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Good Mountain Press Monthly Digest #087
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~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: Richard Widmark (1914 - 2008) ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ Hollywood Movie Star ~~~~~

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~~~ GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #087 Published July 1, 2008 ~~~
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Quote for the Independence Day Month of July:

A platitude is a high form of mediocrity.
Bobby Matherne

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Editor: Bobby Matherne, Asst. Editor: Del Matherne
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©2008 by 21st Century Education, Inc, Published Monthly.

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

1. July's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for July
3. On a Personal Note
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe of the Month from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen: Avocado Sprouts Sandwich
6. New Poem from Bobby:"It’s Been Thirty Years"
7. Reviews and Articles Added for July:

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. July 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 about Photography, 2 0f 4.

#1 "qvj1nameq" 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 July are:

Luciano Galvani in Italy

Barbara Chalmers in London

Congratulations, Luciano and Barbara !

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Out Our Way:

College World Series and World Cup

The month of June got off to a bang with LSU's baseball team on an historic winning streak. In their first NCAA regional play since 2003, LSU iced a sweep of the regional, just as it iced the SEC Tournament: still unbeaten. 23 Straight Wins. Longest ever in SEC history. Even more dramatic because it comes at the end of the season which is tougher competition than the beginning. On the first day of June, the Tigers took care of business beating Univ. of Sou. Mississippi, 11-4 on Leon Landry's 2 run homer and Blake Dean's bases loaded triple which scored three runs. The next step was to clear the hurdle posed by the Univ. of Calif. Irvine Anteaters and win two out of three games in the Super Regional Series at Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge. The Anteaters proved to be a formidable challenge, beating the host Tigers 11-7 in the first game. Their win wasn't pretty — it was highlighted by an abominably bad call by an umpire at second base. In a bases loaded situation rife with winning possibilities for LSU, UCI tried a hidden ball play. The hidden ball trick play, except they fooled the referee into thinking it had worked. LSU's LeMahieu was barely off second base, saw the baseman approaching him, put his foot back on the bag before he was tagged. The video replay clearly showed he had his foot on the bag. Wasn't even in a rush to do it. Matter of factly, he simply placed his foot on the bag. The bad call ended the inning and stopped a rally that could have won the game for LSU.

Second game of Super Regional saw the Tigers fell behind 7-4 until the top of the ninth inning when they scored 5 runs to beat the Anteaters into the anthill mound at Alex Box stadium. 9-7! What a great comeback! One more Tigers win, and they go to Omaha and the Anteaters crawl home to Irvine.

The third game blasted off with LSU shutting down UCI in top of first inning and then getting 5 runs from first 5 batters! Three homers: back to back to back from Dean, Gibbs, and Clark for a 6-0 lead. Later followed four more homers, Michael Hollander had five hits and a walk for a 5 for 5 at the plate in his last home game for LSU in the last ever game at the 70-year-old Box. The Box went out in great fashion, 21-7 with the final 3 runs given up by Ryan Byrd who shouldn't have pitched, but needed the experience. What a great game! The Tigers finished the previous game with 5 runs in the ninth to win 9-7 and then started this game with five runs in the first. After this game they headed to Omaha, Nebraska where they will play in the College World Series involving the best 8 college baseball teams in the United States of America.

This is also the year of the World Cup and the USA team is in the hunt for a chance at winning the top prize in soccer or football as the rest of the world calls it. I learned how to understand and enjoy soccer during my trip to Germany during the 1998 World Cup. It was the only thing on TV where I stayed every night, so Irwin, my host, and I sipped delicious Johanisberger Spätlese and watched his football games each night when we arrived at his house, exhausted from crawling around 1,000 year-old churches all day in the Rheingau. What got me thinking of the World Cup was that the preliminary games were being broadcast during the run up to the College World Series games. While waiting for LSU games to start I enjoyed the USA beating Barbados 8-nil, scoring its first goal one minute into the game. 18 more games to win for the USA get to the World Cup Finals. Great start. Later in the week I watched Italy hold off Spain only to lose to penalty kicks after the 30 minutes extended play ended in a nil-nil tie. After watching the USA win, I watched LSU lose on a bad, very bad, call by umpire on a great run to first base by Leon Landy. He was bouncing off the bag when the ball hit the first baseman's glove — he beat it by half a step and was called out. Pretty much that was the way it went from Inning 1 to Inning 9. LSU got lead off HR's in two innings. Scattered hits but left men on base and let UNC get ahead and stay ahead 8-4.

With a good call on Landry's run to first base, two runs would have scored and a different outcome was likely. Video tape replay is coming into baseball to fix this trick-bag we're in — the tyranny of umpires in baseball has lasted for too long. LSU went into the Loser's Bracket and battled valiantly but had to face UNC again and lost its second game. Two and BBQ is how the losers call their production at Omaha. Bet LSU Tiger fans had the best BBQ of all at Rosenblatt Stadium. A team that came out of nowhere to climb into the College World Series with a dramatic and record-setting 24-game win streak, now gets to take its freshman-loaded team home to get ready for another run to the top of College Baseball in 2009.

Geek Squad
Over the forty plus years I worked in the corporate world using computers, I was spoiled by having access to experts on our computers. A simple phone call and someone would come set up my computer and I could go back to work. Working at home, I am the resident expert, but just as writers in the past century never repaired their own typewriters, I am not expert on how to handle important tasks like setting up a secure wireless network and making three computers talk to each other. Finally Best Buy provided a solution with the Geek Squad.

I scheduled a visit and a young man named Joey, came to the door, showed me his Geek Squad badge (looks like an old style, silver cop badge), and went to work on my PC XP workstation and our two Vista Laptops. He secured our wireless network for us. Then he created a way of sharing files from our PC and two laptops. I can get at all the files on my HP LT (except system files) and all the Public files on Del's laptop. Plus we each have a folder which is shared by all three computers for transferring files.

God Bless the Geek Squad.

Fitzgerald — A French Name
Okay, I know Fitzgerald is a common name for Irish families. But one day I was talking to a friend, Andrew O'Dwyer about names. He shared that Fitz is the French form of "Son of". Therefore the names Fitzmorris means son of Morris, Fitzgerald means son of Gerald, and so on. A day later I mentioned it to our daughter Maureen. We had lunch together on the West Bank with her colleague who said that she was French-Irish. I explained the Fitzgerald connection showed that there were many French-Irish names. Maureen commented that "fitz" comes from the word "fils" in French which means son. So "fils d'Gerald" would sound almost exactly like "Fitzgerald" when spoken fluently in French and the name moved over time to its new spelling in increasingly English-speaking Ireland. Andrew also claimed that the "Mac" in Mackenzie means "son of" in both Scotland and Ireland, but that O'Connor in Ireland means "grandson of". I had thought that the O' meant son of. If it means "grandson of" — it would seem to be a usage that is not very useful. Perhaps it originally meant "of the clan of" and that would make more sense. I would be delighted to hear from someone who has further knowledge of the origin of the O' in Irish names.

New Camera and Old Camera
Last month I purchased a new SONY T300 camera to replace the defective P200. The P200 took great photos except for outdoor shots which filled with pixelic dust bunnies at random. The new T300 took the great shots at the Audubon Bird Island which filled last month's Digest. This month I learned how to switch to the Smile Detection feature at will, and had fun taking photos of people smiling at the thought of a camera which flashed itself automatically whenever they smiled. I have learned over the past few weeks when to use it and when not to. Meanwhile you'll notice a lot of smiling people in this Digest. I prefer taking candid shots, but having a Smile Detector in the camera when shooting "hardly ever smile" folks is a big help.

My old P200 got some attention this month. I decided to let our daughter Carla use the camera since her camera had recently broken. But first I needed to figure out how to get it fixed. Two years since I'd bought the camera so I knew Sony's warranty was no longer in effect. I searched through my on-line Order Confirmation folder and found that I had paid for a four-year-warranty when I ordered it from on-line. Since my previous camera had developed a problem after two years, I figured it was a worthy investment. It was. I was able to get a prepaid mailer, ship it off, and get it back in a week or so, all fixed. The lens system had sustained an injury and it had been refurbished.

Meanwhile I located a carabiner to attach/detach my new camera to my belt loop. This attachment will lessen the chance of my T300 sustaining a hard thump like the P200.

Old Friends, New Friends
On Mardi Gras day, we met an old friend Mal Morgan on the Algiers ferry. We planned to have dinner with him later on his birthday, but due to our busy schedules, that event did not take place until June. We arrived at Mal's apartment at 6 pm. He showed us around his three story apartment, resembling a Himalayan cave as much as anything, where he crashes between his gigs all around the world.

We went with him and Cris to dinner at the Dry Dock and enjoyed getting to know her and catching up with Mal. Cris was born in Cuba and came here as a pre-teen. She works in surgery at Ochsner's Hospital. Mal recalled a skit we performed at one of our weekend Agape Labs back in the early 1980s which we called "Mr. Morgan." In it we lab members pretended that Mal was constantly getting phone calls to make appearances and do business all around the world. He showed me and Del his appointment book, all filled-in with appointments from Algeria to Singapore for the next three months, and said, "Looks like it came true."

In the new friend category, I had lunch with Gus who lives in Algiers Point one day while his wife, Annie, was out of town. We dined at Aunt Lena's café in the Point and afterward we shared a slice of pizza at his friend's new place in an old Gulf gasoline service station. Got photos of the sign and the original gasoline.

During the next week, Del and I met two old friends we haven't seen since Katrina. Both had serious problems from the storm. Jean renovated her uptown home and Patricia moved across the river to Algiers into a different home, choosing not to renovate her flooded uptown home. We met at Houston's Restaurant on St. Charles, which now takes reservations for up to four people. First Houston's to do so. They started the practice during the Gulf Stream Restaurant after Katrina and decided to keep it when they re-opened as Houston's again. They were out of my favorite, the home-smoked salmon appetizer, so I got some clam chowder and the "Chicago-style Chips and Spinach-artichoke Dip".

Jean showed up a few minutes after we were seated and then Patricia followed later. I was facing the entrance way while Del and Jean were ordering and I noticed a blond head make a U-turn and head back to the door. I suspected it was Patricia from behind, and called after her, guessing that the probability was high it was her.

Told Jean about perception and conception (formation of cognition) as two streams which are parted by the action of consciousness as by the prow of a ship: they part and beset us each from a different side and then return together behind us as we move on. I recommended she investigate the Philosophy of Freedom study guide which I created a few years ago with Tom Last's help. She wrote back later to say she found it very interesting.

After lunch Del wanted to go to Octavia Bookstore and neither of us had been there before. I had heard of it, but had never gone in the store before. The first person I met was Karen Essex, the author of Stealing Athena. She was standing looking in a book on a book stand when we arrived. I thought she was reading it, but as I went into that room later, I noticed that she was signing one book after another. I asked her if she was the author. She replied, "No, I just sign her books." I liked her comeback. Of course she is the author, but it was the best comment I could think to say. In a sense she was exactly right, one does not feel like an author when one is doing "punish work" like writing one's name over and over again, each time in a separate book just to encourage the owner of the bookstore Tom to sell her books and people who collect signatures to buy her book.

