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Good Mountain Press Monthly Digest #088
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: Charlton Heston (1924 - 2008) ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ Starred as Moses, Ben Hur, NRA President, among other things. ~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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~~~ GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #088 Published August 1, 2008 ~~~
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Quote for the Waning Summer Month of August:

Our eye prevents us from seeing: it is our body that prevents us from touching. Between us and the truth there are our senses, which introduce a part of the truth in us and which also separate us from it.
Joseph Joubert (1754 - 1821), from his Notebook

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THE GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #088, August 2008
Archived Digests
Table of Contents

1. August's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for August
3. On a Personal Note
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe of the Month from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen: Pineapple-Strawberry Sundae Sundae
6. Poem from his The End of Science Review:"Strong Science"
7. Reviews and Articles Added for August:

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

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THE GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #088
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ARCHIVED DIGESTWORLD ISSUES ON THE WEB
 
~ ARCHIVED DIGESTWORLD ISSUES ~
2000: INAUGURAL YEAR: Jun  
#1 Jul  #2, Aug  #3, Sept  #4, Oct  #5, Nov  #6, Dec  #7
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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
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1. August 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: http://www.doyletics.com/vjtoons.htm 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 doyletics.com 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 Beauty (Part 3 of 4).

#1 "Beauty (Part 3 of 4)" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/071608jv.gif

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2. HONORED READERS FOR August:
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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 August are:

Phil Becnel in New Orleans

Martin Rizzi in Mexico

Congratulations, Phil and Martin !


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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:


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Out Our Way:

Another busy month for us with our 30th anniversary followed by Bobby's 68th birthday. In between we went to two weddings. Our son Robert got married to Kathryn in Bloomington, Indiana, and my cousin Pamela Barrios Savitts' son Jesse got married to Hillary in Raceland, Louisiana. Plus a miscellanea of other events such visits from two daughters, Kim and Yvette, Fourth of July Fireworks, Twilight Concerts, and Swing Session at WWII Museum. Details to follow, film at 11 — or any place in the Digest.

ONE OF THOSE DAYS
Ever have "one of those days"? I had one to start off July with. Just wanted to register my new TV with Panasonic and call to get my Point of Deployment (POD) Card installed in our new TV. Took nearly all day to accomplish these two tasks.

Then I tried to activate my new Chase Visa Card and the land line would not allow me to call 1-800-555-1212 or any 800 number without giving me a message, "Must dial 1 or 0 before this number" which I had done. Tried it on all three phones and then on two 800 numbers when it came time to register our Pioneer Elite $6k Plasma Screen 50" tv. Their website came up with a bad Certificate (pink color over URL). Wouldn't allow me to register my TV. Tried to call their 800 number, no luck again. So I called and activated Chase Visa Quicken Card using my cell phone. No problem.

Then called AT&T to report problem with our land lines. Took forever. Finally she said that I had to disconnect ALL my phones for five minutes. Let's see 7 phones in Living room, one in TSR, two in MBR, one in guest BR and one in garage for a total of twelve. Ain't no way I was going to disconnect a dozen phones! So I decided to disconnect the phone master line from outside.

Well, the padlock was frozen shut and the key wouldn't open, plus it was raining while I was outside. Not to be daunted, I found a way to remove padlock and open the cover, disconnect the two connections and wait the five minutes. Meanwhile I went back and called Cox on my cell phone about sending out a POD or Cable-Card (Point of Deployment Card) for my Plasma TV so we can get all the Digital Cable channels including High Definition ones without using the cheesy COX box/DVR. Will cost us another 1.99 a month Lindsay in Sales said, and then she came back to say that since I was adding another TV, there was another $2 a month charge. I explained to her that all our TVs were in ONE room, but that fell on deaf ears. "Somebody else's job to decide about that." Cute trick by COX.

But Lindsay, bless her heart, alerted me to the fact that COX had been charging me twice: once for standard Cable Box, and once for Digital Cable Box/DVR. You can only get with that by creating a long abstruse bill listing items using different names than anyone else at COX uses. I explained that I have only the Digital Cable Box/DVR. She arranged for Cable Guy to come between 10 and Noon on Sunday July 6 to install the card and will charge me $54 for that "disservice". Probably I could install the dinky card in my own TV, but they get to charge for that service to discourage folks from using the POD cards, which after all keeps them from accessing the high-profit On-Demand movies, etc.

Then Lindsay switched me to the Clerk from Hell, whose name was Ethalia, obviously a young female, who could not do anything more than read her instructions to me. She spent 45 minutes trying to locate my account, the same account that Lindsay found in 5 minutes. She kept me on hold saying I could not talk to her supervisor was too busy because of all the calls waiting. I called Del at Doris' apartment to find out where the Cox bill was at one point, and I gave her the 15 digit or so account number on our bill and still Ethalia could not find our account! ! ! ! I know that sounds incredulous, but it happened to me. Another twenty minutes went by before she found our account. Then I explained to her what I wanted.

She found our equipment list and admitted to me that it showed only the Digital Cable Box/DVR and then when I insisted she look at our most recent bill, she admitted that, YES, we were being charged for a box that their own records show we do not have. "A typo," she euphemistically called it.

How would she feel if a "typo" caused her to receive a paycheck of $5 a week instead of $500 a week? Would she have the equanimity to call it a typo instead of a gross, egregious error? Well, she assured me that the charge for the second, non-existent box will disappear by next month's bill. And also assured me that she will research how many months we were paying two boxes when we only had one. My confidence that will happen is much less than my confidence as to whom she will vote for in the next election.

Lindsay said the extra box was $7.99 a month, but our bill shows two boxes each charging us "$5.25 a month. Don't know where that discrepancy came from. That is the kind of discrepancy that destroys all of COX Communication with its customers. That and the Ethalias they barely train and then turn loose on customers with real-life problems.

The bottom line is that we will have the POD card installed by the end of the day Sunday, July 6, and the net result will be a reduction of our monthly bill of about $1.25. Whew ! ! What a day. It was 2 pm by the time all this was done and I was done in. We did get the POD installed by a very capable technician who arrived within the two hour time window they scheduled him. He was very knowledgeable about the POD, but he and I had to sort through the idiosyncracies of the Pioneer TV. The card worked and I was left to figure out how to use the remote to access it. The installation took a fifth of the time it took to schedule it over the phone.

FOURTH OF JULY WEEKEND
On the Fourth of July, we packed up half of watermelon, the better half and the fruit salad and drove to Annie & Gus's house on at Algiers Point. We got to meet Ruta, Gus's sister who was in town from Los Angeles for a hospitality industry (food service) convention which she was working. Enjoyed meeting her. She's sold river barge cruises in Europe and gave us a lot of good information about what we could expect. What she said about the cruises on the rivers confirms what I had guessed already. A great way to see the hearts of cities without the hassles of bus traffic, baggage, and checking in and out constantly like we did for the Christmas Mozart Tour. Del seemed ready to do the Xmas Markets for our next cruise via the river route.

By 8 pm the street in front of Gus & Annie's house was filled with cars parking to watch the fireworks by 9 pm, but we had gotten there early. John McKinney came by and joined us in the short walk up to the top of the levee to watch the fireworks from the two barges stationed on the river. It is a great place to watch the fireworks in soft folding chairs we brought with us. Del and I have parked in the French Quarter to watch them in a previous year, but the jammed crowds, concrete fences we had to sit on, and long walks to parking made it unpleasant.

That same weekend, our daughter-in-law Gina Hatchett and her daughter Amanda had come in town to celebrate Amanda's graduation. They stayed in a hotel downtown and watched the fireworks from there. Grandma Del took Amanda and Gina to Lakeside Shopping Center the next day and claims that by the end of the day, they had gone into every store! Amanda went back home to Beaumont wearing or carrying in bags her graduation presents from Grandma Del. Of course the memory of a marvelous weekend as a tourist in New Orleans was a priceless souvenir of the weekend.

On Sunday I started off the morning trying to help Del print out her Garden Club booklet. The printers would not work from either PC or LT, so I decided to test by breaking connection to HP 932 and using the cable to connect PC directly to HP4+ and it worked. Then connected Del's LT directly to HP 5Si and it worked as well. Then I removed all the cable from the two boxes which had gone flaky on me and moved them to the garage. No longer can we print form three computers to any of four printers, but we can still print to the LJ 5Si from Del's computer and to the LJ 4+ from my mine, and with the network installed by the Geek Squad, we can easily move the document between the two computers to change printers. With the three switch boxes gone from our workspace, I was able to hook up the charging valet that Del had bought me for Father's Day. It is a wooden box to use as a charging station for multiple devices. Big problem was that the SONY T300 battery charger had to plug directly into an outlet and the short-leg power cords would not fit through the holes provided. What an dumb, shortsighted design! I finally hit on enlarging the hole with the largest drill on my drill press. After I did that the charger would only go in backwards due to the dumb Federal three-prong plugs. I found a special plug I had bought and was able to jury-rig it to work perfectly. Can now charge the iPAQ, SONY 585 an T300 cameras, as well as my cell phone without any wires showing! Hurrah for the Maintenance Man!

BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA WEDDING
Our son Robert and his fiancé Kathryn had been planning a 2009 wedding, but apparently the exigencies of living together while raising three children led them to do an immediate civil ceremony this year and a larger wedding next year. We had not visited our good friend Betty Chowning in the three years since our mandatory vacation following Hurricane Katrina, and we were looking forward to stopping to see her in Louisville, Kentucky, only a few hours away from Bloomington and on the way.

We left Timberlane about 4 am for Kentucky. Betty's place is not easy to find, but this time, we had Nancy helping us. Nancy is what we call the British-sounding female voice of our HP iPAQ GPS Navigator. We simply followed her instructions and drove right into sight of Betty's place. The next weekend we followed Nancy right into the middle of a dead end in a sugar refinery in Raceland. Technology is fun, ain't it? Discover America accidently has just become harder to do, but still happens. We went out to dinner with Betty and then stopped for some ice cream afterwards. We hit the bed and fell right asleep about 10 pm in some time zone.

Up about 7 am and Betty had the weather channel on and was finishing up the newspaper. Her sister, Jo Anne was coming over and they were going shopping up in Indiana. We turned down the idea of following them up I-65, figuring it would be inconvenient, so left first after taking some photos of us Betty, and Jo Anne.

