Monday, February 8, 2016

Old Worlds

J. K. K. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings series and its companion volume, The Hobbit has delighted readers for over seventy years. There have been many imitators, but nothing equals the originals. These are stories to be treasured among the greats.
I discovered them late in life, as when I was working with young adults they were into Edgar Rice Burroughs' Galaxies stories and I had little time for personal reading.
There is little reason to summarize each title as the stories are imprinted in the minds of readers and movie fans. The movies are masterpieces of film photography and adhere closely to the original story line.
The books are enchanting for readers of any age and maybe should be read about once every decade to indulge in the skill enchantment of words.
If you've never read them you are in for a treat of verbal images, power of language, and creative story wise. If you have read them savory them again to discover the fine art of story telling.
Nash Black, author of Cards of Death.   

Sunday, January 3, 2016


2015 brought changes that have either been long desired or frequently dreaded, a major change has been in how we view four letter words. No one gasps in shock when they hear a vulgar expletive. The words sound as if they are coming though the cracks of the restroom door when grade school kids try prove to each other how tough they are. It is so common no one pays the least attention.
   Transmutation is a four syllable word that means "to change from one form to another." The four letter words I'm going to discuss are not crude expletives, but common ones we hear everyday and seldom pause long enough to study their meaning.
   During 2015 the citizens of the United States grasp a litany of hope for a change in their circumstances. Reality cast a heavy hand as work became the goal for millions who had lost their jobs in industries that may never rise again. It was sometime in the late 1970s when the greatest manufacturing nation in the industrialized world changed from a producer of goods to a conveyor of services. This in-of-itself is the breaking point of a consumer economy because production of goods builds a strong foundation thereby creating wealth. The consumption of services has no intrinsic value.
   We ended 2015 in a state of confusion as to how to attempt to recover from the staggering debt fostered by our government in a frantic attempt to perpetrate a myth of prosperity.

   The population who learned to acquire what they want on borrowed money is now faced with living with the prospect of witnessing their government in default into bankruptcy.
   2016 is a new year when we Americans must look within ourselves not with fear of the future in our eyes, but to care in our hearts for our county. so the gift our ancestors gave the world will not be transmuted into take from out neighbors.
   Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying it this way, "We given you a gift, but it is up to you to keep it."
   My wish to you for 2016 is to learn and know the meaning of many four letter words.

   I dedicate this essay to the late Robert Ritche who once told me, "Blackie, I know you speak formal, standard, colloquial, and street English, but would you please not use them in the same sentence." I don't think I have, but then I've mellowed with the years though I still use four letter words. A friend describes it as my "potty" mouth.