Archive for May, 2009

Following books are available from Amazon.com.

Muckle in the Valley of Eagles – picture book (English)

Muckle van het Dal van Adelaars  (Dutch version)

The Goodwill Rose           -picture book

The Life of Aesop             -pocket book  and

Sufficient unto this Day – pocket book

Those who are interested may visit books section  Amazon and click my name.

benny thomas

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HERMANN WILHELM GOERING (German)  (1893  – 1946)

He aspired to be the Falstaff of the Nazi’s movement, swaggering genial, bon vivant, despising his colleagues anti semitic crudities and a lover of (other people’s) pictures. He was the ‘salon Nazi’ acceptable to landowners and industrialists before the take over to foreign diplomats afterwards. A Bavarian, the son of a diplomat, he was a fighter ace in the WWI whom defiant and a pugilistic streak turned into an extreme nationalist. He was wounded during Hitler’s 1923 beer-hall-putsch. As president of the Reichstag (1932) he put the final touches to the parliamentary pandemonium of the Weimar Republic. As Prussian police chief (1933) he set up the first concentration camp and stage managed the Reichstag fire trial. As creator and commander of the Luftwaffe and plenipotentiary for the Four Year Plan (1936), he directed Germany’s mobilisation and initiated conscription of slave labor. A better actor than administrator, his decline began with the Battle of Britain and was completed by supply failures in Russia. He withdrew into a morphine haze, draped in his toga, Goering demonstrated that one could not be a gentleman Nazi. He was the parasite of a parasitic revolution, the big flea’s little flea. He took poison after his death sentence at Nuremburg.


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(PAUL) JOSEPH GOEBBELS (German)  (1897  –  1945)

The chief propagandist of the Nazi Party – was the greatest master of propaganda in the 20th century – Goebbels was the one man of genuine intellect in the Nazi leadership and the only one from an industrial background (a Rhenish Catholic artisan family). Initially Goebbels belonged to the left wing of the Nazi Party, which predominated in North and West Germany, and he retained his anti-bourgeois resentments even after going over to Hitler’s most conservative line. Hitler acklowledged his populist verve in 1927 by making him the regional party leader (gauleiter) of Berlin with its left dominated mass politics. He battled it out with the communists ‘for the conquest of the streets’ which the Traditional Right had never attended and edited ‘Der Angriff’ (The Attack) ‘for the oppressed, against the exploiters.’
He managed Hitler’s election campaigns and in 1933 becoming Minister for Propaganda and Public Enlightenment, gained centralised control over radio, press, cinema and foreign publicity. But he became a censor repressing creative artists as far as he could go. Very few (i.e. Leni Riesenstahl) escaped his net. The first mass communicator Goebbels specialised in oratory, mass rallies, posters and films. Along with Bormann he stayed with Hitler to the end.

In Retro: Much of Goebbelsian technique is a standard practice in the modern world. We make war on terror in order to achieve peace. When a President speaks in this vein one may be sure he is taking a page out of Goebbels.  Goebbels was never a democrat; nor was he for pushing democratic values on other nations. He was for repression since he wanted Hitler’s authority unchallenged. Propaganda then was merely to make a lie sound as convincing as Truth. The question is: if politicians use propaganda in order to make democracy acceptable isn’t there something that they want to cover up?


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Mr. Half-Half Makes Small Talk ©

