CRIME 2

On April 23, 2017 I gave a rundown of criminal situations that arise frequently on crime shows. I gave 15 much scenarios, and I’m adding another 15. I cannot say I’ve covered the whole range of basic facts leading to crime. I may write more, but the 20 categories I’ve identified can help anyone to analyze any scene. Here comes Crime 2:

l.   No adult or adolescent female should ever attempt to mother a man who is a boyfriend. There is no reforming the male. That relationship will end badly – violently with psychological issues rearing and separating the couple, and an ugly aftermath.

2. There is a different between support, care and attention and mothering. A mother has
to accept all great aberrant behaviors. But a woman in a relationship does not to go
beyond care, nursing a scrapped knee; she should support criminal acts but she should to ready the man for the consequences of his actions, striving to improve his state of mind if the idiot is capable. She should never tell everyone her man is right and righteous.

3. DO NOT EVER believe having plastic surgery will rekindle a marriage/love affair.
Marital problems usually go to he bone – far beyond skin deep.

4. Marriage, living with another, is real. DO NOT EVER believe a spouse who commits fraud or steals from other is a mate. Theft is theft, whether it be money, time, attention or caring.

5. Missing persons: When a child, adult or relative are missing – not were anyone expected them to be and not found anywhere else – call the cops. When anyone waits for the cops to call them to report, your missing person is dead.

6, Women of all ages, but primarily adolescents and a bit older, should never feel sorry for a guy who tells a sad tale otherwise instantly recognized as a sob story. His life is one
of hard knocks. The guy wants you to cry; he wants you to take care of him; he wants your body. He wants your attention. He wants your money. He says he does but he does not care about you.

Corollary: A sob story is not a good basis on which to establish a long term
relationship.

7. Boys and girls who insist on confronting someone who has wronged them, and they don’t want to go to the cops, frequently their end up murdered or hurt. When a crime is committed, the perpetrators frequently are emotionally dangerous human beings and easily act wantonly a second time.

8, If perpetrators of crimes have a successful run, treat it like a job. Save the money. Have an exit strategy. Train replacements. Leave town. Remain silent. Live a quiet life somewhere afar. Spend time reading books taken from the public library. Try not to see the old gang again.

9. A single adult with a child must realize: Grow up, be mature. The child or any adult the
needs attention and care. The child is offspring; you are not a child. Rules of being single no longer apply. The single person is first an adult. The most important person in life is the child – not the single socialite, and not the pretty person who is offering attention to the single parent. There are no good reasons for ignoring a neglected child.

10. Human thought puts too much emphasis on experience, and not enough on the imagination: identifying an activity, playing through the actions, consider the consequences. The thinking is much better than the reality: Do a stupid, wanton, wasteful act will forever change lives including your own, and your life will be gone.

11. Being a parent means you must also carry the responsibilities of being an adult. But being an adult, does not mean one is capable of being an parent.

12. A teenager of a small town who is going to college, in a larger town should reflect. Where you are going is much more exciting than anything in the hometown. It is not time to paint the hometown red. Too much can happen which usually does, involving crime, injury and death. Instead, rest and read so you can paint the college town red.

13. In America today are large subcultures, devoid of or producing their own morals and
ethics and inflected with with addictions. Citizens live on the edge or off the grid
because they are incapable of joining society in any way.

14. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Right? There are towns and neighborhoods,
elsewhere, where the Vegas rule also pays out. One such place is the Haight-Ashbury in
San Francisco. There are also yoga communities along the coast of Southern California;
and there’s the spiritual community of Sedona Arizona.

15. Marriage. If you are on drugs, or your marital partner is on drugs, do not marry. If you are on drugs, and the potential spouse is not, neither person knows the other. If both persons are on drugs, neither person has a chance to know the other.
When writing about marriage, any author should mention drug usage when writing a story – crime, romance, family.

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DON TRUMP ZERO

In an ill-conceived, poorly written op-ed piece, David Gelernter failed to get points across while trying to key on four issues. His trivality is titled, The Conservative Resistance is Futile, July 6 2017, and once again The Wall Street Journal has tossed a jumble of words onto its editorial page whilst asking readers to make sense of them.

