How The Catholic Church Built Western Civilization by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

Never was History so exciting, enticing, and revealing. Within these pages, Mr. Woods divulges enough information to leave one feeling somewhat foolish for not knowing all of the contributions of the #Catholic Church.

Woods negates many modern secular (and sadly all too common) bigoted anti-Catholic historical notions.  If one believes that the Church was (and still is) an enemy of science, that economics started with Adam Smith, that human rights began with the enlightenment, or that the Medieval period was the “Dark Ages,” then this book will serve as an eye-opening cure.

Thomas E. Woods, Jr. holds an A.B. from Harvard and a Ph.D. from Columbia. Of course, as a true academic scholar, Mr. Woods does not simply unload his personal opinions onto the reader. There is a staggering amount of painstaking research behind all of his claims. Yes, he quotes from the tomes of those medieval thinkers, but also from other historians who are not Catholic – some of whom even espouse a history of being unsympathetic to the Church. Yet they too agree with Mr. Woods, and thusly prove his points.

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The chapter on science alone makes this book worthy of one’s time. However, the author delves into the raw roots of other disciplines and philosophies concerning art, architecture, international law, and economics, to name a few. Woods’ treatment of the logic and reason-based proofs for the existence of God by St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Anselm also serve as enough of a reason to immerse oneself into these pages.

I must admit, I had previous knowledge of some of the history, like the true story of Galileo, the Church’s creation of the university system, and the scientific method. However, this book has launched some new heroes for me, like Thierry of Chartres, Father Boscovich, and Father Francisco de Vitoria.

If you would like a taste of this book without a purchase, there is a show on EWTN hosted by Mr. Woods entitled The Catholic Church: Builder of Civilization. Each episode could be described as a “talking-points-outline-lecture” for each chapter. I stumbled onto the show one Sunday evening and then promptly purchased the book.

Besides his proofs about the Catholic Church’s role in history, Woods also espouses a discourse as to why these advancements did not occur within Pagan or Islamic civilization. How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. is one of the most pleasurable, enlightening, and enjoyable historical reads to ever grace one of my bookshelves.

NaNoWriMo 2015: Hosting a Write-In

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Image Courtesy of NaNoWriMo

I live in a small town. The writer’s group is not a large one, but we do have enough members to host a write-in for #NaNoWriMo 2015. I also belong to a larger group based in #Boise, Id. My goal was to get the two groups together.
First I needed a venue, which turned out to be an easy task. The local writer’s group meets in a coffee shop. Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and where there are #Indie-Authors, there’s coffee. The owner loved the idea for the write-in and told us to go ahead and spread the word.

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Yes! I made that Cannoli

Now that I had the place, I had to come up with an idea to attract writers from Boise as well. This was going to be a difficult task, because there are many writing events taking place in Boise. Therefore I needed to concoct a way to entice others to take a 40 mile drive. The answer was a free-lunch.
I made up a tray of baked ravioli, chicken salad sandwiches, and cannoli. For the most part, it worked. One of the Boise members took the drive. Also, a few writers in town not normally associated with the local joined in with us. I would have liked more bodies to show up, but in the end it wasn’t a disappointment.

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We got together, stuffed our faces, and banged away at our respective keyboards. I completed almost 2,000 words that day for my second fantasy novel…woohoo.
How did NaNoWriMo 2015 go for you?

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#NaNoWriMo 2015: Week 1

Well the first week of #NaNoWriMo is over. It could’ve been more productive but there are extenuating circumstances. 1) My wife is home from deployment and was still enjoying leave time. It would’ve been really wrong of me to shun her and spend selfish time at the PC. 2) Also she’s on a renovation quest. The kitchen needs an overhaul, so we spent a lot of time at Lowe’s & Home Depot.

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Image Courtesy of NaNoWriMo

Aside from domesticity, I did manage to squeeze in some writing time and made it to a “write-in” in Boise, Id. This is my first attempt at NaNoWriMo from scratch. I did participate last year but only to finish off my manuscript for “An Easterly Sojourn.” Book one in my #fantasy series called Tales of Tyrennia.

For NaNoWriMo 2015, I started the manuscript for Book II: “The Frozen War.” So far I’ve managed 6,232 words. Already the book has taken off despite my planning. I love it when a plot or a character takes on a life of their own and moves away from my notes in a different direction. Don’t you love that too?

