So you can read my books

Thursday, April 17, 2014


1813 portrait of Paul Revere (Another Revolutionary Outlaw)
by Gilbert Stewart

Ghost of Mark Twain here, children

Today is what folks call Good Friday

Though it puzzles me some why they call it that,

considering the shameful things done to the one true Christian ever to walk this sorry Earth.

Good Friday is also known by several other names, such as Easter Friday,

Great Friday (in the Russian Orthodox Church),
and Holy Friday.

Another name was even was thought to stem from the German, “Gottes Freitag” or “God’s Friday”.

In 1985, two Oxford University researchers
published a paper naming April 3, 33 AD as the original date of the crucifixion.

They derived that date from astronomical tables, Scriptural documentation, and the years of Pontius Pilate’s term as procurator in Judea – 26-36 AD.

The researchers point out that all four Gospels agree the crucifixion occurred during the Jewish festival, Passover.

The practice of crucifixion as a form of cruel and disgraceful method of execution first began among the Persians, a Mayo clinic study notes.

It is reported that old Alexander the Great introduced the practice to Egypt and Carthage, and the Romans are reported to have possibly learned it from the Carthaginians.

The study also notes that a human would be unable to support the weight of their body in their hands, but is able to do so in their wrists,

a fact that points to the theory that Jesus was crucified by nails driven into his wrists, and not hands.

As I said earlier: I can see nothing good about what was done on this day --

The ripples of what was done that day, children, went on out through the years to

1394 -- On this day, Geoffrey Chaucer's twenty-nine pilgrims met at the Tabard Inn in Southwark to prepare for their departure to Canterbury.

 Chaucer's intention was to have his pilgrims arrive on Easter morning, after a fifty-five-mile hike through a pleasant English spring; the pilgrims never made it, though the poetry endures

But Man seems intent on crushing his fellow man, forcing them to rebel ...

1775 -- On this date, Paul Revere makes his famous ride from Boston to Lexington.  According to the Central Intelligence Agency,

Paul Revere founded the first patriot intelligence network on record, a Boston-based group known as the “mechanics.”

A borrowed horse served as Paul Revere’s worthy steed on the night of April 18, 1775

According to a Larkin family genealogy published in 1930, the name of the lost mare was Brown Beauty.

1894 --  "Cheer up the worst is yet to come" I wrote to my wife on this date when I had declared bankruptcy. 

My correspondence is full of such attempts to deflect my despair over having lost a fortune

through my fourteen-year investment in a typesetting machine invented by James W. Paige —

“a lineal descendant of Judas Iscariot,” such were his string of broken promises.

{In Roland's alternate history, Nikola Tesla and Samuel McCord saved me from Paine's leeching and set my finances straight.}

1906 -- The Great San Francisco Earthquake rocked the Bay Area, killing hundreds of people and recorded as far away as Cape Town, South Africa.

Heartbreak haunts this day down through the years:

1912 -- The Cunard liner, Carpathia, arrived in New York carrying survivors of the Titanic which sank three days earlier.

Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo

2014 -- A billionaire's daughter to film TV series of Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo's sex lives! 

Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures announced today 

that it would develop a TV series about Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo. 

 Set during Hollywood's Golden Age, the show would explore Dietrich and Garbo's relationships with topliners 

like John Gilbert, Mercedes de Acosta, Tallulah Bankhead, Alla Nazimova, Barbara Stanwyck, Cary Grant and John Wayne.

The ghost of Marlene vows to haunt and harry that set!

 The would-be showrunners are Angela Robinson (True BloodHung) and Alex Kondrake (The L WordHung).

Now what author whose name starts with P should I pick?

Beatrix Potter of PETER RABITT fame? I should do it just to see Hemingway's face.

Jerry Pournelle whose THE MOTE IN GOD'S EYE Roland liked so much?

Terry Pratchett whose books always make me laugh?

Oh, all right, Poe. Don't look so hanged-dog. I was going to pick you this whole time, don't you know?

Edgar Allan Poe daguerreotype crop.png
1849 "Annie" daguerreotype of Poe

“I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.”
― Edgar Allan Poe

1) Poe waged war on Boston, did you know?

Poe picked a lot of literary fights in his career, but none greater then with “the Humanity clique” of New England,

which included Harvard professor Longfellow and Transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson and James Lowell.

He despised, as he understood it, the Transcendentalists’ optimism and their belief in social progress. 

Judging from today's headlines, I do think Poe had a point.

2.) Poe inspired Lovecraft, that pilgrim that gives me the willies:

Perhaps his most direct homage to the master is the strange cry of “Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!” first heard at the end of Poe’s only novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym,

 the story of a strange expedition to Antarctica. Lovecraft incorporated Tekeli-li into his own Arctic novella, “The Mountains of Madness” making it the call of the Elder Ones.

He also borrowed Poe’s giant penguins, and made them whisper it, too.

3.) For Most of His Life, the Iconic Mustache Was Absent

We can’t image him without it.

But the handsome devil below

 is the same man who wrote about premature burials and orangutans shoving women up chimneys, and it’s how he looked most of his life.

Only in the much darker, desperate, final years did he grow that romantic, brooding facial hair and begin to go mad.