What does Gelernter mean by culture? Good writing where sentences logically support one another and complete paragraphs is not present. Instead, he gives snippets, stuff that is populated from the Internet; his ideas are cluttered, the writing is cliched.

The biggest glob blocking Gelernter’s argument is Don Trump. He is anathema to the American people. He goes far beyond vulgar; he is rude and offensive so no right-minded American would invite Don Trump into his house, especially if females were present. Americans who like Don may learn that wives are cows, this opinion expressed by a guy having two scoops of ice cream bankrupting the country by adding calories to the national debt. Being fat and boisterous is not part of American culture.

An American cultural phenomenon prizes that which is said with humor, fun and understatement which is more penetrating and longer lasting than ideas presented in anger, hate and spite. Gelernter’s world is perverse; he believes Trump’s unAmerican ways preferable. Therefrom it’s easy to determine that Trump and Gekernter have no sense of humor. They’re from New York City. There’s no humor there. Don Trump seems to relish hate. New York City may need a public relations campaign to rid hate from the fabric of its existence.

Trump is a business guy who promised competence from Day One. Nope! Republicans have been hard at work on a Health Care Replacement bill, although the party had met and discussed the issues for six years. They have no idea what they are doing. Remaining permanently stupido, Don Trump has criticized Congress many times rather than attempt accommodations and facilitate the passage of new legislation. Compromise is not part of Don Trump’s universe. However, there are many deals he has to make with the Russians who don’t care if Don Trump hates.

The Republicans will eliminate any move to reform taxes and the tax code, yet they will try to give the rich more tax breaks. It is a formula to enlarge the public debt as much as President Obama did. The wealthy need more cash to support their greed. The Republicans should take heed. The last year of low taxes will be 2020. In 2021 a Democratic Congress and Executive will double taxes on the rich.

Should the Republicans resist Don Trump and his self-serving tax policies free-loading on the public treasury? One of 100 tweets from Don Trump makes sense. The remainder are evidence of a weak wandering mind incapable of logical thoughts and full of errant items of hate. That’s why Don Trump sticks to twitter, a form of speech and culture. Twitter Corporation may not be profitable and will fail, but it will be Don Trump’s cultural contribution to America. But the country has changed. Americans once believed what was good for General Motors was good for the country. No one believes today, what is good for Don Trump is good for any citizen of the United States of America and secondly, good for any human being on earth.

What sort of culture should Conservatives adopt? They apparently like the same music liberals do. Don Trump had difficulty hiring artists to perform at inauguration balls. Do Conservatives favor acoustical instruments over electronic instruments? Do they like partner dancing, or the free-lance stuff where you might see your date in the next county – Don Trump in search of his date might engage with four women as he goes. How about painting? Does Don Trump want a Hans Holbein version of the Duchess of Cleves, or is he like Oliver Cromwell, “paint worts and all?” It is likely any painting will liposuction off 150 pounds; Conservatives and Don Trump are vane. They know history never gets in the way: Everyone looks at Holbein’s painting today and considers Anne of Cleves a fair looking woman.

So what’s happened to Conservative versus Don Trump versus the Liberals? Don Trump figures he can make statements by portraying himself in tough guy situations, in cartoons. Like the good fat Kraut he is, Trump is a fighter pilot [too obese to be a pilot] shooting at a civilian airliner destroying CNN. In another he sucker-punches a figure representing CNN. During World War Two the German Army was manly when attacking women, children, old men and civilians, but they turned tail when facing British, Russian, American soldiers and others from freedom-loving nations. This fat Kraut should remember these historical facts.

So while Gelernter and others are admiring and on their prayer rugs hoping for the best, they are on their own. The American people will not be intimidated.

POLITE DISCOURSE

Everyone wants polite social discourse especially after the Republican congressman was shot. But it’s hard to leave the old ways: In the government sandbox be rude, be offensive and pee but use no plumbing. I’m sure Don Trump got solace from that good Christian woman, defending him and blessing his actions. I bet, though, when Sarah Huckabee is at home, if her kids are as rude and offensive as is the President, she whips them. [Spare the rod, spoil the child is the Proverb modified from 13:24.] In this matter spanking anyone would produce adverse results. The guy’s been spanked before.