We had not planned to stop for breakfast, but an hour or so later, we saw an exit which had a Crackerbarrel Restaurant and a Waffle House. I was ready for a quick Waffle House breakfast and go, but we couldn't find the Waffle House and the Crackerbarrel Restaurant was obvious on the right side and the easy side of the exit. So we headed for it. Now I had already talked Del into Waffle House, not easy to do, so she kept saying, "We can turn around in Crackerbarrel Restaurant parking lot and head back to the other side of the exit to Waffle House." By that time, we had spotted WH tucked into service station clutter on the inconvenient side of the exit ramp area. "No way, I'm going back all that way. Let's stop here."

Del and I both hit the Rest Rooms and when I came out, I realized that I had forgotten something in the car, so I went outside to get it. When I returned, Del caught me by the inside of the entrance, and said, "I think I just saw Betty and Jo Ann go into the dining room." So we asked the hostess and she said the two ladies went to the middle. We turned the corner and there they were, in a table for four up against the window. We joined them and had a delicious breakfast. Some things are just meant to be.

While I was paying the bill, a clerk came by to get a price check on the garden gnome decked out in purple shirt and gold pants holding a bird. There was one holding frog besides this one, but I liked the bird better. I had seen it on sale for 40% off of 6.99 and wished I had bought it at the Crackerbarrel Restaurant we ate in the previous day, so I walked over and picked one up and came back and paid cash for it. She put it in a brown bag. All this took place while Del was still at the table out of sight from me talking to Betty. When she came to the front sales area, I asked her to hold the bag while I hugged and said goodbye to Betty and Jo Anne. While I was doing that I noticed Del walking over the counter with a box containing the Gnome I had just bought. "What are you doing with that?" "I thought it might look good in our garden." "Did you look inside the bag?" "No. I thought it might be a secret." I showed her that I had just bought the exact same gnome she had picked off the shelves to buy. She put it back and the LSU Gnome is now safely ensconced in our North Portico Garden where we can see him each time we exit via the north sliding glass door. What an amazing coincidence! It's become the norm for us to do things this way — we often start to say what the other is thinking.

We left and headed back on route with Nancy Navigator leading the way. She directed us off on Gilley Creek Rd just as Rob was calling us and I got to confirm that it would get us to the end of Kerr Creek Rd and to their house. Hadn't been that way before. Nancy's instructions gave us a nice view of some valley from the side of a hill, about 150 feet high, but the road was definitely unimproved. Doubt if we have any roads that bad off in all of Jefferson Parish where we live, but we have no high point valley views either.

We arrived and got to meet Kathryn. She gave me a great hug — no pats on the back like some huggers do to disguise their nervousness. We felt at home from the very time we arrived till we left. Everything went smoothly. There was only one hitch during the whole weekend, Robert &amp; Kathryn got hitched to each other.

Soon Kathryn's parents and family, the Yosts, showed up: Bob and Carolyn , her parents; Jennifer and Carl; her siblings. Jennifer brought her two kids, Sophia and William. Kathryn's school chum, Hillary, was there with her husband, Jay, a lawyer who would do the ceremony. Along with friend Mario who would be playing the guitar for the wedding ceremony. Greg, Yvette and their two children Evelyn and Aidan arrived a little later that afternoon.

Del, Carla and Patrick prepared the chicken breasts and meat for the shish-ka-bobs which is what we had for supper. It was a delicious dinner for the two families and friends to get acquainted on the evening before the wedding.

Rob had asked if I would cook one of my special dishes for the wedding night feast. I suggested Redfish Courtboullion and he agreed enthusiastically. (Anyone who pronounces it "Court-Boullion" will lose their Honorary Cajun Badge — said koo-bee-ahn´ and you'll have it just right.) The frozen red fish and lemon fish rode for the 30 hour trip in our ice chest just fine. By Friday, the fish had defrosted enough to be chopped into chunks for the courtboullion, and when Del and Carla were finished with the chopping for the shish-ka-bobs, I began cleaning and chopping the fish and putting the chunks into a small container for the the wedding feast. I used a piece of redfish and a piece of lemon fish on my shish-ka-bob to be grilled. Patrick offered me one of his veggie skewers later. He and Greg Clark did the grilling, first having to replace the propane tank. I wonder if stores still sell charcoal for grills? I never found anything to recommend having to tote around a large, heavy tank to replace a bag of charcoal.

I walked up the hill with Rob and some of his buddies who had come to load up some of the leftover straw bales. They wanted to see the Strawbale House which Rob designed and built. I guess naming something from the material used to make it is traditional. We called the type of house we moved into on Mimosa Street in 1955 a "brick house." The name came from the brick veneer used to insulate the walls of the house. Rob's house on the ridge uses strong wheat straw still in bale form to provide an R50 insulation value to the walls of his house. The temperature was about 85 down the ridge about a hundred yards, and, inside the Strawbale House, it was about 68. Felt like the air-conditioning was on, but of course none was needed. To see a complete photo layout of Strawbale House, click on this link: www.greenhue.net. You might even wish to consider buying it.

We ate outside mostly and watched the firefly display as dusk approached. Mario played his mandolin and then Jay got out his guitar and they picked and sang some songs together. Nothing memorable, but a delightful addition to the evening of "getting to know you" of the Mathernes and the Yosts. I'd hoped to arrange a Cajun tradition for the wedding night of the newly married couple. The custom was if one of them had been married before, the neighbors would congregate outside after the couple had gone to bed, bang on pots and pans and yell, "Charivari! ! !" and wouldn't cease until the couple got up and invited them in for something to eat and drink. But with the wedding held in the morning, we were too tired and folks were all dispersed and Rob & Kathryn were spared the dubious honor of a Charivari (sha-ree-va-rée). The other custom, that the food at Cajun weddings is usually homemade, prepared by the bride's family for all the invited guests, was certainly followed.

WEDDING, ANNIVERSARY, AND BIRTHDAY PARTY
As soon as we arrived home from the Bloomington wedding, we had to prepare for a birthday party. The age of 68 is not a special one for having a birthday party, but Mark Parker, when we had lunch with him and Ruth Ryan a couple of weeks ago, had suggested we get together again soon, and my birthday seemed to provide a good excuse to bring together some old friends and new friends in Timberlane. Only problem was this: I had originally planned to cook a redfish courtboullion and I had used all my frozen redfish for the one in Indiana. I called my son-in-law Steve Bayhi and he was able to come through with some from his fishing buddy across the street, Ed, so Thanks, Steve and Ed for helping make my birthday special. I assembled the other ingredients and was ready to go on my birthday, July 20th.

First we had to celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary. I had taken Del to the Black Tie Dinner in the Rex Room of Antoine's Restaurant in June for our anniversary, and she had begun a new diet, so we decided to eat in Bobby Jeaux's Kitchen the night of the July 16 for our anniversary feast. The meal consisted of two large artichokes prepared in our favorite way, which he calls Artichoke Flowers. If you haven't tried the recipe, it's quick, delicious, and good for you. Best part is that Chef Bobby Jeaux leaves the premises as soon as the food is prepared so that Del and I can have the entire house to ourselves.

We usually have a veritable avalanche of anniversary and birthday cards during this week, but this year's crop of birthday cards included a giant, foot square card about a quarter-inch thick which had a scene like the opening credits of a Stars Wars movie saying "A Long, Long, Long Time Ago . . ." When you opened up the card, it played the Stars Wars theme music real LOUD! and finished the sentence, "YOU WERE BORN! ! !" Everyone got a hoot out of the card. We nearly wore out the battery showing it to folks at the party. In fact, I used the cover of the card to create the graphic for my email invitation which you can see at right.

My birthday was on a Sunday and the day before it, we had a wedding to attend in Raceland. My cousin, Pamela Barrios Savitts, had a son getting married, and for the second weekend in a row, there was a Hillary involved in the wedding. Last time she was the Maid of Honor, this time the Bride. The heavens unloaded with a huge rainfall as we neared the wedding site, but the large tent kept the water out and we stepped gingerly around the puddles after the rain stopped. Inside it was like a Westwego reunion because several of Pam's Barrios cousins from Westwego were there: Barbara Elliott and Ronald Brown. I hadn't seen them since we moved out of Westwego in 1955. Ronald was in my class through elementary and high school, but our paths had not crossed since then. I did find out that he worked on my brother David's house at the end of Matherne Lane along Bayou Gauche Road. It was great to see him. Barbara's parents were the last house on Ave H on my New Orleans States newspaper delivery route. The woods began right past their house — what is now known as the West Bank Expressway. Many of my Babin cousins were there as well as my mother's twin sisters Clarice and Clara. Aunt Clara was the grandmother of the Groom. Both looked beautiful and seemed to enjoy the festivities. Cousins Danny, Marie, Teenie, Donna, Myra, and Janell were also there. My Dad and brothers, Paul and Steve were also there. A good old-fashioned Cajun wedding with lots of home-made cakes for dessert.

Came home from the wedding and cleaned the fish in preparation for the courtboullion tomorrow. The two freezer packs had drum marked on one and the other still had its skin on was clearly sheepshead. Both fish cook well in a courtboullion and will taste like redfish. But the first pack, that was supposedly all cleaned, had rib bones in every piece. Took me longer to clean off the bones than to clean a whole fish from scratch. The second pack with the scales left was actually easier to clean because I could cut off the rib area entirely. People who filet off the rib cage have to deal with the bones, plus the smell of the guts which must be punctured. My way of cleaning leaves the rib cage meat intact. That little sliver of meat is useless for courtboullion. Got it all done and in the fridge for the party the next day.

It's my birthday, but the grass needed cutting. Only a half-week of St. Augustine growth, but still over the tops of shoes. Day was hot enough outside that few people walked in the yard, but it sure looked great. Then I came in and chopped the greens. Del helped by opening the cans. She prepared the veggie platter stuff. Then cleaned up our outside areas while I finished the chopping the greens for the courtboullion. Decided to do 6 cups of rice with all the folks who were coming. Had about one and a half cups of rice left in the pot.

The party was scheduled to start at 4 pm, but the email graphic caused some people to not see all the time and date info, so Paul, Joyce, and Buster showed up at 12:30. Daddy asked, "You haven't started cooking yet?" So I started earlier than I figured and cooked a two quart saucepan full of the courtboullion for lunch for the five of us. We played cards with Paul, Joyce, and Buster until almost 4 pm and thus we had little time to prepare before the onslaught of guests began, but Del and I knew the drill and everything went off without a hitch.

As soon as we stopped the card game, Del got her stuff ready and I began heating the large pot of courtboullion sauce again about 4 pm, added the baby Portobella mushrooms and green bellpeppers then, and about 5 pm I started the other two pots of rice and added the fish to the pot. We all ate about 5:30 - 6 pm and everyone had two helpings.

