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:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Thinking Out Loud: Who Will Sail With Me?

Here's the boat, here's the question: Who will sail with me? My friend and planned crew just had to back out for medical reasons and now I'm stuck. This lovely lady is up on the far coast of Long Island, NY and needs to come home to the Chesapeake, maybe a two week voyage.

Do it alone? Would have ten years ago, but now, at 62, I think not. I've got my own medical issues.

Other, more reasonable options?

Find someone else to crew. At this late date? Not easy. I've got someone for the Cape May-to-top-of-the-Chesapeake leg and I'm not worried about the sail down the Bay. It's the Long Island-to-Cape May leg that's the most difficult (East River through N.Y. City?).

Wait until June when I know my brother can help? That's the most reasonable option. Problem is weather. I wanted to get down the coast before the heat, doldrums, and thunderstorms of full summer set in. The Chesapeake Bay is very often dead water in June. Beside, I'm jacked to get this done and everything is ready.

Patience? Relax? It will happen? Stay home, drink green tea, and weed the lawn until something comes up? That's the other option. I hate that option.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Love in the time of Swine Flu: An Anniversary

Here we are, last week, after twenty-eight years, toasting ourselves and our spectacular luck. In those years we raised two kids (successfully) and lived, taught, traveled, and sailed all around the world.

Let's see, we were in Iceland for two years, Germany for twelve, and Guam (where we lived on a 41-ft. sailboat) for eleven. We took some crazy risks (Running bulls in Pamplona? Running French drunks on the Champs Elysee in Paris on New Years Eve? Skiing the Matterhorn?) sailed in the Adriatic, the Greek Islands, the Chesapeake Bay, the Windward Islands in the Caribbean, and the western Pacific. We've gone walkabout in Australia and hiked in the mountains of Tasmania and the jungles of Bali. Wonderful. Once we went around the world by planes, trains, and automobiles including six days and nights on the Trans Siberian Railroad.

The next twenty-eight? Right now we're hunkered down happily on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and it fits nicely. But, we haven't been to Africa or South America yet--and what about India? I guess I'm bragging. I beg forgiveness--but it has been an awfully fine voyage so far.

Monday, April 20, 2009

From the Blood and Muck of Humanity Rises a Lotus: Susan Boyle Brings Out the Best in Us

I'm not talking just about Susan Boyle as the lotus rising from the blood and muck. I'm talking about the rest of us she brought up from the muck with her.

Here she is (thanks, the big, heavy, plain, never-been-kissed, forty-seven year old spinster who somehow found her way onto British television via the Britain Has Talent contest. We all know the story by now--how she sauntered out onto the stage to the obvious dismay of both judges and audience and then wowed them to tears with her magnificent voice.

The most wonderful thing for this observer were the chill bumps I got that night watching this apparently clueless underdog shine through both the under and the dog. It got to me, got to me hard and fast. I'd been wallowing in the dregs of the news for hours--you know, the usual slaughters, rapes, murders, ego-maniacal politicians--without the slightest outward reaction--when this woman who obviously had a huge dream and was going to live it no matter the odds--and had been practicing, practicing, practicing--got my emotional juices joyously roiling.

And one can assume that that was the reaction of nearly everyone who witnessed her performance. For a moment we were all dumbstruck by something wonderful, something made more wonderful because it was the last thing we expected. Was our reaction caused by relief that Susan was not going to embarrass herself and so not embarrass us? Would we have been as stunned had that voice come wrapped in more elegant package?

Never mind. What was wonderful was wonderful was wonderful. For a moment we all showed the best of our humanness--we thrilled at the success of someone who, like most of us, had never been great at anything, had been living a life distinguished only by its plainness, and we rose up from the bottom of the mud hole and felt elated and cheered her on. Good for her, good for us.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Katie Couric and the Media's Plot to Take Down Poor Picked-On Palin: Fox "News" at Its Finest

Yep, that right--Fox News, the fair and balanced Trash News Network (TNN?), is outdoing itself on this one. The "news" program whose sole goal is to take down Democrat politicians by any means but usually through twisting and spinning reality, is now accusing the liberal, left-wing media of doing the same thing to Ms. Palin. Palin, the GOP's answer to Dan Quayle (remember him?) was, according to Fox, "unfairly" questioned by Ms. Couric in that famous interview where Palin clearly demonstrated that she, Palin, did not know much of anything and was not ready for prime-time, world-stage politics. How dare Couric ask hard questions of a woman who would have been a heartbeat away from the Presidency? The nerve. She was just out to get her. Certainly the news hounds at Fox, those old softies, would not have done that to Mr. Obama or Mr. Biden.

Meanwhile, that weak, left wing, Europe-loving socialist and would-be dictator who also happens to be the President of the United States has much of the civilized world eating out of his hand and now he just pulled off in fine style a successful ending to his first international incident, the Somalian pirate hostage situation. And he did it in typical No Drama Obama style. I am looking forward to how the Friendly Folks at Fox (FFF?) try make Obama look bad on this one. But try they will.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Missing My Grandson, Spending Boat Units, Writing for

Here we are, just the day before yesterday, grandad and grandson, Douglas and Konrad Douglas. And now he's gone back to Atlanta with his mom and my poor heart can't take it. Holding your infant grandson does recharge the paternal instincts. Are there grandpaternal instincts?