I asked if she lived in New Orleans. "Not anymore." She lives in Studio City, near Universal City Studios. I asked if she saw the recent fire in the back lot. Said, "No, but I could smell it." Told her of the Photography Day that I spent on the back lot sets. "Too much security these days to do that." Yes, never thought of how it might be today, not only more expensive than the $6 that I spent back in 1970, but probably not even available at any price. When I got home later, I bought a copy of Stealing Athena to read.

On two evenings we went to the Twilight Concerts in the Two Sister Pavilion at City Park. At the first event we heard the three Pfister Sisters singing some old and new favorites in the style of the original female jazz singing group, The Boswell Sisters, who were also from New Orleans. We were lucky here Holly, Debbie, and Yvette before they packed up for a month or two's work in Germany. They belted out the theme "river stay away from my door." The next Thursday we also got there early to hear Phil Melancon, piano player, composer, and singer holding forth. The place was packed and Phil regaled us with his unique blend of songs. When he sings a Nat King Cole song, he sounds like Nat; likewise for the other singers whose songs he sings. It was great to hear songs from the The Westbank Story music collection, such "Marrero — I just met a girl from Marrero", which will only sound funny to folks who know Marrero, a local town on the West Bank, across the Mississippi River from New Orleans.

Another couple of friends we haven't seen for awhile showed up. We had lunch in Metairie at Houston's Restaurant with Ruth Ryan and Mark Parker. Ruth showed up first and filled us in on her new office and her husband Ted's activities since we spent time with them on Mardi Gras day. When Mark showed up he shared his enthusiasm about working with Friends of the Jefferson Parish Library on antique books since his retirement. Ruth and Mark worked with Del at an HMO, and we always have a great time with them. Del, I, and Mark had missed Ruth's birthday because of an email mishap, and Mark wants us to get together for my upcoming birthday, so that will probably happen on the 39th anniversary of Man setting foot on the Moon.

Buster and Doris
Our two remaining parents are my dad, Buster, and Del's mom, Doris. This month was Doris's first in the Alzheimer's Unit at Woldenberg. The apartments are identical to Assisted Living area where she lived before, the main difference is that she cannot leave the floor without someone with her. The move was handled smoothly by Del and her brother Dan, and Doris has scarcely noticed the difference. She came over on June 21st to Timberlane for her 85th birthday. We a lunch and birthday cake for her. We were expecting her brother Bob to come with his wife from Mississippi for the celebration along with me, Del, and Dan, but there was a chemical spill of hydrochloric acid by a tanker blocking the I-10 bridge from Slidell and the other routes were backed up with traffic and a tremendous thunderstorm hit when Bob was on the crowded detour. He called and said they would come in later and headed back home. We lit the birthday candles and wished Doris a Happy Birthday.

About that same week, we took my dad, Buster, to Kenner Seafood where he got his favorite dish, a platter of twelve oysters on the half shell. He enjoyed it. I got a large oyster poboy and wished I'd gotten a small. Del got boiled shrimp and crawfish and couldn't quite finish them so I helped. We drove him back home and played Pay Me! the three of us. At 91, Buster is still tough to beat at this game, but I made a few Pay Me!'s and took the low score from Del in the 13th round with four wild card Kings and a Joker for a quick-out Pay Me! — barely winning over her by 52 to 55.

It's Been Thirty Years

Thirty years ago, Del and I had been living together for a year. Neither one of us wanted to mess up the beautiful friendship we had developed by getting married. But it seemed advisable for legal reasons, so we began to discuss the possibility of marriage. I told Del that I didn't want to get married a third time if I weren't equally willing to be married a fourth time. Del didn't want to get married a second time and go through what she did the first time. Meanwhile, I had just finished a year-long project of reading and studying Alfred Korzybski's classic book, the founding document for General Semantics, "Science and Sanity." He taught me about the sanity of "not-clauses". Any sentence which has the verb "to be" used as an identification linkage has an element of insanity in it. For example, "She is a teacher."
What's crazy about that? Obviously the woman is not only a teacher, but the sentence identifies her solely as a teacher. The sentence tells the truth, but only a part of the truth. Is she not also a mother, a daughter, a wife, a friend, a gardener, and so on? I learned that "She is a teacher" is not a healthy way of speaking, but that "She is not just a teacher" is a healthy way of speaking. Hmmm, not-clauses, I thought. What if we drew up our vows as "not-clauses"? I thought of all the normal vows, to love, honor, and cherish, to be faithful, etc, and put them into what I called back in 1978, a 21st Century Marriage Contract. Example: "We will not require each other to be unfaithful." Del and I looked over the clauses of the contract and discussed how we felt about each. A couple were sticking points, but we realized that the sticking points merely revealed some hidden expectations which could cause much friction later on when they were not actualized. So we gave up the sticking points and agreed to accept the twelve clauses as the sum total of everything we expected of the other. Thirty years later, these not-clauses have stood the test of time and we have never violated them. For example, "We still do not agree to treat the other differently just because we're married" — as it specifies in Not-Clause 7. You can read the rest of the clauses here:

On July 16, 1978 we came together under a canopy of live oak trees and joined together in marriage. Our good friend Brian Kelley performed the services which the three of us designed. In the midst of a couple hundred friends, Del and I each vowed, "I take myself for better or worse." Del vowed, "I agree to be Woman to Bobby." and I vowed, "I agree to be Man to Del." This July will mark our 30th Wedding Anniversary. Del and I made a deal with each other that we were both able to keep and we have thrived — filled with the freedom we designed into our marriage.

On June 20, we attended our annual Cat & Mouse Dinner, a Black Tie Dinner in the Rex Room of Antoine's Restaurant in the French Quarter. I belong to a group of men who meet for "Mouse Practice" once a month, and the wives had complained over the years about us disappearing on a Sunday afternoons to do cigars, sip port, and talk men talk. So our fearless leader, Russ, came up with an annual Cat & Mouse dinner to include the ladies. The elegant dinner concludes with each man reading a poetic composition to their lady. For this year's Cat & Mouse I composed the poem in Section 6 of this Digest. After I read my poem, Ricardo pulled out a poem, actually a song, he wrote to his wife when she was a teenager back in the 50s. And he sang it. We in the audience did some clapping time and a little humming and doo-wop accompaniment. When the next reader got up and began reading the lights in the room went out. A small amount of light stayed on and he continued to read as the lights went on and off till he was finished and then stayed on. The next reader got up to read and began by saying, "How can I follow this? A poet, rock star, and a guy who can read in the dark!"

Till Next Month
When, through the Grace of God, we will return to these pages with more original photos, reviews, stories, cartoons, Cajun jokes, commentary and other things to help make your life worth living to the fullest extent than I am able.


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New Quotes Added to quotes.htm this month:

  • You can't make people better off by taking options away from them.
    Thomas Sowell — American Writer
  • If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time a tremendous whack.
    Winston Churchill — British WWII Prime Minister
  • Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them.
    Paul Valery
  • If I knew that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life.
    Henry David Thoreau — American Writer
  • Every truth that is not also a vital impulse is a sterile truth.
    — Rudolf Steiner
  • A little alliteration helps a lovely, little oration.
    — J. David Knepper (6/20/2008)
  • New Stuff about Website:
  • My Five Favorite Books on Education:

    1. Mortimer Adler's How To Read A Book .

    I read this book about 1977, and immediately wished someone had forced me to read it while I was yet in high school. Adler's four types of reading are invaluable guidelines to the types of reading I evolved into over the twenty years or so before I had read the book, but to have a guidebook to reading before then would have greatly aided my reading and reduced my confusion as how to proceed with the books I tackled incorrectly. The four levels of reading are:

    1. Elementary reading: basically the level of reading one is taught to do in elementary and high schools.

    2. Inspectional reading: systematic skimming and superficial reading.

    3. Analytical reading: classifying, coming to terms, determining the message, criticizing the book, and author. [typical undergraduate college reading]

    4. Syntopical reading: reading multiple books on one subject as defined by you - "one book opens another" C.G. Jung[typical post-graduate college reading]

  • Once you have determined what your subjects of interest are, then you're ready to apply these five steps as outlined by Mortimer Adler:
    1. Finding Relevant Passages: "In syntopical reading, it is you and your concerns that are primarily to be served, not the books that you read. Your aim is to find the passages in the books that are most germane to your needs." [page 316]

    2. Bringing the Authors to Terms: "It is you who must establish the terms, and bring your authors to them rather than the other way around." Here one must develop one's own terms and bring the syntopical authors to one's terms.

    3. Getting the Questions Clear: These are the questions one brings to the book to be answered. Finding the answers in the author's text to one's own question.

    4. Defining the Issues: This is especially important when one author defines the issue one way and another author another way.

    5. Analyzing the Discussion: One thoroughly examines and critiques the output of the first four steps to determine the dimension of the problem. "It can clear away the deadwood and prepare the way for an original thinker to make a breakthrough." [page 323]

    Want to learn to read a book? Why wait until your college life is over to begin? Start now with the full review:

    How To Read A Book

    2. Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Emile Or On Education

    The story of Emile, "a savage made to live in cities", is a familiar one. It is the inverse of the story of Robinson Crusoe in which a civilized man is made to live in the wilderness of an island. Interestingly, the story of Robinson Crusoe is the only book that Rousseau allows Emile to read during his early education. He wants Emile to be able to survive in any milieu, be it the wilderness of a deserted island or the wilderness of a populated city. This perennial theme of a wild man coming to the big city appears in Tarzan stories, and most recently in a movie called Crocodile Dundee. An Australian crocodile hunter meets a lady from the big city and later returns with her to the city. Innocent of the wiles and intricacies of city life, Dundee manages to survive quite well as a modern day Emile, Rousseau's "noble savage", transplanted to the city.

    Rousseau paints us a portrait of Emile, but it is not the portrait of a finished Emile, but rather a work in progress, a moving picture of Emile's life in five books from birth to childhood. Each book begins with a frontispiece that presages the course of Emile's education in the coming section. Book I has an engraving of Achilles's mother, Thetis, dipping him as a baby into the river Styx to protect him. It is Rousseau's intent to dip Emile into the cold realities of nature so that he may invulnerable to the harshness of nature thereafter. Book II begins with an engraving of Chiron's training of Achilles as a youth in running. This signals Rousseau's intent to focus the early youth of Emile on his physical development. Book III shows Hermes engraving elements of his science on columns of a temple to preserve his teachings in case of a flood. Book IV has Orpheus teaching men the worship of gods. It is in this Book that Rousseau undertakes Emile's education on religion via the "Profession of Faith of the Savoyard Vicar." The frontispiece of Book V has Circe giving herself to Ulysses, a natural man that she is not able to transform. This leads us into the final book where Emile is to fall in love with Sophie, and Rousseau is to complete Emile's education.

    In creating this movie of Emile, Rousseau is the screen writer, the director, the shaper, the sculptor, the author, the creator, and the educator of the key character Emile. And yet, Rousseau does not teach Emile — he arranges for things to happen to Emile so as to draw out of Emile the best qualities that will suit Emile as a man, in Rousseau's eyes.

    In doing so, Rousseau goes to the root of education — which comes from the Latin roots, e ducere, which means to draw out from. Rousseau arranges with Emile's parents to become the full-time governor of their son when he is a small child. As Emile grows Rousseau arranges experiences for Emile so that his educational plan is achieved.

