So you can read my books

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


I am the Charioteer

A rather grandiose name considering my present occupation.

But here in the ironic dying of civilization's light in the 21st Century's dawn, 

there are precious few ways to to roam abroad on horse-drawn vehicles.

After my days as the Cid, I forswore riding for any king or country.  

My days at Camelot should have taught me better than to think any king worth the blood of his followers.

Once I drove Apollo's chariot across the skies, not that he was worth the deaths he caused in his vain wisdom. 

But I was young enough to sacrifice good sense for the thrill of flying across the heavens, 

my fiery steeds singing their joy at the celestial race in tones that thrummed my bones like tuning forks.

Yes, I contested in the Roman Colosseum races as well.  Not for the thrill of victory nor for the roar of the brutish crowds.

I did not know then for what I raced.

I do now.

I raced in a vain attempt to outrun my mistakes of the past. 

But you cannot outrun regret or the pain of memory.

Pain always catches up.

Perhaps that is why my pace is so much slower now.  

My valiant warhorse patiently pulls my light-festooned carriage, waiting for me to come to my senses and race the moon again.

My passengers chatter behind me, their words becoming more shallow and empty with every passing year. 

Soon their words will become so slight and without meaning that they will fly away on the chill winds before they can reach my ears.

One can only hope.

I no longer turn when a passenger boards my carriage.

I hear the rustle of the worthless paper money go into the slot of the metal box behind Sir's back.


Once his name had frozen the blood of humans ... as had mine.  

He thinks himself a Foo Dog.

I let him.  

After all, do we not all deserve to write our own myths?

Few see his two other heads. They only see death if they should attack me.  

Few do attack.  And none twice.

Snow drifts like dreams' echoes around me and Sir.  I feel my carriage shift from the slight weight of another passenger.

No paper money.  The heavy thudding of gold coins.

Sir rumbles a greeting, something he has not done for centuries.

"Good to see you, too, Cerberus."

The Voice whispers icy tingles through my blood.  Tender, cold fingers feather the back of my neck.

I turn.

Turquoise eyes laugh into my very soul.  

A face, its beauty terrible and haunting beyond any singing of it, study me with wry amusement.

"Oh, Helios, how often I beckoned to you, but always you raced faster than my words."

"I move slower now, Gaia."

Her whole face glows in a smile.  Snow flurries swirl around us.  

"Perhaps our nights will no longer be lonely."

Nor were they ... ever again.

Perhaps on Christmas Night, miracles still happen.

I wrote this flash fiction to this tune:

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Photo courtesy of Frank C. Grace -- any of his prints may be purchased at

"It is my heart-warming and world-embracing Christmas hope and aspiration

that all of us,

the high, the low, the rich, the poor, the despised, the admired, the loved, the hated, the civilized, the savage

(every man and brother of us all throughout the whole earth),

may eventually be gathered in a heaven of everlasting rest and peace and bliss --

except the inventor of the telephone."

- Mark Twain, Boston Daily Globe.


Journal of Captain Samuel McCord

(December 24, 1874)

Sammy Clemens looked at me and sighed,

"Captain Sam, if you live long enough,

the approach of the holiday season can stir up sad memories as well as happy ones."

His blue/grey eyes sparkled, "So I aim to make the happy ones sizzling!"

He was dressed as the most fur-layered Santa Claus I had ever seen.

He held up the telephone in his right fur-gloved hand and glared at Nikola Tesla at my side.

"I might as well make use of this danged instrument you forced me to invest in, Nikola.

Why I declare I would have made twice as much money if you had let me invest in that Paige typesetter."

Nikola huffed, "Oh, go suck on your false beard! What do you know of science? I, the far-seeing genius that I am ---"

Sammy snorted, "And humble, too!"

Nikola happily ignored him and continued,

"I saw the design flaws in that machine and saw the potential in Mr. Bell's invention -- since he stole it from me!

Besides, it was Captain McCord who forced you to invest in the telephone. Why berate me?"

"Because you can't turn me into a turnip, you jack nape, that's why."

He turned to me. "Can you do your Apache hoodoo and set me at the foot of Susy's and Clara's bed?"

