Saturday, September 13, 2014


Mom said I could write what I wanted for her blog. So, I am. Mom is some better. Dad took off work yesterday and took mom to her school. She set in on one of her classes and had a meeting with the substitute teachers who are teaching her classes. I’m in her writing class and that’s where she was. We all miss her in that class. I try to like everyone, but sometimes that’s hard. I don’t like the substitute teaching that class, and no one else does either. Mom makes the class fun but the new teacher doesn’t. He expects us to write like adults. We’re not adults. Mom knows this and is not so critical and we learn how to improve instead of being insulted. After her visit to our school, Mom went home and slept most of the day.

I bought a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle and we put it together. Mom does better when she has something to concentrate on. She sleeps a huge amount. Dad says her new medicine does that.

My aunts come by to help. And my grand aunt came for two days. She’s my favorite aunt. One of mom’s best friends made dinner for us. It was a chicken stew with oriental noodles, different from the kind of food we usually have but okay.

Almost every kid in our school knows Mom. I can’t think of any but two boys who don’t like her. Both the boys were thrown out of her classes for being idiots. So they don’t like Mom. No one cares. No one likes them either except for a few boys just like them. I forgot to say that mom met with the substitutes taking her classes. It’s funny to me that it takes three substitutes to do what mom does.

My oldest sisters except for Kat all go to the same church. Two of them got baptized in it. And Izzy just goes sometimes. I go sometimes, but just to go with my sisters. It doesn’t make sense to me to believe some of their stuff. And some of the people are odd. One lady from that church came to see Mom yesterday. She wouldn’t take no for an answer and I was angry at her. Mom said to let her in and she says to my mom that God sent her with a special message. Now I know this church doesn’t believe in special messages in that way. But that’s what she said. Mom said that’s a Black church thing and the woman came from a black Pentecostal church originally. She took mom’s hand and said: “Who stole your lampstand?” This was creepy. But mom was nice to her. I wouldn’t have been. I wanted to yell at her. Mom’s sick. Come debate your silly religion when mom’s not sick!

Kat and I have been fixing up mom’s work space. We dusted all the shelves and put all the books back where they belong. I get distracted in her room. It’s easy to do. She has so many interesting things. And I like her stamps. She gave me an album and I started my own stamp collection.

People call mom on the phone, but mostly she can’t talk to them or for long. I’ve brought home lots of get well cards from school from teachers and from kids who like her. We stick them on the frig.

Dad took her to town this afternoon for coffee and cake. They’re not home yet. You have to help her walk because she is dizzy a lot. She has a cane she uses then too. Not because she’s lame or anything just dizzy.

When I was younger I didn’t like it when other kids hugged my mom, but I don’t mind anymore. When she was at our school she got lots of hugs. It made me feel better for my mom. So she’s getting better but slowly.

I tell her when people wish her well. Sometimes she doesn’t really hear what I say, but she’s much better at that now. -- Anastasia

Monday, September 08, 2014


I've answered a few of mom's emails, but some seem personal. For those who've asked about her health you should know that she can't answer your emails but I've told her that you've written.

Anastasia Marie

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Mom can't write things for her blog right now. She'll be better later and come back to it then.


Tuesday, September 02, 2014

From O. Reader


Like many a tourist I do like history and enjoy visiting historical sites. Back in June when I made my first visit to America, one thing I noted was that as a (relatively speaking) young country nearly everything was quite modern – certainly when compared with the UK. Now that is not a criticism, it is just the way it is – you see an old barn (ten a penny in rural England) and in America it turns out to be an ancient monument.

I will say though, that in my limited experience in America, the places I visited had made efforts to preserve what history they had. I spent several days in Pittsburgh. I liked Pittsburgh a lot. It is quite a small city, a little smaller than Cardiff in South Wales. It is a city built on steel. There are numerous folk songs about steel-men that originate in the area and have travelled since. One evening in Pittsburgh I was standing with my hosts looking down from what is now known as Mount Washington.

The area had originally been populated by poor German immigrants. They lived on top of what was then called Coal Hill and had to work down in the valley alongside the Monongahela River. The river was so polluted, in the depths of winter it never froze, and met the Allegheny River downstream – which did freeze. To get to and from work they built a number of incline railways – based on the funiculars found back in the old country.

Only two of the incline railways are preserved, but they are preserved well. Of course, the hill top area has now become extremely expensive – the views, coupled with the absence of the steel industry, make it so.

Along the river valley, there are various pieces of machinery from the steelworks, now preserved. They are painted up, often in bright colors, with labels showing what they did, and the waterfront area is a nice place to walk and eat and drink. It was full of families – and history. They have done well.

Looking across the vista from Mount Washington you could see modern Pittsburgh with its tall buildings – which may be practical but do not appeal – aesthetically I found New York the pits for that reason, although I acknowledge that some British cities are going the same way. And you could also see old Allegheny. Allegheny has been much redeveloped, and they haven’t done a bad job – except that about 40-50 years ago they knocked down rather a lot of the history that I had specifically come to Pittsburgh to see. I actually knew in advance that it had gone, and there was a plaque to say it had gone but that it had once been the stomping ground of the person I was researching – but retrospectively, it was a shame. My main sources of research that remained untouched were the many graveyards. Unlike Britain, where it is quite possible that your ancient relatives may get concreted over in the interests of a new multi-storey car park, graveyards in America seem to be heritage sites, and therefore protected and well-tended. Well, at least the ones I visited anyway.

If only we knew what would be viable historical sites for the future. Where I live, in South Wales, there is a World Heritage Site called Blaenavon. Now I knew Blaenavon when it was just Blaenavon. I used to visit people there and visit the spit and sawdust cinema, where films ended up after the major circuits had finished with them and trashed half the sprocket holes. It was a rowdy but friendly audience – you could expect full interactive audience participation for every movie.

