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Use Caution When Making Social Changes

Posted on 08/13/2019. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

I have suffered through two disastrous presidential elections when the democratic candidates had catastrophic loses. One was George McGovern’s lose to Richard Nixon in 1972 and the other was Walter Mondale’s lose to Ronald Regan in 1984.     

George McGovern won one state, Massachusetts and DC in the 1972 election
Walter Mondale won one state, Minnesota and DC in the 1948 election

A number of the democratic candidates are proposing significant changes relative to citizen verses government responsibilities, changes that are controversial and have the support of the more left democratic voters but questionable support from more moderate democrats, independents and likely few if any republicans.

If the first priority of the democratic party is to defeat Trump, this call for drastic changes in the way our country is organized and operates at this time may be counter productive.

Better to be addressing how to help the farmers who are going through some difficult times, proposing changes to health care that are understandable and possible rather than starting over and adapting a sound byte that can never pass the legislative hurdles, address the disparity between the wealthy and the workers in the country with programs that can be implemented, and fix the damn roads and bridges.

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Free E-Book August 15-19

Posted on 08/02/2019. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Every ninety days an e-book exclusively listed on Amazon can be promoted by offering it as free during a five day period. I normally take advantage of this opportunity to promote one of my e-books during these periods and will be offering the book PushBack during the current period on August 15-19. I had a hard time writing PushBack. I struggled with it for six years. That should have given me a clue that authoring the book might be a bad idea. I did not have an affiliation with the places the story took place, the people, black Americans, lesbians, but I persisted.

The geneses for the book was 9/11 and the War on Terrorism. In my opinion declaring War on Terrorism is like declaring war on the ocean. What are you declaring war on, a descriptive noun? The word terrorism goes back to the first century AD. There are good terrorist and bad terrorist, depending on your point of view. The War on Terrorism persisted as a false notion in my mind until around 2005 when I decided to write a novel where the terrorist were the good guys. That is when my difficulties started in writing this novel. I have had some good reviews and some very bad reviews. I lean toward agreeing with what the bad reviews had to say. Surprisingly the book was finalist in the Foreword Book of the Year Awards.

After this introduction would anyone want to read this book. I doubt it but if they do I would dare them to write an honest review of the book.

YOUNG AFRICAN AMERICAN LAWYER JIM REED seemingly has it all. Recently named a junior partner in an Atlanta law firm, Jim is shocked when he stops at his usual gas station and realizes the price of fuel has skyrocketed overnight to fifty dollars a gallon. It is 2033, and the world as Jim knows it is suddenly spinning wildly out of control. Sudden hyperinflation shocks everyone. As panic sets in, the value of the dollar plummets and the resulting devastation causes the United States to splinter into several countries, all of which adopt democratic rules except the Federated States, the one in which Jim Reed and girlfriend Linda Alonzo live. They find themselves citizens of a country governed by a white-supremacist dictatorship. Jim Reed joins a group of African American insurgents and finds himself involved in dangerous, bold attacks on Federated States targets. The insurrection causes the Federated States government to intern or exile the entire Federated States African American population. Reed goes into exile and as he recruits like-minded people to join together with the intent to destroy the Federated States Supremacist government, he conceives a plan that may just become the world’s greatest act of terrorism.

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Designated Gardener Notes, July 2019

Posted on 07/31/2019. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Not too much “All About Books” has been happening this summer. The Braeswood Condominium gardens have using up a lot of time. I have been doing the gardens for fifteen years, but as I slow down it takes longer to do what has to be done.

I am keeping up with reading, having a book or two in progress most of the time. I’m reading Frida by Barbara Mujica. This is a book that starts out with a lot of shock-and-awe and doesn’t let up. I’m learning bad words I hadn’t been aware before, There is a lot of body physical descriptions and functions mixed in with a story that explores human nature as it reacts to reality and personal limitations. That said, the book deals with real people and real events. This includes the Mexican revolution early in the twentieth century and two famous Mexican artist, Frida and Diego Rivera told through the eyes of Frida’s sister Cristina. I find it an interesting read. Not one of those books your can’t put down but when you pick it up again you are glade you did. I plan to do a full review when I finish the book. A interesting sidebar My wife Joan and I visited the Frida family home, the Blue House, eight years ago in Mexico City when visiting our daughter who lived there for a period of time. It has been preserved as a museum

At the same time I’m listening to another book, Forgotten Soidier, by Cuy Sajer. Cuy had a French Father and German mother who lived Alsace-Lorraine which was occupied by the Germans in the 1930’s. Cuy was drafted into the German army when sixteen years old and sent to the Eastern Front in 1942. The book is listed in Amazon as a memoir and but it soon became obvious that it was story of events as recalled by Cuy while on the Eastern Front but many of the details were fictional. This disappointed me. I thought I had been sold a bill of goods. However, after getting used to the idea that the book was not factual in every detail I continue listening to the book and appreciating it for what it is. It does provide a vivid description of the hell that the Eastern Front provided for the ordinary German soldier.