"Yes, Sammy, but it's the middle of Christmas Eve night."

"That's the whole dang point! I put this fancy telephone gadget on their night stand to wake 'em up on this very night."

I smiled sadly. 

On the outside, Sammy was all humbug. 

But there was nothing he would not do to hear the happy squeals of delight from his daughters.

He dialed the telephone number of his daughters' phone.  

It was 7. 

 Sammy had one of the first telephones to be installed in a home.

He literally danced in place, waiting for one of his daughters to pick up and answer. 

 "Dang, little heathens sleep as heavy as damp logs!"

His eyes lit up, "Hello, Susy! This is the Man in the Moon. "

(That was Sammy's nickname for Santa.) 

I heard the girl's sleepy voice, "Oh, Papa, I know your voice!"

"You accuse Santa of swearing false?"

He pulled out a piece of coal from his pocket and winked at me. 

 "For that, I will hand-deliver a lump of coal!"

I sucked in a breath I didn't need and folded the fabric of distance as I wanted. 

Sammy disappeared with a yelp and a rush of air going with him to his daughters' room.

Nikola shook his head as we heard distant screams of shock and delight from the girls' room. I counted to three. I re-folded distance again.

Sammy reeled to the wall, laughing so hard he held his pillow-fattened stomach with both gloved hands.

"Oh, Captain Sam! You should have seen their faces! No Santa-naying for them gals from this day on!"

Nikola turned to me with one raised eyebrow. "Thankfully for his daughters, I hear good things of a Dr. Freud in Vienna."

{And that's the way it was at Christmas in Hartford, 1876 -- give or take a lie or two.}
For more of Mark Twain, Nikola Tesla,
and Sam McCord

- This time in 1895 Egypt -

Read or Listen to 




Here is a photo of feisty Mark in Nikola's lab:
{Notice Nikola in the background} 

Monday, November 28, 2016


Even sugar-charged Ratatoskr has fallen victim to the dreaded HOLI-DAZE!  

(He is currently riding with me on one of my blood runs, having just collapsed after telling his last Christmas joke:

"Did you hear about the dyslexic Devil worshiper who sold his soul to Santa?")



The Great Mystery's Light visited our world in the human form of a tiny infant.

Take a moment to reflect that that very Light might reside in the hurrying body of the person next to you, 

that very Light formed the stars and the seas and the birds of the air.

Breathe in deeply and pause to soak in the wonder of His caring for the sparrows of the field ... 

and you  ... and what it cost Him.


And the cinnamon and the chestnuts and the turkey 

and all of the other delicious smells, beautiful sights, and familiar sounds 

that have become symbols of the joy of the holiday season.

Enjoy it in the way it was meant to be enjoyed, 

by relaxing and sharing quality time with family and friends. The rest is just window dressing.


Don't allow the hustle and bustle of the season to cause you to sacrifice sleep. 

It's normal during the holidays to have more on your to-do list than usual, 

but that shouldn't result in cutting SLEEP from that list!

Sleep is restorative. 

It's the time when your body replenishes itself at a cellular level 

and repairs itself from the damage of mental stress, physical strain, infection, sun exposure, and pollutants. 

Without enough sleep, 

our minds and bodies don't function as well as they could, which makes us less productive.

And sleep even aids in LOSING WEIGHT!



When you expect perfection in your holiday preparations, 

expect a lot of added and unnecessary stress and fatigue as well. 

No battle ever went as planned -- 
ask Napoleon.  

And Christmas can be a BATTLE!

If you're planning to host a party, why do you need to prepare a major feast? 

Why not try an assortment of easy-to-make side dishes or appetizers? 

Or why not consider sharing the load by making the event a pot luck? 

Most holiday guests feel compelled to bring something anyway, so why not let them bring a dish?


Block it in your calendar as if it were a visit from the Pope.

Plan a night for just you.  

Listen to your favorite music no matter if it is POLKA!  

Dance by yourself if the whim takes you.

Whatever would heal you in your down time, do it.

Even when you are alone, 
you are not alone 
if you love:


Or your boss.  Or your friends.  

Laughter has been around for awhile now.  There's a reason for that.  