Mark Parker was the next guest to arrive, then it blurs a bit, but Rosie came, Gail, Jim, Brian and Judy, Ann and Don, Joy and John, Annie & Gus, Renee & Burt. I think that was all: 19 adults with hearty appetites. Everything went. Everyone enjoyed themselves. It was a very fun, bustling party from beginning to end. The doberge chocolate birthday cake was a hit and was topped with Breyer's Natural Vanilla Ice Cream. Little of the cake and ice cream remained. The veggie tray was likewise decimated as was the chip bowl and salsa. The Rainer cherries after dessert were also appreciated.

TWO DAUGHTERS VISIT TIMBERLANE
Our daughter Kim was in town with her son, Thomas, and spent the night with us. On that same day, our daughter Yvette was driving back with her family from their annual Michigan vacation. By the luck of the draw I got to see both of them, but they didn't get to see each other.

Del went with Kim and Thomas to see the new Batman movie, "The Dark KNight", and they enjoyed it. While they did that I tried my best to work on my review of "Stealing Athena", but the world seemed intent on "Stealing Bobby."

First thing I took some redfish courtboullion over to our friend J. B., who is on hospice care and is not looking good at all. I wasn't surprised when he said that he had no appetite. On full-time oxygen, he was sitting in his former office watching TV when I arrived. He could not get up. I had been thinking about him the past week because I knew how much he liked to the attend the Bastille Day Celebration in the French on July 14 each year and this year he would miss it. As President of Les Amis du Codofil Rive Ouest, he innovated the monthly breakfasts on the first Saturday of each month which have been so popular. Please join us in our prayers for J.B. during this time. [NOTE: As this Digest was being published, July 31, our good friend J. B. Borel died. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.]

By the time I got home, Del and Kim were ready to go to visit Doris, Kim's grandmother. After they left, Thomas watched TV in the guest bedroom, and about 15 minutes later he was hungry. He settled for a cheese sandwich. I went back to work and Yvette called from the road to say that they would be coming by to see Papa Buster. I suggested that they stop here for supper on the way. They had missed the redfish courtboullion in Bloomington because they left for Michigan right after the wedding, so now they could have some. They got here about 3 pm and stayed for an hour or so. Thomas played with his cousins, Aidan and Evelyn, in the hammock in the back yard.

Things were so busy, I forgot to get a photo of Yvette and Greg. They had eaten a few hours earlier, but enjoyed some courtboullion anyway. Even Aidan ate some with a little coaxing. When they left, I gave them the "long goodbye" where I wave and watch them drive off for as long as I can see them.

Kim and Del came back from Doris' place, and she took Thomas shopping for a present for a friend of his. When Kim and Thomas returned we played Pay Me! I won the first three Pay Me!'s and four more for 7 PM's — best ever. Next game Del won the most PM's and she and I tied at 60 for the low score. I had about 3 Pay Me's, but only near end of game. We finished close to 11 pm so I went to bed. What a busy day for a Tuesday! Two daughters from hundreds of miles away come to visit. Three grandkids. An ailing friend to visit, and a Pay Me! game or two.

WORLD WAR II MUSEUM SWING SESSION, MAMA MIA, AND MOUSE PRACTICE
The last Sunday of July was busy. We met our friends Jim and Gail at the World War II Museum downtown. Del and I had not been there for a couple of years and there were new exhibits. The C-47 cargo plane was now hanging overhead in the main gallery where the band was playing 1940s music and everyone was jitterbugging, fox trotting, etc. We walked through the new exhibits. The Asian Campaign had been expanded. A Hollywood War-time Film exhibit was new. It was a little difficult to hear the war-time films with the swing music coming up from the dance floor downstairs below.

I was attracted to the original poster of the film noir from the 40s "Laura". Sure enough, in the left hand lower corner was "Samuel Hoffenstein" credited with the screenplay. He is my favorite poet from the 1930s who wrote most of his poetry in New York City before he went to Hollywood to earn money writing screen plays for a living. Here is a clip from my review of Hoffenstein's Collected Poems:

One quatrain on page 65 from this poem is among my favorites. It speaks to me of the joys of utilization of the spontaneous vocal eructations from my larynx, wisdom from the unconscious part of me who really knows what's going on:

             XLVIII

      I seldom mean a single thing
      I say, or (as the phrase goes) sing;
      But if it sounds both right and true,
      I like to think I think I do.

After we left the museum, the girls went to the movies to see "Mama Mia" and its tribute to the singing group, ABBA. Jim and I went to my club for Mouse Practice which is a quaint name for some guys getting together to sip a little port, puff on a large cigar, and tell stories for a couple of hours. After Gail and Jim left for home, Del and I watched Michael Kitchen as DCS Foyle on Masterpiece theater. Another great WWII era mystery. Took place in the two days before V-E, Victory in Europe was declared, signaling German's unconditional surrender. We had just been reading displays at the WWII Museum about how Victory in Europe (V-E Day) was declared on May 8, the day after the capitulation. While watching PBS, Del and I got to relive those days in a town in England. That day is the only memory I have of World War II. I was months short of my fifth birthday, we were driving in the old 1939 Chevrolet, and the announcement came on the radio. My parents got so excited that I can still feel that excitement some 63 years later.

Till next month, then. Through the Grace of God, we will return to these pages with more original photos, reviews, cartoons, Cajun jokes, and other things to help make your life worth a little more fun and interesting.

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New Quotes Added to quotes.htm this month:

  • (SAMPLE) What frenzy has of late posssess'd the brain
    Though few can write, yet fewer can refrain."

    Samuel Garth ( 17th-century physician and poet ) US writer
  • New Stuff about Website:
  • Five Classic Books Everyone Should Read:

    1. Ludwig von Mises's Human Action.

    Reviewing Human Action is like reviewing the Bible. How do you describe the book in just a few words on paper? For me the process of reading it bridged a five-year period during which I got halfway through the book in fits and starts, waited a year or so, read a couple hundred pages, set it aside, and so on.

    Like the Bible the important part of the book is the effect it had on me. Each argument that has ever been proffered in favor of socialism and interventionistic policies of any kind, von Mises attacks, surgically removes its heart, eats it with relish, and moves on to the next course of his capitalistic feast. Von Mises' human action in this book is devoted to explaining how the interventionist policies of government are creating the very problems they are attempting to overcome. No sacred cows are bypassed by this monomaniac of economic freedom. Von Mises attacks everyone equally: the farmer who wants price supports, the laborer who wants minimum wages, the industrialist who wants his goods protected by a tariff; they are all rendered into the public tub of lard he calls socialism. And he allows no one to pretend that a little socialism is good - in the long run. In the short run he admits that the favored sector benefits from the skewing of public policy in its favor, but he hastens to show how even those who benefitted from the interventions lose in the long run.

    This is the only book on economics one needs to answer any and all the questions on how to proceed with tariffs, import duties, Japan, Germany, Russia, Poland, bank failures, interest rates, inflation, depressions, recessions, taxes and a myriad of other difficulties in government.

    That the book, Human Action, was written in 1949 only enhances the value of the timeless advice von Mises gives on economic matters. Pick it up and open to any page and the words there will seem to have been written just yesterday.

    Bypass this book at your own peril.

    2. Alfred Korzybski's Science & Sanity

    "The map is not the territory." That was my first introduction to the work of Count Alfred O. Korzybski. I heard those words in a Bandler and Grinder(1) Seminar in 1977 and borrowed a copy of this landmark book, his major opus, first published in 1933 from my friend Brian Kelley. He had been directed to it by our mutual metaphysics teacher, Alex Keller, some years earlier. I dug into the text of this 806 page book which had 657 references and 90 pages of Preface and Introductions. Suddenly the basis for the works of Samuel Bois, Kenneth S. Keyes, and S. I. Hayakawa began to make new sense for me — all these writers had studied under Korzybski. They were enriching his fundamental work and making it palatable to the general public.

    Korzybski's work created the field of General Semantics, which became known as a science and was taught in colleges and universities. Somehow I had missed it, up until then. I was determined to work my way through this book to make up for lost time and work I did: it took me an entire year of study to get through this dense book — dense in the compression of ideas in it. So dense that many days I was only able to read three or four pages and then had to stop because my brain was so full of ideas that I had to pause for 24 hours for them to be assimilated fully before I could proceed. And each day I applied those ideas and processes to as many situations as came up in my life during that day. It was, rightly understood, a year long seminar in General Semantics for me. In this review I hope to give you, my dear Readers, a taste of that seminar so that the flavor of this important science can remain with you and bring some sanity into the science that abounds all around and inside of you from now on.

    3. Andrew Joseph Galambos's Sic Itur Ad Astra — Volitional Science V50T

    In this book, Galambos establishes the basis for a society in which the three areas of economics, culture, and governance can be kept completely independent of each, something Rudolf Steiner called a Threefold society.
    Excerpt from Review:

    How appropriate that I should be writing this review on July 4, 1999, the last Independence Day to be celebrated during the old millennium. I cannot write this review except as a person who took the nineteen week V50T course some seventeen years ago of which this book is a transcription. The course was recorded in 1968, and even though I took it in 1982 and am reading it in 1999, the contents are as fresh as they were in 1968. But I have had these many years to muse over the ideas of Galambos and to read Rudolf Steiner's works. The ideas of both Steiner and Emerson are aligned directly with Galambos on freedom, but Galambos adds a scientific precision to affairs involving human action that has been lacking, up until now. Here's how Galambos defines freedom using a precise operational definition. An operational definition is one that allows you to operate using the definition to determine whether some amorphous condition satisfies the definition. No other definition of freedom has met that criterion before this one.

    freedom is the societal condition that exists when one has 100% control over one's life and all non-procreative derivatives of one's life.
    As Galambos predicts, you may be thinking that is impossible, and his response to that is a simple question, "What natural law does it violate?" So I ask you to ponder that question. For that is the question that determines if something is impossible — it is impossible if it violates a natural law. At one time, about one hundred years ago, it was thought to be impossible for man to fly, but flying in a heavier-than-air machine did not violate any natural law, and two bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio invented the aeroplane. Now WordPerfect® doesn't like that spelling of the name of the machine, it prefers airplane, but aeroplane is what the Wright Bros named their invention. That's the spelling that Galambos used, and the name I will use in this review out of gratitude to the innovators. And gratitude, he tells us, is not to be confused with "thankfulness."
    [page 777] Gratitude is not a superficial characteristic. It's a very deep underlying concept, and those who are not able to express an understanding and therefore, an ability to make acknowledgment, and therefore, compensation for value they have received, are said to be ungrateful.

    4. Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

    What a paradigm? You've heard the word, in this book, you read the words of the man who brought it into recent prominence.
    Excerpt from Review:

    What Kuhn did for science is to highlight the power of its paradigmatic approach to reality, and the flaws of the approach. A paradigm can be like a dam holding back the flood waters of heresy or it can be a stone wall which deflects the arrows of anomalies from penetrating its sanctum sanctorum. A paradigm can lubricate the everyday processes of science and it can prevent any paradigmatic anomalies or deviancies from ever leading to a newer and more robust science. A paradigm can be a boon or a boner, a safe haven for productive work or a neurotic shelter from the real world.

    Kuhn says that his "most fundamental objective is to urge a change in the perception and evaluation of familiar data." If we are viewing and evaluating our data through paradigmatic-colored glasses, then he urges that we become aware of that, and learn to take them off from time to time when anomalies arise so that we see and evaluate the data directly. It is only thus that new paradigms may ever arise.

    These two quotes will highlight the two contradictory aspects of a paradigm. [

    page viii, from the Preface] Yet, somehow, the practice of astronomy, physics, chemistry, or biology normally fails to evoke the controversies over fundamentals that today often seem endemic among, say, psychologists or sociologists. Attempting to discover the source of that difference led me to recognize the role in scientific research of what I have since called "paradigms." These I take to be universally recognized scientific achievements that for a time provide model problems and solutions to a community of practitioners.

    [page ix, from the Preface] In addition, the view of science to be developed here suggest the potential fruitfulness of a number of new sorts of research, both historical and sociological. For example, the manner in which anomalies, or violations of expectation, attract the increasing attention of a scientific community needs detailed study, as does the emergence of the crises that may be induced by repeated failure to make an anomaly conform.

    When I mentioned above that "I outgrew my textbooks," I used an expression that I learned from Kuhn in this book. Our image of science comes from our textbooks, and many scientists never outgrow this image. Unless we, as scientists, come to realize the actual historical development of sciences that lay behind the images drawn for us in the tourist brochures we call textbooks, we cannot understand the limitations under which we have been operating out of our awareness, up until now. Up until Thomas Kuhn.
    [page 1] That image has previously been drawn, even by scientists themselves, mainly from the study of finished scientific achievements as these are recorded in the classics and, more recently, in the textbooks from which each new scientific generations learns to practice its trade. Inevitably, however, the aim of such books is persuasive and pedagogic; a concept of science drawn from them is no more likely to fit the enterprise that produced them than an image of a national culture drawn from a tourist brochure or a language text.
    We must come to think about Galileo's views, not in relation to modern science, but in relation to the state of science in his own time. This, Kuhn tells us, is what historians of science are beginning to do, and what led him to his interest in paradigms as a way of understanding the evolution of consciousness that accompanies a scientific breakthrough. In Galileo's time, there were many ways of understanding the motion of falling bodies and pendulums, many schools of thought on the subject. Each school had its individual paradigm. And yet Galileo found a way to solve problems that resisted the ablest members of the other schools of thought or paradigms. He performed outlandish experiments and led his "profession at last to a new set of commitments, a new basis for the practice of science." (page 6) He created a new paradigm for experimental science that we take for granted today.


    5. Robert Axelrod's The Evolution of Cooperation

    This is a ground-breaking book that begins with a simple premise, "When should a person cooperate?"
    Excerpt from Review:

    In his Preface he not only asks when should a person cooperate, but when should a person not cooperate in an ongoing interaction with another. Axelrod takes off from these pointed questions, but not as Emerson or Aristotle might have, expostulating basic reasons why cooperation is morally better than not cooperating. Instead Axelrod asks for people to come up with simple algorithms or software programs that specify when cooperation is to occur in an interaction and when not. Not only that but he specifies the exact rules of the interaction, something he calls the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma. And if that is not mind-boggling enough, he constructs a computer platform which allows the various submissions he receives from experts all over the world to play against each other to determine a winner!

    Axelrod sent out invitations to 63 experts around the world and when their responses came in, he input them into his computer and allowed them to play against each other. Using the numerical grading system of the Prisoner's Dilemma from Game Theory, he was able to create an objective score which reflected the success of this otherwise abstract strategies when they worked against each other.

    "And the Winner is . . ." Well, the winner was a five-line FORTRAN program submitted by Anatol Rapaport of the University of Toronto. By far the shortest program, it won hands down against all the other 62 submissions. Axelrod published the results to all participants so they could see the code of all the submitters and how each performed. He then invited them, plus about 200 other folks, to submit to a second round.

    "And the Winner of the Second Round is . . ." Anatol Rapaport, who simply re-submitted the same five lines of code and won against all the other 255 or so participants. What was Rapaport's strategy that was so robust as to win against all comers? Simply this:

    1. Cooperate on the first move.

    2. Do whatever the other does on succeeding moves.

    If this sounds too simple, you're right. But all the great thinkers who tried to devise a better way, failed.





  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    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 http://www.netflix.com/ 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.):
    “Spider-man 3" (2007) This completes the trilogy by tying together the loose ends of the first two movies. May be the best of the three. We see the ahrimanic influences on Peter (black alien which takes over a person) and the photographer. Spider-man is rescued by sitting on a church steeple indicating the source of the power he used to rid himself of the ahrimanic creature. The photographer wanted the power so much he destroyed himself trying to get it back.

    “John Adams” (2008) Disk 2 of 2 One should never watch sausages or revolutions being made, not up close and personal as this look at John and Abigail Adams life is portrayed. But one can feel the sweep and grandeur of events which rise above the grime and ugly emotions.
    “American Gangster” (2007) How a black gangster of Harlem got all the Mafia working for him with an innovative plan for buying pure drugs direct from the supplier and shipping to the USA. Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe star as enemies who become friends in this amazing true story. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
    “Monster-in-Law” (2005) JLO and Barbarella slap each other around in this romantic comedy. Fonda ain’t fonda Lopez being her only son’s wife, and strives to make her crazy and soon JLO returns the flavor and things get sticky. All in good fun.
    “Killing Emmett Young” (2003) Young detective Emmett is given a week to live by his doctor and strives to finish the serial murder case before he dies. To prevent his suffering, he contracts a killer to dispatch himself quickly. Suddenly a mistake is found in his medical records and Emmett is trying to find the serial killer while his own contracted killer is trying kill him. Emmett doesn’t stay young very long. But can he stay alive for very long?
    “Cashback”(2006) Surprisingly good movie set in an all-night drugstore. Ben learns to freeze time and discovers that “Love is frozen in the seconds of your life — it you don’t stop for a second, you’ll miss it.”

    “If Only” (2004) one could relive one’s life during one crucial day, what wonders might happen, perhaps love would break out, but what else might change? Ian and Samantha are offered the chance to find out in this amazing movie.
    “Fool’s Gold” ( 2008) A really stupid, dumb movie with terrible script is saved by two sexy people, Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson, who get into a zany dash for a treasure stash with incompetent bad guys who had a worse script writer than the stars and a worse ending. A reluctant and surprising hit.
    “Love’s Enduring Promise” (2004) is that love has meager beginnings and pain will eventually be wiped away. This movie has four men in great pain, struggling to stay alive on the frontier where school closes for planting season and hearts open for Thanksgiving.
    “Mr. Woodcock” (2007) Full of painful laughs — Get over it! Watch this movie right now or Give me Ten! Billy Bob at his Silly Bob Mr. Straight-Face Best. Warmed-over Stickler jokes can’t rain on the genuine laughter which breaks out to move this one barely into a Hit.

    “Dangerous Beauty” (1998) was Veronica Franco, a courtesan in 16th century Venice. Her life, loves, and the power she yielded with the men of Venice. Would the Inquisition break her spirit? (See also digest079) A DON’T MISS HIT ! !
    “Hero Wanted” (2008) about Cuba Gooding as a a hero with a lot of secrets and Ray Liotta as his nemesis. As the secrets are revealed an intricate inner life of Gooding is revealed. Can he survive the web of relationships he has woven around himself?
    “Mama’s Boy” (2007) Jon Heder, Jeff Daniels, Diane Keaton — this love triangle breaks up as Mama’s Boy grows up in the coarse, er, course of this movie. A surprising Hit after a lugubrious beginning. Heder is like a young Jerry Lewis — a klutsy Peter Pan who never grows up.
    “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” (2006) about the beginning of the Irish Republican movement to separate from Britain in 1920. We see it start, from Irish eyes, with brutal British troops beating up and killing those who insisted on speaking their native gaelic tongue. Does it have a good ending? Not the movie, it’s Irish, remember?
    “The Ranger, the Cook, and a Hole in the Sky” (1998) Where did the year between 17 and 18 go? Probably with the Ranger and the Cook (whoever they were in our lives back then) into a Hole in the Sky. Great adaptation of Norman Maclean story with Sam Elliott as the Ranger.

    “Vantage Point” (2007) Dennis Quaid as the nervous Secret Service agent who took a bullet for the President and is on his first assignment back protecting the President. Or is he? Will he survive? Will the President? Look at the situation from multiple vantage points until you get the right information to act upon.
    “You Kill Me” (2007) Imagine when Ben Kingsley gets up at AA meeting and announces, “I’m Frank. I’m an alcoholic and I kill people.” Does the “Anonymous” part protect his occupation as hit man from being revealed? Who do you pull for when alcohol use prevents him from doing his job? A humorous look at real life alcoholic and mob rule problems.
    “The Guys” (2002) Nick the Fireman (LaPaglia) lost a bunch of firefighters from his squad on Sept 11th and sought out help from a writer (Sigourney Weaver) to do their eulogies. Intense amazing scenes between these two fine actors form the bulk of the movie. A two handerkerchief thumbs up. A DON’T MISS HIT ! !

    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.

    “Born into Brothels” (2004) and found it hard to get interested in Calcutta kids who grew up in seamy houses of prostitution.

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

    “Jumper” (2008) World travel without having to take off your shoes. Or put them on. Flash and dash with little script. Makes “Matrix” movies look slow. Short-attention Spans will love this one!
    “Blame It on Fidel” (2006) shows the influence of Castro on the communistic cells in France in the 1960s and the lack of influence on one strong young preteen girl who understood communism’s faults better than her parents.


    == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
    4. CAJUN STORY:
    == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==

    Thanks to Annette Fuselier in Arkansas for sending in this joke.

    After his beloved wife Marie died, Boudreaux got re-married to a young virgin, Chloe, about half his age. After several months, Chloe complained to her husband, “You know, Boudreaux, ah don’t think ah have got me an orgasm, yet. Dere must be something wrong — my Maman told me dat all Cajun women get orgasms. What you think, Cher?”

    Boudreaux said, “Mais, ah think we got to see Dr. Bastille about dis problem.”

    “But Dr. Bastille is a horse doctor,” Chloe protested.

    “Dat’s okay, he knows about dese things.”

    When Chloe explained her problem, Dr. Bastille scratched his head and said, “Mais, dat's a new one for me. Lemme think about dat. Yeh, last summer, remember how hot it was? T-Joe had a mare that couldn’t get pregnant with his stallion. Ah didn't know what to do, but my stablehand Ray-P said dat his Momma used to fan a problem mare with a big towel to cool her down and sure ‘nuff, dat mare would get pregnant right away. You and Boudreaux could try dat trick with de towel.”

    Chloe said, “But how we gonna find someone to fan me with a towel, Doc?”


    Dr. Bastille said, “Lemme send over mah young stablehand, Ray-P, with a big towel to help you out.”

    Ray-P came over and waved the big towel over them while they were having sex. Unfortunately, after many attempts, Chloe still had not reached a climax. So, they went back to see Dr. Bastille. “What can we do, Doc?” Chloe pleaded. “We’ll try anything.”

    Doc scratched his head again, “Maybe if Boudreaux would wave the towel while you and Ray-P have sex, that would work better.”

    They tried it that night and Lola went into wild, screaming, ear-splitting climaxes, one right after the other for about an hour.

    When they were done, Boudreaux looked down at the exhausted stablehand and exclaimed, “See dat, Ray-P! Dat is how you wave a towel!”

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

    Pineapple-Strawberry Sundae Sundae

    Background on Pineapple-Strawberry Sundae Sundae: This dessert is made with fresh pineapple and fresh strawberries. We have fresh pineapples available almost year round in New Orleans, but, to ensure a ripe pineapple, I buy my pineapple a week before I'm ready to use it, and place it in the center of our fruit bowl.

    I love fresh strawberries, but they dry out in a day or two in the fridge, and I had been looking for a way to keep the strawberries moist. This recipe solved the problem. By slicing the strawberries on top of the freshly chunked pineapple and turning the bowl upside down, the natural pineapple juices keep the strawberries moist and sweeten them slightly. I tried adding honey the first time, they came out too sweet to our taste.

    NOTE: This recipe takes 10 days to accomplish. One week for pineapple to ripen in fruit bowl. Three days for pineapple juices to marinate the strawberries. Of course the strawberries and pineapple chunks will be delicious right away, and you eat out of the bowl for a week while waiting for next week's pineapple to ripen in your fruit bowl. So, it only take a few minutes to prepare once you have a fully ripe pineapple ready each week. (Please: no artificial toppings or Lo-fat or No Fat yogurt. This is a dessert, not a starvation regimen. It already contains only natural sweetness except for the sugar in the small amount of whipped cream.)

    Ingredients
    Ready-Whip Whipped Cream
    Dannon's Plain Yogurt
    One fully-ripened whole Pineapple
    One carton of ripe strawberries
    Trimming and Chunking the Pineapple
    Someone gave me a pineapple corer. I tried it once and threw it away. This procedure is easier, faster, and surer.

          1) With a sharp CUTCO knife, cut off the top and bottom of the pineapple. With pineapple on its bottom, slice down to cut away any of the hard outer peel. Rotate pineapple and continue cutting as show in this photo until completely peeled.

          2) Cut vertically in half along two of the ridges left during the peeling. Lay each half face down and slice along the remaining ridges towards the center. Doesn't matter if you hit the center: if you do, you'll have center pith to remove in the next step, if not you won't. Remove the hard center pith as shown in this photo.

          3) Now it's time to chunk the pineapple wedges. You can chop them on the board as shown in this photo. Or, as I do, slice them carefully as you hold them over the bowl. This reduces the juice loss from the slicing by directing all the juice into the bowl. Works best if you slice from the harder pith side of the wedge to the outer softer edge.

          4) Now slice the strawberries one at a time over the bowl. Slice them in circular cross-section for artistic effect. Throw away any unriped or whitish pieces of strawberry. When done, place cover on bowl tightly, turn over, and place in fridge. A Rubbermaid bowl as shown holds exactly one chunked pineapple and a small carton of strawberries.

    Serving Suggestion
    The strawberries and pineapple chunks are delicious eaten right out of the bowl, but they also make a terrific light dessert when served over plain yogurt with a touch of whipped cream as a garnish, as shown in photo above.

    Other options
    Substitute the yogurt with Breyer's Natual Vanilla Ice Cream, add more whipped cream, perhaps some chopped walnuts and a Maraschino cherry for a spectacular dessert. Or perhaps use three scoops of ice cream, strawberries on one scoop, chocolate on middle scoop, pineapple on the third, and slice a banana in half to place along the side and you have an old-fashioned Banana Split.



    == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
    6. POETRY by BOBBY from his The End of Science Review:
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    Strong Science

    Strong scientists,
    — those Faustian truth-seekers
    — of ironic science,

    Quest for knowledge
    — outside the nine dots
    — of empirical science

    Using the most delicate instruments ever devised,
    — their human body and soul.

    And as they go about their daily prayer,
    This wistful lyric fills the air:

    Tis not for the strong or meek,
    Tis for our Self we seek.


    == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
    7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for August:
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    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: I Connecting — The Soul's Quest by Kristina Kaine

           The Master of our Destiny,
           Captain of our Soul,
           Has his eye upon the map
                 his hands on the control —
           He will not cut us any slack

                 unless that's what
                 we've come here for.

    Above I have quoted my poem, "Soul Captain" which I wrote back around 1980. Who is our Soul Captain, that intrepid explorer who navigates the ship of our lives and takes us on amazing and otherwise interesting journeys? Those of you who might add the adjective "boring" to describe some parts of the journey of your life, I recommend highly to you that you study the uses of boredom as described by Rudolf Steiner in his book, From Mammoths to Mediums.

    Let me tell you a a story. A businessman whose shop I frequent, let me call him Frankie, recently was hospitalized for almost two weeks, and at the end of extensive tests, the doctors found nothing to explain his symptoms. They told him he had some unknown stomach virus, probably. When I saw Frankie, I immediately noticed he had lost weight and looked pale and unsteady. He was already thin and the loss of weight looked rather unhealthy. He told me his story and I could hear his expression of concern about what the illness was and if it might never heal or might come back. A day or so later, he wasn't busy, so we sat down and talked. I asked him two questions. These two simple questions I stumbled upon back in 1979 when I was studying psychotherapy. I have found them over the years to be useful for helping myself and others to understand the meaning of unfortunate events which happen to them.

    Question 1: What did happen during the time of this event which would not have happened under any other circumstances?

    Question 2: What would have happened during this time that did not happen?

    To the first question, Frankie said, "Lots of tests, etc." Who visited you? "Just my wife." Anybody else? "Just the psychiatrist, who asked me questions about my childhood. No help." Then I asked him the second question and Frankie said, "Not much. Just work as usual." Suddenly I recalled that Frankie had started a luncheon café which wasn't going very well for him and was requiring a lot of his time. I hardly saw him any more in his coffeeshop that I frequented. I asked him about the café. "I had to close it while I was sick. Can't find dependable manager for it." There was the answer to what caused Frankie's mysterious sickness — his Soul Captain had steered him into a hospital bed to force him to close the troublesome café. Each day following our conversation, Frankie looked better and I never asked him again about the new shop. Hopefully, he will keep it closed and sell it, but if he should re-open it, he will be hazarding another bout of his mysterious illness.

    What I have learned over the decades is that so-called mysterious events in my life were shore excursions planned for me by my Soul Captain, and by asking these two questions, I have been able to sort out the useful functions of those unexpected events. One time back in 1975, I came down with the red measles, which is a medical oddity because my mother swore to me that I had them when I was a child. So unusual was red measles in an adult, that I spied two doctors looking in a medical book while I was in the examination room. I was really worried when I saw my doctor consulting another doctor and then both of them looking up something in a medical reference book. When I asked my doctor later, he said they needed to confirm their diagnosis of this very rare condition in an adult. It wasn't until many years later that I applied these two questions and understood the events. Some things happened while I was home every day for a week which changed the rest of my life for the better. Thanks to this shore excursion, my life is where it is today.

    If it helps you to remember the two questions, think of them as Permission and Protection questions. Question 1 allows you to discover the permission to do something that you would not have done otherwise. Question 2 reveals how you were protected from doing something that would have been bad for you. In the case of Frankie, he was protected from keeping his troublesome shop open. In the case of my red measles, I was given permission to stay home and notice what had been going on while I would have otherwise been too busy at work to observe.

    When you ask these two questions and thoughtfully ponder them, you will be able to uncover the good intentions of your Soul Captain for these fortuitous circumstances in your life. And when you understand the benefits which have come to you from these seemingly harmful events, you will have begun to connect with your own "I" and that is the theme of this insightful book by Kristina Kaine.

    People have asked me for a definition of “soul” and here is one, simply put: Your soul is the repository of your personal experiences in this lifetime; it contains all the sensory data which has impinged upon and all the feelings which have arisen within you. Your soul does not determine upon what excursions you will go, that is the job of the spirit, your Soul Captain, your "I". Your soul is the bellwether of your relationship to your "I". If your soul is not resisting the events which arise in your world, that is a good sign that your soul and spirit are in synchrony with each other — that your soul is connecting with your "I".

    As the gardener expresses himself through his garden, our spirit expresses itself through our soul. The one modern psychologist who devoted his life to the study of the spirit was Carl Jung. He called the spirit the Self and taught people whose lives were empty how to contact their Self, notice and respond positively to their Self, and thereby become Self-actualized. He, in effect, taught those who had been idlers to pick up their instrument called soul and pick out tunes. Here's the musician metaphor as Kaine portrays it:

    Each of us possesses a balalaika with the three strings of feeling, thinking and willing, but until our "I" begins plunking those strings, we will make no music. We will drift along like a long-lost hobo, riding the trails, until — one day — we discover our instrument, pick it up and begin generating harmonious melodies. Suddenly we are lost no more, but found.

