FREE Download: Humbling and Humility, Sept. 21 – 23

AZ Sunset in July

Arizona Sunset in July (Gilbert)

Take a break from the incessant scandals in sensational media these days. Read a book that gives you an honest and unvarnished view of contemporary life for immigrant fathers in America.

Download ‘Humbling and Humility,’ FREE Spt. 21 – 23, from Amazon® here.

It’s the fourth anniversary of the publication of my first work…if it makes you think, and feel, please do post a review. Thanks!

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Posted in ebook, free, Literary, nonfiction, Parenting, Social, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FREE: HnH E-Book, July 16 to 18

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Humbling and Humility (cover image)

 

Did you listen to the public exploration of FBI agent Peter Strzok’s alleged bias in Congress?

I was struck by the agent’s passionate defense of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, an institution under the Department of Justice. His responses elicited widespread applause, while the personal attacks by a politician were met with cries of “Shame!” and queries about whether he took his necessary medication.

So this is what we’ve come to now: politicians working assiduously to degrade public trust in the institutions chartered with investigating corruption.

Is it only “Washington” that is so afflicted? I beg to disagree: my own story, penned in Humbling and Humility, may surprise you.

HnH (the ebook) is free through Amazon from July 16 through 18. Get it, read it, and let everyone know what you think!

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Lightning struck…

2003 V-Rod

2003 Harley-Davidson V-Rod, 100th Anniversary Edition

 

Yes, that sort of lightning. A brain surge. Inspiration.

I’d been searching for quite a while for the subject matter of my next book. Nothing stood out, in the melee and circus of life in the you-knighted states, that was compelling (not even my new toy in the picture)…and true love, that I’d promised to write about in HnH, seemed trite in this age of extreme self-love.

Until yesterday. When walking out of a local Indian store with my son and daughter, into the hot and sultry air outside, someone at the door thrust a pamphlet toward my son. Never one to refuse anything given to him, he grabbed it – and opened it immediately. An ad for professional Black Magic elimination, for cures of all Evil, Evil Eyes, Ill Omens…the common con art in India. There was that omnipresent hand symbol – for Palmistry – on its face.

“Throw it in the trash bin, son!”

“I will, Dad, let me look through it.” I shook my head.

“Today, in this day, and they spread this superstition here! Don’t bring it into the car!”

“I WILL throw it away, Dad!” He squished the pamphlet into his pocket as we got in to drive back home.

But that got me thinking. This unshakable belief in superstition, in the supernatural – where does that spring from?

After we dropped my daughter at her mother’s, my son and I watched the first Jurassic Park – it’d become available on Netflix. As is my intolerable habit, I criticized every failing in the making of that movie.

A night’s troubled sleep after that, and it wouldn’t leave me: I must write. About the ‘Witches of Benganur,’ that a kind plantation owner, who fed a hungry teenage student on his lone Chakrayatra many decades ago, had requested of me.

He died a few months after that curious journey I’d undertaken. But his exhortation to me remained a part of my soul.

That aspiration will live again.

 

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Posted in Literary

A Meaning of Life

WALL-E_plant1

Life on Earth (Source: Disney’s Wall-E)

On the way back home from a tutoring class, I stopped by a local Home Depot – the wall-mounted wireless unit of my garage door opener had become temperamental and needed replacement.

It is, of course, easy to find things in a Home Depot. A bewildering variety of things are piled into tall shelves, and huge orange ceiling banners advertising contents of aisles assail the eyes – but getting lost in there is my strong forte. I sought the first human in an orange apron I could see: “Where can I find my thingamajig?” “You should be able to find it in Electrical Hardware,” said she, scurrying along on another more important task. Not happy, I looked around for another helper and spotted an elderly couple talking with a balding, jovial gent with an apron on.

A fragment of their ongoing conversation was all that was audible on approach, from the man to the HD employee: “…my one question.”  “Yep, that’s it,” he replied.

“Could I ask you one question too? Just one?” Their conversation seemed over, and my question impetuous.

“Sure, just one. Make it good!” ordered the apron-donning gentleman.

What’s the meaning of life?” popped out, while some part within cringed at this brash query.

“Haha – that’s it, asking questions, that’s the meaning of life!” exclaimed the elderly man. Mr. Apron just smiled.

“Am just looking for this thingamajig,” offered I.

“Head over to the next aisle, get to the wall, walk a mile that-a-way, and you’ll find it on your left.”

“Did you say ‘mile,’ when you meant ‘aisle’?” His meaning escaped me.

A smile again. I walked along per his directions, musing on the quick response of the other gentleman, and found the thingamajig in the far corner of the store.

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Posted in Literary, nonfiction, Philosophy, Social, Writing | Tagged , , ,

Gun Supremacy in the land of Ameriguns

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Angry yet? (Source: Getty Images)

 

Did we ever come out of the wild wild west? Ever learn to settle issues without violence? Or learn to ask questions, of others and oneself, before shooting first?

“The Gun makes all men equal.” Does it? Equal in what respect? The capacity for retaliation, retribution, extreme violence, of course…how dumb can I be? The world isn’t a friendly or kind place, is it? No one will dare raise a hand, against me, even in seeking recognition, or in expressing harmlessness, with my Gun in my hand. Lift your hands and I’ll shoot, so beware, you hostiles. I am your equal, as hostile or even more so, with my Gun.

