Sunday, November 29, 2015

Lovely to See--Paul Kramer Considers--Nature's Stage!


A message of the positive
A creation by design
Lifting up our spirits
Turning gray into sunshine
A circle of mystical wonder
The lower half out of sight
Majestic colors proudly displayed
Drops of rain amidst the sunlight
Produced and directed from above
Putting a smile upon your face
A magical scene from nature
Brought to us with God’s grace


When the earth is ravaged and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people shall come unto the earth from many colors, classes, creeds, and who by their actions and deeds shall make the earth green again. They will be known as the warriors of the Rainbow -- Old Native American Prophecy...

Paul M Kramer

I'm always amazed when I read a new poem and respond to it...Thanks for this one Paul, it's one of my favorites...

Friday, November 27, 2015

This Disgusting Book--2051 by Rick Cornell--Could Very Well Be Our Future!

And on a Sunday morning in early March of 2051, the nation heard the words of Deacon Joe Green:
"Brothers and sisters! Did not Jesus, yes, Jesus Himself, tell us all to love thy neighbor as you would yourself? Did he not say that? Yes--He not only said it and historians told us about it in the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus said it was the greatest Commandment of all! Of all!! Love thy neighbor as thyself! The whole idea was in Leviticus, even before Jesus Christ was alive!...the foundation of religion! Any religion! Love thy neighbor as thyself! For when you do that, you love God!...
Any now we turn to what is happening out west of here. Brother Beau Browne, the pastor of a Congregational Church loved his neighbor. He loved a man who was down on his luck. A man who had been unfairly persecuted by the police. That's right. The police! For 45 years!! A man unfairly persecuted by the police for 45 years!!
Brother Browne loved this man! Took him into his home! Just like we do at the Calvary Jamboree! Gave him food! Gave him shelter! Gave him a job! Gave him comfort! Gave him the self-respect he hadn't had for years! For years! Just like we do, over and over, at the Calvary Jamboree!
And for that, what happened? The FBI said Brother Browne committed treason! Treason! They despised him! They Tortured him! That's right, they tortured a Christian preacher! They invaded his home with an army tank! An army tank! 'Shock and awe' to a gentle Congregational preacher? A man's home is his castle, except when it's a parsonage? Well, why not? The United States government has to win a war some time! It's been too long for them!
government has to win
And when Brother Browne preached the Sermon on the Mount to these Godless thugs, what did the FBI do? They tortured him some more! And I'll bet they enjoyed it, too! Just thugs! If you are a Godless thug, then hurry, hurry, step right up! There is a career in law enforcement, just waiting for you at the FBI!

By Rick Cornell

I should have been prepared, after reading I Am That Fool by the same author, last year. but it had been too long. I wasn't prepared! What was being said was, to me, disgusting. I thought at first it was a satire and wasn't sure I wanted to continue. I did, however, and eventually came into one of the best legal thrillers, including the courtroom scenes, that I've ever read or seen on television--and I've read and/or watched Law and Order, and other similar dramas for years!

If you have ever wondered what the world would be like, if what is happening in today's world would continues unabated, I realized that this book shows what it would be like! I was disgusted. In just a few years, consider a time when the Patriot's Act has become the Super Patriot's Act and the result is that everybody is treated like an enemy of the state... The laws are so tightly constructed and the penalty is life imprisonment. America is now mostly populated by prisoners!

Back Cover: "2051" tells the story of the dystopian American legal system 36 years after its writing, caused by the greatest act of domestic terrorism on American soil on "831" (August 31, 2049). Under the law hastily passed by Congress in response to the public outrage, an American engaging in the ultimate act of kindness and Christian charity can end up imprisoned for life for "treason." That American turns out to be Beau Browne, the kind, helpful son from Rick Cornell's first novel, the Next Generation Indie Book Award Finalist "I Am That Fool." Can Beau escape the clutches of this unjust law? And if he can, at what price?

I picked Oral Roberts to play Beau Browne...not because Browne was an evangelist, but because of Roberts' soft-spoken though enthused speaking-voice. He seemed to be the best personality match for how I saw Browne...

