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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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!
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!
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)
|State||Value per Acre||Total Value||GDP per capita||Med. 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|
|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|
|Kansas||$4,220 (210x the 1900’s)||$220 billion||$47,435||$150,600|
|Maine||$6,142 (307x the 1900’s)||$122 billion||$39,521||$191,200|
|Arkansas||$6,739 (337x the 1900’s)||$224 billion||$36,714||$128,500|
|Texas||$7,542 (377 x the 1900’s)||$1.3 trillion||$53,737||$172,200|
|West Virginia||$10,537||$162 billion||$37,353||$119,800|
|Alabama||$12,356 (618x the 1900’s)||$400 billion||$37,508||$141,300|
|North Carolina||$16,230||$506 billion||$44,706||$171,200|
|Washington||$16,752 (837x the 1900’s )||$716 billion||$59,333||$339,000|
|South Carolina||$17,610||$339 billion||$37,637||$161,800|
|New Hampshire||$19,840||$114 billion||$52,509||$263,600|
|Illinois||$23,492 (1175x the 1900’s)||$833 billion||$55,102||$195,300|
|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|
|Massachusetts||$102,214 (5111x the 1900’s)||$517 billion||$66,500||$385,400|
|Rhode Island||$133,730||$90 billion||$48,314||$257,800|
|New Jersey||$196,410||$930 billion||$56,776||$334,900|
Ask your Congressional Reps. How they are gong to fix this American Problem?
What has happened to our National Perspective on gun deaths? Let’s think about the Vietnam era
BODY COUNT VIETNAM:
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. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War
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. https://www.archives.gov/research/military/vietnam-war/casualty-statistics
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? https://www.npr.org/2016/01/05/462017461/guns-in-america-by-the-numbers
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 : https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00023655.htm
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! : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_school_shootings_in_the_United_States_(before_2000)
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 : https://gun-control.procon.org/us-gun-deaths-by-year/
NOW! USA Body Counts 2021
Active shooter incidents rose again in the USA in 2021: https://www.fbi.gov/news/press-releases/press-releases/fbi-designates-61-active-shooter-incidents-in-2021
Here’s 2017 – 2021 Numbers from the FBI: https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/active-shooter-incidents-in-the-us-2021-052422.pdf/view
A. Total gun deaths 2021: Over 45,000 gun deaths of which 53% were suicides! https://news.yahoo.com/staggering-toll-gun-violence-united-161637589.html
B. Number of School Shootings in 2021: 34 School Shootings 53 injured, 15 students killed: https://www.edweek.org/leadership/school-shootings-in-2021-4-takeaways-in-charts/2021/12
C. Number of Active Shooter Incidents: 693 Incidents, 702 Persons killed, 2884 injured : https://www.thetrace.org/2021/12/gun-violence-data-stats-2021/
WE ARE LOSING A LOT MORE PEOPLE AT HOME TO GUNS THAN WE EVER LOST IN VIETNAM!!
ARE WE REALLY THAT CRAZY?
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”?
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
US Code #246 describes the classes of Militia as Organized and Unorganized in the following Link : Organized and Unorganized. https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/10/246
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: https://law.justia.com/constitution/us/article-1/58-the-militia-clauses.html
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 : https://www.law.georgetown.edu/icap/our-press-releases/fact-sheets-on-unlawful-militias-for-all-50-states-now-available-from-georgetown-laws-institute-for-constitutional-advocacy-and-protection/
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: – https://thecrimereport.org/2021/01/14/will-authorities-crack-down-on-illegal-militias/
2021 – More inaction by our state and national government! https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2021/01/13/inauguration-protests-experts-urge-action-against-illegal-militias/6643440002/
2020 – Here’s a great Interview with Georgetown Professor Mary McCord on why some of our Militias are Illegal! Read it! or Listen! https://www.npr.org/2020/08/30/907720068/are-citizen-militias-legal
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. https://www.law.georgetown.edu/icap/our-work/addressing-the-rise-of-unlawful-private-militias/state-fact-sheets/
DEMAND THAT YOUR STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS CRACK DOWN ON ILLEGAL MILITIAS!
TO NOT DO SO IS – DERELICTION OF DUTY!
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.
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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.
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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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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,
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?
