Welcome to My New Theme.

Thanks to the help of my good friend Piper Bayard, I am changing the direction of my blog, some.

The theme for my blog will lean toward history.  Most of my books are historical fiction, therefore, I am going to concentrate on my History Made Fun and Reading History Like a Novel.  Learning history, but not in a classroom.

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An Open Letter to Rebecca Carroll of the Guardian.

Dear Ms. Carroll,

The Guardian is one of my favorite publications and I’ve been following the story in Ferguson, Missouri.  I wanted to take this opportunity to answer some of the points in your post.

Well I am considered “white.” olive skinned is probably more accurate.  I am going to have to quibble about building a racist system in the United States.  The first member of my family showed up on American shores in 1903.  Hmmm, then again being Jewish it is normally “Out of the frying pan and into the fire.”  No one in my family was a planter, like Robert E. Lee.

I’ve heard we need to have a national conversation about race, but I will be honest.  I wouldn’t even know where to begin.  Personally, I hope that with what science is learning about DNA and better racial attitudes among the kids this will work itself out in our lifetimes.  (My seventeen year old niece sees my generation even discussing race as racist in itself).

I haven’t judged the Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson yet.  I want to see all the evidence come out, though his department leaves much to be desired in certainly not protecting and serving, but owning the streets and not releasing the officers name immediately.  I would love to hear his side of the story, but for now on, everything is going through lawyers.

Getting Missouri Highway Captain Ron Johnson on the scene was a welcome relief.  Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson already have Officer Wilson tried and lynched.  In a perfect world, not how our system is supposed to work and again, the Ferguson Police Department leaves much to be desired for how they have behaved when this happened.

I have black friends, African-American, Caribbean and from Africa.  My Dad raised me to treat people as individuals.  If my friends are under attack, I stand up for them.  Just that simple.

As for dismantling systematic racism.  If I had a clue as to how to do it, I would, but that means I am in Nobel Peace Prize Territory, and I don’t think I’m that good.

Thank you for allowing me to respond.




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Ferguson, Missouri: Have the Press Helped to Up the Ante?

No doubt the press isn’t helping.  How many of these protesters would be there without the cameras?

I’m not even discussing what caused this in the first place.  It just makes getting to the bottom of this more difficult.

What would my favorite sarcastic writer from upriver in Hannibal, Missouri, a certain Mark Twain, have to say about this.

This all needs time to simmer down, but it may be late for that; the cat is out of the bag.

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Ferguson Missouri Questions, not Answers.

I can’t comment on the investigation of the police shooting, the investigation needs to be thorough and fair.  This will go on for a while.

I understand peaceful protest.  Destroying the stores where you needed to shop?  Where is the sense in that?

Armored vehicles seem to defeat the idea of “Protect and Serve,” and seem to mean instead, “We OWN these streets!”  Don’t the police work for us, or am I missing something?  Here is an article from Newsweek on militarized police.


From Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, an articulate look at poverty being the issue.  Please don’t tell me, you’ve never heard of him.


From former Miss Missouri Taylor Marsh in Huffington Post.  http://time.com/3132635/ferguson-coming-race-war-class-warfare/?utm_content=buffer96b00&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Reading her post gave me something I needed to help me understand the Missouri historical context of what’s happening.  The history buff in me love it.

This story has taken on an International angle.  Amnesty International has shown up.  Here is one article from the L.A. Times


Palestinian thugs in Gaza are sending tweets to people in Ferguson about dealing with tear gas.  Not saying everything the United States does is right, but Russia criticizing us for this?  Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

Here is the Wikipedia Time Line for more:



One question I’ve had watching this.  Ferguson is one third white.  Where is Ferguson’s white population in all this?  Have they fled, or are they locked in their homes, locked and loaded?   A follow up is, are the cops either living in Ferguson or were born there?  Is there an element of resentment over what the town has become?  Hey, a young woman was just killed in Detroit, because the man in the house was afraid and shot through the door.  Detroit’s Police Chief is telling law abiding citizens to pack heat.  What does that tell you?  I recently wrote an essay, I’ve Seen the Apocalypse and It’s Detroit.  Maybe I should add, I’ve seen the frontier and it’s Detroit.  Isn’t there a danger Ferguson could become a similar frontier?  Who are the cavalry, who are the Injuns?