I’m though the first six chapters and had to update my notes because the subject matter of Chapter six was never planned. So back to my notes and change the chapter numbers.

Stay tuned…I’m hosting a “write-in” at a local coffee shop for the #Treasure Valley Group. I’ll let you know how it goes.

How far along is your NaNoWriMo 2015 manuscript?

For the Sake of It: An #Indie-Author Dilemma

Should an independent author break with traditions and standards or follow them? That is the question. I can’t discuss all of them but I would like to mention that one shouldn’t do either if it is only for the sake of doing it.

When your heart, gut, and artistic judgment tell you to go in a particular direction, you should listen and do so. I’m sort of going through this situation with my editor. She’s insisting upon a trilogy that follows the exploits of my main character, the master thief Daggorat and his confidant Cyril the mage.

I can foresee my fantasy world of “Tyrhennia” giving birth to 12 or even 15 novels. Different characters, races, and Kingdoms of an entire world can support a long series.

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A Thinking Man by Wesley Nitsckie used under CC Licence

Will there be a trilogy within that body of work? Perhaps there will be. I haven’t started to write about or even think about any other locations within Tyrhennia, so I can’t say how it will go.

My editor is not insisting on a trilogy because I’ve compacted too much in too few pages. I would understand that bit of wisdom and follow. However, she’s insisting on a trilogy because “That’s what everyone else does.”

I refuse to compromise the quality of my work for the sake of “what everyone else does.” I have two interesting plots for Daggorat and Cyril, and that’s all I see at this moment. I could have a flash of inspiration and move toward a trilogy. But as of now, forcing a trilogy would mean stuffing extra useless filler material into two novels simply for the sake of it.

Does The Godfather Part III or the latest movie trilogy based upon the Hobbit ring a bell? Francis Ford Coppola and Peter Jackson are no slouches when it comes to the director’s chair. Also, they have gobs of funding and skilled artisans working with them; and yet look what happened.

Always follow your heart and artistic intuition.

Are you ready to compromise your artistic creations simply for the sake of following everyone else?googlecov2

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My Favorite Films of The 1980’s

Some of these might not be the greatest or even have any appeal to anyone. Some of these films are here because of the experiences I have had with them. Hanging out with my college buddies and watching these movies brings back many fond memories. While other films I discovered while taking classes in Cinema Studies.

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Public Domain Clip Art courtesy of Pixabay Openclips used under CC License

 

50. Raiders of the Lost Ark……….d. Steven Spielberg

49. The Terminator……….d. James Cameron

48. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off……….d. John Hughes

47. The Princess Bride……….d. Rob Reiner

46. A Passage to India……….d. David Lean (UK)

45. Ran……….d. Akira Kurosawa (Japan)

44. Full Metal Jacket……….d. Stanley Kubrick

43. Victor / Victoria……….d. Blake Edwards

42. Aliens……….d. James Cameron

41. The Elephant Man……….d.  David Lynch (UK/USA)

40. Airplane……….d. Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker,  David Zucker

39. Mephisto……….d. Istvan Szabo (W. Germany / Hungary / Austria)

38. Radio Days……….d. Woody Allen

37. Salvador……….d. Oliver Stone

36. Fast Times at Ridgemont High……….d. Amy Heckerling

35. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home……….d. Leonard Nimoy

34. The Blues Brothers……….d. John Landis

33. Big Trouble in Little China……….d. John Carpenter

32. Highlander……….d. Russell Mulcahy  (UK)

31. Caddyshack……….d. Harold Ramis

30. Easy Money……….d. James Signorelli

29. Conan the Barbarian……….d. John Milius

28. The Money Pit……….d. Richard Benjamin

27. Back to School……….d. Alan Metter

26. Labyrinth……….d. Jim Henson

25. Pale Rider……….d. Clint Eastwood

24. Ghostbusters……….d. Ivan Reitman

23. Amadeus……….d. Milos Forman

22. Brazil………..d. Terry Gilliam

21. Fitzcarraldo……….d. Werner Herzog (W. Germany)

20. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan……….d. Nicholas Meyer

19. Clash of the Titans……….d. Desmond Davis

18. Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears……….d. Vladimir Menshov (USSR)