“I love my country. I love its Freedom. My Gun is my free right to bear arms.” Ah, yes. I am free. I can do anything I wish in my country. Say anything, do anything, to the Devil with all others and their sentiments. I do so love to walk around with a bazooka that compensates for my other failings. Makes me a real man. And hey – my right is enshrined in the cons-tit-you-shun. I know my rights. That old piece of paper says: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary – something or the other – my right to bear Guns shall not be infringed.” Not even by my own understanding, compassion, wisdom, or God. And I shall teach my children the very same – you must worship your freedom and your Guns. And use them for wanton expressions of your manliness (womanliness too) and the occasional mass murder. I shall not care about what was meant with the preamble to the right in that old document. That is not my concern. I love that my country allows me to cherry pick just the phrase I can use – my right to bear weapons of mass murder shall not be infringed – to buttress my personal freedom.

“Guns do not kill people. People kill people.” Of course! Guns are things, harmful things, sure. They are used by good and bad people. We must arm all the good people of the world with the same weapons the bad people use. The nuclear deterrent. Fight terror with terror. That works, doesn’t it? Hey – if we’d armed all the concert goers in Las Vegas with automatic rifles, and if they’d been trained, they could’ve seen muzzle flashes from the hotel window and directed focused automatic fire toward that ‘evil’ terrorist. Just imagine – fire and fury – all focused in a stream of glorious avenging bullets against the vile shooter. The good people could’ve fought back and won a glorious victory. God would’ve won that night. It’s always a battle, life and death, ain’t it? People kill people.

My land of Ameriguns recognizes the truth: might is right. The Gun is supreme, and we shall never be caught unvigilant. We shall rain awesome destruction, shock and awe, on all who stand opposed to our ideology. And we shall use our cons-tit-you-shun as our highest moral principle. And profit from the agony of hundreds, thousands, millions, and billions of living beings all over the world. Profit is our God, and the Wild Wild West, our way of life.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Literary, nonfiction, Philosophy, Social | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

The Longest Winter: The Battle of The Bulge

The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of World War II's Most Decorated PlatoonThe Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of World War II’s Most Decorated Platoon by Alex Kershaw

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A detailed, engaging, moving narration.

Kershaw balances the depiction of the courage and valour of soldiers with the horrors and agonies of war in this comprehensive narrative that describes the Battle of the Bulge at the end of WWII. And, perhaps unintentionally, he demonstrates selflessness and dedication, on the part of soldiers and their direct leaders, that stands in stark contrast with the selfishness and personal politics of leaders of armies engaged. Of particular note is Patton’s quest, to rescue his son-in-law from a POW camp while sacrificing at least 25 American lives, of no significant military objective, and the meaningless competition between such so-called leaders driving their soldiers to accomplishments that brought transient honours to themselves. I thought it striking that the work highlighted this aspect while describing true devotion and heroism.

War is never a desirable activity; war and conflict can sometimes show and build character, but more often than not bring out the worst in men. This too is evident in this narrative of the long winter war near the end of this great conflict. It is rare to find modesty under and after such circumstances, and that displayed by Lt. Col. Robert Kris, “Medals do not make heroes any more than court martials make cowards…it is enough to say that they gave a good accounting of themselves,” is perhaps something to learn from. Do what we must do; make no song or lament of it.

Copious footnotes in the narrative add to credibility but do distract from an unbroken reading. I wished for fewer such diversions. And, as with any long work, perhaps this too could use some additional editing. The book is otherwise an easy read and immerses one in that brutal time and place.

Highly recommended!

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Posted in Literary, nonfiction, Social | Tagged , , , , , ,

Jesus at the foot of my bed

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Jesus and Lucifer (source: Unknown, Net)

 

“Have fun!” The friendly cashier bade an elderly lady goodbye and turned to me. “Found everything you needed? What’s so funny?” A big smile adorned my face.

“Oh, the vision of a rounded, bent-over, old lady ‘having fun,'” said I. She smiled and continued to ring up my few items. “Is that really what people do?”

“Oh YEAH, honey!  That’s what my father did, right up until he closed his eyes. Was just a while ago.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.” I wasn’t sure what to say.

“No, not at all – he was cheerful all the way. Just closed his eyes one night, and was gone. No fuss, no mess.”

“Glad to hear that! My mother too, but she struggled a few days in a hospital.” A pang of guilt arose within; I hadn’t been at her bedside when that happened last year. She’d struggled for a decade with old age and infirmity, and with a mentally challenged daughter to care for. And I – I struggled with…but never mind, I couldn’t get to her bedside soon enough.

“He was in a hospital too, bedridden for a couple of years – almost. A week more and it’d have been exactly two years. Someone ran him off a 300-ft cliff in his car.”

“Heavens! However did he survive that? Was he in a good car?”

“He was in his Chevy truck. The fall banged him up something awful. But he was bright and funny to the end.” She’d finished scanning all my purchases, and the machine displayed $9.24. I gave her a tenner and searched my threadbare pockets for a quarter. “The best part was his story about being in the hospital bed. He said he was never alone.”

“What do you mean?” I found my quarter and handed it over.

“He said Jesus sat at the foot of his bed. ‘What did he say!’ I asked him. ‘There’s nothing to be said,’ said he. He was just peaceful.”

“Oh, he was fooling you…” I couldn’t resist bringing logic into the narration.

“There’s nothing to be said,” said she, handing back my change.

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