Blaenavon had been a huge site for the coal, iron and steel industries. As these industries contracted and died, things were just left to rot. And rot they did. No slum clearance, no gentrification – nobody from outside wanted to live there, and those stuck there didn’t have a lot of choice. But when heritage became big business, suddenly there were sufficient viable ruins to be restored on which they could set to work. So there is the Big Pit – you can go down in the cage and turn your light off and just be very glad you didn’t work there in the old days. There’s the Blaenavon Ironworks, a section of the Pontypool and Blaenavon railway, and other bits and pieces.

Sadly, next door, is a town that had far more history, Merthyr Tydfil. Two hundred years ago this was the largest place in Wales. Much larger than Cardiff. Merthyr had history, it had unrest, in addition to the martyr Tydfil (Merthyr means martyr in Welsh by the way) it had its own more recent martyr, Dic Penderyn. Dic was hanged in 1831 after a soldier was stabbed in the coalminers’ revolt that came to be known as the Merthyr Rising. Years later, someone else confessed on their deathbed that they had been responsible – but the establishment needed a scapegoat at the time. There was so much history in Merthyr, but when it all fell apart and grinding poverty hit the area after the First World War, well-meaning people tried to improve the area. They pulled down historical remains – they put up high rise flats (well, high rise for Britain of the day, small fry by American standards) and they did their best. They ultimately created new slums, and grappled with huge social problems, but they did their best. But they trashed most of their heritage along the way. It is a nice little town to visit today, with a college and river walk and new bridges and little tiny bits of history – mainly chapels from "the great awakening" no longer used for worship – other than that of mammon – but it is a huge opportunity lost. But of course, they didn’t know that at the time. Life in Merthyr might have been a bit better than Blaenavon for a few years, but it is Blaenavon that now has the heritage status.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing – but in the circumstances, a pretty useless thing. I remember reading Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat, where at one point he mused over the hideous presents people were giving each other – and wondered if these would be rare antiques of the future? You watch antique programs and – yes – they are. If only we had saved them and hoarded and then could sell them. Trouble is – you would have to wait until you were long dead and gone to get anything back – and it could be just as true that they were worthless. It is like old books. Some people think that old books are valuable because they are old. I remember visiting a shop on the Isle of Wight and asking if they had any old books (I was looking for weird Bible Translations at the time). Oh yes, they had old books – they must be rare because well, they were old, and they were real old books – you know, they had old covers (now detached) and they had old pages... It was not a productive conversation.

But I like it when old things are preserved, valuable or not. So, I like heritage. I like it when town planners insist that old facades still be kept on modern buildings. I like it when the skyline isn’t completely blighted by buildings that shut out the light. And for all its warts and all, Britain does have a lot of this sort of stuff overall. So give me your tired and your huddled masses – do come on your tourist visas and please do spend your dollars here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

In a Cowboy Mood

North American Traditional of Uncertain origins

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Westwood, Lassen County, California in Winter

Winter of 1918
Pixie Warrior was set in this place and that year.

Uncertain Date But Note the Truck

Just because I like it ....

Small Fae, Pixie Relations

I need a nice crown ...

Sometimes you resemble them and sometimes you don't.
My legs are much more attractive, but I don't have a fancy crown.


I've updated the blog template reluctantly. The new one works better than the old one, even if I still like the old one best. Nothing Google touches works well. As with Yahoo, if they "improve" something, they break it.

Roberto's Great Grandfather. Taken in the USA about 1905

Saturday, August 09, 2014

From O. Reader:


            In a recent post I described how my path to recovery from illness involved watching old rock and roll films. Following a traditional pattern, the next stage was to go back into history and watch some of my large collection of silent movies. Silent cinema is viewed by some cineasts as “pure cinema” but of course – joy of joys - it had its fair share of clunkers. And this post is going to be all about one such movie – Noah’s Ark. Forget Russell Crowe in the latest version – this was the movie to die for. As some extras did. Literally.

I had a cut-down 8mm version of this movie a million years ago which I regularly used to show at certain gatherings. More true life confessions about that later.

My collection of film books includes several by the Medved brothers – including The Hollywood Hall of Shame. A most entertaining read. And Noah’s Ark is there – right at the beginning. I think they are a little unfair – I can think of more worthy contenders for trash – but I can see what they mean.

To begin with, a lot depends how good you are on your Bible stories. The makers of Noah’s Ark obviously fell asleep rather a lot when in Sunday School, because their basic story went along these lines:

Once up a time men were very wicked. They built a tower with its top in the heavens. They also worshipped a golden calf. So God spoke to Noah through a burning bush and told him about a flood. The actual flood details and blueprint for the ark were delivered by fire thumping into a mountainside to produce tablets of stone. Unlike the version in the Ten Commands, two tablets were insufficient, so the film makers had Noah’s tablets turn the page as the fiery commands were given. Do you know – I never realised that the ‘codex simplex’ went back so far into history. It is remarkable what Hollywood can teach you. Oh yes – and when the people came to destroy the Ark, a pillar of fire protected it... There’s also a nod towards the Bible story of Sampson. I could go on. But I‘ll be good. I won’t.

If none of that seems unusual to you, then YOU probably fell asleep in Sunday School too – assuming you ever went.

The press releases screamed how a deluge of water drowned A WORLD OF LUST. In case the viewer was a little unsure about the latter, the film obligingly spent a considerable amount of time depicting said WORLD OF LUST. This high moral position dealt with both the Hayes Code and the viewers’ predilections quite satisfactorily.

There were some sequences originally filmed in two-tone color – sadly now missing from current prints. To ensure the extras had the right pre-deluvian (He’s English. He means antediluvian – Pixie) flesh tones, they were all sprayed with something akin to prune juice each day before filming. And the actual flood is still quite spectacular today, because in a sense, it was real.