A man who, when asked to help another man, thought nothing of immediately responding. The description referred to the book as dystopian, although my own reaction was more apocalyptic at first. Surely, I thought, this had to be during a time when evil was totally in control--but then I realized that this could just be the inevitable evolution of life in today's world. We do not find out what happened in  831, 2049 that made the subsequent response to become even more tightly controlling than after 911--"The Super Patriot Act of 2049!"

What we see as the results is simply unbelievable in many instances... So unbelievable that they seem first... For instance, consider once a trial starts that a lawyer becomes aggressive towards what is happening. It results in the Judge ordering that the lawyer's mouth be duct-taped!

So a brief overview--Beau Browne, a shy, soft-spoken but loving pastor has helped a man who had once been claimed to be an enemy of the state. Browne took him in, gave him a job...thus becoming an associate of the enemy. The Pastor has now also been declared an enemy of the state and is arrested for treason... after being tortured...

Beau went to answer the door...but never had the chance to open the door. The local SWAT police smashed down his parsonage door with an Army tank. In the "shock and awe" mode, Gloom and Doom jumped out of the tank holding M-16A10's - advanced weaponry that could on every shot knowck the eyes out of a gnat from 1000 yards away - and wearing paramilitary outfits and protective helmets.
"Cam I help you?" asked a trembling Beau.
They showed Pastor Browne their badges. "Where's Kolkoski?"
Beau, taken aback, said "Who?"
"Don't give me that!" Snarled Doom, smacking Pastor Browne on the back of his knee with his M-16A10. "You know who Kolkoski is! Where is he?"
"Probably cleaning the church's ladies room. Why? Did he do something wrong?"
"No, you did!" replied Gloom...
Doom moved forward and smacked the Pastor in the mouth with the butt of his rifle. "Do we look like we are making this up?"
Beau now started to feel every more intense fear. "Why did you do that?"
"Because you have harbored an enemy of the State," intoned Gloom...
"Beause you have violated the Super Patriot Act of 2049."
..."Because you are a terrorist!"
Beau spit out blood. "Terrorist?" This is insane? I'm not... Don't..."
At this point Doom threw Beau to the ground. Gloom stomped and kicked him. Beau cried out: "Stop! I want a lawyer!"
...At this point, Pastor Browne knew that there were two things not to say: "No!" and "Are you serious?" But what could he do? Lie, capitulate and say, "Yes?" That would probably result in a beating that would take his life.
So, Pastor Browne said this: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs will be the Kingdom of Heaven..."

When the two agents went on to waterboarding and other tortuous activities, asking the Pastor to confess, he had begun to quote scripture, trying to get them to calm down, but that was not to happen...whether they had their confession, they arrested Pastor Beau Browne and drove him to jail, where they charged him with treason, by reason of violating the Super Patriot Act of 2049...

Fortunately, Pastor Browne had a nephew who was very close to him and who had just passed the bar, but had not tried any cases yet. He was the son of Bonita Browne and Esperanza Lopez, a well-known lawyer. Bonita and to some extent Antonio, were abused by Mother Lopez, but Lopez finally agreed to represent Beau, even though she wasn't a criminal lawyer, but had been enticed because the case was proving to be a big news item, with Deacon Joe Green now routinely preaching about the case...

Lopez was the lawyer who had her mouth duct-taped and she walked off the case. A college professor was then talked into taking on the case...

The trial itself, and surrounding issues, takes up the majority of the book and proved to be intense, but a farce, at least with the first judge...

The ending, for me, was a sad one, as well as somewhat surprising. A number of levels of courts were involved in settling this case so readers have an opportunity to see what was happening at every level, albeit with some questionable actions by many characters who were involved with the case. One potential jurist was just wonderful as she worked as best as she could to influence the jury based upon her feelings about the case, only to see that it was an impossible situation...

