Now Here’s a Cool Book…

A free-lance writer delves into an unsolved murder from 50 years ago, while staying at the same house wherein the murder was committed. And as he burrows into the past, shadows gather around him: there may be someone who doesn’t want this murder solved; and the curious writer may be lining himself up to be the next victim.

Such is the plot of Only in New England, a 1959 book by Theodore Roscoe. You can’t call it a novel because it’s based on a true crime. But you can’t call it non-fiction because the author very much fictionalized characters and settings so as to protect a real community, and real people, from losing their privacy.

Roscoe was an official historian of the U.S. Navy and also wrote for various magazines. This novel, if it is a novel, is an amazing piece of work. It’s told first-person, Roscoe himself being the investigator, and so deftly managed that the reader sees the possible threat to the narrator long before the story-teller seems aware of it.

Well, we know he couldn’t have written the book if he got murdered before he could solve the ancient crime–we do know that, don’t we? But our knowledge doesn’t keep the suspense from mounting steadily, page by page.

I know I’ve said this before, but Only in New England would have made a great classic of a movie–black-and-white, of course, starring Joseph Cotten, and directed by either Otto Preminger or Alfred Hitchcock. This is surely one of the best movies that was never made.

Only in New England is available on line through abebooks and a few other used book services.You’ve probably never read it, so order a copy and give yourself a treat. Hey, where is it written that you can’t have an after-Christmas present?


The Hit Man’s Restaurant

Are we getting our money’s worth out of the government’s witness protection program?

Case in point, as told this month by the Daytona Beach News-Journal:

Back in the summer of 2009, a four-time murderer, servant of a prominent “family” of organized crime, was sentenced to 13 years in prison for pistol-whipping one customer and beating up another at his pizzeria–a business bought and paid for by the American taxpayer, and handed to this goon when he entered witness protection.

The court held that the restaurant owner has no right to pistol-whip a customer for complaining about the quality of the calzones: or any other reason, for that matter.

Afterward, the goon sued the Daytona Beach News-Journal for libel for its reporting of the incident. The newspaper described the goon as a former hit man, which the goon insisted wasn’t true, that not everyone convicted of murder is necessarily a hit man. Was he hinting that he committed murder without being paid for it? “I committed murder and that’s not something I like to talk about,” he said during the trial.

The goon accused the newspaper of trying to ruin his life and his business. The fact that he physically attacked his customers, I guess, should not have been reported.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it one of the first things they teach you in business school–not to pistol-whip your customers? At least not in front of the other customers.

Anyhow, there’s the federal government handing over what could’ve been a perfectly fine business to an admitted murderer. Uh, what kind of business background did they suppose he had? Did they think he became a hit man just because he saw an ad for it on a matchbook cover? Was any federal officer daft enough to think this killer would just settle down and be a small businessman?

We ignore God’s law at our peril.

What did God command Noah, when he and his family came out of the ark? After telling them to be fruitful and multiply, and forbidding them to eat the blood of living things, God spoke this law: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” (Genesis 9:6) There’s nothing there about setting up murderers in nice little businesses at the public’s expense.

Yeah, I know the arguments in favor of the witness protection program.

But I also know an absurd situation when I see one.


‘No Gender December’ Looks Innocent, but Isn’t

Male and female created He them. (Genesis 1:27)

Who, in our enlightened modern age, is in favor of forcing rigid stereotypes on children? Why, the evil capitalist toy companies, of course, according to an Australian-based group called No Gender December ( http://www.nogenderdecember.com ). Girls have to play with Barbie dolls and boys have to play with toy trucks–because if they don’t, the other kids at school will tease and bully them for not conforming to “gender stereotypes.”

(But didn’t you say public school is the one and only place for kids to go to, if they’re to be properly socialized? Or am I a bad guy and a racist for mentioning that?)

No Gender December wants you to “Take the Pledge,” to wit, “Stereotypes Don’t Belong Under My Tree.” They can’t quite bring themselves to say “Christmas tree.”

Well, all right: we want to give our kiddies toys that make them happy, toys they like. So if my little 6-year-old girl wants a toy truck, or a sack of army men, well, that’s what she’ll get. Really, who can take issue with that?

It isn’t until you get into the website’s Comments section that you see where these people are going with this supposedly good idea. In fact, the first comment you read starts out like this:

“As a nonbinary trans person the gender binary is one of the biggest sources of frustration in my life…”

Something told me they were going to wind up there. I just didn’t expect it so fast.

Let us ask: Why does the entire ruling whoopee crowd of the Western world have such a huge problem with girls being girls and boys being boys, men being men and women being women?

Uh… could it have something to do with depraved, reprobate minds that belong to people who want to replace God’s creation with their own?

Father, deliver us out of this evil and insane age.


John Wayne as a Psycho?

I know people who never watch old movies, which means they’re missing out on the good stuff.

Yesterday I watched a classic that I’d never seen before, Red River, starring John Wayne and Montgomery Clift. This gem of a Western is from 1948, and it will take you to places you never expected to go.