A series of reservoirs had been built in the Hollywood hills to hold goodness knows how many tons of water, and a Temple of Moloch set had been constructed in a huge studio tank – filled to the brim with worshipping and celebrating extras (trivia time – one was a young and uncredited John Wayne). At a given moment, the waters came down with maximum force, destroying the temple – and according to modern day reports, killing three extras, and maiming several others. The cameras kept on rolling and the footage of course was used in the finished movie.

Many years ago I used to do a one hour talk all about the biblical flood. The veracity of the Bible account is not our concern here – but I put on what was then a full audio-visual experience. There were well over 100 slides – shown on a rotary slide projector. There was movie film – yes, my cut down 8mm version of Noah’s Ark – shown on an old Russian Luch projector – very reliable but weighing a ton. If it fell off the table it would break your foot. Then there was a cassette recorder with sound effects including Beethoven’s storm sequence from his 6th (Pastoral) to fit the flood waters. Added to this was a light, a microphone – which had to double for the recorder – a sheaf of notes – a mass of cables mimicking spaghetti - and me.

It was one of those performances at which I marvel now. There was SO MUCH that could go wrong. Generally it didn’t, but I am sure that half the thrill for the audience was waiting to see what went bang, or didn’t go at all, and how many pounds “O” would lose while trying to keep his vocals at an even keel while the production threatened to replicate the last moments of the Titanic all around him.

When good sense finally pensioned off my talk, the short bit of 8mm film came into its own in another context. With my trusty heavyweight cine-camera, I would regularly film people’s weddings – and some of those 8mm films, now transferred to DVD video are still trotted out in some households to embarrass the grandchildren.

One couple got married in mid-summer on one of those days when the heavens just opened. It was all umbrellas and mud spattered dresses and veils flapping madly in the wind. I dutifully filmed it all – no concessions to careful camera angles and soft-focus – if this was how it was, well – this was how it was! And, my sense of humor being what it was, at the editing stage I was able to intercut all sorts of spectacle from my Noah’s Ark film. So the bride appeared clutching her head covering – cut to violent flash of lightening depicting the wrath of God... Bride and groom struggled through mini-floods to get into bridal car – cut to cascades of water onto luckless extras in the Temple of Moloch before being swept away to their doom.

I was really pleased with my efforts.

I don’t think they’ve spoken to me since...

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Nice words from another historian

Just wanted to update you on my progress. I received your book last week. I have read it including almost all the footnotes. And have highlighted most every page with red pen so that I can go back and zero in on certain points, which I plan to do.
I very much appreciate your labor of love on this project. From my own areas of research, I understand how much work and tedious effort goes into such a production. As authors and researchers, you excel at this task.


To my Great Great Grand Uncle who was a marine all his life and who fought in three of America's wars.

The Ultimatum.

Often characterized as unreasonable, you will note that it demanded nothing that the US and UK governments haven't demanded of others before and since:

Austria-Hungary's Ultimatum to Serbia 

On the 31st of March, 1909, the Serbian Minister in Vienna, on the instructions of the Serbian Government, made the following declaration to the Imperial and Royal Government: 

"Serbia recognizes that the fait accompli regarding Bosnia has not affected her rights and consequently she will conform to the decisions that the Powers may take in conformity with Article 25 of the Treaty of Berlin. In deference to the advice of the Great Powers, Serbia undertakes to renounce from now onwards the attitude of protest and opposition which she has adopted with regard to the annexation since last autumn. 

She undertakes, moreover, to modify the direction of her policy with regard to Austria-Hungary and to live in future on good neighbourly terms with the latter." 

The history of recent years, and in particular the painful events of the 28th of June last, have shown the existence of a subversive movement with the object of detaching a part of the territories of Austria-Hungary from the Monarchy. 

The movement, which had its birth under the eye of the Serbian Government, has gone so far as to make itself manifest on both sides of the Serbian frontier in the shape of acts of terrorism and a series of outrages and murders. 

Far from carrying out the formal undertakings contained in the declaration of the 31st of March, 1909, the Royal Serbian Government has done nothing to repress these movements.  It has permitted the criminal machinations of various societies and associations directed against the Monarchy, and has tolerated unrestrained language on the part of the press, the glorification of the perpetrators of outrages, and the participation of officers and functionaries in subversive agitation. 

It has permitted an unwholesome propaganda in public instruction; in short, it has permitted all manifestations of a nature to incite the Serbian population to hatred of the Monarchy and contempt of its institutions. 

This culpable tolerance of the Royal Serbian Government had not ceased at the moment when the events of the 28th of June last proved its fatal consequences to the whole world. 

It results from the depositions and confessions of the criminal perpetrators of the outrage of the 28th of June that the Serajevo assassinations were planned in Belgrade; that the arms and explosives with which the murderers were provided had been given to them by Serbian officers and functionaries belonging to the Narodna Odbrana; and finally, that the passage into Bosnia of the criminals and their arms was organized and effected by the chiefs of the Serbian frontier service. 

The above-mentioned results of the magisterial investigation do not permit the Austro-Hungarian Government to pursue any longer the attitude of expectant forbearance which they have maintained for years in face of the machinations hatched in Belgrade, and thence propagated in the territories of the Monarchy.  The results, on the contrary, impose on them the duty of putting an end to the intrigues which form a perpetual menace to the tranquillity of the Monarchy. 

To achieve this end the Imperial and Royal Government see themselves compelled to demand from the Royal Serbian Government a formal assurance that they condemn this dangerous propaganda against the Monarchy; in other words the whole series of tendencies, the ultimate aim of which is to detach from the Monarchy territories belonging to it and that they undertake to suppress by every means this criminal and terrorist propaganda.