In many ways, this book reminded me of Justice in the Round by Harold Michael Harvey. While Justice in the Round is non-fiction, the gravity of what was being covered and the horrendous detailed events of 2051 hit me almost as strongly in Cornell's fiction novel. He obviously created "future fictional" court cases that were used during the trial that were representative of what earlier cases would have affected the present trial. His story proved to be just as realistically presented as the real truth happening in today's courts, as documented by Harvey... Sad, yes, but it produced the same overwhelming realization in me that something has to happen in response to the condition of the legal system.

The question that burned as I read this story, would we accept the possibility of prison to help someone in need? Or would we turn from him or her and continue on, not caring, not helping...but safe from being named a terrorist. In a way, isn't that the question that has been raised by the refugees needing new homes?

From feelings of disgust to feelings of wonderment, would I be That Fool that would open my door and heart to those in need??? Rick Cornell certainly presents us with thoughtful, intriguing and captivating stories that leave a memorable question, "What if?" 

Wow! Do Check it out 'cause it's highly recommended...


I Am That Fool was the first novel by Rick Cornell. He is a 62-year-old attorney who lives in Reno, Nevada, with his wife, Denise, and specializes in criminal appeals and writs. From his 34 years of experience, he has a vast knowledge of "crazy true stories," some high profile for Nevada. But this is fiction - or so he claims.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Being Thankful Today..For the Day, For my Readers, .For Family and Friends, For the Almighty God...

Thanksgiving Dinner Poem, Song and Prayer

Sing the following to the same tune, We Gather Together...

Our table is set now; great food you can bet now.
It's Thanksgiving Day, and we're ready to eat;
All those near and dear us are here today to cheer us.
This dinner is a winner, a wonderful treat.

It's time to be thankful for all that God gives us;
Dear Lord, we are grateful; Dear God, hear our prayer.
It's You we are praising; our voices we are raising;
Bless us and bless this food; keep us safe in your care.

By Joanna Fuchs

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Travel to Klein Karoo...for...Recipes For Love and Murder by Sally Andrew

Isn't life funny? You know, how one thing leads to another in a way you just don't expect. That Sunday morning, I was in my kitchen stirring my apricot jam in the cast-iron pot. It was another dry summer's day in the Klein Karoo, and I was glad for the breeze coming in the window. "You smell lovely," I told the appelkooskonfyt. When I call it apricot "jam" it sounds like something in a jar from the Spar supermarket, but when it's confyt, you know it's made in a kitchen. My mother was Afrikaans and my father was English and the languages are mixed up inside me. I taste in Afrikaans and argue in English, but if I swear I go back to Afrikaans again.
The appelkooskonfyt was just coming right, getting thick and clear, when I heard the car. I added some apricot kernels and a stick of cinnamon to the jam; I did not know that the car was bringing the first ingredient in a recipe for love and murder.
But maybe life is like a river that can't be stopped, always winding toward or away from death and love. Back and forth. Still, even though life moves like that river, lots of people go their whole lives without swimming. I thought I was one of those people. The Karoo is one of the quietest places in South Africa, so you can hear an engine a long way off. I turned off the gas flame and put the lid on the pot. I still had time to wash my hands, take off my blue apron; check my hair in the mirror, and put out the kettle.
I put a tin of freshly baked beskuit on my desk. Jessie looked up from her computer and grinned at me and the rusk tin. "Tannie M," she said. Jessie Mostert was the young Gazette journalist. She was a coloured girl who got a scholarship to study at Grahamstown and then came back to work in her hometown. Her mother was a nurse at the Ladismith hospital...
Hattie put the letters on my desk...I looked at the three letters sitting on my desk like unopened presents. I left them there while I made coffee for us all...
Recipe For Murder

1 Stocky Man Who Abuses His Wife
1 Small Tender Wife
1 Medium-size Tough Woman in Love with the Wife
1 Double-Barreled Shotgun
1 Small Karoo Town Marinated in Secrets
 1 Mild Gardener
1 Red-Hot New Yorker
7 Seventh-Day Adventists (Prepared for the End of the World)
1 Hard-Boiled Investigative Journalist
1 Soft Amateur Detective
2 Cool Policemen
1 Handful of Red Herrings and Suspects Mixed Together
Pinch of Greed

Throw all the ingredients into a big pot and simmer slowly, stirring with a wood spoon for a few years. Add some chilis and brandy toward the end and turn up the heat.

