Monday, August 16, 2021

Why Not Investigate?

Here are some addresses useful for learning more about my books: three Youtube videos and my Facebook page.

Storm Approaching:    

And Gladly Teach:  



Tuesday, June 22, 2021

A New Edition


The new (and final) edition of Part Three of the Mercenaries series is now available at Amazon in both print and ebook versions. The ISBN of the print version is 979-8520689188. The old edition will still be on the Amazon site for a while since it takes time to get rid of such things. 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Mind Your Manners!

A short time ago I received a copy of “The Pocket Book of Etiquette” by Margery Wilson, a gift from a friend who thought that a historian might find it interesting. Interesting is an understatement. I have been reading this wonderful 400-page book with rapt attention. The book was published in 1937, revised in 1940, and went through ten printings by December 1942, so it obviously sold well and had wide influence. It is amazing that, amidst some of the most depressing times (both figuratively and literally)  in our national history, and in the worst part of World War II, Americans were buying an etiquette book.

 For my part, I cannot enumerate all the great things I have learned. I shall strive to reach Margery Wilson’s high standards. Why, by the time I finish this priceless volume I am going to be so elegant that no one will recognize the gauche blunderer of yesteryear. I will never again feel apprehensive about how to conduct myself at teas, receptions, and hunt balls. Gone will be my former louche behavior at the opera, the theater, and debutante parties. Exquisitely attired in magnificent  habiliments, I will dazzle everyone with my soigné, debonair aura. From my tall hat to my walking stick, my tailcoat to my spats, I will be the cynosure of every eye!

 Here is a minuscule example of the excellent guidance the book affords:

 (p. 122) A man always rises when introduced to anyone. A woman arises when introduced to an older woman or a woman of the same age. Everyone rises for the Church…. Naturally, children rise for all introductions.

 (p. 189) At a formal lunch, men leave their coats, hats, and sticks in the hall. Women leave their heavy wraps in the dressing-room but retain their hats and gloves, and sometimes a fur neckpiece…. Guests remove their gloves at the table, or earlier if cocktails are served in the drawing-room. The hostess, of course, never wears gloves or a veil….. Men at a Sunday lunch wear the cutaway coats they have worn to church.

 (p.195) Service and all plates are removed from the left with one hand, while another plate is set down with the other hand from that same left side. All too often one sees a servant take a plate from the left and then side-step or back-step to the right of the chair to set the next plate down. One can only watch in wonder and ask, “Why?” Service and all plates are removed one at a time. Stacking occurs only at Dude Ranches.

 (p. 226) In America a maid is usually called by her first name. In England they are always called by their last name. A housekeeper is always called Mrs. or Miss, and a governess in the same manner. All menservants may be called by their last names except when the name is too difficult to pronounce. Then the first name may be substituted.

 (p. 83) The well-dressed Englishman, usually regarded as the best-dressed man in the world, adopts an enviable attitude toward his clothes. He is meticulously careful in their selection…. He never appears to be wearing a suit for the first time…. He dresses correctly for whatever he happens to be doing, whether it is hunting or dining…., All of us are familiar with the saying that England has conquered the world in a boiled shirt.

 I am considering acquiring a monocle.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Wanna Buy A Book?


To clarify the status of my books:

1)  And Gladly Teach is available in print at online sellers and as an ebook.

2)  Hodgepodge likewise.

3)  Storm Approaching (Part I of the Mercenaries series) is available in its final revised edition on Amazon KDP both as a printed book and as an ebook.

4)  Gold and Glory (Part II) likewise.

5 & 6)   Resolution (Part III)  and The Free Lands (Part IV) are available as printed books at online sellers. I have revised both books--but there are no major changes in plot or events--and will be publishing the new editions m on Amazon KDP as both print and ebooks when I can afford to, which will, I hope, be during this year, 2021.

Should anyone have difficulties in obtaining any of the books, please let me know. And if you don’t have difficulties, let me know that too--it would be so nice to sell some. (Since publishing them I have sold a few hundred copies, but not recently.) 

You can learn more about these fine works on this site or via my Facebook book page ( YouTube videos are also available:

Storm Approaching:    

And Gladly Teach:  


Friday, October 30, 2020

Double Take

After unpacking my new Honeywell Cool Mist Humidifier I carefully read the instruction pamphlet until coming, on page 2, to this sentence: “Helen of Troy will not accept responsibility for property damage caused by water spillage”.

I blinked and stopped reading. At first I feared, as the elderly do, that my hour had struck: I could no longer read, words were garbled, my eyes and brain were no longer in sync.

Then, noting that the rest of the page still made sense, I wondered for a moment if Priam, Menelaus, or Achilles would be more accepting of blame.

Finally, turning to the back of the pamphlet, I discovered this: “Kaz USA, Inc., a Helen of Troy Company.”  Consulting the repository of all knowledge, Wikipedia, I found that there is a gigantic international combine called, yes, “Helen of Troy”.

My only remaining questions were, what is Kaz USA and what happened to Honeywell? But, acknowledging at my age that there are mysteries we shall never know, and perhaps are not meant to know, I stifled my curiosity and filled the humidifier tank. It works fine. 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Her Brother's Keeper

In Hy-Vee today, as I placed my few items on the checkout conveyor belt, the middle-aged lady in front of me, who was completing her purchase, turned and told me that I must put my items back in my cart so that the cashier could first clean the conveyor belt. It is what they do here, she said.

I smiled graciously and put my things back in my cart. (She could not see my smile, since I was of course wearing a mask, but I smiled anyway because I am so nice.)

However, it was only with some difficulty that I resisted the impulse to show that I am au courant with the latest slang by replying “Thank you, Karen” and ignoring her. But I did not wish to perhaps appear as a central subject in some YouTube video entitled “man hit over head with purse (or pepper-sprayed, or, these days, shot) by enraged woman at grocery store”.

The cashier and I chuckled a bit after she left--but while she was there he did, while muttering a bit under his breath, industriously spray a great deal of fluid on the belt and vigorously scrub it with a paper towel, something I am sure he would not have done without her considerate intervention. I felt so much safer!   

Sunday, April 26, 2020


Now that gasoline is so cheap, do you suppose some people might start hoarding it against the time when the price rises? Perhaps we will hear boasts: "I have 700 gallons of gas in my garage," "You should see all the gas I have in my basement." If in coming months some houses are suddenly blown to smithereens or become huge pyres, don't be too surprised. After all, we didn't expect what would happen with toilet paper, did we?