This year has been good to gardens in the Minnesota Twin Cities area. Ample moisture, but not too much. Some areas in Minnesota have received too much rain. Lawns have remained green without the aid of irrigation. We do have friendly deer visiting the Braewood gardens often since we located across the street from a wildlife area. They can do selective and devastating damage to a garden in a short period of time. Although deer are normally selective in what they will eat, they will eat the buds of almost any plant. I try to be proactive and use a product called Invisible Fence to deter them. However, sometimes I’m caught off guard and they will eat something I’m not expecting them be eating or in a place where I don’t expect them to be.

We are getting a healthy number of bees and butterfly’s on Monarda, Catmint, Black Eyed Susan, Salvia and Coneflowers. Still to come is the late sedum, one of the bee favorite plants. We also have a growing crop of milk weeds in a bed of Sumac plants so we are doing our part to help Monarch butterfly’s survive.

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Designated Gardner Notes June 2019

Posted on 06/24/2019. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

June has been good to gardeners in the Minnesota Twin Cities area. Relatively mild weather, ample moisture. As the designated gardener for Braewood Condominiums, the gardens have kept me busy this spring and I have had little time to work on putting together a collection of short stories, my next author project. This is due in part to age, which increases every year whether you need it or not. What I once did in a day may now that me a week to accomplish. Not complaining, better to take week verses not being able to do it at all. Below is a recent selfy:

That is a new hat I wear gardening when the sun is shining. I have always been sensitive to sun and ignored the prob;em until recently when it has become more of a problem. I could have bought a hat for a fraction of what I paid for this one. I bought the hat in the South Dakota State University gift shop. Note the decal of the the SDSU mascot, a jackrabbit, on the front of the hat. That made it worth what ever I paid for it.

Pictured below are pictures of some of the gardens stars during June:

Salvia puts on its best display in June. Salvia can be cut back after completing its early bloom and it will bloom again but not with the vigor it displays in its first bloom.

Catmint and more salvia dominate the parking lot circle during June,.

Salvia again reigns at the 98th street sign during June

Hardy roses begin their annual bloom in June which will last until late fall if maintained regularly during the summer. This includes deadheading, fertilizing and controlling Japanese Beatles and other pests..

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For The Cause; Free ebook

Posted on 06/23/2019. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

I have not been very successful in marketing the books I have written. I know I am not good at marketing and maybe the books aren’t that good either. However I have been quite successful in giving books away free so to that end:

The ebook For the Cause will be available at Amazon for free download starting on July 4 and continuing through July 8.

Synopsis:

Two South Dakota farm boys decide to join the marines for a number of reasons, none of which include patriotism or love of country. It is 1950 and they complete boot camp just as the Korean War suddenly erupts. Chris finds himself assigned to the First Provisional Marine Brigade being hurriedly put together to be deployed to Korea. Pete is assigned to a marine unit providing base security for the Sangley Point Naval Air Station in the Philippines. The story follows the lives of the two young men during the last six months of 1950 while Chris in Korea is involved in the Pusan Perimeter, Inchon and the Chosin Reservoir battles and Pete spends his time as a security guard in the Philippines. Over a short period of time Chris goes from a green farm boy to a seasoned warrior and Pete’s world expands quickly as he encounters unfamiliar moral standards and first love. The story alternates between Chris in Korea and Pete in the Philippines until the story comes to a surprising conclusion