In order to give a formal character to this undertaking the Royal Serbian Government shall publish on the front page of their "Official Journal" of the 13-26 of July the following declaration: 

"The Royal Government of Serbia condemn the propaganda directed against Austria-Hungary - i.e., the general tendency of which the final aim is to detach from the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy territories belonging to it, and they sincerely deplore the fatal consequences of these criminal proceedings.

The Royal Government regret that Serbian officers and functionaries participated in the above-mentioned propaganda and thus compromised the good neighbourly relations to which the Royal Government were solemnly pledged by their declaration of the 31st of March, 1909. 

The Royal Government, who disapprove and repudiate all idea of interfering or attempting to interfere with the destinies of the inhabitants of any part whatsoever of Austria-Hungary, consider it their duty formally to warn officers and functionaries, and the whole population of the Kingdom, that henceforward they will proceed with the utmost rigor against persons who may be guilty of such machinations, which they will use all their efforts to anticipate and suppress." 

This declaration shall simultaneously be communicated to the Royal army as an order of the day by His Majesty the King and shall be published in the "Official Bulletin" of the army. 

The Royal Serbian Government shall further undertake: 

(1) To suppress any publication which incites to hatred and contempt of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and the general tendency of which is directed against its territorial integrity; 

(2) To dissolve immediately the society styled "Narodna Odbrana," to confiscate all its means of propaganda, and to proceed in the same manner against other societies and their branches in Serbia which engage in propaganda against the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.  The Royal Government shall take the necessary measures to prevent the societies dissolved from continuing their activity under another name and form;

(3) To eliminate without delay from public instruction in Serbia, both as regards the teaching body and also as regards the methods of instruction, everything that serves, or might serve, to foment the propaganda against Austria-Hungary; 

(4) To remove from the military service, and from the administration in general, all officers and functionaries guilty of propaganda against the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy whose names and deeds the Austro-Hungarian Government reserve to themselves the right of communicating to the Royal Government;

(5) To accept the collaboration in Serbia of representatives of the Austro-Hungarian Government for the suppression of the subversive movement directed against the territorial integrity of the Monarchy;

(6) To take judicial proceedings against accessories to the plot of the 28th of June who are on Serbian territory; delegates of the Austro-Hungarian Government will take part in the investigation relating thereto;

(7) To proceed without delay to the arrest of Major Voija Tankositch and of the individual named Milan Ciganovitch, a Serbian State employee, who have been compromised by the results of the magisterial inquiry at Serajevo; 

(8) To prevent by effective measures the cooperation of the Serbian authorities in the illicit traffic in arms and explosives across the frontier, to dismiss and punish severely the officials of the frontier service at Shabatz Loznica guilty of having assisted the perpetrators of the Serajevo crime by facilitating their passage across the frontier; 

(9) To furnish the Imperial and Royal Government with explanations regarding the unjustifiable utterances of high Serbian officials, both in Serbia and abroad, who, notwithstanding their official position, have not hesitated since the crime of the 28th of June to express themselves in interviews in terms of hostility to the Austro-Hungarian Government; and, finally, 

(10) To notify the Imperial and Royal Government without delay of the execution of the measures comprised under the preceding heads.

  The Austro-Hungarian Government expect the reply of the Royal Government at the latest by 5 o'clock on Saturday evening the 25th of July

Roberto's Grandfather - World War 2

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

National Personality

Ever notice that national personalities are reflected in marches?

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Blood, sweat ... and chocolate

            I continue to research our last chapter. (Don’t get all excited. We’re writing it out of order.) Our outline for it will change. Parts of it will be tucked into other chapters, and part of it may become a separate chapter. That’s not unusual. Since ours is original research, changes will come as we see persons and events more clearly.

            In volume one, we deconstructed a myth based on Russell’s Adventist associations, introducing our readers to Literalist belief and its influence. The last chapter of volume two discusses the place of Christian Mysticism in the broader movement and within the Watch Tower movement especially. We will not give this the space given to Literalists. Its influence, while distinctive, was narrow. We want to explain it in a few paragraphs without leaving our readers puzzled, outraged, or with many unanswered questions.

            Christian Mysticism is rooted in First Century sects. Paul speaks of them with disfavor. I believe one of the Seven Letters (in Revelation) does as well. But we start with the late 18th Century. The 1790s were closer in time to our story than World War I is to us. We take this narrative up to Russell’s personal experience. Striking a balance between needed detail and equally needed brevity is difficult. I may need a double dose of hot coffee and chocolate!

            Christian Mystics invariable urged chiliastic belief. The principal actors in our story had first hand contact with mystical belief, rejecting most of it, but adopting its characteristic belief in specially appointed last-days messengers.

            So … we have a partial first draft of this section. It’s interesting but needs work –

both more research and clarification. This, more than most of our story, will need unquestionable clarity. It will make some uncomfortable and unhappy. (We seem to have that effect on some.) Because Christian Mysticism is often associated with “spirit manifestations” and prophecy, we want to clearly define the very narrow way it touched believers in the 1870-1890 period. I don’t want the point misused by polemicists or rejected by current adherents. I want a “just the facts, ma’am,” clearly stated, unequivocal explanation.

            Writing is hard work.

            Current historiographic practice is to rehash all the analysis done by others. This is a carry over from dissertation writing. A rehash proves that you consulted all the appropriate material. Unfortunately, (or conveniently, depending on your viewpoint) it allows writers to escape responsibility for their opinions. Reflexive, passive voice writing plagues academic writing. We avoid passive voice and third person reflexive writing. It’s poor work, even if it is the standard among British and UK influenced academics. We assume responsibility for our conclusions. We won’t blame others for them, and if we share them with those who preceded us we will credit them or note the similarity. But we avoid the long “he said, they said, it said” summaries characteristic of many writers.

