In 1912, so many Americans were furious with both the Democratic and Republican parties that they formed the Progressive Party. (The photo is from their national convention.) Their platform demanded – and I will quote from Wikipedia so no one thinks I am ‘gaming’ the issue – “to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics.” Other Progressive issues included campaign finance reform, a tariff REDUCTION, establishment of what is today called the ‘safety net,’ an eight-hour workday, minimum wage for women, women’s suffrage, worker’s compensation, inheritance tax, direct election of senators, primary election for state and federal office holders, establishment of what is now the SEC and the ‘big three:’ recall, initiative and referendum.  Humm, one hundred years later and those issues are just as big now as they were then. https://amzn.to/2C62juE

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Spooky, eh? He’s Jasper Maskelyne and he made a modest living as a magician until the Second World War. Then he became a magician for the British Army. His greatest trick was making the Suez Canal in Egypt disappear. The Germans needed to destroy the Suez Canal to stop the supply of food and ammunition to Allied forces in Europe. German planes could be easily spotted and shot out of the sky during the day so they staged massive bombing raids at night. So, Maskelyne made the Suez Canal vanish. How? Prestidigitation. He matched the lighting pattern of the Suez Canal five miles away from the Suez Canal. Then, when radar picked up incoming German bombers, the lights of the Suez Canal were turned off and the fake lights turned on. The German bombers then dropped their bombs five miles away. In the desert. Killing only snakes, scorpions and scrub brush. You don’t need to be high tech to be clever! https://amzn.to/2C62juE

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Be frightened!  VERY FRIGHTENED!  This is the scariest piece of photoshop I have ever encountered. For those without a knowledge of the Renaissance, it is a remake of the hand of God creating man from Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  Visually – and culturally – it is telling us we have given birth to a new world, a new era.  Tomorrow will not be the same as yesterday when it comes to how we make a living, what we can buy and how it is delivered.  That’s the BAD news.  The GOOD news is the marketplace of the world has opened wide for the small business person. In the ‘bad old days,’ the products on the market were the ones businesses believed would sell, not good ones. And profit was in the large numbers. The key to corporate survival was sales, not marketing. Today that trend has been reversed. Now there are buyers looking for unique products. And Artificial Intelligence has made those products cheaper to produce. Today a writer does not have to print 1,000 books to sell one. A fine artists does not have to slog from gallery-to-gallery-to-gallery to find wall space and the entrepreneur who invents a unique product like the Snuggie can sell it on cable television. Artificial Intelligence can make and deliver things faster, but it cannot innovate.  That’s the realm of the human mind.  That being said, you can see my unique books at www.authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime.

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DO NOT ROLL YOUR EYES when I tell you this is a statue of Sonny Bono in Palm Springs. (If you are a millennial, Sonny was the ‘Sonny’ in the Sonny and Cher singing duo back in the Dark Ages.) If you are a writer, you OWE a very big thanks to Sonny. Why? Because before 1998, the copyright on your writing was only good for seven (7) years. After that, your books, novels and stories became part of the public domain and anyone could use them for any reason – and not pay you a dime. In 1998, Sonny became the ‘face’ of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. Now your books, novels and stories will not enter the public domain until 70 years after your death.  This means your children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, whoever will be making the BIG BUCKS long after you are gone because, alas, few successful writers make those BIG BUCKS in their lifetime. But you can make me a successful writer in my lifetime by buying my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime.

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My father, a Holocaust refugee, spoke four language fluently and read Greek and Latin. But he said American English was the hardest language to master. That’s because American English has rules everyone ignores. As an example, in most languages every letter has a specific sound.  And American English?  Let’s see. What is the sound of the letter “e” in the following three words: eye, eve, ere.  Want more? Read above. See my ‘different mysteries’ at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

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I’d like to believe this photoshop. But then, again ………..  My father – like all fathers – once told me whenever I read about the stupidest thing a person could do, I should wait a week.  Someone else was sure to do something dumber. He, and all fathers, has yet to proven wrong. We all make mistakes and some of them are whoppers. But it is not the mistakes which make better and stronger, it is recovering from our errors and saying, I’m never going to do that again.” Unless we are like this person who might not get the chance to say anything again. [See my ‘different mysteries’ at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

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This is not a photoshop.  Yes, there is a river down there. This is Tianmen Mountain in China. While I do not suffer from vertigo, just looking at this picture gives me vertigo. It is also a lesson in life for all of us.  Day by day we progress in baby steps.  Some days we surge forward a yard; other days we slip back a foot. And the next day another foot back. But, over the long run, we inch forward and every once in a while we take a moment to look back and marvel at how far we’ve come. Each of us started out at that river and though the pathway onward is crowded, like this one, we continue to inch forward. That’s life. But every once in a while, we need to take a look backward and marvel at how far we’ve come. [See my ‘different mysteries’ at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

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Alaskan humorist Warren Sitka is famous for his admonition that humanity is best served by adhering to a simply rule: DDDD, “Don’t Double-Down on Dumb.”  When it comes to history, there is a lot of DDDD. This generic photo is an excellent example. These are Native Alaskans being shipped to detention camps during the Second World War. Apparently the United States military was concerned that Alaska Natives 2,000 miles from ANY fighting were a ‘national security threat’ so they had to be sent to camps in Lower 48. But the Japanese-Americans in Hawaii – ON the front line – were NOT sent to camps.  Maybe someone can explain that to me. If you are a trivia enthusiast, the Japanese-
Americans in Barrow on the Arctic Ocean, 3,000 miles from the front line, chose not to go to the detention camps. They migrated inland and established the village of Beaver on the Yukon River. [See my ‘different mysteries’ at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

 

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Alaskan humorist Warren Sitka notes the problem with ignorance is it breeds faster than common sense. We are in an era where being stupid is an asset. Common sense may not be that common but over the long haul, intelligence pulled humankind out of cave. It’s time for us to stop being stupid and working on solutions, not slogans. It is raining where I live in Alaska.  IN ALASKA!  IN DECEMBER! Raining in the middle of winter in the land of ice and snow. That should be a clue that global climate change is very real. And very dangerous. We have a Congress that cannot pass gas and a President who keeps professing innocence as indictments to the contrary pile up. We are running down a very dangerous road and there are too many people, like these men, who believe that ignorance is the new cool.  [See my ‘different mysteries’ at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

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See my ‘different mysteries’ at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

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