Author Archives: leeduigon

About leeduigon

I have lived in Metuchen, NJ, all my life. I have been married to my wife Patricia since 1977. I am a former newspaper editor and reporter. I was also the owner-operator of my own small business for several years. I wrote various novels and short stories published during 1980s and 1990s. I am a long-time student of judo and Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu). I also play chess, basketball, and military and sports simulations.

Remember King Whatsisname

I have re-entered the Book of Judges in my Bible-reading, and yesterday the name Chushanrishathaim (in Judges 3:8-9) jumped out at me. He is mentioned as a “king of Mesopotamia” who oppressed Israel and was overthrown by Israel’s first judge, Othniel, the nephew of Caleb.

It isn’t every day you run across a name like this. It consists of two elements: a proper name, “Chushan,” which can also be rendered “Cush,” and relates either to a region north of Babylon or south of Egypt; and a kind of title, “Rishathaim,” which, in ancient times, meant “double wickedness,” and also could mean “governor of two presidencies,” or both at once. So the name belongs to a powerful bad guy named “Chushan” or “Cush” who came into Israel from, probably, somewhere to the north of Babylon.

If we could pin the man down more precisely, we might have a shot at getting a firm date for the beginning of the period of the Judges. But no such luck. The Book of Judges harks back to a very unsettled era from which little hard information has come down to us from non-Biblical sources–kind of like the 5th and 6th centuries in Britain. The Bible is not concerned with events in Egypt and Babylon; and they had troubles aplenty of their own.

As I pursued my research, I came upon a website called “Names of Cute Baby’s [sic]” ( http://namesof.com/name-Chushanrishathaim ). If you want to name your baby “Chushanrishathaim,” they’ll teach you where the name comes from, what it means, and how to pronounce it.

“What should we name our baby, dear?”

“Oh, I dunno. How about Chushanrishathaim?”

“Oh, I like that! It has a certain ring to it! Wasn’t he on Dancing With the Stars?”

Why in the world would you want to name your baby Chushanrishathaim? It was bad enough when every other baby boy was being named Zack, and baby girls got stuck with names like Cadence and Destiny. But Chushanrishathaim is going a bit too far.

What ever happened to names like Tommy and Susan?

 


Fantasy Tool Kit (3): Your Fantasy World

It may take several posts to cover this issue, but that way I can always stop if no one’s reading them.

I wish to make it clear that by “fantasy world,” I don’t mean the divorces from reality and common sense routinely indulged in by our leaders and opinion-shapers, dopes and twaddlers. Nancy Pelosi can gas all she wants about an America where everybody’s on the dole and all sitting around composing symphonies and painting landscapes. This makes clear the distinction between fantasy and B.S.

A fantasy world is a world imagined by the story-teller, in which the story happens. You can also set your fantasies in what your readers would recognize as the real world. But it’s fun to make up a whole new world.

I wonder if you’ve noticed something about “other-world fantasy.” When a hobbit has to have his appendix out, what does he do? Tolkien didn’t say. The Shire, as he imagined and described it, had no hospitals, no dentists, and no taxes. Well, he did say it was fantasy, didn’t he?

These are the kind of details no one ever seems to include in a fantasy world. All right, who wants to read about having a toothache and going to the dentist? One of the reasons we read fantasy is to escape the annoyances and burdens of the real world.

Would it work, do you think, if a fantasy story did include such things?

I doubt it.

The first step in creating an other-world fantasy is to imagine a world, or setting, which you will enjoy writing about and others will enjoy reading about.

But if you’re just going to flap your jaw and not write anything, you might as well teach college.

 


DC School Assigns Kids to Compare Bush to Hitler

What more can we say of public education? Never in the field of human endeavor has so much money been spent for so little.

Today’s public schooling scandal comes to us from Washington, D.C., where 6th-graders at McKinley Middle School were assigned to write an essay comparing President George W. Bush–whom most Americans voted for–to Adolf Hitler ( http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/09/11/sixth-grade-school-assignment-ask-students-to-compare-bush-to-hitler/?icid=maing-grid7%7Clegacy%7Cdl24%7Csec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D527957 ).

Gee, I wonder what people would think if I were a public school teacher and I asked my 6th-graders to write an essay comparing the current occupant of the White House to a hollowed-out pumpkin going rotten. But I digress.

The head honcho of the DC public schools, Chancellor Kaya Henderson, dealt with the controversy by posting this gem on Twitter. On Twitter, mind you:

“No DPCS curriculum says 2 make these comparisons in any way. Teacher used poor judgment & will apologize.”