    Always Rousseau prefers the cold hard rigors of nature to the soft, easy ways of civilization for Emile. The goddess Thetis dips baby Achilles into the cold waters of the Styx holding him by his ankle. He is thus invulnerable every place touched by the harsh waters of the river of Hades, and vulnerable on in the spot when his mother's soft hands shielded him from harshness. The soft ways of mothers Rousseau considers to be cruel:

    [page 47] Thetis, to make her son invulnerable, plunged him, according to the fable, in the water of the Styx. This allegory is a lovely one, and it is clear. The cruel mothers of whom I speak do otherwise: by dint of plunging their children in softness, they prepare them for suffering; they open their pores to ills of every sort to which they will not fail to be prey when grown.

    [page 129-130] People raised too delicately no longer find sleep elsewhere than on down; people accustomed to sleep on boards find it everywhere. There is no hard bed for him who falls asleep as soon as he lies down.

    This is but a sample of the insights into living and education of children which awaits you within the covers of this book. If you don't have the book available, read the complete review here.

    3. Michael Paulsen's Teaching & Learning in the College Classroom

    Dr. Michael Paulsen edited this book with Kenneth A. Feldman and used it in his graduate course, "College Teaching" which I took. This is the only textbook in this list of my five favorite books on education. This book is included because of the review that it inspired. I wrote the review as my Final Paper for Dr. Paulsen's class, and it contains my own insights into teaching and learning.

    "Why have lectures survived since the invention of print?" asks McKeachie in his textbook, Teaching Tips, at the front of his Chapter 5, Lecturing. In the McKeachie, et al, article in the Feldman and Paulsen textbook, we read:

    [page 115] Not only is the lecturer a model in terms of motivation and curiosity, the lecturer also models ways of approaching problems, portraying a scholar in action in ways that are difficult for other media or methods of instruction to achieve. In fact there is some evidence suggesting that one of the advantages of live professors is the tendency of people to model themselves after individuals whom they perceive as living, breathing, human beings with characteristics that can be admired and emulated.

    The essay points us to two distinct advantages of a live professor in front of the students, but it neglects the bi-directional interaction back and forward through which the professors actually shape their presentation as they go along based on feedback from students. In addition, there is an invisible channel of communication which many people have access to, but few have any words with which to express what happened. Here's an example from my own experience:

    A couple of weeks ago, as I was reading aloud to my wife, Del, something I'd just written, she interrupted me at the end of a sentence. In the middle of reading that sentence, I was suddenly taken by an idea of an alternate way to approach explaining something, but I did not vary the tempo or tone of my reading. Del had been receiving the communication streaming from me with no problems until the point when suddenly what was streaming from me no longer matched the words coming from my mouth. It occurred to me at that time that the importance of written words is the thought paths that they carry us and others along.

    The effect of writing, when it was first invented, was to replace the live teacher in the presence of the pupil with a pale substitute, the words upon the page. Thus, the reading pupil lost the live insights provided by the teacher in his lecture. Plato warned of writing for that very reason:

    For this invention [writing] will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practise their memory. Their trust in writing, produced by external characters which are no part of themselves, will discourage the use of their own memory within them. You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding; and you offer your pupils the appearance of truth, not truth, for they will read many things without instruction and will therefore seem to know many things, when they are for the most part ignorant and hard to get along with, since they are not wise, but only appear wise.
           ~~~ Plato (274-275BC) in Phaedrus

    For the other insights from my Final Paper, read here.

    4. Peter Elbow's Writing Without Teachers

    This book is dedicated to those people who actually use it — not just read it. Peter Elbow. “Ah, this is a book dedicated to me!” — I can say this as I write my review some eighteen years after I first read this book. Imagine a book on writing written by a man whose name is "elbow" — which after the mind is the most used muscle in writing. A few weeks ago when I took this book down from my "Previously Read" shelves to look through it, Del saw it and asked me why I hadn't written a review of it. I said, "Duh — I didn't start writing reviews until after I read and used this book!" And it's true, as you will see as my review unfolds.

    First I read the book. Began reading it a few days after I bought the book on April 12, 1985. I had already begun date-glyphing books to denote when I bought them and read them. I had not yet begun noting where I bought the books and for how much. The paperback price was $4.95 and listed on the back cover, but the condition of the book indicates to me that I must have bought it used. I might look in my daily journal for that day to see if I noted where I bought the book, but, as with my reviews, I did not start a daily journal until I began using this book.

    The key to writing without teachers is Elbow's free-writing exercise. Simply begin writing and keep on writing without stopping for ten minutes. This will usually fill up two pages at my handwriting speed. The key to start immediately, without planning, even if you can only write, "I can't think of anything to say." Over and over if necessary. Soon you will begin to write something else. And sooner or later the judge in you, the editor, gives up and you are able to write freely. Write first, ask questions later becomes your motto. Writer's block becomes like a 100-yd Dash Runner's starting block. You push up and begin writing immediately.

    "If you stop to think, write while you're thinking," I said at the beginning of the first free-writing exercise of the "Writing Without Teachers" class. "Don't know what to write next" was my next thought but I kept plugging — somehow hoping to defuse — to incapacitate the judge in my head who wants to edit as I go along.

    Time for a new paragraph, but what's the idea to fill out, to flesh out with words as I write? Don't know but I keep skipping merrily along, trying no to look at the watch and maybe something will come along.

    It's like walking briskly along a path, no time to stop to examine every little bit of scenery, but yet you examine your path on all sides as you stride along.

    Looked at clock and it's 5 minutes left to go and so my walk is half-finished. This writing is like the filler in meat loaf — crushed bread to fill up the pan so that the loaf looks bigger than it is. Doesn't the bread stuffing add to the taste or does it only make it look good? Isn't that the point: with good writing, it must taste good if the writing is any good, not just look good? After all who reads something just because it's a lot of words. Obviously the bigger the better is not a good slogan for an inspiring writer.

    So write like you cook seems to be Peter Elbow's message. Select the best ingredients, fold them in at the right (write) time, and heat properly until done. Set the timer, throw the ingredients together, taste the results as you cook (taste — don't eat) and set out the results for all to sample. If it's good, all will enjoy an excellent meal. As the timer I can set the ending right now.

    Wanna be a writer? Get your Elbow in action today. Or click below and read a reviews of two of his books:

    Writing Without Teachers

    Embracing Contraries

    5. Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind

    This is another one of the perennial favorite reviews of my Good Readers. Its readership climbs near the top at the beginning of every semester (2,170 year-to-date). And why not? Its subtitle offers a promise which Bloom fulfills amply in the course of the book:


    How does Allan Bloom say that we might re-invigorate the college and university curriculum? He suggests that a return to the use of original texts and materials is key. To assign students Dante's "Inferno" rather than a synopsis of classical poems to read. To read Shakespeare plays, not a critical review of his plays. To read Machiavelli, Hobbes, Kant, Freud in the original and to form one's own judgments as what are the important questions and what the answers to these questions are for oneself. That method can have the salubrious effect of actually leading the students to discover a great value, a vital understanding that can only come from directly confronting the authors in their original words in context, and from that discovery to create a royal road to future learning in their students hearts.

    Bloom gives the reader one caveat: that we should avoid the mistake of the Great Books Groups who tend to treat the Books like dollars in a bank account where the goal is to get as many dollars in it as possible. The goal should be rather to emphasize as the goal the reading and questioning that arises during the reading — the process is what's important, not how many Books one reads.

    During the decades of the 60's and 70's the onslaught of relativism was led by the Humanities professors because their fields lacked the objective criteria of the natural and social sciences. The other two fields were less affected by the revolution of relativism, but became alienated from the reading of the Great Books or original works of famous authors in their fields.

    The Natural Sciences saw reading of the original works of natural scientists as a matter of mere historical interest, better suited for electives in the humanities, if a student were to choose one. With the increased specialization, however, fewer students took such electives. Besides that, their professors told them or implied by the disdain in their tone of voice that such electives were a waste of time and were an unnecessary detour on the way to a career in science. The Social Sciences felt a bit threatened by the original texts because these Great Books were teaching many of the same subjects as they were, but in a way that allowed the students to think independently of what their professors would like them to. So the Social Scientists' attitude was that original texts were mostly irrelevant to any practical application, and if one wanted to study them, one should do so on one's own time. The Social Scientists' offered instead composite courses, trendiness, mere popularization and a lack of substantive rigor, all of which led Bloom to claim:
    [page 340] The so-called knowledge explosion and increasing specialization have not filled up the college years but emptied them.
    Meantime the natural sciences and the social sciences were still able to demonstrate a usefulness for their fields and stayed on track, a track that became more rigid and narrowed in focus, leading to careerism, producing a technological automaton rather than a whole human being. But the social sciences were not out of the woods because in their zest to get the facts that would characterize a true science they were seduced by the siren song of their agenda and led into making the facts fit their agenda rather than fostering an agenda which fit their facts.
    [page 354] Hobbes said if the fact that two and two makes four were to become a matter of political relevance, there would be a faction to deny it.
    This may sound farcical, if it weren't so true today. One need only look at the events surrounding the presidential impeachment and Senate trial to find ample examples of such denial. Bloom says that "all parties in a democracy are jeopardized when passion can sweep the facts before it." [page 355] Who would have thought the crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice would not add up to a crime that would remove an elected official from office?

    Bloom suggests that one way of re-invigorating the college curriculum is by adding back a study of the Great Books and classical authors whose books fell into disuse during the 1960's. With this kind of refocusing of educational resources and re-direction of college students he expect that students will come to understand that before one can really experience the thrill of liberation, one has to have something to really believe in. That experience of really believing can come whenever students fully study classical authors in their original works, and, after fully believing in what they've read, learn to question and evaluate the beliefs those original authors held as self-evident to them. Until we and our students do that for ourselves, we are like the shepherds in Bloom's metaphor:

    [page 239] We are like ignorant shepherds living on a site where great civilizations once flourished. The shepherds play with the fragments that pop to the surface, having no notion of the beautiful structures of which they were once a part. All that is necessary is a careful excavation to provide them with life-enhancing models. We need history, not to tell us what happened, or to explain the past, but to make the past alive so that it can explain and make a future possible. This is our educational crisis and opportunity.
    This metaphor reminds me of one crafted by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in his Citadelle (English title: Wisdom of the Sands).
    [page 19] Thus men destroy their best possession, the meaning of things: on feast days they pride themselves on standing out against old custom, and betraying their traditions, and toasting their enemy. True, they may feel some qualm as they go about their deeds of sacrilege. So long as there is sacrilege. So long as there still is something against which they revolt. Thus for a while they continue trading on the fact that their foe still breathes, and the ghostly presence of the laws still hampers them enough for them to feel like outlaws. But presently the very ghost dissolves into thin air, and then the rapture of revolt is gone, even the zest of victory forgotten. And now they yawn.
    On the ruins of the palace they have laid out a public square; but once the pleasure of trampling its stones with upstart arrogance has lost its zest, they begin to wonder what they are doing here, on this noisy fairground. And now, lo and behold, they fall to picturing, dimly as yet, a great house with a thousand doors, with curtains that billow on your shoulders and slumbrous anterooms. Perchance they dream even of a secret room, whose secrecy pervades the whole vast dwelling. Thus, though they know it not, they are pining for my father's palace where every footstep had a meaning. In the radical fervor of the 60's, great buildings of curriculum were torn to the ground, and now students and professors alike have begun once more picturing that great house, their father's university, "where every step had a meaning."
    Bloom says that as a young teacher at Cornell he debated a professor of psychology who bragged about how he removed prejudices from his students. Bloom told the professor in rebuttal that he created prejudices in his students, beliefs that they could someday with work and diligence transcend.

