Monday, September 6, 2021

"Good Luck, Toni" A new book, a new website, and a book signing....


Back in December, 2018 I posted that my friend Waîthira Francis had published her first novel, My Name is Toni.

I'm pleased to report that she's published a sequel, Good Luck, Toni.

Toni is no longer a naïve, young Kenyan immigrant struggling with her religious upbringing as she navigates the mores of an unfamiliar culture, but a married woman, a mother, and a working professional.

"Her life is not spared the drama, love snares and shenanigans that seem to follow Toni everywhere."

Francis has created a website where you can order copies from her directly:  Waîthira Francis.


I've organized a reading/book signing for November 12th at 8PM.   The reading will take place at The Wild Rose (17, rue Maury, Toulouse; you can contact the venue directly at 09 81 84 88 06.)  

In addition to Francis, I will be reading from my novella, The Ice Mine.  Books will be available for purchase and signing.  This reading was originally planned for over a year ago but was derailed by the pandemic.

Fabrice Gieryga will play a few songs and I will sing on one song and play tambourine on some others.  The reading and music will last an hour and a half at most. 

The Lost Generation had Paris in the 20's and 30's.  The Beats called an unnamed hotel at 9, rue Gît-le-Cœur home from the late 50's to the early 60's.  Will Toulouse become known as a literary hotbed for the expat writers of Generation X?  Come help make it happen.  At the least you can grab a drink and hear some literature and live music.... 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

R.I.P. Dave Lettelier

David Lettelier was the Founding President of Phoenix Masonry and curator of its extensive museum, much of which came from his personal collection.  Over the years Phoenix Masonry has become one of the most visited Masonic websites in North America, if not the world.  Dave's interest in Masonry was broad and the museum showcases all manner of Masonic articles, from Co-Masonry, Prince Hall, Grand Orients....The world of Masonry is vast, complex, and diverse, and on Phoenix Masonry one can find a little of everything.

I wrote a few Masonic essays some years ago that caught Dave's eye and he asked to publish them on the Phoenix Masonry site. I was happy to do so. He later sent me a Phoenix coin which still sits on my mantle with other treasured Masonic items. We never met in person, but had talked about meeting up next time I went back home to Florida. He'd even looked into sending me some Cuban sandwiches packed in dry ice and shipped express to France after I bemoaned not having any Cuban sandwiches here. Dave was just a nice, thoughtful, and generous guy, a broad-minded Mason, and even though we never actually met in person, a friend as well as a Brother.
We hadn't been in contact for a long time, but a few days back I got a strong urge to write him about a project I am working on in which I thought he might be interested.  Maybe something (GA?) was letting me know that it was then or never, I don't know, because yesterday a mutual acquaintance contacted me to inform me that David had passed. Sad thing is I never sent the letter, and it's my loss not having been able to exchange ideas with him one last time.
David was a real mensch and a vital presence in Freemasonry. I will miss him. My sincere condolences go out to his friends and family. I hope it brings them a small measure of comfort to know that David was well-liked and respected and had a positive impact on many lives, including my own.
Peace be with you Brother.
Please feel free to share your memories in the comments.

Monday, April 12, 2021


Le train vient de faire halte

Deux voyageurs seulement descendent par cette
brûlante de fin d’été
Tous deux sont vêtus de complets couleur kaki et 
de casques de liège
Tous deux sont suivis d’un domestique noir chargé de
porter leurs valises
Tous deux jettent le même regard distrait sur les 
trop blanches de la ville sur le ciel trop bleu
On voit le vent soulever des tourbillons de poussière et
les mouches tourmenter les deux mulets de l’unique
Le cocher dort la bouche ouverte
The train has just come to a stop
Only two travelers get off this
end-of-summer morning
Both are dressed in khaki-colored suits and
in pith helmets
Both are followed by a black servant charged with
carrying their bags
Both cast the same distracted look at the
houses of the city at the too-blue sky
One sees the wind kicking up dust devils and
flies tormenting the two mules of the only
The coachman sleeps, his mouth open

Sunday, April 11, 2021


Alfred Starr Hamilton

To sting a centipede around
A pineapple bend, on a peach - - truth is
Studied on the breast - - abysmally 

A picture of a tramp is being excruciated
Betwixt a splintered park bent bench

And truthfully
And in Africa 
A pink pygmy 
Sits stupidly on a bamboo spear
In the hark wide open jungle
The Poems of Alfred Starr Hamilton, The Jargon Society, 1970

Friday, March 5, 2021


The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this year was held Feb. 25-28 in Orlando, Florida.  Social Media users quickly noted that the unusual stage design for the event is essentially the "Odal Rune":  

Quoth Wikipedia:

"This symbol was adopted in Nazi Germany as the badge of the SS Race and Settlement Main Office, responsible for maintaining the racial purity of the Nazi Schutzstaffel (SS), as well as by the 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen, the 23rd SS Volunteer Panzer Grenadier Division Nederland, and many neo-Nazi groups worldwide...The symbol was later used by American white supremacists.

....DC-area design firm Design Foundry took responsibility for the staging design, saying that they "had no idea that the design resembled any symbol, nor was there any intention to create something that did." Design Foundry had proposed several stage designs to repeat client ACU, based on the "best use of space", and ACU decided which one to use. Ian Walters of ACU said they would no longer use Design Foundry for their events." 

Pure coincidence?  Intentionally used a wink and a dog-whistle to Trump's more radical supporters?  Intentionally used by the designer in order to make a statement about Trump's racist rhetoric?   

At the very least, it would seem synchronicity is making a comment about the direction the alt-right has been heading under Trump's "leadership".

It's not the first time.  We discussed back in 2015 how a Trump campaign ad included an image of WW2 re-enactors dressed as German soldiers.  Then in 2020 a re-election campaign ad used an inverted red triangle to illustrate an attack on Antifa and other "far-left" groups.  The ad was removed after it was noted the exact same symbol was used by the Nazis in the 1930s to identify Communists, Social Democrats, liberals, Freemasons and members of other opposition parties.  

At the time, one historian noted "It’s hard to imagine it’s done on purpose [not that hard, apparently], because I’m not sure if the vast majority of Americans know or understand the sign, but it’s very, very careless, to say the least."

Or do Trump and co. know exactly what they're doing?  On would suppose those who carried Confederate, Kekistan, and other far-right flags among the mob which attacked Congress on January 6 wouldn't disapprove....