From the news this morning, I heard Herschel Walker call every woman of Georgia a cow. Walker was on the stage with Cotton from Arkansas and Scott from Florida. They were representing the Republican National Party and did not interrupt or stop Herschel’s cow story. So I assume they ratified calling every woman in Georgia a cow. Thereupon, I presume that all Republicans think the women of Georgia are cows.

That’s not very nice.

Herschel told a story, obviously a metaphor, about himself and the women of Georgia. A bull looks over a fence at three cows in a field, but also notices three cows up the hill. Like any cow can jump over the moon, the bull jumps and clears the fence. He goes up the hill, gets closer, and realizes the three cows are three bulls

This story is dreamlike, not sourced from the Bible but from life. If Herschel is having dreams where cows are bulls, how sexually conflicted is Herschel? At a quarter mile I can tell a woman from a man. At the same distance I assume bulls can tell cows from bulls.

There is another explanation. The bulls on the hill are hiding their cows from Herschel, but he goes up anyway.



Willa Cather

They advise that a writer should write what she knows. Willa Cather followed that advice. She began her career of words in journalism. Part of her assignments was reviewing art, music and literature. In her first published work (of short stories), The Troll Garden presents Cather’s relaying performances, artists, fans and art to the reader. She write each story with a proper amount of skepticism toward characters (artists and fans) and what they are doing. Troll has pejorative inference, and thereby, Cather has described the process and results of art. It is a trolly world of being.

For example,
FEMALE FANS: “What he had was that, in his mere personality, he quickened and in a measure gratified that something without which – to women – life is no better than sawdust, and to the desire for which most of their mistakes and tragedies and the astonishingly poor bargains are due.” The Garden Lodge.

MALE FANS: Man re-meets singer after singer is retired and dying.
“It was the silence of admiration,” protested Everett, “very crude and boyish, but very sincere and not a little painful. Perhaps you suspected something of the sort? I remember you saw fit to be very grown-up and worldly.”
“I believe I suspected a pose; then that college boys usually affect with singers – ‘an earthen vessel in love with a star,’ you know. But it rather surprised me in you, for you must have seen a good deal of your brother’s pupils. Or had you an omnivorous capacity, and elasticity that always met the occasion.” A Death in the Desert.

TRAGEDY: “He used to write only the tragedies of passion; but this is tragedy of the soul, the shadow coexistent with the soul. This is the tragedy of effort and failure, the thing Keats calls hell. This is my tragedy; as I lie here spent by the racehorse…”

“I wanted to be with you….I have never cared about other women since I met you in New York when I was a lad. You are part of my destiny, and I could not leave you if I would.

She put her hands on his shoulders and shook her head. “No, no; don’t tell me that. I have seen enough of tragedy, God knows. Don’t show me any more just as the curtain is going down. No, no, it was only a boy’s fancy, and your divine pity and my utter pitiableness have recalled it for a moment. One does not love the dying, dear friend. If some fancy of that sort had been left over from boyhood, this would rid you of it, and that were well. Now go, and you will come again tomorrow….” A Death In The Desert.

“…She has remained in much the same condition she sank to before his death. He trampled over pretty much whatever there was in her, I fancy. Women don’t recover from wounds of that sort – at least not women of Ellen’s grain. They go on bleeding inwardly.”…

“The marriage,” Lady Mary continued with a shrug, “was made on the basis of a mutual understanding. Ellen, in the nature of the case, believed that she was doing something quite out of the ordinary in accepting him, and expected concessions which, apparently, it never occurred to him to make. After his marriage he relapsed into his old habits of incessant work, broken by violent and often brutal relaxations. He insulted her friends and foisted his own upon her – a homeless vagrant, whose conversation was impossible. I don’t say, mind you, that he had not grievances on his side. He had probably overrated the girl’s possibilities, and he let her see he was disappointed in her. Only a large and generous nature could have borne that, and Ellen’s not that. She could not at all understand that odious strain of plebeian pride which plumes itself upon having not risen above its sources.” The Marriage of Phaedra.

{Observe a similar sentiment at the end of the movie, My Brilliant Career where Sybilla declines to marry Harry. She wants to become a writer, an artist, and she tells him, I will destroy you. He does not understand.]


