This is not photoshop or artwork.  It’s the engine room of a German submarine during the First World War.  How anyone knew which wheel to turn and when I cannot tell and many of us will feel claustrophobia just looking at the passageway portal.  We have come a long way in the last century, both in our mechanical ‘tools’ and international diplomacy. Sort of. In many fields we are just as primitive now as we were a century ago. The unfortunate fact of the matter is technology does not make us smarter, only faster. Yes, modern submarine engine rooms are substantially different but above the water line we are still bickering and tit-for-tatting over land, religion, economics and ethnic identity. We should be spending as much time getting along with one another as we do replacing wheels with gauges, switches and circuits. [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 photoshop.  It is ‘law and order’ during the Alaska Gold Rush. There were so many men rushing north over an area 1/5th that of the Lower 48 States, law and order had to done locally. By councils of men who sat in judgement. The number of ‘legal’ lynchings were less than a handful. For most miscreants, it was a whipping. Like this one. What’s the point? We are currently in an era where people are questioning ‘law and order.’ The FBI is under siege, the Department of Justice is suspected of being more political than judicial, shootings are popping up like jack-in-boxes across the country, bombs are being sent by mail and the local police are looked upon with suspicion. Locally, statewide and nationally, we should think long and hard about the quality of the people we hire to represent the face of law and order. [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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Anyone can quit. A lot of people do. But if you ask successful people ‘what was your secret?’ the bulk of them would say “I didn’t quit.” We do not live in Walt Disney world where everyone will succeed. Success is a journey not a destination. And those who do succeed are badly battered, like this B-25 in 1944.  How could it have made it back to England this badly damaged? The answer: it did. To those who are struggling in business, art, literature or software development, next time you suffer a staggering setback, just keep going. It’s easy to quit. Only 10% off all who struggle, the talented tenth, will succeed.  Next time you think about quitting, remember this B-25. [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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Just another old photo, eh?  Well, old photos hide stunning truths. This is my mother’s mother’s uncle. His name was Cabot Jackson Russel and he was one of the white officers leading the black regiment, the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, during the Civil War.  He was killed in the Battle of Fort Wagner but ‘brought back to life’ in the movie GLORY.  We ARE NOT a nation divided by race, religion, country of origin or point of view. We ARE a nation BECAUSE of our blend of race, religion, country of origin and point of view. We are not locked into the prejudices of the past. We are forward-looking and for this reason the best innovative products in the world come from the fertile soil of our unique, ever-changing population melting pot. [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 photoshop.  It is an actual sculpture and it symbolizes my mantra as a writer: “If you do not have something unique, you have nothing.” For the past century, the key to success was to ‘stay within the envelope.’ You had to be ‘normal’ to keep your job and being different was ‘pushing the envelope.’ Now, in this age of Artificial Intelligence, the envelope is gone. With the power of the internet, there is no ‘normal.’ Unique products do not have to fight for a place on grocery store shelves. Online buyers are looking for them. Speaking as a writer, the world does not need another book on the Civil War or a retired detective fighting alcoholism, going through a bitter divorce and being called for ‘the biggest case of his/her career.’  The world wants different.  If you can produce ‘different,’ success belongs to YOU! If you want an example of a ‘different’ detective story, read https://retreatsfromoblivion.com/2018/08/29/the-matter-of-the-smallgarian-wall-and-the-portuguese-undertaker-by-steve-levi/ [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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One of the oldest tricks in the book, er, history, is to use the tools at your disposal. A new tool is always nice but, frankly, you don’t get that many ‘new’ tools in life. So you are stuck with the ones you have. Far and away the best tool is education.  This means what you LEARN, not the number of books you have read or chemistry problems you solved. Common sense is not that common. To quote Will Rogers, “There are three kinds of men. The ones that learn by readin’. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.”  If you get a chance, take a look at one of my short stories at https://retreatsfromoblivion.com/2018/08/29/the-matter-of-the-smallgarian-wall-and-the-portuguese-undertaker-by-steve-levi/ [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

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Back in the 1970s there was a song by Dr. John – Right Place, Wrong Time” – which was the story of my life. It became my mantra when I added to it:  right dock, wrong boat; right plane, wrong airport; right bus, wrong terminal. Over the years things did not change: right novel, wrong era; right concept, wrong publisher. But, then and now, as a writer, I knew/know I only have to be successful once. Done right and if the gods being willing, one book will earn me a modest retirement, the same as I would have gotten by working for the government for two decades. That being said, the significant difference between me the writer and my friends who are government workers, is I am willing to fail.  I’ve done a lot of it over the years. But I am still here, still writing books, still waiting for that one book that will send me into retirement. Opportunity is like an ocean and I cannot wait for my ship to come in so – pardon, me, Dr. John, I am swimming for it. If you get a chance, take a look at one of my short stories at https://retreatsfromoblivion.com/2018/08/29/the-matter-of-the-smallgarian-wall-and-the-portuguese-undertaker-by-steve-levi/ [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

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For most people, ‘yesterdays’ are not believable because the photos are black-and-white. This leads people to believe ‘then’ is different from ‘now.’ But with colorization, the past becomes alive. This is a beach scene of Atlantic City, 1922, the kind of a photo that would never be in a coffee table book. There is nothing ‘editorially’ significant. But it is what I call “the gift of the split second.’  It is one split second of the past, women and women in bathing suits that are laughable today. As you are chuckling in your morning coffee, REMEMBER, these were your grandparents. If you get a chance, take a look at one of my short stories at https://retreatsfromoblivion.com/2018/08/29/the-matter-of-the-smallgarian-wall-and-the-portuguese-undertaker-by-steve-levi/ [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

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There is a stark lesson in the Brett Kavanaugh nomination imbroglio.  It is as old as America.  You only have the rights you are willing to fight for. Contrary to popular belief, Constitutional guarantees can vaporize. As an example, the Constitution states that confirmation to the United States Supreme Court requires a 2/3 vote in the United States Senate. That did not happen with Neil Gorsuch or with Brett Kavanaugh. Union membership is plummeting and there are more nonpartisan voters than Democrats and Republicans combined. The United States Congress is less popular than hemorrhoids, root canals and herpes. In the past, as illustrated in this photograph from about 1910, we, Americans, fought for our rights as a community. Together we are stronger than as individuals scattered across an industry, issue or the country. History is repeating itself. How powerful we are as a nation depends on what we, individually, do on election day. If you get a chance, take a look at one of my short stories at https://retreatsfromoblivion.com/2018/08/29/the-matter-of-the-smallgarian-wall-and-the-portuguese-undertaker-by-steve-levi/ [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

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Anthony “Tony” Dimond, Alaska’s lone delegate to the United States Congress from 1933 to 1944, was a master at selecting juries when he was a private practice in Valdez in the 1920s.  In one particular suit against the Kennecott Copper Corporation in which a worker was maimed, Dimond managed to have the jury packed with men who had lost legs, arms, fingers or eyes.  Even the judge was crippled.  When it came time to address the jury, Dimond, who had himself been crippled during the Gold Rush when he nearly blew his leg off, limped before the jury to plead the case of his client.  The jury found for Dimond’s client “without leaving their seats.”  If you get a chance, take a look at one of my short stories at https://retreatsfromoblivion.com/2018/08/29/the-matter-of-the-smallgarian-wall-and-the-portuguese-undertaker-by-steve-levi/ [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

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