Laughter heals!

Mark Twain has young Satan ask:

"Will a day come when your race will detect the funniness of these juvenilities and laugh at them--and by laughing at them destroy them?

 For your race, in its poverty, has unquestionably only one really effective weapon--laughter. 

Power, Money, Persuasion, Supplication, Persecution--these can lift at a colossal humbug,--

push it a little-- crowd it a little--weaken it a little, century by century: 

but only Laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of Laughter nothing can stand.

- "The Chronicle of Young Satan," Mysterious Stranger Manuscripts


In a sense THANKSGIVING starts the HOLIDAY season and there is WISDOM in that.

If you are not grateful for what you have,
 you will soon find yourself with even less.

Somewhere in this world someone is happy with less than what you have.

The way to start and end the day is 

to pause and list the things and people that have made and make your day better just by being in your life.

You may have lost some things, beloved persons in your life -- give yourself permission to grieve.

Take ten minutes to feel shitty.




Decide then and there that at least for Christmas

you will be a healing presence in at least one person's life -- 

even if it is only to let some harried driver in the crowded lane ahead of you.



Ratatoskr just rolled over and told me to ask you guys:

"What do you call Batman when he skips church?

Christian Bail!"


You groan at me, and Ratatoskr is fast asleep!!

My Christmas gift to you:

Sunday, November 27, 2016


Mother always loved to have me drive up and down the streets at night during the Christmas Season. 

Even when she was ill and weak that last time, 

she became a little child again as we drove oohing and ahhing at the lights.

Thanksgiving has past once more, 
 and the Christmas lights are up in my city.

“Heap on more wood! the wind is chill; 

But let it whistle as it will, 

We'll keep our Christmas merry still.”

 - Sir Walter Scott

Driving home tonight after a long day and night of transporting rare blood over lonely rural roads, 

I saw the Christmas Lights on homes had gone up all over town.

You might think this tradition has been around for a looong time.  

You would be wrong.  

It has only been around for the past 60 years or so.

Yet, the custom goes back to putting candles on the Christmas tree in upper class homes in 18th century German homes.

In 1895, President Grover Cleveland put up the first electric lights on a tree in the White House.

"He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree." 
- Samuel McCord

I thought as I drove that you and I are the true Christmas Lights.  

The Christmas Season is dark for many.  

For others it is a financially demanding gauntlet through endless store aisles, 

crammed with ill-tempered shoppers and frayed-nerved clerks.

By the light of our compassion, our concern, and our companionship, we can be small lights in a black season for many.

A candle's light is feeble, but it casts back the darkness enough for you to see far enough to take the next step.

“When we recall Christmas past, 

we usually find that the simplest things 

- not the great occasions - 

give off the greatest glow of happiness.” 

- Bob Hope

The American tradition of decorating evergreen trees, homes, and landscapes with brightly lit Christmas lights is not as old as many people think. Most of us probably assume that Americans have always used Christmas lights in one form or another but this isn't exactly true. As it turns out, this American tradition has only been around for about 60 years - See more at:
The American tradition of decorating evergreen trees, homes, and landscapes with brightly lit Christmas lights is not as old as many people think. Most of us probably assume that Americans have always used Christmas lights in one form or another but this isn't exactly true. As it turns out, this American tradition has only been around for about 60 years - See more at:

Saturday, November 26, 2016


“The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” 
- Mark Twain

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never having lived.” 
- Samuel McCord

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
  - Nicola Tesla

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”
  - Wolf Howl

"The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts."
  - The Turquoise Woman

Here is a rule to remember in the future, when anything tempts you to feel bitter: 

not "This is misfortune," but "To bear this worthily is good fortune.” 
 - Marcus Aurelius

“Father, Teach us:
       To give, and not to count the cost
        To fight, and not to heed the wounds,
        To toil, and not to seek for rest,
        To labor, and not to ask for reward,
         Save that of knowing that we do thy will”

― St. Ignatius of Loyola

“Father, may those who love us love us,
           and those who do not love us,
           may You turn their hearts,
           and if You cannot turn their hearts
           may You turn their ankles
          that we may know them by their limping.”

Prayer of Victor Standish.