Ann Coulter on the French Revolution

I have to confess–my first thoughtful reading touching the French Revolution, the time when I really understood the horror of that period in French history, was when I taught my gifted reading students, A Tale of Two Citiesby Charles Dickens. Like Anne Frank in the 1959 movie script, I thought it the saddest book I’ve ever read. I’ve never forgotten that first reading and today I still consider it one of Dickens’ best novels. Now, many years later, I came into possession of Ann Coulter’s Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America. Two chapters in that fine read deal specifically with the French Revolution, and one chapter contrasts our own American Revolution with the French. 

            Coulter’s two chapters dealing with the French Revolution were so powerful and affected me so deeply that I had to read them twice. They were disturbing, not only because of the vivid horror of the French Revolution she portrays so well, but also because the comparison to our own country frightened me by showing the abuses I knew could easily occur today.  The seed of the mindset that created the French Revolution has been scattered throughout our own society. Here’s a few observations I drew from the chapters:

1. There was no logic to the chronology of the French Revolution. Coulter argues this is because it was a mob event, and mobs do not operate by logic. Mobs are irrational.

2. The mobs of the French Revolution were fueled by rumors and gossip.

3. The French Revolution mobs were anti-secular. Churches and spiritual leaders were attacked. The State became the official religion. 

4. Lawful authorities (law enforcement of the French society) were targeted.  The mob had no fear of punishment, so the mobs ran wild. 

5.  Beautiful and priceless monuments, statues, and art were destroyed because they offended those in the mobs. 

6. Even the leaders of this revolution were not safe as other leaders and the mobs turned on them. Mobs can love someone one minute and hate the person the next. 

7. Anyone who questioned the excesses and course of events was deemed unpatriotic and paid the price. 

8. The French Revolution was nothing like ours. It set the stage for the Bolshevik Revolution, Ma’s Cultural Revolution, Pol Pot’s slaughter, and America’s mindless mobs vandalizing and attacking the innocent. 

If you are interested in the French Revolution, in understanding why there’s so many riots and mob occurrences now troubling our land and other nations, I encourage you to obtain Coulter’s Demonic.  You will also understand much more about the mob mentality of the troublemakers in our society today.

A Review of The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard

A friend and former college student recently gave me her grandfather’s western library, including the leatherbound set of the stories of Louis Lamour. Included in this box of beautiful books was The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard. These thirty stories, set almost entirely in Arizona and New Mexico Territories, brought to life  that region of the West.

The detailed sensory and detailed descriptions of the settilng and are amazing in Leonard’s writing. When I read, I have a habit of looking up every plant, animal, historical fact, geographical place, phrase or word that I am unfamiliar with. Thanks to the instant knowledge of the Internet, it is much easier to do that now than it used to be. We truly live in an age of instant knowledge. Leonard’s knowledge of the Apache culture, mindset, skills, chiefs, and wars especially stood out to me.

To sum up, if you are a western writer or reader,  strongly recommend these stories.  Leonard is a also a prolific screenwriter and novelist in crime and suspense. You can read more about Elmore Leonard (1925-2013)  HERE:

A Review of The Bayou Fairies by Cher Levis Hunt, Illustrated by Paula Merritt Windham

A Review of The Bayou Fairies by Cher Levis Hunt, Illustrated by Paula Merritt Windham. Ally-Gator Bookbites Publishing House. 2017.

This is one of the most captivating and beautifully llustrated children’s picture books I’ve read, and certainly a unique look at the fairy world. Cher Levis Hunt leads us into the enchanted fairy world of the bayou, and there the reader experiences a series of adventures where we meet the fairy folk, their forever friends, and other creatures there.  We learn how they came together in the bayou to form a swampy family, a community bonded together by their love for nature. Artist Paula Merritt Windham has created the perfect fairy world for the author’s story.

In the pages of this wonderful book we meet fascinating fairy characters like Queen Nolia; King Oak; Ivy, the Poison Ivy Fairy; Honey, the Honeysuckle Fairy;  Vivi, the Bayou Violet Fairy; Cy, the Cypress Fairy; Lily, the Lily Pad Fairy; and Bean, the Bogbean Fairy. As we read the stories and descriptions of each of these characters, we also see interesting facts about the plants of this fairy paradise!

Cher Hunt has worked magic in this book.  It is sure to be a Louisiana classic, a book that will educate and entertain our children, and a book that will make a fine read-aloud for school programs or family events. If you’re already fascinated by the faerie folk, this book will feed that dreamworld faeries lead us to.

In her dedication, the author says: “This book is dedicated to my ‘fairy grandmother.’ You planted the seed in my imagination that grew into a lifelong love of fairies.

”In loving memory of Ruth Marie Garrett, 1925-1990.”