“Several of Paul’s teachers had a theory that his imagination had been perverted by garish fiction, but the truth was that he scarcely read at all. The books at home were not such as would either tempt or corrupt a youthful mind, and as for reading the novels that some of his friends urged upon him, — well, he got what he wanted much more quickly from music; any sort of music from an orchestra to a barrel organ. He needed only the spark, the indescribable thrill that made his imagination master of his senses, and he could make plots and pictures enough of his own. It was equally true that he was not stage struck – not, at any rate, in the usual acceptation of that expression. He had no desire to become an actor, any more than he had to become a musician. He felt no necessity to do any of those things; what he wanted was to see, to be in the atmosphere, float on the wave of it, to be carried out, blue league after blue league, away from everything.” Paul’s Case.

Undoubtedly, Willa Cather had witnessed and cringed about much she saw in the artistic world. She is plain, honest and open, letting the world witness what is frequently worshiped – not only the art, but also the artist. She is not judgmental except in Paul’s Case, the boy who seeks to attach himself to the material benefits of art. Obviously, what applied to women also was true for men. Have there not been a long trail of “poor bargains” arising from love, worship or fantasy?The Garden Lodge. Does any artist want to be revered, adorned and fawned over at death, or does the artist, using human common sense, understand for any person to cling to a drying artist is tragedy. A Death In The Desert.

[That point in A Death is reminiscent of William Shatner’s advice supposedly given during a Star Trek convention: “Get a life.”]

Willa Cather does not disapprove of artistic behaviors. Some artists act well, and others poorly. She cannot reform human behaviors, but she can bring light to common behaviors to give a perspective and to make situations common and understandable.

Observe in The Marriage of Phaedra Willa Cather describes where the painting has gone (Australia) as “entombed in a vague continent in the Pacific, somewhere on the other side of the world.”


If someone is ill, is injured or has a health problem, there is a flaw – to accept? Or should that person go to a doctor?

If someone talks and is full of ignorance because news is being repeated or sentiments from a witless bloke with an interesting accept is being relayed, there is a flaw. Should persons be educated with books or pursue further investigation to remove the flaws of ignorance?

If someone has an art and does not work or improve skills and talents, is it a flaw because the artist is quitting and is relying on laurels?

The question of art is the greatest flaw because at whichever age, not thinking, not trying, not improving, not adding skills, not doing, goes to the essence of that human being. In the mind that person has quit, and been typecast. For a writer if is a flaw to repeat everything again and again – no new settings, no true change of characters, similar elements in the stories (perhaps rearranged) and no new bad guys. It’s FORMULA producing flaws where points of everything can be outlined, almost to the exact line on which pages each should appear.


David Herbert Donald

Every man who was a friend or had exposure to Abraham Lincoln wanted history to know that each of them was Lincoln’s best friend. They were all wrong. WE ARE LINCOLN MEN tells why.

This book is about friendship among human beings. It uses Abraham Lincoln as the person everyone wanted friendship with, not always during his lifetime. Over those fifty-six years, in society and work, Lincoln was a pleasant, resourceful fellow to have around with an inexhaustible supply of stories and antedotes, and hiding his imagination and intelligence. Lincoln liked persons like himself: Story tellers and persons who were fountains of tales – clean, dirty and engaging.

But what is friendship? The book does not answer the question directly. Communication is key, and talking is the primary means to convey what one person or another is thinking, is doing, might do, and how reactions come out; discretion of friends is necessary. Some stuff might never be repeated, and some might be repeated only long after the telling. And acceptance and going forward is always a goal – life goes on in the company of friends.

Each of these elements is present in WE ARE LINCOLN MEN, but none of Lincoln’s friendships had a chance to come to fruition: Interrupted by time and travel – Illinois, Washington; position – country lawyer, President; issues and thinking differently about the Constitution and solutions, concerns about slaves, the union and state’s rights.

Of course, Lincoln was a master of politics and law but handled as best he could issues before him, until his assassination. There is a tendency to make Lincoln prescient, a master and in control. No, he sometimes was making it up as he came to him – using his intelligence, collecting all information and opinions and ingenuity to make the best decisions. David Herbert Donald wrote an excellent biography of Abraham Lincoln and next, this book. Many of those decisions are in these books.

