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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Still not sure why Trump won?

The reread the Michael Moore analysis of the Brexit States (Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan).

And click on his speech to hear his stunningly assessment of Trump as Molotov Cocktail.

And weigh Moore's words against the chattering classes in the major news groups, and the disbelief by many - including President Obama - that Trump will do most of what he said he planned to do if elected.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Thutmosis III in the news again!

London sphinx guarding Thutmose III obelisk

Here’s the latest news that Pharoah Tut 3 is making:

The find occurred in the context of an archaeological mission known as the "Thutmosis III temple project", which began in 2008. Referred to as the Temple of Millions of Years of Thutmosis III, the monument is dedicated to one of the most famous pharaohs of Egyptian history, who came to be known as the "Egyptian Napoleon", due to his many conquests.

The temple, located not far from the city of Luxor, had been explored in the early 20th century but not entirely. It was subsequently abandoned by archaeologists in 1938, and was covered by sand and forgotten for seventy years.

We’re very familiar with Thutmose III, because we stumbled across him while researching our novel, Obelisk Seven.

He plays an important role in our novel, as this extract about the London obelisk shows:

"There she is," Gliffy said proudly.

"Cleopatra's Needle. Made by old T3 - Pharaoh Thutmose III."

Before them stood the seventy foot tall obelisk, mounted on a granite pad thrust out from the side of the Thames Embankment, into the river itself.

Stairs ran from the top of the pad down to the river below.

Two seven-ton bronze guardian sphinxes, nineteen feet long, flanked the obelisk; each had a sphinx head on top of a muscular lion's body.

“This beauty stood for about a thousand years in the desert before it was toppled by the Persians in 500 BC,” Gliffy explained.

“And then it was buried for about five hundred years, before the Romans dug it up and moved it to Alexandria, where they raised it on the seashore. There it stood for 1300 years, before falling in an earthquake in 1300 AD. It was buried in the sand for another five hundred years, before being dug up once more and sent to London.”

“Buried twice, for a thousand years,” Nick whispered, awed.

“And now we want to ferret out its secret: does it also send out signals?” Kate said softly.
Gliffy was scanning the street.

"I think the best bet for our scanners is in the trees. The angle between the two scanners would be a bit wide, but it should work?"

Lorenzo glanced down the sidewalk and at the obelisk, mentally calculating angles, and nodded.

"It is enough."

"Good, that's what we will do, then," Gliffy decided.

He turned to Kate.

"The lesson continueth," he said with relish, hooking an arm through Kate’s and Nick’s  and starting a march to the obelisk.

"This beauty is called Cleopatra's Needle, but I think they got the wrong guy. It's got nothing to do with Cleopatra, really," he said. "Cleopatra came along a long time later. There is perhaps a connection between Cleopatra and this obelisk, right up to our times, though."

He rapped a knuckle on the stone step of the base. 

"The real person this obelisk should have been named after is Thutmose III, who had it made. When the obelisk was moved to London somebody called it Cleopatra's Needle and the name stuck to it."

He explained how Cleopatra became pharaoh of Egypt in 47 BC. Julius Caesar spent a few months in Egypt, and after he and Cleopatra became lovers a son was born - their dream was of a new empire, being the combination of Rome and Egypt.

"Talk about a grand entrance! She had to smuggle herself into his presence, so Cleopatra had herself served up to Caesar wrapped inside a carpet," Gliffy explained.

He smiled at Kate.

“If you want to hook a man, Kate, remember old Cleopatra: wrap yourself in a carpet!"

“Gliffy, sometimes you are just an ass,” she shot back, grinning to take the sting out of her words, “but sometimes you simply are an imbecile.”

“It worked, Kate. You can’t argue with success,” Nick said.

“I’m surrounded by twins,” she said, pointing at the sphinxes and then at Nick and Gliffy. 
“Two sphinxes and  two asses.”

Lorenzo started forward to greet several workmen who spilled out of a truck parked further down the road.

"You mentioned a connection between Cleopatra and this obelisk?" Nick asked. "What kind of a connection?"

Gliffy rubbed the paw of one of the sphinxes.