You may order the book HERE:

Author, Cher Levis Hunt

How to Create a Scottish/Irish School Program

Every year, I perform as a storyteller and musician (guitar /vocals) at Celtic Festivals. I also perform a Songs & Stories of Scotland and Ireland at many schools.  Usually each presentation is no more than 45 minutes.  If you are interested in creating your own program for schools to honor St. Patrick’s Day, Tartan Day, St. Andrews Day or other Celtic holidays, here are my suggestions as to how you can do that:

  1. Start with flags. Each of the seven Celtic nations has a flag with its own rich story. You can see some of these flags on the school flyer I’ve attached. Flags make a beautiful visual display. You can use flagpoles, tack or tape them to walls, or hang them easily from bookshelves. You can buy 3 x 5 foot flags cheaply on Amazon.
  2. Create your costume. I usually wear my kilt, though I may change that depending on weather, travel or other factors.
  3. Obtain some good music. There’s so many great musicians and bands to choose from. One good program often on NPR stations is Thistle and Shamrock. I generally use a CD of fiddle music, one of bagpipes and drums, and one of the ballads (including my own, The Minstrel Boy by the Bard of the South. See it HERE🙂
  4. Have a table with show-and-tell items. On my table, I have photos, toys, wooden weapons replicas (a targe, claymore, Roman sword, gallowglass sword, dirk, etc) historical items etc.
  5. Costumes for the kids (little kilts, priest robes, various hats, folding fans and parasol for girls etc. Kids liked to dress up and it gives lots of photo moments,
  6. Percussion instruments so a little band can play along wilth me on songs like “Molly Malone,” “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean etc. I have a bodhran, penny whistle, a harp (when I have room to bring it), maracas, tambourine and other percussion instruments.
  7. Some good stories and legends. For example, I use the story of William Wallace, Loch Ness Monster, the tartans, the druids, stories of the Scottish and Irish Saints, etc.
  8. I also have a dozen or so icons of Scottish, Irish, Welsh saints.

I will be happy to give more ideas or comment on yours if you’d care to share them.  Maybe this will get you started. Just write me at rickeyp at bayou.com. Good luck with your program.

Why Our Society Needs to Revive the Code of Chivalry

Any thinking, observant person realizes that this age is in great turmoil. With the exception of the Visegrád, Europe is crumbling in the face of the invasion of foreigners. These invaders (mostly Muslim) devour resources, resist assimilation, reject Western and Christian values, assault and terrorize European citizens, and openly assert their intent to impose Sharia law on their new homelands. They are not far from victory. The elite leaders of the nations under attack are weak and seemingly indifferent to the need to respect and protect their citizens and rescue their nation from certain destruction. I’m beginning now to understand the Crusades and Crusaders of the past who also faced invading hordes of savage people who wanted to pillage and conquer the civilizations of Europe and the achievements of Christianity.

There are no easy answers to our modern day dilemma. Whatever cure we choose will be costly and painful. Whatever we decide to do will require men (knights) of sound ethical values, determination, and toughness. In the movie, the Kingdom of Heaven, a priest asks, “Does making a man a knight make him a better fighter?” Bailan answers that it does.  I suggest that a look at the Medieval Code of Chivalry still has value for us today. Those who live by such a code without a doubt will be better and will make the world a better place. I think the modern day application of these principles is obvious.  I’ve studied and condensed the main points of chivalry in this list:

1. Honor, defend, and love God, the king (leaders), one’s nation, and the church.
2. Respect for women.
3. Courage in battle
4. Truthfulness and self-control
5. Generosity.
6. Defend the helpless, fight against injustice and evil.
7. Make war against the infidel without cessation and without mercy.

Hopefully, you can see how these qualities are missing today. As Crosby, Stills & Nash said in their song, let’s teach our children well.

Under the Witch’s Mark: A Novel for your Halloween Reading


About the Book:
Sheridan didn’t believe in witches, not in 1972, not until he met and fell in love with Bronwynn, a dark-haired beauty in North Dallas. Then, he learned more than he wanted about the sinister side of magic, witchcraft, and satanism hidden in the underbelly of the city. Follow Sheridan and other members of that Led Zeppelin generation as they self-destruct, create beautiful art, and crash against dark forces they don’t understand and are not ready to face.  Order the book HERE:

An Excerpt:  The Prologue

I loved a witch once. Loved her totally, uniquely—naively. I loved her before she took final decisive steps across lines that separate the twilight from darkness, and I loved her after the busy shadow-world hid her from my sight.

Bronwynn and I lived in North Dallas in an upper-middle- class neighborhood. We met not long after we graduated from high school—me from W.T. White, and she from Thomas Jefferson. We lived and looked like the rest of the emotionally charged, music-driven Led Zeppelin generation about us, killing time and brain cells with drugs, alcohol, sex and rock music almost as loud as our own inner chaos. We were tightly woven into the tapestry of that milieu. But the zeitgeist that enveloped our hedonistic generation is only the backdrop for the dark story of witchcraft I need to tell.

I’ve often wondered how Bronwynn entered the world of witchcraft. At first, I believe she was only curious—a lonely girl who wanted to see things others couldn’t see. Precocious, she had a passionate desire to know the arcane, the esoteric, the forbidden. In her early days as a novice, she must have forced herself forward until she overcame the awkwardness one feels when traveling in unfamiliar territory and her eyes grew accustomed to the darkness the curious arts require.

