The book deserves a good 4 stars, but I wasn’t drawn into it so heavily as to have a two day binge on the 400 pages of the novel. J. A. Jance is an excellent author and story teller. I will go on to read some of her other murder/suspense novels. Enjoy!

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What do the Simple Folk Do? # 6 They Color Eggs, an ancient worldwide tradition

Yesterday we colored eggs! A long time family tradition for my family around the Spring Easter season, and has been a traditon for millions of persons around the world from many different religions and cultures.

Where did the tradition come from? There are many theories but historians take coloring eggs way back to the earliest peoples and their ideas of the beginnings of the world and life. Decorated Ostrich eggs that at 60,000 years old, way before Christianity, other major religions developed, have been found and dated in Africa. So what many Christians around the world take as their own, is actually much much older than many people know. See Wikki for an indepth series on this whole subject. The egg can represent fertility, beginning of life, a tomb, resurrection, the stone in front of a tomb, and the colors can represent blood, green life and fertility, yellow -sun….. Lots of things1 Wow!

Symbolism in Eggs!

According to Peggy Trowbridge Filippone in an easy to read essay: “The ancient Egyptians, Persians, Phoenicians, and Hindus all believed the world began with an enormous egg, thus the egg as a symbol of new life has been around for eons. The particulars may vary, but most cultures around the world use the egg as a symbol of new life and rebirth.”

As with many of the world’s major religions, Christianity adopted local beliefs and customs in order to help persons who were interested in those beliefs incorporate their already preconceived notions about life and the beginning of the world.

And for Christians in particular, according to Peggy, “Since Easter is in the spring, the holiday is also a celebration of this annual time of renewal when the earth re-establishes itself after a long, cold winter. The word Easter comes to us from the Norsemen’s Eostur, Eastar, Ostara and Ostar, and the pagan goddess Eostre, all of which involve the season of the growing sun and new birth. The egg has become synonymous with Spring’s arrival.”

So the very early preachers in the Norse lands already knew how to adopt local ideas and put them to use in their early churches.

So taking that pile of eggs! Let’s get started! First I lay out all the materials: dishes, paper towels, food colors, drying racks and dipping utensils. Then I boil up those eggs until they are hard inside and cool them down completely in ice water or the fridge and make sure they are well dried. Her’s what it looks like!

Space things out if you have a good-sized group doing this!

We use not only the commercial dye kits, but also straight old Cake food coloring dyes. You want to make sure the dyes are edible if you are planning to eating the eggs later on. These dyes are water soluble and we put 1 tablespoon full of vinegar in each container, the dye and 1/2 – 3/4 cup of warm water. With food coloring you can always add more dye if you think the colors aren’t strong enough.

Then go to work!

Great Colors! Use a dipper!
Use Tongs!
Just set carefully.
Put eggs in rack to dry!


I love DEEP colors! The Green and Red Egg reminds me of the lab experiments we used to do with Green Chlorophyll Extract in Science Classes and when you shine a light through the Green solution, it makes it fluoresce and give off a fabulous deep Red color! Wow! (But that’s another story) Interested? See Wikki:

All done? Put your eggs in a great display basket and show your friends!

P.S. If you plan to eat some of the eggs, don’t leave them out more than a day or two in a cool room before putting them in the fridge. We wouldn’t want you to come down with food poisoning after all the fun and enjoyment.

Love those colored eggs and the ducks!


What do the Simple Folks Do? #5 They play with the dog!

When you wake up in the morning feeling blue staying home,
Remember your Rex your dog is also longing for a roam, So to liven your day, You can get the dog to play,
and have your wife snap a picture on her phone!

Rick and Rex Duke it out for the washcloth!

The dog won when my wife reminded me that this is not the time to see a dentist to replace front tooth caps.

If I wake up tomorrow with a crick in my neck, Oh! what the heck! It was fun!

Enjoy your day – someway!>)) and don’t forget to check out my free African adventure novel – “The Ghosts of Ukuthula” available this week on Kindle.

No Fooling! Stay at home and stay safe! GRRRR!

What do The Simple folk Do? They work puzzles! #4

One of the best things to take your mind off the rest of the world is to work a beautiful Puzzle. The concentration prevents you from caring about all those things the internet would like you to focus on like inane Tweets and crude comments and you can make something of beauty!