            In this last chapter we are forced to review the research of others to a greater extent than usual. I wish there was an alternative. There isn’t. We confront opinions widely held by sociologists (who think of themselves as scientists because they love graphs and charts) and historians of the millennialist movements. When applied to the movements we consider, some of their theories are partially correct. Others are wholly false but accepted uncritically by four or five generations of writers. They are, what ever the quality of the theory, an issue we cannot avoid.

Writing Essentials
A pet, shape-shifting dragon for quick flights. Chocolate. Fun Toys. A sharp sword, Armor.

American Soldier - World War I

Pixie in the Back Garden

Friday, August 01, 2014

Hungarian Soldier in the Great War

Harry's Grandfather.

The War

Americans were not in favor of this war. They did not support the British, were ambivalent toward the French, and did not see American interests in the conflict. 

Stupid German foreign office pronouncements, inflammatory British propaganda republished by Democrat leaning papers such as the New York Times and out right lies altered opinion. Despite the appearance of national unity on the War, it did not exist. 

America’s president was an inexperienced academic, a racist, and a fool. He failed to balance public opinion, but used British propaganda to draw the United States into this useless war. 

America was from 1865 to 1935 on the verge of war with the UK. America’s interests were not with “England.” American sympathy toward Germany was killed by ham handed German politicians.
The war was transmuted from a local conflict to a world war by worse British decisions. That this war became a world war is Britain’s fault. American interest in 1914 rested in neutrality or with Germany. It was an economic war. Greed, as it always does, drove British political decisions. And French politics. The US fought on the wrong side, and would not have if Democrat newspapers and a Democrat president hadn’t promoted British lies.

As you listen to this video, you will find the remnants of British propaganda, wrong headed claims still parroted by English writers.

The Yanks Are Coming

Belgian Soldiers - Early 1915

So ... That's a boy?

So ... This is Kansas?

Austrian Soldiers - 1915

Italian Soldiers - World War I

Thursday, July 31, 2014

French Soldiers - World War I

Girls with Twirls, Women with Umbrellas, France about 1895

Tinkering with the Text

            An online version of Insight on the Scriptures, a Bible encyclopedia, was recently revised to reflect the publisher’s new understanding of some verses in Matthew. The new version differs radically from the old. Someone on a controversialist site compared this to the news revisions featured in the novel 1984. While I disagree with the current and former “understandings” presented in this article, comparing this to 1984 is out of order. Books are revised all the time, especially encyclopedias.

            The revision as found on the publisher’s web site says:

Jesus trained the apostles for the role they would have after Pentecost 33 C.E. as a channel in dispensing spiritual food. They were later joined by other elders to serve as a governing body in order to settle issues and to direct the preaching and teaching of the Kingdom good news. (Ac 2:42; 8:14; 15:1, 2, 6-29; 22:17-19) After the death of the apostles, a great apostasy set in. But in the time of the end—in keeping with the pattern he set in the first century of feeding many through the hands of a few—Jesus selected a small group of spirit-anointed men to serve as “the faithful and discreet slave,” to prepare and dispense spiritual food during his presence.

The original version says:

The apostle Peter shows that such stewardship of the divine truths was actually committed to all the 'chosen ones', all the spirit-anointed ones, of the Christian congregation. (1 Pe 1:1, 2; 4:10,11) Thus the entire anointed Christian congregation was to serve in a united stewardship, dispensing such truths.

The changes are considerable, but the issue here isn’t that content was revised. That’s what encyclopedias do. It’s that the article is not marked as a revision. If you publish an encyclopedia online, shouldn’t you note when an article is revised?

One last comment: The title is ungrammatical. One can look upon something but insight is into something.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Dangerous Deeds

Pixie with Knife

Pixie Plotting

Dragon Teasing

Friday, July 25, 2014

Nature Spirits, Bad Attitudes, and a Cranky Pixie

            No one comments on this blog, but, long-suffering pixie that I am, I continue to write for it.

            I see that someone who read Separate Identity was especially impressed with our biography of Storrs. I know it’s brag, but I think ours is the best out there. Apparently the person who quoted from our book does too. It’s nice to be appreciated.

            Roberto, let me know your status. Are you really okay? I’m sorry about your accident, and I hope you’re well.


            I’m going to terrorize another room. In my house that is. I’m still nesting, even though I’m not at all pregnant. I have a huge pile of things to donate to the thrift store. I’m going to get it all out of the house this afternoon. I’m not checking the girls’ closets. Those are their responsibility.

The south bathroom is next. I found a shower rod exactly like what was original to the house. It’s grungy. When I walk away from my computer, I’ll sit on the patio with chrome polish and make it pretty. K. Knees will install it when he returns home.

I looked at bathroom cabinets, but I haven’t found one that I like or that fits the space. I’ll keep looking. Most of the houses on our street were all built in the late 1930s or early 1940s. Returning this house to a modern version of 1940 has been difficult. I found one of the original kitchen cabinets used in most of these houses. It needs refinishing. I’m using it as-is in the laundry room. But I have plans for it.

I can’t find the small ceramic tiles, usually pastel colored, that were used in the 1940s and 50s. I want them for a utility room and the laundry room. I can be patient with this. There are many other issues to address. The wrought iron railings need paint for one thing. That’s messy but not a hard job.


We’re at the “okay we have tones of things to read” stage with two chapters. I’m reading Respectable Folly by Clarke Garrett. I’ll read this book twice, parts of it more than twice. None of the history Garrett narrates is directly relevant to our book, but his approach is – and indirectly some history is.

No one really cares. I don’t know why we continue to write this stuff. But we do. For now.

I feel so disliked. If you don’t like what I post here, don’t come here. Lurking on this blog (I have a whole list of lurkers, some of whom aggressively dislike me.) is not welcome. You may have noticed that “Crompton’s” posts are gone. He won’t be back. There is no reason for further visits from him, his friend in Seattle or any of those associated with them.

