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Good Mountain Press Monthly Digest #07c
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~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: Gladys Boquet Lecompte (1918 - 2007) ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ [ A Great-Aunt from the Boquet Side of the Matherne Family ] ~~~~~

                  After Glow
I'd like the memory of me to be a happy one.
I'd like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done.
I'd like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways,
      of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.
I'd like the tears of those who grieve, to dry before the sun
      of happy memories that I leave when life is done.
            ~~~      Author Unknown


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~~~ GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #07c Published December 1, 2007 ~~~
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Quote for the Christmas Month of December:

The place that the shepherds found was not an academy or an abstract republic; it was not a place of myths allegorized or dissected or explained away. It was a place of dreams come true.
G.K. Chesterton , Author

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~~ Click on Heading to go to that Section (Allow Page First To Fully Load). ~~
Archived Digests
Table of Contents

1. December's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for December
3. On a Personal Note
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe of the Month from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen: Smoked Salmon Sandwich
6. Poem by Bobby from his review of Hopkins — The Mystic Poet :"Words & Hush"
7. Reviews and Articles Added for December:

8. Commentary on the World
9. Closing Notes - our mailing list, locating books, unsubscribing to Digest
10. Gratitude

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#1 Jul  #2, Aug  #3, Sept  #4, Oct  #5, Nov  #6, Dec  #7
2001: Jan  #8,  Feb  #9,  Mar #10, Apr #11, May #12, Jun #13, Jul #14, Aug #15, Sep #16, Oct #17, Nov #18, Dec #19
2002: Jan #20, Feb #21, Mar #22, Apr #23, May #24, Jun #25, Jul #26, Aug #27, Sep #28, Oct #29, Nov #30, Dec #31
2003: Jan #32, Feb #33, Mar #34, Apr #35, May #36, Jun #37, Jul #38, Aug #39, Sep #40, Oct #41, Nov #42, Dec #43
2004: Jan #44, Feb #45, Mar #46, Apr #47, May #48, Jun #49, Jul #50, Aug #51, Sep #52, Oct #53, Nov #54, Dec #55
2005: Jan#051,Feb#052,Mar#053,Apr#054,May#055,Jun#056,Jul#057,Aug#058,Sep#059,Oct#05a,Nov#05b,Dec#05c
2006: Jan#061,Feb#062,Mar#063,Apr#064,May#065,Jun#066,Jul#067,Aug#068,Sep#069,Oct#06a,Nov#06b,Dec#06c
2007: Jan#071,Feb#072,Mar#073,Apr#074,May#075,Jun#076,Jul#077,Aug#078,Sep#079,Oct#07a,Nov#07b,Dec#07c
2008: Jan#081,Feb#082,Mar#083,Apr#084,May#085,Jun#086,Jul#087,Aug#088,Sep#089,Oct#08a,Nov#08b,Dec#08c
2009: Jan#091,Feb#092,Mar#093,Apr#094,May#095,Jun#096,Jul#097,Aug#098,Sep#099,Oct#09a,Nov#09b,Dec#09c
2010: Jan#101,Feb#102,Mar#103,Apr#104,May#105,Jun#106,Jul#107,Aug#108,Sep#109,Oct#10a,Nov#10b,Dec#10c
2011: Jan#111,Feb#112,Mar#113,Apr#114,May#115,Jun#116,Jul#117,Aug#118,Sep#119,Oct#11a,Nov#11b,Dec#11c
2012: Jan#121,Feb#122,Mar#123,Apr#124,May#125,Jun#126,Jul#127,Aug#128,Sep#129,Oct#12a,Nov#12b,Dec#12c
2013: Jan#131,Feb#132,Mar#133,Apr#134,May#135,Jun#136,Jul#137,Aug#138,Sep#139,Oct#13a,Nov#13b,Dec#13c
2014: Jan#141,Feb#142,Mar#143,Apr#144,May#145,Jun#146,Jul#147,Aug#148,Sep#149,Oct#14a,Nov#14b,Dec#14c
2015: Jan#151,Feb#152,Mar#153,Apr#154,May#155,Jun#156,Jul#157,Aug#158,Sep#159,Oct#15a,Nov#15b,Dec#15c
2016: Jan#161,Feb#162,Mar#163,Apr#164,May#165,Jun#166,Jul#167,Aug#168,Sep#169,Oct#16a,Nov#16b,Dec#16c
2017: Jan#171,Feb#172,Mar#173,Apr#174,May#175,Jun#176,Jul#177,Aug#178,Sep#179,Oct#17a,Nov#17b,Dec#17c
2018: Jan#181,Feb#182,Mar#183,Apr#184,May#185,Jun#186,Jul#187,Aug#188,Sep#189,Oct#18a,Nov#18b,Dec#18c
2019: Jan#191,Feb#192,Mar#193,Apr#194,May#195,Jun#196,Jul#197,Aug#198,Sep#199,Oct#19a

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1. December Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
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For newcomers to the Digest, we have created a webpage of all the Violet-n-Joey cartoons! Check it out at: Also note the rotating calendar and clock that follows just to the right of your mouse pointer as you scroll down the page. You'll also see the clock on the 404 Error page if you make a mistake typing a URL while on the website.

The Violet-n-Joey Cartoon page is been divided into two pages: one low-speed and one high-speed access. If you have Do NOT Have High-Speed Access, you may try this Link which will load much faster and will allow you to load one cartoon at a time. Use this one for High-Speed Access.

This month Violet and Joey learn to know Shakespeare.

#1 "Know Shakespeare" at

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Each month we take time to thank two of our good readers of Good Mountain Press Digest, books and reviews. Here's our two worthy Honored Readers for this month. One of their names will be in the TO: address line of your email Digest notification. Our Honored Readers for December are:

Patty Lee in New Orleans

Ashlie Doran in Plattsburgh, NY

Congratulations, Patty and Ashlie !

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Out Our Way:

That ball is still bouncing around the green in my golfing metaphor of the Saints and if it rolls to the cup just right, it could drop Cha-Ching! into a 10-6 season. The verve of last year's team left the field when Deuce McAllistair, our large running back, hit the deck early in the season, but there's still life in the Saints as the season winds down.

The month started with renewing my Norton Internet Security package for my PC with an upgrade to the 2008 edition. I had been plagued by a ccCommon dialogue box which came up incessantly every time Norton ran and had to be cleared about 5 times before it went away. After Tech Support sold me the upgrade and the young man in India stayed on the phone with me until he had loaded and tested it remotely, the dialogue box problem was solved along with two other persistent problems: my Task Manager Dialogue Box had been partially disabled (now fixed) and the Google AdSense Referral button, which had been invisible and non-functional on my web browser but which worked on all other people's computers, suddenly became visible on mine — for the first time. The latter problem I had spent time with Google trying to get it fixed, to no avail. I had no idea it was an interaction with the old Norton software. This is a lesson in how completely independent software packages can interact in today's PC's. I can't imagine any three programs more independent of each other than the Task Manager, Google button, and Norton, but the first two were disabled by the third! You never know until you find out — that's Matherne's Rule No. 2, in case you didn't know.

First Saturday of the month we had some seafood gumbo with Paul & Joyce and played cards with them and Buster at Mimosa. Del and I lost and by doing so helped contribute to the cost of the gumbo that my brother Paul and his wife provided. My dad, Buster, is living alone again and we plan to spend more time with him. Later in the month Del and I took him to funeral of his Aunt Gladys, whose picture graces our In Memoriam section of this Digest. Imagine a 90-year-old man having an aunt still living! Gladys was his mother's youngest sister and a year younger than Buster. After visiting the data base of my relatives, St. Ann's Cemetery, we stopped on the way home at Bubba II's, Daddy favorite restaurant for lunch.

The next day the clocks fell back to Standard Time and the Saints jumped forward to Super Standard Time and whipped a good team, the Jaguars, 41-24. Things looked great with the Saints at 4 wins, 4 losses, going against the winless Rams the next week, but Saints are traditionally compassionate, and they handed the Rams a win in the collection plate! Amen.

Del and I were planning a quiet Thanksgiving Day with our remaining two parents, Doris and Buster, and Woldenberg Village was having a special Thanksgiving feast for residents, so Doris invited us. On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, our housekeeper, who comes on that day, asked me why I wasn't cooking. Usually I'm busy cooking the shrimp stuffed merlitons and oyster dressing on that day. I told her, "I'm not cooking this year — I'm coasting!" But I did make some stuffed merlitons early in the month for me and Del. Seems like I only cook them once a year and didn't want to miss them this year!

That recipe is on my Recipe Page, btw, along with the oyster dressing recipe. Hope I get to make oyster dressing around Christmas time — it's another once a year treat that I love to eat. Both the dressing and merlitons are dishes that Audrey Guthans used to make every fall and nobody made it as good as she, so before she died, I got her recipe to make sure that I could continue to enjoy the delicious flavors of her cooking so long as I lived.

This month is when Del gets all the Christmas presents wrapped for numerous offspring and their kids. The guest bedroom is generally filled with hundreds of wrapped presents until either they get mailed off or carried off. Our family Christmas at Timberlane will be on December 8 and we're expecting about five of our kids to be present. It will be a full house and a great day at Timberlane.

Created some templates to make the conversion of my reviews to a new style of headers and footers. This upgrade will allow me, when completed, to modify all the headers and footers and the FONT size of the reviews by changing only a couple of files, instead of every review. With over a thousand reviews posted on-line, this is a major benefit. The upgrade increases the font size of the reviews. I've found with the Internet Explorer IE7 release that the default font sizes were too small. If you use the ZOOM function in IE7 the font would get bigger, but also the photos and graphics. Best compromise for me was to bump up the font size of the reviews bigger than I like them and zoom down to 90%. With the upgrade, I can move the font size up and down easily, so I await feedback from readers to decide on how they like the font sizes. So far no one has complained or praised the change. To notice the change you will have to compare a new one and an old one. Look at the old one first, then the new one to see the difference, try the IE7 Zoom till each is comfortable to read, then let me know which you prefer.

When did college football games become 4 hours long? It used to be that 2.5 hours was the average with some a bit shorter and some a bit longer, but in this season, LSU has played a handful of 4 hour footballs so far, and there are at least two games to go with no relief in sight. LSU is undefeated in regulation time this year. That's the good news. Bad news is both times LSU went into a game ranked as No. 1, they lost in the third Over Time. I was pulling for Les Miles to go for 2-pt conversion when LSU had the ball, one point down, and their defense was whipped out. If they missed they would have lost by one point instead of two, but if they'd made it, the other team had no chance to come back, and LSU wins. As it turned out, LSU had to make a 2-pt conversion, by rule, on the next OT, but the other team had already scored its 2 points, and LSU's score would only cause a third OT. Go for it on the second OT and avoid that lugubrious turn of events from ever happening. Les was not picking up the Hot Line connection from me at the time and the Tigers lost. Now it's off to play Georgia with their home field advantage in the Georgia Dome for the SEC championship. That's a game that should be rotated to various parts of the SEC from now on.

Went to another playoff game, this time a quarterfinal game for my alma mater Hahnville High School, whose purple & gold Tigers were playing our grandson Gabe's new school Rummel High School where he is a freshman. I called his dad, Steve, and he set up our going. Our friend Jimmy who was high school football coach also joined us in the stand. Jimmy pulled for the Tigers and the Rummel Raiders won. Gabe seemed excited that his team had won. He had attended his first ever football game for his own school, and his Red Raiders had won. It was a very good night for Granpa and Gabe. Jimmy said it was the most exciting high school football game he had ever watched.