DISGUSTING FUTURES

I’ve seen two movies, both set in New York City. In each there is no character worth liking; there is no one to root for. Keanu Reeves is in Exposed; Adam Rodriquez is in A Kiss of Chaos.

The stories like the setting, the underside of New York City, are grimy, tough, rude, vulgar and bleak. In A Kiss a character says to another: “The cops are coming.” RESPONSE: “The cops don’t come here.” Without knowing anything else viewers agree. The dialogue reflects elementary educations, perhaps to sixth grade after most kids know the swear words, cliches and conventional comments which are meaningless. Someone offered to teach a woman class; he spoke quietly, like he had an eighth grade education.

In Exposed Reeves investigates his partner’s murder. He learns along the way, that his partner has been committing felonies. A Kiss is about a cocaine deal that goes wrong – the buyer ends up with drugs and the cash. How do they get it back?

These low, miserable, youthful tales have identifiable characters, none that a family would want delivered to a family member who is in the state prison. Each movie has a premise which is resolved; each is filled with sociological terrors. The human imagination runs wide and strong, but I have no reason to doubt that these films and stories reflect large doses of reality. They are existing facts and circumstances which will arrive in the future.

Finally, I must commend Mr. Reeves and Mr. Rodriquez for acting and being in these stories. They are not fantasy; they are not concocted love; they are not super-hero stuff; they are not monster versus mankind, or the earth; there are no car races or car chases. These movies seem real, although the movies suggest the true facts should never be put into a police report.

MEGYN KELLY SHOW

Brenda Starr has returned. She’s covering the big issues of the day.

One issue is demystifying self-proclaimed truths repeated by people who are mentally ill. In Megyn’s recent interview of Alex Jones, he claimed that the Sandy Hook shooting was perpetrated in conspiratorial fashion in part, by the parents of the victims.

A program with such headlines and ramifications would be definitive, if the sources were identified and verified, like once-upon-a-time happened in the newspaper world. It was Ronald Reagan who advanced the standard: Verify and trust. Americans have to learn whether Brenda Starr ignores all that and goes for the exclusive.

For himself, Alex Jones said he “looked at all the angles of Newtown.” What was the view from one hundred eighty-three degrees? Jones also asserts, “Thirty years ago they began creating animal-human hybrids.” Do you think it’s true? I’ve heard countless women describe Don Trump as a Neanderthal.

Perhaps Alex Jones cannot help himself. He is photographed wearing a tin-foil hat. He looks sad, a pouty face like a kid at a birthday party who didn’t get a piece of the cake. I notice, though, in another photograph while he’s talking, he looks like he has eaten the whole damn cake.

Reactions of the Sandy Hook parents are predictable and justified. If Jones gets to spit out his conspiracy theories and Brenda Starr only argues with him, the parents have a mighty point. If Jones is one of 300 such people spewing these theories, is Jones the most representative spokesman? Why? Ask him to distinguish facts which make his presentation better. Ask about his experience and depth of knowledge. Ask, ask, ask. Most of those people do not have the background to answer. What they know are the cliches and catch phrases known by their audience and followers.

Brenda Starr is correct about one thing: The more that is known about these people – how they collect their facts, conceive their opinions, rely on biases and prejudices, believe intuitions, chose the correct or inflammatory word, and depend upon instinct – the better for the American people. The American people should judge the TV program based upon reason, logic and common sense, as well as common decency.

And Brenda Starr, herself, should strive for a newsworthy program, not one that is entertaining: A “riveting exchange,” she is quoted.

TRUTH vs. DON TRUMP

Comey arrives at the White House. His boss, Jeff Sessions, Attorney General of the United States is there with Vice President, Mike Pense. Pense and the Attorney General leave. Comey is stuck talking with President Don Trump.

Don Trump talks. His son says when his father talks he is direct. His message is never confused. He never uses innuendo or metaphors to convey a message. Don Trump said, Suppress all investigations involving G.G.F. (Good-Guy Flynn) and my B.F.F., the Russians.

Comey went home and wrote notes about that conversation with President Don Trump, a talk he should not have been forced into. He wrote nothing that was privileged or secret. Remember any American can have an Oval Office conversation with Don Trump, go home and write it down. That writing is not confidential or secret.