You may pick your own friends. I would never try to choose your friends. But I have the same right. If you are friendly to someone whose goal in life is to kill my husband, rape and murder my children and then me, I will not keep you as a friend, and the decision is final.


I’ve been discussing Nature Spirits with some in my coffee group. [We need an name. Dangerous Virgins! Mothers of Destiny! Erratic Females! Needs more thought, obviously.] So Nature Sprits and Elementals fill fantasy fiction. They’re also an element in some fringe new-age religion. They are a hold-over from pre-Christian folk belief. Perhaps they’re demoted local gods turned into fairies or water spirits or tree spirits.

Our last discussion centered on the question: “Would God use nature spirits?” It was a lively session. More so since not everyone in our group believes in a god, and two aren’t Christian in belief or heritage.

The Bible’s version of nature spirits is vastly different from folk-belief. Elementals (always an ill-defined term.) are immortal. In the Bible spirits used to control nature are created, mortal. And they’re usually a symbolic force. In the Revelation it is angels who hold back the winds of destruction. However literal that may be, in context it is a symbolism. The book says so. The Angel who brought death to 185,000 Assyrians fills the roll folk-belief gives to some types of nature spirit.

One type of nature spirit mentioned in the Bible haunts deserted places. It is mischievous, apparently malevolent. I think the ‘shaggy ones’ deserve more research than I’ve given them. One Bible translation calls them “goat-shaped demons.” This does not seem a good translation, but I don’t have anything better to suggest.

Probably I’ve insulted all angels by comparing them to the nature spirit mythology. This really isn’t a comparison. It’s a contrast.

One of our coffee group turns to fairies and such when she writes. But her paranormal creatures make me uncomfortable. Some things are dangerous. Some places are dangerous. She goes where I will not. Do I sound superstitious?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Treasure, puzzled readers, and children

            I went treasure hunting, and found stuff. Good stuff. I’m always amazed that people pay significant money for a book and leave it unread. But that they do means they books come to me in like-new condition and for significantly less.

            I bought three history books:

            Goodwin’s Lord’s of the Horizons

            Errington’s A History of Macedonia

            Chronicles of the Crusades, a translation of Joinville and Vllehardon’s narratives.

            New they would have cost me about eighty dollars. In new condition in the thrift store they cost $4.50.

            I also found one of Rick Riordan’s young adult fantasy books. I’ll take that one to school with me start of next term.


            I found a really nice silver plate serving set. We don’t entertain as much as my mother used to, but we do on occasion. I also found an electro-plate basket. This is English from the 1880s by the marks. It shows some wear in the bowl, but is otherwise very presentable.  Oh, and a small pottery bowl by one of the California potters. It’s only marked U.S.A., so I’ll have to research this one. I like small bits of pottery.


            I’ve debated explaining The Video. I’ve decided you can all stew over it. It’s up to about 90 views. Not all of them Harry’s, I’m sure.  I’m mildly sorry if you’re shocked, but I did warn you. As for the thought behind it, it is simple, and I think obvious.

            One of my older friends has mild dementia. She does puzzling things. She has trouble discarding things to her husband’s distress. I’ve been trying to help. But she resists making a decision on things. I found maybe 50 purses. We coaxed her into deciding on which to keep. A bunch of them went away – except when I checked on her this morning, I found all of them stuffed in a storage closet. She’d moved them from one place to another. I ignored it for now. With her. I sent a text message to her husband.

            I miss Ton’s daily – sometimes several times a day – emails. I miss him.


            Liz and Isabella start their senior year at the end of August. I feel old. Isabella wants a career involving children. She’s very good with them. It’s a good choice. But she’s not more specific. Liz says she wants to be a teacher. This is new. And somewhat surprising. I hope they choose one of the local universities. I’m not ready for them to move away. Kat joined a choir sponsored by the library. They’re surprisingly good.


            I’ve started collecting Central Powers soldier’s mail from World War I. I intend to use this material in my history class next term.

I thought my post on ...

I thought my post on irrational belief deserved more than one comment.

Stupid Repairmen! Pole Dancing. O. R's RandR and health

From Harry

Well, how do I start? The AC guy came back today. Not the AC guy who came the past 3 or 4 times. By our count this is the tenth visit since May. This was a new AC guy. My wife had to give him the most recent history of the other guy’s visits.

Wife: “He replaced the fan motor last time, but it was drawing too many amps, so he said he would have to order another one.”

AC Guy: “He didn’t put that in the work order. We haven’t ordered a new motor. Let me check this one.”

He turns on the unit. He and my wife watch as the motor starts producing smoke.

AC Guy: “Hmm, that’s not good. I’d recommend that you not run the unit until we fix it.”

Exasperated Wife: “You think!”

AC Guy: “I need to talk to my boss about this. His wife is having a baby today, so he’s kind of busy. We’ll schedule another call soon.”


I am still trying to decide how to respond to Rachael’s little anime video. On one hand it is a poorly created animation using computer generated avatars. On the other hand the main character is, shall we say, pole dancing on a very short pole. I know Rachael is not a prude, but sometimes I don’t have a clue into her thought processes. Let me just move on to another topics. My mind is still blown.


OC mentioned in his last posted comment that it looked like we were starting a new thread about the medicinal effects of Rock-n-Roll. Here is probably the earliest example from the immortal Chuck Berry in his 1956 hit Roll Over Beethoven.

I got the rockin' pneumonia,
I need a shot of rhythm and blues
I think I'm rollin' arthritis
sittin' down by the rhythm review
Roll Over Beethoven rockin' in two by two

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pixie Attitude

Dancing, Cute Shoes, Toes.
Keeps a Scotsman Happy

Never Peeve a Pixie.