YOUR KIDS ARE NEXT IN LINE: THINK ABOUT THIS LONG AND HARD BEFORE YOU SEND tTHEM BACK TO SCHOOL WITH NO MASKS OR SOCIAL DISTANCING OR ANY PLAN TO KEEP YOUR TEACHERS AND STAFF AND AUXILIARY STAFF SAFE AS WELL SO YOU CAN GO BACK TO WORK–
WITH 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!
IF YOU ARE IN A RUSH, SKIP TO THE LAST 4 PARAGRAPHS WITH KEY LINKS!
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: https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=hepa+filters+are+used+to+remove+microbes+from 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.
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: https://abc7news.com/dentist-during-coronavirus-near-me-open-and/6213749/ “Complete 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! https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7315945/
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! https://www.fortsmithschools.org/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&DomainID=4&ModuleInstanceID=39&ViewID=6446EE88-D30C-497E-9316-3F8874B3E108&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=76112&PageID=1
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! “
WHAT DO YOU THINK!!
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! https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sickle-cell-anemia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355876
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: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/malaria/prevention/
Now let’s look at Covid-19 also a nasty customer.
Now watch this very short Graphic Video comparing reported COVID 19 death to Malaria and othercauses of death: https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/2634167/?fbclid=IwAR126Ac8bDgeIKRca8uE5xA_obz0_sSidlVmyb65xq6dswNGAPvGfwb-BOI
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!
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: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/2020/03/how-cities-flattened-curve-1918-spanish-flu-pandemic-coronavirus/?cmpid=org=ngp::mc=crm-email::src=ngp::cmp=editorial::add=History_20200615&rid=B26615A77E4786091E9D169FFF2601A7
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: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/2020/03/how-cities-flattened-curve-1918-spanish-flu-pandemic-coronavirus/?cmpid=org=ngp::mc=crm-email::src=ngp::cmp=editorial::add=History_20200615&rid=B26615A77E4786091E9D169FFF2601A7
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. https://www.yahoo.com/news/infectious-disease-expert-says-coronavirus-180244347.html
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. https://search.yahoo.com/search?p=hood+river+covid+19+cases&fr=yfp-t-s-m&fp=1&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8
Keep wearing those masks and maintaining social distancing folks!
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.
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! https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=penalty+for+tampering+with+us+mail 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.
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!
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
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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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.
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!
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:
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!
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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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!
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!
A time to share while we wait for the world to come back to a semblance of normal – Enjoy them!
All are available through Kindle Reader’s Library directly on you Kindle for P.C. or Apple, and Kindle Owner’s Lending Library https://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000739811, at my Amazon Author site https://www.amazon.com/Rick-McBee/e/B001K8HIXI/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1, or at Amazon Books under the title.
I’m at home like a lot of you, waiting and watching and trying to do something other than self-massage fears by reading the news. So I spend a part of each day reading book. These three books will give you ample reading material to enjoy. First, free April 1 – 5, 2020 The Ghosts of Ukuthula
A. You follow historical fiction in an account of the period in South Africa when some key persons prevented a Russian takeover of South Africa leading to the installation of the first Black African President of the country, Nelson Mandela. Then Free April 6 – 10, 2020 Rough Enough.
B. You can read the true story of Richard Clow during the Civil War and later life on the frontier. Through his letters to his sisters, you will discover the life of an enlisted man, the joys and hardships and terrors that accompany soldiers on the battlefront in all ages as well as the life that confronted married couples on the frontier in Deadwood, Dakota Territory and Little Sioux, Iowa. Finally, Free April 11 – 15, 2020 is Beachcomber Seashells of the Caribbean.
C. You can explore the world of Caribbean seashells through beautiful photgraphs of over 200 of the author’s personal shell collection and read about the lives of those particular creatures and have references to 5 other sources of seashell information, should that be an area that you or your children are enthusiastic about.
Those of you with Kindle Readers can borrow all of these books from the Kindle Reader’s Library and read them for free any time. Relax, get a free book or two and enjoy. You might even be able to find out what all those pretty shells are that you picked up in the Caribbean, back when we could travel. A place to dream about going back to!
Enjoy Spring! Smell the flowers! Look for Bees! The End!
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!
So What to Do ——– if I’m Blue ———- to Bring me back to the positive side of Life?
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!
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.
RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO PAT THE PANCAKE WITH YOUR SPATULA – NEVER PAT A PANCAKE!
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
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: https://study.com/academy/lesson/camelot-the-musical-synopsis-characters-songs.htm 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 https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061439/ then you can rent the movie on netflix see: https://dvd.netflix.com/Movie/Camelot/345890|
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
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: 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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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……. 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!
Trust me, You aren’t getting my vote with this Hogwash!
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).(:>)
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 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 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
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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We are down to the last 30 hours before the Free Offer on an E-Book version of “The Ghosts of Ukuthula” will end. Take advantage of this and connect with the freedom fighters who fought the neo-colonial attempts by Russia and others to keep the Republic of South Africa from throwing off the chains of Apartheid and make the nation into a Russian puppet. Historical Fiction for all ages. Enjoy!
In response to a Reader’s Question as to whether Rough Enough documents atrocities against Native American Indians during this period of time, the simple answer is, no. But let me elaborate on what it does cover a bit more in case it can lead you to references that might hit topics you find interestingon Montana or Dakota history as well as the Civil War.
Killings of soldiers and travelers: During the period 1867 – 1870, Rough Enough documents and refers to several Indian attacks, most generally associated with the raids that were conducted to take horses and cattle at Fort Buford, a direct attack on Ft. Shaw, by Blackfoot Indians and an attack in the Gallatin/Yellowstone drainage on soldiers from Ft. Ellis. Richard Clow’s letter to his sister in 1869 documents the killing of several civilians in Ft. Buford’s vicinity and his reaction to that particular killing. The 13th Infantry in Montana and Dakota Territory at that time was tasked with building all of these fortifications which were poorly manned (under 100 – 200 soldiers) and could only patrol or follow up small bands of Indians, let along protect themselves in remote areas with virtually no supply lines. The book contains information as to the recorded deaths at Fort Buford during a 10 year period and you will note that soldiers were more generally dying from things other than Indian attacks despite what the rumors and trade books would lead us to believe. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Indian_massacres for a full accounting of massacres, references and dates. By comparison to other times, this period was generally more peaceful.
Killings of Native American Indians-The Marias River Massacre: The only documented massacre of Indians in this section of the country during this particular time period was the Marias River Massacre in western Montana in 1870 in which 200 + older men, women and children were killed by Maj. E. Becker, under the command of Gen. Sheridan. See full account: https://www.legendsofamerica.com/na-mariasmassacre/ . This particular massacre has been described as one of the most atrocious killings of innocent civilian Native Americans and gives one good reason to understand why after this time, a lot of Native Americans Indians developed a strong hatred for soldiers and intruders into their territories. In Rough Enough, there are descriptions of small confrontations and killings but no other massacres initiated by the military or civilians of Native American Indians.
The next massacre incident in this part of the United States was the Big Hole Massacre of Chief Joseph’s women and children in 1877. This is an equally despicable attack on a sleeping non-military camps under Col. Gibbon in the running battle which occurred as Chief Joseph tried to lead his people to Canada to escape further persecution. See: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/nez-perce-fight-battle-of-big-hole .
Hope you enjoy the book. Still Free through Dec. 9, 2019
Hope you enjoy it!
What do you think makes this arch enemy of American Democracy so happy? Is it because he likes our burgers? or our nice houses? or the cars we make? or our freedoms? No Way! This guy is out to get us!
Mr. Putin as stuck a knife in the ribs of American Democracy and continues to twist it because of our own ignorance about his tactics at the highest levels of government. Mr. Putin knows that 21st century Americans are addicted to the internet and are fools about his use of the disinformation and propaganda that are manipulating the governance of our free Democratic Republic.
Mr. Putin is influencing our nation with propaganda vastly more powerful than what was used in the 1950’s and 60’s during the height of the Cold War, to manipulate the minds of persons within the sphere of Soviet power around the world. Newspapers and letters took weeks at times to transmit information during those eras. Now it is a matter of milliseconds between something occurring and it being disseminated world-wide. Lies travel faster than well thought out truths.