Here’s Your Pile to get started on! Looks Impossible at first.
Spend hours looking at and sorting weird pieces And a picture forms.
Three days later you’ve not thought about the world and Wow! What a great end result!

What do the Simple Folk Do? To help them escape when they’re Blue? Essay #3 – Keeping Positive! Flowers!

So What to Do ——– if I’m Blue ———- to Bring me back to the positive side of Life?

  1. Go outside in my yard, find a flower and take a selfie with it! Here’s my great flowering Japanese Magnolia in full bloom right outside the kitchen door! These have no odor, but this is one of the first trees to come out every spring. What a joy!

2. Walk on the hillside across the river from our place staying a long – long way from anyone else and shoot a wonderful Shooting-star flower (also called a Bird’s Bill by some people)

That’s what this guy does to cheer himself up. It’s amazing how the outdoors even a few feet from the house, absence from our electronic massage machines – phone–internet – TV – Radio ….. can change our mood! A touch of sunshine this time of the year after a long day cooped up in the house brings on an instant feeling of – Ah! How Great to Be a Part of this World!


What do the Simple Folks Do? Essay #2: Make Pancakes!

Need something to make your day perk up a bit? Start off with Pancakes!

I always make my pancakes with either Blueberries, Huckleberries, or Black Currants to get all that Good Blue out of the berries and counteract the Bad Blue of a slow wake-up in the morning before the first hot cup of Coffee or Tea.

Easy to do steps to make enough pancakes for 2-3 people depending on your size and gluttony quotient: 1 Cup of Four ( I use the generic Gluten Free Flour because regular stuff makes me itch, reg. works fine. 2. Then to this I add: 1/2 tsp soda, 1tsp baking powder, 1/4tsp salt, 1Tbs of sugar and set aside in a bowl. 3. In another bowl I break three eggs (you can get by with 1) and beat them really well, almost frothy. To this I add 1 and 1/3 cups of buttermilk (you can use milk but then you have to add 1Tbs of lemon juice to make the soda bubble when you mix things together. buttermilk is so much easier and you can get low fat type if you prefer. I mix the eggs and buttermilk together and then add 2Tbs of olive oil (other types of cooking oil work just as well). Whip everything well. Now pour your liquid from #2 above into your #3 mixture and beat just enough to mix everything but not to whip out the bubbles that are beginning to form.

4. Now fold in with a spatula 1 – 2 cups of berries. If they have been frozen, then make sure you warm them in a strainer in a bowl of warm water for a minute and drain well before adding to your batter or the batter will actually freeze to the berries in clumps.

5. Heat your pan or griddle to mark 5 of a 10 scale gauge and add just a small bit of oil to the pan to get it ready for cooking. Put three to four dollops of batter (about 1/4 cup each) into the heated pan.

Now cook the pancakes on that side until you begin to see little air-hole bubbles coming to the surface and when they break, they leave a hole. (You can see a few holes beginning to to show on my pancakes (the little black dots). Use your spatula to check that it is turning a deep brown, but not burning and then flip the pancakes once.


While the cakes are on this side, warm you r syrup, get out the butter, put the plates nearby and get your family (including the dog) ready to eat! Note I have a bunch showing at the top of the picture. Those are the pancakes that after cooling go in the freezer in a plastic bag so we can eat them for several days just by warming in the microwave.

Take out those yummy pancakes straight out of the pan and Chow Down! YUMMY!

Enjoy! All the best for another day, Rick McBee

What do the Simple Folks Do? Essay #1

Reminiscent of one of my favorite songs in the 1960 Broardway Musical, Camelot: This article and the next few will focus be on things that we, the simple folk of America can and still do in order to keep our sanity and drive fear away from the door as we pass the time while Nero and the Senate go on Fiddling and deal with long stretches of semi-solitude during our home stays being mandated by the competent State Governments who hope to keep us from spreading or acquiring the COVID -19 virus.

So what can we, the simple folk do?

1. .Start off by reading a bit about the Musical at: On Wiipedia you will find a number of related searches.

Camelot (musical) Camelot is a musical by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe (music). It is based on the King Arthur legend as adapted from the T. H. White novel The Once and Future King. Wikipedia Related searches include the legend of Camelot and King Arthur, the Musical Overture and much much more.

