Twelve Books checked out and five bought = 17, almost…

17 is the 7th prime number and I was born on two prime numbers – Nov 17.  If my parents had not been in such a hurry I could have been born in 53!  53 is prime.  However, even then 1953 is not prime.   However, if they had married a year earlier in 1951 I would have been prime in all my parts.   I agree with the oriental mind set which say that the strongest males are born on prime numbers!

So much for blowing my own horn.   I think I got a really good haul from the W. Walworth Harrison Library in Greenville, TX.   My wife, Jan and I decided to go see the movie – America by Dinesh D’Souza (b 1961).  Anytime ‘Rotten Tomatoes’ has a large differential between their rating vs the public – with the public the higher rating – that is a “Must See” for me.   The delta this time was a whopping 80%  – 9% by the critics and 89% by the audience!   There is a reason they call themselves ‘Rotten Tomatoes’ and they live up to it often!  I had never heard of Dinesh before, but checked out 4 of the 6 books our little library had by him.    Coming home with books is one of the most satisfying experiences for most of my life.  As a poor kid the public library was air-conditioned, free, and I could read about adult stuff – like sex, violence, and all that kind of interesting stuff.  (Dad, you were right – No One should ever read ‘Studs Lonigan’)

When I was a young tike, my mom found me coloring in my dad’s college text book and she was fixin’ to lay it on me, when my dad intervened.  “Don’t spank that boy you will ruin his love of books’   Thanks Dad!   He has been in Heaven since 1982 and he continues to look smarter to me as the years go by!   I am sure it was just his genetics, but who really knows except God – and He ain’t talking.

The movie actually made me cry for the America that was in the 1950’s.  Dinesh is an Indian from Mumbai.  Funny, I noticed early in my life, those who love America the most are NOT born here – which reminded me of a short story I read long ago – required reading then – “Man without a Country”   The author was Edward Everett Hale -born 1863.  Went to Harvard when he was 13.   Prodigy by anybody’s standard.   Harvard was a REAL Divinity School then – before they shook off their Calvinist roots.  E.E. Hale is son of Nathan Hale.  Yes that Hale..  I digress or maybe not – Dinesh reminded me of that story…

(Speaking of smart people – Prodigy by Amy Wallace (dau of her more famous dad, Irving Wallace, author, screenwriter wrote an amazing story about James Sidis (IQ = 300?) who died young and depressed.  So smart does not always mean happy – he denied God at an early age – so probably not as smart as some say he was.  Sadly Amy Wallace (b. 1955) – died in 2013 at 58.)

Here are the books by Dinesh D’Souza I checked out, in order of copyright:

2002 – What is so Great about America

2007 – The Enemy at Home

2009 – Life After Death

2012 – Obama’s America

My favorite modern novelist Jeffrey Archer has a 2014 novel = “Be Careful What you wish For”.  I hope I am ‘smelling’ something like ‘Kane and Abel’ or ‘Prodigal Daughter’  As usual I will read the end first to see if it is worth reading.

Ah now adventure: My old hero Clive Cussler had two books I have not read: (ever read Journey to Matecumbe – I found an old paperback – very Twainish when I was young – not so much now.  Know who wrote it?  I know, just testing you my non-readers)

1. Ghost Ship

2. The Bootlegger

I recently saw old man Cussler interviewed on Youtube and my opinion of him went even higher.  I love it when he does that Hitchcock thing and writes himself in in some minor and fleeting appearance!   I hate it that he sued those Hollywood bum’s when they screwed up his novel Sahara and they sued back and won – ‘No good deed goes unpunished‘    He started writing because of the little boy in him that never lost his thirst for adventure and here I get to go on great adventures vicariously.  That is definitely a win-win.  Speaking of YouTube one of my favorite ‘new’ YouTube characters is Jeremy Broun (Brown the Scottish way) – Is there anything this guy can NOT do!)

OK, 7 down 5 to go so in alpha order by author:

1. Steve Berry – “The Lincoln Myth”  (No big deal I think – so he was not the noble creature that he is sold to us a being.  ‘Man at his best is at best still a man”

2. Bob Bowman’s “The Gift of Las Sabinas – The History of the Sabine River Authority of Texas.  1949-1999″  Only non-fiction book on the list (more about truth and fiction later).