For those of you unfamiliar with the the Cold War, you might want to take the quiz and read the answers to learn about this very insidious period for the world. I was in the military during that period and so it is real for me. https://grizly.com/quizzes/how-much-do-you-know-about-the-cold-war?paginated=1&utm_campaign=qg_dynamic_search_desktop_11_1&utm_source=adwords&utm_medium=search&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI4pfWtY2f5gIVpiCtBh2i9QzWEAAYASAAEgJA9vD_BwE
The use of mind manipulation has been around for thousands of years, especially used by the military to gain the advantage in warfare. The understanding of mind manipulation by propaganda was well understood in the US during the Cold War. It was the reason my father, a WW2 veteran, built a bomb shelter for the family under our house in Montana in the late 1950’s. It was one of the reasons why I wrote one of my high school senior essays on Brainwashing. It was one of the reasons why McCarthyism https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarthyism was such an insidious and dangerous name-calling game in the U.S. political scene of the 1950’s. When you look at today’s political mess, remember lies, innuendo and conspiracy theories have happened before. Truth and facts will root it out.
In the 1980’s and 90’s after Glasnost (Russian for openness and transparency) came to the Soviet Union and its separation into smaller independent countries, America lost its focus on the ball of disinformation. I focus on a portion of this problem in my book The Ghosts of Ukuthula in detailing a number of acts promulgated by the Soviets and Russians through KGB action in the war for black majority rule in the Republic of South Africa, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), and Namibia. https://www.amazon.com/Ghosts-Ukuthula-Mr-Rick-McBee/dp/1532995342. The problem has not gone away, now it is more frequent and focused by unvetted media and Mr. Putin’s apparatus through the various mouth pieces in our own nation.
Actual facts and knowledge have always been very important for human development, understanding and governance. So suddenly in the past 20 years of unfettered growth of the internet there have been some big technological developments that allow pseudo-facts and stories to be disseminated globally by governments wishing to manipulate the thinking of other countries. If nobody checks these facts and stories, then as our research shows, the false story, if written cleverly will circulate much more rapidly and quickly than the truth and thus influence more people. A very dangerous situation in a Republic governed by Democracy.
Mr. Putin knows that because of our open internet and our naive gullibility to pick up on and spread unchecked rumors, outright lies, and stories through unvetted channels such as Facebook and Twitter, that we are a nation very susceptible to manipulation of our population and our government.
We have begun to drink very shallowly from the wellspring of actual true facts and knowledge; what the Greeks and Macedonian’s called the Pierian Spring; a place where the ancient Muses gained their unique prophetic knowledge. Alexander Pope (1688 – 1744) wrote a long poem in his “Essay on Criticism” on this subject including the dangers of having only a small amount of knowledge. See it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierian_Spring. We are thus treading nationally on very thin ice.
The gist is: if you only delve shallowly into learning about a subject, then you will think you know a lot, when in fact you are ignorant, and flout your ignorance in front of others while they mock you behind your back for your stupidity or worse yet, manipulate what you think and do with your scanty knowledge.
Mr. Putin knows that Americans now get the majority of their knowledge and information from the internet or TV commentary, not from factually vetted news sources. Without filters to screen out the ‘crap’ (often known as my right to Free Speech), Americans devour all sorts of health, political, science, literary and other so called knowledge without ever checking the sources of that information. It is detrimental to all of the above.
One of America’s best weapons against Russian disinformation and propaganda is our free news press which is generally vetted for truth of facts before publishing. Please distinguish Free Press from Free Commentary by the Press. The former being vetted for truth, the latter being just what comes out of the loose lips of the commentators who may or may not stick to the facts. Read this excellent essay about why vetting is so important: https://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/the-administration/324053-why-vetting-nominees-is-so-important
Cyber warfare is often the cheapest and fastest method of disseminating propaganda and disinformation. It has been well researched and is an area all Americans should be familiar with. Mr. Putin is very familiar with these methods, having been a member of Soviet and Russian Intelligence for many years prior to his assumption to power as the supreme leader in Russia. He knows that if he has mouthpieces to disseminate false stories in the the US. An excellent article from over a year ago in the Washington times describes this process of disinformation. I hope you read it. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/feb/6/vladimir-putin-uses-cyber-weapons-to-keep-american/?utm_source=GOOGLE&utm_medium=cpc&utm_id=chacka&utm_campaign=TWT+-+DSA&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIuNyzjYqf5gIVzB6tBh1CggbtEAAYAiAAEgKUSvD_BwE
We as Americans are living through an insidious and very dangerous cyber-war which uses disinformation and propaganda to infiltrate and manipulate all of our social and internet media. We must learn quickly to cut out, avoid and remove disinformation from our media in the same manner that we took control of the disinformation of big tobacco and other snake-oil companies who would manipulate our thinking and actions.
