Douglas Arvidson is a past winner of the WICE/Paris Transcontinental International Short Story competition. His short fiction has been published in Paris, Prague, and in literary magazines in the United States and he was recently invited to be a staff writer for the Prague Revue, a cutting-edge, online literary journal ( The novels in his fantasy series, The Eye of the Eye of Stallion, include The Face in Amber, The Mirrors of Castaway Time, and A Drop of Wizard's Blood. His new novel, Brothers of the Fire Star, was selected as a finalist in the ForeWord Reviews 2012 Book of the Year national awards and as a finalist in three categories in the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards: Action Adventure Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Young Adult Fiction. It has become part of the pantheon of Pacific literature and is now included in school literature programs. Brothers of the Fire Star is an adventure story set in the Pacific during World War II and concerns two boys of different races and cultures who escape the island of Guam in a small sailboat when the Japanese army invades. They must then struggle to survive as they master the secrets of the ancient Pacific navigators. Appropriate for young adults as well as adult readers, Brothers of the Fire Star is available on Barnes & Noble, ( and Visit the author's website:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Spinning Punditry into the Sticky Web of Deception

When, after a summer of dealing with hectic and exhausting family matters I finally had a few days to do nothing (what I thought retirement was really like), I found myself, between naps in this Peachtree City hotel room, glued to the pundits on the tube. I should know better.

It's not as if what Chris Matthews says holds any water, or that Bill O'Riley's leaking gibberish matters a whit. Nonetheless, I find the swirling, muddy rapids of the American political scene fascinating. Perhaps that's what can be expected after spending a quarter of a century living overseas.

And then, the debates. If you were among the undecided voters before the three encounters between Barack and John (unimaginable to me), then you probably still are. Nothing new was said, no new ground broken, no egregious gaffs were made, but we did get a chance to see them together (even though they were loathe to look at each other--a sign of weakness, no doubt). After the face-to-face encounters, Barack's lead in the polls has only increased due, no doubt, to some bubbling, convecting stew of the flushable economy, the lingering wars, and Mr. McCain's own close-to-meltdown strategies. Add to it the lovely Ms. Moose Killer's coming face to face with big-time, prime-time political hardball. We can be certain of only one thing: No matter how she struggled to slog through the melting permafrost of her inexperience and lack of knowledge, the pundits on the Right worked desperately to spin an impermeable, glowing web of support from half-truths and rationalizations. My guess is they were all, way down deep in their growly little souls, horrified.

Mother and Baby Doing Fine, Thank You.

Beautiful daughter, beautiful grandson: Such a rich and fine thing. After the usual nine months of wondering, Konrad Douglas Scarborough arrived in perfect form after just six hours of labor. 9 lbs. 4 oz and 22.5 in. long. How about them apples? We will be celebrating for a long time.

One of the best perks of retirement was being able to spend a wonderful week with Jenny at her home in the beautiful horse country just north of Atlanta waiting for Konrad's arrival. We walked and talked, played Scrabble, read, watched re-runs of M.A.S.H., made two, 45-min. practice runs to the hospital birthing center just in case Daddy was not home from work when she reached critical mass. As it turned out, Rob had been home only an hour last Friday when labor started and I didn't have to drive after all. It fell to me to sit in the back and keep a stopwatch on the contractions. We made it with time to spare and he was born at 16 minutes after midnight on the morning of 20 September 2008. Mother and baby doing fine, thank you.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

News Item: Man Loses Artificial Eye

After I had finished pouring over the political punditry in the local paper while eating my lunch today, I came across this:

Last night police were called to investigate a man swinging a Star Wars-style light saber outside a local apartment complex. He turned out to be a migrant worker who said he was searching for his lost artificial eye. Police suggested he suspend his search until the next day when the light would be better.

Because the taste of politics was still in my mouth (along with the fried clams and slaw) and echoing in my brain, I had to relate this wonderful back-page trifle to the current campaign. To wit: One can assume this man's political sympathies would lie with the Democrats. Think about it--an immigrant, an artificial eye, a light saber, and a night-time setting. So, the guy is in this country to do jobs the average American is loathe to do, he has no health insurance, hence the desperate, midnight search, and with, of all things, a child's toy--a dimly glowing plastic "saber" which indicates he might be too poor to buy a real flashlight.

The typical Republican view might be this: He/She is an immigrant and hence, somehow, at some basic level, is undesirable for one or more of the following reasons: He/She probably has an odd-sounding, un-American name. He/She probably speaks English with an undesirable accent. There is a very good chance his/her skin shade is a bit too dark and his/her features a bit to bold for Red-Blooded Right Wing American tastes nor does he/she hunt or even own a firearm. And the looking-for-my-artificial-eye alibi is obviously a phony one. This foreigner was no doubt a opportunist looking for a chance to score.

Ah, but I'm cynical when it comes to the Right Wingers among us. It's difficulty for me to take seriously those who think the Earth is 6,000 years old, who deny evolution, and who, despite the vast amount of daily evidence to the contrary, think an all-powerful, all all seeing, all forgiving, infinitely merciful God is up there loving and protecting us.

As for the migrant worker looking for his eye, I feel some empathy. It's hard enough to see the world clearly with two eyes, never mind with just one. Maybe that's the problem with the Right Wing extremist element--they've only got one eye and the other one is lost in the grass somewhere.