Today we are off for Delaware where they have no sales tax and we are going shopping for boat stuff. I thought I was done with boat stuff when we sold our sailboat out in the Pacific, but no, here we go again. In our yachtie community we called $1,000 spent on a boat a boat unit. We plan on spending, oh, maybe three boat units today. What are we thinking? Are we nuts?

Meanwhile, I'm noodling around writing articles for and my piece on atheism and politics in America is getting lot of hits. You can see it by going to Go to the search field and type in DouglasArvidson (one word). My picture will come up on the left.

Now, I'm off to buy kitty food before we leave on our weekender.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Meet Simon, the New Cat, and I Post My First Article on ALLVOICES

All right, here he is, Simon the New Cat here at the Barge House in Onancock. And he's a great kitty, too--friendly and cool, his act is definitely together. As the old saying goes, sometimes wisdom comes with age and sometimes age comes all by itself. But in this old boy's case, Bhudda Kat would not be much of a stretch. He's placid and knowing and purrrrrring. Right now he's getting used to the house and after a judicious period of time, he'll be allowed to wander freely about the place. There is a small issue with one of our other cats--but, we'll work it out.

Meanwhile, based on my blogs here, I was invited to write for Sure anyone can write for them, but I was asked and that made my day (That was yesterday. I'm waiting for something else to make my day today). Go to and look under Politics and new stories. I'm in there somewhere.

What did I write about? About the failure of the GOP to rid itself of its wild fringe. The political polarization of this country is a Republican travesty. And to imagine it was a forigner, Rupert Murdock, and his Fox News cabal that had a lot to do with it. And of course there is Rush. My point is this: The new president has the overwhelming support of the people while the Right has lost it. Time to wake up? You betcha.

Here's an excerpt from an article about our man Murdoch in the Center for American Progress, (July 2004); Read it and wonder:

In recent years, Australian-born billionaire Rupert Murdoch has used the U.S. government's increasingly lax media regulations to consolidate his hold over the media and wider political debate in America. Consider Murdoch's empire: According to Businessweek, "his satellites deliver TV programs in five continents, all but dominating Britain, Italy, and wide swaths of Asia and the Middle East. He publishes 175 newspapers, including the New York Post and The Times of London. In the U.S., he owns the Twentieth Century Fox Studio, Fox Network, and 35 TV stations that reach more than 40% of the country...His cable channels include fast-growing Fox News, and 19 regional sports channels. In all, as many as one in five American homes at any given time will be tuned into a show News Corp. either produced or delivered." But who is the real Rupert Murdoch? As this report shows, he is a far-right partisan who has used his empire explicitly to pull American political debate to the right. He is also an enabler of the oppressive tactics employed by dictatorial regimes, and a man who admits to having hidden money in tax havens. In short, there more to Rupert Murdoch than meets the eye.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

There's Gold in Them Thar Blogs; It IS REALLY Spring; A New (Old, Old) Cat Joins the Family

Somebody is reading this blog. This morning I got an email from a person named "Tara" who was representing a web-based company that pays people to write articles for them. She said, "I've read your blog and like your writing. We'd like to invite you to write for us. If you are interested, go to our site and sign up."

So, I did. I figure if they're not asking for money upfront, what can I lose. I filled out the necessary blank fields and now I'm waiting for them to contact me again--I think that's what I'm supposed to do. The deal seems to be that I can write about anything and what I get paid depends on the amount of interest shown by blog readers and if they click on the advertisements that will ride along side my articles.

Swell stuff. In my previous blog I profiled Leo Babauta of Zen Habits/The Power of Less fame. That's how he started. Got an idea for an interesting blog and followed all the rules of good blogging. Advertisers started advertising on his blog and the deal is, every time the advertisers get a hit (a reader clicks on their logo), Leo gets paid. Things snowballed. Readers loved his blog on how to simplify their lives and advertisers loved the exposure they were getting. It now costs a bit more to get an ad on his blog than it did at the beginning, you betcha'. There seems to be a plethora of such deals out there now as business-minded people jump on the world-wide bandwagon. It's a brave new world and I love it.

Meanwhile, after weeks of trumpeting the arrival of the new season and the passing of the old, it did finally happen. No more temps in the 20's and 30's, no more frost on the pumpkin or the windshield, no more big electric bills, no more excuses for weather-based bad attitudes. And I love it this, too--this spring stuff. Love the warm sunshine and the perfumes carried on the cool air, love the blooming cherry and Bradford pear trees, and the daffodils and first dandelions, and people out mowing their lawns. Makes me want to do some sort of seasonal dance, to run out in the street and howl a little. Why not? Remember the song about the crazy lady on Caroline Stree? I think I'd enjoy having a reputation as that old nutter who lives on Riley Street. Certainly better than not having a reputation at all (see prior blog about fame).

And, as I write this, my niece's husband (nephew-in-law?) is on his way down here from still-frozen Massachusetts. In his car, presumably in a cage/carrier of some sort, is a cat named Simon. Simon is 18 years old, and, by God, that's old in cat time. For various reasons, Simon is in need of a new home...or else? His owner couldn't bear to think of "or else." So my cat-loving wife and I agreed to take Simon in. We already have two cats and one of them is old. Zeke is 17 and has literally been around the world, from Germany to Guam (where he lived on a sailboat with us for 10 years), and now here to the Eastern Shore of Virginia. I think he's too old to care much about the new resident in what is fast becoming what our son calls a kitty nursing home. We will see. I'll put a photo of Simon up here tomorrow.