In a way, you must admit such excursions require much nerve—nerve most people will never have.

You probably would not recognize Bronwynn as a witch if you happened to meet her on the street. I didn’t. She practiced her sortilege as a solitary witch long before she joined a coven, preferring solitude and anonymity and the safety a lonely existence can provide. There was no show and tell of her black magic power. Even later, when others did know, she was elusive and evasive of entrapment, and possessed an uncanny ability to hide and disguise herself when she didn’t want to be found.

As she grew bolder, she began a game of chicken with the shadows in this witchy Cimmerian land, daring the specters to step out and dance. She dallied back and forth between our world and theirs, staying longer and changing more with each journey. I pulled her back to me time after time, but the dark currents we swam were too strong and I lost my grip and she slipped away in the dark undertow and never returned to me.

I came close to the edge of this netherworld myself. Closer than I should have. Close enough to know something was there. Close enough to feel the rough, iron-hard grip of its power, close enough to hear cruel whispers and echoes of emptiness flowing from its orifice. The wounds are deep from that encounter and the scars I bear on my body and soul have not faded with time. I did not want to skid to the edge of this emotional and spiritual chasm. I had no desire to tease the darkness—I came close only because I loved her. Because she led me there. Sooner or later, I always seemed to go where she led me.

Not that I didn’t try breaking off my relationship with this girl. I did, even to the point of leaving Dallas, but I found no Gilead with healing balm, no ultima Thule far enough away, nowhere I could go to heal the ache in my heart only she could soothe. “You’ll always come back to me,” she once said.

As her journey into the darkness evolved, I saw more and more of her dark side. But we would both discover that there were others involved in this complicated craft who were darker, more lost in the darkness, and more cruel than either of us could have imagined. We would encounter powerful men and women conjuring ancient forces that most moderns flippantly dismiss—a magic exuding a mind-rattling, traumatizing, and terrifying pagan force. The careless and reckless will, like I did, underestimate the danger and power such witches represent, and like me, they will pay the price. I found the knowledge I gained a most unpleasant epiphany.

Yes, I really did love a witch once. Her name was Bronwynn. This is her story—and mine.

 

Words to help any college student!

I expect my college students to memorize these words and phrases. I ask them to talk about family and friends. These are qualities, attitudes, and experiences that should be part of the college experience:

1. Ethics: moral principles that govern one’s behavior, standards of right and wrong. 

2. Self-discipline: Discipline is training, instruction, or correction that develops self-control, character or efficiency. 

3. Sacred cow: an idea, custom, or institution held, especially unreasonably, to be above criticism. College should be the place where sacred cows come to die.

4. Serendipity: The unexpected discovery. 

5. Epiphany: The light bulb moment when you suddenly realize something you had missed or not known before. Sudden insight or understanding. 

6. Eureka: Literally Greek for “I have found it!”

7. Patriotism: Love and honor for our great nation, our culture and history, and our veterans. If you are a veteran, please let me know as I have something special to share with you. I believe college can and should cause students to be better citizens. 

8. Work ethic:  Belief that hard work is intrinsically virtuous or worthy of reward. A person with strong work ethics is driven to do one’s best,  to be reliable, to be honest and fair with one’s employer and the society he or she serves.

9. Integrity: Doing the right thing in a reliable way, being honest and fair.

10. Research: Systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.

11. Objectivity: not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering, discussing, or representing facts.

12. Schedule: A plan for carrying out a process or procedure, giving lists of intended events and times.

I hope these words help you as they have helped me!

Hello, Webb County

I was delighted when a friend introduced me to the music of Bo Peña, and since I’ve often performed my songs and stories in Laredo, I was excited to find this song. I’ve posted the lyrics and chords. His website is HERE, and I encourage you to listen to and order his great music.

“Hello Webb County” by Bo Pena

G                                                            D       G
I was born in San Anton but I never did pay it no mind.
G
Cause my parents moved down to a border town
D
where they ran into some troubled times
C                                 G        C                                   C
I never could call it paradise, but it surely was one of a kind,
G                  D                                                                 
Down in the Valley where the Whitetail run on the US Mexico Line.

CHORUS:
C               G                D      G
Hello Webb County, I’m coming home to you,
C                              G
Though it may be far from heaven,

D                        G
It’s the best that I can do.

Verse 2:

I met a girl in Austin, and I followed her to New Orleans
I ended up in New York City with nothin’ but a pair of jeans,
Then I made my way to the mountains west,
through the Rockies & the evergreens,
But I couldn’t shake these homesick blues
with the Rio flowing through my dreams

CHORUS:

Verse 3
When the winters get cold and lonely, it’ll take me to another time,
Before the bust, before the war, when everyone was getting by,
It’ll never quite feel like home again, but I’ll love it to the day I die,
And the sun goes down on that border town on the US Mexico line.

CHORUS: