William Butler Yeats’s take on the Eternal Feminine:

Who dreamed that beauty passes like a dream?
For those red lips, with all their mournful pride,
Mournful that no new wonder may betide,
Troy passed away in one high funeral gleam,
And Usna’s children died.

We and the labouring world are passing by:
Amid men’s souls, that waver and give place
Like the pale waters in their wintry race,
Under the passing stars, foam of the sky,
Lives on this lonely face.

Bow down, archangels, in your dim abode:
Before you were, or any hearts to beat,
Weary and kind one lingered by His seat;
He made the world to be a grassy road
Before her wandering feet.


I’ve unpublished this story on Amazon for the Kindle, because I decided to include it in a new collection, Twelve Western Stories, which I’ll be publishing in a month or two.

The story concerns a hapless bounty hunter who partners up with an orphan girl on a grand but brief adventure.  It may remind you a bit of True Grit, but it goes somewhere else.

This was the first thing I ever e-published, and led directly to the new collection of stories.  My Facebook friend Polly Frost, whose own books and e-books can be had at this link, made me do it — or at least persuaded me that I had no excuse not to do it.

My neo-noir pulp thriller Bloodbath is still available for the Kindle on Amazon.


You would have been hard pressed in the 1950s to find a middle-class American home that didn’t possess a copy of this book — it sold even more copies than The Joy Of Cooking. Its recipes were illustrated with hundreds of step-by-step photos, and decorated with cheerful drawings of modern living.

Betty Crocker was a fictional person, the face of General Mills, a flour company, so her cookbook was heavily weighted towards baked goods, especially desserts. It emphasized brightly colored confections, compensation, it has been suggested, for the diminished taste of foodstuffs designed to be prepared quickly, often from mixes.

First published in 1950, the book had a spiral notebook design, so pages could be removed for easier perusal while preparing dishes. Like The Joy Of Cooking, Betty and her cookbook served in the place of mothers and grandmothers for women who had moved to isolated suburbs after WWII, cut off from their traditional kitchen mentors.

Its emphasis on convenience helped free women from time in the kitchen so that they could serve meals yet still join in the nightly gathering around the new American hearth — the television set.

Popular around the same time were table-top appliances that allowed women to prepare hot snacks or meals in the living room within sight of the television set.  Swanson’s TV Brand Frozen Dinners, appearing first in 1953, took this idea to its logical extreme.  The frozen dinners came in brightly colored packages which depicted the food inside the frame of a television screen.  Collapsible table-trays, for eating such fare in front of the television, became standard fixtures of the American home in this era.


For reasons beyond my control, I need to switch hosts for this blog.  The migration will involve considerable messiness — probably a bit of a gap in posting and a new look for the site.  Categories for older posts and my list of favorites sites will not move with the old content.  Old comments will move but the names of the authors of the comments will not.  I’m sorry about this and want to you to know that I appreciate each and every reader who has left a comment in the past, even though all those old comments will become anonymous on the new site.

It will undoubtedly take me a while to learn how to format the blog at its new host, and it may be somewhat chaotic, visually, until I do.

It will all sort itself out in time, I’m sure — meanwhile join me in a stiff Rum Coco and let the night of the iguana begin to spin out of control!


On the right above is Asama Al-Assad, trophy wife of Bashar Al-Assad, President of Syria.  God knows how much money she has made from allowing herself to get hosed on a regular basis by this human reptile, but as she watches her husband butcher more and more unarmed civilians, more and more women, more and more children, I wonder if she has dark nights of the soul, trying to decide if the deal she cut was really worth it.

Sure, she's been featured in fashion spreads in Vogue magazine, but she will live the rest of her life with the stench of innocent blood in her nostrils, the indelible stain of Bashar's touch on her skin.  How much money and celebrity is a lifetime in hell really worth?