    During a return trip from Indiana last week, I had an urge to take a photo of a tall Chevron sign along an interstate. I could not put my finger on any reason for taking the photograph. It was just a very tall sign for a gasoline station and from the angle I was taking it, one could not see the chevron-shaped logo on the sign. As I took the photo, I switched my new SONY T300 camera to the setting that promised "rich blue color" because the sky was a beautiful blue with puffy white clouds. Okay, I thought, maybe I just wanted a photo of the sky, but why by that sign — I had no idea. Until we got back on the interstate highway with my wife driving, and a few minutes down the road, there was the tall space rocket at a park in Huntsville, Alabama. It was right next to the speedy highway, and I had wanted a photograph of it on the way up to Indiana, but we couldn't stop. I quickly pulled out my camera, now all set for taking a photo of a high object with a blue sky and clouds, and as we passed the rocket, I took a great photo out the window. But for the hitherto unexplainable photo of the gas station sign moments earlier, I would not have had time to set the camera up to take the perfect shot. My "I" knew that rocket was coming up and led me to take the photo at the gas station in order to be ready for the drive-by photo of the rocket. Here is an example of how our "I" prompts us when we connect up with it. For some people, it is a quiet voice in their head, for others, a vision. For many people, such urges are simply ignored for lack of a rational reason. For me, it was an unexplainable urge, a feeling in my soul which had connected with my "I". As I think of it now, both the sign and the rocket resembled a giant letter I rising into the sky.

    In the book, Kaine suggests that we trace back in our life to find when some feeling response was born. This is a splendid suggestion, but unfortunately, most of those feeling responses were born before any of us can recall. Freud talked about childhood amnesia existing before five years old. The science of doyletics postulates that a transition takes place at that age which explains this "childhood amnesia." Before five, our body remembers every event which happened to us, but is only able to store the memories as bodily states or doylic memories. After five, our memories are stored as images and sounds which we can recall consciously in contrast with the bodily memories which have no image or sound components. Before five we have bodily memories, after five we have cognitive memories or what everyone just calls memories.

    How can one trace down to when some feeling response was born, when one has no recall of the event? This process of identifying the original event can take years in psychoanalysis or psychotherapy to identify. Or one can use the efficient speed trace of doyletics which allows one to hold the bodily state, go back in time under five years old to before the original event, and the original event will be stored as images and sounds and one will consciously be able to recall the event. Once one has done this, one will no longer be held in thrall to bodily states which are no longer helpful to us. This process of tracing takes place naturally as we age for such things as food dislikes. Most people over forty years old have dropped their childhood dislikes for green vegetables, for example, indicating we have an innate ability to trace down certain of these original events. In spite of that, one can find still people who will not eat an oyster, despise broccoli, brussels sprouts, grapefruit, mayonnaise, or even hate chocolate, well up into their sixties. Clearly there is a need for a efficient method that anyone can use unaided to eliminate bodily feelings that are counter-productive.

    When we see someone with whom we shared good times, the mere image of them can trigger doylic memories which make us feel as we did during those good times. If we see a stranger, the feeling triggered may be more like the concern our mother felt when she told us to be wary of strangers. Thus, if we see someone we think we recognize, only to discover that it is a stranger, the good feelings are triggered then quickly replaced by the wary concern and we feel the emotion we call embarrassment.

    Doylic memories can arise from: 1) actual images, 2) actual sounds, 3) other doylic memories, or 4) cognitive memories. This is especially true of the kind of cognitive memories we manipulate during thinking, and as a result the mere process of thinking can create a plethora of doylic memories in quick succession. Kaine gives us an example of this when a dark cloud leads to the idea of rain falling and how we might deal with it. And part of dealing with it is the feelings or doylic memories which arise from the possibilities we consider. In the examples given below Kaine relates how automatic responses can arise from childhood events. There is a paradox about these childhood events which I hinted at earlier: if you can remember the event, the response will not arise. If the response arises, you will not be able remember the event.

    [page 18] What usually happens is that our past memories rise up and they can have an automatic effect on our response to a situation. For example, we may look at a tree and respond to its beauty, or we may feel fearful when we remember that we fell out of such a tree as a child; or without conscious memory, the smell of paint may give us a headache because as a child we smelt the paint as we fell off a ladder and bumped our head.

    This is where the speed trace comes in handy: it allows us to trace back using only the doylic memory while it is still present, and when you go back below five years old to an age slightly before the original event, the doylic memory will dissolve and will never return. The doylic memory is replaced by a cognitive memory and you will never be confronted by a headache from the smell of paint or become fearful when viewing a tree up close.

    Our soul is on auto-pilot, as Kaine says, but we can intervene by consciously deciding to do a speed trace to remove the automatic responses which would otherwise continue to arise every time we see a tree or smell paint the rest of our lives. It seems to me from a decade of observing my own doylic memories and doing traces to remove them, that the events which seemed to plague me by triggering doylic memories seem to abate after I have traced away my doylic responses to them. In other words, if I seemed to spend a lot of time around places with fresh paint before I traced away my reaction to paint, after my trace, I no longer encounter places with fresh paint as often. But when I do, the existence of the fresh paint mostly escapes my notice. This seems to generalize to all levels of my experience and leads me to postulate that my Soul Captain leads me into situations to trigger doylic memories and once I have traced and erased them, he leads me into other situations which trigger completely different doylic memories. He doesn't cut me any slack and keeps me always on my toes for some new challenge.


    "Be creative!" appeared near the top of a Betty Crocker Cake Mix box. An excellent suggestion for a cook, but the statement below those words explicitly removed any nuance of creativity: "And Here's How You Do It!" What part of creativity did the ad-writers not understand? It was Reality TV in a box. Here's how you survive on a deserted island, here's how you survive in a desert, or Antarctica, or a mud-filled obstacle course, and so on, ad nauseam. What is the type of world that is being created by such mind-numbing but time-filling reality shows? The type that is portrayed so scathingly in the recent movie, "Idiocracy", which literally means "Rule by Idiots". The movie starts in earnest, 500 years in the future — in other words, after 500 years of Reality TV shows — at the time of the great Garbage Collapse. It seems that all the garbage created by the world has just been piled on the top of one mountainous garbage heap. When it collapses, our hero from this century who has been in suspended animation, is dumped into the living room of someone watching Reality TV and eating pizza, which he does every day, like everyone else, of course. Luke Wilson was chosen for this suspended animation project because he had been certified as an Average American. He arrives in the future and is soon discovered to the world's smartest human being. One memorable line comes when he must buy something from the huge discount warehouse called Costco. The attendant tells Luke that what he wants can be found at Mile 18 of the warehouse.

    There is no doubt in my mind that is the direction we're heading in, and also that some revolution will be required to turn us around, a revolution of thought, which unlike the first American Revolution will not involve guns or war. True freedom, rightly understood, as created by Galambos' amazing definition, can be built one person at a time, and once built can never be destroyed. How will the masses learn about it? When they notice that the most successful people already understand it and want some of what they have for themselves. What they will obtain for themselves is something sorely lacking today at every level of society, especially in politics. What is that missing element? Morality. And why would the masses want it? Because they will have discovered that morality is life-enhancing.

    You may scoff at me for even hinting that such a thing as I propose above is possible. How could I dare to suggest that freedom is something you build instead of fight for? That one could discover morality to be profitable? Yes, I get the picture. Scoff away. Do it right away, though, because you may find scoffing a bit harder after reading this next paragraph.


    [page 49] We can be confident that the I-connection will mature if we work with it. It is not uncommon, when our connection with our "I" is beginning to develop in us, to feel threatened by others who have a more developed relationship between their "I" and their soul. This can reveal itself in scoffing or trying to bring the other person down to our level. So, if we are being scoffed at it could be a sign that our I-connection is strengthening. With a more mature I-connection we do not retaliate, we are patient with others in their journey to mature their own I-connection.

    There is a perennial Science Fiction theme about an "Invisible Man" and recently I have seen some scientific attempts to portray how one might make themselves invisible. In hundreds of years of thought on the invisible man and invisibility, no one has ever made notice of a salient side effect of being invisible: one must necessarily be blind! In order for us to engage visually with the world, the retina of our eyes must provide resistance to light, in fact, our retina must almost completely absorb the light which hits it. The red eye phenomena of modern cameras shows us that some light can be reflected from the retina and recorded. But, whether absorbed or reflected, the one thing a working retina cannot do is allow light to pass through it, as it necessarily must be the case for the so-called Invisible Man. Our eyes must be visible in order for us to have sight because our retina must offer resistance to the light, either absorbing or reflecting it. Similarly our "I" must meet with resistance to exert its influence. Someone whose "I" does not meet with resistance leads a life of "quiet desperation" or a life "full of sound and fury signifying nothing".

    Kaine describes how we can engage with difficulties without struggling, simply by choosing the way we feel about things. If we feel bad as a result of our choice of fantasies about the way things would turn out, then we can choose another fantasy, point forward, which will make us feel good, no matter how things turn out. In the extreme, we can recognize that, in a life successfully lived, it's fantasy all the way down. In a sense, it's like recognizing that our Soul Captain never allows us to waste a mistake.

    [page 49] We can engage with the resistance placed in our way as a kite must meet with resistance before it can fly. It does not mean we struggle with difficulties but that we acknowledge the difficulties, and accept them or deal with them as objectively as possible.

    True freedom is not acting as one pleases. Only in a world that knows no robust definition of freedom is it possible to think that the young man in this story was exercising freedom when he walked along a sidewalk dropping litter along the way.

    [page 51] I was walking along a busy shopping strip and outside a public building was a little oasis with trees and seats for shoppers to rest. One young fellow was picking the bits that he didn't like out of his salad sandwich and dropping them on the footpath. Later on when I returned by there, he had gone, but his discarded salad remained on the footpath.

    Would anyone have complained if the young fellow owned the footpath upon which he was walking? No, I don't think so. So he necessarily must have walking upon a footpath who belonged to someone else. In a world in which the fantasy of "public property" and confused definitions of freedom exist, such episodes as the one with the young fellow are likely to happen with increasing frequency. It's a slippery slope from that kind of behavior to Idiocracy.