Comey did something else when he wrote the conversation. The facts, ideas and proposed actions seemed to support inferences or elements of criminal activity which by his prior knowledge involves Comey in the plot. Comey was being asked to join the conspiracy. Don Trump was being subtle for once. Comey’s after meeting writing is a means to recount what was said.

Viewing the writing in light of post meeting statements from Don Trump and his minions, Comey handed it to a Third Party. His death or absence would preserve his version of the meeting. That transfer is evidence of Comey’s unwillingness to act in unison with Don Trump and his minions. Comey did not want to be part of any conspiracy.

Production and publication of the writing will end with legislative and legal scrutiny. Comey has an early date whereby he did not want to join the conspiracy. If only New York prosecutors had similar tapes and writings of conversations, they would have taken down all thugs, racketeers and mobsters long before Rudy Giuliani did.

If everything Comes said was a lie, Don Trump must prove it by producing his tape recordings today. If there are no productions of tape recordings, or if there are no tapes, Don Trump is the liar.

WINCHELL

Neal Gabler

Winchell was an entertainer, and primarily uninteresting. During the 1920s he came up in the newspaper world (columnist) and made most of his money and notoriety (not fame) in radio. Winchell never had the substance, education and discipline of an Edward R. Murrow or a William L. Shirer.

What Winchell had was gossip, “making smart chat,” initially about persons involved in Broadway plays and shows extending to Hollywood, New York City, crime, and into politics. A fact is found this biography telling about Winchell’s wife, June:
“She read novels, saw movies, listened to records and radio
programs for Walter and delivered her opinions, which then
became his opinions.” (p. 357)
Apparently Winchell great observer, critic and commentator did none of those things. He collected and organized gossip, having a string of runners whom he usually did not pay. Much of the slang he developed and used then does not live today.

Winchell had no background for what he was doing. He was an empty suit. At the end of his life he wrote an overlong autobiography (in manuscript) pulling no punches, punching down, kicking shins and elsewhere else. It is hinted, though, that therein Winchell told the truth.

The author quotes a member of the Smart Set: “If all the Armenians were to be killed tomorrow” that would help establish the decade’s tenor, “and if half of Russia were to starve to death the day after, it would not matter in the least. What concerns me alone is myself and the interest of a few close friends. For all I care the rest of the world may go to hell at today’s sunset.”(p. 47) This book tells the relationships and activities of Walter Winchell and a few close associates and colleagues who lived in New York City and Washington D.C.

At the end of life Winchell was defeated and bitter. His family’s life had collapsed: A daughter had died when young; his wife (somewhat estranged) saw him a week or two a year; she died before him. A daughter with grandkids was unhappy and not productive. A son had committed suicide. For the final fifteen (15) years of life (60-75 years) his health was no good. All the while his professional career of gossip was disappearing. His was a name many knew, but he was from a profession and a time that no longer existed. He was a hanger-on, has-been, once-was.

From gossip around New York City in the 1920s, Winchell moved toward circles in Washington D.C. New York City might tolerate the fluff, insults and revelations. Almost everyone would not hold grudges. However, Winchell held grudges for years or decades to the point of being vile and evil. I had to rethink Ed. Sullivan who adamantly opposed Winchell for a quarter century. Sullivan was not intimidated. Unlike the person most Americans remember, Sullivan was very athletic when young. Winchell did not want to tangle with him.

The Washington D.C. world pegged Winchell, and held him to his words. He was initially anti-Nazi and against racial discrimination. He was on “the New Deal” team and opposed to conservative forces in the Democratic Party. He was B.F. F. with J. Eager Hoover – died two months apart in 1972.

Those persons and organizations presented forces and influences on Winchell that he could not handle and did not have the ability to dismiss. Personally, he was a raving lunatic when it came to his column; He mostly had the blessings of his sponsors of his radio broadcasters, but not his employers. Everyone liked the expanse of exposure and advertising Winchell provided, but there were no controls, no discipline, no education and no restraints on Walter Winchell. He was a master and manipulator of his world, gossip.