It was sad losing Aunt Gladys so soon after her husband T-Coon LeCompte died a month earlier. I was unable to attend his funeral, but made a point to attend this one. I hadn't seen my LeCompte cousines (first cousins, once removed) since about 1955. The three girls are scattered over two states with Gay in Memphis, Paulette in Minden, and Susie in Lafayette. Was great to see them all again. Unfortunately funerals are not a good time to take photographs, so I came away with none. Buster saw some of his sisters and other friends of his aunt Gladys that he knew.

On Thanksgiving Day, my sister Janet and husband Tommy brought Dad over to Timberlane and Del and I drove him to Woldenberg. He and I sat in the lobby and waited for Del and Doris to arrive, like waiting for our double dates to show up. Doris said later, "This is my treat" or "I'm paying." as we enjoyed our turkey dinner together at a table in the large dining room. Turkey and dressing, sweet sweet potato casserole, and boiled veggies. Followed by a delicious pecan pie with a brandy sauce. Had whole pecans inside the filling of the pie, an unexpected touch of deliciousness. It was a day to be thankful for our parents who were with us, our children who were giving thanks with their children, and for getting two days off from cooking and cleaning in Bobby Jeaux's Kitchen.

The day after Thanksgiving has become the rivalry game of Louisiana and its offspring state directly above, Arkansas. The loss by LSU this year makes me yearn for the old days when the last game of the year was a gimmee with arch SEC rival Tulane. But since using the speed trace, I no longer go into a three blue funk after my Tigers lose a big game. Instead I just click off the TV and turn to something else that is fun. For this Friday night it was our good friend Brian Kelley's 70th birthday party. Great chance to see his large family. He is the one person I know who more grandkids and great-grandkids than me and Del, over 36 of each! So I never talk about how many we have (19 and 2) when I'm around him or his family. There's a photo of Brian and Judy and eight of their eleven children.

That Saturday I was up early to attend the funeral of a fellow worker from the nuclear power plant I worked at, Wayne Carmadelle. He was only forty-two and died in a hunting accident when his four-wheeler turned over in a sharp turn in the woods after a hunt. Our condolences to Wayne's family and friends. Many of his friends were technicians from the I&C Dept that I worked alongside for 14 years and it seemed like every one of them was at the funeral. Was great to see them all. Here's my list from memory: Harold Landeche, Keith Rauch, Jeff Brou, Shannon Brown, Steve Samanie, Tim Boehm, David Randazzo, Billy Rhodes, Tony Rome, Reggie Dietz, Danny Raines, Calvin Petersen, Eric Swearingen, and Chris Guillot, plus others, such as Gerald Butts from QC. The chapel was overflowing for the funeral service, with the halls of funeral home packed.

It's been another busy month at the keyboard for me. A flurry of activity in the last week of the month as I received requests for personalized help in doyletics from Paulo in Barcelona, Spain, Martin from Guerrera, Mexico, and Deon from Johannisberg, South Africa. Each one found instant relief from doing a speed trace or two. Between Paulo and Martin I'm hoping to translate some of the most important webpages into Spanish and Portuguese. I hope that each of you and yours have a Happy and Blessed Christmas Season until we meet next, God Willing, in thes pages in 2008.


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New Quotes Added to quotes.htm this month:


Movies we watched this past month:

Notes about our movies: Many of the movies we watch are foreign movies with subtitles. After years of watching movies in foreign languages, Arabic, French, Swedish, German, British English, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and many other languages, sometimes two or three languages in the same movie, the subtitles have disappeared for us. If the movie is dubbed in English we go for the subtitles instead because we enjoy the live action and sounds of the real voices so much more than the dubbed. If you wonder where we get all these foreign movies from, the answer is simple: NetFlix. For a fixed price a month they mail us DVD movies from our on-line Queue, we watch them, pop them into a pre-paid mailer, and the postman effectively replaces all our gas-consuming and time-consuming trips to Blockbuster. To sign up for NetFlix, simply go to and start adding all your requests for movies into your personal queue. If you've seen some in these movie blurbs, simply copy the name, click open your queue, and paste the name in the Search box on NetFlix and Select Add. Buy some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. You get to see your movies as the Director created them — NOT-edited for TV, in full-screen width, your own choice of subtitles, and all of the original dialogue. Often you get the Director's Cut Edition which adds back excellent footage that was cut from the theater releases.
P. S. Look for HD/DVD format movies which are now available from NetFlix.
Hits (Watch as soon as you can. A Don't Miss Hit is one you might otherwise ignore.):
“Miss Potter” (2006) “Now, Peter, you must sit still and watch this great movie about the artist who drew you into life.” Beatrix talked like that to her creations who bounced and wiggled and apparently talked back from her sketch boards until finally they danced across the pages of the most popular children’s book ever, Peter Rabbit and his friends. Beatrix’s story winds romantically, gracefully across the big screen in a masterful production. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Reign Over Me” (2007) a tour de force by Adam Sandler playing a dentist who lost his wife, 3 young daughters, and a dog in a plane crash. Don Cheadle, an old college room mate finally locates Adam riding a scooter in NYC, but he’s completely in denial of his lost family. As the friendship re-kindles, both men open their world to greater possibilities in this three-tissue movie. When Donald Sutherland gives his ruling as the judge in chambers, be prepared to stand up and cheer! A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
“The Secret of Santa Vittoria” (1969) An Antony Quinn gem! Mayor of a small Italian wine-making town, he is faced with the loss of their 1.3 million bottles of wine when the German invaders arrive in a couple of days. He comes up with an amazing plan to save most of the wine, but does he get to drink any in the end? A DON’T MISS HIT ! !
“Talk to Me” (2007) was Peetie Green’s opening line to the callers into his Washington, D. C. radio show of the Sixties when he talked straight talk over the air waves. Peetie made lots of waves and poured oil over other waves during this turbulent time in his home town. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“The Tiger and the Snow” (2005) Roberto Benigni starred in and directed this movie about an irrepressible romantic and optimist who goes to Baghdad in the middle of the early days of the war to save the life of his life’s love.
“La Vie en Rose” (2007) No listening to Edith Piaf’s music can ever reveal the brawling, bawdy life she led from early childhood. Growing up in a brothel as a five-year-old, then as a teenager with her father in a circus, then street-singing for coins, and hanging with prostitutes. After wrecking her health and her voice, she comes under tutelage of a voice coach and becomes an international star whose voice in song brings one immediately to Paris of the rose-colored sky — where life really is like a rose.
“Sidewalks of New York” (2000) Produced and starred in by Ed Burns as a single guy kicked out by his girl friend. Using documentary techniques the parallel lives of several couples are aired by asking each partner about their sex life, etc., in turn. Then we go behind the scenes and witness what is really happening underneath the cover story given in their answers. Who will be the winners and who the losers? With perfect justice the losers are the liars and cheats and the winners are those come closest to telling the truth.
“Snow Cake” (2006) Amazing movie with Alex, Alan Rickman, who newly out of prison, picks up Vivienne, a free spirit whose autistic mother Linda, Sigourney Weaver, makes snow chipmunks, jumps on the trampoline, scares people away with her unfeeling behavior. Alex and Linda and Maggie make an extraordinary odd couple who help each other through tough times. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Knocked Up” (2007) — forget the previews you saw about this movie — it’s a great movie about two people who shoulda nevah met who fell in love with each other for all the right reasons. A DON’T MISS ! ! !
“The Namesake” (2006) Kal Penn of “Harold and Kumar” comes out from under Gogol’s “Overcoat” and goes to White Castle, but veers at a tragedy and ends up with Curried Chicken. Sort out that metaphor and you get Nick’s love life as he grows up of immigrant India parents in New York with one foot in the Ganges and one in the Hudson. A DON’T MISS HIT ! !
“Black Snake Moan” (2007) A blues riff by Sam Jackson as Lazarus who rescues a young white gal and attempts to nurse her back to health and sanity with the help of heavy chains. A heavy duty movie.
“Good Bye Lenin” (2003) portrays the love of East Berliners for the Socialist Regime in a unique way when post-Wall resident re-creates pre-Wall conditions for his mother who missed the fall of the Wall while she was in a coma.
“Who is Cletis Tout?” (2002) Tim Allen is a hitman who tracks down and is ready to kill Christian Slater (aka Cletis Tout), but wants to hear his story first. And what a story! It wraps the entire movie in it and the audience. You will love this movie if you love movies at all. Great line by Cletis, “Justice isn’t blind, she’s embarrassed. That’s why she wears a blindfold.”
“I’m Not Scared” (2003) Michele is a ten-year-old boy in a rural Italian village who finds a boy his age chained in a pit of an abandoned house, apparently kidnaped by some thugs and his father. Can he befriend the boy and help him stay alive?
“Lookout” (2007) Chris Pratt’s career went from hockey star to janitor after an accident which took part of his frontal lobes. Someone poses as his friend, gets him laid, then coaxes Chris to help them rob the bank where he works. An insightful look into the effects of brain injury inside a marvelous story of human courage.
“Road to Perdition” (2003) 2nd Viewing: Hanks and Newman star in this dark movie about a family man (Tom Hanks) who worked for Paul Newman as a mob hit man until the tables were turned on him and he became the hunted. But he would not go quietly into that long night nor would he allow his son Michael to taste the bitter fruit of his occupation before he died. See
“In the Land of Women” (2006) Carter wants to get away from L.A., moves in with his crazy grandma (Olympia Dukakis), and be alone to write after his model girl friend Sophia left him. But he’s moved into the Land of Women. first Meg Ryan, the neighbor across the street, then her daughter, and then Sophia on large posters keep him in a tizzy. Can he escape their clutches?
“Princesas” (2005) Caye whose name sounds like street in Spanish is a Madrid streetwalker who befriends her immigrant competition, Zulema, and the two become best friends and get their “temporary” life together.
“Touching the Void” (2003) Two mountain climbers do an Alpen climb of a 21,000 ft peak in the Andes. Just the two of them and on the way down, Joe suffers a serious break in one leg and then while being lowered falls over the side of a cliff and must be cut off because Simon who is holding him is sliding towards the cliff. This is the true story of how these two lived to tell this incredible tale of human endurance.
“Jesse Stone: Night Passage” (2006) LAPD detective Tom Selleck moves to Paradise, Massachusetts to start anew as police chief and his first job is to find the truth behind the death of the former chief.

Misses (Avoid At All Costs): We attempted to watch these this month, but didn't make it all the way through on most of them. Awhile back when three AAAC horrors hit us in one night, I decided to add a sub-category to "Avoid at All Costs", namely, A DVD STOMPER. These are movies so bad, you don't want anyone else to get stuck watching them, so you want to stomp on the disks. That way, if everyone else who gets burnt by the movie does the same, soon no copies of the awful movie will be extant and the world will be better off.

“Dark Woods” (2000) A simple sign saying “STAY OUT OF SAMMYVILLE” should be enough to keep city folks out of Sammy’s private domain and viewers away from this movie.
“Harsh Times” (2005) HD-DVD wasn’t needed to show the blood and guts spilled in this dark movie about a soldier on the edge back in civilian life.

Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:

“Fun With Dick and Jane” (2005) pokes fun at the Worldcom’s and Enron’s of the world in this Jim Carrey farce of life and love in the fast lane and the soup kitchen lane.
“Though None Go With Me” (2006) A Hallmark movie about a woman and the two men in her life in a small town. Enjoyable movie and touching story.
“Paris, Je T’aime” (2006) A series of five minute vignettes which have to be seen to be believed. Lots of big name stars stumble and mumble through these scenes in their mutual love affair with the City of Lights.
“Swimmers” (2005) A film by Doug Sadler whom we babysat on a sailboat in the Bahamas for a week, so we had to watch it. There are three female swimmers in the movie, one dead and two alive, and the two alive have only an open pool to walk around in, like blue crabs in shallow water, and they find each other at turning points in their life.
“Super Size Me!” (2004) The movie which McDonald’s swears did NOT cause them to eliminate the Supersize option from their stores just one month after the movie’s release. Mostly stacktistics about food and obesity, but with enough fun thrown in to hold interest. A daredevil exhibition by the hero of the piece who risked his life eating for only 30 days the way many Americans commonly eat all of their too short lives. A wake up call for all sizes of people.
“Trainspotting” (1996) is about four young Scots into drugs, booze, and burglary. Ewan MacGregory in an early role and it’s hard to tell that any of these four actors would become a big star giving the sleazy conditions in which their characters lived. A lot of raw, exuberant energy and gross episodes. Not for children or adults.

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Adapted from a Bob Newhart story.
Boudreaux was on the Art Linkletter one day when he was ten years old. Art was interviewing the other kids, and had noticed that Boudreaux had a sad look on his face. Finally, Art came to him and asked, “Is there something wrong?”
Boudreaux hung his head and said, “My dog, T-Bone, jus’ died.”
Art said, “I’m sorry to hear that, but you should know that T-Bone is in doggie heaven.” Boudreaux just grunted and kept looking down disconsolately.
Art said, “Don’t feel bad. Someday when you’re really, really old, you’ll go to Heaven, and God will let you see your dog again.”
Boudreaux looked up at Art and said, “Mais, dat’s crazy. What would God want wit' a dead dog?”

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5. RECIPE of the MONTH for December, 2007 from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
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Smoked Salmon Sandwich

Background on Smoked Salmon Sandwich:
We have enjoyed these sandwiches at many elegant parties, but it is a lot easier to make in one's kitchen than trying to prepare the ingredients on a cracker while standing in line and holding a plate of food. It makes a nice small supper with minimal preparation and time.

Note: The onion, capers and cream cheese will last for several sets of sandwiches if stored in the refrigerator.

1 4-6oz package of Smoked salmon or lox
1 red onion
1 bottle of small capers
1 package of cream cheese
2 slices of Stone Ground Whole Wheat bread


Cut red onion in half. Cut a couple of thin slices with a sharp knife, then dice into small pieces. Spread the cream cheese across the bread. Sprinkle onions and then capers evenly over the cream cheese as shown in photo at left. Divide the salmon between the two sandwiches, placing on top in one or more layers and covering the entire sandwich area.

Serving Suggestion

Serve and eat immediately.

Other options

We find that Stone Ground whole wheat bread works best, but any good whole wheat bread will work. Can be toasted or not according to taste. White bread will not stand up to the spreading of the cream cheese and is not recommended.

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6. POETRY by BOBBY from his review of Hopkins — The Mystic Poet :
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Notes on Poem:
       Gerar d Manley Hopkins walked to classes on the grounds of Oxford University some five hundred years after Johannes Duns Scotus, the famous philosopher. When Hopkins first read Scotus's writings, he noted that he became, "flush with a new stroke of enthusiasm. It may come to nothing or it may be a mercy from God. But just then when I took in any inscape of the sky or sea I though of Scotus." This quotation led me into a reverie about the inscape of the poet versus the landscape of the painter which resulted in this poem called, "Words and Hush".

            Words and Hush

A painter with earthen colors
       oils a landscape within a canvas wall.

A poet with ethereal colors
       coils an inscape within a footless hall.

What was without is come within
       the framéd painter's scape.

Will what was within ever escape
       the poet's footless halls?

There stands the painter's view — Behold!
       A thumbnail of the world unfold'd.

Where stands the poet's inscape rare,
       but in the harmonies of footéd air?

Listen with your heart and soul
       if you would hear
       the inscape colors in your ears unfold.

The painter works with oils and brush —
       The poet works with words and — hush.

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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for December:
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And for my Good Readers, here’s the new reviews and articles for this month. The ARJ2 ones are new additions to the top of A Reader’s Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List, and the ART ones to A Reader’s Treasury.

1.) ARJ2: Turning Points in Spiritual History, GA #60, by Rudolf Steiner

Steiner, who writes about these turning points in history, has been responsible for many turning points of his own, and a future look back at great "turning points in spiritual history," will no doubt include the contributions of Rudolf Steiner. In his Introduction to this book, Edward Reaugh Smith writes about one of Steiner's contributions, the revelation that Lazarus after being raised from the dead took the name John:

[page x] [Rudolf Steiner] in his landmark book Christianity as Mystical Fact . . . first identified Lazarus as Evangelist John.

Similarly, Steiner revealed to the world that Naboth and Elijah in parts of the Bible were the same human being. Smith discussed how this came to be in his essay "Widow's Son" in his book The Burning Bush, crediting Steiner for describing the nature of the connection between Naboth and Elijah:

[page xii] The focus of that essay was the personality known in the book of Kings as both Naboth and Elijah, for until Steiner it could hardly be known that they were one and the same. Naboth was the personality's name prior to his initiation into the mysteries of Mithra, Elijah the name given to him when initiated as described in the book of Kings.

Smith's twenty-seven page Introduction provides an excellent précis of the many contributions Steiner made to furthering our understanding of how Zarathustra, Hermes, Moses, Elijah, and Buddha each played a crucial role in the life of Jesus and his subsequent baptism. His Introduction is itself worth the price of the book.


While many encyclopedias place Zarathustra as an historical figure around 600 B. C., Steiner points out that Greek historians place Zarathustra as a pre-historic figure living about 5,000 years before the Trojan War of 1200 B. C. Steiner gave this reason for the discrepancy: the great Spirit who infused the original Zarathustra later returned several times, particularly around 600 B. C. where he was also known as Zoroaster, among other names.

During Zarathustra's time, about 8,000 years ago, people had clear visions of spiritual realms, but, because this was also a time before we had developed the ability to write, we have no descriptions of this vision capability per se. As a result, many scientists scoff at the possibility that these ancient people were so dramatically different from the way we are today. To confirm this attitude, one need only read about how scientists deride the ancients; they call with their tales fantastic, because these so-called scientists are unable to understand the evolution of consciousness which lies like a chasm between the ancients' way of comprehending the world and their way. But the raw truth is that we can only understand the ancients rightly if we take their tales as descriptions of spiritual realities that they perceived and described as best they could at the time. Only then can we begin to understand that these ancient tales offer us a valuable way of understanding of these realities. Jung hinted at the possibility of doing this, but Steiner made it an explicit reality.

The physical world meant so little to the ancient people of India that they called what was perceptible through their material senses, maya, or illusion. Traces of this ancient attitude are still present in modern day India. But the ancient Persians developed, with Zarathustra's instruction, their perception of the sensory world of colors, sounds, and textures.

Steiner rarely made definite statements about the future, but here is one prominent exception, and one whose truth has already come true within a hundred years. First the statement:

[page 23] I will now make a definite statement, which when viewed from the standpoint of modern cosmic ideas is liable to awaken bitter feeling. I assert that before long it will be discovered and recognized by external science that a superperceptual element underlies all physical phenomena and that latent spirit exists in everything that comes within the limits of our sense perceptions. Further, science will be driven to admit that in the physical structure of human beings there is much that is a counterpart of those forces that permeate and spread life throughout the whole universe and which flow into the body, there to become condensed.

The Bell Theorem predicted that two sub-atomic particles, once in contact with one another, will maintain their connection no matter how many light-years they may separate from each other, and, that a change in one particle will result instantaneously in a perceptible change in the other particle. Scientists, such as Albert Einstein (with his EPR Paradox), ridiculed the idea of such a connection right up until the time an experiment around 1980 proved the Bell Theorem to be accurate. That connection is definitely superperceptual and yet it "underlies all physical phenomena" exactly as Steiner averred in his definite statement above. It is also known all atoms of atomic number greater than that of iron (Fe, AN=57) must have been formed in a supernova. Since we have such atoms in our body, and atoms are known to be condensed energy (E=mc2) or forces, the forces spread through the universe by the explosions of supernovae can be found to have flown into us as atoms which are condensed in our body, exactly as Steiner claimed. An interesting sidelight to this is that since supernovae are super stars, each of us has a claim to being a superstar.


After the time of Zarathustra in the Persian Epoch, we entered the time of Hermes in the Egypto-Chaldean Epoch. The ability to see into the spiritual world had continued to dim over time, but people had begun to make records of what specially-equipped humans could still perceive of spiritual realities. These records are called today myths and legends and are treated by so-called serious exegetes of history with derision; they are called childish fantasies and false conceptions of nature. The process used by such scholars I call "retrodiction," because they use the way we have of understanding nature and spirit today and apply it retroactively. Thus applied, it is easy to scoff at myths and legends and dismiss them as useless for understanding the world. Steiner, for his part, applies his own spiritual insight and discovers the underlying truths to be valid and real in these myths and legends. Obviously Steiner's words are dismissed by otherwise brilliant scholars who apply the process of retrodiction when reading his words out of context of his full works, up until now. Exactly as one cannot expect to understand history by examining a single event out of the context in which it occurred, so too one cannot expect to understand Steiner's words out of context of his full oeuvre.

One cannot rightly understand the impact of great figures of human history unless one understands the evolution of consciousness which involved a decreasing ability of spiritual vision (of inside reality) accompanied by an increasing ability of logical, rational, and descriptive vision (of surface reality).

[page 37] As time went on, the power necessary to the old clairvoyance dimmed, and the visions faded. One might say that the doors leading to the higher realms were slowly closed, so that the pictures manifested to those whose souls could still peer into the spirit world held less and less spiritual force until, toward the end, only the lowest stages of supersensible activity could be apprehended. Finally, this primeval clairvoyant power died out insofar as humanity in general was concerned, and humanity's vision became limited to that which is of the material world and to the apprehension of physical concepts and things. From that time on the study of the interrelation of these factors led step by step to the birth of modern science. Thus it came about that when the old clairvoyant state was past, our present intellectual consciousness gradually developed in diverse ways among the different nations.

As this diminution of spiritual sight began to set in, the Egyptians learned to prize those who kept this ability. The average Egyptian could only see enough of the spiritual realities to know the veracity of those who could still see them clearly. Hermes was such a man. The original Hermes was called "Thrice-Great Hermes" or Hermes Trismegistos to distinguish him from men of a later period, who would have the primeval wisdom of the first Hermes, and whom they also called Hermes in their time. Also note that the Greeks called this man Hermes, but to the Egyptians, he was called Thoth.