Authors Note; In writing For the Cause

My first plan had been to write a short novel which would concentrate on the part of the For the Cause story that took place in the  Philippines. The two main characters, Pete and Chris, would appear in the story with Pete in the Philippines and Chris in Korea but the Korean War would be in the background. However, as I researched the Korean War I began to better understand the epic role played by the marines in the early months of that war. I had been in the Navy during the Korean War and spent two years during that time in the Far East as a crewman on navy reconnaissance planes that patrolled the Korean coastline and adjacent areas in the region. As involved as I had been in the Korean conflict I found I didn’t have an appreciation of the role played by the marines during that war. For example, I believed the Chosin Reservoir battle had been an embarrassing defeat for the marines. I learned during researching the subject that the Chosin Reservoir battle is considered to be one of the Marine Corps finest hours. I hadn’t understood the tremendous odds the marines had to overcome in the successful withdrawal from the Chosin Reservoir nor the background and politics that had put the marines in the exposed position they were in at the time. It occurred to me that if I, as involved as I was in the conflict, did not appreciate the pluck and skill shown by the marines during the conflict, most other people would have little or no knowledge of the role the US Marines played in the Korean War. The Korean War has been called the Forgotten War and I realized For the Cause could be a means of revealing some of its history so others could become more aware of what had occurred during the Korean war. As a result the book  For the Cause became a full length novel with an expanded purpose.

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Designated Gardener Notes

Posted on 05/27/2019. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Early Blooming Bleeding Hearts Putting on Their Show

I became the designated gardener of our condominium when we moved here and suggested the landscaping could be improved. There was resistance to the idea by some owners who believed the lawn, trees and few scrubs that existed were adequate. However, after making some landscape improvements most people wanted more and we now have a numerous perennial gardens and flowering scrubs on the association property. I was 76 years old when we moved into our condominium fifteen years ago. If you do the math it will be apparent that my days as the designated gardener can’t last much longer. During the last few years I’ve asked myself if I could still do it. So far, every spring of those years I have found I could do it. One of these springs I will find I can’t do it and hopefully another designated gardener will appear.

The spring garden chores are about over. This included inspecting for winter damage. There were no loses despite a severe cold period, but some damage to boxwood bushes and to last year’s newly planted hydrangeas. Any emerging plants covered with leaves or pines needles were uncovered. Plants to be moved or divided were then dwelt with and new plants, shrubs and trees were planted. All the plants except rhododendrons were treated with a slow release fertilizer. The rhododendrons were fertilized after blooming. Any weeds that survived the winter were removed. After fertilizing, the gardens were mulched where needed using wood chips, pine needles or leaves. After mulching a weed suppressor was applied where needed. Toward the end of May seven containers were were filled with potting soil and annuals planted. These tasks took most of my time in May, in part because it takes me a week to do what I used to do in a day. I had help from the people that do our lawn and snow removal. I had them divide the Forster Reed Grass along the parking lot and at the front sign, plant some junipers and spireas and spread eight cu. yds. of mulch.

We replaced the contractors that had been doing the lawn care this year.  First impression has been good. The person that owns the business is also involved in work being done. Makes a difference. The previous contractor worked in a office and had a layer of managers between him and the people that actually did the work. The people that did the work changed often and likely were not concerned about customer satisfaction. No matter how automated the world becomes there will always be a need for people who provide services that can’t be automated and those services can best be provided by individuals who have a personal interest in providing the most satisfactory service they can deliver.

With the spring chores wrapping up, I hope to spend time on putting together two books of short stories that I am working on.

Below, a picture of a happy Gnome sitting in a bed of sedum.

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Having Lived History

Posted on 05/04/2019. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Having been born in 1927, before the Wall Street crash in 1929 and growing up during the Great Depression and having experienced the dust storms during the historic 1930’s drought qualified me to give a talk to the Milbank South Dakota middle school 7th and 8th graders about the experience of growing up on a farm in the area during those times.

This opportunity to talk to the Milbank Middle School students evolved from my contacting Greg Cantine an 8th grade teacher at the Milbank Middle School. I had been searching for a picture of Milbank’s main street to use in a story I was writing and found one in a blog that Greg maintained. I contacted Greg to find out if I could use the picture. This led to discussing other aspects of our lives and Greg, one of those dedicated teachers always thinking of his students, suggested that I give a talk to his class about my experiences growing up in the Milbank area.
Greg’s students had spent time studying local history and to have
a person who had lived some of that history would provide another perspective to what they had learned in studying the subject.

I embraced the idea and Greg proceeded to make the arrangements for me to talk to his students. Eventually both the 7th and 8th grade glasses were scheduled to listen to my presentation and on April 24 I had the pleasure of speaking to these handsome, well-mannered students. They were for the most part attentive, maybe in part because I had a Power Point presentation with numerous pictures. There is something about South Dakota children. Most of them seem to mature into adults who do their best to contribute to society to the best of their ability. This is an admirable trait. I’m not sure if this has something to do with the climate, teachers like Greg, or one of those unexplained phenomenons that we don’t need to know the answer to.