"The guy who moved it from Egypt named the steel container he put the obelisk in Cleopatra, but that's not the connection I meant. Some say that a curse fell upon this obelisk when Cleopatra committed suicide. Soon after she was told of the death of her lover, Mark Antony, Cleopatra believed that the emperor Octavian would take her in chains to Rome and parade her through the streets.

"She was found dead on a bed of gold, dressed in all her royal ornaments, with a small but deadly snake called an asp in her hand.

"And that was the end of the Pharaohs.

"Even today, there are more suicides near this obelisk than at any other point on the Thames River."

He flung his arms wide, hands pointing down the river's bank.

"There have been claims that strange, mocking laughter is heard near this obelisk but nobody can be seen making it."

He pointed to the base of the obelisk.

"Some people claim they have seen a naked man rush up to the obelisk, leap upon this base, and then into the water, without any splash being heard."

Kate shivered.

"It's such a beautiful thing," she protested.

Gliffy nodded in agreement.

"Sometimes beauty hides evil," he said.

Lorenzo and the workers reached the base of the obelisk.

"One last question before you start, Gliffy," Nick said. "How did this obelisk get here?"

"It was a gift," Gliffy explained. "From a rather remarkable ruler of Egypt, a fighting Albanian who fought Napoleon." 

He was delighted by the astonishment on Nick's face.

"I know! Nothing about obelisks is simple, my friend. You will learn this. Muhammad Ali was the Ottoman viceroy of Egypt from 1805 to 1849. He was of Albanian extraction, and fought in battles against Napoleon's army when it invaded Egypt.  He was appointed viceroy in 1805, and fought successfully against the British in 1807, and then in 1811 he fought off the Mamluks who tried to take over Egypt."

Lorenzo pointed at the obelisk and then at the scanners and finally at the trees, and the group moved twenty yards down the sidewalk and gazed up into a large tree.

Kate wandered over to one of the benches further along the embankment and sat on it, running her hand over the head of the buxom plump-cheeked iron sphinx which served as the end of the bench and one of its legs.

We have three separate hunts going on, she thought, caressing the head – the iron was cold to the touch.

All four were hunting for the solution to the obelisk and its signals.

She was hunting for a solution to the Bug.

Nick was hunting for a way to mobilize ordinary people to fight global warming.

She enjoyed the company of the Sin Trader, she thought, conscious of a faint warmth spreading across her face.

Might as well admit it: he was a very interesting man, totally at ease with himself and with everyone he met.

And then a flutter of panic stirred in her when she thought of those who were hunting Nick and others at the WorldHeat show.

The caucus had ended, with the workers going back to their truck and the others coming back to her.

"They'll install the scanners tomorrow," Lorenzo said. "Our job here is done; now we can go back to Nick's little jet and return to the civilized world of Venice to pick up some more scanners. I have prepared the spare bedrooms for you."

"Oops, almost forgot," Gliffy exclaimed, pulling a tabloid newspaper out of his laptop carrier. "Your Hangman has hit the press."

He handed the newspaper to Nick, folded open at a short item which told of threats being sent to Nick's show, with some signed with the figure of a hangman.

"I wonder if Interpol leaked that," Nick said thoughtfully. "Not much detail in it, is there?"

Good old King Tut 3 crops up in many more spots in our thriller, Obelisk Seven.   

Check out my website for more info:
And we hope you enjoy reading about these fascinating obelisks!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Trump: About not seeing the obvious

Intense navel-gazing for the next six months down south, as the changing of the guard takes place in Washington D.C.

But the explanation for the Trump win is not really that hard to find, as this journalist writes:

Those Rust Belt states were where he won this election.

How the Democrats were lulled into complacency about this rather obvious problem will be the enduring question of the 2016 presidential race.

Anyone who drives across a state like Pennsylvania, which I drove through on my way to the convention in Cleveland last summer, would have to notice that the formerly industrial towns along the route were ideal recruiting grounds for the Donald.

I gather the Dems thought they could overcome this by ginning up the urban vote in cities like Philadelphia. But that was always a risky strategy.

If Hillary had been able to get the urban vote, she would have been the nominee in 2008. The lukewarm enthusiasm for Clinton among minorities was another thing the media missed.