3.  Joseph Finder – “Suspicion”

4. MaI Jia – “Decoded”

5. Leonard Rosen – “All Cry Chaos”  (A Henri Poincare’ Mystery)

First #1  Many of my favorite writers are lawyers or ex-lawyers.  I hate the profession, but I like those that leave for a a more noble profession: writing well crafted novels with a good turns of phrase and the weaving together of a good yarn.  A couple of years ago I met a young Harvard graduate who had just become a prosecutor in New Mexico and I shared with him about my theory that you can find more truth in fiction than in non-fiction and he agreed to think more about that, but saw how it might be so.  Ironically, here in July of 2014 I watched a Lee Child YouTube interview in which he voiced the very same thing – and for basically the same reason as myself.  I knew he was a smart guy!

In a work of fiction you are free to tell the world what you really think to be true without having to prove it or having the fear of being sued.  I love it when my theories are vindicated 😉

Now Steve Barry is a member of the International Thriller Writers  (ITW) which if I am not mistaken was founded by David Morrell (creater of Rambo – with his ‘First Blood’) along with the only female writer of spy novels that I REALLY like – Gayle Lynds (she writes like a man – but she really appears to be female)   Growing up she was so desperate for reading material that she tore apart the cardboard tube of toilet paper to find some writing!  Wow!  I do not see them as officers anymore on ITW, but I do see my Jack Reacher author Lee Child and some other thriller authors I respect or want to read.

Second:  Bob Bowman – no idea who he is, but I have been living near the Sabine River for about 30 years.  Sabine is Sabinas in Spanish and is the word for Cypress Tree.  Hope it is interesting.

Third:  Joseph Finder – another founding member of ITW.  For a young guy (1958 model) he has really been around and very smart – another Harvard graduate.  Lived in Afghanistan for much of his childhood and Phi Kappa Phi.  Majored in Russian Studies at Yale and in a Masters from Harvard.   He comes across as the ‘real deal’  I like authenticity!

Fourth:  Mai Jia – ‘Decoded’   I heard of this young (b 1964) Chinese spy author – most popular in China – who served for many years in their intelligence services.   I don’t know much about him, but I get the feeling he is ‘scary smart’    Hope he become one of my ‘keepers’  my old guys are dying off – Ludlum, Robert B. Parker, etc (Len Deighton – creator of Bernard Sampson – my favorite spy who mastered ‘office politics’ to keep doing what he loved to do! – is still alive, but not writing that I know of?)

Fifth:  Leonard Rosen (b. 1954, NOT Nov 19, 1930 for the famous bankruptcy lawyer) ‘All Cry Chaos ‘  Hmmm – there was a famous mathematician, engineer, and philosopher by the name of Henri Poincare’ and that is the main character of this book.  The fly leaf mentions math, religion, dazzling prose and compares him to Le Carre – oops can’t win on everything.  Also compares him to Scott Turow – another ex-lawyer but with a ‘smart-ass’ vulgarity I do not care for.

BTW, Le Carre is pronounced (lu carry)  Nothing French about this limey. He has mellowed some in his book, Secret Pilgrim – reflections of retired master spy, Smiley.  I read it without feeling totally depressed at the end, which is according to Le Carre, his purpose in writing spy novels:  To show the utter futility of that endeavor in that no one wins and all lose)

OK, that’s the round-up on the 12 I checked out.   The 5 I bought has morphed into 6?  There goes my 17 – I am a bit worried now – there must be a stinker of a book that snuck in there 😉

First the guys I know or wanted to try:

1. Barry Eisler – ‘Rain Fall’   Heard a lot of good things about him.  Another member of ITW

2. W.E.B. Griffin – ‘The Hunters’

3. W.E.B. Griffin – ‘The Saboteurs’   – Real Macho stuff – very authentic I am told.   Have tried a book before but had to return it before finished or something.  Now I can try him at my leisure.

5. Jack Higgins – ‘Day of Judgement’  Another macho sounding author that I have yet to finish a book by – but IMO he has one of the greatest book titles:

“The Last Place God Made”

6. Wilbur Smith – ‘A Sparrow Falls”  – This fellow is the oldest of the crew (b. 1933) and is a well known South African novelist – well known, but not by me – as this book falls right in the middle of the ‘Courtney Series’ according to Wikipedia.  I don’t know, maybe this is the stinker book that ruins my 7th prime?