    In short, Bloom says, "One has to have the experience of really believing before one can have the thrill of liberation." That may indeed be the kind of "liberation" that is at the very root of what we mean by "liberal education."

    Don't have time to read Bloom's full book? Read the full review here: The Closing of the American Mind.

      New Stuff on the website:
    • "Did you hear the one about the piano which fell down a gold mine and hit A-Flat Minor?"

      Check out the answer to this question and other new "one-liner" jokes, arranged and collected by Bobby Matherne.Thanks to Ginger Thiele for sending a new dozen or so entries for our Tidbits page: One-Liners.


    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.):
    “August Rush” (2007) Don’t wait till August, rush out now and watch this movie. Its music will bring tears of joy and happiness into your world. A boy from an unwanted pregnancy is separated from his pop singer father who didn’t know he existed and his cellist mother who didn’t know he survived his traumatic birth. At 11-yrs-old, he leaves the orphanage to continue in earnest his quest for his parents whose music has filled his soul. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
    “The Hunting Party” (2007) What can you say about a movie which begins with the words “Only the most ridiculous parts of this movie are true”? Richard Gere as a seamy journalist in Serbia trying to outfox the Fox. This is a fun and funny movie especially when the CYA, er, CIA shows up. A DON’T MISS HIT !
    “Kinky Boots” (2005) The 4th generation scion of the Price Shoe Co., Charlie, learns the business, but doesn’t want to run it, till his dad dies. Faced with laying off people or finding a niche market, he chooses kinky boots: red as hot sex and hired Lola (aka Simon) to be designer of flashy boots for women and men and those who haven’t decided yet. A DON’T MISS HIT! ! !
    “The Air I Breathe” (2008) weaves four stories of love, pleasure, sadness and joy into the warp and woof of a plot and soon the sequence of events begin to make sense. Dramatic, pulls you through to the end and makes the trip worth while.
    “Cassandra’s Dream” (2007) Woody Allen flick dealing with Greek tragedy in the lives of two close-knit brothers in London who buy a boat, name it Cassandra’s Dream, and then take themselves for a ride from which they never return.
    “Working Girl” (1988) Melanie Griffith and Harrison Ford in this eyeglass steamer and working-girl-makes-good epic. Worth a second look. A DON’T MISS HIT!
    “How To Cook Your Life” (2007) Edward Espe Brown, known for his Tassajara Bread Book, has a rye sense of humor and delightful approach to life. Movie follows his teaching about cooking and life through weekend retreats at various Zen centers. A delightful movie.
    “Wedding Crashers” (2005) What divorce lawyers do for fun, at least Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson do, is crash weddings for the fun of it. And do they have fun! Unless one of their flings gets attached to them and then things get a little sticky. Can’t believe it’s three years since we last enjoyed this rollickingly funny movie. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
    “Slow Burn” (2005) Hard to take Ray Liotta seriously since Hannibal Lector ate his brains, but as DA he starts off very competent in this movie, and then his world slowly burns away. It’s round up the “Usual Suspects” with multiple twists and turns, like the drama triangle is on a turntable. Who is Danny Luden? Will Ray find out before his job and life are in ashes?
    “Matador” (2005) 2nd Viewing (See 068) of zany hitman played to the hilt by Pierce Brosnan who explains to his reluctant trainee, Greg Kinear, the “gotta pee theory of assassination” among other thing. Hilarious, funny, unexpected, and wears well in a second look. A DON'T MISS HIT!
    “Days of Glory" (2006) North Africans from French Algeria help liberate a homeland they had never seen and one which didn’t want them during WWII. This “band of brothers” epic shows their trek through Italy and then finally on french soil they are the first french forces to reach the Alsac region and stave off a retrenchment by the Germans till replacements arrive.

    “First of May” (1999) is a circus term for “New to the Show” and our 11-year-old hero is just that. A runaway orphan from his umpteenth foster home runs away with a grandma from an old age home and they join the circus. Heart-warming family movie of an age-old theme with a modern twist. (Mickey Rooney and Joe Dimaggio)
    “The Bucket List” (2007) Put it on the list of movies to watch before you die. Heck, if you watch it right away, that counts, too. It’s fun, hilarious, and thoughtful, a most unusual combination for a movie from Hollywood. A DON’T MISS HIT!
    “We Own the Night” (2007) Who? Either or both the police and the Russian mafia in NYC and one of them has to go. A tale of two sons of the police chief — good cop and bad son. How will they survive when the bad son is working for the Russian mafia? Good plot development overcomes the excessive gore at times.
    “John Adams” (2008) Disk 1 of 2. Excellent series on the second president starring Paul Giamotti showing Adams as farmer and patriot who later assigns taciturn Thomas Jefferson to write a Declaration of Independence in case he is able to muster a unanimous vote for independence by the 13 colonies. The rest is history, aka Disk 2.
    “Caroline Myss” (1997) Two parts: ‘Why People Don’t Heal’ — because they love the advantages of being wounded; and The Three Levels of Power’ — namely Tribal, Individual, and Symbolic. She develops the eight chakras as if they were data centers and talks about how each impacts the way a person acts.
    “Grace Is Gone” (2007) Stay at home husband with two daughters tries to hold home together while wife is stationed in Iraq during the war. When she dies, he loses it, or seems to, but John Cusacks finds his way by taking the long road home via the Enchanted Gardens.
    “Greenfingers” (2000) Helen Mirren and Clive Own star in this story of a prison gardener with ten green thumbs. Soon the prisoners are helping landscape other gardens and gearing up for the Hampton Castle Flower Show. What will they have to show for all their work? A DON’T MISS HIT !
    “Nancy Drew” (2007) arranged a mystery for her vacation stay in California. A movie star disappeared for five months, came home and drowned in her pool. After twenty years this cold case was just the challenge our over-achieving sleuth needed to make her summer perfect. A ho-hum hit.
    “Perils of Pauline” (1947) Betty Hutton in an amazing performance as a seamstress turned actress. Great songs and choreography in Technicolor.
    “Man of La Mancha” (1972) Had never watched this musical all the way through before. Peter Sellers as Cervantes and Don Quixote, Sophia Loren as El Donza and Dulcinea. Great condensation of Cervantes novel. Dream the impossible dream and watch it all the way through yourself someday.
    “Basic Instinct” (1992) Friends don’t let friends watch this great movie chopped up on broadcast tv. Watch it on DVD and enjoy the raw sexuality combined with heart-throbbing suspense till closing credits. Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone in a steamer. A DON’T MISS HIT! ! !
    “2 Fast, 2 Furious” (2003) HD/DVD Movie came in just in time to check out our new TV. Great scenes of cars racing the streets of Miami. There may have been a plot in there somewhere — leave that for the historians to decide.

    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.

    “Max Lucado 3:16” (2007) Repetition of John 3:16 followed by a short homily, no matter how good, does not a movie make. Save him for Sunday mornings.
    “The Golden Compass” (2007) Great movie for people who love to hear screaming hyper-active kids in a movie with cutsy talking animals in every single scene, at least for the first 10 minutes, before we blew the dust off the DVD remote and ejected the movie.
    “Beowulf” (2007) After 37 dismembered, spiked, and decapitated humans, we chopped off the head of this monstrous movie. An example of technology running wild and destroying an epic story. Headline: Hollywood Destroys Beowulf!A DVD STOMPER! ! ! !
    “Right at Your Door” (2006) , in fact, in your TV room: a Dirty Bomb of a movie. I wore rubber gloves to remove the DVD from my player and stomped it with rubber boots on. Naturally I disposed of it as one would any hazardous waste. A DVD STOMPER ! ! ! !

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

    “Angels in the Outfield” (1951) Janet Leigh and Paul Douglas star in this movie about angels appearing behind each player on the Pittsburgh Pirates team to help them win baseball games. Actually it’s better when it happens and no one sees the angels, up until now. Like it’s been happening with LSU’s baseball team, now in its 23rd consecutive win, the longest in the 75 year history of the SEC. Watched this movie while watching LSU win a game in the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional game.
    “Things We Lost in the Fire” (2007) a slow movie, but one which grabs you by the jugular and won’t let go. A tale of two guys: a best friend who dies and the one who got left behind. His widow copes with having to play the roles her husband played, including best friend to a guy she never respected or liked.
    “Caramel” (2007) previews left me expecting a movie about eating, not caramel being used to bikini wax legs in a Lebanese beauty shop. But a delightful and interesting bunch of gals make this romp through cosmetology fun.
    “The Crimson Kimono” (1959) with Glen Corbett in first starring role. Sam Fuller movie with verve and action atypical of other movies of the time. Worth a look-see.
    “Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show” (2006) was not wild, western, or comedic. Vince acknowledged his debt to Buffalo Bill who first used the name “Wild West Show”. But Buffalo Bill’s show had a true star in Annie Oakley, and Vince’s show had none.
    “Beerfest” (2006) HD/DVD USA und Deutschland go for the jugular in the Olympics of Beer-Drinking competitions. Monkey-chugs for the Millennium. Enough Schnizzlegiggle for everyone.

    == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
    == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==

    Boudreaux was sipping a Dixie Beer at Mulate's in Breaux Bridge with some friends.

    Thibodeaux had just mentioned that his son Tee Boy had to memorize the capitals of the fifty states for school.

    Boudreaux said, "Thibodeaux, you should brought Tee Boy to me. Ah know all the states' capitals."

    Thibodeaux was surprised at this. "Ah don't believe you. Prove it."

    Boudreaux said confidently, "Go ahead and ask me one of dem; I know dem all."

    Thibodeaux, "OK, Boudreaux, if you so smart, what's the capital of Wisconsin?"

    Boudreaux replied, "Mais, dat's easy, it's W."

    == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
    5. RECIPE of the MONTH for July, 2008 from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen:
    (click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    Avocado Sprouts Sandwich

    Background on Avocado Sprouts Sandwich: I recall these sandwiches from the 1970s and 80s at Nature's Way on Magazine Street and the 80s through 2005 (Katrina) at Plantation Coffeshop on Hidalgo. Both are relegated to fond memories now, but their sandwiches, made with fresh avocadoes and stone-ground whole wheat bread still bring a savor to my mind and a delight to my palette when I prepare one for myself in Bobby Jeaux's Kitchen. With a little planning you can do the same in your kitchen. Simply accumulate the ingredients and you'll be ready on a moment's notice for a tasty and nutritious treat for lunch.

    Good Hearth Stone Ground Whole Wheat Bread (Note: The benefits of stoneground wheat accrues from the increase of life-giving nutrients compared to wheat grains smashed between rollers. See this book for details, Appendix A. One can taste the difference.)
    Blue Plate Mayonnaise
    Zatarain's Creole Mustard
    Local grown sprouts
    Slice the avocado in half, remove the seed, peel away skin, and cut avocado into thick slices.

    Cooking Instructions
    Toast the bread to taste. (Also helps to hold sandwich together.)

