Government, Media, Mystery

Ballooning Problem

What a complete embarrassment. First we let a floating convoy of three school buses float by at 70,000 feet. We shoot it down. Now, no news about the buses.

Where’s our super powers when we need them?

You know, thirty-seven years ago ocean scientist Robert Ballard discovered the burial ground of the Titanic.

When finished arcing through space at 18,000 miles per hour, every returning space capsule is reliably plucked out of the waters within minutes by US Navy frigates. After the tragic downing of a PanAm flight 103 over Lockerbie Scotland in 1988, forensic scientists combed the debris field to find an incriminating piece of metal with a serial number to track down the terrorist bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohamed al-Megrai.

Still, as of today, we have no news about the “object” which so threatened us.

But to deflect some of the scorn, we then went out hunting, and brought down three more unidentifiable objects, one the size of a Volkswagen. It took several days to reveal these objects were suspended from balloons. Really? Did no one in the press room have the temerity to ask? Or was the administration not bold enough to answer?

Meanwhile, one such object is splatted on the ice off the north shore of Alaska. Another lies on a mountainside in the Yukon, being picked over by mountain goats. A third is quietly sleeping below the drifting currents of Lake Huron, resting on the sandy bottom, waiting for a ride.

When will we see the Volkswagen?

Now we are told with a shrug that the objects were probably privately owned. No doubt the owners fear getting a ticket, and are not claiming the goods.

If there ever was a time that the administration needed to communicate clearly and consistently, and the news media attempted to get to the truth, this would be it.

Agriculture, Culture, Mystery, Science

Standing On The Edge

Please forgive me for my absence! For the past few months I have been carefully editing a new novel, Edge of Destiny.

We have all found some escape route that has led us through the endless months of COVID, and mine was writing a story about two kids who grow up in a hurry on the eve of World War Two. This is a tantalizing and compelling tale that takes place in a small town which is on the brink of recovery from the Great Depression. Reppen is located in Norfolk County, and its ticket to greatness will be the fast-growing, world demand for Virginia ‘bright leaf’ tobacco. Claudia and Theo are high school seniors that are watching that future crash before them as the Nazi and Soviet threat unfolds in Europe.

They graduate from Reppen High and leave for college quite literally as war is declared by Hitler, September 1, 1939. Over the next year the couple navigate the streets of Toronto, the halls of university, and the growing pressure to enlist and fight, all the while learning about themselves. Claudia is a brilliant girl who up-ends the physics department as she enters that long-established male bastion. Theo, straight off the farm, faces the prospects of joining the RCAF.

Their trajectory comes crashing down when Theo is mysteriously swept away by unseen forces that drop him into the future, 80 years later. He seeks help from amazed and puzzled strangers in a desperate, impossible search to re-unite with Claudia.

This is a story that delivers a narrative about small town life, farming and the grit and reality of urban living. The characters reveal the unbeatable optimism of youth in the face of military conflict and raw, undisguised evil.

Above, my personalized offer for U.S. residents.

Edge of Destiny is available for all Canadian residents online at Amazon.Ca.

I will add, that U.S. readers can order direct from me using PayPal.Me/pmb1267, or mailing me a check. In return, I will personally sign and dedicate your book and get it delivered, pronto! The details are in the enclosed brochure, here.

Culture, Mystery

Gone To Press

Self-published books are easier that ever, thanks to digital technology.

A few months back I sat in a shaded bedroom with a gaggle of kids all waiting for a bedtime story. Not being that spontaneous, I resorted to an old campfire story game to get these primary schoolers ready for bed. Yesterday I published the entire story “Roarg– A Dragon’s Quest” in paperback form.

This was not in the plans, actually.

The kids, count six of them, all huddled on two bunk beds staring at a flash light in the middle of the floor, which was our token campfire. I led them on a tiger hunt. In this story game, there’s lots of slopping in swamps, swishing through tall grass, crunching over rocky terrain, jumping away from gators, all in pursuit of a hungry, giant cat which is trying to eat us. Much slapping of hands, raspberry sounds and other bodily noises punctuate the dangerous trek.

The story was begun to put them to bed. But that’s not where it ended.

The scene is reminiscent of the new movie “The Battle of the Sexes” starring Steve Carrell and Emma Stone.    There is a delicious moment early on where his character, Bobby Riggs, is noisily and boisterously guiding his son, jumping from one $5,000 couch to the next one in his wife’s expensive and stately living room, all the while loudly warning of the perils of falling off the couches and into the jaws of the gators which swarm the Persian rug below them.

Anyway, in our story, we dumped the tiger in favor a more evil and ominous foe, Magu, who was a powerful monster with a ruthless disposition. Magu threatened the livelihoods of all the kids, and it was their job to get Magu. To compound our perils, enter Roarg, a dragon, who is equally horrific to think of, and before I knew it, we were into a saga.

Chapter V: Trouble On The Mountain. Illustrated by Finn Brown.

After about 15 minutes of much noise and screams and action, I said we would continue another time. Magu and Roarg were in deadly conflict, on the mouth of a volcano, I think, or on a mountain top, or maybe in an ocean whirlpool.

The kids all collapsed, and I figured that was the end of it.

Not so!

Our grandson continually prompted me on every following visit to continue the story…up to the point that he knew it better than me. I felt I had to write it down.

Over the next few months every time we spoke, he brought up the tale, and asked how it was coming along. Well, I took action, and some 15,000 words later, I completed the suspenseful, adventurous and comprehensive tale of Roarg– A Dragon’s Quest.

Self-publishing is easier now than ever. I contracted with a publishing site called, and without a lot of error successfully printed up my book.  As a side item, did you know that there are more than 1,000,000 new books released every year?  Publishing sites like Blurb and Shutterfly make it possible.