Benny Thomas

Half-Half was not much of a party goer. For a toad he was content to get some news from television which he turned on every evening. It was as good as going to a party. Half-Half said,”Parties are waste of time!” But his wife thought otherwise.
She was also Half-Half. She was also a toad. She loved parties. She loved meeting other toads. So Mr.Half-Half had no choice but to fall in. He must take the trouble of pleasing her. ’Yes I shall do it.’ But he let her know he was not fully with it. So he said, ”Thwaarp!” It was one word which he used often.
He exclaimed ‘Thwaarp!’in moments of irritation; and also when was bored. He said it sometimes when he wished to show approval. It all mattered in the way he said it.
His wife knew he was bored already. She said,”You can just smile and be brave about it.”That was that. Half-Half asked “formal or casual?”
She snapped back, ”half-half!” Her mate knew what she meant. So he instantly dressed himself for the occasion. Half-Half waited for his wife.
She just peeked to check. “Your socks!”Mrs.Half-Half exclaimed in horror.”They don’t match!” So he changed his socks. “While you are at it put on your leather shoes. Of course a little shine helps.”
“Like my elbows?” he wanted to know. At this she became a little cross. He was being impossible. She laid out his clothes. “Sorry girl. One of those days when things go more wrong than right.”He had such a look she just shut up. Having thrown his old coat into the dust bin she opened the wardrobe to take out the one she had in mind. Looking at his wellingtons with distaste she said, The occasion is not right.”She went off.
Mr.Half- Half was ready at last. He and his wife went out feeling good. He was ready for the party he said. His wife squeezed his hand to show she approved his attitude. Yes, they were still in love.
They had to walk a short distance. Before they went in Mrs. Half-Half whispered,”Watch out. The name is Shaws!”
“Shaws?” Half-Half was rather taken aback.”What that name has to do with the party?”  “They are our neighbors.” She said.
”So we are in danger of meeting the Shaws!”Half-Half was already getting into his party spirit,”Have no fear dear. When they come dangerously close you just whisper the name. I shall heed the warning and take cover.” Mrs.Half-Half gave such a look he knew he made a mistake.”Sorry girl.”
Mrs.Half-Half said the party was thrown by their neighbours. She also added they were hosting as a member of Exceptionally Gifted Toads. Shaw was a name he did not much care for. Even if it adorned a toad as accomplished as his neighbour. But to please her he said he shall make it a point to say something pleasant to their hosts.”Shaw-ll we dance?”Half-Half murmured thinking of a way of being extra nice to the hostess. If there was one thing he could do extremely well it was the way he danced.
He smiled and his wife could not help smiling back. She said appreciatively, “You may not exactly love parties but when you put your mind to it you could be a charmer.”
They went up the steps to meet the Shaws. The host saw them coming up. He beamed and said to the mayor,”Here comes my good neighbor Half-Half. And his wife.” At which Mrs.Shaw went out to greet Mrs.Half-Half. Mr.Half-Half with a broad smile caught the eye of his neighbor. He moved towards the host who hastily whispered to the mayor,” I know him like the back of my palm. Excuse me.”
With a booming voice the host introduced himself.
“Shaw did you say?” Mr.Half-Half was quick in reacting.
“That is correct!”
“Jolly good!” he replied,“How do you spell it, my good neighbor?” Mrs.Half-Half kicked him in his shins and he  almost doubled with pain to say,”It hurt me, dear.”
Mrs.Half-Half could not help but feel a bit awkward. The Shaws were all for forgetting the incident. But Mr. Half-Half was not yet done with. He grasped his host’s elbow to ask, ”Are you related to one artist I used to know?”He frowned trying to recall his name. “He was good at decorating ivory, whalebones such like.” Suddenly he recalled his name,”Scrimshaw I think he was called. A fine fellow!”
Mr.Shaw was trying to answer but luckily so many toads who came up at that moment broke up their small talk. They took away the Shaws. Mrs.Half-Half sidled up to her mate to observe,”You really embarrassed me.”
He had to admit he was only half without her. “Stick around. I shall improve.”
Later they got to talk with the Smiths. During dinner Half-Half was model of discretion and full of pleasantries. The guests wanted more. After dinner he sat back and caught the eye of his wife. He then asked as if to no one in particular,” Why did the family of Peanuts doublecheck the queue they were to join?” They waited for him to supply the answer. He said,”They were minding their p’s and q’s.”
‘Hear Hear,’ his companions exclaimed.
”Thwaarp!” Mr.Half-Half said self-deprecatingly. He was the life and soul of the party!  Just as his wife had often said.
The End

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I have started a new blog exclusively for films. A Night at the Movies it is called. I hope to post some 100 films which have a different format than the Movie Lists. I just posted Pepe le Moko.