Recipes for Love and Murder:
A Tannie Maria Mystery

By Sally Andrew

The Amateur Detective genre has a new series that you've just got to check out! Especially if you like to learn and explore new areas of the world--Klein Karoo in Africa this time... Especially if you like the beginning and then mellowing love interest that is a staple characteristic of this type of story, normally between the local policeman and the amateur detective... And, this time, especially if you enjoy cooking--with many recipes included!

Back off or Die
For me, I was most drawn in by the main character, Tannie [rhymes with honey] Marie. Tannie is a wonderful character who loves nature, her chickens, cooking, and believes food equals love... So she loves all those around her with some type of treat, especially if their emotions need to be "stroked..." and when they are having fun... and, while they are working... You get the idea. Kinda reminded me of my sister when I retired from working... and I had also moved closer to her home... I was getting homemade food and some type of sweet on an almost continuous basis for awhile!

In fact, Maria's occupation was as a food column writer for the Klein Karoo Gazette. At least initially... But the sponsors of the newspaper wanted to have a lovelorn column, which they figured would be more popular--even though Maria's column was already popular. Soooo, the head of the newspaper agreed to combine the two topics!

And that's how the whole Gazette staff became solving a murder, or two...

"Oh hell, I'm such a total idiot. Please tear up
that last letter. If my husband ever sees or
hears about it...I'm a fool. Please don't
publish it. Destroy it. I beg you."
Marie quickly started receiving letters asking for personal advice... To keep the "flavor" of the former column, she always included a recipe of some food--some even ask for a recipe to help in their love life!

But one woman wrote about having an abusive husband who she was afraid of and that began a series of letters between Marie and the woman... I must add that many of the other letters to Tannie Maria were included...and sweet...and soon Maria was becoming popular because they had added a web site and the letters and answer were posted. Maria had great empathy because her husband had abused her and she knew what types of questions and issues brought sadness and concern to lonely people...Food was always the answer and she even tried new recipes to be sure she was giving good advice...

Such as for how to prepare ostrich...

But before long the woman had been murdered!

And another woman came out of the woodwork, as a friend, would-be lover if she had her way, who accused her husband of everything. From then on, the husband and his wife's would-be lover, were out to kill the other for the murder! 

And then another murder occurred...

I had seen two dead bodies before this one. In coffins. My mother's and my husband's. At the sight of each of them, strong feelings had swum up from deep inside me and taken the air from my mouth. But I did not know this man, Lawrence, at all, so I was surprised to find such feelings coming up in me again. He was not in a coffin. His blood was still fresh. Just now he'd been walking in the rain, smoking, talking. He was alive. Then someone shot that out of him...Stole it from him forever. Murder is the worst kind of stealing. Martine's life had been stolen. And now Lawrence's.

OK, I admit it, this book made me hungry! LOL  Everytime something happened, Marie was cooking--lots of desserts which I love--and passing them out... I was even forced to check out the recipes in the back of the book to see if...well...that didn't work for me, but I am sure many of you will want to try such dishes as  perfect buttermilk chocolate cake or mango sorbet, and many more.

Maria started cooking whenever she knew when that one police officer was coming to ask her for the letters she received, ask questions, or later to protect her... and during such conversations, she'd stop and point out the sound of a certain bird or throw a handful of feed to her chickens who had come running...

Neither of them was looking for love, both hurt in previous relationships. Those past feelings of pain were now melting away and neither quite knew what to do with what they knew was happening...

Now of course I was cross with Kannenemeyer after that. He was stubborn. Rude, in fact. How could he leave without cake? But I was more cross with myself, I shoul've brought it out soon. I went into the kitchen and began icing the cake. If he had only seen it. Or smelled it. "I messed up," I said to the cake. "If he had a taste of you. He would have agreed to anything I asked." I licked a bit of rum-and-chocolate icing off my finger. "Anything."..

This debut of a new series is wonderfully written, a great way to escape from your world and just enjoy a fun read.  I loved this one and fully expect that the series will continue to gain more popularity. There is a little disruption, but an interesting diversion, while reading due to the insertion of the native language sometimes used by Maria. There is a full, lengthy glossary where you can find the translation and definition or sometimes a lengthier background paragraph. 

Highly recommended.


Sally Andrew lives in a mud-brick house on a nature reserve in the Klein Karoo, South Africa, with her partner, artist Bowen Boshier, and other wildlife (including a giant eland and a secretive leopard). She also spends time in the wilderness of southern Africa and the seaside suburb of Muizenberg. She has a Masters in Adult Education (University of Cape Town).
For some decades she was a social and environmental activist, then the manager of Bowen’s art business, before she settled down to write full-time. This is her first novel. It will be published in at least twelve languages, across five continents.

Pictures used today are from the author's web site: 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

"Help Me" A Poetic Prayer by Paul Kramer...


Help me to listen
I will grow to be wise
Help me to know right from wrong
I will walk a straight line
Help me to be less vain
I will have more humility
Help me to reduce my anger
I will have less hostility 
Help me to be compassionate
I will be kind hearted
Help me to be courageous
I will be less afraid
Help me to forgive
No grudges will I hold
Help me to learn to trust
I won’t need to be in control

Help me to be nonjudgmental
I will love unconditionally
Help me to live in the present
I will not dwell in the past

Help me to find faith
I shall never be alone

[from an upcoming book]

Paul M Kramer

Saturday, November 21, 2015

You'll be in The Commons when you Read The Journeyman...Beware! Presented by Michael Alan Peck (all pics are from this site location)

There are many names for what is called "The Commons" in Michael Alan Peck's novel. Most of us have at least heard one word--Purgatory--where, supposedly, all living beings go for the final test, quest, or justification as to where they will spend eternity... Not every faith even has this place as part of their religion. However, if there was, wow, has it changed from what you've heard about it!

Take one rich man, an entrepreneur, who sees the potential for power...and you can look forward to quite a changed location! This is a very weird fantasy--a fantasy so weird that it is fascinating! The imaginative genius of details for this 526-page book is unbelievable and reflects a writer that has taken care to present every image our minds create and making sure that we fully understand exactly what is happening... I admit that I had to slow my reading down--I didn't want to miss a bit of the marvelous ingenuity presented...

The Journeyman:
  The Commons

By Michael Alan Peck

Dante might have written about it, but I wondered if he was actually there in The Commons, later, when it all started happening... certainly because this contemporary novel in no way resembles his story... This novel is so up-to-date in concept that the reader is quickly drawn in and may find it difficult to realize the setting is not earth... at least after Paul Reid and many others died on a bus which crashed...

Paul Reid died in the snow at seventeen. The day of his death, he told a lie--and for the rest of his life, he wondered if that was what killed him...

Annie Brucker sat on the floor of the Port Authority basement, waiting in line for gate two. Leaning against the wall, she read aloud to her five-year-old son, Zach. She held the book, Trina and the Travelin' Shoes, with one hand. With the other, she kept a cat's eye marble rolling back and forth across the backs of her fingers. She'd been doing this for forty-five minutes, flexing her knee to keep it from going stiff. Her throat burned from speaking. Her fingers ached. But she kept it up for him. Success with the marble meant Zack watched it instead of withdrawing to his inner place. If he didn't withdraw, then he might listen. Keeping him engaged was worth the discomfort...Annie didn't want to know about autism. She wanted to know about Zach. Did he suffer? Was he happy, or was he lost? Was he truly autistic, or was that the easy answer for doctors chasing a goal of how many patients to see in a day?...