Roarg is a good story, complete with danger, suspense and a clever ending.  I have tested it out on our two 11-year-old grand daughters, and they were thumbs up.

If you have kids, grandkids, nephews, nieces or even a nice young neighbor who is a reader, this is an exciting and fast moving tale. You can get a copy of Roarg at

And think of this too, you actually know the author!

Thanks for sharing! I hope you like the book!

Culture, Mystery



Size 2, left by the roadside.

Late July, as the heat of the summer gets bogged down in humidity from the Gulf, a small child’s shoe appears on the side of the highway by our home.
It resides sole down in the gutter, separated from its partner.

How many times do you see one shoe on the roadside, and wonder how it can be alone? Where is its completing half? You imagine scenarios where the owner opened the door of their car on the roadside to change shoes, pulled off one, and then thinking better of it, closed the door and pulled away half shod.

Miles down the road, or perhaps at the next rest stop, the owner owns up.    They only have one shoe, so dumps the other. Given the choice of using a garbage can or not, they place the shoe on the sidewalk, maybe in the hopes of completing someone else’s broken pair, or more manipulative, to puzzle the casual observer.

Like me.

But back to the blue and orange size 2 sandal. It’s surrounded by gravel and twigs, and passed by approximately 20,000 cars a day.
A half mile up the road, its other half sits in the center lane of the highway.
img_0003The story clarifies. This is a pair of children’s summer sandals that departed a speeding car. Northbound, considering the placements.
The most likely explanation is that the shoes never made it beyond the trunk lid, or the roof of the car when the owner’s family left home, or the beach.

I admire their construction: tidy miniaturized engineering, with Velcro for fast escape.

Once in Kauai I had doffed my runners at the beach, and after a dunk in the Pacific walked back to the car barefoot, waiting for the wet sand to fall off my feet. I placed my shoes on top of the car while loading chairs and picnic supplies back into the car. In a moment of moral abandon, I stepped into the driver’s side and decided to drive the one mile trip home, barefoot.
Held up at a bridge along the way, the car behind us honked their horn and pointed to the roof. Doh!!

So it could be that a distracted mom or dad had likewise left the shoes on top of the car, and they blew off along the way.
It’s a tidy explanation.
Another possibility is that the child who was wearing the shoes took them off inside the car, and pitched them out an open window. A little difficult considering the belted seats kids ride in, but still possible.


A quite serviceable pair of wheels. Pre-owned.

Then again, it could be that the child’s spiteful sibling removed the shoes and did the deed, in revenge for an earlier insult from the owner. Who knows?

But what remains is the mystery of no recovery.
In our young child-rearing days everything had an accountability for completeness. Count the Jenga before they went back into the can. Check under the couch for errant Lego pieces before packing it away. All the riders in their places on the Fisher Price School bus before it went onto the shelf.

How is it that a mom or dad didn’t wonder about the missing shoes?
Our oldest boy, at the age of 3 had a worn out pair of wing tips that he enjoyed every day. He loved those shoes. If bedtime hadn’t been preceded by a bath, he would have worn those loafers under the covers.

One day we announced that his feet were too big, and he needed new shoes. He absolutely refused to give them up. Stonewalled us, and it was only after I promised that we could keep them that he accepted a new, bigger pair.

He loved those old shoes so much we elected to plant them in the garden. A little fatherly humor: I said, “we’ll just heel them in here, and we’ll grow a shoe tree.”


Small, plump little dusty feet once wore these.

Went right over his head.

But the lesson remains, that small children become attached to shoes as keepsakes, and it puzzled me that no parent had come back to retrieve the shoes.
After all, there they were, a half mile apart on the same road. What would it take to stop?
Realistically, it isn’t safe to stop, so perhaps the parent, one of the 20,000 which pass by everyday closed their eyes to the daily reminder that their child’s clothing was lying there in full view, and they were powerless to change it.

August passed by, and just before Labor Day my obsession with the separated pair overwhelmed me. Riding my bike down to shoe #1, I picked it up when there was a pause in traffic.
The shoe was in pretty good shape. Maybe a little worn on the bottom.  Heavy duty blue nylon webbing on a da-glo orange rubber sole. It was tethered by a Velcro tab. At the time I flashed back to long ago, and imagined a tanned, slightly dusty, fat little foot occupying such a sandal.

Next I pedaled back to its mate about three blocks away. That one was resting on the yellow striped line of the middle lane, also in clear view of 20,000 motorists through July and August.
Now I had a pair of child’s sandals. Presentable condition, hardly used.
My thought was to place the two together on the curb. Perhaps then the owner could recognize the gesture of a stranger, and stop to pick them up, joyfully reuniting the shoes with their owner after a two month loss.


Cast aside in fun, or forgotten?

Instead of the curb however, I hung them on a nail in our fence. A few yards beyond was a cut out in the road where a car could exit, and stop safely. A quick jog to the fence, and the shoes would be in the car again, the starting point of their summer time escape.

Since Labor Day, by rough estimate, 1,000,000 cars have passed the shoes. No one has stopped to bring them home.
I wonder, daily, why not?

My best hope is that the original trip was unique. That car and its young passengers have never chosen the same route since. My next best guess is that the owner has driven by and weighing the effort of retrieval against the usefulness of a pair of summer sandals in October has resolved to abandon the pair.
My thoughts don’t want to venture a third possibility.

What I have decided is that before the snow flies, I will take down the shoes from their nail, and give them to the local shelter. They will be worn again, hopefully by someone who will cherish them for their comfort and character.  They’ve been on the road.

Thanks for reading and sharing!  This pair of shoes has been on my mind for months.