If there is a shortcoming in either book was defining Lincoln’s imagination and originality. In many ways he thought originally, and how that manifested itself to the American public was in speeches and amongst men, with humor, and sometimes gallows humor. This part of the story is difficult to tell because the assassination cut short Lincoln’s life at War’s end.

Humor – what delighted Lincoln, what amused him, what intrigued him – tells much about the man. There are collections of stories and antedotes but no systematic analyses connected to the President’s life and actions. Many human beings finding entertainment in the mind – concepts, organizing ideas and facts, storing it in the memory and using it when appropriate – is exercising the imagination. This process makes human beings different from all other animals. Getting

within a brain and learning how a biographical subject works, thinks, responds – sometimes on impulse, greatly aids the work of the writer. Whether a subject can recall something from memory quickly (being bright) or it rolls in after a few hours, makes the subject likable, engaging and social.

One trait coming from Lincoln is explaining his thinking to others. He told stories, and they were sometimes metaphors. Metaphors are not always understood, e.g. the British ambassador, but using that means to communicate suggests that Lincoln sought the polite way to urge persons to do what he wanted: Metaphors are by nature indirect.

On the friendship premise alone, I recommend We Are Lincoln Men.


Long before The Beatles sang, “All you need is love…,” love was craved in New York society in the Eighteenth century. John Adams, founding father, second president of the United States, said about New Yorkers, in 1776 “I have not seen one real gentleman, one well-bred man, since I came to town. As their entertainments, there is no conversation that is agreeable. There is no modesty, no attention to one another. They talk very loud, very fast and all together. If they ask you question, before you can utter three words of your answer, they will break out upon you again and talk away.” In short New Yorkers were excited about flattery, were delighted by praising, nourished by tidbits of pleasantries and receptive to sweet talk.

How does Don Trump fit into that fanciful world, now transported to Florida? Don Trump fits to a tee (pun intended). Apparently while searching for golf balls on the course, Don Trump has men reviewing social media posts and repeating every favorable thing said about Don. Those utterances of praise, flatterers, and words of sweet talk make getting through a round of golf tolerable for Don, who is not a golfer. Many photos show Don standing in the rough, probably next to a ball he dropped because he could not find the ball he hit.

And the American people know that Don can’t play golf. Otherwise, he would have promoted his course prowess: “I play a better round of golf than Barack Obama!” Obama was a hoops guy who never won a cup in golf. But Obama didn’t grow up with the game like Don. So Don’s shortcomings have-not been broadcast.

Imagine needing words of praise, tidbits of flattery, morsels of nourishment and the ultimate sweetnesses during the worst moments of the day – send balls into the dink, a slice hitting a tree and bouncing the wrong way, missing a three foot putt. I am happy those flattery slaves are there to keep Don steady so he can drive the golf car safely without accidents and park it where it can be found the next day.

Supposedly, we all appreciate love, but not the sort hippies once tried to foist on society, to save the world, and not the type that swells breasts for Don Trump. Love cannot be treated that casually. Thought and emotions, controlled and uncontrolled, go into it and human being reflect. Love can not be trivialized, but that is easily to do in today’s world.


There are too few refineries to turn oil into gasoline and diesel in California. That shortage cannot be fixed overnight. No new refineries will be built. At best it takes ten years to get all the approvals to construct an ugly edifice and get a refinery running. And California is trying to make gasoline obsolete by its residents buying electric cars. Once Californias can putt-putt around in golf cart like vehicles, everyone will be happy because NO GASOLINE, NO OIL.
So no one’s going to pay billions of dollars to build a refinery.

Gasoline prices have risen (almost 25 percent) at the end of the summer driving season. Why? The explanation is every refinery has maintenance problems and is changing to the winter blend. Of course, refineries have had to change to winter blends for 30 years, but they have never had a collective maintenance melt down in late August/September, and prices rise.