John Wayne has to drive 10,000 head of cattle a thousand miles over difficult terrain, or wind up in the poorhouse. Seems simple enough.

But how did he acquire 10,000 longhorns in the first place? Well, we see from the start of the movie that this man does things his way, nobody else’s. At first it looks like we’re going to see a work in praise of rugged individualism. But if you’re paying attention, you may quickly begin to conclude that maybe Wayne’s individualism is a bit too rugged. He becomes a great cattleman by cutting corners, doing whatever he thinks is best at the moment, and shooting people.

So, he has to move this immense herd from deep in the heart of Texas to the market in Missouri, and nothing’s going to stop him. He has to drive his herdsmen, too. Because the way is so hard, the work so demanding, Wayne grows more and more ruthless until, in co-star Walter Brennan’s words, “He’s plumb outta his head.”

A couple of men decide they’ve had enough, and quit. Wayne sends a gunslinger to catch them and bring them back. Then he proposes to hang them for the crime of quitting their jobs. I’m sure we have all worked for bosses who would have liked to do this; but you really can’t, you know. Therefore Wayne’s adopted son, Montgomery Clift, with a little help from others, prevents the hanging and takes over the herd because his adopted father has become a danger to everybody else. For this, Wayne swears vengeance. And you know what? Everybody believes he means to get it.

Fear of their former employer, turned homicidal maniac, lends wings to their feet and they finally get the herd to market. And that’s where John Wayne catches up to them–that’s where he means to keep the oath he swore to kill his son.

Whew. This is a dark and brooding movie, masterly in its depiction of character. If this isn’t the best acting John Wayne did in all his long career, I don’t know what is. The great thing about the screenplay is that, when you look back on it, you can see that it all falls into place: this was what was bound to happen.

The only flaw is that they changed the ending to make it a happy ending that is totally at odds with the story. So just ignore the last five minutes.

And ignore all those movies based on comic books and video games, etc., and sink your teeth into some of the good old stuff.


A Gratifying Experience

This is even better than getting to say, “I told you so.”

The other night I discovered a Christian website, “The Lens of Optimism,” which featured a nice, thoughtful essay on spiritual virtues modeled by–you could knock me over with a feather–a character in my books: “Obst the Missionary–Bell Mountain Series” ( http://travisrodg.com/obst-bell-mountain/ ).

Obst starts out as a hermit in Bell Mountain, then becomes a trail guide, a missionary, and a teacher–among other things.

Now, I don’t hang out my shingle as a religious adviser or spiritual counselor. I really am old enough to know my limitations. So imagine what a wonderful surprise it was to me, to see someone extracting wisdom from something that I wrote! It means I’m on the right track, I’ve been following the signs God’s given me, and writing the stories as He gives them to me. For which I give God the glory.

If you’re well-read, you may have noticed that many writers have written stories that are a lot smarter than they are. In fact, it happens all the time. It’s called art, and it’s a gift of God. That some artists are too dense to understand what they’ve been given is their problem, not ours: God will make use of them whether they like it or not.

 


Fantasy to Save Your Sanity

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just can’t stand it anymore. I mean, even the Pajama-Gram ads for Christmas are sleazy. The country’s falling apart, they’re wildly celebrating the surgical mutilation of boys into pseudo-girls and girls into pseudo-boys–did you know we “need” more of these freaks in our armed forces, according to the US Air Force?–and our nation’s leaders, perpetually at war against the American people, do everything in their power to nullify the last election.

But you know what’s great about fantasy? None of this garbage has to make it into your story.

For those of you who might want to try your hand at writing fantasy, remember this: the allure of a fantasy world is that the “real” world–the Al Sharpton-atheist-transgender-renegade church-Washington D.C.-public education world–can’t get in! Well, not unless you let it in–and why would you want to do that?

You might ask, “Well, if you leave all that stuff out of the fantasy world, what’s left to put in?” But you wouldn’t ask that if you understood that all that rubbish mentioned above is only pasted onto reality. None of it is an integral part of reality. Can’t you imagine a real world that gets by just fine without militant homosexuals, Occupy Wall Street, or the state of Massachusetts?

A reader once asked me how I deal with feminism in my stories. The beauty of it is… I don’t! When I enter my fantasy, I close the door on feminism; it can’t come in after me. In fact, I close it on a lot of contemporary “isms.”

Divorce your fantasy world from aspects of the real world that weren’t there yesterday and aren’t going to be there tomorrow.

Because those things aren’t real. They make us sick, they undermine our country, and they stink to High Heaven; but they aren’t real.


Atheists Demand God-free ‘O, Canada’

I try to escape from rot like this, but everywhere I turn, there it is.

As the English-speaking countries race to spiritual extinction, Canada has made a sudden surge with a demand by atheists that the words “God keep our land” be expunged from the national anthem ( http://www.chp.ca/commentary/the-stones-will-cry-out ).