If we do not change how we view and regulate these current advertisements and mouth pieces for political and societal chaos, and root out our national greed for instantaneous solutions to all social, medical, political and scientific ills; If we do not learn to take every unthinking word from our leading politicians’ mouths with a grain of salt, then we will continue to become a more fragmented society. We will continue on our journey without using and discussing our compasses of common values which are written in our Constitution, The Rule of Law, and our Declaration of Independence. Then we will have fulfilled the desires, mission. and purposes of the smiling Mr. Putin who is working to our detriment as a nation and a free people and we will not last as a Democratically governed Republic through the 21st century.
Be Aware! Beware!
The Giveaway on this book is almost over! 24 hours left, don’t miss it!
Free Nov. 29 – Dec. 3, 2019 – If you happen to be headed to Florida or the Caribbean, you’ll love Beachcomber Seashells of the Caribbean to identify a plethora of shells from Barbados to the San Blas Isles to Florida and Venezuela! Free Dec. 5 – Dec. 9, 2019
After this Give-away, the next ones are listed below:
– Richard Headley Clow’s amazing story in Rough Enough. This history expands on the military action behind Clow’s letters, diary, and life from his assault on Petersburg with the 56th Massachusetts Infantry, to life in the Dakota Territory gold rush.
Free Dec. 12 – Dec. 16, 2019 – Stay warm at home in winter weather with my action-packed historical fiction novel: The Ghosts of Ukuthula. Follow the early Nelson Mandela era and the Soviet Union’s “Third Force” in a fight to control Southern Africa at the end of apartheid.
It’s Rick’s 2019 Worldwide Book Giveaway Time!!!
This is one of my favorite times of the year in which I am able to give an electronic gift to my readers and facilitate your giving books to friends.
Holiday Book Giving helps us all enjoy those vacation periods with something to engage our brains These are electronic books which you can download to your Book Reader, I-Phone, Android, P.C. Nook, Kindle, Etc. Kindle Books offers a variety of formats for electronic platforms. So! Keep these dates handy and send them to your friends so they can also share in the reading fun!
There are three giveaway weekends, one for each book at Kindle Direct Publishing . See Below!
Enjoy Thanksgiving and have a very Merry New Year!
Executive Power by Vince Flynn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book by Vince Flynn has all the stuff of the modern era: spies, terrorists, hostages, military insertions, and governmental intrigue leading us across the globe in the hunt for the king spider at the center of the web! Mitch Rapp is the SEAL point man and plays this role to the hilt; leading us through the halls of the White House and Congress as he tries to avoid being in the spotlight after his exploits are exposed and he is kicked upstairs to advise top officials on the best tactics to use against the shadowy figures who require special ops to remove their threat to our nation and the world. In this morass of politics, military missions and exposure to death, Mitch struggles to maintain his marital life with Anna, his investigative reporter wife, who fears that Mitch’s penchant for action and being on the front lines will get him killed. As Mitch leads the clandestine hostage rescue against General Moro in the Philippines, this worry almost becomes a reality as the small SEAL team works to pull off the rescue of an American family. Back in Washington, severely chastised by his wife and working at his desk job, Mitch follows the clues of the mysterious terrorist and Palestinian freedom fighter, David and his relationships with both the Saudi Royal Family and the innermost secret workings of the Israeli Mossad. Who is this man actually working for? What is his ultimate goal? How will his assassinations and global intrigue accomplish his ends without bringing about a worldwide conflagration? The ending of the story on the French Riviera is just as exciting with a twisted plot and a scenario that could be happening even now as we read this review. Loved the book. Will read more by Vince Flynn in the near future.
View all my reviews
The Last Horseman by David Gilman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Sometimes historical fiction can give a more keen and concise picture of what happened during a war than hours of pouring over the reports and comments made by field commanders or looking through reams of newspapers and letters written by reporters and individuals who themselves may not have seen or understoon the whole picture of a battle or conflict.