Toe Wiggling Does Funny Things to Knobby Knees

Irrational thought and naughty blog readers

Well … I didn’t get any comments on my naughty dancing video, but there were about sixty views. At least one of you ignored my warning.


On to other things …

The nature of belief eludes me. While I focus on religious belief, I puzzle over the nature of belief in general.

Belief differs from learning, especially if learning implies rote, reason and fact. Charts, repetitious study of dogma (often divorced from fact, reason or question), restatement of dogma, defective reason, including pseudo syllogisms, sometimes characterize belief.

Both belief and learning imply confidence in their foundations, but the foundations of belief are often flawed. We seldom seek the rational, logical or reasoned. We seek the comfortable. Freud’s wish-fulfillment theory probably fits belief systems better than dreams.  

I’m not pleased by theories of knowledge. One that piques my interest is found in Genesis. The book of Genesis postulates full, complete knowledge belongs to God. This is similar to Plato’s ideal, perfect expression. (N. F. Carter suggests that Plato was familiar with Hebrew thought.) God teaches his children. If he made humans with rational potential, it was not fully developed at creation. Eve was deceived.

The Genesis writers leave us with the problem of why people believe what they do. They do not tell us why Eve preferred to believe the serpent. The serpent’s claims are irrational. Eve believed them. Why? This question makes me feel inadequate. I can say with those more brilliant than I that humans believe what they want to believe, but I still don’t know why.

New Testament knowledge theory is an extension of that found in Genesis. Genesis presents God as a parental instructor. His voice walked the garden daily. They heard it, conversed with it, and were familiar with it. In the New Testament, knowledge from God is a gift to which few are privy. He gives it to his children. Some endlessly pursue learning but reach false conclusions. This is so even within the church. The implication is that not all who meet in Christ’s name are God’s children.

“Knowing,” the intimate discourse with God that brings with it identity as God’s own, is Apostolic doctrine, but as a general theory of belief it holds true. It is better than most. Jesus’ words were obscure to some. His disciples sought clarification. The rest did not. Those who were outside refused to be challenged by contrary belief. (“This speech is shocking.”) The foundation of correct knowledge is reason and logic. (“Proved logically that he was the Christ.”) Knowledge and belief must have a solid foundation or they fail. (“Hay, stubble.”) Those who believe irrationally do so because it rewards them. (“ears tickled”) Useful belief is based on reliable evidence and derived form accurately appraised observation and solidly grounded teachers. (“From what persons you learned.”)

Much of this – all of it, really – satisfies me. But it still leaves me with the question, Why do people believe what they do?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Harry and the AC man

The Air conditioning repairman, henceforth to be known as the ‘guy’ came back today with a new fan motor to replace our old motor that first was spinning backwards and then, when that was corrected, stopped spinning at all. It seems that it was, in the guy’s technical terms, pulling too many amps (amperes of electricity) and overheating.
He came out today with the new motor. He installed it, turned it on, and turned it off. He adjusted the belt tension, turned it on and off again. He repeated the process several times.
Finally I heard him put the access panel back on and gather up his tools. It is a good thing that there is a polar air mass that has descended from Canada over our region. If not, we would be experiencing 100+ degree (Fahrenheit) days like our dear Pixie in the Northwest has had this past week or so. The guy was puzzled. The new motor was drawing too many amps as well. It was wired correctly. The correct voltage was going to the motor. He was stumped.
So here I am again, still without central air conditioning. The guy is ordering another new motor and may bring his boss back with him next time.

How a Pixie Seduces her Pet Scotsman

A frankly pornographic dance video. Don't watch it. Fair Warning.

I wrote this huge, long post about Knobby Knees and myself. It got really personal, and I deleted it all except for this video. Make of it what you will. I advise against watching it. It will make most of you uncomfortable.

Hamburg - 1905

S. M. S. Hamburg - Commissioned March 1904

Pixie Child by ElenaDudina

Found on Deviant Art

Friday, July 18, 2014

I can't think of a snappy title so this is ...

From O. Reader


When quite seriously unwell recently, courtesy of the blue tail fly or something similar, I spent several days lying in bed feeling rather sorry for myself, with my thoughts a mass of disjointed projects – like some weird document I wanted to put in order, but couldn’t find the beginning or the ending to do so.

My daughter in a phone conversation with Mrs O, before dropping everything to come and assist with my care, asked if I was watching rock and roll films yet? That apparently was viewed as the litmus test of impending recovery.

And it was true. As I came back to life I didn’t feel like work. I didn’t feel like reading anything or writing anything. But all of a sudden, I wanted to watch...rock and roll films.

I have a very large collection of these, starting with films from the early 50s up to generally the 70s, with a few "old singers benefit night" revivals since then. My collection includes all the exploitation films knocked out in a couple of days to capitalise on new fads. One of the first was of course Rock Around the Clock – a quickie designed to get teenage bums on seats, or rather jumping about while ripping up seats, featuring the questionable charms of Bill Haley and his Comets. Haley was an unlikely star, middle aged and pudgy, complete with kiss-curl (He means spit curl. Forgive him. He doesn’t speak American. - Pixie) and denture, thrust into the limelight when the film Blackboard Jungle suddenly became a hit, and his Rock Around the Clock was on the soundtrack. (It was initially promoted as a novelty foxtrot). Haley was soon blown out of the water by Elvis and the like.

There were scores of these pictures, and when "the twist" came in, and "beach parties" came in, the whole cycle (including the same threadbare plots) started all over again.

Then there are the TV performances that have survived in shows and compilations. Some are just lip-synching to the recordings; others feature live performances that worried the parents of Middle America – and ultimately the whole world. Their fears and the market’s reaction to them can be summed up by the brilliant introduction to the film Let the Good Times Roll. This was based on a rock revival show from the 1970s.