    Sandwich Assembly
    Spread mayo on both slice of bread liberally. Then spread the creole mustard on top of the mayo. Carefully place slices of avocado on one slice of bread (Alternately: allocate them on both slices.) Then add sprouts on the top of the avocadoes, close sandwich.

    Serving Suggestion
    Cut sandwich diagonally for easy and delicious eating.

    Other options
    Add other garnishes to plate, such as radishes, cucumbers, etc. I just finished eating one for lunch myself which inspired me to write up this recipe for you, dear Reader.

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    6. NEW POEM by BOBBY:
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    This poem was written to celebrate Del and my 30th Anniversary on July 16, 1978. Below's a photo of how we looked during our wedding ceremony under a canopy of live oaks on a mid-summer's afternoon.

    It’s Been Thirty Years

    The days were long
    The weeks were hard —
           Filled with laughter and with tears —
    And yet the decades seemed so short.
    And here we are amazed to find
    that it’s been thirty years.

    The kids grew fast
    College years blew past —
    They tossed their caps with lusty cheers
           and scattered to the winds.
    The hours on the phone
    The weeks alone were hard.
    Their visits
           Filled with laughter and with tears —
    And yet the decades passed so fast
    And here we are amazed to find
           that it’s been thirty years.

    Grandkids arrived and multiplied —
    Divided our attention and added to our love.
           Filled us with laughter, joyful tears
    And helped the decades past so fast.
    And here we are amazed to find
           That it’s been thirty years.

    Two parents died
    Left places in our hearts
           Which filled with laughter and with tears.
    And yet the decades passed so fast
    And here we are amazed to find
           That it’s been thirty years.

    We plow new ground,
    Sow seeds of love —
           Our garden fills with laughter and with tears.
    We thank the Lord the decades passed so fast
    And here we are
    Amazed to find
          That it’s been thirty years!

    Copyright 2008 by Bobby Matherne

    We were amazed to find, after publishing this month's Digest that our friends, Chris and Carla Bryant, were married thirty years ago on the exact same date as Del and I were, July 16, 1978 (See Photo, Section 10). My godson, Greg Matherne, was married to Heidi Matherne (a double Matherne wedding) on July 16, 1993, fifteen years ago. Happy Anniversary to all six of us on this date. Also a Happy Birthday to our first grandchild, Tiffany, who was born on July 16, 1981.

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    7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for July:
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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: An Esoteric Cosmology — Evolution, Christ & Modern Spirituality, GA#94 by Rudolf Steiner

    These eighteen lectures can be considered as a draft of Rudolf Steiner's grand opus, An Outline of Occult Science, which was written about three years later. These lectures are much easier reading, but in their brevity one loses the scope and details which he was to provide later in his much larger book. My theory is that when learning something new, it's best to know all about it before you start. For you newcomers to Steiner's works, this book of lectures will achieve that function. You will be left with lots of unanswered questions — but you will hear, if not completely learn, all about the evolution of the cosmos and how we humans evolved to this stage where we are ensconced upon this planet, Earth. For those, like myself, who have already studied Steiner's work in depth, these lectures provide an excellent review with thumbnail summaries of the myriad of topics covered in detail in his later and much larger book, An Outline of Occult Science.

    Remarkably the notes of these eighteen lectures were transcribed by Edouard Schuré who wrote them down in French each night after the lectures. All of Steiner's lectures were given in German and later translated into English. Schuré wrote these down in French from which they were later transcribed into English as early as 1928. What empowered Schuré to perform these translations? We can only guess it was the indelible impression made upon him by Steiner's presentation.

    Schuré relates on page xxi how Steiner "describes how the Rosicrucians worked to unite themselves with the Christ by meditating the first fourteen verses in th Gospel of St. John". This form of meditation was mentioned in my review of this book of lectures, Secret Brotherhoods, at which time I created this webpage for those who may wish to meditate on them on a regular basis. Thanks to Schuré's notes, we have this record in lecture seven of Steiner mentioning this meditation.

    While working towards a degree in physics, I encountered discussions about the interior of the Sun and the interior of the Earth. Of course, we have no direct data about either place as no human and no instrument has ever visited either place, nor is either likely to happen. The extremes of pressure and temperature in both places makes it unlikely that sensory data will ever be retrieved of these places. But Rudolf Steiner does not need require instruments be placed within the center of the Earth to experience what the conditions exist there and at each of the distinctive layers one finds going to the center. He visits them with his supersensible sight and returns to explain to us how these layers are organized. One can choose to listen to the wild projections of materialistic science which have no basis in sensory data (are only maps of what might be there, all things being equal inside the Earth to how they are on the surface, which of course they are most definitely not). Scientific explanations of what happens in the center of the Earth are useful mostly in the daily lives of scientists. Or one can choose to listen to Rudolf Steiner who perceives the various layers and gives explanations of how these layers reveal themselves as events upon the surface of the Earth in everyone's daily lives.

    The nine layers can be divided into three layers from the Old Saturn stage of evolution which have remained in the very center of the Earth (7,8, 9), the three layers remaining from the Old Moon stage (4, 5, 6), and the outer three layers which formed during the current Earth stage of evolution. Those of you familiar with cosmic evolution as described in Occult Science, will wonder why the Old Sun stage is not represented in the layers of the Earth. My hypothesis is that, when the Old Sun separated into Sun and Old Moon, the Sun took all the purified portions and left none within Old Moon (which embodied the Earth which was to come during a later split). The portions of the Sun will only be achieved during the future evolution of the Earth when at the last it will recombine into the Sun when all of humanity has reached its final state of purification (1).

    It is useful to read Schuré's summary in his Foreword of the 9 layers of the Earth as it is somewhat easier to understand than the detailed description in the text proper. (Note that he numbers the layers from the center of the Earth in this description, whereas in the Diagram above they are numbered from the surface.)

    [page xxii, xxiv] If we glance momentary at the interior constitution of the Earth, one fact strikes us immediately — it makes up the forces concentrated in the planet and worked at its development through successive metamorphoses, from the nebula of Saturn through the Old Sun and Old Moon periods and on to its present state. These same forces have worked at the human structure and today are more active than ever. 1) Egoism and black magic constitute the opaque center of the Earth, because egoism-love of self for its own sake, which black magic exaggerates and takes to excess — is indispensable to the development of human individuality. The fatal products of egoism are hatred and strife, represented by the next two layers: 2) division and 3) the prism, in which individualities multiply and differentiate in order to battle with one another.
          It may be said that these three layers represent the Earth's kernel as it existed in the nebula of the Saturn period. This foundation is indispensable to all of the Earth's subsequent evolution. It is the springboard from which individuality can rise to higher worlds, as long as egoism (the principle of evil) is conquered and transformed by the higher forces arising from the Sun and the firmament-forces of which divinity is the wellspring, and true human freedom the sculptor.
          The period during which the Earth was still united with the Moon is indicated within the Earth by the existence of three other elementary spheres: 4) the Fire principle is at the root of will impulses and the cause of volcanic eruptions when a path is forged to Earth's mineral crust. 5) Above this is the level of organic plant life. Again, 6) there is a still higher level of the vortex of animal forces, where the ethereal embryos of the living beings destined to crawl, walk, and fly germinate and attain life in a laboratory of ceaseless activity.

          In this second trinity of forces that constitute Earth's interior, we find the remains of the period when Earth was still united with the Moon. In those times, the Earth's surface was a kind of porous substance, the home of hybrid beings, half vegetable and half mollusc, with giant tentacles, while the seeds of terrestrial flora and fauna floated in the semi-liquid, semi-vaporous atmosphere. Wonderful words in the book of Genesis refer to this period: "Darkness was upon the face of the deep and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the Waters."
          The third trio of inner organs of the Earth represents its actual form. The final metamorphosis occurs at the time of separation of the Moon from Earth; it is indicated by the addition of two new elements that are, as it were, the "humanized" replica of the Earth's center: 7) Consciousness inverted, in which everything is transformed into its opposite; 8) Negative life, or death. Every living being descending into this realm must perish instantly; it is the Styx of the Greeks, cursed by the Gods of life and beauty. 9) Above the sphere of death stretches the solid mineral envelope of the Earth, the theater of humanity.
          It must be admitted that this extraordinary description of the interior constitution of our planet cannot be verified by any means of observation adopted by natural science. None but a seer possessed of equal power could contradict or confirm it.

    Any persistent reader of Rudolf Steiner's works can easily confirm that the descriptions of each layer are consistent with the evolution of the cosmos as he described it in his Occult Science and in many other lectures. — And with other mythological and theological references across many cultures.

    The Christ being remained behind in the Sun when the Old Moon carried the nascent Earth within itself into a separate existence. In historical times, this same great spiritual being entered the man Jesus of Nazareth during his baptism in the Jordan, and strove to rescue us from our precipitous fall into materialistic oblivion by dying on the cross, the first spiritual being to experience death as a human being. And He has stayed with us to be an ever-present help in our times of need. If this sounds like some ideal which is airy-fairy and metaphysical, let me assure you that it is genuinely real. One should never discount the importance of a man with an ideal. Ideals are our greatest weapon to ward off the forces of evil.

    An ideal in one's life Steiner likens as steam to an engine: it provides the power. What are the ideals you hold dear? Therein lies your power. Words also have a power — as revealed by John: "In the beginning was the Word." Schuré gives an example of the power of living words in a sentence spoken by Steiner, "The thoughts of the Gods are not as human thoughts. Human thoughts are image; the thoughts of the gods are living beings." What happened to cause humans to move from marriages decided by one's father to marriages decided by the man and woman? Anthropology might have difficulty explaining why this is so, but to Rudolf Steiner this change accompanied the development of the human "I" in historical times.

    [page 4] Before discussing the world of spirit, we must understand one of the forces that allowed all humanity to pass from the astral to the intellectual level. This occurred through a new kind of marriage. In ancient times, marriages were made within a tribe or clan, which was simply an extension of the family. Indeed, sometimes brothers and sisters married. Later on, men looked for wives outside the clan or tribe, the civic community. The beloved became the stranger, the unknown. Love, which had been merely a natural and social function, now became personal desire, and marriage became a matter of free choice. This is indicated in certain Greek myths such as the rape of Helen and in the Scandinavian and Germanic myths of Sigurd and Gudrun. Love becomes an adventure, the woman a conquest from afar.
          This change from patriarchal marriage to free marriage corresponds to the new development of human intellectual faculties, or the "I." There is a temporary eclipse of the astral faculties of vision and the power of reading directly in the astral and spiritual world — faculties included in ordinary speech under the term inspiration.

    With the loss of our astral vision, we have lost our unconscious spirituality and we must now prepare to move to a conscious spirituality. That cannot happen with theology because it is a fixed dogma imposed from without, the religious equivalent of a forced marriage decided by one's father, only this time a Church Father.

    The Nebelungen of Germany mythology lived in the land of the mists (Nebelheim) which Steiner identifies as Atlantis. Before the deluge came, Atlanteans lived in a perpetual mist and had to use their spiritual sight to perceive other humans because the heavy mist obscured the physical world. When the mists finally began to subside, they formed a great deluge and brought clear skies to humans for the first time. The rainbow was left behind as a reminder to us of our evolutionary past in the land of mists, Atlantis.