It’s almost worth having the problem, to get a chance to read such deathless prose.

Anyhow, the old “Bush = Hitler” formula, so dear to the hearts of liberal amoebas, is not exactly hard to find among public “educators.” It’s certainly easier to find than something like “Speed = Distance/Time,” or “Area = Length X Width.” Unionized teachers can’t be bothered with that old stuff. They are (trumpet fanfare, please) change agents, out to fundamentally transform America into a workers’ paradise by turning whole generations of children into idiots.

Will the teacher who cooked up this assignment be fired?

Now that really is a stupid question!


Hey, Liberals! Dig My Silver Medal

The Cellar Beneath the Cellar ebook looks pretty snazzy with that silver medal on it, eh? Permit me to boast a little.

Okay, I’m finished boasting.

I’ve neglected to mention here that, a week ago today, a major left-wing blog with a nationwide audience–I won’t say which one: why give them free publicity?–published a hate piece directed, by name, at yours truly.

I can’t understand why such a bunch of big shots should even notice me, let alone bother to attack me. Did they run out of nasty things to say about Glenn Beck? And how am I supposed to fight back, my slingshot against all that heavy artillery?

Then again, come to think of it, there was a kid named David, once, who made out pretty well with just a slingshot.

For a week after the attack, my Bell Mountain sales were up.

Make a lefty mad today–support my books!


2014 Global Ebook Awards

The Cellar Beneath the Cellar won Silver in Fantasy/Other World!

Updating you ebooks from Amazon will bring the new cover to your Kindle/eReader/iPads!

Cellar-Beneath-the-Cellar-ebook-900


Coming Soon to Your School: Meatless Monday

It’s less than two weeks into the new public school year, and we’ve already got a nice controversy: “Meatless Monday” ( http://www.kvue.com/story/news/local/community/2014/09/08/elementary-schools-join-meatless-monday-movement/15299237/ ).

It’s another one of those soft-core Maoist impositions so dear to the hearts of so-called educators.

First they claim kids and parents are breaking down the cafeteria doors, demanding more vegetarian school lunches. Why they expect anyone to believe that, go figure. Then they tell us that going without meat will “improve the health of the planet.” What the dickens is that supposed to mean? The continents are going to start slip-sliding all over because kids are eating meat? The atmosphere’s gonna fly off into space? Like if “the planet” was really, truly “sick,” a bunch of dopy vegetarians could heal it? But it’s all just gibberish.

The next step is to describe “Meatless Monday” as a “movement.” If you can swallow that without choking, they will tell you that all they mean to do is to “encourage” people to skip meat once a week.

Here’s where the Stalinist part comes in. How do these meddling, schoolmarmy lefties propose to “encourage” kids to abstain from meat?

By withholding it from them! Yowsah, yowsah–you can’t eat meat if you just can’t get any! Sort of like the way the Soviet Union used to “encourage” farmers to form collectives. “See, comrade–the children have all chosen not to eat any meat today.” Because there ain’t any!

Finally, they reassure you that “it’s only for one day a week.” Uh-huh. And if you don’t like it in the collective, you can always go back to your own farm.

Look, you want these public school Mugabe wannabes to educate, feed, recreate, and be mother and father to your children, so you can be free to do whatever–well, they’re going to want something in return, aren’t they?

The price we pay for “free” public education is the children’s souls.


When to Kill Off Your Characters

We are supposed to grow out of sophomoric thinking. If a story is unintelligible, it’s “deep.” If it’s ugly or miserable or demoralizing, that makes it “realistic.” Goodness, beauty, and holiness are “just sentiment,” and illusions.

We don’t believe such things anymore, do we?

Nevertheless, there is a movement in fantasy–following a trend in all kinds of fiction–to establish one’s work as “serious” by making the reader feel bad. And of course the best way to do this is to impose suffering on the story’s characters, especially the ones the reader most cares about. Oh, we see this all the time! In TV, movies, novels, what-have-you. I mean, it’s so Game of Thrones.

If it makes the reader sad, it must be serious writing.

So… Wow, here’s a character the readers really like! If I kill off this character, the reader will be upset. And everyone will think, “Now that’s a serious writer for you.”

True, over the course of my Bell Mountain series, I have killed off some of my characters. I don’t do it lightly. Those characters were fun to write about. I did it because the story demanded it.

Yesterday my wife warned me, in no uncertain terms, not to knock off a particular villain who has risen to prominence in The Temple (Book 8, still under construction). “You’ll answer to me if you do,” she said darkly.

“I didn’t know you cared,” I answered.

“I am his fan  base,” she explained.

My editor thought I’d killed off Chief Uduqu in The Glass Bridge (Book 7, still needs cover art). “I was set to come up there and scalp you,” she said.

To all and sundry whom it may concern:

Message received!


New Atheist Demand: ‘Don’t Say the Pledge’

I don’t know why the American Humanist Association sends me email.

Today they have asked for my support in their campaign to have the words “under God” dropped from the Pledge of Allegiance. “Through the daily Pledge exercise,” whines their spokesman, “our public schools are defining patriotism by promoting god-belief while stigmatizing atheist and humanist children.”

What crap. Has this clown been in a public school classroom lately? When I was teaching, I was the only one in the classroom who stood for the Pledge of Allegiance. Not one student paid the least attention to it. They just kept on yakking, throwing stuff, snapping girls’ bra straps, and laughing. And if you think I had the power to stop that–well, you’d be speaking from pure ignorance.

Anyhow, the humanists claim “harassment” and “bullying,” liberals’ magic words, befall atheists at the hands of Christians, if they exercise their right to remain seated during the Pledge.

In most classrooms, the most difficult challenge facing the teacher is to keep the kids in their seats at all.

Okay, “Under God” was added in 1954. So that makes it bad? Humanist anti-morality has only been added to the curriculum in the past few years, and we’re all supposed to bow down to it.

When atheists spout how they’re “good without God,” I can only think of 20th century atheists like Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Hitler. The only thing they were good at was piling up dead bodies.

Personally, I don’t care all that much about the Pledge of Allegiance. As a Christian, I would have serious reservations about pledging allegiance to a nation that was not under God–very serious reservations indeed.

Ask some of the people who escaped from officially atheist countries, often at great risk of their lives, how they liked it there.


Do Centaurs Dwell Among Us?

See that guy over there–the one who seems to be always leaning his rump against some object completely covered by a drop-cloth? From the waist up he’s normal, even handsome. But from the waist down he doesn’t look quite right, although he wears very baggy pants to disguise whatever’s wrong about him. It would be bad manners to go up and ask him what he’s got under the drop-cloth, or what’s funny about his hips and legs.

Chances are he’s a centaur. The back half, the horse half, he hides under the drop-cloth. He wears baggy pants to hide the horse’s forelegs. Female centaurs wear long, loose dresses.

You’ve been seeing them lately, haven’t you? Just sort of hanging out in front of the Seven-Eleven, or outside the laundromat: any old place. Where have they come from? According to the Liberal Bible, Book of Kerry, 6:66, “The centaurs are here to protect the Hispanic world from Global Warming.” But you can’t get a centaur to confirm this or deny it. In fact, it can be dangerous trying to get a centaur to say anything at all.

It has been suggested that centaurs are the product of genetic engineering by the mysterious beings known as Slim Jims, who come from inside the Big Dipper. This remains to be proved.

Why are they here? What are they getting set to do?

Blamed if I know.


Was Jesus Wrong, or Did He Just Lie?

Some guy named Michael Gungor–a “Christian singer,” I’m told: another one of these great celebrities I never heard of–recently, and in public, proposed that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, when He was talking about the Old Testament in general and Adam and Noah in particular, either didn’t know the facts of history, or else knowingly spoke of untrue things as if they were true, deceiving His listeners ( http://godfatherpolitics.com/16938/award-winning-christian-singer-suggests-jesus-wrong-lied-creation-adam-noah/ ).

Jesus Christ, said the celebrity, only “knew” what everybody else in First-Century Judea knew. Either that, or He told the poor ignorant people what they expected to hear: in other words, Christ lied. So much for “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice” (John 18:37).

Nowadays, says the celebrity, everybody knows there never was such a person as Adam, and there never was a Noah or a Flood. We know better than to believe in those ancient Bible stories.

See? It’s not only libs ‘n’ progs who can’t get the hang of basic Christianity. There are a lot of Christians who are Biblically challenged, too.

But what it really is, they don’t want the lost souls of this world, the wise, the academics, the power-brokers and the whoopee crowd, to think they’re just dumb Christian hicks. They treasure the esteem of this fallen world.

They have their reward.

Jesus asked, “When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)

It depends on where you look, Lord; it depends on where you look.


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