Archive for February, 2013

Smokefree

February 24, 2013

In the novel that I am presently writing, the young American, Philip, has just arrived, via train, in Strasbourg, France, very near the German border. The year is 1937. A young lady, Lili, who has recently left Germany, has arranged for her father, Hezekin, to drive Philip out of Strasbourg and into the Alsace countryside of easternmost France.

In chapter 13 of Smoke, the novel, we hear Philip Marlowe and Hezekin Eschen converse, as Hezekin is driving the Renault to a farmhouse in the country:

       “Konzentrationslager,” said Hezekin.

“They are special prisons for Jews, where they are concentrated in camps to do slave labor,” said Lili.

Philip’s American mind could not fathom it. “What is so special about you Jews that—“

Hezekin raised his voice: “From ancient times, God has called us out of slavery, and we will never, never submit to it on this earth—not from Pharoah, not from the Fuehrer!”

“What slavery are you talking about now, in 1937, with you a businessman, providing for your family?” Philip retorted.

The voice lowered. “Philip, the Nazis are building slave camps now!” His voice was tense with urgency, eyes flashing with offense. “The SS has built one at Dachau, and they have taken my son, my one and only son, and they have locked him in there with barbed wire all around the camp. What do you call that?”

“I’ve never heard of such a thing.”

“Now you have, my friend. You are not in America now. This is the old world, the world from which your ancestors—Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln—the world of tragedy, and hope, from which they sprung, the world from which their ancestors fled!”

“If this is true—“

“It is true, my friend!

Elusive Butterfly of Love

February 11, 2013

When I was young and foolish, this song by Bob Lind was one of my favorites. It is a beautiful song, a profoundly metaphorical poem set to music. I often hummed the song, or sang it to myself when I was feeling romantic and lonely.

Lately, I’ve found myself singing the song again. I do not know how or why this happened; maybe it was the proximity of Valentine’s day.

Being the romantic, right-brain, scattered-out fuzz brain poet/musician/author that I am, I might have spent my entire 61 years chasing that elusive butterfly of love that the song describes.

But hey! That’s not the way it happened. Thanks to Pat, my wife, I have spent the last 33 years, since 1980, actually IN LOVE instead of pursuing it as some unattainable ideal. Thank you, Pat!

That creature of love  was not so elusive after all. And we have three grown earth-inhabitants to prove it.

I give thanks and praise to the Lord for that day in 1979 when I first saw her face as we stood in line for a musical/coffee house event in Asheville. . . reminds me of another old song.

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress

What about Drones?

February 7, 2013

President Obama’s nomination of John Brennan for Secretary of Defense has prompted nationwide discussion on the use of unmanned aircraft, or “drones” for limited warfare, intelligence gathering, and surveillance.

The issues surrounding use of these machine should be examined by the American people. We need to deal with the moral and human rights questions that are now being brought forth from many concerned citizens and Congress. We should make ourselves aware of how these drones are used presently, and how further applications in law enforcement and defense will change the administration of justice both at home and abroad.

My impression as a citizen of the United States is that these devices are being used mostly in military strategies under the auspices of the Defense department, but that the CIA is refining their use for surveillance and intelligence gathering. It is plausible and (knowing how technology spreads) possible that domestic agencies such as FBI, Homeland Security, ATF, FEMA, etc are seeking legal authority for law enforcement intelligence gathering and surveillance on the home front.

Here are a few questions in my mind so far that need to be dealt with:

~ Can precise use of drones really minimize and reduce collateral damage and loss of innocent civilian life in warfare?

~ Are drone assassinations a more humane way to eliminate terrorists and criminals than traditional means?

~ Who makes the decision, and on what information basis, about who is to be targeted?

~ Will target selection by military personnel and law enforcement officials amount to elimination of due process of law for the person(s) targeted?

~ What are the long-range implications for constitutional rights, such as trial by jury, and the old principle of “innocent until proven guilty”?

These questions are what stuck in my mind after listening, this morning, to a very informative panel discussion on the Diane Rehm Show, National Public Radio. If you have an hour to explore this important topic, I recommend you listen to this analysis as presented by guest-host Tom Gjelten and other informed participants.

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress

The Bubble of Twit

February 3, 2013

The tweeter man he

fill the world with monitored

relevance

he wear no shoeshine

he suck hot electrons from

the net he live and breathe

exexististential immediacy

m-my g-generation

foment revolution from afar

watch bleary-eyed all hours

of the night

with the evidence-based idea that homo sapiens

can evolve beyond original

sin                 cosine

just because desperadoes from afar

throw rocks from behind

barricades

perpetually

in the Square

every other generation or so

but hey, he be on top of it

he be occupyin

he wear no shoeshine

but he wear vicarious révolucion

on his bleedin sleeve, until

the clenched fist

the curved sword or

stock glock

shut em down

good luck wi dat.

But hey what beast creeps up

gehenna road

smarter than yo average phone

in hand

what beast? i tell ya

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress