Tales of the Time Scouts is time travel story with a great premise. It is also the first of a series of four books.

Due to a scientific accident, time gates have developed all over the world. People walking through these gates end up in different places at different times. The stable gates reappear at predictable intervals, sort of like the Old Faithful geyser. But the intervals are not initially obvious, and the destinations of gates must be explored. To make it worse, gates sometimes are unstable. Walking  through an unstable gate can, of course, be fatal, or fateful. It could be a one-way ticket and you could  be stuck in a dinosaur world with nothing but your pocket knife.

Time Scouts are individuals whose job it is to explore the gates, and document their specifics. A stable gate can then be used for research, trade, and time tourism. It’s possible, with the help of Time Guides, to visit ancient Rome, for instance.

The time portals are like transit stations, you can think of them as train stations or airports, except the departures are going into times, not places.

I have serious issues with the credibility of the main characters. One is Kit Carson, the most famous time scout of all, who is now retired, working as a hotel keeper at Time Terminal 86. From the description and behavior, I have formed a picture of Sam Elliott in my mind for Kit Carson. Margo, a girl barely 18 years old, desperately wants to be the world’s first female time scout. Females have never been used as time scouts, because in almost all societies in the past, in almost all eras, females were at best second-class citizens, and often abused, enslaved and worse. It’s not considered healthy for a female to show up in ancient Egypt, for instance, come up with a credible story and actually survive to return when the gate opens again.

For that reason, nobody is willing to train Margo. Everyone thinks it’s a suicide mission. She vehemently insists on fulfilling this goal. However, she constantly does stupid stuff. When she has to work at learning self-defense, she mopes.  When math is involved, she complains. When book learning comes up, she rebels.  Her behavior just makes no sense. If she were really dedicated to success, after she convinced the most renowned person in the business to train her, why would she keep bickering and sabotaging her own training?

Her juvenile behavior and her inconsistent character traits make for a jarring story line. I found myself constantly annoyed by Margo’s immaturity and stupidity, to the point where I lost interest.

Why the authors chose a hot-looking 18-year-old girl as protagonist for this story I do not understand. The story, the premise, is very promising and thought-provoking. Margo’s character destroys it.

I gave up at about 15% into the book. Perhaps Margo’s role gets better as the story goes on, I’ll never know, and I won’t be reading the sequels.

Not star-rated because I didn’t finish reading the book.


I never use marijuana. I have “touched” it about 10 times in my life, mostly some 40 years ago, and just never got interested in it. So having it legal or not will not impact my life in any way whatsoever. However, I have always thought it insane that we are incarcerating millions of people for use or possession of a “drug” that so universal that pretty much everyone has used it at some time, and many are using it on an ongoing basis. By having this law enforced the way it is, we are actually creating crime, and criminals. If it were legal, that whole underground prohibition industry would go away. I’d free all marijuana related prisoners at once. The savings would be enormous.

The blog post below does a good job outlining the reasons. Obviously, the lobby against 64 seems to have to resort to untruths to make its point.

I am not buying it.

The Honking Goose

These are my thoughts and reactions concerning the pro-cannabis but no on 64 campaign:

Every single No on 64 infographic that I’ve seen shared on FB has contained false information about this bill. And I just think… If there is a good reason to be against it, why aren’t the facts good enough? Why is the No on 64 campaign using lies to mislead people who are pro-marijuana to vote against their own self interest? And I heard repeatedly from that camp “read the bill”. So I read all 62 pages. It was exhausting; it was the only time I’ve ever read the whole text of a bill before voting on it. (But it won’t be the last.) And then when I had read it, I came away thinking this is a GREAT bill; this is going to do SO much good for California, for social justice. I want that…

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Chelsea and Tyler did a marvelous job with a photo essay of their wedding in July 2016.

Here is the link.

Because I want my president to have respect for the decorum and institution of the presidency and the peaceful transition of power in the United States.

Trump’s refusal to accept the election process in the United States, something that has served us well for 240 years, is abominable – or maybe deplorable.


We as a nation keep harping on patriotism. We are upset when a football player does not stand for the national anthem, because he does not respect the moment and the institution of the national anthem and what it represents.

But we allow this dick to laugh off all our traditions, as well as the decorum of the presidency, and it does not seem to faze us?

If there are Trump followers that are not turned off by this, they must stop complaining about the patriotism of anyone else, including Kaepernick. Because it shows disregard for all that patriotism means in our country.