The pundits also showed they were totally out of touch with the American worker's economic plight.
 Hopefully, Trump will shift the Republican Party away from its narrow base so that it represents a wider section of America, and his stunning victory will force the Democratic Party to examine their foolish reaction to the equally stunning quest by Bernie Sanders.

And for those freaking out right now, think of this: America is a powerful nation, with strong democratic underpinnings. It will do well over the coming decades. Have faith in this nation.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Way to go, PEI!

Canadian democracy takes a giant leap forward:

A non-binding plebiscite on electoral reform in Prince Edward Island has shown voters support a switch to a form of proportional representation.

Mixed member proportional representation was the most popular option, drawing more than half of the votes after ballots were counted and redistributed five times according to the rules of preferential voting.

Islanders were given five options to chose from, including an option to keep the current first-past-the-post system. Voters were asked to rank some or all of the options on a one-to-five scale.

If no electoral system received more than half the votes, the option with the fewest votes was eliminated and those ballots redistributed to their second-choice option.

That process was repeated until one option passed the 50 per cent threshold to achieve majority support.

No let's have this happen in the other provinces and federally!


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Michael Moore gets Trump supporters

This is the canny Moore’s assessment of The Donald’s appeal to so many millions of American voters:

MICHAEL MOORE: I know a lot of people in Michigan that are planning to vote for Trump and they don't necessarily like him that much, and they don't necessarily agree with him. They're not racist or rednecks, they're actually pretty decent people, and so after talking to a number of them I wanted to write this:

'Donald Trump came to the Detroit Economic Club and stood there in front of Ford Motor executives and said, "if you close these factories as you're planning to do in Detroit and build them in Mexico, I'm going to put a 35% tariff on those cars when you send them back and nobody's going to buy them."

It was an amazing thing to see. No politician, Republican or Democrat, had ever said anything like that to these executives, and it was music to the ears of people in Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin -- the "Brexit" states.

You live here in Ohio, you know what I'm talking about. Whether Trump means it or not, is kind of irrelevant because he's saying the things to people who are hurting, and that's why every beaten-down, nameless, forgotten working stiff who used to be part of what was called the middle class loves Trump. He is the human molotov cocktail that they've been waiting for. The human hand grande that they can legally throw into the system that stole their lives from them.

And on November 8, Election Day, although they lost their jobs, although they've been foreclose on by the bank, and next came the divorce and now the wife and kids are gone, the car's been repoed, they haven't had a real vacation in years, they're stuck with the shitty Obamacare Bronze Plan where you can't even get a fucking percocet. They've essentially lost everything they had, except one thing -- the one thing that doesn't cost them a cent, and is guaranteed to them by the American constitution: the right to vote.

They might be penniless, they might be homeless, they might be fucked over and fucked up it doesn't matter, because it's equalized on that day - a millionaire has the same number of votes as the person without a job: one.

And there's more of the former middle class than there are in the millionaire class.

So on November 8, the dispossessed will walk into the voting booth, be handed a ballot, close the curtain, and take that lever or felt pen or touchscreen and put a big fucking X in the box by the name of the man who has threatened to upend and overturn the very system that has ruined their lives: Donald J. Trump.

They see that the elite who ruined their lives hate Trump. Corporate America hates Trump. Wall Street hates Trump. The career politicians hate Trump. The media hates Trump, after they loved him and created him, and now hate.

Thank you media: the enemy of my enemy is who I'm voting for on November 8.

Yes, on November 8, you Joe Blow, Steve Blow, Bob Blow, Billy Blow, all the Blows get to go and blow up the whole goddamn system because it's your right. Trump's election is going to be the biggest fuck ever recorded in human history and it will feel good.

I think Moore’s analysis is spot on.

Monday, September 19, 2016

My Influencers: A force of nature - Lawyer Charles Friedman

Straight out of law school, I had to seek articles so that I could be trained in the practice of law, write my qualifying examinations, and then be turned loose on the public as a lawyer.

The first firm I approached for articles offered me the princely salary equal to $14 a month. I had to refuse, for one because my train fare from home to the city cost more than that, and I needed money to live on.