His failure to recognize and abide by limits, to observe times were achanging, and to be introspective brought failure. Josephine Baker entertained in New York City and dined at the Stork Club, owned by a good Oklahoma friend of Winchell. The unstated policy at the Club was no riffraff and no minorities; the place was for white snobs only. In the early 1950s Winchell was in the restaurant when Baker and her guests were served drinks but left for a movie premiere. Baker later was not served the dinner she ordered. Everyone wondered what Winchell thought. He did not explain the facts as he knew them and next say he was awaiting the results of the Civil Rights investigation. Instead, Winchell treated the incident like it was part of his column, an item of gossip where he did not have to take responsibility for missing or added facts. He tried to protect the Oklahoma friend and the Stork Club, although he disagreed with the policy. As the sides hardened, Winchell attacked Baker for several years. It is wrong to say Winchell was a racist, but it is right to say he was an idiot bordering on imbecility.

Winchell was anti-Communist, and once again he got caught up on the extremes of Washington D.C. and a national issue. Winchell backed Joe McCarthy and Roy Cohn (whom he introduced to the Senator). The grand finale which Winchell did not perceive coming or realized while it happened on television, was followed by Winchell trying to protect McCarthy and slamming organizations and individuals as communist-oriented, leaning left and pink. In the 1960s Winchell still called John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy communists.

Would anyone ever believe Walter Winchell could be so uneducated, ignorant and thick? He never understood, When the horse is dead, get off. He had to opportunity (like Ed Sullivan) to make the transition to Television, but did not fully understand the medium. [This thinking came from a guy who was in vaudeville for a dozen years and never forgot stage work.] Apparently, his life was so perfect – none of it was – that he was incapable of change. A New York celebrity dined with Winchell at the Stork Club, and opined in his diary, “Winchell was a bore, a vanity of all vanities.”(p. 257) Late in life he got a press pass and observed the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention street riots. Like most reporters Winchell did not and could not know the full story, but he chose anyway.

The strength of this biography tells the life and times of the man, how he fit in and his methods of surviving. The surprising fact is that Winchell did not change. In the end he sought television exposure, a further failure of business opportunities accompanying bad health and a disintegrating family. The times of Walter Winchell are not as complete as they can be because primary sources are likely not yet opened or available.

If the biography has problems they are absence by inference. Winchell’s shortcomings. It is a New York City behavior revisited on the American people every week now. He was usually nonsensical and unmeritorious on the attack, always blundering through trivia; the points made were off-point, scattered and offensive. That was Winchell’s doing in his column and on the radio. And now Americans have to hear that sort of tripe, petty, crybaby stuff everyday.

Winchell was not a celebrity. He received no respect and no love during his lifetime and afterward. He did not deserve it. Winchell preyed upon people’s fears until the last decades of life when opponents began beating Winchell up with their words. Winchell was notorious, an outlaw to entertainment and to society, one of the sorts of figures today who get arrested before a concert tour as part of a publicity campaign.

A final point: The Burt Lancaster movie, Sweet Smell of Success, (1957) was representative of Winchell’s career and life. Winchell was the target. It is an ugly, dark movie and a classic. But His Girl Friday is also about Winchell. Gary Grant, editor, plays Winchell. The character and the target share a first name, Walter.

IF BY SEA

By George C. Daughan

This book tells of sea and lake battles and other activities of the United States Navy through 1815. The best chapters are of navel efforts during the American Revolutionary War. The author mentions but lacks detail about the ships and the weaponry: American ships were better constructed, why? They carried more cannons, and had better cannons than the British, French or Spanish. He also mentioned that the American sailor was well treated, although that policy did not last. (See Two Years Before the Mast)

The book is woefully short when it enters the fields of finance and politics. The author’s reading of sources after 1789 is painfully incomplete. The United States had a huge debt which all the country wanted to pay or remove; Hamilton’s initial effort to make all debt obligations of the federal govcrnment – like what happened after 2008 – failed. The Great Compromise of 1790 is partially relayed.

The author overlooks Hamilton’s close relationship with a British espionage agent, Colonel Beckwith. He laments that Madison and Jefferson (Republicans) wanted to set and follow Constitutional rules and procedures. In 1795 Hamilton arranged for John Jay to negotiate the Jay Treaty (about trade) with Britain, yet Hamilton later called Jay “an old woman” for delivering such a lame treaty. The author also seems to approve of the Alien and Sedition Acts, despite the direct conflict with the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Much of what John Adams did as President is approved, although he was away from the seat of government for two years. Adams began building frigates, yet when war came 15 years later, those ships were bottled up in harbors or defeated on the seas, just as the Republicans said would happen during any war with the British. Adams did successfully negotiate a peace treaty with the French (1800).