I want my president to have respect for the institution of the office and all it represents, and Trump proves every day over again that he does not. All he has respect for is his own outsized ego.

Because he does not know what he is talking about.

He keeps saying things like:

“Nobody respects women more than I do.”

“I am the least racist person you’ve ever met.”

“I am the only one who can fix this.”

How does he know?

How does he know, for example, how much I respect women? He doesn’t. He makes empty statements for effect. That’s not facts. That’s drivel.

He doesn’t know what he is talking about.

Here is why Trump repeatedly calls Obama the worst president of all time, or a “political hack.” A priceless background story.

For Trump, this appears to be all about power, getting revenge against anyone who has ever opposed him.

I want a president who thinks the country is bigger than he.

Trump thinks he is bigger (and more important) than the country.

During the last debate he put the finishing nail in his own coffin when didn’t clearly state that we would concede the election if he lost. The simple, winning answer would have been:


But he didn’t say that. He equivocated.

Trump cannot lose. If something does not go right, he finds excuses. It’s always somebody else’s fault. If he actually loses the election, it must be because the election his rigged. He cannot imagine that there are more people against him than there are for him. So he sets himself up for the perfect excuse: I didn’t lose, the system is rigged and I was cheated.

Just wait.

About the Emails

I am so, so, so tired of Clinton’s emails.

Trump stated tonight that Clinton has no right to run for the presidency “because of what she did with emails and other things.”

Because of what she did with emails?


I know a thing or two about emails. I am a software developer and I had several email accounts years before most people in the world had ever heard the words “dot com.” Our company has run, maintained and hosted our own email servers since the beginning of its existence before 1995. I give email etiquette and security lectures to our staff on a periodic basis to remind them, mostly, that email is not secure.

And the essence of this lesson is always this:

Before you hit SEND on an email, read it one more time, and consider what you would feel like if that email were published tomorrow on the cover on the New York Times. If you’d feel fine about that, go send the email. Otherwise, erase it right now.

Anything you send via email, whether that is the text of the email itself, or an attachment, is publicly accessible. Anyone who wants to can see it, with the right skills and tools. Yes, for the most part, our emails are benign. Go ahead and check out the five photographs from Thanksgiving I am sending to my mother.

But make no mistake about it – anyone with the right tools and skills can capture your email and do anything they want to do with it, including saving it, printing it, sending it on to a thousand people, posting it on a web site (Wikileaks), and of course, if the pictures are sensitive (Anthony Weiner) post them on a porn site.

Then there is backup.

Every information technology administrator (IT guy) worth his money will back up the email server in case it crashes, dies or some other bad thing happens. Those backup files get stored offline in the cloud, or, as it was in years and decades past, on other machines, or disks and tapes that then get stored offsite in bank vaults for security.

So – when you send a naked picture of yourself to your honey – because you are so inclined, that naked picture ends up in your honey’s inbox where it hopefully stays, rather than getting posted on a porn site. But that picture could also be skimmed off your email and posted in the New York Times tomorrow by a hacker. But worse, since it’s likely going through your SENT box, there is a copy of it there. Your server backup processes copied it on tape and the IT guy has taken that tape the bank for offsite storage, or the computer has shipped it off to Amazon for cloud storage. The point is, once you hit SEND, many copies of your naked picture are in all kinds of places that you no longer have any control over.

If you have ever been subpoenaed for certain email, and you needed your IT guy’s help to retrieve and print out those emails, you will know that there are more emails in your woodwork than you could possibly read and check, and they fill up boxes and boxes very quickly. Good luck to the hapless law clerk that has to sift through them, and congratulations to the lawyer that charges you $375 per hour to read them all.

Did I say email is not secure? Perhaps you understand better now why I said that.

Now on to Trump and Clinton.

I believe Clinton was incredibly naïve, even stupid, to maintain an email server in her house. She received very, very poor advice by whoever recommended that. Notwithstanding that her predecessors, all Republican, did the same thing, it was still very ill-advised and un-informed. And whatever she was trying to achieve with that – what that was is beyond me – she did not achieve. An email server is no more secure in your house in your basement than it is anywhere else. Yes, it was probably not very secure there, and the State Department’s data center would have been a better place. Clinton knows this now. I am sure she is beating her had against the wall every day that she actually did such a stupid thing in the first place, back in the day. Unfortunately, Clinton never attended and of my email etiquette and security briefings, because if she had she would have known better.