Speaking of guns – we were speaking of that, were we not?    I really like Stephen Hunter who writes about snipers with his main character being Bob Lee Swagger.   His ‘Point of Impact’ is my favorite novel by him and it was made into a movie.   His non-fiction “American Gunfight” was about the little known attempted assassination of Harry Truman in 1950.  And in the 50th anniversary of JFK’s demise he wrote, ‘The Third Bullet’ which made more sense than most of the theories I have heard.   Even when I was in the 5th grade in 1963 I believed Lee Harvey Oswald was a convenient patsy.

Which makes me wonder if yet another lawyer – a trial attorney, Scott McEwen is any good.  He wrote (or helped write) American Sniper the auto-biography of the true life story of the Navy Seal, Chris Kyle, touted as the most lethal sniper of American military history.  An Odessa boy born of a Sunday School teacher and a Deacon.   Those West Texas boys are tough I tell you – especially the sons of Deacons!

I am quite eclectic in my reading as long as it is an adventure, mystery, detective, or spy story and well written with a good ending – I will read it.   Is that eclectic enough for ya!  Also I will read the Bible some.  I love the Psalms – only part of the Bible I read every day. The Psalms are gut level honest and always appeal to the Only One who can do anything about everything.   The rest is mystery – and not particularly well written IMO.   Those ancient Hebrews and Greeks were probably better verbal story tellers.  And Jesus was the best story teller of them all – And that is because He was God – an unfair advantage to say the least!  He is REAL BIG on the authenticity side of things.  One think I insist on:  There MUST be a STORY.  I read Spenser by Robert B. Parker for the ‘color’ yet even Parker knew there had to be a story.  It could be very simple, but it had to be there!

This is why I know the Bible is true – too wild, crazy, and unbelievable to just be the production of man.    And I read the end – And God wins and so do His people!

Revelation says so – but frankly I don’t understand it.    Evidently I am in good company because even one of the great scholars of RevelationVern Poythress said you have to be a 12-year old boy with a good imagination to really understand it.  So every time he finds a 12-yr old who says he understands Revelation – he secretly approaches the kid and says in a quiet awe-struck voice – ‘Can you explain it to me?

God Wins!



OK, Now my Library Report – W. Walworth Harrison on Lou Finney Blvd.

Writers are getting smarter.  I tell everyone I read the end of a book first.  If it does not end well I won’t read it.  That is why I am a Christian, I read the last book of the Bible and God wins and so do His people!  Anyway I love the titles of some books.  Who could not read a book titled “The Last Place God Made”   by Jack Higgins – really masculine stuff – so you might want to take your testosterone shot first.   The doctor took mine away … So here is what caught my eye this trip (a lot of non-fiction this time – I know I must be getting sick!)

Hidden Cities by Moses Gates (Travels to the Secret Corners of the World’s Great Metropolises (Another Manhattan Hunt Club?)

BTW – Who are all these international bestselling NY-Times authors I have never heard of?

Addrenaline by Jeff Abbott – the author looks too young and he lives in Austin, TX – here is the ending “…I just acquired this bar.  The drinks are on the house”   Not TOO bad for an ending – we will see…

Ah I hope one of my favorite authors is on the rebound – his last book or so were duds IMO) – Jeffrey Archer – Best Kept Secret

Maverick Genius – The Pioneering Odyssey of Freeman Dyson by Phillip F. Schewe (as Ed Sullivan would say – bless his pea-picking heart – I hope it is a really good Schewe)

C.S. Lewis – A life  (Eccentric Genius.  Reluctant Prophet) by Alister McGrath

The last paragraph is Deja vu all over again as I have been reading, commenting on, and reflecting on “where were you”  not only in reference to Christ but to Nov 22, 2013 – 50 year anniversary of when the USA killed JFK – here it is:

Let the last word go to a charismatic, young American president, who died shortly after Lewis on 22 November 1963.  In a speech given at Amherst College four weeks before his death, John F. Kennedy, honouring the great American Robert Frost (1874-1963), paid a handsome tribute to the work of the poets and writers.  “We must never forget,” he declared, “that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth”  Lewis, I think, would agree”   (Also why I read fiction – seeking the truth in entertaining fashion)  I remember where I was – It was Thursday and I was in the 5th grade and I cried with all the others because I did not what else to do.