Addressing the Milbank 7th and 8th grade students

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The Season For Minnesota Gardens is Short

Posted on 04/14/2019. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

It is April 13 in Bloomington Minnesota and I look out the window and see snow as I make plans for the garden work to be done starting next week. The frost is out so planting shrubs and perennials could be done now if one is inclined to dig through some snow.

One of my bad habits is writing novels and short stories and another is gardening. I live in a condominium that my wife and I moved into in 2004. I was an instigator in having the condominium landscaping improved. In 2004 the landscaping consisted of grass, shrubs and trees. I succeeded having the association develop perennial gardens, plant new and replace worn out shrubs and plant additional trees. We also added flower pots planted with annuals at the entry side of the association building. During this process I became the Braewood Association default volunteer gardener/landscape person.


Dry Creek
Parking Lot Border
Lamp Post Planters

Circle Garden
98th Street Sign

These landscape improvements added significantly to the Braewood grounds eye appeal. It has also added significantly to the landscape maintenance requirements. Up until the time when I became a care giver for my wife, who left us almost two years ago, I had been able to handle the added maintenance. Also, as the years come and go, I have become less physically able and need help with the more strenuous activities. Now I glance out my widow occasionally, at the snow, while I plan the next years garden projects.

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Free: Copy of Finding the Way

Posted on 04/07/2019. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Get a free ebook copy Of Finding the Way Thursday April 18 through Monday April 22.

Karl Mueller, son of a Prussian peasant family undertakes a long journey in order to reach his goal to homestead land in America. Karl meets companion Heinrich Schlicter on the ship taking him on the first step of what becomes a seven year odyssey. The two remain friends and partners as they travel across the young country and encounter hardship, love, adventure and danger while Karl pursues his goal. Karl’s first priority is to accumulate enough money to finance his homestead plans. The quest to accumulate the needed stake takes the two young men to Chicago’s notorious meat-packing plants, to a Wisconsin lumber camp, and to the Black Hills 1876 gold rush. While in the Black Hills, Karl falls in love with a mixed blood Lakota Indian woman who helps him redefine his goal and to understand who he really is.
A blending of history and social issues with a compelling story makes Finding the Way entertaining and informative reading.

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Review of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Posted on 04/07/2019. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

The book Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is a classic.  First published in 1970, it caused a perception change in the minds of many Americans of the history of the interaction between the western Indians and United States government, white settlers and the US Army. 

The history of that period was described in history books and articles written by non-Indians authors, written from the perspective white people who viewed Indian land as an opportunity to bring white law an order to a disorderly virgin land where a few nomadic Indians roamed about and to convert it into to a better and more profitable use. The white people populated the land they claimed, they surveyed it, divided it into parcels, attached titles to the parcels that proved ownership that and could be bought and sold. In the Indian world the land belonged to everyone to be used as needed.  

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee was written by the Author Dee Brown to view the history of that period from the Indian’s perspective. The Indians had resided in North America for thousands of years before the white men appeared and invaded the land that Indians considered to be their land. The Indians were tribal and fought each other over who controlled parts of the land, but it was all Indian land. However, when the white men came, they began appropriating the land for their own use. The Federal Government made the land takeovers ligament by persuading the Indians to sign treaties in most cases. If that wasn’t successful, white settlers, miners often ignored Indian land boundaries and if the Indians attempted to drive them out the US Army would protect the settlers or miners. The Indians were often given gifts, money and the promise that Indians would retain a portion of the region for their own use forever. Maybe the people signing for the government believed what the treaty stated. The Indians may have trusted the US Government. It would have had to be trust because, with few exceptions, the Indians could not read or understand what they were agreeing to.  Whatever the treaties stated; in the end it didn’t matter since the United States government broke its promises in every treaty that it signed with the Indians.

As the white men pushed westward, establishing farms and cities, the Indians retreated until there was no room to retreat further.  For the Indians it became a matter of resisting or capitulating, giving up their lands and freedom to be confined to reservations that provided neither game for hunting or land fit for growing crops. The Indians choose to fight and though they won battles despite fighting an army better trained and armed, the Indians couldn’t and wouldn’t win. The plains wars ended with the battle of Wounded Knee where the US Army massacred an Indian encampment on December 29, 1890 on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, killing three-hundred men, women and children.

Dee Brown used carefully researched history to tell the story from the Indians perspective in third person, while adding the authors thoughts in first person. This book is a must read for those interested in American history.    

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