After the opening credits we have some scratchy black and white film. A middle aged DJ smashes records – "rock and roll has got to go." An American evangelist with wild eyes and improbable hair starts getting worked up into a lather. He "understands" – he knows how it feels – he knows what it does to you – he knows the evil it does to you – it’’s the beat – that’s what teenagers say, the beat, the beat, the beat... Then suddenly – WHAM, BAM – we are in huge widescreen in full color – Chuck Berry at his leering best – Hail, Hail, Rock and Roll.... Yeah. No contest.

Anyhow, as I recovered, my first foray into rehabilitation was to watch a compilation of two programs from British TV from the 60s – featuring Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Little Richard.

Vincent was always associated with motor bikes. He had a smashed up leg and a leg brace from a motor bike accident when in the merchant navy, and impresario Jack Good dressed him all in black leather. It may seem tame now, but in those pre-heavy metal days, it was iconic.

A motorcycle gang roar through the streets of London – the UK’s version of Marlon Brando’s The Wild Bunch. Eventually they motor through large doors into a TV studio where they come to a halt – and Vincent, complete in black leathers, launches into Be Bop a Lula. In retrospect, there are several better performances preserved of Vincent performing this number – he was a little the worse for drink on this occasion – but he still managed to smash the stand microphone into the ground during the song, as we had come to love and expect.

Mr and Mrs O Rockin' and Rollin'
Back in the day ... mind you.

One of my proud accomplishments as a teenager was doing a Vincent impersonation. Years after Vincent’s early but not unexpected demise, I was sent with another young gentleman, who we will call P, to work for a charity in a city with a large and very respectable group of people.

They organised a party – but not a party as you might know it. It was a very staid affair – perhaps a gentle game of Bible charades was the daring highlight of the evening with a little light music thrown in. And then we came in – P started pounding the piano – I gazed into the middle distance with one leg straight behind the other and a broom handle doubling as stand mike and straight into "Weeeeeeelll" For the 99.9% of the world who haven’t a clue what I’m on about check out Vincent on

Even if I say so myself (because no-one else is going to say it now) it was still rather a good impersonation. Jaws dropped. Of course, the teenagers loved it. We were human! We were also mad – but hey, what did that matter?

Of course, I grew up. Vincent got forgotten. Hopefully, my impersonation of Vincent got forgotten. And at least in those far off days there wasn’t something like YouTube to come back and bite you when you were old and grey and respectable.

So that was Vincent on my DVD.

He was followed by Little Richard. Flamboyant, Outrageous – every so often giving up the Devil’s music to sing Gospel. I have never ventured inside a Pentecostal church, but he gave one the impression of what might happen in a rising collective experience. And Little Richard was fun. His performance – backed by a group called Sounds Incorporated – holds up very well today.

I saw Richard in person on his very first tour of Britain. They had booked him with Sam Cooke, but had no idea what he was going to do. Would he sing gospel and lose them all their money? Fortunately for rock and roll, he suddenly reverted and rolled back the years.

I wrote it all up on this blog a couple of years ago in a scholarly post called AH WOP BOP A LOO BOP A LOP BAM BOOM!

I remember Richard throwing a shoe into the audience – causing scuffles for this sacred relic. Then another shoe. Then a jacket. It looked like the shirt would be next. How far would this maniac go? Then suddenly, while jumping up and down on top of the piano (as you do) he collapsed in a heap. The musicians whimpered to a halt. The compere ran on – "is there a doctor in the house?" Then from flat on his back – Gonna Tell Aunt Mary ‘Bout Uncle John – up and away into Long Tall Sally.

His TV performance was of that – er – standard.

And then the third was the really bad boy of rock. Jerry Lee Lewis. Lewis came from a poor family in Louisiana. He had been sent to train as a minister (TV evangelist Jerry Swaggart is a cousin) but was quickly expelled from the college for playing "the Devil’s music." Apart from the lyrics, outsiders would find it hard to tell the difference sometimes.

I remember a documentary on the history of popular music. Lee was interviewed in some honky-tonk dive. He was rambling, likely drunk, as he outlined all his troubles in life, all his ups and downs and car crash relationships. "But" he ended on a maudlin note, "Jerry Lee just keeps on rocking..." Then he paused – squinted into the camera – "you’re not still filming this are you..?" Cut.

Lee’s first visit to Britain in 1958 was brief. He got deported when it turned out that his new bride was only 13. She was also his third bride. He was still only 22. A further complication was that a divorce from bride number 2 hadn’t actually been finalised when he tied the knot with Myra.

By the 60s attitudes had changed. And Myra – they were still together at this point – had grown to a more acceptable age. Lewis made several tours that lasted the distance and this memorable TV show on my DVD came from one of those. As with Richard, the audience was filled with minor celebrities. It is fun to spot them now, including the much reviled Jimmy Savile. (I once ran past Savile at a charity marathon, but that is another story). Dancing by this time had morphed into a kind of abandoned thrashing, and if people saw themselves on the TV monitor they would up the odds and do an impersonation of someone having an epileptic fit.

Lee pounded the piano – whisking his right hand back and forth without missing a beat around the stand mike. He grabbed the stand mike and stood on the piano – his slicked down hair refused to stay in place and got wilder and wilder, as did Lewis’ performance. Whole Lotta Shaking Going On? Lewis gave a text book illustration of what he meant. Great Spherical Objects of Fire? Yup - Lewis delivered.

The only unusual note that I picked up on this time was that the piano was surrounded by boys. Not girls – boys. Boys with long sweaty hair. Boys reaching out. Boys who wanted to touch and stroke their icon. Lewis looked slightly disconcerted – this did not appear to be his scene.

Do you know – just watching Vincent, Richard and Lewis for an hour – I felt such a whole lot better. I think all doctors should prescribe it.

Yeah. Rock on.