Category Archives: Dickens – The Amalgamated Heavy

Charles R. Dickens was born in 1951, is a veteran of the Vietnam war, for which he volunteered, and the great-great grandson of the noted author, whose name he shares.
He is a fiercely proud American, who still believes this is the greatest country on the planet, with which we’ve lost control and certainly our direction. He grew up in moderate financial surrounding; we’re not rich by any stretch, but didn’t go hungry – his incredibly hard working father saw to that. As most from that era, he learned about life from his father, whose story would take too long to tell, other than to say that, he is also a fiercely proud American; a WWII and Korean war, veteran Marine.
Charlie was educated in the parochial system which, demanded that you actually learn something, and have capability to retain it before you advance. He attended several universities in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree, and chased the goose further to a master’s, and has retained some very definite ideas about education in this country.
In addition, Charlie is a retired blues guitar and vocalist – a musician. This was his therapy career. Nothing brings him as much joy as playing music, and he wishes that he could make a living at it… but alas… life goes on!

Non-Compos Mentis

The literal definition of this Latin phrase is Not sane or not in one’s right mind:

Classically, not having control of one’s mind.

It was first used in thirteenth-century English law to describe people afflicted by madness, the loss of memory, or the ability to reason.

My interpretation…

No Compass, Means Us…

I constantly wonder about the absurd and foundering America I see today. All reason and intelligence appear to be discarded, or we’ve intentionally abandoned using good sense and logic. We seem emotionally driven, guided more by feelings than intellect.

Did we utterly legislate or litigate reason into obscurity using “the end justifies the means” as our rationale? Continue reading

Not One, Not Some, But All…

I received a message from Brother David this morning on this exact topic. I responded to an assertion that this is something new. On the contrary – what we face happens all the time and throughout history just before the fall of every great nation when people equate irresponsibility and recklessness – licentiousness with freedom.

Allowing free expression is essential to growth, but knowing what to say and when is crucial to the republic’s survival. It’s like yelling fire in a crowded theater – you can, but should you? We forget that freedom implies responsibility and a willingness to agree to disagree. It allows everyone a choice of what and who to believe. The most difficult of all is deciding what’s most important: the Republic or the Individual. Continue reading

Something Wicked This Way Comes…

I took a two-week break from the world, or at least tried to. It was no use. Regardless of where we were, man’s horrific intent and bad news encroached on our attempted serenity.

I keep thinking about the analogy of a chimpanzee with a loaded machine gun sitting on a fallen jungle tree with an empty bottle of vodka at its feet.

What could possibly go wrong? Continue reading

The Artful Codger

The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubt, while the stupid ones are full of confidence. ~ Charles Bukowski

This commentary continues a theme I started in July, where I spin the titles and stories of Charles Dickens toward more contemporary circumstances. The second episode in the series was “Oliver’s Twist,” or “The Parish Boy’s Progress,” set in London’s seedy underworld; it is a story of poverty, corruption, and Oliver’s eventual reclamation. My observations correlate current political actors to the characters therein.

In his novel “Oliver Twist,” Dickens introduced several memorable actors and personalities that remind us of people we know and recognize in contemporary events. Among the significant supporting characters in this story is The Artful Dodger. This title exercises my literary license with that title, adapting it to fit my intentions.

I’m calling this piece “The Artful Codger.” Continue reading

The Flood…

I’ve been distracted for the past few weeks dealing with personal issues; however, I’ve maintained my routine of morning coffee and the usual unhealthy dose of corporate media’s prevarications (bullshit). I’ve discovered that some of my issues stem from the dissonance between what I’m expected to believe and what I experience.

It’s this dichotomy that created the schism. Continue reading

The Old Curiosity Crop

Bennett just floated another title balloon over the virtual fence – this will be the fourth in the series. Then, just when I thought it was safe to go back into the water, another idea came floating in. I’ll save that one for installment number five.