    In a pruning metaphor, Kaine says ". . . a branch from a tree is hanging over the garden path. We can either remove the branch by pruning it, or we can accidentally bump into it and break it off — perhaps even being injured in the process. Pruning, the act that is undertaken consciously and purposefully, is obviously more timely and harmonious." (Page 64) What Kaine says makes sense to me, except for the image conjured of being injured. I agree that conscious pruning can be more timely and harmonious than unconscious pruning, but I see the "I" at work in the unconscious pruning. Even accidents which cause injuries can have an overall harmonious effect, both on the tree pruned in the process and person injured. One need only ask the two questions of protection and permission to flesh out the good intention of the pruning incident. When Hurricane Katrina hit our home in the New Orleans area, our live oak tree underwent an enormous pruning. We had less shade for a time which helped the St. Augustine grass grow under the tree in areas previously barren. Hurricanes are one of nature's ways of pruning dead growth from trees which provides them extra light and a growth spurt. One does best if one sees both intentional and unintentional prunings as beneficial. If you take my advice, however, don't complain to me if you have nothing to complain about.

    Once we have identified our "I" as the Captain of our Soul, then we take the good and the bad with equanimity and always look for the good intention behind the action. If we strive to do this, we will catch a glimpse of the knowing Captain smiling at the helm of our ship of life.

    [page 69] Using the analogy of the "I" as the captain of our soul, the captain gives commands to the crew according to the impressions (impulses) that come to him through his senses, as well as through his calculations (reasoning) and through his wise experience (awareness), so that the ship will move through the water in the intended way.

    All sounds so good, what could go wrong? Well, we all know that mutiny is possible on a ship full of rebellious passengers and crew. What results is a detour in the plans of the Captain from his projected plans for us and results a retardation of our growth. We eventually reach whatever destination the detour bypassed, but only much later. Perhaps with different passengers and crew.

    [page 71] Using the analogy of the ship's captain again; our soul and "I" work together like a crew works with the captain of a ship. All is harmony and smooth sailing if the "I" is in charge. However, if our soul's forces act on their own, without following the lead of the "I", confusion, disharmony and even catastrophe can result. Then we can say that our soul has mutinied.

    On the other hand, if we work with the crew and the Captain, we become conscious more and more of his intentions and agree with them. It seems to us at such times of clarity that it is as if we are the one steering the ship because we are so delighted with the places the Captain is taking us.

    [page 73] The more we work with our I-connection, the more often we are conscious of it. In other words, our "I" becomes conscious of itself and the power of that awareness maximises our efforts. There is a synergistic effect. When we develop inner strength, our "I" is given room to tame our soul and create harmony and balance. The strengthened I-connection gains a momentum. We can become 'self-propelled'!

    The area of feelings is something I have become a bit of an expert on, mainly because I spent the first half of my life not knowing what they were. Remember I make my biggest mistakes first. Sure I had feelings, but I was a scientist and thought feelings to be ephemeral illusions and without any reality. They were a bother, basically. What I considered to be real feelings during those days were simply those which existed in my body as sensory perceptions. With that misguided way of understanding feelings, I strove to eliminate the illusory ones and concentrate on the real ones. As a result, my soul life was grossly deficient.

    Then one day, I read Jane Austen’s novel, Emma. During the reading of that novel, I was suddenly aware that Austen was writing about feelings — the illusory kind that I had been striving to systematical conceal from my thoughts and writing, Austen was revealing in her novel. She wrote of the kind of feelings that I had minimalized, up until that time. I was dumbstruck! How could I have been so oblivious to those feelings that I now understand as soul expressions? The answer was that I had carefully taught myself to eliminate them as being worthy of consideration. I immediately undertook to value my own soul feelings equally as much as my sensory feelings (perceptions). What I wouldn’t have given to have had Kristina Kaine’s "I-Connecting" book in my hands back during that time. I gained a new appreciation for all novels from reading Jane Austen. My life opened up for me in ways I had never anticipated, but always secretly wished it to, since I was a little boy.

    When the author writes of people who don't seem to feel much, she is describing me as I was for over thirty-six years, basically a soulless engineering-scientist type of person. I just existed in the world as a physical body and remained oblivious to the experiences in my soul, so I was constantly being surprised by events in life which betrayed the existence of soul, but still did not convince of my folly. What about you, dear Reader, do people consider you as “not having much life in you”? Or do you experience both types of feelings listed below?

    When the author writes of people who don't seem to feel much, she is describing me as I was for over thirty-six years, basically a soulless engineering-scientist type of person. I just existed in the world as a physical body and remained oblivious to the experiences in my soul, so I was constantly being surprised by events in life which betrayed the existence of soul, but still did not convince of my folly.

    [page 85] Feeling is the prime quality of the first soul region and as such is the interface between the world and our soul. So feeling therefore is tied to the sensations that enter us through our bodily senses. In this way we either:

           just exist in the world as a physical body; or,

           experience the world within our soul.

    My reviews are an exercise in I-connecting. I would never have thought about that possibility before I read this book. Yet, I cannot mistake that aspect of my writing because the next passage so accurately describes the process I go through while writing a detailed review of a book, a process that I am literally going through at this very moment as my fingers dance across the keys and words appear on the screen in front of my eyes. I read this book, made notes in it of important passages to me, and now as I write my observations of the book, I inject my own thoughts which reinforce or modulate the thoughts of the writer. In the process of writing I learn more about myself, and in the process of reading you may learn more about yourself.

    As we approach the end of this book together, I have a confession to make: I was the oldest of six children. I was a petty tyrant and didn't know it. I was left in charge of my brothers and sister often either explicitly or implicitly. If my mother was busy inside I made decisions to keep them from bothering her. I was imposing my will on my siblings and some of them resent me for that to this day. I was too young to know that what I was doing was wrong, but having made my biggest mistake first, I soon learned as my brothers grew older and got bigger than I was that just telling them to do something was not going to work. I had four children by age 25 and here I was the oldest again. As the oldest, I sought the company of men older than I was as a means of balancing the otherwise unbalanced life of my youth. I did not do a good job in managing people during my work career because workers do not like to have another's will imposed upon them. I got the work I was assigned done, but had unhappy workers. I was faced through a large portion of my life with a bootstrap effort of learning to work with other people, and I found it difficult to learn the things that my younger brother David knew intuitively: how to gain the cooperation of other people without commanding them. Getting along with others is what the youngest child seems to learn naturally and without effort.

    [page 143] When we become more conscious we have more choice in our life and hence more freedom. The beginnings of freedom can be as simple as the awareness of choices. The urge to freedom is inherent in our being and restlessness is often its birth pangs. How we apply our will to direct this restlessness and, in turn, how we express freedom is pivotal to the health of our soul. An important step is to become more aware of the subtle way we use our will. Do we try to influence others by imposing our will on them? This can be as simple as trying to convince others of our own view of things. Or do we express ourselves as individuals in community with other individuals? The greatest test for this is how strongly we cling to our own ideas without remaining open to the ideas of others, and whether our own ideas evolve or stay the same.

    I was restless and unhappy about this part of my life — restlessness is movement in search of meaning — and I knew that I was searching for something. I found that meaning when I became conscious of the relation of my birth order as oldest child to the difficulties I had faced. My position as oldest child led me to wish to be a manager, but it did not prepare me at all for managing adults! I had much learning yet to do, and still do. But through it all, my Soul Captain keeps steering me through interesting venues which continue to challenge me. In the words of the title of this book, I was on a journey of I-Connecting, my Soul’s Quest. I was in searching of blooming.

    [page 144] As we experience the work of our soul and our "I" within our being we realize that there is much more to know about ourselves than we know at present. This is the quest of the soul; to become conscious enough to know self and to know others. This quest is not particularly arduous; it is simply a journey of increasing awareness, of becoming more conscious day by day. The pace of the quest is completely optional and each step changes us forever. If we awaken our soul it will never sleep again. Once a flower blooms it cannot un-bloom! If we are determined to engage more fully with our "I" then our I-connection matures and influences our life henceforth.

    The journey is apace, it is a journey into God, and we are launching our ship into the future. Our "I", our Soul Captain is at the helm. There will be quiet seas and stormy seas. Days of clouds and days of sun. We will all bloom in time. There may be some delayed blooming, but there is no un-blooming. Let us enjoy the heady cruise that we are on. We punched our ticket at birth and began this new journey together, you and I. Some of you came on board this great ship Earth before me, some after me. We have taught each other and learned from each other. Always I strive to keep this motto ever before me: Thus a Teacher, So Also a Learner. Let us all bloom together.

    Read the Full Review at:
    http://www.doyletics.com/arj/iconnect.htm

    2.) ARJ2: Stealing Athena — A Novel by Karen Essex

    This is a double novel; a story of two strong women, Mary Elgin in the 19th Century and Aspasia in the 5th Century B. C. One was the wife of an ambassador to Turkey in Istanbul and the other a consort of Pericles in Ancient Greece. One will observe the marble friezes of the Parthenon being taken down and the other will watch the friezes of the Parthenon being raised into position. Inside of this majestic building and inside of each woman, the ferocious spirit of the goddess Athena throbs.

    Mary is riding the chariot of Phaeton and is slammed to its deck by a lightning bolt of Athena’s father Zeus as the novel lurches into action in its first paragraph. We know immediately we are in for a tumultuous ride of classical proportions, even before we meet the fiery wench that Alcibiades is taking to Pericles. Aspasia was to be Pericles’ wife, but by the time Alcibiades arrives with the Miletus woman, he discovers that Pericles has passed a law to forbid the marriage of Athenians to foreigners. But Pericles takes her into his confidence and his heart anyway. How could he not? He discovers that her teacher Thales of Miletus was as clever as his own.

    Later Pericles and Aspasia walk toward the Parthenon and we catch a glimpse of the huge temple to Athena in the process of construction. And we hear an ominous warning from Pericles to anyone who would dare to steal Athena’s treasures from her temple.

    Mary Elgin, some 2400 years later, visits the same temple to watch as her husband, Lord Elgin, steals Athena's treasures to transport them to a museum in London. One wonders what fate awaits the modern day plunderer of Athena's temple. His plunder has the goal of preservation of Athena's treasures by saving them from being pulverized to recover the lead which holds them together to make bullets. The Turks who govern the land of Greece care little about preserving the antiquities in situ and are willing to allow Lord Elgin to remove whatever he wishes. Will this goal of saving the antiquities sit well with the goddess Athena or will she interpret it as an act of destruction?

    Back in Athens, the sculptor of the statue of Athena which is to loom over human visitors to the inside of the Parthenon, Pheidias, is explaining to Aspasia how a huge amount of gold will be hammered over the statue, which the opponents of the expensive project insisted be easily removed in times of need. Pheidias explains to Aspasia that he wants to use her features and expression as the model for the face of the goddess Athena. Neither has any idea of the repercussions that this innocent artistic decision will have on their lives.

