Category Archives: Books

I love reading about Bismarck. He fascinates me. Re·al·po·li·tik, baby!


Often I find that children’s books, as in books written for children about any particular help simplify and clarify subjects for me. I love ’em.

Such is the case with a book I discovered at the public library in downtown Bellevue, Washington. It is a brief bio on Otto von Bismarck, the man who created modern German state. The author, Kimberley Heuston, boils down the essential facts, mixed with a bit of moralizing, but not enough to be off putting, thank God.

If ever you are confused by a topic, see if there’s a kids’ book on it. And don’t be embarrassed! Learning is learning! Knowledge is knowledge! No matter how you absorb it.


Resurrecting A Story From My Grade School Years In Oregon

The Adventures of Matt Peachpit

I am thinking about resurrecting a story I wrote in the third or fourth grade. My inspiration came from Roald Dahl and Johnny Appleseed. Now, if only I could remember some of the narrative. Only God knows what happened to the original. Does “Matthew Peachpit” sound better than simply using Matt?


Hero of Hillary & Obama, godfather of community organizing, Saul Alinksy praised Lucifer as the first rebellious radical

In his book Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinksy, who trained up many a leftist, including Hillary and Obama, wrote this:

Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins — or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.


Advice from Old Fritz on war, politics & humanity

frederick-the-greatFrederick the Great wrote a book, published in 1740, the very year he acceded to the throne, in response to Machiavelli’s The Prince, a cynical and jaded view of realpolitik. In it, Old Fritz provides a more responsible and humanitarian view of governing, particularly when it comes to life and death decisions such as war.

War is so full of misfortune, its outcome is so uncertain, and its consequences so ruinous for a country that sovereigns should think twice before undertaking it. . . . princes who wage unjust wars are more cruel and cold-blooded than any tyrant ever was. They sacrifice to their impetuous passions the well-being of an infinity of men whom they are duty-bound to protect.”

Republicans, Democrats, Left and Right — everyone — would do well to heed such advice.

It is odd to think that I knew of Machiavelli and his Prince, yet did not learn of Frederick’s reply, Against Machiavelli, until today. The Prince was required reading in one of my high school lit classes. Perhaps Frederick the Great should be, too.


If only Trump had style, wit, and a keen political intelligence.

I’ve been skimming through a review of William F. Buckley’s book on his campaign for mayor of New York City in 1965, a year after Barry Goldwater’s trouncing by LBJ.

Buckley breaks all the campaign rules and conducts the kind of authentic, daring campaign that Donald Trump might run if Trump had style, wit, and a keen political intelligence.”

There are always lessons for us to learn. Learning never stops, or at least shouldn’t. I wish Trump had that intellectual curiosity. But, alas, he doesn’t and never will.



James Hill, Shoe-maker


Here is more evidence supporting my theory that James Hill of White Deer Township — then in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania and what is now Union County — is my ancestor, the same James Hill who married Sarah Tidd and died in Hardin County, Ohio in 1862.

In White Deer Township in 1796, James Hill is living in a small cabin and working as a shoemaker. A John Hill is nearby, residing in a cabin, presumably a larger one. He, too, is a shoemaker.

My ancestor, James Hill of Hardin County, Ohio—born in June of 1763 in Pennsylvania, was also a shoemaker.

James Hill was a shoemaker by trade.”