    Like the Kings and Queens of our time, Atlanteans referred to themselves in the third person. Royalty are subject to the people they rule and accountable to them, and in that sense they have no "I" which can operate independently of their subjects. Atlanteans also lacked an "I" because their etheric body was yet located outside their physical brain. Later movement of the etheric body to within the physical brain brought to the ancient human race their first "I".

    The arguments of Creationism versus Darwinism which are rampant in this twenty-first century are moot because both miss the point. We humans did not descend from monkeys, the monkeys remained behind. The superior race does not descend from the inferior.

    We humans at one time in our evolution wrested ourselves away from the animals (whose passions we yet bear within ourselves), and in time to come we must wrest ourselves away from evil. This is the challenge we face as full human beings in this age. To meet this challenge we require a science, a spiritual science of the full human being, an anthropos-sophy or anthroposophy. This is the legacy which Steiner has left to us in his books and lectures.

    We humans are descending (in the body) and ascending (in the spirit) beings. Steiner said, The vital point, that of intersection and change in the ascending life of humankind, is also the separation of the sexes. . . . Because of the separation of the sexes, a new, all-embracing element arose: love." (Page 13)

    If you have a pet, you likely have wondered at some point as I have, "Why is this pet so loyal and grateful to me?" That is easy to understand because generally our pets depend upon us for their food and shelter. But what do they give us in return for all our expense and attention to them? All they can give us is their love. Consider next our relationship to our guardian angels: they help keep us safe, alert us to dangers ahead of time, and what can we give them in return? Only our love. And just as that love is enough when we receive it from our pets, so also is that love enough when we give it to our guardian angels and other members of the spiritual hierarchies. (See my review of Guardian Angels for the importance of not neglecting our special angel which follows us from incarnation to incarnation.)

    Animals are fallen humans and humans becoming — that is another way of saying animals are inferior humans left behind during our human evolution, but which are on an evolutionary track to becoming humans. Likewise, Steiner tells us. "Human beings are both fallen gods and gods becoming." (Page 14) When we understand that at each level of evolution this is a descending and ascending current, we are forced to realize that there are ascending and descending currents in our own being.

    Consider carefully what Steiner tells us: A truth must push us forward or it will die. If we imbibe too many sterile truths, we will likewise die. As a physicist I was taught that a truth filled with feeling was an illusion — in other words, I was taught the exact opposite of the truth. With Steiner's help I have learned to accept in freedom and light the vital truth which lifts me up from now on: that soul-filled truths are permeated with feeling.

    Where are you on the path to be an initiate, dear Reader? Do you have control over your thoughts and actions, equanimity in all things both good and bad, optimism, confidence, inner balance, and meditation? Before you answer, consider the details of understanding these attributes given by Steiner:

    [pag 27, 28]
          1. Control of thought. We must be able to concentrate our thought upon a single object and hold it there.
          2. Control of actions. Our attitude toward all actions, whether trivial or significant, must be to dominate, regulate, and hold them under the control of one's will. They must be the outcome of inner initiative.
          3. Equilibrium of soul. There must be moderation in both sorrow and joy. Goethe said that the soul who loves is, until death, equally happy and sad. The esotericist must bear the deepest joy and the deepest sorrow with the same equanimity of soul.
          4. Optimism — the attitude that looks for the good in every thing. Even in crime and in seeming absurdity, there is some element of good. A Persian legend says that Christ once passed by the corpse of a dog and that his disciples turned away in disgust. But Christ said: "Look, the teeth are beautiful."
          5. Confidence. The mind must be open to every new phenomenon. We must never allow our judgments to be determined by the past.
          6. Inner balance is the result of these preparatory measures. One is then ripe for the inner training of the soul. We are ready to set our feet upon the path.
          7. Meditation. We must be able to make ourselves blind and deaf to the outer world and to our memories of it, even to the point where the shot of a gun does not disturb. This is the prelude to meditation. When this inner void has been created, we are able to receive the prompting of our inner being. The soul must then be awakened in its very depths by certain ideas that can move it toward its source.

    These are the parallel paths taken by an initiate, one who is seeking to know the spiritual world directly in this lifetime on Earth. Everyone is operating to a different level in each of the seven ways and thus there are different degrees of initiation known from ancient times by particular names: Raven, Esoteric, Warrior, Lion, Persian, Sun-hero, Father. You may read these names and think you've never heard them before, but the fourth degree initiate is mentioned in the Bible when Jesus calls one of his disciples a Galilean, i.e., a Persian, one of the fifth degree whose soul had included the soul of his people in Galilee. And everyone has heard of Icarus, the would-be Sun-hero, who attached feathers to his arms and flew too close to the Sun. He was an initiate trying unsuccessfully to reach the sixth degree or Sun sphere.

    Steiner revealed in lecture 7 that the Gospel of St. John was the source of essential truths of Christianity by various brotherhoods, among them the Albigenses, Catharists, Templars, and Rosicrucians. They were precursors of a form of Christianity to come later. The first fourteen verses of the Gospel of St. John was their source of eternal truth. In this same lecture Steiner revealed that Lazarus emerged from the tomb as John who was to write the fourth Gospel.

    Why have the Hindu people of India from ancient times believed in reincarnation and the Christians of the West have not? The Hindus had direct knowledge of reincarnation — there was no question of belief. But the Westerner who has no knowledge of reincarnation would say that the Hindus believe in reincarnation. In the marriage of Cana, when Jesus changed the water into wine, he indicating that the "sacrifice of water was to be replaced for a time with the sacrifice of wine."

    Thus, it can be seen that the last supper which is commemorated in the majority of Christian churches by a communion involving wine is an institutional way of keeping the knowledge of reincarnation hidden from the priests and members of the church. The period of two thousand years has passed and we find in the twentieth century a renewed interest in the ancient texts of India and their knowledge and ideas about reincarnation and karma.

    Steiner leaves us a jewel of wisdom in the end of lecture seven which shines its light upon the famous saying of Christ Jesus, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." He reveals to us the inner meaning of a scene from the Bible:

    [page 35] Christ left us a testament in the scene of Mount Tabor, in the Transfiguration before Peter, James and John (Luke 9:28-36). The disciples see him between Elias and Moses. Elias represents the way of truth; Moses, truth itself; Christ, the life that epitomizes them. That is why Christ can say, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life."

    One can best understand the Christian mystery by pondering how each level of life is dependent on the levels below it. Steiner gives a description of the seven stages of Christian initiation: Washing of the Feet, Scourging,. Crowning with Thorns, Bearing of the Cross, Mystic Death, Entombment, and Resurrection in Lecture 8.

    The next two lectures deal with the astral and the spiritual world. These are not places which ones goes to, but conditions which surround us, which we can only perceive with a higher sight than that with which we perceive the physical world around us. The puerile idea fostered by religious teachers that the world of the spirit exists in some distant place outside of the universe does more harm than good. Such concepts make it difficult for people to feel close to their loved ones who have entered the spiritual world. They believe they will only feel close to them again when they too have gone to where they are, oblivious of their loved ones' presence among them every moment when they think of them. Consider the pain a departed loved one must feel when he, in the spirit world, sees the woman he loved mourning his loss. He stands in her presence up close, and yet, because of her delusion that they are separated by an incomprehensible distance, she mourns for him, all the while ignoring the reality of his close presence. This causes him great distress.

    The only cure for this cause of much distress in both the physical and spiritual worlds is a strong dose of reality about the existence and nature of the astral and spiritual world, which Steiner provides.

    Steiner quotes from Goethe about how nature opens up for our senses fully, no matter what set of senses we have remaining for us. One only has to view the movie, "Ray", to understand how Ray Charles lived fully in nature. In a memorable scene, he directs his date's attention to the sound of hummingbird wings outside an open window, a sound which none of the other patrons in the restaurant had noted but the blind singer.

    Astral images appear in reverse, mirror-imaged in space and in time. This causes an inversion of the usual cause-effect relationship of events.

    Passions appear as animal forms. "A feeling of hatred that was entertained against another being appears as an attacking demon."

    After death the etheric body (carrier of life's memory) reveals to one's consciousness a great panorama of one's lifetime. In times of near-death experiences, this is the most often reported event. It precedes all the other experiences. It lasts only for the short period while the etheric body is detaching from the physical body (the corpse). Then one's etheric body passes all of one's lifetime of experiences to one's astral body and the etheric body dissolves away into the far reaches of the cosmos. Since the astral body operates backwards in time, one is led backwards through all the events of one's lifetime. This period of backward looking, called Kamaloca, goes on for the same amount of time one spent sleeping, or about one-third of one's lifetime. During this period we experience bad feelings we created in others as arising in ourselves, so that we learn in no uncertain way what we may have not learned while still in the flesh. This is a time that will only end when one is again a child. Only then can one progress into the next higher stage of spiritual life, which some call "Heaven."

    A lot of bad information about the effects on one's manner of death exists in our Western materialistic society. Life is treated like a commodity such as a bushel of apples, which if it gets bad, one merely dumps it. Or like an automobile which because it has grown old with age's attendant problems, one should discard it volitionally. The one notable exception was a fine movie titled, "What Dreams May Come." It accurately portrays the horrors one must endure after a suicide. Unfortunately it glosses over the difficulties faced by the husband's sudden death in an accident which led his wife to commit suicide.

    Why bother to learn about the astral world? Won't we get there soon enough anyway? What good will it do to us to know about the astral world now? Are these questions not similar to what a blind person might say about recovering his sight? Why bother anyway?

    Diseases are caused by terror. Diseases exist in the physical world but are caused by terror which exists in the astral world. Anyone who truly understands this will stop watching news programs on a regular basis. At least with the newspaper, one can skip over details of the latest terror or horror stories which abet diseases, often diseases for which we have no cures. Such was the case for leprosy, whose cure only came about in the past twentieth century. No one need worry about leprosy today, but certainly one can think of diseases equally devastating to human life and happiness which exist in our own time. And the terror existing today will create new diseases in the future for our descendants.

    [page 49] The epidemics that raged notably during the Middle Ages are an example, among thousands, of the relationship between human sins to astral events, as well as of the repercussion in the astral world of sins committed in earthly life. Leprosy was the result of the terror caused by the invasions by Huns and hordes of Asians. The Mongolians, the descendants of the Atlanteans, carried within them the seeds of degeneracy. This contact with the European populace produced, to begin with, the moral sickness of fear in the astral world; the substance of the astral body decomposed, and this area of astral decomposition became a field for the development of bacteria, giving rise, on Earth, to diseases such as leprosy.
          All that we throw out of ourselves into the astral world will, at some time, reappear in times to come on the physical plane. What we sow in the astral world we reap on Earth in the future. Today, we are reaping the fruits of the narrow, materialistic thoughts strewn by our ancestors in the astral world.