But stupid as it was, it’s not criminal, and Trump is silly for raising it as “what bad, bad thing she did with her emails.”

Look – let’s just say Clinton didn’t have her email server in her house, but she properly used the State Department’s email system. Ok, it might have been a LITTLE harder for a hacker to get to it. But any email that she was sending was still traveling over the open Internet and it was exposed. Just remember the naked picture example I gave above.

So the problem is NOT whether Clinton had classified documents in her email in the server in her house, but whether she EVER send classified documents via email, whether that be through a server in her house or the State Department. No matter where the server sits, once the document leaves via the SEND button, it’s out there. Naked pictures everywhere.

Of course, there is such a thing as secure email. Banks and other organizations use it to send sensitive and classified information over the Internet. Those systems use encryption to protect the data. But those systems are cumbersome to use, slow, and inefficient. Not what you want to use to send pictures of Thanksgiving to your mother. She could never figure out how to open them.

So the question I have: Does Trump even understand that? It does not sound like it. Because if he did, he’d know, that just about every public servant from the lowest to the highest level is guilty as charged. People send sensitive information over email all the time without thinking about it. I am sure Trump has.

After this, I think it’s time I gave our staff another email etiquette and security briefing.

Just in case.

Because he is very confused. To illustrate: when he said he wanted to replace Obamacare, he said this:

We have to come up, and we can come up with many different plans. In fact, plans you don’t even know about will be devised because we’re going to come up with plans – healthcare plans – that will be so good.


No Shoes and No Fire


We were looking for a fun place to rent a house up north for Thanksgiving. We found a candidate on Airbnb in Sonoma. It had huge trees outside. It looked great from a distance.

Then we saw the rules:

— No shoes in the house

— No fires in the fireplace

Who wants a cabin in the woods with no shoes and no fire?

Continue looking.

Because I want my president to respect our soldiers. He always says “nobody respects our soldiers more than I do” but he does not look like he means it.

This is what Trump said on Howard Stern in 1993, when they were talking about his promiscuous life style and the fear of contracting sexually transmitted diseases:

“You know, if you’re young, and in this era, and if you have any guilt about not having gone to Vietnam, we have our own Vietnam — it’s called the dating game. Dating is like being in Vietnam. You’re the equivalent of a soldier going over to Vietnam.”

— Donald Trump


Because he doesn’t take responsibility for his failures.

When something isn’t going right, he blames others. He blames Bill Clinton when his lewd language and misogyny is exposed. He blames a vast conspiracy when he falls in the polls. He resorts to bankruptcy when his businesses are not going well.

I bought a property in 2004, that lost 60% of its value in the crash of 2007. I have hung on for nine years now, making payments every month and losing money every month. The property still has not reached 100% of what I paid for it twelve years ago. But I pay, because I promised a bank with my signature twelve years ago that I would pay.

Trump’s advice is to walk away when things get tough. We, the public, pay for his failures.

By the way, that’s exactly what Hitler did. When he saw he was losing the war, he actually had the audacity to state that obviously the German people weren’t committed enough to win and they deserved it. Then he implemented a scorched earth strategy that devastated the country and placed misery on the German people for years after the war. After he put a bullet through his head in 1945, it took the country most of a decade to get back on its feet. Everyone lived in misery, many died of hunger and cold, even after the war.

This is what happens when leaders fail and do not take responsibility.

Trump shows me with every action and statement that he is not a leader, he is a usurper.

Painting: Waterbird

A good friend (PG) went on a safari in East Africa many years ago and brought back some photographs, one of which inspired this set of paintings I titled Waterbird.

It’s a diptych (two paintings in a series), each 18 by 36 inches. Here they are separate, and then together.

Waterbird 1

Waterbird 1

Waterbird 2

Waterbird 2


Waterbird – Combined

I found it a challenge to align the colors and compositions sufficiently, having to switch back and forth between two large paintings on an ongoing basis. My studio area isn’t big enough to put them side by side.

I might need to try this once more.

Trees on Mt. Baldy

Trees on Mt. Baldy, oil on canvas, 24″ x 36″

Near the very top of Mt. Baldy in California, at over 10,000 feet elevation, rugged trees battle hard winds and blistering sun every day. In the winter, it’s bitter cold and icy. I took a photograph in the summer and made a painting, trying my hand at a loose brush.

It turned out so-so, but I am done with it.


Of course not.


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