Those who are interested may check out cinebuff.wordpress.com.


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Ireland’s Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse after a nine-year investigation published a damning report Wednesday on decades of rapes, humiliation and beatings at Catholic Church-run reform schools for Ireland’s castaway children. Wednesday’s five-volume report on the probe — which was resisted by Catholic religious orders — concluded that church officials shielded their orders’ pedophiles from arrest amid a culture of self-serving secrecy. The investigation also uncovers previously secret Vatican records that demonstrated church knowledge of pedophiles in their ranks all the way back to the 1930s. Victims of the abuse, who are now in their 50s to 80s, lobbied long and hard for an official investigation.
“I do genuinely believe that it would have been a further step towards our healing if our abusers had been named and shamed,” said Christine Buckley, 62, who spent the first 18 years of her life in a Dublin orphanage where children were forced to manufacture rosaries — and were humiliated, beaten and raped whether they achieved their quota or not.
The Christian Brothers’ leader in Ireland, Brother Kevin Mullan, said the organization had been right to keep names secret because “perhaps we had doubts about some of the allegations.” The Christian Brothers, which ran several boys’ institutions deemed to have harbored serial child molesters and sadists on their staff, insisted it had cooperated fully with the probe. The order successfully sued the commission in 2004 to keep the identities of all of its members, dead or alive, unnamed in the report. Well the Church may draw a veil of secrecy but what is done in secret has a way of being shouted from the rooftops. This report is to be seen in this context. Such unnaming undeservedly tars the names of those who have been good and true to their cloth.
Jesus said,”Come to me… I shall give you rest.” The Church has her own way of interpreting the Scriptures. From the day the Church found her sway over her flock she has been like the proverbial evil shepherds that ravenously prey upon lambs left under their care. (Gullibility of  believers is only matched by the sheer perversity of the clergy.) In most cases they have found entry into the homes of the laity and under the guise of their ‘ moral superiority’ decamped with the wealth of the house, abused the young and worse still, left  any member left standing to feel morally polluted and self-condemned. (Ack: Catholic Church shamed by Irish abuse report-By Shawn Pogatchnik, Associated Press Writer-20-5-09)

Anti- Christ has come and is alive among us.  God help us all!

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( Wang and Lung, the identical twins have made two predestined enemies on the New Year’s eve and their mother is aghast. She is too wrapped up in her mourning so she persuades her only surviving brother to take them off her hands. He agrees. He is a sea-captain who is aggressively trying to get into the good books of his Admiral. In order to please him he has even taken charge of his pet, a dog  that is very very temperamental. He takes his nephews along and is also smug in having quietly passed off the biggest headache in to their care.)