17. My Beautiful Launderette……….d. Stephen Frears (UK)

16. The Empire Strikes Back……….d. George Lucas

15. Under Fire……….d. Roger Spottiswoode

14. Gandhi……….d. Richard Attenborough (UK / India)

13. Spaceballs……….d. Mel Brooks

12. Raging Bull……….d. Martin Scorsese

11. The Shining……….d. Stanley Kubrick

10. The Natural……….d. Barry Levinson

09. Pink Floyd: The Wall……….d. Alan Parker (UK)

08. The Right Stuff……….d. Phillip Kaufman

07. Blade Runner……….d. Ridley Scott

06. Sammie & Rosie Get Laid……….d. Stephen Frears (UK)

05. Cinema Paradiso……….d. Giuseppe Tornatore (Italy)

04. Koyaanisqatsi……….d. Godfrey Reggio

03. Queen of Hearts……….d. Jon Amiel (UK/USA)

02. Stop Making Sense……….d. Jonathan Demme

01. Wings of Desire……….d. Wim Wenders (W. Germany / France)

How do my favorites match-up with yours?

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When You’re Left Behind

I am not referring that book and later TV series. I’m talking about what happens when you’re a military spouse and your significant other (in my case it’s my wife) is sent overseas.

That’s the reason why you haven’t seen me blogging for the last couple of months. The adjustment is difficult and I’ve been bogged down. Many other things demanded my attention.

Evening is the worst part of each day. I’m accustomed to her not being around during the day. But with each sunset, we’re not together. Either enjoying dinner, snuggled on the couch, reading, or playing LOTRO (Lord of the Rings on Line).

For those who been visiting this blog for a while know about my love of cooking. But when there’s nobody to share it with, it loses its appeal.

However, on the writing front, I formed a new on-line critique group. My fantasy novel is just getting better all the time. With each passing week, noticeable refinements are put into place. The short stories are doing well too.  The small critique group here in town has provided me with a few insights on my shorts stories.

Tell me how you’re doing?

Star Trek Fan Fiction

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Star Trek Telephone by Alex Kerhead used under CC License

“The Green Gas Giant,” is a Star Trek fanfiction short story based upon the original series during the five-year mission, and it went over well at my critique group. Even younger members who don’t know anything about the original series were snorting and chuckling. It was odd that the day after presenting this piece did the news start circulating about the death of Leonard Nimoy. A few members of our group noticed the eerie connection and mentioned it on our Facebook page. I guess it was just “one of those things.”

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by NBC Television [Public Domain} via Wikimedia Commons

My first visit to a fanfiction website was quite an eye-opener.

I could say that besides traditional publishing there’s the world of independent authors, and then there is the third world for authors, fan fiction. The amount of work was staggering. Then what caught my attention was the size of some of those files.

There are many short stories, which could be expected, but there were also entire novels and trilogies. Besides lots of stories concerning Star Trek, I had to sift through a long column of subject matter from “Glee” to “I Dream of Jeannie” and everything in between (psst…and that’s just the amount of fan fiction dedicated to TV shows).

Naturally, I couldn’t resist but to dive head first into this vibrant literary sub-culture. But what should I write about? For me, the answer was obvious; I decided to write a comical short story based upon the original Star Trek series.

Please remember to drop a few comments after reading about “The Green Gas Giant.”

My Favorite Films of the 1960’s

The era of the 1960’s was a veritable world-wide artistic explosion. While you might not agree with my choices or the ranking of certain films, remember that these films are important to me.

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Public Domain Clip Art courtesy of Pixabay Openclips used under CC License

50.  The Graduate……….d. Mike Nichols

49.  Blow Up……….d. Micheangelo Antonioni   (Italy)

48.  Village of the Damned……….d. Wolf Rilla  (UK)

47.  Judgment at Nuremburg……….d. Stanley Kramer

46.  The Wild Bunch……….d. Sam Peckinpah

45.  The Blue Max……….d. John Guillerman

44.  A Fistful of Dollars……….d. Sergio Leone (Italy / Spain / W. Germany)

43.  Yojimbo……….d. Akira Kurosawa (Japan)

42.  8 ½……….d. Federico Fellini (Italy)