    Why bother with the astral world? Has the answer begun to dawn on you, dear Reader? Materialistic science prides itself on its hypotheses — how it is willing to suspend belief and hold a hypothesis, test it out, and only then decide if it is scientific. But it can be clearly seen that time after time science has refused to entertain powerful hypotheses about the existence of the spiritual world. The brief excursion of science into spiritism during the nineteenth century is often cited as an exception to the rule. In fact, science investigated table-tipping and other kinds of so-called communication from the spiritual world only because they provided sensory data. Steiner has often explained the fallacy of expecting spiritual events to appear in sensory data form. The results of such experiences will form lies instead of truth and merely convince science that it had better avoid testing the spiritual world, when in truth, scientists who test the spiritual directly will be treated as anathema by their former colleagues. This happened to Rudolf Steiner in his lifetime and attacks on his Waldorf Schools continue today. Friedrich Rittelmeyer in his fine book, Rudolf Steiner Enters My Life, explains how the same theological journals which published his work without emendation refused to publish the first article he wrote about Steiner. Even in theological circles, one finds rejection without investigation of those who do not follow theological dogma. This is double hurtful coming from theological circles where one ought to expect open-mindedness about the spiritual world.

    What does spiritual science allow us to do to regain our health and equilibrium? It allows us, for one thing, to see what others feel inwardly. It provides us with a conscious clairvoyance by showing us how to develop supersensible sight.

    With supersensible sight, Steiner was able to see the chakras and to recognize them as living organs of supersensible perception themselves, not just some colorful lotus flowers as materialists might think of them. Take the 16-pedaled lotus of the larynx as an example. It represents 8 conscious virtues and 8 unconscious organs of perception which can be formed from each virtue. Want another example? The 12-pedaled lotus of the heart. Only six petals were visible in ancient times, but with the development of "control of thought, power of initiative, balance of the faculties, optimism leading to a positive attitude, freedom from bias, and a harmonious soul life" the twelve petals will begin to move. The importance of the number twelve shows up in so many contexts that one must consider it due to more than random chance, that chimera which science is so proud of having created to explain what it does not understand.

    I have mentioned in several other places my insight that the myth of Oedipus reveals to us that when we really understand what a human being is, the cannibal in us dies. Steiner says that the myth of Oedipus reveals the future of humankind "walking on three legs" not just the future of a single human being walking with a crutch. One must interpret the myth as defining long ages of humankind, not just the progression through a single lifetime. Steiner reveals to us how future humans will have three organ of motion which will allow them to fly.

    Another way that spiritual science allows us to maintain our health and equilibrium is by helping us to understand how our astral body works in us during the day to allow us to perceive the world around us, and during the night to rebuild our spent forces.

    How do we assist our astral body? By reducing the chaotic perceptions from waking life. How? By nurturing in oneself the attribute listed in the passage from pages 27 and 28 above: Equilibrium of soul. We must learn to "bear the deepest joy and the deepest sorrow with the same equanimity of soul." This will sound strange, but it is an essential step to promoting health and stability in our lives. The means for accomplishing this has been known for ages. What is it? Think fast. Fasting restores regular rhythm to the full human being.

    What is waking life? We awake when we hear melodies but we do not know from where they originate. Our bodies are like pianos issuing these melodies. Our keys are struck by sensory world, but the melodies arrive from the spiritual world. With our etheric, astral, and I bodies and their connection with our physical body, which is filled with minerals during this Earth stage of human evolution, we awaken to consciousness. Over the ages, humans have manipulated the physical world of minerals, from early caveman days of stone axes to genetic engineering of our day. Often our new human tools are used destructively when they first arrived, and only later do we discover how to use them usefully for constructive purposes. As we evolve, our tools will become more related to the spiritual world — we will achieve control over the world through our conscious volition. This will require a purging of human passions along the way. When sex is no longer an agent of our passions, our vocal cords will become the new organ of reproduction. Steiner lays out the path humans will follow:

    The new human tool will be the Word. It was a tool which Christ Jesus demonstrated for us when he walked the Earth. He explained that he was the way, truth, and the life. He pointed to the life that we will learn to achieve on Earth with events we called miracles during his lifetime.

    But with this new human capability we will go further than the dolphins, we will be able to reproduce by speaking — we will have tapped the creative power of the Word. This is final stage of Earth evolution which will require great transformations and purification by human beings before this ability comes to fruition.

    Steiner switches at this point to talking about how we human beings lived before we were given breath as described in Genesis. With the lunar landing now about 40 years in our history, few people may recall that the Moon was said to be made of green cheese. I watched the lunar landing and was eating from a cheese ball with green coloring made in the shape of the Moon with a small American flag poised on its top. Before the landing it was possible that the Moon was made of green cheese, but after Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon, I knew it wasn't. But what was the meaning hidden in the old saying? During the lunar stage of evolution called the Old Moon, the Moon and Earth were combined in one body which had no hard minerals desiccated into land masses as we know them today, rather the surface of this combined planet and moon was in a vegetative state, something like "green cheese". I recognized the origin of the old saying immediately when I first read about the vegetative state of the Old Moon.

    The atmosphere of the Old Moon was nitrogenous with only traces of oxygen. This explains the green cheese image of the ancients — nitrogenous compounds such as chlorophyll are green in color. The atmosphere would have been filled with cyanide gases (the nitrogen equivalent of carbon dioxide) which would be poisonous to us today, but which humans breathed during the Old Moon stage of our evolution. One evergreen plant which remains on Earth today from that period is mistletoe, and like all the plants present during the Old Moon, mistletoe can only grow upon a living plant and attaches itself to the body of a tree and sends its roots into the wood of the tree. Wood to mistletoe is like soil to other plants. Mistletoe was revered by the ancients because they were still able to perceive its unique nature as a remnant from a previous stage of evolution.

    Humans actually breathed in and exhaled fire during this Old Moon stage of evolution. Humans during that stage of evolution had long elongated bodies which flew through the liquid atmosphere and exhaled fire — does that conjure up for you the image of the fire-breathing dragons of ancient mythology? Green cheese and dragons are images left to us in recondite form in our myths and fairy tales to remind us our previous stage of evolution. What remains in us today from that time?

    In Lecture 17 on Redemption & Liberation, Steiner corrects a mistake in thinking that Eastern philosophy makes about the need for a redeemer. This argument caused the Theosophical Society to be at odds with Steiner because they had downplayed the role that Christ played in the history of the world. Rudolf Steiner saw that Christ transformed the so-called law of karma into freedom. Individuals must follow the law of karma for events which happen within their scope of control, their subjective karma. For events outside of individual human control, those which affect all humanity, i.e., objective karma, the karmic balancing must come from the outside, and that was the redemption which Christ provided for humanity, once and for all time.

    The deed of Lucifer in bringing Light to humankind precociously was a deed which made humans truly free, but which brought world-wide consequences to every human being. This deed brought evil into the world because it was a deed that came too soon for humankind — we were not ready for it. The consequences of this early gift would have been disastrous for humankind had not a great spirit of the same or higher level as Lucifer — namely, the Christ — come to Earth and by a great sacrifice through the Deed on Golgotha undone the consequences of Lucifer deed, an act we call redemption. It is a redemption that we will each come to experience in the course of the evolution of humanity.

    The end of our evolution as human beings living on Earth is dramatically and accurately portrayed in the Apocalypse. Rightly understood, this Book of the Bible vividly and metaphorically describes the last days of planet Earth, the time when "Sun shall rise and set no more" and Earth will have undergone metamorphosis into a star, a new Sun in the heavens.

    In this short book of eighteen lectures given in Paris in 1906, Steiner covers all of his cosmology, quite a remarkable feat. There is undoubtedly some additional condensation and perspective added by Edouard Schuré who listened to these lectures in German and recorded them later at his writing desk directly into French. These lectures can give one a unique perspective of Steiner's entire cosmology at an early point in his career when he was learning how to describe difficult concepts of the spiritual world to an audience of theosophists and those who came to learn about theosophy.

    Steiner said about this early period of his work that his knowledge had then attained the stage of understanding that "The whole world outside of human beings is a riddle, the real world riddle; and humanity itself is the answer." (Preface, vii) If the riddle of the world and the riddle of human beings attract you, you contain the answer within yourself, and if you wish help finding the answers, there is no better guide I can direct you to than Rudolf Steiner himself.

    Read the Review at:

    2.) ARJ2: Southern Mail — A Novel by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

    The title of the novel was suggested by Saint-Exupéry's friend Mermoz who pointed to a Dakar-bound air mail sack on the barrack floor. Saint-Exupéry stuck with the name even after Mermoz's monkey, Lola, ate up several pages of an early draft of the novel. Saint-Exupéry was a famous pilot who flew with the air mail down the coast of Africa and across the Atlantic along the coast of South America. This first novel was written while Saint-Exupéry was stationed in Cape Juby, an isolated outpost on the edge of the Saharan desert on the Atlantic Coast.

    The first paragraph gives us the setting.

    [page 3] A sky as pure as water bathed the stars and brought them out. And then night fell. Dune by dune the Sahara unfolded itself beneath the moon. Its light, falling on our foreheads with the pallor of a lamp which blends the softened forms, enveloped every object in its velvet sheen. Under our soundless footsteps the sand had the richness of a carpet. And a bare-headed we walked, freed of the cruel weight of the sun. In that dwelling place — the night . . .

    This paragraph gives us the isolation . . .

    [page 4] Captives of the Moors and of ourselves, we seldom ventured more than five hundred yards, there where the lawless wilderness began. Our nearest neighbors, at Cisneros and Port-Etienne, were five to six hundred miles away, also trapped by the Sahara, like flies in amber. We knew them by their surnames and their foibles, but between us there lay a silence as thick as interplanetary space.

    Bernis, the pilot, is the hero of this tale and as he takes off from the airport in Toulouse, we are given a pilot's eye glimpse of the landscape.

    [page 8] The trees bordering the landing field uncover the horizon as they slip from sight. From six hundred feet up it is still an inhabited earth one gazes down upon — toy sheepfolds with painted houses and trees standing extraordinarily erect, and woods that shield their furry thickness.

    Bernis begins to dream as the coast of Africa lies ahead of him by sundown. Between flights of descriptive fancy, we are treated by the author to deep philosophical reveries.

    [page 9] "I am only a workman, delivering the African mail," he thinks. "Each day, for the workman who begins to build a world, the world begins."

    He reaches his first destination and suddenly the pilot's serene world shifts from cruise control into high gear.

    [page 16] Now close, like a torrent under a bridge, the earth begins its mad acceleration. The ordered world becomes a landslide, as houses and villages are torn from the smooth horizon and swept away behind him. The landing strip of Alicante rises, tilts, then steadies into place. The wheels graze and then grind into it as on a whetstone.

    He gets back into his plane and heads for Africa. Again we are flying wing man to Saint-Exupéry who is narrating his intoxicating blend of description and gentle philosophy.

    [page 20] Night will fall as he overflies Gibraltar. A slow bank to the left — towards Tangier — will wrench Bernis from Europe, drifting off behind him like a gigantic ice-floe. A few more towns, nourished on brown earth, and then it will be Africa. A few more towns, in their bed of dark loam, and then it will be the Sahara. Bernis tonight will witness the laying asleep of the earth.

    When Saint-Exupéry goes back in time a couple of months to narrate Bernis's arrival back home in Paris, he uncovers a paradox that is very familiar to me. Each time I returned home from college to the small rural town in which my family lived, I didn't want anything to have changed in the long semester that I had been away. And then when I arrived, I felt very bored when I discovered that, in fact, nothing had changed.

    [page 24, 25] "And here's everything just the same . . ."
          He had been afraid of finding things different, and now it pained him to find them so unchanged. The prospect of meeting people, of looking up old friends left him vaguely bored. From a distance fancy is free to roam. The tender friendships one gives up, on parting, leave their bite on the heart, but also a curious feeling of a treasure somewhere buried.