[page 67] Such noble spirits as Zarathustra and Hermes at once claim and rivet our attention. They appear to us so exalted and so glorious because it was THEY who, in the dim dawn of human life, gave to humankind those first most potent and uplifting impulses.


To understand the Buddhist or B-Man, let's first review the ancient Indian yoga or Y-Man and the ancient Persian Zarathustran or Z-Man. First Steiner gives us his idea of a Yoga or Y-Man speaking:

[page 79, Y- Man] Indians have ever striven to reestablish their connection with those spirit worlds from whence they came, and it has been their constant endeavor to eliminate from their earthly life all that was spread around them in external creation and by thus freeing themselves from material things to regain their union with that spiritual region from whence humanity has emanated. The principle underlying Yoga philosophy is reunion with the divine realms and abstraction from all that appertains to the perceptual world.

Next he explains what the Z-Man would have spoken about reality as he experienced it. Note the progression from inner to outer world as we move forward in time from the old Indian epoch to the old Persian epoch:

[page 78 ] [A Z-Man expressed himself ] after this fashion: "Interwoven throughout this world, which is now our portion, is the same divine essence that was spread about us and permeated our very beings in bygone ages; this spiritual component we must now see amid our material surroundings. It is our task to unite ourselves with all that is good and of the spirit and, by so doing, to further the progress and evolution of creation." These words indicate the essential nature of the current of thought that was occupied with external physical perception and went forth from those Asiatic countries where the Zarathustran doctrine prevailed, which lay northward of the region where humankind [RJM: the Y-Man] looked back in meditation, pondering over that great spiritual gift that had passed away and was indeed lost.

The C-Man recognizes himself as error prone and he strives to atone for his errors.

[page 95, C-Man] The only way in which humans may truly atone, when indeed the will is there, is for them to raise themselves upward from their present conscious state and existing Ego to a higher plane of personality — a more exalted "I." Those words of Saint Paul — "Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me" — could then be characterized as "Yet not I, but a higher consciousness liveth in me."

The "Christ in me" can be seen as a modern expression of the Sun spirit, Ahura Mazdao, of Zarathustra, the Osiris principle of Hermes, and the Apollo principle of the Greeks. The same spiritual reality as viewed and understood by Persians, Egyptians, Greeks, and now Christians whose number fill all countries and corners of the world to a greater or lesser extent. And Steiner explains how it was Christianity, rightly understood, which "first revealed the true meaning of the doctrine of reincarnation."

[page 101] We can now state that the reason why humans must experience recurrent earth lives is so that they may be again and again instilled with the true import of material existence; with this object they are confronted with a different aspect of being during each incarnation. There is throughout humanity an upward tendency that is not confined merely to the isolated individual but extends to the entire human race with which we feel ourselves so intimately connected. The Christ impulse, the center of all, causes us to realize that humans can become conscious of the glory of this divine relationship. Then no more will they acknowledge only the creed of Buddha, who cries out to him, "Free thyself!" They will become aware of their union with the Christ, whose deed has reclaimed them from the consequences of that decadence symbolically represented as the fall of the human being through sin.


Have you ever planted seeds you saved from last year's harvest? If so, you know very well that this year's sprout must break through the seed's covering, that last year's shell or husk which shielded the sprout from the light of day before it could grow and prosper. In ancient myths and stories, we find the Moses story repeated many times in cultures of other lands who had no access to the biblical account. Steiner explains why it might be so that Moses was soon after birth reported to have been placed in an Egyptian-woven covered basket and set afloat.

[page 118] Let us suppose that we wished to express figuratively that at birth some personality entering upon earthly life came upon the world endowed with certain divine gifts that would later raise him to great heights in his relation to humankind. We might well indicate this concept by developing a narrative telling us that it was essential that this being, shortly after birth, should pass through a material experience of such a nature as to cause all his sense perceptions and powers of external apprehension to be for a time entirely shut off from the physical world. . . . . we find intimated in a wonderful way that the imperishable message Moses was destined to bring to humanity was, one might say, enfolded and lay within an outer shell encompassed and enveloped by the old Egyptian culture and mission.

Moses' mission was to perceive the Ego or "I" directly. "I" is an ingenious name because each one who says it is talking about one's self, one's own Ego or "I". We know that any bush that is on fire will be consumed by the fire, so the fire that Moses saw enveloping the burning bush was a spiritual fire, and the phrase "spiritual fire" is the best description we can achieve of the Ego, "I", or "I Am". And what does Moses receive in answer to his question of the Great Spirit in the burning bush, "Who shall I say sent me?" — "Tell them the 'I Am' sent you." Thus, when Moses told them "The 'I Am' sent me." it could sound like he was talking about his individual 'I Am.' The power that Moses felt pouring from the burning bush and filling him from the voice which spoke led him to speak of a Great Spirit or God speaking as the "I Am." As it turns out, Moses was one of the first human beings to say the words "I Am" or simply "I" in reference to themselves. Before Moses's time and for a couple of thousand years later, there were no words for "I" in human languages. If we look at ancient languages, we find instead that the conjugation of verbs were used to indicate one self as the actor or recipient of an action. The "I" was not a soul power, but a deep spiritual fire whose advent to humanity was proclaimed by the burning bush, in metaphor as well as verbal form, "I Am the I Am."

[page 127] It was for Moses to recognize a cosmic spirit of a very different order — one that did not manifest as a soul power, owing its origin to various spirit influences that while exhibiting a certain similitude find ultimate expression in varied form. The spirit of the cosmos, which it was ordained that Moses should apprehend, was of a wholly different character, for its revelation can alone take place in the innermost and holiest midpoint of soul life, the Ego. There works the spirit of the universe — in the place where the human soul is conscious of its very center.

The "I Am" that confronted Moses from the burning bush was the new element that was to sprout into being from out of the old shell of Egyptian civilization. When Moses spoke to the Pharoah, it was as if the "I Am" of Moses was talking and trying to reason with the "I Was" of the Pharoah.

Animals trust their instincts and are able to tell in advance of the occurrence of earthquakes and other natural phenomena and flee from the scene before humans know of the happening. Human beings of today insist on logical reasons before they allow themselves to act for the most part. Still there are others who have learned to trust their instinctive judgments and refuse to offer reasons to themselves or others.

Moses had a power similar to Goethe and used it to great effect in getting his people to the Promised Land. But when they reached the banks of the Jordan, Moses knew from that very power that he should not cross into the new land with its new culture. This power of Moses was sufficient to impart the necessary impulse for his people to enter the new promised land and create a new culture, but Moses' primary power was like that of the Pharaoh and of an old clairvoyant kind that would not fit in as part of the new culture. He was overjoyed at accomplishing his task, but he knew instinctively that he could not be part of the new culture he had sown in the soil of the Promised Land.

Moses had a mission that was unique in the history of the world, to bring to human consciousness the existence of the "I Am", to feel in the deepest part of our soul the existence of the "I Am." But the full importance of the mission Moses accomplished was only to be understood much later.

[page 137,138] It was through the mission of Moses that humankind was first led to realize that the most positive feeling human beings can experience of the absolute reality of the all-pervading cosmic spirit, that divine principle that is ever active and interwoven throughout the whole earth, is centered in the "I AM" — the very midpoint of the human soul. But in order that these two simple words might be imbued with the utmost import, the "I AM" must first store within itself the full measure of a content that will once again embrace the world. To reach this end necessitated yet another mission, which is expressed in those deeply significant words of Saint Paul "Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me."


Who was Elijah? What are the spiritual realities behind the events surroundings this great prophet in the Bible? In a startling revelation, Steiner explains that Naboth and Elijah were the same person, and clarifies the events surrounding Naboth, Jezebel, and Ahab in 1 Kings 21. Here Steiner talks about his intent in this lecture on Elijah:

[page 143] The object of my discourse is not merely to supply information concerning the personality and significance of the prophet Elijah; its true purport is at the same time to present an example of the manner in which spiritual science weighs and regards such matters and, by virtue of the means at its disposal, can shed fresh light upon facts connected with the growth and development of humanity, which have come to our knowledge through other sources.

If you read 1 Kings 21, you'll find it mostly concerning a man named Naboth, whose vineyard abuts King Ahab's. The king covets the vineyard and Naboth treasures his land and wishes it to pass down to his children. What is not revealed in the biblical version is that the great spirit of Elijah was living in Naboth at the time of the events described in 1 Kings 21. Steiner explains the back story of Naboth, Ahab and Jezebel in considerable detail.

In this next passage we can read how Elijah-Naboth conquered the 450 priests of Baal that opposed him on Mt. Carmel.

[page 160, 161] Elijah-Naboth then prepared his sacrifice. He made an offering to his God using the full force of his soul, that soul which had passed through all those trials we have already described. The sacrifice was consummated and achieved the fullness of its purpose, for the souls and hearts of the people were stirred. The priests of Baal, the four hundred and fifty opponents of Elijah, were driven to admit defeat. They were destroyed in their very souls by that which they had desired — killed, as it were, by Elijah-Naboth. Elijah-Naboth had won the day!

This amazing feat by Elijah-Naboth seems beyond the ability of any human today, but that is not the case. A similar event took place in the Siberian tiaga just a few years ago when a group of men in a helicopter, with guns and modern equipment, tried to kidnap Anastasia to take her and her son to a scientific compound outside Moscow. Their attempt to take her away by force failed dramatically, and in the process of their attempt, the men did not die, but they were nearly destroyed in their souls by what they had desired. The events of the abortive kidnap attempt and Anastasia's escape and her subsequent miracle healing of a young girl of the local village are chronicled in Book 3 of the Ringing Cedar Series, The Space of Love.

With the popularity of the Anastasia books in Russia, Europe, and increasingly in America, one might wonder how a mysterious recluse could dwell in the midst of the Siberian taiga and yet exercise such forces of power and intensity as she is reputed to have. Steiner observes that great forces often operate in isolation and obscurity, going back to the days of Elijah.

[page 173] Although these days it is inconceivable that a mysterious personality such as we have portrayed, and known only through rumor, could dwell in our midst in the guise of a simple and homely neighbor without all the facts becoming known, in olden times such a circumstance was undoubtedly possible. We have learned that throughout all human evolution it is precisely those forces that are of greatest power and intensity which operate in an obscure and secret fashion.

There is a similarity in the mission of Anastasia which can only be discovered by a careful reading of the entire Ringing Cedars Series. My reviews of the Series may be a help for those unable to immediately obtain the books. She explains in Book 6 how a world-wide catastrophe was narrowly averted by the events which followed September 11, 2001. Her explanations of how human beings are able to live without all the trappings of materialism provides a way out of any future disasters for humankind. The process is simple and can be done one person, one family at a time. The dachniks in Russia have been following her advice for years and their successes demonstrate the wisdom of the advice provided by Anastasia. Powerful academic scientists using tools of coercion were unable to extract Anastasia from her glade in the taiga where her spirituality continues to save her beloved dachniks and the rest of the people in the world. Elijah was a man whose spirituality saved his people. Such spirituality is possible for every human being, every Man in Anastasia's words, who returns to the land to live today as Elijah did when he lived as the humble peasant Naboth. Against such spiritual power the kings, tyrants, scientists, and other rulers of the world today will not be able to prevail.