2. If you want to watch the later movie of Camelot from 1967 with Richard Harris and Vanessa redgrave, check this out then you can rent the movie on netflix see:

3. Now you’re ready to start making your own list of things that we simple folk can do to help us from becoming so blue.

See my Next Blog Post #2

Enjoy! Rick McBee

The Fox, by Frederick Forsyth a Book Review

The Fox by Frederick Forsyth

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Writing master, Frederick Forsyth, is back at it again with a great book linking IT to current and past events in the world of international intrigue and power games. The occurrences that happen worldwide are real. The methodology by which Britain’s IT genius, Luke Jennings, pull off the intrusions are fictional, but not that far-reaching in a world where the race to build the ultimate quantum computer to spy on others is going full blast. Adrian Weston, the resuscitated former MI-6 chief, running Jennings and the global intrusions is also a picture of a truism that the old ways of running spies and deceiving the enemy may still be needed in a world where every movement can be traced using our cell phones, our credit cards, camera facial recognition, etc. Kudos for this work to a writer who understands that the spy world is not an adrenaline rush of dodging bullets but rather a cat and mouse game of piecing together seemingly unrelated bits of information and making the chessboard moves with the knights and pawns before the opponent recognizes the deception and the true plot. Woe unto the Russians, the Iranians and the North Koreans. Loved it!

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The Silence of the North by O.A. Fredrickson and B. East: A book review

The Silence of the North: The Incredible Story of a Woman’s Fight For Survival in the Wilderness by Olive A. Fredrickson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Olive Fredrickson’s story of her early life growing up in the Canadian wilderness is an exciting adventure suitable for both young and old, male and female as she deals with the death of her mother at an early age, grows up knowledgeable of the world of trapping and hunting in a part of the world almost completely unknown to the majority of North Americans. The knowledge she gained from her hardscrabble family upbringing in the wilderness carries her through to adulthood and marriage to her first husband, a trapper named Walter Reamer. Olive and Walter follow the trails of the Canadian North on trapping expeditions that place them and their young child in danger of drowning in the icy waters of Lake Athabasca and the Slave River as they treck into the wilderness for a winter’s trapping and hunting. Fate steps in during the winter as the young couple makes one slight mistake after another in their choice of cabins, food supply, and preparation for living off the wilderness. On the doorstep of starvation and death by exposure to the elements, the couple set off in a desperate attempt in the subzero weather to reach another trapper’s cabin. Lady luck peeps out for a moment as they stumble through a twenty mile ordeal. Returning to civilization, Olive remains in the safety of town with her children as her husband continues to trap each winter. When she is widowed, Olive moves briefly to the States and then returns to Canada, working hand to mouth for a number of years until she meets her second husband and they are able to make a living in a less hostile section of the wilderness up the Stuart river where they pan for gold, encounter grizzlies, and fabulous fishing. It’s a memorable story with lessons for all of us about the realities of making choices in life and the consequences of making the wrong choice in the unforgiving climate and environment of the Canadian wilderness. An excellent read-aloud book!

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THE TIME FOR ACTION! Political Robocalls

Trust Me! You will NOT get my vote with a Robocall, Three times per day. That shouts in my ear

THIS is —— —–, IT’S TIME FOR ACTION!”…….etc…….undefined Who gave you my phone number anyway? Is a record being kept of home many times you call me? Are you paying the phone company for all these calls? Are you just another scammer? Nigerian? Russian? Ukrainian?

Robocalls can be stopped if we have the political willpower. Do your Jobs Congress and POTUS!undefined

Trust me, You aren’t getting my vote with this Hogwash! undefined

Personal (Jack Reacher #19) by Lee Child. A book Review

Curacao is always a great place for me to catch up on my reading between dives. (More on that when I get back and have time to edit my videos and pictures. I’m also getting a lot of writing done on the next book(s).(:>)

My wife Jill cruising along – note the calm relaxed swim – cool!
Personal (Jack Reacher, #19)