They support their position with a 2008 survey that supposedly demonstrates that 23% of Canadians don’t believe in God. I don’t know why they bothered. Experience shows that all it takes is one single atheist complaining and–presto!–your home town’s 100-year-old Christmas parade suddenly becomes a “Winter Festival.”

So they want new, totally secular lyrics for O, Canada. Maybe something like this:

O, Canada! Our pristine Godless land!

Transgender love in all thy kids command.

With frozen heart, with shrunken brain,

We reject the King of Kings.

We venerate the secular State: the State is everything!

We sell our souls for Diversity–

O, Canada, we’ve made a pact with Hell.

O, Canada, we’ve made a pact with Hell!

It may be objected that atheists don’t believe in souls, or in Hell, for that matter. They don’t believe in anything but the coerced perfectibility of man under the tutelage of self-anointed Experts.

But I couldn’t get any of that stuff to scan.


Are You Absolutely, Positively Sure You Want Your Kids in Public School?

So you still don’t believe the public schools go far out of their way, on purpose, to warp children’s minds and character?

Well, consider this news report from Acalanes High School in northern California, “Parents angry after school tells 13-year-olds they can have sex, choose gender” ( http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/12/10/parents-angry-after-school-tells-13-year-olds-can-have-sex-choose-gender/ ).

I take no pleasure in reporting these disgusting stories. But it’s important to make parents–especially Christian parents!–aware of what is being shoveled into their children’s heads under the guise of public education and its “sex education” programs.

Here, the school brought in Planned Parenthood employees to teach ninth-graders, 13 and 14 years old, that they can have sex and “choose their gender.” It was so over-the-top, “many [students] felt the sessions were pressuring them to have sex,” according to the news report.

And of course, what sex ed program would be complete without telling children “You can be a boy one day and a girl the next, depending on how you feel”? To help deliver this message, the Planned Parenthood “teachers” at Alcalanes used a cute little visual aid, “The Genderbread Person,” to help the kiddies figure out their “gender identity”–because it’s so old-fashioned for boys to be boys and girls to be girls.

Look, people, this is going on in all 50 states; and if you’re one of the millions of parents who think, “Not in our schools–never in our schools,” you need to think again. If this is not in your child’s school just yet, it will be, soon enough.

I wonder what the public “educators” would have to do, to provoke parents to pull their kids out of the public schools. Set fire to the building? What do they have to do to your kids before you say, “No more!”


Next Month, My Next Book–‘The Glass Bridge’

Today we’ve put the finishing touches on the editing. Now all we need is to plug in the new map, add a few more details to the cover, print ‘er up–and The Glass Bridge will be good to go.

I wish I could go with it.

Whether it’s “Climate Change” alias Global Warming, or “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” public affairs today are governed by fictional “narratives”–in plain English, lies. It doesn’t seem to matter that millions of people know they’re lies. We just keep on hearing them.

The Glass Bridge is about going on against all the odds because you believe God’s word. It is a fantasy: a work of fiction intended to evoke a sense of wonder: to tell the truth by means of a parable, while at the same time providing a brief escape from a world in which powerful, influential persons see nothing wrong in telling lies to get what they want from the wider public.

Please do not confuse the work of fantasy writers with the mischief of politicians and noozies. Our work is clearly labeled fiction. Our fiction, if we do our work well, means to lead the reader toward the truth. The politicians and the noozies, following the lead of an academic fad, deny there’s any such thing as truth: but just in case there is, they do their damnedest to steer people away from it.

I don’t know about you, but I’d like more fantasy and less “narrative journalism.”


Again I Ask–Is England Anti-Christian?

Wait’ll American liberals get hold of this hot new idea from Across the Pond.

Government schools in England are allowing Nativity scenes to be displayed, this Christmas season. There’s just one catch.

In many of these, reports The Telegraph, the Baby Jesus has been replaced by a figure of Elvis Presley or a space alien, with lobsters and fairies instead of sheep and shepherds ( http://eagnews.org/school-nativity-scenes-replace-baby-jesus-with-elvis-aliens-and-recycling-bins/ ). Some of the schools even hold “Christmas pageants” in which neither Christ nor Christmas is mentioned.

Is this anything but mockery of Jesus Christ, perpetuated by the usual gang of secularist fat-heads who wouldn’t dare mock Islam?

As usual, the Mother Country is a bit farther down the drainpipe than America. If school officials over here resorted to such blatant mockery of Christianity, they’d have a lot of public outrage to contend with.

Or would they?

Public education–this is a historical fact, so don’t bother arguing otherwise–was created to wean Christians away from Christianity, replacing it with worship of the State and its anointed Experts. It also seeks to ease out the family and replace it with the State.

And yet millions of Christian parents in America, every day, continue to send their children to these schools–and we can easily see the results of this in the unceasing deterioration, coarsening, and dumbing-down of our culture.

English kids are going to grow up thinking “Christmas” is about nothing coherent at all; they will not know that Christ came in the flesh to save us from our sins.

But, hey–at least those schools are “free”–right?


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