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Authority Is Saying You’re Sorry


Can’t disagree with this.

Originally posted on ipledgeafallegiance:

I’ve been following the recent troubles in Ferguson, Missouri as I am sure many of you have and no matter who has come to speak before the public, whether it has been the police chief or Governor or any other representative of the local government, I have yet to hear anyone say, “I’m sorry” or “We’re sorry”…Have you?

Saying that you are sorry is at least a good place to start, especially when you represent or speak on behalf of government forces who are empowered to “Serve and Protect” the public good…and even more so when you claim that those forces need to be heavily armed in order to properly do their job, with weapons and equipment that are paid for with monies of the people, by the people and for the people that you have sworn to serve.

But instead we have heard everything but sorry. When a man…

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Ferguson Missouri, Tourist Site?

For those who remember the Dukes of Hazzard, I thought of what Boss Hogg would do, if faced with what’s happening in Ferguson, Missouri.

“I have to do somethin’,”  he muttered.  “This town’s goin’ to hell in a handbasket.”

Enos, of course, had to throw in his two cents.  “Boss, we bring in tourists.”

“Enos, you dipstick, we have riotin’ goin’ on.  We don’t need the Duke Boys no more, we got enough problems.  The damn foreign press is camped out.”

“My point exactly boss.  International visitors are comin’ anyway.  Might as well provide them with something and get some money from them.  We surely don’t want them spendin’ their money in Florissant, or St. Louis City.”

Boss Hogg’s eyes widened like saucers.  “Enos, for once in your life, you have had a good idea.  How we gonna do this?”

Boss Hogg gets a tip for the best public relations man in the world.  He is in Germany, and it is like something out of the old Kohler commercial, where the couple wants him to design a house around the faucet.

“Horst, have you gone mad?”  Ferguson, Missouri?  Now famous as the most racist city in the USA?”

“Ah, Dieter.  I am doing it for free.  Just wait and see what I come up with.  I will fly to St. Louis and talk with them.”

Dieter shook his head, but knew better, than to interrupt his partner, when the gears in his mind were turning.

Dieter flew to St. Louis, a place that hadn’t seen Germans since the Busch family founded Budweiser.  He had to bribe a taxi driver to drive him to Ferguson.

He met with city leaders, and said he would do it for free, telling them, they had been wronged.

Dieter went to work, then they had the unveiling.  Welcome to Old Dixie.  A small Southern town circa, 1930, right down to the segregated facilities.

The International Media cut the ribbon.  Enos (because he doesn’t know any better) was happier than a kid in a candy store.  “This will be fun.”

Boss Hogg had never turned this red, even with the Duke Boys, who were in the audience splitting their sides with laughter.

“Boss, what’s wrong?”  Enos cried.  “It is the South as my Daddy remembered it.”

Boss Hogg chased Enos around the municipal building WITH a dip stick.  “Enos!  We have been made to look like fools!  This is worse than the Duke Boys!”

The moral to this story:  If someone who is the best in the world offers something for free, think long and hard.  A modern version of “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.”




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Bad News for ISIS


Bad news for ISIS, is good news for me.

Originally posted on Bayard & Holmes:

By Jay Holmes

On June 29, 2014, after gaining control over large swaths of northern Iraq, ISIS declared itself to be a caliphate.

Its intention is to expand this caliphate from Morocco to Malaysia and Indonesia. ISIS “Caliph,” is supreme leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi—we’ll call him Abu. Abu made it clear that ISIS considers itself to be the one true Islamic authority for all of the world’s Islamic population. He called on all the world’s Muslims to declare their allegiance to ISIS and to obey his dictates. Fortunately, most of the world’s estimated 1.6 billion Muslims show no interest in bowing down to Abu. However, while Abu’s lack of majority support might confine his greater caliphate dreams to the fantasy realm, it will not keep ISIS from creating more misery in the real world.

ISIS logo public domain, wikimedia commons

ISIS logo
public domain, wikimedia commons

If you have been following the news and find yourself…

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