In the meanwhile throughout Adam’s administration, Hamilton was a war monger. He wanted to lead American forces to remove French and Spanish rule from North America with British backing. No American wanted that: Too much debt; too much military and war; too British – no American wanted the British close to American borders. Americans did not want to resume a political relationship with the British. Hamilton failed in his military ventures by 1800, and later that year he accused Adams of incompetence. [ Note that Aaron Burr took the plans of his good friend, Hamilton, and tried to make them work. He was accused of treason and put on trial, 1807.]

The Republicans willingness to favor peace and not increase the Navy or to finance campaigns left the waters calm. Diplomacy worked during the peace. The United States seemed a pacific nation. Napolean likely believed he would sell Louisiana to America and in the future reconquer it. For the price of the military budget for less than 20 years, the Republicans bought Louisiana and doubled the size of the country. The author of If By Sea pooh-poohs this second greatest accomplishment by American diplomats. Even Hamilton approved, and American finances did withstand the increase of debt.

The author is entirely correct that the Embargo of 1807 was ineffective and likely the wrong policy. As happens embargos were used and threatened (1794), and they were widely and popularly supported before and during the American Revolution. (see histories by T.H. Breen) There is no mention of this historical context in If By Sea, and the applicability of the policy, earlier, and other effects later.

A primary fact which allowed Americans to prevail on America’s lakes during the War of 1812 was the British blockade. American shipping was at a standstill; no ships in, or out. Sailors went to the lakes. On the other hand the British were far from the ocean up a river frozen for half the year. They did not their Navy ships and sailors trapped, so the British were using trappers, farmers and fur traders as sailors. If the war had lasted into 1815, the British would have had a difficult time on the lakes.

13 WAYS OF LOOKING AT THE NOVEL

JANE SMILEY

I read this book because the title suggests the text tells about writing novels. I read the introduction and learned that the author was writing a novel, Good Faith. About 270 pages were finished; another 125 needed writing. The print size in that novel is small. The author was going to put down loads of words. From what I gather Good Faith is a novel describing business transactions.

I go to many library book sales, and on the last day, the sellers offer books for a dollar a bag: 3 or 4 cents a piece. Many of those books were best sellers two (2) years ago. Some of this author’s books were on the tables. I asked a seller at one of the sales and she said, “We sell what remains to a recycler who pulps them. We get four cents a pound.”

I question the author’s assertion on page 22 of 13 Ways:

“Don’t like the author? Throw the book away. Think this obscure book is better
than that famous one? State you opinion. Disagree with the very respected
author? You may, because the book is in your hands, in your power, which
make you the author’s equal. But the book itself you cannot destroy.”

I believe that authors who are novelists want to write and publish, because they want the text and the product (the book) to survive longer than a few years. Admittedly, there are authors who generate piles of pages of no distinction, destined for a library book sale table. But those authors have a paycheck. Pay no more than five cents for their books.

It should also be noted that non-fiction authors, writing on the same subjects as novelists, write in clearer language about complicated situations. With efficient writing they are understandable. Those books (e.g. Michael Lewis) are rarely found at library sales, and never do they lie around for the bag sale.

Books by those authors are the competition novelists must fact today. The only reasons to avoid non-fiction and entertain fiction are (1) to avoid a libel suit; and (2) if the author knows the setting and events but needs characters to bring the story alive, make up the characters and it’s a novel.

Smiley of 13 Ways asks whether the novel is art. Supposedly, it was once considered not art, but the medium makes it art: Communication by one person of people, events and dialogue. The finished product is a representation of its contents and the relationships made therein. It is the like representations found in paintings, sculpture and music.

No particular use of language is required. A major point of Huckleberry Finn was Mark Twain purportedly write the dialogue in dialect. The grammar is of the frontier. The words are simple as Twain said himself: “At a dime a word I never use metropolis when I can use city.” Obscenities come from anywhere: Royal Nonesuch.