Enter, stage left, Charles (Red Light) Friedman

The second firm I called on was the firm of Hayman Godfrey & Sanderson, which was then run by one of the most dynamic individuals I have ever met. Charles Friedman was the legal equivalent of a dervish: never stopping, never still, ever demanding, pushing himself as hard as he pushed others, utterly ruthless in demanding the very best of all who worked for ‘his’ firm, and with a view of the legal world that extended far beyond South Africa.

He had a light on his office door which he flipped to red when he was busy, and green when he was available. The windows were always shuttered, with shades drawn, to avoid any snooping on the important commercial deals that were hammered out in his office.

He had five personal assistants, who were all expert at typing out his dictation, whether from the tapes he recorded while travelling, or from notes taken in shorthand in his office. All five of them worked furiously all day, with no respite.

Once, he travelled to New York on business, and took a large suitcase full of files with him. When he landed, a dozen tapes were immediately given to typists for them to perform their miracles while he plunged into meetings.

Being summoned to his office was akin to an audience with the Pope. You made sure that you had several pens or pencils and at least two notebooks, so that you could capture all his commands without fumbling. When he finished with you, a wave of his hand would dismiss you, and he would turn to yet another of the dozen or so files that were  spread in line on the huge table in his office, waiting their turn.

He was an expert in the commercial laws of South Africa, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the USA and, of course, in Roman-Dutch law. He read law books from all these places to keep up to date with changes, and remembered everything he read.

The Dervish Dictates

Monday, September 12, 2016

Small Steps to Bigger Book Sales weekly marketing checklist for you

In my How-To book for authors, I recommend using a weekly checklist with your Team of advisors to help you continuously market your own books,

This checklist is set out below. Feel free to share it with your co-authors and friends.

The references in brackets are to the book Small Steps to Bigger Book Sales, where each engagement action in your book promotion efforts is explained in detail.

I hope this helps you market yourself (as author) and your books! Check my Amazon author site for more information on the Small Steps book:

And check the bottom of this article for details on how to get your very own Word document with the checklist, and other valuable free gifts for authors!

Weekly Engagement Checklist:

Prepare your Weekly Engagement Checklist, and discuss it with your Team, and, later on, your Clan and Ambassadors. Revise it every time you and your Team decide on new or better engagement methods.

Every week, go through the Weekly Engagement Checklist and carry out the engagement tasks (small steps) in it.

Note: Not every task will be done in each weekly check; some tasks will be done every few weeks.

For starters, your Weekly Engagement Checklist will include the following tasks (references are to the Task number and paragraph numbers under each Task in this book):

1.      Thank your Team members for their help (Task 1 para 1 or 1.1)

2.     Set the Agenda for any Team meeting using Small Steps to Bigger Book Sales (1.5)

3.     Test with your Team the promotion messages to be sent out this week (1.6)

4.     Consider revising or adding to your Editorial Content Plan (1.7)

5.     Make any changes to the composition of your Team that are needed (1.8)

6.     Check whether any Brand Touches to be made this week are consistent with your Author Brand (2.3)

7.     Consider using free samples and free ebooks for your Target Readers (3.4)

8.     Consider changing the features of Rebecca Random (3.10)

9.     Ask your Target Readers for help in fleshing out your Target Reader Personas (3.12, 3.14, 3.23(r))

10.  Check this week’s messages against your family of Personas (3.17)

11.   Do some role-playing with your Team and your Target Reader Personas (3.18)

12.  Talk to your Target Reader Personas (3.19)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Notre Dame cathedral in Paris targeted by a terrorist commando of young women

The latest development in the search in France for those aiming at killing people around the famous 850-year old Notre Dame cathedral in Paris:

Molins said the investigation has led to the dismantling of a "terrorist commando of young women" aligned with the Islamic State group. 

"In the last few days and hours, a terrorist cell was dismantled, composed of young women totally receptive to the deadly Daesh ideology," said Molins, using an Arabic acronym for the extremist group. The prosecutor contended that the women were guided in their actions by IS members in Syria, "which shows this organization intends to make women combattants." 

Police found a handwritten pledge of allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi inside the purse of Ines Madani. The note also stated that in answer to the call of the No. 2 IS leader, killed in August, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, "I attack you in your lands to mark your minds and terrorize you," Molins said in an account of the arrests. 