Steiner in this final lecture in the book shares his scientific knowledge of Christ. This is such an extraordinary thing to do, even more so now than in Steiner's time, that he feels the necessity to point out the declining interest among philosophers for such understanding. Today we are definitely in need of the spirit of Elijah to help us throw aside the detritus of materialism so that a deep view of our spiritual roots may be revealed to everyone, peasant or philosopher alike.

Philosophers today — hardly worthy of that name — use the crutch of retrodiction to brush away Steiner's works by claiming that he merely tried to revive the old gnosis of early Christianity. They seem, as it were, irritated by the sizzle of Steiner's griddle, and never get to taste or savor the pancakes of his spiritual science.

You, by virtue of reading this review of a set of lectures by Rudolf Steiner, may be thinking that this is like preaching to the choir — you know much of this already. But there are many people who have lost their way because the external sciences haven been systematically undermining the very basis of Christ Jesus's divinity. By using methods of history, archaeology, and anthropology they strive to convince people that He was but a human being, if he existed at all, and that his teachings are just one among many great teachings which may benefit gullible believers.

[page 206] Both natural science and history have come to a stage where there is definite skepticism concerning all spiritual matters, and these external sciences are now employed merely in collecting and associating outer perceptual facts, wholly regardless of that underlying spiritual reality that may be apprehended in all phenomena capable of sense perception.

External scientists have no tools or procedures which allow them to do anything but assiduously avoid any taint of spiritual or otherwise supersensible influences. As a trained physicist, I was carefully taught in that manner, if I were to keep to the straight and narrow pathway of real science. Unfortunately for our scientific community that kind of training puts blinders on them, similar to those we used to put on horses which had to travel through the streets of our cities. Horses would be spooked by the dark shadows from the buildings to either side of the street, and be subject to bolting unexpectedly. The only way to keep the horse pulling the cart down the middle of the street was to put blinders on it. We cannot allow external scientists to have the last words on the existence of the spiritual world or any of the realities which exist outside their measuring tools and procedures. Scientists who wear blinders in their everyday work life are apt to keep them on in their personal lives and miss much of the soul and spiritual life which is happening all around them, but outside the purview of their blindered sight, up until now.

[page 207] The position that human beings have assumed as expert and judge of the world does not represent reality, for they can arrive at true concepts only after they have freed themselves from their present false ideas, risen to a higher standard of thought, and overcome those barriers that cause them to view all things in distorted and unreal form — such a consummation would be perceptive redemption.

Goethe said, "The eye must thank the light for its being." Each of us realize not only Goethe's words, "eye thank the light for being", but "I thank the Light of Christ for being." We should thank Christ for the Light that shines within our deepest being as our "I" — our Ego — which today gives us the power of freedom and independence that only Moses, Elijah, and the other great spiritual beings we have studied in these lectures possessed in their own times. And we should thank Rudolf Steiner for helping spread abroad in the twentieth century a great illumination of the reality of the Christ impulse from his time onward.

Read the FULL Review at:

2.) ARJ2: The Book of Kin, The Ringing Cedars Series, Book 6 by Vladmir Megré

This is a book which shows us how to write our book of the same title, a "Book of Kin" for our own children and grandchildren. But before the author gets to that ultimate point of this book, he leads us through his own wanderings through figuring out how to raise his own son, the offspring of himself and Anastasia. Through all six of these books, Vladimir has been the everyman, the universal representative of each of us. His attitude of skepticism, doubt, and incredulity about the things which Anastasia has shown him and told him created much uncertainty in him as to how he should proceed in raising a child, something most parents do without giving it much thought. That insecurity led Vladimir at the onset of this book to seek an expert's advice from a trained psychologist.

Vladimir explains as best he can about Anastasia, who she is and where she lives, without being too specific and without ever mentioning her name. Suddenly the psychologist, Alexander Sergeevich, rises up from his chair and suggests that there is someone wiser than himself in the matters that Vladimir is seeking help with, namely, Anastasia!

This is enough to take almost anyone's breath away, but for Vladimir, it only led him to rebel at the very thought, and he responds, but "she's the one who wouldn't let me communicate with my son." The psychologist, Alexander, sees the wisdom of Anastasia's motives: that she has, among other things, led his patient, this cowboy-like entrepreneur of perestroika Vladimir, to study psychology, philosophy and child-raising. Alexander continues:

[page 8] "She's been raising your son all these years by herself, but at the same time she's also been educating you! She's been preparing you for this meeting of father and son!"

But Alexander has more surprises for Vladimir as he shows him a thick grey notebook:

[page 8, 9] "I took all Anastasia's sayings in your books about the birth and raising of children and wrote them out in order, leaving out the details of the plot. Maybe, though, it wasn't right to take these quotation out of context. After all, there's no doubt the plot makes them a lot easier to comprehend.
      "These sayings of Anastasia's are fraught with great meaning — a great philosophical meaning, I would say, and wisdom from an ancient culture. I'm inclined to suppose — and I'm not alone here — that these principles are set forth in some kind of ancient book, maybe millions of years old. What Anastasia says has the kind of depth to it and accuracy of expression that one associates with what I think are the most important thoughts set forth in ancient manuscripts, as well as modern scholarly texts. . . . it will give rise to a new race on the Earth known as Man!"

Are marriages made in Heaven? What does that mean if not that true marriages have a spiritual component which transcends any marriage licenses or church rituals?

[page 16, Alexander] "Anastasia is quite right when she says that a marriage made in heaven can only be affirmed by the couple's extraordinary splendid mental state, which leads to the birth of new and fully fledged Man."

Alexander reminds Vladimir of what he wrote and what Anastasia said in Book 1 about how "the dark forces are constantly trying to make Man give into base fleshly passions, to stop him from experiencing God-given grace." Alexander shows a healthy respect for couples who avoid engaging in sex for its own sake. He agrees with Anastasia's view of "a new culture in male-female relationships."

[page 19] "Does that mean, Alexander Sergeevich, that you are recommending young people engage in intimate relations before a marriage is officially recognized?"
      "Most people today are doing just that. Only we're ashamed to talk about it openly. But what I am proposing is to refrain from engaging in sex just for the sake of sex, either before or after the marriage is registered."

Alexander gives three statements of the requirements for the birth of a "fully fledged Man" which he calls incontrovertible. You need only compare what you know about the circumstances of your own birth to discover whether your own birth fulfills one, two, or all three of these conditions.

[page 29 ] "First, think about this: who will deny that a situation where thought rather than debauchery precedes the birth of a child — the meeting of the sperm and the egg — is more moral and more psychologically fulfilling?

      "Second: it is absolutely indisputable that a pregnant woman should receive a wholesome variety of nourishment and avoid stress. One's own family domain, as Anastasia describes it, is ideal for this.
      "Third: giving birth in familiar surroundings, in a setting one is accustomed to, will create a much more favorable condition for the birthing mother and, more importantly, for the newborn. This is also an irrefutable fact in both psychology and physiology."

The next chapter finds Vladimir visiting Anastasia's glade, hopefully to see his growing son. Finding no one around, he makes himself comfortable by changing into fresh clothes from his backpack and sits down on a small raised area of ground and begins making notes about his upcoming meeting with his five-year-old son. After a while, he notices that it has suddenly gotten very quiet, usually a sign that Anastasia was nearby. Vladimir turns around, and to his surprise finds his son standing across from him. He is speechless, and his son speaks first:

[page 38] "Greetings to your bright thoughts, my dear Papa!"
      "Eh? . . . And greetings, of course, to you as well," I responded.
      "Forgive me, Papa."
      "Forgive you for what?"
      "For interrupting your important reflections. I have been standing at a distance, so as not to interfere, but I wanted to come and be close to you. Please, Papa, let me sit beside you quietly until you have complete your reflections."
      "Eh? Okay. Sure, have a seat."

If this is not the most amazing way of greeting one's father for a five-year-old, I can not imagine one more amazing. Vladimir responds as a typical father might. He thinks to himself, "I must adopt a deep thought pose while I finish my 'reflections', as he put it. I need to think of what to do next." What he does next is what any of us might have done. He waits awhile and then asks his son, "Well, how are things going with you?" This is a rather useless phrase, more of a perfunctory saying to get the ball rolling for a conversation than a request for information. His son says simply, "Life is going on." So Vladimir stumbles on with, "You minding your Mama?" and gets a more detailed response from his son, Volodnya:

[page 39] "I am always happy to mind my Mama when she speaks. And when my Grandfathers speak, it is interesting to listen to them too. I talk to them as well, and they listen to me. But Mama Anastasia thinks that I talk too much — I ought to think more, says Mama Anastasia. But my thoughts come very quickly and I want to talk differently. . . . Like my Grandfathers, I want to arrange my words one after another, like Mama does, like you do, Papa."

Later, Volodnya reads at his Papa's request from a history book that Vladimir had brought to teach his son.

[page 42] The earliest people lived in hot climates, where there were no frosts or cold winters. People did not live by themselves, but in groups, which scholars call human flocks. Everybody in the flock, from the littlest to the greatest, collected food. They would spend whole days searching for edible roots, wild-growing fruit and berries, and birds' eggs.

Seems harmless enough, not unlike many things you and I have read in our early school years from a textbook. But Volodnya has trouble understanding it. He senses that it was a lie. He compares the concept he gets from the words of his Papa's book to the concepts he gets when his Mama talks to him, and the book communicates only some distorted concept. He explains this to Vladimir who responds, "What do you need this 'concept' for? Why waste time on a concept?"

[page 43] "The concepts come all by themselves, when there is truth being told . . . but here, it is not happening — that means . . . One moment . . . I shall try to check. Perhaps the people written about in this book had no eyes, if they had to search all day long for food?"

Volodnya began to explain his concept of the ancient people, how they lived in a land of plenty where food was all around them, just as it was for him today in the taiga glade. He tells Vladimir about the book his Mama reads to him and from which he can read. Vladimir asks to see the book, and his son says he can't bring the whole book to him, but he can read some from it, though not as fast as his Mama. He reads from page 41 of Book 4, Co-creation where God the Father is talking to Adam, his Son.

[page 54] Volodnya rose to his feet, and pointing his finger out into space, began 'reading' sentences from the chapters of Co-creation:

The Universe itself is a thought, a thought from which was born a dream, which is partially visible as matter. . . . My son, you are infinite, you are eternal, within you are your dreams of creation.

Next, Volodnya tells his Papa of seeing his Mama lying on the ground with her face all white and the grass in a circle surrounding her was all white, too. When he went over and tried to pull his mother out of the circle, he couldn't. He touched her with his arm and it went numb. So he called over the large bear who took care of him and asked her to pull Anastasia out of the white circle. As soon as the bear touched her, the bear fell over dead. The boy then takes his Papa to see the remnants of the white circles where his Mama had previous lain. Vladimir realizes that Anastasia had been busy absorbing the negative, hateful human energy, calling it to her, and daring it to try to defeat her. He recalls the words she said in Book 3, The Space of Love, on pages 196, 197:

[page 73] "All anger on Earth, leave your deeds and make haste to me, join fray with me, try your utmost. . . . I stand alone before you. Try to defeat me. To defeat me, all of you come meet me together. The fight will be fightless. . ."

Vladimir gets mad at the thought of Anastasia fighting this battle all on her own and yells out, "Hey you, malice-mongers, come'n try to get me, and I'll burn at least a few of you!" Volodnya mimics his father's action with, "Hey, come'n try to get me too, you malice-mongers. You see, my arm is getting better. Mama Anastasia is not alone. . ." as he stood up on his toes and attempted to raise his arm high as possible.

[page 74] "So, my fine warriors, my dashing young braves! Who are you about to make war on today, my gallant knights?" came Anastasia's quiet voice.
      I turned around and caught sight of Anastasia, sitting under a cedar tree. She was evidently very tired — her head was even resting against the tree-trunk. And her shoulders and arms were sinking, and her hands were resting on the ground. Her face was pale, and her eyelids slightly lowered.

Just like Vladimir had suspected, the reason she didn't greet him was that she had been lying on the ground absorbing the hate and malice in the world and taking it through herself into the Earth. She moans at one point as she attempts, but is unable, to get up from the ground, "Oh, how could I have failed so badly? I am unable even to rise to greet my son and my love?!" She tries once more and the cedar trees help her. As Vladimir looks up, all the needles of the cedar trees in the area are glowing and pointing their needles towards Anastasia's tree. After about two minutes there is a pale blue flash and the needles look withered. Anastasia seems her normal self again and looking up, she says "Thank you!". Then she dances over and among the white circles on the ground which had earlier enervated her completely. Vladimir and Volodnya joins her in this exuberant dance of joy, and soon they both follow her in a dive into the lake.

Chapters Five through Eight are devoted to "The history of mankind, as told by Anastasia". It is full of marvelous stories of the way the ancient Vedic people lived in their time and foreshadows the type of world that she sees can be ours today, one where there is no diseases, where feeding and clothes is a simply matter for every family. And no rulers or bureaucrats telling the family what to do, when to do it, and take the work of their own hands from them by force, such as we so very much of in the USA and other places in the world today.

Anastasia gives us a detailed description of the Vedic wedding ritual. Relatives and friends coming together to help a young married couple get started with gifts to fill their own Space of Love as they set up a household for the first time.

[page 104] The lovers-to-be could meet in various ways. . . . They could tell a lot about each other's feelings simply by looking into each other's eyes. But there were words too, which , when translated into today's language, might sound something like this:
       "With you, my beautiful goddess, I could create a Space of Love to last forever," he would tell his intended.
      "And if the girls's heart responded in kind, she might answer:
      "My god, I am ready to help you in your grand co-creation."
      Next the young lovers would jointly select a location for their future home.

This is a dramatically different approach than most couples experience today. Note the focus on the future, on a Space of Love, and co-creation. This can only come about when in their early lives, the couple were raised in a Space of Love themselves.

[page 105] From early childhood both he and she had been bearing witness to the marvelous domains, oases and Paradise gardens their parents had created in love, and now they were aspiring to co-create their own.
      On their chosen plot of land, a hectare or more in size, the lovers laid out a plan for real life ahead. the task before them was to mentally formulate a design for their home and work out an arrangement for a wide variety of plant life, where everything could work in mutual support and harmony.

Note the focus at every point is on living not on "making a life" for themselves. Not on getting a job or making it big in the world. Simply living and creating a living space for themselves in which they might together raise their own children in a garden paradise.

[page 106] Once the design was complete in their thoughts, the lovers first paid their respects to the bridegroom's home village, where they went around to every house and invited the residents to come for a visit. Each household awaited their arrival with great excitement and anticipation. . . . It was with great pride and joy in the face of the whole village that each resident aspired to present the young couple with the object of their praise as a gift. And all would wait with anticipation for the day the couple had selected, when they would present their gifts to the bride and groom.

We see the beginnings of the kin's domain for the young couple forming, first in their own eyes and then in the eyes of the villagers. The day comes the couple had selected and the scene switches to the hectare of land they have chosen for their kin's domain. The people that the couple had earlier visited arrive and take their position along the perimeter of the domain which marked out by dry branches. In the middle is a little mound of earth, decorated with flowers.

The bridge groom, Radomir, lays out for the villagers the design of the domain that he and his beloved have co-created. He points out where the cherry tree will grow, where the pear, where the groves of pin, oak, and cedar will be, and what kind of berry bushes will form the living fence between them. Even where the bees will build their hives and the bear will hibernate in the winter. (Page 108)

[page 108] And each time the young man points to a spot where some living thing will grow, according to his grand design, someone from the group of people listening will go over and stand on the future site of the apple tree, pear tree, or cherry tree. . . . Those stepping forth from the assembly are already holding in their hands saplings of the tree or plant designated for the selected spots where beauty is to unfold.

Then Radomir announces to the people, "I have not created this Space of Love in isolation. Here is my marvelous inspiration standing beside me before you all." The girl's mother comes up to her and asks if she likes everything about the future she has been shown, the girl says yes, but suddenly decides to add something. The young maiden runs to various parts of the garden area describing the bright flowers which will grow in various places. After finishing her dance, she runs up on the mound next to Radomir and says to all, "Now the Space here will be splendid in its sheen. The earth will produce a most marvelous scene." Her mother asks her who she would choose to reign over this marvelous Space. She searches through the crowd, and finally says to all: "He is worthy to wear the crown whose thought is able to create a future that will be splendid all around." With these words she touches Radomir's shoulder.

[page 111] He gets down on one knee before her. And the girl places on his head a most beautiful crown, a garland woven from sweet-smelling grasses by the maiden's own hand. Then, running her fingers three times through her fiancé's hair with her right hand, she takes hold of his head with her left and draws it a little closer to herself. Upon her signal the young man stands up. Then the girl runs down from the mound, and bows her head ever so slightly in a sign of meekness.

It is time for the father of the groom to question his son. After several questions, the father puts this one to the bridegroom:

[page 112] "The energy of Love is capable of wandering through the whole Universe. How will you manage to see the reflection of universal love on Earth?"
      "There is one girl, Father, and for me she is the reflection of universal love on the Earth."
      With these words the young man comes down to where the girl is standing, takes her by the hand and leads her back up to the mound.

The two families all come together in a great celebration of hugging, jokes, and laughter until finally the young man raises his hand and says to all present, "My thanks to all who heard me in this place. My soul has spoken of the creation of a new Space. My thanks to all who have held the energy of Love in such high esteem. May what has been conceived by the soul's dream now sprout from the earth!"

The couple accepts more gifts, this time of a dog, a puppy, a kitten, a lamb, a colt, and a bear cub. The bridegroom expresses his thanks to everyone, "Thank you all for co-creating this Space. My descendants will care for it over the centuries to come." and his bride, "Our thanks to the mothers who bore the creator." More circle dancing happens, this time around the entire plot of the Space of Love. The final wedding event takes place over the next couple of days and results in the neighbors helping construct first dwelling place of the couple on their new kin's domain.

"Keeping up with the Joneses" is a sad process which causes many modern couples to work and slave simply to acquire things better than their neighbors, only to find that success at doing that is an empty victory, the bitter fruit of seeds sown in envy, which leads to disease, anger, combat. On the other hand, built right into the amazing wedding ritual, which creates for the young couple a first home, together with the plants, bushes, and trees for their kin's domain already planted, is an inoculation which prevents anyone from feeling anything but good about the couple's new Space of Love. All their friends and relatives have taken a part in the co-creation of their domain and each time they visit the couple they will be able to enjoy the living and growing reality of what they helped to build. They will always take pride in the couple's domain with never a trace of envy.

The result is a happy home in the domain of a healthy family. The processes of thought and creativity will be used to increase the family's happiness and not to build artificial devices of dubious benefit or outright destructive intent.

[page 118] A domain which is home to a happy family should be able to satisfy all the food requirements of everybody living in it, hour by hour.
      Disease should not be permitted to have even a foothold. The changing reality of the scene before Man should moment by moment gladden his gaze. It should delight the ear with an infinite variety of sounds, and the nostrils with flowering fragrances.
      And provide ethereal food for the soul, nursing the newborn and preserving love for ever. And so no member of the family should be wasting their energies on mundane concerns — their thought should remain free. Thought is given to all people for creative purposes.

The academic world takes pride in the doctors, lawyers, aircraft engineers, and weapons makers, among other occupations that they provide instruction for in their science, engineering, medical disciplines, etc. But for what purpose?

[page 118, 119] The world of academe takes pride in its illusions:
      "See, our ships are flying into space for the benefit of mankind!"
      "For mankind's benefit, you say?"
      "See all those bombs going off? They are to protect you!"
      "But are they really to protect us?"
      "See how this learned doctor has saved your life!"
      But up to that point life was in the process of being annihilated, moment by moment, by everyday concerns. They save the life of a slave to prolong his suffering.
       The world of academe is in no position to create even the similitude of a splendid domain because, again, there is a law of the Universe which says: A single Creator inspired by love is stronger than all the sciences combined, which are deprived of love.

Given the vows that couples typically take during their marriage ceremonies, it is not surprising that the feeling of love wanes over time and that soon many of the couples get on each other's nerves. If they stay together, it is called a "marriage of convenience", but it is actually a "marriage of inconvenience" because there is nothing more inconvenient than being married to someone who gets on your nerves! It is, as Anastasia says in the passage below, "unnatural". Are you, dear Reader leading or planning to lead such a life style?

[page 120] In our modern day this feeling of mutual love in married couples always tends to dissipate after a while. The energy of Love is no longer within them. And this is something accepted as a given by human society. But this scenario is unnatural to Man. It tells us that the lifestyle people lead today is unnatural.

In Chapter Nine, "A Need to Think", there is a section titled, "Who saved America?" Vladimir had been doing a lot of studying about the series of terrorist acts during September 11 in America and decided that something was missing. He called Anastasia and asked if she could fill in the details, and here's what she said:

[page 210] "The mastermind behind this was counting on six terrorist groups to act in succession. Each of the six groups was to act independently at its appointed time, without knowing anything about each other. And their leaders did not know who was behind it all or what the ultimate goal was. Each group was made up of religious fanatics, ready to die for the cause."

Vladimir got really excited as he realized that the terrorists did not succeed in carrying out all the horrific acts that Anastasia laid out for him. He exclaimed:

[page 212] The whole process got cut off! And I think I can guess why. Because the real masterminds are to be found among the [dark forces's] priests who are alive today. And they were frightened by Bush's actions and were obliged to jump the gun! Right?" . . . The President of America, Bush, has really stirred things up for those smart asses. I realized how horrified they must have been when he . . . When President Bush all at once upped and left for his ranch in Texas."

What is the significance of the ranch in Crawford, Texas for George W. Bush? It is his kin's domain, his own Space of Love, where he get outside the walls of the White House with abstract reasoning and thoughts bouncing off of them, and place himself in the middle of the calming effects of Nature, surrounded by living things that he has watched grow and bloom under his care and shepherding. He had a need to think and this was the ideal place for him to do some serious thinking. And it kept him isolated from the echoing walls of conference rooms and offices with ringing phones and constant interruptions. Here again is Vladimir talking to Anastasia:

[page 213] "Nobody, but nobody, understood! Here was George Bush, the President of the United States of America, taking a colossal step which not a single president had ever taken before in the whole history of the country. Maybe not a single ruler has ever thought of doing something like that over the past five or ten thousand years!"
      "You are right, they have not."
      "The beautiful thing is that for the first time the ruler of a huge country, the most important country in the world, much to the horror of all the priests, suddenly tore himself away from his artificial information field. He simply picked himself up and left it behind. And with that he came out from under control of the occultists."

Why is Vladimir so excited about this observation of his about Bush's behavior in going to ranch for a full month? Because it shows the importance of family domains of the type that Anastasia is urging the people of the world to build for themselves. Vladimir continues talking to Anastasia:

[page 215] "The American President has come up with the best, the strongest and most convincing advertisement for the family domains you spoke of. The future family domains of Russia — of the whole world! If people don't understand it after this, then mankind really is asleep. Or just about everyone's under somebody's hypnosis. And that's why they're sick and in agony, that's why they use drugs and go to war and kill each other. If mankind doesn't come out of this hypnosis after your words, after Bush's actions, then it's going to take a disaster.

The glad tidings are that the readers of Anastasia's books are planning and moving into their own family domains. The building of these domains will provide an antidote to the soporific enslavement of humankind in coming years as more and more people come to understand that a family domain is within their own reach and the benefits to them and their kin that will accrue from living in such a self-sustaining Space of Love.

Chapter Ten, "The Book of Kin" is the eponymous chapter, and yet it refers to a Book of Kin as a book that is created by the builder of a kin's domain in which the design of the domain is described and a record is created for generations to come who will live in the kin's domain. The domain itself will be able to be read by the smallest child because it will contain the acts and deeds of its parents and grandparents displayed and growing all visibly around them. Anastasia suggests that "clarity comes directly when a son reads a book of his forebears, which his father and mother have continued personally for him." But Vladimir objects, "Not everyone knows how to write a book." (Page 242) Seems he told that to Anastasia when he first met her — that he himself could not write a book, but look at him now. Anastasia replies, "Even if there are not yet any domains to bloom in the spring, thoughts about them are already alive in many human hearts. They need to start writing a book precisely about their thoughts, for their children."

I closed this review by writing the beginning paragraphs of Del and my Book of Kin which I wrote down a few minutes ago after we had located a suitably sturdy and beautiful blank book to dedicate to writing down our dreams and plans for our kin's domain. The next day when Del finished copy-editing my review, she appended a note which she added to the first page of our Book of Kin. Both notes are available in the full review to be read.

Read the FULL Review at:

3.) ARJ2: First Among Sequels — A Thursday Next Novel No. 5 by Jason Fforde

This is the first one of the five novels that I have read in hardback, so it's been a couple of years since I read that last one. By the time I had finished the series of the already published, I was hooked on Fforde's ultra-Ffunny mode of writing about literary classics through the adventures of the Literary Detective Thursday Next, whose penchant for traveling in and out of fictional works is well-known in the fictional world, if not the real world, up until now. For anyone who thinks that life is too short to be serious and who has dabbled in the classics, Fforde is a God-send. He combines the logical clarity of Douglas Hofstadter (Godel, Escher, and Bach), the humor of Douglas Adams (Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy), and the satiric swipes at modern culture of G. K. Chesterton (The Man Who Was Thursday ).

There is another plus which any writer or wannabe writer of fiction will quickly recognize: Fforde is constantly describing the structure of fiction: how the author creates a real world out of words. As Thursday walks around and interacts with fictional worlds, we become aware of the limits of the fictional world, such as the few kinds of trees in the forest, maybe only a handful, since only those trees exist which the author has chosen to describe. We learn how much fuller the Outland (the real world) is compared to the BookWorld of fiction.

Thursday and Landen's son, Friday, is a teenager and her description of their sixteen-year-old son matches very closely that of Jeremy in the daily comic strip, Zits.

[page 4, 5] . . . he was a tedious teenage cliché — grunting, sighing at any request no matter how small and staying in bed until past midday, then slouching around the house in a state of semi-consciousness that would do credit to a career zombie. We might not have known he was living with us if it weren't for the grubby cereal bowls that mysteriously appeared in the vague vicinity of the sink, a muffled heavy metal beat from his bedroom that Landen was convinced kept the slugs from the garden and a succession of equally languid no-hopers who called at the door to mumble, "Is Friday at home?" — something that I couldn't resist answering with, "It's a matter of conjecture."

Thursday is vising her mother and her Aunt Polly who love tea with Battenberg cake and driving the people crazy who ring their doorbells to do polls. Their measure of success is how long they can hold their victims in thrall before they turn and run away.

[page 17] The doorbell rang.
      "Ooooh!" said Polly, peering furtively out the window. "What fun. It looks like a market researcher!"
      "Right," said my mother in a very military tone. "Let's see how long we can keep him before he runs out screaming. I'll pretend to have mild dementia, and you can complain about your sciatica in German. We'll try to beat our personal Market-Researcher Containment record of two hours and twelve minutes."

I said that this book is the Book 5 in the Thursday Next series, but there is a fictional Book 5 "The Great Samuel Pepys Fiasco" which is listed in the Also By Jasper Fforde page preceding the Main Title Page. The Pepys book, however, is lined through and accompanied by this sub-text note in parentheses: (No longer available). Note the multiple levels of humor here. A book of fiction whose very existence is fictional! A list of Books Written By the Author which contains a book which is not only "No longer available" but never was available! — for the very good reason that the existence of the Pepys book 5 is a part of the plot and fictional structure of this book 5. If you have trouble getting your mind around this concept, remember my earlier advice. But the fact of its non-existence in the real world is no reason to ignore the fictional existence of the Thursday Next character which would have inhabited Book 5, if it had existed, therefore Jasper Fforde creates the character, Thursday5, who quickly becomes Thursday's bumbling intern in this book, and also creates the character Thursday1-4, the Thursday from Books 1-4, who stars in this book as the nemesis of Thursday. Fforde, like the Red Queen in "Alice in Wonderland" must practice thinking of 13 impossible things by breakfast each morning.

Thursday5 was identical to Thursday, but with noticeable deviations in behavior and dress.

[page 37] She didn't act or dress like me; her clothes were more earthy and sustainable. Instead of my usual jeans, shirt and jacket, she wore a naturally dyed cotton skirt and a homespun crocheted pullover. She carried a shoulder bag of felt instead of my Billingham, and in place of the scarlet scrunchie holding my ponytail in place, her's was secured with a strip of hemp cloth tied in a neat bow. It wasn't by accident. After I had endured the wholly unwarranted aggression of the first four Thursday books, I'd insisted that the fifth reflect my more sensitive nature. Unfortunately, they took me a little too seriously, and Thursday5 was the result. She was sensitive, caring, compassionate, kind, thoughtful — and unreadable. The Great Samuel Pepys Fiasco sold so badly it was remaindered within six months and never made it to paperback, something I was secretly glad of.

As part of Thursday5's training, she accompanies Thursday into the austere world of Jane Austen, namely, Norland Park. In this next passage, you can read how Fforde explains how Book-World varies from Outland.

[page 47] We stepped outside the colonnaded entrance of Norland Park and basked in the warmth of the sunshine. The story had long a ago departed with the Dashwood family to Devon, and this corner of Sense and Sensibility was quiet and unused. To one side a saddled horse was leaning languidly against a tree with a hound sitting on the ground quite near it. Birds sang in the branches, and clouds moved slowly across the heavens. Each cloud was identical, of course, and the sun didn't track across the sky as it did back home, and, come to think of it, the birdsong was on a twenty-second loop. It was what we called "narrative economics," the bare amount of description necessary to create a scene. The BookWorld was like that — mostly ordered, and without the rich texture that nature's randomness brings to the real world.

Here is the typical setting of a fictional book when there's no action going on. It's quiet like a sound stage that is not being used, but is all ready for the next scene to be filmed there. There's the horse, the dog, the birds singing, the clouds rolling by, all waiting for the chapter when the Austen characters walk out through the colonnaded entrance of Norland Park. Our two Thursdays are waiting for a taxi to arrive to take them to the Council of Genres, so they chat. Thursday asks Thursday5 if there is any aspect of BookWorld she'd like to visit and learn about during her internship.

[page 49] "Well," she said after a pause, "I'd like to have a go and see what it's like inside a story during a recitation in the oral tradition — I've heard it's really kind of buzzing."
      She was right. It was like sweaty live improv theater — anything could happen.
      "No way," I said, "and if I hear that you've been anywhere near OralTrad, you'll be confined to The Great Samuel Pepys Fiasco. It's not like books where everything's laid out and orderly. the oral tradition is dynamic like you've no idea. We have a saying:
      'You can lose yourself in a book, but you find yourself in Poetry.'"

Agent Thursday Next is 00-qualified by Jurisfiction, licensed to kill, which in BookWorld means to reduce a person, place, or thing to text: scattered letters which enter the great Text Sea where they may be recycled. Here she is preparing her weapon which only works on BookWorld characters. She fills it with the writer's weapon of choice for erasing BookWorld characters: an eraserhead bullet!

[page 60] I slipped the cartridge in, snapped the pistol shut and put it back in my bag. The eraserhead was just one of the many abstract technologies that JurisTech built for us. Designed to sever the bonds between letters in a word, it was a devastating weapon to anyone of textual origin — a single blast from one of these and the unlucky recipient would be nothing but a jumbled heap of letters and a bluish haze. Its use is strictly controlled — Jurisfiction agents only.

One might wonder what it's like being inside a book when a reading occurs, and Jasper gives us that very description. Read this and imagine that someone is inside this book experiencing this as you are reading it. Or that you are inside the book as someone else is reading it. Caution: do not attempt this if you are reading while driving a car!

[page 67] There was a distant hum and a rumble as the reading approached. Then came a light buzz in the air like static and an increased heightening of the sense as the reader took up the descriptive power of the book and translated it into his or her own unique interpretation of the events — channeled from here through the massive imaginotransference Storycode Engines back at Text Grand Central and into the reader's imagination. It was a technology of almost incalculable complexity, which I had yet to fully understand. But the beauty of the whole process was that the reader in the Outland never suspected there was any sort of process at all — the act of reading was to most people, myself included, as natural as breathing.

But enough about how Outlanders experience BookWorld, what about how BookWorlders experience Outland? Fforde gives us an example and an explanation. Thursday5 slips up and reveals that Thursday, standing next to her in front of two guards, is an Outlander. The guards are delighted. His question of Thursday Next remind me of the title of Philip K. Dick's novel upon which the movie "Blade Runner" was based, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"

[page 89, 90] "What an honor!" said the first guard. "Someone from the real  world." He thought for a moment. "Tell me, if it rains on a really hot day, do sheep shrink?"
      "Is that a security question?"
      "No, no," replied the guard quickly. "Bert and I were just discussing it recently."
      This wasn't unusual. Characters in fiction had a very awkward view of the real world. To them the extreme elements of human experience were commonplace, as they were generally the sorts of issues that made it into books, which left the mundanities of real life somewhat obscure and mysterious. Ask a resident of the BookWorld about terminal diseases, loss, gunshot trajectories, dramatic irony and problematic relatives and he'd be more experienced than you or me — quiz him on paintbrushes and he'd spend the rest of the week trying to figure out how the paint stays on the bristles until it touches another surface.