Personal by Lee Child

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The sniper has always been one of my favorite themes to read about whether that person is a villain or a hero. Author Lee Child has found his firm niche for the second time with a book that gives insight into the psyche of the sniper/killer and all of the factors that go into tracking down a single human being who has decided to do someone in, long-range style. Because of the international setting and the weeding out of possible sniper candidates from Israel, the U.S., Britain, and Russia, our hero, Jack Reacher spins his wheels for a while stateside before venturing to the European theatre where the killer is due to strike next at an international trade convention. Who is the killer really after? One of the big-wigs of the conference? One of the numerous members of the international team of GRU, CIA, MI6, etc. investigators who have gathered to share intelligence and hunt down the murderer? It’s a cat and mouse game, and as the author says, “It’s not the same with a sniper out there.” When the Russian GRU man gets taken out the hunt turns toward the Russian rogue sniper. Reacher isn’t sure and ends up in London with his sidekick Casey Nice hunting for at least two snipers being hidden by the ‘Romford Boys’ under the leadership of a giant of a man whose presence intimidates even the husky physique of Reacher. It’s a hunt through good old London and enough twists and turns are there to keep you and Reacher thinking about the outcome. Lovely Casey is pretty good with holding up her own end of the deal, saving Reacher’s neck by improvising with a shard (no pun intended) of London glass to off a dude. I enjoyed the fast pace, the changes of venue and the ability of the author to get all those characters amply described and fitted for their various nefarious and savior roles. Enjoy the voyage and enjoy that final take-down of the bad guy at the end. A non-stop page turner for rain or the plane!

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The Midnight Line (Jack Reacher #22) by Lee Child. Book Review

The Midnight Line (Jack Reacher, #22)

The Midnight Line by Lee Child

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Midnight Line is a must-read for the many of us who have been military, been associated with a war, or have been related to a friend or family member who has been damaged physically or psychologically by war or military experience. So that’s to say, pick it up and read it, America and the rest of the world. Author Lee Child hits the nail on the head with his phraseology about addictions: “You should never underestimate the appeal of an opiate high,” and the military: “you never really leave.” The entire book illustrates how the simple act of looking through a pawn shop window and seeing a class ring can lead to a fascinating vision and train of thought for an author to follow up on and develop an entire book. I’d like to sit down with Lee Child in one od his lecture and fins out which came first, the plot of the drugs and the missing West Pointer who pawned their class ring, or the stimulus of looking in a pawn shop window, seeing an old class ring for sale, and jumping from there through hyperspace to the gist of a disabled veteran hiding out from the world. Well written, one of the best in many ways for those of us who know and have crossed the high and wide of the Wyoming plains and mountains around Laramie. Enjoy!

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Never Go Back: Jack Reacher #18, by Lee Child – A Book Review

Never Go Back (Jack Reacher, #18)

Never Go Back by Lee Child

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this Jack Reacher book with its twists of plot and the fact that author Lee
Child has created a co-protagonist for Jack in Major Susan Turner, new CO of the 110th MP. Turner, a no-nonsense Major with many of the traits of Jack in a lightweight fashion, is a good foil for Reacher and gives some further humanity to the guy. The book gives readers a strong awareness of the problems we will face in the future with records and the ability of materials to be redacted or changed by persons in the government to tell the story they want us to hear, rather than what has actually happened. It also gives an indication of how easy it might be to falsely twist facts to have someone incarcerated with no hope of beating the system without breaking the law because the enforcers of that law are cautious about going against what they believe to be the actual facts, when in reality they may only tell one side of the story. Only Jack Reacher could break out of jail the way it is done in the book, but of course, we all know what he alone is capable of in comparison to everyday humans. Read and enjoy the fast-moving read and plot twists!

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BUZZ: The Nature and Necessity of Bees! by Thor Hanson – A Book Review

Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees

Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees by Thor Hanson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed how author Hanson mixed hard factual science and knowledge of the Bee world together in a well-organized book for laypersons and members of the science community with broad backgrounds for understanding the reasons why certain grown adults charge around deserts, forests, savanna and jungles flailing the air with nets and patiently pinning nearly microscopic bugs on balsawood boards for study and posterity. As a former bug-kid who did a lot of net swinging while my compatriots were shooting balls at nets, I can empathize with the author as he describes run-ins with Border Patrol Agents wondering why a bunch of folks would be thrashing about the cholla cactus regions along the Mexican border looking for bees. Hanson has interviewed with and studied under, a number of the cutting edge entomologists who have traced the history of human-bee relationships back to earliest times, calculated the calorific contribution of honey to hunter-gatherer tribes, chased the ghosts of ‘colony-collapse’ in our own time, and those who have begun changing their farming methods from bee-adverse methodologies to bee-enhancing practices. I enjoyed every chapter. There is something for everyone in this book which opens our eyes to our bee/human interdependency and gives us reasons to go out and look closely at our own flower beds and try to make them as bee-friendly as possible and help this vast group of friends prosper.

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