Author David Gilman, an historian in his own right, has given us this kind of a picture of the Anglo-Boer War in South Africa. A conflict which took place as the dawn of the 20th Century began to refine the tactics of trench and guerilla warfare along with modern weaponry to superceed the role of horse cavalry and mass frontal assaults in battles throughout much of the 19th Century.
The tale pits the brute force of the Empire of Great Britain against the fast moving, small bands of Boer horsemen who were able to initially stymie the massive troops of British foot soldiers marching in rangs to their slaughter. These ragged horsemen were joined by numerous Irish separatists who longed to throw Britain out of their own native Ireland. As the expected quick British victory is brought to a halt, our story begins in Ireland where the British are readying large numbers of Cavalry to join the conflict and seventeen year old Edward Radcliffe longs to be one of their number, despite his father’s refusal to let him join the conflict.
Making his own decision, despite his father’s opposition, Edward sails to South Africa and attempts to join up with the Irish separatists who are out in the field. wounded and captured by the British Cavaly, he is taken prisoner and held for trial and probable hanging.
Meanwhile his father, a former U.S. Cavalry officer, having realized what his son had done, proceeds to the front lines with his former comrade in arms, a Buffalo Soldier named Benjamin Pierce. The two men are able to initially assist the British troops in action, despite the fact of Benjamin being treated as an equal by Radcliffe in the face of a country and its traditions which place African blacks in the role of slaves and servants. The two men discover the plight of young Edward and infiltrate the British military compound in which he is being held while healing from battle wounds. They then are faced with trying to extricate Radcliffe’s son from his predicament which is going to result in his being hanged for shooting several British soldiers while helping the Boers.
The Author Gillman illustrates the racial and cultural conflicts of the times, explains the concentration camps that Boer women and children were interned within once their farms had been destroyed, and gives a picture of the corruptness within the British Officer ranks themselves in dealing with their own cultural caste system.
The entire book will keep your attention throughout and in addition to having a jolly good read of action and intrigue, you will learn a lot about the Anglo-Boer War which you would otherwise not have known. I recommend this as an excellent introduction to understanding the hatreds and conflicts within this part of the world which led to the establishment of apartheid and the eventual African rebellion beginning in the 1960’s that culminated in modern Black African rule of The Republic of South Africa.
View all my reviews
Freedom and Justice will Prevail!
The Bipartisan Joint Committee to Investigate the January 6th 2022 break-in to Congress has come down to the crux of the point that shows who was really running (or not) the Ship of State at the time of the riots that led to the intimidation of Congress, the attempt to overthrow the legal will of the people to elect a our President, and the threat to the life of then Vice President, Mike Pence.
It’s the same standard that was applied to former President Richard Nixon for whom I voted way back over 50 years ago! What did the President know and when did he know it!
When that investigation showed that Mr. Nixon knew about the break-in to the Watergate, I changed my mind about the infallability and the immunity of a President. Mr. Nixon knew of and planned the break-in with his official cronies. The few short tape recorder phrases of Mr. Nixon and the testimony of Mr. John Dean were all it took to persuade even his closest Republican allies to back off and say, “No Person is above the Law! The only reason Mr. Nixon was not prosecuted under the law of the land was because he was pardoned by the new President Gerald Ford. Otherwise he would have gone straight to trial and jail!
So now we have seen and heard from numerous witnesses, the fact that Mr. Trump, while holding the official office of President of the United States, worked and planned with his cronies to:
The Facts are Clear! Mr. Trump Knew! He Knew and Planned it and did nothing to stop it! Time to stop the pussy-footing around and call a spade a spade!
As we see this tragedy to our country unfold in the testimony from numerous witnesses and participants, we should be proud of:
Be Proud that Liberty and our Democratic Experiment Lives on! Get out and Vote! That’s the Revolution!
Flying the flag on Memorial Day: our time honored tradition. Remembering my brother and all my H.S. buddies and military friends who are now passed on.
On Memorial day I enjoy walking around my garden and looking at the flowers of spring, remembering friends. In the blooms of the year, I always remember that working for and hoping for a new, better and more peaceful world should always be a goal of our lives.
We never want to lose that hope and expending all our efforts to make the world a more peaceful, congenial and helpful world for all who do not have the amenities that we take for granted.
Here’s my favorite of the day, reminding me that even in the worst times of our lives we must focus on stiving to revive and make our world one where violence doesn’t reign.
