New Western Out

No, not mine. Although eventually one might be coming, but it won’t be a straight western like this one. Trust me!

This one is set in my stomping grounds. I’ve read part of it, and it’s goooood. If you like Zane Grey, Louis L’Amour, and other great Western writers, it’s one for you.

What Do You Mean I’m Not 18 Anymore?!?

So, I went to the gym and lifted yesterday.

Ahem. Apparently my bod decided that this was a good week to point out that I’m 1) tired, 2) have already doubled my bench-press this year, 3) hadn’t eaten anything since my low-cal breakfast six hours before (like, 400 calories), and 4) am no longer young enough to do it all.

The fact of having been going non-stop since, oh, September seems to be attacking me as well.


Had I but Room Enough, and Time . . .

With apologies to Andrew Marvell.

I grew up reading mythology, folk-lore, and fairy tales, first the kids’ version, then the unexpurgated versions. I still have an interesting selection of mythology, including four volumes of Aboriginal stories about the Dreamtime that are probably irreplaceable, given today’s academic climate.

Several public and school libraries had the Time-Life collection of 21 books about myth, legend, superstitions, and other things. I spent hours reading up on things my imagination probably didn’t need, and a few times gave myself nightmares. Continue reading

Moonrise, Moonset

This time of year we get weeks of beautiful sunrises and sunsets as the jet streams sweep veils of high clouds over the region.

I happened to be in the right place at the right time when I was in Albuquerque just over a month ago. The class had wrapped up a little early because we opted to work through two breaks. So I left the hotel and started trotting uphill toward a restaurant that I knew would be open and be really good, The Range Cafe. The road runs due east-west, and almost dead-ends on Sandia Crest.

Moonrise over Watermelon Mountain.

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Cover Teaser

Due to Day Job requirements, I don’t have a real post today. Instead you get these:

Familiar Roads is the novella about Lelia and Tay in Phoenix. Furiously Familiar (I know about the numbering problem. ‘Twill be fixed.) takes place immediately after Eerily Familiar.

I’m hoping for a February release on the first one and an April release on the second one.

Image and Empire: Maximilian von Habsburg

How does an individual convey power and authority in a world without modern media? No TV, no newspapers, no moveable-type printing press to make inexpensive posters or books, the world had none of the things we associate with image making and image cultivation. Well, he uses the latest technology of the time—in this case wood-block and metal plates—to spread his ideas, and jousts.

Maximilian von Habsburg, the member of the family who elevated the clan to their positions of rulers of Spain, Burgundy, Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, northern Italy, and the New World, firmly believed in ensuring that his image and his ideas were known around Europe by those who ought to know them. He hired artists like Alberich Dürer and the master armorers of Nuremberg to create paintings, engravings, and armor for him. He also wrote and published books, some that we would call novels, about himself as suitor and warrior. He bridged the gap between the medieval world of the chivalrous warrior king and the Renaissance politics and power-plays of Machiavelli. Continue reading

Hey, Not Fair! You Can’t Do That!

So, three performances down (one an unplanned last minute response to a call of “Halp!”) and two to go. The last two are with Big Orchestra. This isn’t the choir’s first rodeo with the orchestra, so we’re pretty used to most of what orchestra conductors do. Which includes expecting the choir to read minds, to sort out which of five simultaneous cues is ours, and so on.

However . . . Continue reading

Book Review: Land of Hope

McClay, Wilfred M. Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story (New York: Encounter Books, 2019) $35.00 US (hardback).

Land of Hope is a refreshing, narrative history of the United States, from the time of Columbus to around 2010. Wilfred McClay argues that one, the time has come for a new overview volume of US history, and two, that for all of its flaws, the United States was and is still a land of promise and of hope, a place that is far better than many have recently claimed. In this respect at least, it is a counter-argument to Howard Zinn and his followers, as well as taking on some of Charles Beard’s economic-centered ideas about US history.

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Modern Millennial(ism)?

Millennialism is one of those things that seems to sweep through people and cultures every so often, a rising surge of fear, hope of the future, and an overwhelming need for something to change, to go back to the way it was before, or to re-make the world into something better. It is usually associated with Christianity, but there have been millennial movements among Native Americans (the Ghost Dance), and the Ibo in southern Africa. I’m starting to get the sense that we are witnessing another wave of millennialism, this time based on environmentalism, specifically in the Extinction Rebellion movement and other allied groups. Continue reading