Another bestselling author I have never heard of: Suspect by Robert Crais – but he is about my age and one of his favorite authors of detective fiction is Robert B. Parker so he has to be a good guy!

Now here is a book whose title is one after my own heart!  Curiosity – How Science Became Interested in Everything by Philip Ball  The last sentence has me interested already – They are each little acts of homage to curiosity, and in consequence, to our humanity

Ah and how appropriate this is the last book I would pick up and write down as I close this post:  The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

I may not have much time left – I better get to reading!


Trip to Library, but I digress with 114th Stated Meeting of North Texas Presbytery

Well I just turned in all the books I listed in one of my previous posts because I did not have time to read them – because I am addicted to Soduko!   I am going to North Texas Presbytery this weekend and on Saturday the Stated Clerk abandons me!   I am supposed to do his job – good luck with that!   David Frierson pastor at Sherwood Shores has been doing this for about 15 years!  I am a newbie.

I have one thing to offer I can speak louder than most and generally don’t need a microphone.   I gave a report for the Ministerial and Church Relations Committee when I was the chair for one meeting – probably the shortest tenure ever!

I had to quit for health reasons, but I think few believe that.  Two pastors were suspended from their offices and one much beloved professor was excommunicated.   And all on my watch – not a very good record.   Still I loved serving on that committee and miss it very much.

Now I just help the Stated Clerk in the unofficial roll of Recording Clerk.   The only other asset I have other than speaking loud is I took it on to know at least the names of all 110 pastors (Teaching Elders (TE) in the PCA) in our North Texas Presbytery and that helps sometimes.

Actually Rev Dale Smith of the Colleyville Church who has mostly lost his hearing said that my report sans microphone was the first one he has actually heard in years!  He was a few rows away as I was projecting and talking/praying about phronema (transliterated Greek – look it up – Phil 2:5 is where I found it)

To be fair the Stated Clerk tried to get me some help, but no one can stand me.

Maybe I will get by if I just speak very loudly and confidently (while I am shaking in my boots on the inside)  One thing I know….

Everyone will very much appreciate our Stated Clerk, Rev David Frierson after this weekend.  Most of all yours truly!


2013.04.05 – Friday

Yesterday’s Book Haul from W. Walworth Harrison Library. #1 Lou Finney Lane, Greenville, TX:  Really an interesting mix!

1. Fishing For Catfish                                          by Keith B. Sutton
2. the backyard parables                                     by Margaret Roach
3. America’s Secret War  (non-fiction)                by George Friedman
4. You can Farm                                                  by Joel Salatin
5. Founders – A novel of the coming collapse     by James Wesley Rawles
6. The Man who was Thursday                            by G.K. Chesterton
7. Target Lancer                                                   by Max Allan Collins

#7 Is the 2nd book I have come across on the 50th year since JFK was killed.  Stephen Hunter’s book “The Third Bullet”  was outstanding.  Of course I love all things “Joel Salatin”!     G.K. Chesterton “The Apostle of Common Sense” is usually better in reinactments that you find on YouTube – he can be tedious to try – but I will give it another shot.  #3 is first non-fiction pleasure book I have tried to read in a while.  To go along with it I have Founders – I at least find these “survivalist” interesting.   Personally, I do not want to survive if it gets really bad – I would rather be with the Lord anyway!








Were You There?

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?    This song has really hit me hard this Easter season.    I reminded my local church that we remember right where we were when traumatic events happen in our lives, especially if we were young.   I just read another great book by Stephen Hunter – “The Third Bullet”  (about JFK).    When Nov 22 2013 arrives I can tell you exactly where I was 50 years ago.   It was a Thursday and I was in the 5th grade and I had a wonderful teacher I had a crush on – Mrs.  Russel.  When principal Mr. Johnson made ‘that announcement’ all the little girls in my class started crying.   I held it all together until Mrs. Russel started crying too and then I lost it!

I was a precocious child and I remember thinking there is no way Lee Harvey Oswald did this alone.   Years later I still believe that and I have read a lot of books on snipers and spies and such.    I understand that  2/3 of America no longer believes the Warren report.   Which means most of us now believe our government – or a part of it – killed one of our own presidents.   Stephen Hunter makes a lot of sense in his novel.   I read mainly fiction.  I have come to believe I find more truth in fiction – at least certain kinds of fiction.  The author is free to say what he really believes – after all it is fiction, right!

There is a lot more true then can be proven!