    And what one muses on from a distance, one never finds when one arrive back among those same people. Instead of having missed you, they seem surprised to find that you had gone. After all, they had not gone anywhere. Boring . . . or as Bernis exclaims, "And I've come back to this!" Soon one wishes to be gone once more. The reverie was much more fun than the reality. One wants to return to the land of reverie.

    Where are you flying this starry, starry night, little prince, Cher Saint-Exupéry? What furry landscape are you pulling toward you to cover you warmly for the flight? Will you be sleeping on the mattress in your hovel at Cape Juby tonight? Or will your propeller quit, and will you sleep on mattresses of air mail sacks on the sands below? Truly you are in the land of reverie now, never more to return to boring places, but only to move ever onward, second star to the left.

    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 a Thought-Provoking Headline in the India Times 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 reads a Headline about an Accident Investigation in India.

    2.Comments from Readers:
    • EMAIL from Kevin Dann:

      Wish I had some of those dark hairs still on my head. [RJM NOTE: Pixels never turn gray. See photo at right.]

      Just back from that conference, where I heard some pretty horrid navel-gazing while spiritual science goes largely unnoticed. Once you've tasted Steiner's beer the others taste like bilge water. . .

      WOW! Barbara's rave was wonderful — and true! [RJM NOTE: Barbara Chalmers' Email in last month's Digest.]


    • EMAIL from Michaela Sefler in Montreal:

      I enjoyed your digest, Thank you. Below is a poem, not yet published, for your consideration.

      Michaela Sefler,

      ANCIENT BONDS ©2008 by Michaela Sefler

      Remaining contained, awaiting,
            as the arm of the clock
            is reaching a full circle, is a cycle complete
            permanence that none can change, is a step.

      In creation is transformation inherent,
            relation of self to the higher soul,
            and permanent are the eternal bonds

      A reality not changing within these structures
            we safely remain,
            transcending and returning, giving chance,
            an objective point existing, in the realm of structures high.

            is the self affirming by insight,
            matter and spirit merging in creation,
            and in creative endeavors are human strivings reflected, still.

    • EMAILfrom Walter Cruttenden:
      Hi Bobby -
      Just looking at one of your Digests the other day with my wife. She was oodling a recipe. I expect to see some okra on my plate very soon! (RJM NOTE: See my updated recipe for Okra in Digest086 with an omelette option added.)
    • EMAIL from Kristina in Melbourne:
      Beethoven's 5th will never be the same. [RJM NOTE: Especially when Sid Caesar and Nanette Fabray get finished with their TA-TA-TA-TAHN!] Enjoy!

    • EMAIL from Renee rebuilding from Katrina:
      Dear Bobby,

      We really haven't fallen off the planet; we're STILL rebuilding. Our carpenters have estimated about 2 weeks to finish. The way it goes for us I'll figure about 2 MONTHS, with luck and no mishaps.


    • EMAIL from Nephew Dean in Iraq:
      Here is a picture of the General toasting my birthday with near beer.
    • EMAIL from brother Paul and wife Joyce:
      We will be leaving Friday for Houston, then flying out of Houston to Italy for our tour. We'll be in Italy for two weeks. Then we'll return for the weekend in Houston and then head home.
      Paul and Joyce
      [RJM NOTE: My brother and his wife are taking a bus tour of Italy in June. A month or so later, Del and I will touring Italy by sea for our 30th Anniversary. We'll have all of Italy covered by the end of our travels.]
    • EMAIL from George in Massachusetts:
      Dear Bobby,

      I have many questions which are the result of what you have exposed me to. I feel I have learned alot, although Steiner still remains elusive in understanding. I have a new website which I have been working on. It focuses on wellness and antiaging. I wrote a page on the site about Doyletics and I figured that I should let you see if and tell me if I need to correct anything on it. It has links pointing to your site for clarification and instructions on how to do the speed trace.

      Here is the address:

      On my site I have emphasized the importance of dealing with stress, and I feel that the speed trace is an excellent tool for doing that. Simple, free, and effective. I derive no benefit from it in financial terms, but was glad to be able to share it with my web visitors. It is one of the more popular pages on my site. I also have a mention on my antiaging blog as well.

      Best Regards,

      [RJM NOTE: Thanks, George! Your webpage summary of doyletics is the best of any website I've seen linking to mine. Great job!]
    • EMAIL from Ruth Ryan:
      Here is a photo attached of what they did to my office at work yesterday. [RJM NOTE: See photo above with all the Police Yellow Tape covering entrance to Ruth's office. Ruth looks like a mother hen on a nest in that office.]

      I’m so sorry my original broadcast e-mail went astray. I sent it from work but from my cox address and maybe the workplace spamblocker guava intercepted it going out. Whatever I still managed to have a good birthday.

      And now I have to catch up with the people I missed out on like YOU. We have LOTS of news and I bet you do too by this time. I don’t think we have caught up since Mardi Gras at the Monteleone.

      [RJM NOTE: We got together for lunch with Ruth and Doc Parker on the 24th and had a great time. There'll be a photo of us in this Digest somewhere.]
    • EMAIL from grandaughter Tiffany:
      Here's my son Ben's 2008 Baseball photo.
      [RJM NOTE: I wrote Tiffany back and sent her a copy of my nephew Sean's photo at 20 with my great-grandson Ben's photo at 8. Photo at right. She wrote back.]
      Ben does look like Sean!! That is crazy! Sean is very handsome. Well what can I say, we have good genes!!
    • THANKS for the EMAILS:
      Whenever possible I try to include emails and photos of the sender. If you do not like your photo or email posted, let me know privately and I'll respect your wishes, even remove one already posted.
      Till next month, all I can say is: You're looking good!


    See Photo and rest of explanation of Great Rift on Saturn's moon, Tethys here: "What created the Great Rift on Saturn's moon Tethys? No one is sure. More formally named Ithaca Chasma, the long canyon running across the right of the above image extends about 2,000 kilometers long and spreads as much as 100 kilometers wide."
    The great rift on Mars that forms the equatorial region of Mars is explained as due to ancient flows of water by establishment scientists. You know them: they are the same ones who predicted in the 1950s that Venus had a greenhouse atmosphere, which back then meant the surface temperature of Venus was that of the backyard greenhouse, about 72 degf. I've explained in my Commentary before how these scientists stretch our credulity by asking us to believe that the surface temperature of Venus rose from those mild 72 degrees to an incandescant 900 degf due to the prescence of hydrocarbons in its atmosphere. They have a great "investment" in receiving funds to research to undo their invented "greenhouse gases", so they will not relent in the face of facts.

    Are there other explanations for how Venus's temperature got so high? Yes, Velikovsky explained in the 1950s that Venus was a protoplanet and had an atmosphere of hydrocarbon gases and an incandescant surface temperature which was cooling, not rising. Planetary inspection space craft forty years later confirmed Velikovsky's prediction and made laughable that of the scientific establishment. No one apologized for laughing at Velikovsky from that same scientific establishment. They continue to ignore him and ridicule him.

    Velikovsky also predicted that the surface of Mars would have a gigantic gash across its mid-section, not due to water, but rather due to interplanetary lightning bolts caused by plasma discharges during a close approach of the then comet Venus. This event is recorded in Greek/Roman mythology as Venus slashed Mars across his girth. They myth originated from someone viewing this during pre-history times and passing it along in oral tradition until it was recorded as a so-called myth. See closeup of scarring in the Echus Chasma north of the great rift of Mars, the Valles Marineris. The closeup shows evidence to me of the local effects of an interplanetary plasma discharge. I see signs of melted rock on the 4 km high cliffs, not sandstone eroded by water falls.

    The current expedition to the Mars north polar region to prove the existence of water is part of science trying bolster its claim for the origin of the great gash on Mars' waist. But now they have discovered a similar event, a gash on the moon Tethys of Saturn. So far out that no water could ever have existed in liquid form to produce it. What's left to explain the gash if there was never any water? Well, there's Velikovsky's explanation of interplanetary plasma discharges. These discharges are really gigantic lightning bolts and one can see similar rifts on a smaller scale left by large lightning bolts hitting the Earth.

    Thanks to Tethys, perhaps redemption for Immanuel Velikovsky is due . . . and with it relief for the whole world from the jaded hyperbole called the "greenhouse effect."


    With the increasing popularity of My Space, I decided to check on folks who are mentioning doyletics or my reviews. I found one person who copied an entire review from my website without ever mentioning my name as author of the review. This constitutes blatant plagiarism, copyright infringement, and theft of my primary property (intellectual property). I wrote to My Space to complain but the requirements they put on reporting copyright infringement made obtaining relief too onerous. I do not have a staff I can assign to such tasks.

    I noticed that the copied review had all the embedded hyperlinks still intact, only the header and footer had been removed. Plus the review was basically unreadable because the bolding and indentation I use to identify quoted material were also removed. This makes it almost impossible to decipher whether the author of the review or the author of the book wrote a particular sentence. This is typical of primary thieves: they almost always do not understand what they are stealing — if they did, they wouldn't steal it, but ask permission to use it.

    My intent with contacting My Space was to have them advise the person who commited the theft to back off or correct the mistakes in their quoted material. Without becoming a part of My Space, I was not able to contact the person to help them correct their folly, so I decided to let the purloiner be. But I did learn from the experience and my future reviews will have embedded links to my Copyright Page at random under the only name I can use to refer to myself that no one else can, "I". Btw, that is also true for you, dear Reader. You would do well to come to understand deeply the significance of your "I" as well as the importance of your own primary property which, rightly understood, comprises all thoughts and ideas derived from your life.

    Note, for example, that my use of a hyperlink to a copyright notice under "I" is my primary property. Others who wish to use this device have my permission in advance to use it, with an appropriate expression of gratitude to the property owner as determined by the user. As of now, only a few reviews have these embedded copyright notices, such as the two new reviews featured in this Digest.

    5. GEORGE CARLIN (1937 — 2008)

    On June 28, I watched a rerun of Saturday Night Live with George Carlin from 1976. He asked if we ever watched movies and wondered if the people in the crowd scenes were still alive. Ironically, George left the physical world himself a week earlier at age 71. George was a wonderful observer of life. We'll miss you, George. I believe your taking notice of the absence of blue food called into being blue M&Ms and blue tortilla chips, among other things. Can anyone ever top your Hippie-Dippie Weatherman on WINO radio? Maybe, but if so, it'll undoubtedly be someone who eats blue food . . .

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    Thanks to all of you Good Readers for providing the Chemistry which has made this site a Glowing Success. — Especially those of you who have graciously allowed us to reprint your emails and show photos of you and by you on this website — you're looking good! As of June 1, 2019, it enters its 20th year of publication. The DIGESTWORLD Issues and the rest of the doyletics website pages have received over 21.6 MILLION VISITORS ! ! !

    We have received over ONE MILLION VISITORS per Year to the Doyletics Website since its inception June 1, 2000, over twenty years ago. Almost 2 million in the past 12 months. We are currently averaging about 150,000 visitors a month. A Visitor is defined as a Reader who is new or returns after 20 minutes or more has passed. The average is about one visitor for every 10 Hits.


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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.

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