Do you need a single issue to govern your next vote! Try saving school children as a litmus test for candidates! The next time you hear a Congressman or Congresswoman candidate who is spouting about guns and keeping our kids safe in schools. Ask them:
A. Have you read the latest research by Jillian Peterson and James Densley on “How to Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic”? https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/s41300-022-00140-6
Yes means they most likely know:
1. The perpetrator is not mentally ill, but is rather, acting out rage against society, wanting to commit suicide, and take others with them.
2. The cost of the government providing just Psychologists in all public schools will run on the order of $7 Billion Dollars a Year or$35B for 5 years.
3. The cost to government of #2 is only a drop in the bucket compared to what it would cost to harden our 100,000 public schools with high gated walls with cameras and IT technology to scan the grounds, to have security guards on patrol while monitoring a single hardened entry with detectors, through-which everyone must pass to access the school will run on the order of $100 Billion Dollars to start and double that to continue for 5 years.
4. The time to complete #2 and #3 above Will take a minimun of 5 years to happen during which time we will anticipate and tolerate having another 2500 Mass Shootings at churches, stores, schools, synagogues, baseball fields, etc., etc., etc. All done as premeditated crimes, not by the mentally ill. Check out states with most mass murders: https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/10-us-states-with-most-mass-shootings.html and check out total number of mass murders in US in past years: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/gun-violence-mass-shootings-increase-united-states-data-uvalde-buffalo
If they know all of these things, then they know –
CONGRESS WILL NEVER PASS THIS KIND OF FUNDING
If they said NO! Then they really don’t have any reason to be spouting off. Vote someone else!
SO —- Is there a solution?
YES: We better return to good old CONSERVATIVE controls for our GUNS! (Conservative is used in it’s proper definition here, not to mean some political party.)
SOME common sense RULES ABOUT GUNS? So we can still own them and still keep using them? YES!>))
Gee Whizz, You mean kind of like we did for cars! Eh? Remember, cars don’t kill anyone either, but we have a Hell of a lot of rules for car use, car product safety, car recalls, and penalties for not using producing or recalling defective products.
Hmm! Gee that sounds like common sense that might just keep guns of any type out of certain people’s hands while the rest of us get to keep them and use them in appropriate manners!>))
START PRESSING YOUR CONGRESS PERSON TO GET OFF THEIR BUTTS, MAKE SOME COMMON SENSE LAWS ABOUT GUNS, OWNERSHIP, LICENSES, PRODUCT SAFETY, USE, CARRYING, HUNTING, AND IN THE PROCESS,
GET A HANDLE ON PROTECTING OUR KIDS, CHURCHES, SHOPPING MALLS, CASINOES, Etc .
Guns? I used to own 5, now it’s only 2 – Self-regulation or perhaps self-preservation. Enjoy your day!
You can tell it’s Spring when the flowers come out, but there are a lot of other indicators that show us Spring is just bustin’ out all over! The wine from the grapes that I crushed last fall and put to ferment has now gone still and it’s time to put a few Campden tablets in to stop any further fermentation and bad flavor bacteria, molds, or yeasts from spoiling the brew. Then it will be into the bottles for 10 gallons of my Heron Pond wine to be used as a home remedy for all sorts of ills over the summer and into next winter. Sorry! Home consumption only. McBee’s “Heron Pond” brew never seems to last long enough to get into the big times of Oregon Viticulture. OH! yes, don’t forget to notice the great daffodils in the background!
Then I came across another great Spring indicator, generally found just about the same time the Trillium and Erythronium flowers come out on my property. (You saw these in my last post!)
Where did you say you found that sack full of Morel Shrooms?
Ha! Top secret! I’ll never tell!
Whoa! You say just popping up everywhere around Hood River where there are stands of big old cottonwood trees? Hmm! Bet by now they are – All Gone!
Here’s what a batch looks like in the frying pan!
I put a bunch in a bowl for a breakfast snack. Eat your Hearts out!
And Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better! Morels in the Lunch-time Salad!
Wahoo! Cowboys! It don’t get much better!
The sun is just hitting the clouds as I walk out the back door and look past the big white Japanese Magnolia which has just popped wide open!
Here’s What I see!
Mind Blowing! Then as the sun comes up, I walk through the yard looking at all the new blossoms of the day!
What else could you ask for on such a beautiful morning!
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