Charles John Huffman Dickens wrote about the inequities and inequalities of nineteenth-century England. His stories provide a glimpse of life’s concerns and issues in those times through his masterfully created characters and their stories in those situations. He wrote what he saw around him, taking his readers on a journey of enlightenment and allowing them to experience their trials and tribulations through his prose, illuminating things most people never saw or simply chose to ignore.

Dickens’ Old Curiosity Shop, 1841, is the story of an old man with a disquieting secret: his gambling addiction, which creates uncomfortable encumbrances, causing him no end of problems. Is it gambling or the obsession that drives the story or the ensuing life situations it makes? You decide… Continue reading

The American Politician ~ You’re a Heep…

Uriah Heep

Friend Bennett and I share an uncommon appreciation for literature, notably Charles Dickens.

Our love of music brought us together many years ago in a blues club where I played. The club’s name escapes me, yet this encounter kindled a splendid friendship, and many discussions about music, art, and literature; especially the works of the author whose name I share along with some ancestry.

Jeff and I frequently gab about books, especially Dickens’ writings. One such chinwag launched this collection of commentaries based on Mr. Dickens’ novels and characters.

I quipped in the first of the series that I fully expected the Newspeak-police to revoke my literary license for taking liberties with Dickens’ work. A black van has been parked in the neighborhood lately, replacing the helicopters that stopped circling a week ago. ;)

This commentary is an interpretive parallel based on a character in the novel David Copperfield (1849). Dickens connected character traits to a name so masterfully that they remain analogous to this day. His fascinating and enduring descriptions give us an image to link to the message. Continue reading

Oliver’s Twist

              ‘Twistin’ the Night away...

I sought a deferential theme in keeping with my recent Dickensian motif; my muse proposed a Twist on Oliver. Thank you, friend Bennett…

Oliver Twist: The full title is – Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy’s Progress; a novel by Charles Dickens, published serially under the pseudonym “Boz” from 1837 to 1839 in Bentley’s Miscellany and a three-volume book in 1838. The story was the first of the author’s works to depict the impoverished London underworld realistically and to illustrate his belief that poverty leads to crime, a premise embraced by Big Brother, with some rationalizations and twists – naturally…

Crimes’ catalyst is the topic of my commentary. . . Continue reading

Great Expectations

I usually have two or three commentaries, essays, or a chapter for my book in progress at any given time and switch between them as my muse abets.

As I shifted gears from business mode to my alter-ego today, preparing to work on an existing project, a dear friend called with an enthralling idea for an article.

My dear friend Jeffrey Bennett called to propose a title fitting for this intriguing moment in America. As we discussed my current project, the appeal of his compelling recommendation took flight. Jeff piqued my interest with “Great Expectations,” and as the possibilities unfolded, the outline and theme materialized… Continue reading

Breakfast at the Hipster Cafe’

I met a friend for a bit of brekky at a Hipster joint on 40th Street and Camelback in Phoenix, AZ.

I always arrive early to scope the place. Since it was early and the joint was empty, I thought I snagged a table and enjoyed a cup of coffee.

As I opened my car door, I was assaulted by LOUD modern music thumping in the outdoor patio dining area and blasting away in the indoor dining area.

SO LOUD I felt the music. Continue reading

Adrift? No Longer…

While enjoying my morning routine of coffee and headlines, profound apprehensions plague me, knowing we’re lost and foundering. Not only as a republic but as a society. Is this awareness the new normal? Is it what we endure and where we abide? Or will we alter our course before this sinking ship of state drags us all under?

It may be too late.

I’m looking for similes and corollaries, but all I can find is space – as in the universe, but I imagine the ocean, standing at the shore, wondering what’s on the other side. We know the sea is finite; it’s a massive depression in the earth filled with water. On the other hand, as Einstein postulates, “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” Continue reading

The End Justifies the Means

If there were ever an argument for why decisions are so far off the moral and ethical target, and that supports the statement that America has no moral compass, this title says it in five words.