Zach? The voice ended Paul's attempt to doze through the wait for the bus. Napping was impossible... A pretty red-haired woman stood behind a little kid who was staring at him. "Whatcha doing?" she asked the boy, who Paul figured was hers. She smiled in greeting. "Who's that, Zach?" she said. "Did you make a new friend?" "Hello Zach," Paul said. The kid regarded him with the most serious of expressions. "What's going on, buddy?" The woman's smile fell a little. Maybe she didn't like nicknames. The kid turned to his mother and held his hand out, beckoning. She hesitated, unsure, but then placed something into his palm. He offered it to Paul--a marble...

"I'm in Hell."
Porter swallowed. "No."
"I'm dead, and this is Hell."
"Nothing's been decided. We're only
starting." That's why you're in The
Commons. Your fate will be
determined here. By you."
"Where am I, Porter?"
"The Commons is its widely used
designation. Others called it
Sojourn...The Way Station. It's
Purgatory to the Catholics, but
their model's a bit off.
In a building somewhere in The Commons, a single man worked. He was the only man left there in the building, which had once been busy as people came in, were assigned an envoy, and began their journey to their final place.
Jonah Porter sat at a desk in the Central Assignment Department of the Envoy Corps home office. The desk was the size of a dining room table, and it was not his. Porter's desk was in cubicle 814, near a window with good light. He'd earned that spot decades before, when Corps management rewarded his century of service with an enviable new location and a leaded-crystal paperweight containing a hologram that resembled him if tipped just right. He'd commandeered the team director's office, which was closer to the message-relay tubes. If something came in, he would hear it...He clocked his days watching dust float in sunlight focused through thick windows. He wondered if he should again try to stop drinking diet soda. When the tubes began delivering fewer assignments, the couriers stopped coming to work, so the Envoys monitored the tubes themselves...Then the assignments ceased to mean anything. Then they ceased altogether...

"I died on the bus."
"Some did, to be certain, but
not necessarily you. What you
do here decided where you go
next--back to your life or
forward to the next stop. Reward
and punishment may come into
play, but that's never been
proven. Your fate is yours
But now only Jonah Porter was left--he was the last envoy! There was nobody working at the Central Assignment Department now, except Jonah... And it was just by chance, that he had heard and finally found the message that told him that he was needed. Paul Reid was beginning his journey and Jonah was to serve as his envoy!

Just a brief statement to share that all people who were entering Purgatory was being stopped. Some were put to work, such as Annie, Zach's mother, because of her computer skills. But they drugged her to speed up her work and slowly it took her over to the extent that she forgot about Zach most days...

But somebody else was watching Zach, at least until he disappeared...

All of the essence of living beings, plants, animals were being captured at the first stop in The Commons, until it was decided where they would be placed.

Once Paul and Jonah connected, they were joined by several others. The one thing I really enjoyed was that characters in books, having been created, were also in The Commons. Cool, right?

The easiest way to close out is to merely say that somebody has gotten tired of the changes which had been made in The Commons! Change was underway!

I've not ever read a book like this--it is unique, but, yet, so familiar, except with the magic, fantasy, and scifi components thrown in... Kudos to Michael Peck for stepping into a new realm of contemporary its best... Go check it out! By the way, here are some pics from the author's Pinterest page...See what you have to look forward to!


To me, it's not real until I've put it into story form, which means I repeat myself a lot. In fact, the phrase that passes my lips most often is, "I may have told you this before, but ..."
I've made my living writing about TV, its celebrities, and its past. (I used to pen a column called "Ask the Televisionary" for TV I've also put food on the table reviewing restaurants, writing about travel, and doing SEO and content strategy.
Only the writing counts in the end.
I have a godawful memory, so I focus on the written word. I like to think that over time, I've gotten better at it--the writing, not the remembering. I forget important dates. I'm pretty good with movie lines. But after several years, I tend to tweak them. I prefer my versions over the real ones.
Funny goes a long way with me. Probably further than it should.
I grew up outside Philadelphia and have lived in New York, L.A., and San Francisco. My current home base is Chicago.
At holiday time, the missus and I terrorize the world via The Little Drummer Boy Challenge. Please join us.