Now, you children, don't start looking at my own mustache and begin making comments that I'll haunt you for!

2002 -- Thor Heyerdahl died on this day. The opening of The Kon-Tiki Expedition (1948), Heyerdahl’s international bestseller, is a classic of understatement:

"Once in a while you find yourself in an odd situation.

You get into it by degrees and in the most natural way but,

when you are right in the midst of it, you are suddenly astonished and ask yourself how in the world it all came about."


  1. Every day marks tragedy and sorrow for someone. Fortunately, though less often recorded, every day there is love, laughter and kindness shared as well.
    Love your choice of Ps. And Beatrix Potter was herself a rebel, and probably deserves at least honorary outlaw status.

  2. Elephant's Child:
    She was a brilliant scientist who could not present her papers to the "learned" for she was a female. She was a skilled artist, writer, and agriculturist.

    She was an unsung genius unappreciated by even her parents. She is a hero. :-)

  3. And an environmentalist and conservationist long before it was common (or acceptable). Her parents appreciated her earning power. To the point that they opposed her marriage - to the fiance who died and to the man who later became her husband.

  4. Yay for Terry Pratchett! He does see all that is good and humane (or at least the possibility of) despite the darkness!

    Wishing you a good and peaceful and restful Easter, Roland (yes, rest!!!) :-)

    Take care

  5. It might not seem good, but had Jesus not died on the cross, He wouldn't have risen from the grave three days later and paved the way for us to reach Heaven.

  6. I very much enjoyed this post and the array of history and figures covered, Roland.

    I think you're right in that Poe may have had a few thing figured out that others didn't.

  7. Alex summed it up from my world view.
    "There are chords in the hearts of the most reckless
    which cannot be touched without emotion. Even with the
    utterly lost to whom life and death are equally jests,
    there are matters of which no jest can be made."
    (Quote from "The Masque Of The Red Death" by Edgar Allan Poe)

  8. HI, Roland,

    I always wondered why they named "Good Friday", Good Friday...

    WE have HOLY Thursday... Why not the same for Friday?

    Wonderful picks for P... I knew Poe would enter the picture... LOL..

    Lots of fascinating facts here.... told so beautifully in your prose...

    Stay well, and HAPPY EASTER!

  9. Thanks for highlighting Poe, he's an old fave of mine. He went mad having all those stories in his head, perhaps? I always felt those stories were ripped from his heart. Without the mustache, he's just anyman, with the mustache, he's a tortured soul.

    I like mustaches better than beards. Mustaches give dash, beards give dignity. . .now a clean shaven man, he's hard to pin down.

    What man does (for various reasons) to his fellow man shows we haven't yet risen to the 'Intelligent' level.

    Roland, enjoying this series very much. We need to know the bad things that occur in our past as well as the good. History is made of both.

    Take care of yourself, the body needs rest for healing. Be sure to have a virtual partner with you on those dark roads you're driving(someone who will keep you awake - probably Sammy?)

  10. Elephant's Child:
    Yes, Beatrix led a fascinating life, filled with artistry and caring.

    Rest? What is that? :-) Yes, Terry Pratchett is a light in an often dark world of fantasy.

    Agree with you there. That was Mark Twain's look at the dark side of Man. He found nothing civil in the Civil War.

    I'm more of a mind to use the German phrase for today: God's Friday.

    Good to see you here. I try to have a bit of something for everyone in these A to Z posts - which fits the concept - things from A to Z are discussed in each of these posts! :-)

    And mine, too!

    I used the last half of the verse you quote as a lead-in to one of the chapters of THE STARS BLEED AT MIDNIGHT (WIP) -- the sequel to DEATH IN THE HOUSE OF LIFE.

    It is progressing slowly, but it is progressing. :-)

    It produced a wonderful result but at such an awful price.

    I like Poe's prose whether it be fiction or non-fiction, and, of course, his poetry.

    And a blessed Easter to you, too!

    Struggling all those years with unrequited ambition, his cruel treatment from the Allans, and his drug addiction didn't help his sanity any!

    My facial hair is like Tony Stark's -- but he's smarter and better looking!

    Sigh. Mankind is not kind. We insult the animals by saying we act like them!

    I'm glad you are liking this series. With the holiday seizing me, getting to my friends will be a challenge!

    Would you believe Gypsy, ghost cat, rides with me -- the ghost of Henry Fonda, slipping into his cowboy persona from THE CHEYENNE SOCIAL CLUB. :-)

    Rest? That is a myth, isn't it?

  11. There is a show on Fox (now in its second season) called The Following. I must admit that this show scares the crap out of me, but I still watch it (in the daytime). I think of it because Joe Carroll, the serial killer, who has "the following" idolized Poe and killed all of the women using Poe's literature as his guide. His followers often don Poe masks when they are out in public about to do something horrific. If you haven't watched it, you might want to give it a look-see....

    Here is the trailer for Season One...

  12. I've also been confused about why today is called Good Friday when such horrible events occurred, but in a way it's good because we were saved by Jesus' sacrifice. I do think Holy Friday is a better term though.

    Poe isn't one of my favorites, but I love his famous quote: "I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity." ;)

  13. Yes, do Terry Pratchett, whose books always make me laugh too :)