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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Next time you turn on the tap and let the water d-r-a-i-n while you brush your teeth, think of how lucky you are!  In 1898, you would have saved every drop of water in your house you could. That was because there was no tap. Actually, there was.  But it was out in the street.  And it was communal. We had better start thinking about conserving our water. The days when water was plentiful and cheap are gone forever. California is in a drought and, if you read your history, it is global climate change that causes the collapse of the Mayan empire. It happened before; it could happen again. 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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Nice, eh? Historic but nice. Well, these are fashions from my great grandparents’ women’s fashion design in Torino, Italy. They owned the entire company: lock, stock, barrel and sewing machines.  In today’s dollars, it was a fully-operational $200 million-dollar business. Until 1939. Then Mussolini’s government simply took it.  Government officials walked in the front door and that was that. My great grandfather died in a slave labor camp and my great grandmother in Auschwitz. My father, uncle and grandparents landed in New York with $15,000. Next time you hear anyone talking about how the President and Congress are kicking away democratic safeguards, worry. Next time it could be YOU. 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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Of course, it’s the sphinx. Everyone knows that. Everyone. Since the beginning of time. Really? Odd. Did you know that when the Greek historian Herodotus visited Egypt in 450 BCE (Before the Christian Era), he did not see the sphinx?  Why not? Because it was covered with sand. Scientists say sand dunes in Egypt can be as deep as 1,500 feet and, shall we say, ‘move around.’ In 450 BCE, a century before Alexander the Great, the sphinx was buried in sand. It only ‘reappeared’ in the 1400s. Which leaves us to ask: what else is out there now, buried in 1,500 feet of sand, that Herodotus saw and we have yet to discover? And, for historical accuracy, French soldiers under Napoleon did not shoot off the nose of the sphinx. That was done in 1378 of the modern era by a Muslim named Muhammad Sa’im al-Dahr. He was in control of Egypt and was outraged when he saw Egyptian peasants were making offerings to the sphinx for a more productive flooding of the Nile. He destroyed the nose of the sphinx in vengeance – and then he was executed for vandalism. 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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I’ll bet you think you are looking at flowers. WRONG!  These are ‘fields’ of abandoned bicycles in China.  Talk about a traffic jam!  In 2017, in an effort to make the citizenry more mobile, scores of business offered free bikes to the public. You used the bike when you needed it and left it when you were where you wanted to be. And it worked. Sort of. Suddenly there were millions of abandoned bikes on the streets creating traffic jams and pedestrian hazards. So cities were forced to pull the abandoned bikes off the street – and they ‘recycled’ them into artistic patterns as you can see in this photograph.  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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OK, what time is it?  But there’s a real problem here – what happens if the instructions are to “put your hands on the steering wheel at 10 and 2?” I can understand why 3 is at 90 degrees but what’s the 4 doing at 180 – and what’s the ‘g’ stand for?  And those other math formulas, not a clue! This, by the way, is a real clock. I snapped a shot of it on the wall in a high school mathematics class. In most cases I can read just about any clock.  If you live in Alaska you have to get used to clocks, analog and digital. By explanation, if you live in the Lower 48, “daytime” has a different meaning in June, July and August then in the rest of America. You cannot ‘tell the time’ by the position of the sun in the sky. During the winter, well, “daytime” is very short.  And, no, Alaska does not have six months of sunshine followed instantaneously by six months of darkness.  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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Just a bunch of camels, right? Yeah, but there is something lurking under those waters.

 

For some background, this is a photo of Guelta d’Archei, an oasis located four-day journey across barren sands of the Sahara Desert from the capital of Chad, n’Djamena. Every day hundreds of camel from caravans water in these waters, excuse the pun. Which is why the water is black. From camel poop. There is no escape for the poop-water so it simply festers. Algae feeds on the camel poop and, in turn, fish feed on the algae. But that is not the top of the food chain in this not-so-pristine oasis. There is a colony of Nile crocodile in these waters which feed on the fish. Yes, crocodiles. They are the last of the crocodiles which inhabited the Sahara when it was a lush land. But that was then. This is now. What’s the real-world lesson here? Not everything is as it seems. There is always something lurking in the shadows, so to speak. Or, in the case of Guelta d’Archei, in the poop-filled waters. So, next time someone tells you that something is ‘as clear as the nose on your face,’ don’t be too sure. [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

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This is one of my favorite editorial pictures.  His name is “Has No Horses,” or, in the parlance of our era, “poor boy.” He was part of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in about 1910 so he was probably making good money then.  Every society from the cave until today has had the rich and ‘has no horses.’ History of the story of the battle between the haves and havenots. Has No Horses was born in a poor Sioux family but he improved his lot in life. He may not have died a rich man but he was certainly better off with Buffalo Bill than starving on an Indian reservation.  I cannot speculate how he was able to hook up with Buffalo Bill but, since this is America, I’m willing to bet it was a lot more than just luck. We make our own luck. As the old saying goes, “I’m a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more luck I have.” [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

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Nine miles Southeast of Skwentna and 59 miles north of Tyonek – and, yes, these are actual Alaskan communities – is Bulchitna Lake. And, yes, that is the actual name of the lake. Legend has it a homesteader used the term frequently and thus was the lake named. In Alaska, when someone says something of ‘questionable veracity,’ someone is sure to say – politely – “sounds like the lake to me.” [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

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Once upon a time, in a city far away, a tire dealer had a special understanding with a highly-placed person in city-government. Everyone knew of the freebee but no one could do anything about it because, well, you know, the rich have special immunities. (If you are unsure what is meant, ask any member of the Trump family.) But that does not mean you cannot pull the tail of the tiger.  Someone did. Since the tire dealer signed off on the proof for his yellow-page advertisement, well, you know, that’s the way things go. Moral of the story?  No matter how clever you think you are, there is always someone smarter. [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

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