The author of 13 Ways prefers other writers who sanitize their stories and settings: Edith Wharton, Henry James. Certainly there are dilemmas and crises in those works, but no one can classify any of those situations existential. Certainly, Virginia Woolf, a favorite of the author of 13 Ways. is out there. Her brain activity was an active mix of motion and communication, the wandering around in a common demented state after she writes a topic sentence. In the end that unsteady, unstable mood became the goal of her life.

The Novels and History chapter glides over obvious, salient and important points and books. Novels represent their times: Uncle Tom’s Cabin. But Melville was writing about the United States of America in Moby Dick, the consummate power of hate. He was writing about the American Civil War, coming a decade later. There are a few clues. At the end the ship is broken up, the “wood was American.” Hemingway is not mentioned in 13 Ways, but I’ve never heard anyone say x, y or z in For Whom the Bells Toll is phony. Willa Cather also is not mentioned in 13 Ways, but when the local boy dies in the World War, Cather grabs the reader’s emotion for all eternity. The author of 13 Ways includes F.Scott Fitzgerald and The Great Gatsby in her list of 100 novels. She says it is not a masterpiece; she generously notes only a few flaws. She should tell the truth. The Great Gatsby was submitted as a draft and never finished (including many sentences) by a drunk. It is not worth reading.

Also not discussed in the History chapter is Sir Walter Scott, an author referred to in the text and the 100 novels. Mark Twain said that Sir Walter was the cause of the American Civil War. Twain was referring to the feudal society Southerners had constructed which included jousts, armor and sword competitions. American historians (Clement Eaton) have looked at Twain’s observations. They understand the influence of Sir Walter on the South, but they are not willing to put all the blame on the English author.

Finally, I infer that 13 Ways raises a point but the author does not want to discuss it. Compare and contrast Virginia Woolf to F. Scott Fitzgerald. Did Virginia do drugs? Illness and disability beset both writers. But today we celebrate neither writer as disabled or handicapped.

Oversights in 13 Ways include a passage beginning on page 235. Contrary advice is better: A writer who has completed a first draft should go through the manuscript and correct spelling, run-on sentences, grammar and everything else that distracts the eye or interferes with ingesting the content. Once those corrections are made, it may be easier to determine how to fix or fill the text for an improved second draft.

Also, Mark Twain had a story about marriage (contra, 164), The Diary of Adam, The Diary of Eve. Adam notices the creature with the long hair; she names everything; contrary to his advice she talks to the snake. Also, it is a grave oversight to overlook Josef Conrad.

Any writer, new or young, who believes he must develop a style is writing wrong. The job of the young or new writer is to communicate clearly and completely. Style is variable. Set a story in Los Angeles today. Set a story in New York City. If the words in both stories are the same, the writer has failed. Style will also change with time: Tell events in three days; tell events in a week. Style differs when actions occur over a year. AND SOMETIMES, a writer cannot make determinations amounting to style until the second or third drafts.

Reviews, page 264. Authors like reviews to rely on adjectives which are malleable and meaningless. Reviews which trash the book are filled with nouns and verbs.

The author of 13 Ways should change her opinion of Huckleberry Finn. She has read the novel before, but she should obtain the 2001 Critical Edition from the University of California for the most complete text. She twice mentions Mark Twain’s novel, Huckleberry; she claims the book is boring. She relies on her 1996 piece in Harper’s magazine.

When Jane Smiley becomes more broadly read and her reading comprehension improves, she will believe Huckleberry Finn is the best novel she has ever read.

HINT: Begin with the most widely read book in the English language.
HINT, HINT: Determine what “These spiritual gifts” from chapter Three of Finn refer to.

HUCKLEBERRY FINN

I finally finished reading 13 Ways of Looking At The Novel by Jane Smiley. In it she twice mentions Mark Twain’s novel, Huckleberry Finn; she claims the book is boring  and she mentions her 1996 piece in Harper’s magazine.

When Jane Smiley becomes more broadly read and her reading comprehension improves, she will believe Huckleberry Finn is the best novel she has ever read.

HINT: Begin with the most widely read book in the English language.

HINT, HINT: Determine what “These spiritual gifts” from chapter Three of Finn refer to.

CONCEDE: Samuel Clemens has been laughing at you since you wrote your article for Harpers.