    Already Aspasia is experiencing problems from powerful men who are whispering ugly things behind her back. Why, she asks Pheidias, do they seem to fear her more than they do Pericles? His answer is simply, “There is no sense in asking unanswerable questions, Aspasia.” That may be so, but I would daresay that there are no unanswerable questions, only unanswered questions, and I have found that there is power in allowing unanswered questions to remain potent in one’s mind. Aspasia’s answer seems to indicate such power, “But as a philosopher I take it upon myself to address such questions. There is no such thing as a concrete or satisfactory answer, but one must take comfort in the exploratory path that logical inquiry offers.” That sounds like something Socrates himself would say, if he were around, which in this case, he is. He is working as a young man doing sculpting work, but already we discern his interest in philosophical matters, as he says, “Those are the first words of truth I have heard spoken today.”

    A wedge develops between Lord Elgin, who literally lost his marbles, and Mary Elgin, who values other things more than cold marble slabs. Lord Elgin explains to her that the fate of his precious marbles are at stake. “My children are my greatest treasures,” she said. “Stone, no matter how old, means nothing to me compared to their welfare.”


    What led me to read this book was that the author herself told me that it was not a romance novel. I met her in a novel way. I was walking through Octavia Bookstore in uptown New Orleans and saw this woman standing at a podium be herself in a nearby room. She seemed to be turning pages of a book, so I assumed that she was reading it to herself. There was no one else in the room, and it seemed a little strange that she should be standing up reading in a bookstore. As I entered the room, I noticed that she was not reading but making a note in a book, then setting it aside and picking up another book. She was autographing books.

    “Are you the author of this book?” I asked her. A dumb question but it was what came out.

    “No,” she said, “I just sign her books.” I understood her comment. It was funny because no author would have someone else sign her books. And yet it was true at another level. The woman signing the books is doing the equivalent of repeatedly writing “I shall not tell a lie” on a blackboard at the command of the teacher. She was not an author writing original prose, but some automaton doing punishment work as an amateur P. R. agent.

    At one point, she told me, “This is not a romance novel.” I suspect she sensed that I was not the romance novel type. What she said came back to me as I read this passage in her book, “Feelings were a minor detail in the every-unfolding drama of her life. This was not an opera or a romance novel. Mary would contain this man and his ardor, which had radiated from his eyes. She had managed the feelings of the fantastically handsome Count Sébastiani, the Capitan Pasha, and other powerful men. Surely she could manage Robert Ferguson.”


    Mary Elgin had a large inheritance and she was devoted to her husband, but always played down the possibility that her husband was more attracted to her father’s money than to her. In this next passage we see revealed the expectations of her husband, who by the time he says this has already spent enormous sums of his wife’s money on his precious marbles. Elgin expected the money as his due according to the conventions of the time, but never once showed the ability to manage the money. It was Mary who managed it capably, not him. Obviously his sense of entitlement to the wealth of a woman he married for her money did not sit well with Mary and an huge chasm opens between them. She refuses to bear children with him. He invokes God as the authority who says she cannot do that. From that point on, she moves toward Scotland and Robert Ferguson to begin a life with someone who actually loves her for herself, not her money.

    Meanwhile, 24 centuries removed, Aspasia in on trial in Athens and is about to spurn the conventions of that society by simply speaking on her behalf. She argues her case with Socrates. Aspasia listens to all of Socrates’ arguments and finally she rebuts him, “You are asking me to play the role of the good and obedient girl. But if I do so, I cannot challenge these ridiculous charges?” The argument goes on and Apasia asks him how she might carry off the charade he suggests as the obedient woman. In his answer, Socrates points to Aspasia’s “I” and recommends she find it and allow it to carry her through the trial.

    In a similar trial, Veronica Franco, a famous poet and courtesan of Venice, was brought before the Inquisition on spurious charges, and she demanded to speak. She spoke the truth from her “I” and made the charges seem so silly that the trial ended in merriment instead of torture. Her infamous trial mirrors the trial of Aspasia many centuries before. And Mary Elgin’s trial centuries later. Each trial brought the judge and the jurors up on charges of oppression of their own wives and lovers: women. True, women have a different role in society than men, but they each have an equally strong “I” as any man, and can stand up to any man’s “I”, even when the laws of the time, written by men, say otherwise. Karen Essex’s novel writes large this theme — it is emblazoned on the book’s cover: Stealing Athena. The greatest female goddess is present in every female “I” and those men who strive selfishly to steal the Athena from a woman will suffer as surely as those who dared to desecrate the Parthenon, the ancient temple of Athena.

    Read the Full Review at:
    http://www.doyletics.com/arj/stealing.htm

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

    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.


    == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
    8. COMMENTARY:
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    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 coverse 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 Sees a Billboard for a Church 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 learns about the deep meaning behind mistakes.


    2.Comments from Readers:
    • EMAIL from Audrey & Jerry:
    Re: GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #087 for July 2008

    Hi my good folks....

    WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL...

    ENJOY THE "GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST" SO MUCH AND SO OFTEN SAY TO MYSELF I HAVE TO WRITE BOBBY AND DEL.

    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK...
    LOVE IT AND LOVE YOU GUYS
    GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY..

  • EMAIL from Poet & Professor Beverly Matherne of N. Mich. Univ.:
    RE: GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #087

    Bobby, I wanted to let you know that my book, LaMothe Cadillac: His Early Days in France (LaMothe Cadillac: Sa Jeunesse en France) is being published by les Editions Tintamarres and is scheduled to come out in winter 2009. I hope that you will consider reviewing it on your Web site.

    Fond memories of our last visit.
    Les meilleurs,
    Beverly

  • EMAIL from Stephen N. Chesnut,
    RE: GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #087

    You've produced another great issue. Even if the world crumbles down around us, we can marvel at the beauty of the simple flower.

    I like the archived section.

    Stephen Chesnut

  • EMAIL from Teresa in UK with typo:
    Subject: typo slipper-slopper (apologies Stanley Unwin)

    Dear Bobby,

    I think the word in the following sentence should be 'succeeding', not 'preceding'. [or am I missing something?]

    The next concept deals with how each succeeding sub-race acts as a wet nurse to the preceding sub-race.
    The quote is from your review of The Karma of Untruthfulness which I am reading at present and enjoying. As I have several of your other Steiner reviews. I read Steiner neat too, in a reading group, and find it VERY hard going sometimes, so it's lovely to find an explication, well-written too.
    Best wishes
    Teresa Seed

    ~~~~~~ Bobby's Reply ~~~~~~~~~~~
    Dear Teresa,

    You are a SAINT!
    Thanks so much for ferreting out that slippery-slope typo.

    It made sense to me when I wrote it, but it did need some work. I was thinking of "preceding" as in "the son precedes the father", that is: one must be a son before one can be a father. English is amazing, isn't it?

  • I hope you'll agree with my correction to remove the ambiguity and clarify the meaning:

    The next concept deals with how each mature sub-race acts as a wet nurse to each new sub-race. "Sub-race" refers to the people that live within a given post-Atlantean epoch or period, a PAE. At the beginning of each PAE, the people of that sub-race are like infants and need nurturing in order to survive and thrive. For the 5th PAE, the English sub-race's nurturing came from the guidance of the Pope and the Roman Empire who together acted as a wet nurse to nourish and educate, to shepherd the infant English sub-race into youthhood in the eighteenth century.
    It's great meeting you. Authors can get the impression that either their words are perfect OR no one's reading them. So it's doubly marvelous to get a correction from an intrepid reader as yourself.

    I will add you to my monthly notification of my Good Mountain Press Digest (latest reviews, etc), one short email, if it's okay with you. You have qualified to be Honored Reader of a coming month, also.

    in freedom and light,
    Bobby

  • EMAIL AHOY! from me Poet & Pirate Matey Blackbead in Fort Worth, Texas:
    {AKA Steve Sanders}

    Bobby!

  • How goes it, mate?? Life over here in "Port Worth" is sailing along smoothly and we had a great Fourth down near Galveston, the last headquarters of Jean Lafitte! Mel and I were just talking about you the other night, wondering how your latest adventure was going. The new book is progressing nicely and I have complete confidence that by Novermber 1, 2008, a complete volume of pirate poetry with illustrations will be ready for folks to buy as Christmas presents! Here's a sample for you to enjoy from a poem entitled "Farewell, Brave Lion":
    I took you from a Spanish captain,
    Back in seventeen-oh-two,
    I knew it was your maiden voyage:
    Your sails were still brand new.

    You handled like an Irish racehorse,
    Headstrong but steady and true,
    And with the slightest breezes
    There was nothing I couldn't ask of you.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~ Robespierre (AKA Bobby) Notes ~~~~~~~~~~~
    Ah include only the first two of the stanzas, which sound ah little like me Matey's writing o' his honeymoon with the fine lady he took to be his wife. ;-) (To ye Landlubbers: dat be ah Pirate Wink!) Anyway, we'll be sure to announce when Blackbead's new volume of Poetry will be available.

  • EMAIL from Melissa in OZ:
    Hi Bobby

    Just to let you know that I've finally got around to adding your article about the Meaning of Fairytales to our website. Thanks again, I have added a link to your site. I'm sure my customers will really appreciate the deep food for thought.

    Take care

  • Melissa
    www.honeybeetoys.com.au

    ~~~~~~ Bobby Note ~~~~~~~~~~~
    Article taken from this review: Three Lectures on Fairy Tales, Practical Thinking, and Categories

  • EMAIL re: using photo for Austin Chronicle:
    Hi Bobby,

    I came across your beautiful photo of an avocado flower on Google images when a journalist from the Austin Chronicle asked for one in relation to a story she is writing.

    Would you mind if they used your photo? They would give you full credit of course.

    Brona

    ~~~~~~ Bobby Note ~~~~~~~~~~~
    I gave the Austin Chronicle persmission to use my avocado photo. I am delighted to give permission to people who wish to use my photos and agree to give me appropriate credit.

  • EMAIL: Reply to Bobby's Birthday Party invitation
    (from Joy Paolo and John McKinney)
    Re: Stars Wars — The Jeauxdi Strikes Back! ! !

    Questions?

    Questions?

    There are so many . . .
    . . . but for now, just an answer:
    yes, we will be there,
    oh, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

    Princess Lea and McYoda

  • == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
    9. CLOSING NOTES:
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    Thanks to all of you Good Readers for providing the Sunshine which has made this site a Blooming 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!

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

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    10. GRATITUDE - in Three Easy Steps:
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

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