41.  Hell Is for Heroes……….d. Don Siegel

40.  L’Avventura……….d. Micheangelo Antonioni (Italy)

39.  Easy Rider……….d. Dennis Hopper

38.  For a Few Dollars More……….d. Sergio Leone (Italy / Spain / W. Germany)

37.  Where Eagles Dare……….d. Brian G. Hutton (UK / USA)

36.  Jason and the Argonauts……….d. John Chaffee (UK / USA)

35.  Fahrenheit 451……….d. Francois Truffaut  (UK)

34.  Who’s That Knocking at My Door……….d. Martin Scorsese

33.  Peeping Tom……….d.  Michael Powell (UK)

32.  Saturday Night and Sunday Morning……….d. Karel Reisz  (UK)

31.  Dr. Zhivago……….d. David Lean (USA / Italy / UK)

30.  The Time Machine……….d. George Pal

29.  The Pink Panther……….d. Blake Edwards

28.  Never on Sunday……….d. Jules Dassin (Greece / USA)

27.  Rock and Roll Circus……….d. Michael Lindsay-Hogg (UK)

26.  Breathless……….d. Jean-Luc Godard (France)

25.  Yellow Submarine……….d. George Dunning (UK / USA)

24.  Shoot the Piano Player……….d. Francois Truffaut (France)

23.  The Producers……….d. Mel Brooks

22.  Dr. Strangelove……….d. Stanley Kubrick

21.  Psycho……….d. Alfred Hitchcock

20.  Monterrey Pop……….d. D.A. Pennebaker

19.  Jules and Jim……….d. Francois Truffaut (France)

18.  In The Heat of the Night……….d. Norman Jewison

17.  The Great Escape……….d. John Sturges

16.  Lawrence of Arabia……….d. David Lean

15.  Once Upon a Time in the West……….d. Sergio Leone (Italy / Spain / USA)

14.  Planet of the Apes……….d. Franklin J. Schaffner

13.  The Battle of Algiers……….d. Gillo Pontecorvo (Italy / Algeria)

12.  Two for The Road……….d. Stanley Donnan

11.  Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner……….d. Stanley Kramer

10.  The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance……….d. John Ford

09.  A Shot in The Dark……….d. Blake Edwards

08.  Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid……….d. George Roy Hill

07.  The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly……….d. Sergio Leone (Italy / Spain / W. Germany / USA)

06.  The Bride Wore Black……….d. Francois Truffaut (France)

05.  The Longest Day……….d.  5 Directors for different sequences and locations*

04.  The Bible……….d. John Huston

03.  Help……….d. Richard Lester (UK)

02.  A Hard Day’s Night……….d. Richard Lester (UK)

01.  2001: A Space Odyssey……….d. Stanley Kubrick

 

*Ken Annakin / Andrew Martin / Bernhard Wicki / Gerd Oswald / Darryl F. Zanuck

R.I.P. Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock)

If you’ve never watched a single episode of #StarTrek or if you hate science-fiction, you’ve still heard of Mr. Spock.  The television mythology of Star Trek has permeated our cultural identity and psyche.

Yesterday I heard the news about the passing of Leonard Nimoy, who so deftly portrayed the Enterprise’s Vulcan science officer. I am old enough to remember the original Star Trek when it was a new show. Therefore this is not a typical celebrity death for me. I could say that I’ve known and admired his work my whole life:-)

Spock

by NBC Television [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons

Besides bringing the character Mr. Spock to life, Leonard Nimoy was “Paris” on Mission Impossible, and hosted a show called “In Search of…” He also directed “Three Men and a Baby”, the rather controversial “The Good Mother”, and “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.”

He has credits on IMDB for acting, directing, and writing.

Live Long and Prosper (for eternity)!

Little Red Revolution Published!

For Your Reading Pleasure, I’m glad to announce that Fiction on the Web has published my short story “Little Red Revolution.” This is the first and only time that I’ve submitted a piece for publication. I’m a bit worried about readers thinking that all of my material is as raucous and raunchy as this particular piece.

All of my stories have a bite of humor here and there, but I’ve never written a complete comedy before.

Fiction on the Web is a free reading site, so be my guest and enjoy a read of “Little Red Revolution” at no charge. Also, remember to leave acomment. Get ready to meet John the ex-coal miner, Mistress Vanessa the vampinatrix, Grunt the winged goblin, and others.

There are quite a few stories of all sorts at Fiction on the Web. So read to your heart’s content and make a direct comment to any other author as well.