Oh why, oh why, oh why did rising prices happen this year, 2022. The best answer is that California was dumb enough to announce in May/June 2022 that it was giving every California driver a rebate check, to pay for increased gasoline costs. Californians were assured of having cash in their pockets during the fall of 2022. Now the beneficiaries of California’s largess are the oil companies/refineries who have created the shortage of gasoline (based upon the so-called maintenance issue). The oil companies owning refineries have already gotten the rebate money from consumers who are waiting for rebate checks.

The refiners are laughing. That money donation is water under the bridge, OR can attorneys in California do something about it?


Dina Meyer


Agent Dina Meyer works for the FBI and has a corner office, which suggests she’s high up in the FBI hierarchy. The crime involved is committed during the day and is public.

While Agent Dina is on a transcontinental flight, her seat mate is unusually chatty. That doesn’t raise alarm bells for FBI Agent Dina. Talk and chats draft to a shoe dropping: Agent Dina’s family has been kidnapped in their Los Angeles home and obviously Agent-Dina is supposed to supply, delete or deliver the goods so her family will be released. I assume Agent Dina is familiar with FBI procedures during a kidnapping and when they are public; they can end tragically.

What’s Agent Dina do in the movie? She goes along with the kidnapping plot, following all instructions of the chatty seat mate. It’s a big drama about Agent-Dina’s predicament and the fate of her family. In the end Agent-Dina gets a gun and shoots bad guys for another sappy movie where characters are witless until a gun can be drawn.

Imagine the same movie based on reality. Agent-Dina hears of her family’s kidnapping and immediately silences the chatty seat mate. Agent Dina calls the stewardess while she restrains and secures the chatty seat mate. Agent-Dina identifies herself, FBI Agent, and issues commands: All communications between the jet and the ground cease; the plane has a mechanical problem and is returning to LA; using the plane’s radio Agent-Dina calls the FBI; on alert, the Bureau send out swat-teams to Agent-Dina’s house which is not far from the FBI offices in the radiator building in Westwood. [Agent-Dina’s house is an upscale westside landmark with an expansive million dollar kitchen – one wall of big matching stainless steel appliances useful when holding a party for hundreds].

The remainder of the real story is how the FBI unravels the plot which extends to Agent Dina’s work at the FBI. Bad guys are killed or arrested.

The end of the film is a party in Agent-Dina’s kitchen which substitutes for the movie’s wrap party.


John Buntin

Written in a journalistic style, this history supports the notion of Los Angeles becoming a city by accident. Primarily, there was no law enforcement. Crime rates were high. For a long time Los Angeles Police were paid off by various sorts of law breakers: Gamblers, smugglers, white slavers; and white collar criminals – rule breakers, favor-for-favor enthusiasts, and rich or influential persons taking advantage. Los Angeles seemed a city (and county) which was unmanageable and unpoliced. Counting the population growth was a feat, let alone policing with an undermanned police department.

Robert Parker became a Los Angeles policeman in the 1920s. He was thoroughly incorruptible. His primary focus was overcoming organized crime coming from eastern cities: Mickey Cohen. Cohen was elusive and laws were not enforced, like paying taxes to the IRS. Cohen died owning the federal government more than $500,000, yet he was in and out of prison (mostly out), living the high life (people gave him gifts). His attributable income for a year exceeded the amount of taxes he ever paid in taxes for a decade. He never ratted. He was smilingly approachable to the press but vague with answers to committees and to courts. During a Congressional hearing Cohen was accused of threatening a man “to put his lights out.” Cohen’s response: “Look it, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m not an electrician.”

Parker like many crusaders was blind to the changing population and to social forces. 1950s Los Angeles was not white as it was during the 1920s when Parker joined the force. World War Two brought in hundreds of thousands of African-Americans; the Mexican-American population grew as rapidly. Parker did not change his views of either minority and their criminal ways. NOTE the book only mentions organizational shifts in the Police Department from 1930 to 1970. So Parker’s management abilities are difficult to evaluate.

From 1910 to 1960 the book gives enough detail to tell the foregoing story (pages 1 – 300). But three events – Watts Riots 1965 – Kennedy Assassination 1968 and Rodney King and those riots (1991) are presented in 46 pages. The point the author tries to make is Parker’s ordinances and regulations isolating the Police Chief from the whims of the Los Angeles City Council were changed in 1992. Thereafter, Daryl Gates (presented as incompetent but scored well on texts) was removed.