The probe took on a wider scope with the arrest of Sarah H. Investigators discovered she was to marry Larossi Abballa, the man who killed a police couple in June in their home in Magnanville, outside Paris, before being killed in a police raid. 

In my thriller, The Euros: Notre Dame Point Zero, the taking of hostages by a faceless, nameless group of ruthless men, leads the Euros on a race against time, to rescue the hostages and the cathedral.

In the thriller, the representative of the Archbishop of Paris (nicknamed The Historian by the Euros because of his extensive knowledge of the cathedral’s past) describes his concerns about a group of woman that one of the people now working with the Euros is linked to: a group of women known as the Mouse House, that is expert in infiltrating into public places, like Notre Dame:

“What type of negotiations?” she demanded suspiciously.

The PuzzleMaker closed the fingers of one hand and then exploded them in a poof gesture. 

“They’ve taken over Notre Dame. They’ve taken hostages. But so far we do not know what they want. So, we wait. That’s the usual dynamic in hostage situations. Now perhaps you could go with him?”

She followed Bobby One out of the room, and the PuzzleMaker turned to the Bishop.

“You don’t seem to like her very much,” he said curiously. “Any reason?”

“My face must have given me away,” the Historian replied. “She’s the gypsy I’ve heard about – the one they’re calling the Headmaster’s Gypsy?”

“Yes. Her name is Zila Glinka,” the PuzzleMaker said, rubbing a hand over his tired face. The lack of information they had about who the Bad Guys were, and what they really wanted, was more troubling than he cared to admit. They were still in the dark about so much, this far into a hostage taking.

The Historian spread his hands. 

“She and the other one – the hostage friend – they’re cataphiles, not so?” 

When the PuzzleMaker nodded, he went on. 

“I don’t like Tunnel Rats. They oppose the Church, and government, authority. They believe in Reason, and not in God. We’ve heard that before, during the Revolution – the cathedral was dedicated to the Goddess of Reason then and not to God. And they break rules, and love disorder ...”

“Surely not all of them?” the PuzzleMaker interjected. What was it the Headmaster had said about her? She inhabited the other Paris, the mirror image Paris that lay under the sprawling city. “Bobby One told me that one group restored an old clock in the Pantheon? They spent a lot of time doing that, and did a good job, he said; then they just left it there. They liked restoring damaged parts of Paris that the city authorities ignore or overlook?”

“That’s true,” the Bishop said. “That was the old Wagner clock in the Pantheon. It was done by the Urban eXperiment group, who call themselves the UX. They’re part of a bigger group known as the Mexicans. UX had a clockmaker in charge of the rescue operation, Jean-Baptiste Viot, and when they were finished they told the authorities so that the clock could be wound up properly. The police formed a special group to track down the UX down, and they even laid charges against some of the UX members who fixed the Wagner. The judge threw out the charges after twenty minutes.”

“Then why are you opposed to them?” the PuzzleMaker asked curiously. 

The Historian had grown on The Euros: his enthusiastic fitting out of a comprehensive data room, and carefully chosen words to fit the vast information he possessed about Notre Dame into the actionable information that Juliette had told him they needed, had endeared him to them. 

His lack of regard for the Tunnel Rats was a bit puzzling.

The Historian steepled his fingers and tapped his index fingers together; the PuzzleMaker recognized this as a sign that he was concerned about something.

“They’re notorious for how far they go in their underground wanderings, and how many famous buildings they can break into,” he began. “I’m told that the UX are very well prepared. They somehow found plans of the underground tunnels and quarries. The UX have an intimate knowledge of hundreds of miles of electricity and water tunnels, catacombs, subways, quarries, subways and sewers.” 

His raised fingers darted left and right to illustrate how wide the UX knowledge extended. 

“They have a women’s team – they call it the Mouse House - that is expert at infiltrating places. Another team runs their database of information about the underground, and another team arranges shows. There’s a team that takes care of their communications network, another to take photographs, and one to do restorations. You join them if they invite you; that’s the only way you get in.”

“And it’s their access to public places that disturbs you?” 

The Bishop nodded.

Some more of my random posts for you: