Without Self-Reliance

This is a great piece of wisdom based on the words of American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson. It totally condones and appreciates American exceptionalism.

A Very Merry Christmas to You

A simple Christmas letter to all Grumpa Joe’s Place readers and visitors.

May the light of the Christ Child fill your life with happiness, holiness, and good cheer throughout the year.

Click here for the special Christmas letter

2011-BLOG-R1-Christmas letter

What Does it Mean?

What does it  mean when you finally do something that has been on your to-do list for fifty years?

Earlier this summer, I spoke with my granddaughter and asked what she was going to do with her summer. She is an avid reader. She announced her intention to read all the books on her school recommended reading list.

“What are some of the books?” I asked

She rattled off several that didn’t register but then struck a chord with “East of Eden.” I am a John Steinbeck fan and have always intended to read that book. I never did, until now.

Why I put it off so long, I cannot answer, but the wait was worth it. Steinbeck has a beautiful style of writing. His characters are so real, I feel I know them personally. He describes the  locales in such a way as to see, smell, and hear the surroundings.

In the early chapters of the book, I kept thinking this sounds like something I have read before. The people and places were so familiar. As the pages rolled by I realized that I had not read this particular story before, but I had read several other Steinbeck stories. All of them take place in the same valley  near Salinas, California. He had to have borrowed some of the same characters for his novel.

East Of Eden is a complicated story that spans three generations of families, and it would take me the same six hundred pages to tell it. I love the period the story is from, i.e. 1875-1925. Life was hard then, but so much purer, yet so much more decadent at the same time. Steinbeck’s depiction of the era is historically accurate. His characters fall into the categories of good and evil. He describes how evilness is a trait a person is born with just as he might be born with a physical defect. Why not a defect in the brain that makes one inherently evil?

Thank you Dana for triggering me to read this book. Now, I am anxious to see the movie. In my mind, I have determined which generation I would have made the movie about. The movie will be higher on my to-do list, and not take fifty years to get to. I wish we could watch it together.

Special Ops Mystery Thriller

A week ago I needed something to quit thinking of my sorry ass so I raided Grandma Peggy’s private book stash. She specializes in the murder mystery genre. and brags about being able to catch the killer by the second chapter.

The book I pulled out of the stack is Vertical Run by Joseph R. Garber.

I never heard of this book or of Joseph Garber. All I cared about is that the author be a man. Peggy reads many woman authors. I don’t have anything about women author’s I just need a high testosterone blood and guts story.

I won’t discuss the plot because it is loaded with mystery after mystery, and any explanation would begin to dull the story for a reader.

The story centers on a Viet Nam veteran who trained in Special Operations; in other words he is a professional killer. He is an executive in a large business and has been leading several companies. He has his own office with a shower and dressing room.

The main character jogs to the office daily and uses his office perk to clean up and dress. The day before, his boss, the owner of the firm, gave him a new acquisition to handle.

The action and mystery begins in the first sentence and continues to the end.  One has to read the prologue and beyond to get the whole story.

Grandma Peggy isn’t going to figure this one out before the last sentence.

As for me, I picked a testosterone filled story with lots of violence and revealing insights into special operations training. Our government asks a lot from our soldiers, and it leaves them with life-long issues they are sometimes unable to overcome.

Tracey J Boothe Publishing Blog

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