The American Civil War in Missouri, 1864-1865, did not end in 1865. Violence spread across the center of the country and west, and ended later. Most of the behaviors held by Americans in 1865, resulted in quick resorts to violence, arising from unsettled conditions.

An explanation of why this occurred is told in The Collapse of Price’s Raid, Mark Lause. Along with a prequel, that book tells of battles in Missouri during the Civil War. Every word is as accurate as can be stated. The biggest drawbacks are (1) the numbers of players – who led these men in each skirmish or raid, (2) what they were thinking or what they believed, and (3) where each encounter happened and (4) the sense of the battle. Specifically, there are no maps and no diagrams indicating where attackers and defenders were. From the words of the book alone, the Confederate forces were wastefully expended; captured Union fighters might be executed. Of course, the Union prevailed.

The most telling statement about Missouri of those years and afterward was in the last paragraph of the book:

…the peace that settled over the western border also required peace among the Confederates and peace among the Unionists as well. And that mandated was, for most whites, a blessed forgetfulness about the real issues and experiences of the Civil War. (emphasis supplied, p.194)

There was NO HISTORY. If men who did the fighting kept everything untold for 40 or 50 years and died with those experiences, without challenging, discussing and coming to some sense of what actually happened, little was learned and nothing was gained from the Civil War. What passed to succeeding generations were made up stories and fantasies about feats, deeds, glorious times and burdensome oppressions and phantoms that the fighting men generated and reenforced years after the fighting, and told to succeeding generations. The Collapse of Price’s Raid is a book which explains why the Confederacy did not succeed. Divisions among Confederate soldiers and raiders were as deep and rank, as those with the enemy, or between the rich and poor today.

Today, on the Left in America made up facts and stuff from LBJ’s Great Society plus the Vietnam War (largely forgotten) form the basis for what proponents envisioned that America should be today. These people are satisfied with benign neglect. Anyone proposing change like Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton are villains. (Clinton less so.) Their moves to get people away from comfort zones, and country going forward were significant during the 1980s and 1990s.

On the Right appears a more ludicrous set of facts and thoughts. Some of the proposals want to take America back one hundred years, to the years of jazz, partner dancing and snappy band music and movies, but no pensions and no social programs. Those years left Americans distrustful and suspicious of their neighbors. Americans were identified by the country where

their parents or grandparents came from, e.g. Irish, Italian, Swedish, German, Greek, Pole. Minorities were a smaller part of the population and marginalized. Today minority populations, put all together, constitute a sizable minority.

Who wants to wonder today about a person’s country of origin, if living here and being productive is the outcome? Returning to the thinking of the 1920s ain’t going to help America go forward.

For the United States having its population thinking diverse things about supposedly accepted facts and incidences makes governing more difficult. Americans seem to chose the course of the Missouri soldiers after the Civil War – not at peace with one another and forgetful of the facts in the past, and facts going forward. It is the role of politicians to rectify and smooth differences about facts, not trumpet and promote every erroneous interpretation of facts or documents. Wrong facts are not so cherished when they become principle and can never be changed – and ideas can never be changed? – and nothing can ever be changed?

The value of books like The Collapse of Price’s Raid is to set out facts, so everything can be changed and considered. Learning and collection of facts present circumstances, plus time alone forces thoughts and attitudes of human beings to change.


Movie Review: MUST SEE

Congratulations to Cybill Shepart, James Brolin, Pam Grier, the writer and the producer.

Being Rose portrays fairly and accurately end of life-elderly issues from the perspective of the dying person (the character of Rose, Cybill Shepard). The movie suggests to Americans elder care responsibilities, intervention but more independence. At the start of the movie Rose is outside her home, and she disdainfully says, “This is my life,” meaning the emptiness of materialism. She tries to make up with an estranged son in a distant city; he is a self-centered jerk. She wants to avoid burdening a new love interest in her life, a short life ahead: “I have nothing to give you,” she tells James Brolin. The audience gets the impression that she dies on her own terms after she feels water of a mountain creek on her feet.

Try not to cry.