Imprisonment in BookWorld in a time loop seemed to be the method du jour during Next's time. She needs information from her earlier arch-enemy Aornis Hades who's stuck in line waiting to pay for her stockings at the T. J. Maxx discount clothing store. As soon as she gets close to checking out, time skips back until she is the eleventh one in line once again. This is an ingenious scheme which Fforde has concocted, one that Hatlo would have loved and attempted to use in The Hatlo's Inferno comic series back in the 1940s and 50s if he'd thought of it back then. Here's Fforde's description of how the loop works:

[page 145] They called being "in the loop," but the official name was Closed Loop Temporal Field Containment. It was used only for criminals where there was little hope of rehabilitation, or even contrition. It was run by the ChronoGuard and was frighteningly simple. They popped the convict in an eight-minute repetitive time loop for five, ten, twenty years. The prisoner's body aged but never needed sustenance. It was cruel and unnatural — yet cheap and required no bars, guards, or food.

[page 147] "They're not prisoners — just real shoppers doing real shopping at the time of her enloopment; Miss Hades is stuck in an eight-minute zone waiting to pay for goods, but she never does. If it's true what they say about her love of shopping, this punishment is particularly apt."

We listen to Thursday question Aornis and watch her as her time loop skips backward:

[page 148] She took a deep breath as the loop jumped back to the beginning of her eight minutes and she was once more in the rear of her line. She clenched her fists so tightly her knuckles went white. She'd been doing this for ten years without respite.

Ah, but nothing is better than the free-for-fights which take place at the Annual BookWorld Conferences. No matter how tight security is, well, read for yourself:

[page 167] BookCon was the sort of event that was too large and too varied to keep all factions happy, and the previous year's decision to lift the restrictions on Abstract Concepts attending as delegates opened the floodgates to a multitude of Literary Theories and Grammatical Conventions who spent most of the time pontificating loftily and causing trouble in the bar, where fights broke out at the drop of a principle. When Poststructualism got in a fight with Classicism, there were all banned, something that upset the Subjunctives no end, who complained bitterly that if they had been fighting, they would have won.

Everybody's getting into physics these days, which can be upsetting to real physicists like myself, but it's okay, I figure, for them to do so if they make me laugh. Like Fforde's explication of Schrödinger's Night Fever Principle and his accurate re-statement of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. I kept wishing for Mycroft's recipe for unscrambling eggs, but the book ended before Thursday got around to it. Her son, Friday, awakens from his teenage stupor to explain the SNF Principle to Thursday.

[page 262] "Many things happen solely because of the curious human foible of a preconceived notion's altering the outcome. More simply put: If we convince ourselves that something is possible, it becomes so. It's called the Schrödinger's Night Fever Principle."
      "I don't understand."
      "It's simple. If you go to see Saturday Night Fever expecting it to be good, it's a corker. However, if you go expecting it to be a crock of shit, it's that, to. Thus Saturday Night Fever exist in two mutually opposing states at the very same time, yet only by the weight of our expectations.

And the Second Law is even simpler to state, "You can put a pig in a machine to make a sausage, but you can't put a sausage in a machine to make a pig." Friday asks his mother if she'd noticed that short-attention spans have become the rule of the day. She admits, "No one's reading books anymore. They seem to prefer the mind-numbing spectacle of easily digested trash TV and celebrity tittle-tattle." (Page 264)Friday explains how the time engines of ChronoGuard get their energy by stealing from time and that is causing a shorter and shorter Now. Could things get worse than they are today?

[page 265] "Much worse," replied Friday. "At the rate the Now is being eroded, by this time next year Samaritan Kidney Swap will be considered the height of scholarly erudition. But easily digestible TV is not the cause — it's the effect. A Short Now will also spell the gradual collapse of forward planning, and mankind will slowly strangulate itself in a downward spiral of uncaring self-interest and short-term gratification."

In other words, we are plunging into the world facetiously splashed across the screen in the Luke Wilson 2005 movie, Idiocracy. (See footnote 1 above.) A future world in which the most average person today would be considered the smartest person in the world and would be asked to solve such difficult problems as why all the crops are dying when they are sprinkled with Gator-Ade instead of water.

In Chapter 32, Thursday goes off roving in a Jane Austen novel using a vehicle that is appropriately called an Austen Rover. She was introduced to the Rover by a Doctor Anne Wirthlass, who explained all the complexities of the Austen Rover. Soon Fforde introduces some physics into his novel, this time in form of BookWorld "dark reading matter", an obvious swipe at the so-called dark matter which fills the Outland Universe. Obviously Phforde is haphing phun with physics again.

[page 282] "The Nothing is a big place," I said without fear of understatement, "and mostly empty. Theoretical storyologists have calculated that the readable BookWorld makes up only twenty-two percent of visible reading matter — the remainder is the unobservable remnants of long-lot books, forgotten oral traditions and ideas still locked in writers' head. We call it 'dark reading matter'."

Can our heroine ever recover her rightful place as Landen's wife and mother to two real children and one imaginary one? Will Friday become half the ChronoGuard agent that his grandfather was? Will Landen ever finish his great British novel? Will Jenny ever come down from her camp in the attic? Will Aornis ever get to pay for her stockings at T. J. Maxx? Will the stupidity surplus be discharged by building the Anti-Smite Shield? Will Felix8 ever get out of the Weirdshitorium? Will Fforde ever run out of things to poke Ffun at? All we can say in parting is: What Next?

Read the FULL Review at:

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I hear often from my Good Readers that they have bought books after reading my book reviews. Keep reading, folks! As I like to remind you, to obtain more information on what's in these books, buy and read the books — for less information, read the reviews.

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In this section I like to comment on events in the world, in my life, and in my readings which have come up during the month. These are things I might have shared with you in person, if we had had the opportunity to converse during the month. If we did, then you may recognize my words. If I say some things here which upset you, rest assured that you may skip over these for the very reason that I would likely have not brought up the subject to spoil our time together in person.

1. Padre Filius Reads the New Orleans Times-Picayune this Month:

Padre Filius, the cartoon character created by your intrepid editor and would-be cartoonist, will appear from time to time in this Section of the Digest to share us on some amusing or enlightening aspect of the world he observes during his peregrinations.

This month the good Padre walks across a stream on stepping stones.

2.Comments from Readers:
  • EMAIL from Betty & Al Boysen in Florida:
    Just a quick note to tell you I made plane reservations today to fly to Los Angeles to attend the conference at the Crystal Cathedral. Know you said you had a conflict, but we hope you worked it out so you could be there too. Hope to see you.
    Betty and Al RJM NOTE: We were unable to make it. Wanted dearly to see The Messiah performed there as well as the Glory of Christmas, but Del had a meeting conflict, so we deferred till next year, God Willing.
  • EMAIL from Kiki Butgereit:
    Happy Thanksgiving! We're off to Phoenix in the morning to spend a few days with our youngest son and his family. Hope you have a great family holiday, K.
  • EMAIL from Patty Lee and Armand St. Martin:

    Hey Bobby,

    You are a dream friend!

    I loved your presentation of your poem so much; Armand too. It's amazing how a poem, read aloud properly like you did, brings the words to life in a personal presentation like the other night!

    You were so complimentary about Armand's (song)writing because many folks may like a song for the whole, but may not realize that the songwriter of "original material" is indeed a poet as well as the composer of the music. I am truly amazed by his original music compositions because he plays a lot of notes in each song!

    We will love to go back through your digest and enjoy your work some more! We always enjoy what you send and we will look forward to revisiting your poetry archives!

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! We include yall in our blessings!
    Patty and Armand

    RJM NOTE: Poem was Undercooked Poetry. Click left to read it. Armand is a great local composer and piano player. He can usually be found pounding down on the keys and cutting up in the Ritz-Carlson Library Lounge on Canal Street in New Orleans.

  • EMAIL from Renee Lattimore:
    First of all, I probably don’t need to tell you that your pictures are OUTSTANDING. But, Bobby, the picture of the Morning Star and the Crescent Moon was one of the most awesome pictures I have seen. Every morning this month I have witnessed these cosmic phenomena, and instinctively I know that something is STRONG here. Thank you for the picture.

    I’m sure there’s more in the DIGEST, especially the Book Reviews, which I will get to in due time. I will be anxiously awaiting your comments in December. Hopefully we will meet with you and Del before then.


  • EMAIL from our granddaughter, Tiffany Ostarly (who has been sending me photos of our two great-grandsons, so I appointed her Adjunct Photographer on the Digest):
    You and Gabe should have a great time at the game. Rummel games are fun! I feel special, as one of your photographers! I look forward to seeing the next digest. I love you!
  • EMAIL from our nephew, Dean Matherne, somewhere in Iraq with the U. S. Army:
    Uncle Bobby,

    Thanks for the e-mail. Our wireless provider is not good right now. Its like being on dial-up. Anyway, I can't communicate as I'm accustomed to right now. Great to hear from you. I'm practicing looking un-important in case the enemy is low on ammo. Right now its just like any other job for me. My job doesn't take me out into Indian country, so besides some rockets coming in every now and then on the other side of post ... its almost normal. I'll be serving dinner to the troops on Thanksgiving. One of the perks of being a Master sergeant. Hope you are doing well and Tell Aunt Del I brought her bible with me.


    Dean [RJM NOTE: We are very proud of Dean and look forward to having him back safely in South Louisiana when his tour is over.]

COMMENT 3. Harry Boyd's Law of Leverage:

One dark night back in 1977, I accompanied some fellow psychotherapists-in-training to session given by Harry Boyd from Oklahoma City. Don't recall what the topic was, but two things that Harry shared with us were burnt into my brain that night, which I would like to share with you:

1.) "You have leverage over someone else when you want something less than they do."

This has been very helpful in reducing my frustration with people I've tried to help over the years when they don't seem to want my help. Once you let go of wanting something more than they do, you can usually find some way to couch the matter by finding out what they want more than you do and offering them your help as a way of their achieving it.

2.) "If you're swimming in a sewer, the best thing to do is to keep your mouth shut."

This one is great common sense which anyone violates at their own peril. Since much of what passes for polite conversation is sewer-stuff, this advice is priceless. I wrote the above to Harry to thank him when I found his email address the other day. (God Bless the Internet!) and I added this vignette about someone I helped by sharing with himn how to use Boyd's Law of Leverage (No. 1 above). I wrote Harry Boyd:
I'm happy to see you have embodied the first thought as Boyd's Law of Leverage. It is truly worthy of the name as I have given you credit for it MANY times over the past 30 years. Just this morning I received a note from a friend who was helped by it. It took him several months to find a way to make it work, and he was delighted.

Here's a quote from his email (modified slightly): "You've told me many times as long as something is more important to me than someone else I have no leverage and need to let it go. Or just smack my head against a wall. I finally figured out what was more important to the folks in Seattle than to me. With that information and divine intervention I've been able to get all kinds of cooperation on the stuff that matters to me. Thanks!"

I no longer give it a second thought if someone ignores some advice I give them because it's a sure sign that I want them to do that more than they do. Give it a thought. Applying Boyd's Law of Leverage in your life might save you a lot grief as well. If it does, and you'd also like to thank Harry Boyd, here's his website: Click Here!

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My reviews are not intended to replace the purchasing and reading of the reviewed books, but rather to supplant a previous reading or to spur a new reading of your own copy. What I endeavor to do in most of my reviews is to impart a sufficient amount of information to get the reader comfortable with the book so that they will want to read it for themselves. My Rudolf Steiner reviews are more detailed and my intention is bring his work to a new century of readers by converting his amazing insights into modern language and concepts.

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