These five words explain every unconstitutional, unethical, and immoral decision in our republic. These five words mask any implication of impropriety because, from a particular perspective, it’s for the greater good, the good of the republic, because… “The End Justifies the Means!

When the exception becomes the rule, there is no need for reason. When everything becomes an excuse, there are no more pretexts. When a republic rationalizes everything as critical to its existence, it eventually fails, and there is no need for morality.

America is that republic. Continue reading

Progress has NEVER been a bargain…

My wife and I enjoy movies of the past because they represent the promise of America, offering positive moral assessments and messages. Most of the films are adaptations of books or plays extolling conservative messages.

Yes, some are just pure entertainment but of a positive nature. Some warn of impending doom or consequences of poor decisions. Continue reading

Amerikanós Apokalypsis (The American Apocalypse)

Saint John the Evangelist, Gustave Dore

While researching several ideas for this essay, I started reading from Apocalypse of John, the last book in the Christian bible, called Revelations. Incidentally, the word apocalypse means revelation or that which is uncovered.

The word apocalypse comes from the Greek word apockalypsis, which means to uncover, reveal, lay bare, disclose, unveil, or divulge. The preferred pop culture and secondary meaning is universal or widespread destruction or disaster by the forces of evil.

Apocalypse of John is a compilation of his letters to the seven Roman provinces in Asia Minor, the area we call Turkey. John was concerned that these fledgling churches would stray from the newly formed faith in Christ and succumb to Roman politics. Part 1 of the book contains moral admonitions, and Part 2 is John’s visions and allegories for failing to observe the warnings and the resulting upheaval. Continue reading

Crime and Punishment

“Don’t go to bed with no price on your head – No, no, don’t do it.
Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time – Yeah, don’t do it.”
Baretta’s Theme song ~ Sammy Davis Jr.

In 1975, when this TV show was first aired, America had a much different character.

In November of that year, I was coming home from my third tour of Vietnam. Part of our country was pissed off about our involvement in a conflict we didn’t want to win. The rest was concerned about Watergate, 9% unemployment, Hoffa was missing, the Cold War flourishing, the space race was exclusionary, and the ever-looming nuclear holocaust terrified everyone. Continue reading

Aaaach-tung!!!!

Attention – Danger!!!!

This commentary speaks to America’s parallel with events that began in 1930s Germany and resulted in the meteoric rise of a right-wing group that eventually became the Nazi Party. But in America, it’s not the Nazis that worry me; it’s the Licentious Left that is most worrisome.

America’s takeover by Left-wing Socialists and the impending financial collapse they caused will destroy this country. The parallel to 1930s Germany is unmistakable and undeniable. Continue reading

Oh No, ANOTHER Iceberg?

Something Brother David mentioned in his response to my last piece tickled “my little grey cells‘.”

I was mulling over several possible titles that adequately express my view in this essay. I remembered something in a previous commentary. I used Plato’s coined phrase “Ship of State;” from his book Republic.

I believe my reference was our Sinking Ship of State. Continue reading

Buckle Up, Buttercup… The Cult of Personality

My Brother-in-law David recently commented that I’m too hard on American citizens for not caring for our country. I respect and value his opinion. He’s right on the money. I am hard on the people trusted with our republic – you and me. His insightful comment inspired this essay.

The great riddle of a seven-headed figure

No one likes to be told they’re wrong or at fault. I realize it’s generational; it’s how we’re socialized – educated – indoctrinated. That’s part of the problem; we like it easy and comforting. Criticism and reprobation are foreign concepts and quite disquieting to most American citizens. We’ve come to expect our government to do it for us, but sometimes we need a good slap in the face to awaken from complacency. The current situation shows that mind reading is not Big Brother’s strong suit, and in the absence of well-stated requirements, he will give us what he wants.

I attribute our present situation to American citizens’ inaction and lack of involvement. I also criticize the educational system – another responsibility we relinquish to Big Brother. Continue reading