The Night Runners

That evening Wang and Lung had to agree: their uncle was not to be sneezed at. There were three carriages awaiting his pleasure and they were part of the glory, which Captain Lee of the Imperial Navy commanded. They saw a clutch of neighbors walking tiptoe around the horses as though they were connoisseurs of horseflesh. A few were admiring the panopoly of outriders and the glory the sea captain could command. As soon the captain came out of the gate the crowd in a trice melted into ring. The neighbors who always kept an eye on the house stood there in awe at the commotion the Admiral’s glory had caused.
As soon as the sea captain and the party had settled in their carriage the chief of the guards signaled and the carriages rumbled into the twilight that softened the landscape.
One carriage was for the exclusive use of the sea- captain; the other for his nephews and in the last traveled their baggage and attendants. The packhorses, which were maintained by the Navy, were sleek and very hardy with their broad hooves. They were comparatively smaller in build than those the Admiralty maintained for ceremonial purposes. They rode as a team and at brisk pace.
Late in the first night the horses stopped and the drowsy children peered into the darkness outside. It was a barren landscape.  With a few torchlights here and there the rump of their horses glistened with sweat. Their coal black hide and mane only added to give them a spectral aspect as if were steeds hauled from infernal regions to accomplish a very dangerous mission. ‘Curious’ Lee brought in a man of uncertain age. He did not condescend to acknowledge their presence; neither did he explain what he was there for. He let that to their uncle.
“Here boys I brought your personal attendant. He is a jewel.”
“How do you know that uncle?” Wang whispered into his ear, ”See that scar on his face? He looks more a cut throat.”
“Shh!” ‘Curious’ Lee said,” He is a jewel,”
“Once I gave him Mimi to look after”, the captain continued,” the dog just took to him, like duck to water.”
“So he will let us off in peace?” Wang asked.
“Not exactly,” the captain winked and said,” You will take over Mimi. She will make men out of you. Of course if any trouble comes up, your attendant will give you a hand.”
While their uncle appraised them of slight change in the seating arrangements the man with the scar brought a Pekinese on a cushion with some ceremony and deposited himself into their carriage. For hours they suffered the dog and the presence of the handler who kept a morose face. He sat immobile and did not show any response to the twins who wanted the dog from ‘yelping their dreams away’. Wang always had some nice dreams as much as Lung had. Now the Admiral’s pet was shredding them for very whimsical reasons they complained.
Next day at one point when the convoy stopped, they wanted to know why. “There is a meeting with the Admiral’s man,” the attendant said.
Wang decided to talk it out with his uncle.
‘Curious’ Lee said that he had no time at that precise moment for him. “It is about Mimi,” he complained. “She doesn’t let us sleep let alone dream,” he added, ”If she makes a swipe at Jen once more I shall not spare her. She may be the apple of your Admiral’s eye. In my eyes my cricket comes first.” Wang was adamant. Silently his uncle passed two pieces of silver and said,” Put it down for extra allowance, boy.” “I can’t be disturbed. State secret and all that“. Wang persisted that he had a headache with all that barking going on in his carriage.  Another piece of silver passed hands. Before the visitor could find what was going on the captain said in a low voice, ”That is for a night’s silence. Understood?”
Wang nodded and ran back to the carriage while the attendant was pacing in that strange landscape with a Pekinese who was having a fit of sorts.
“Why don’t you try harder to stop it from barking?” Wang asked irritated. “If I tried any harder I am likely to get a fit! My nerves are all frayed at the ends.” The man had a point. Wang could understand that.
“The Admiral must be a clever fellow,” mused Wang,” and my uncle is also clever to pass his headache to us!”
The man with the morose face grimaced as the dog began squirming. His order was never to let the dog from that silk cushion which bore the Admirals insignia.
After a lengthy silence Wang asked the attendant if he had some opium pills.
“Master, have you toothache?”
“Perhaps difficulty in falling to sleep?”
“Yes and No!” Wang said controlling himself, ”Can you get me some?”
“Of course I always carry some with me.”
He took over from the man the cushion and the whelping dog while he fished out pills from his cloak.  “What are you the captain’s right hand man or a dealer in opium?” Lung asked on seeing a generous supply at a short notice.
“I am trained as an apothecary but at the moment a seaman.”  “Why then a Pekinese?”  “My future! My promotion, so the captain assures me, is tied to the happiness of this little..”
He looked around to see no one else was around,   ” …rascal!” he said with a grim face.
Wang promptly passed a piece of silver and got enough opium pills. Wang felt for the first time a compassionate feeling for the man who he could see worked hard to keep his job. Wang wholeheartedly believed in ‘live and let live’ policy. He exacted from his uncle for his peace as much as he in turn paid for some peace and quietness around him. Mimi didn’t come cheap. In her welfare hung the captain’s whole career. Not to mention the poor fellow dancing in attendance to a highly temperamental pet. So Wang and Lung were particular that they went on with their treatment.
“It is my duty to advise extreme caution before you begin a habit.” The scar face admonished.
“Tell that to Mimi. She is about to get used to a habit like a monkey on a hawker’s back.”  “Like a parrot on a pirate’s shoulder.” Lung took up.
“And it will leave us all in peace.”  The twins concluded. The older man looked on wide-eyed as the twins administered a pill to Mimi. She tried to throw a tantrum but the combined strength of the three made her realize she had better obey them. She swallowed it and was soon as if she had, she left her earthly cares for a world so wonderfully quiet. Wang thought it made even his cricket do a few turns in appreciation. With Mimi being knocked out and Jen pleased with himself the rest of the journey was easy for all.
All through the night and a convoy of attendants who rode along saw to every convenience of the captain and his charges. Wang and Lung woke up only when they halted in front of an inn at Sungkiang.    They saw the captain pacing in his room very distracted. He was anxiously waiting for his contact.
Wang and Lung as with their solemn promise kept out of their uncle’s way. They saw the mysterious emissary who brought a number of crates and saw that they were properly counted in the presence of the captain. After exchanging some papers they went in. While they were palavering the children were discovering a new side to their attendant. He was no longer morose. He looked human almost. Wang wanted to know whether he had been a sea pirate. The man shook his head. “Were you ever in a ship wreck?” “No, never” he asserted, ”Master, your uncle is a good captain.”
The boys lost interest in one who had nothing by way of adventure to amuse them. That scar which gave his cheeks the look of someone worth talking to, was on account of a very commonplace accident. He said he got it while he once tried to take his unruly steer to its stall.
“I thought you were an apothecary?” “ I was a dirt farmer but couldn’t scratch a living. So I ended up with Mimi for company.” The boys knew their trip wasn’t going to be anymore exciting than the seaman’s scar. They only brightened when he answered to their question that he was a magician as well.
“What is your trick? Does it sell?” “Yes if it comes in forms like this?” Next moment he had a bottle in his hands. It was filled with some liquid, tawny in color.  “What’s it?” “Love potion naturally? I could sell you some of this if you think it would help your case?”
“Why didn’t then use it to further your career?”
“ If it falls in wrong hands I may end up at the bottom of the sea! Very potent stuff this!”
He was not much to look at but when he moved about and in his self confidence there was much more than met the eye and he moved with a certain suppleness that resembled a panther in its natural habitat.   The man in a matter of few days had begun to interest them immensely. In return he viewed them as special. It was as if they touched some tender chord in his heart.  His name he said was Ta Yi. “ I have been called a rat catcher, a weasel. It was by those who do not know me well enough.” “I have been a village school master, apothecary, a magician, a farmer and many things of which I shall not bore you.” Ta Yi said one afternoon seriously…

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ROBERT HUTCHINGS GODDARD (American) (1882  –  1945)

Pioneer in American Space Research it was Goddard who put down theories into practice while the Russian Tsiolkovsky first published calculations on liquid propelled rockets. He began his investigations in 1909 at Clark University; he perserved through years of professional neglect and financial failure.
The press delighted in ridiculing him when his rockets soared to 61 feet, falling 200,000 miles short of the moon at which they were directed. And his neighbours, alarmed by his experiments in the quiet Massechusetts Country side, demanded anti-rocket legislation.
During the 30’s, with support from the Guggenheim Foundation, Goddard carried on his work at an isolated site near Roswell, New Mexico. Not having the facilities for making liquid hydrogen fuel, he made use of a mixture of paraffin and liquid oxygen (Lox in missile slang). On March 16, 1926 he fired his first successful liquid fuelled rocket reaching a height of 200 feet. By 1935 it was increased to 7500 feet with speeds upto 550 mph.
To him belongs the credit of working out the fundamental theory of jet propulsion and rocket flight.
He also developed steering devices and gyroscopes to keep rockets pointing the right way. It was he who patented the idea of multistage rockets, an important phase in the development of Space research. Because of multiple stage it was possible for rockets to reach higher altitudes and speeds. This pioneering work done by Goddard led to todays 3-stage boosters.
This pioneer however did not live to see his experiment emerging into the massive multibillion dollar space program which he, more than any other man, made possible.
The Goddard Space Flight Centre at Greenbelt, Maryland commemorates the courageous scientist once mocked as the ‘moon rocket man’.


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ALEXANDER THE GREAT( Macedonian) (356-323 BC)
A man of great contrasts,-reckless,intemperate,magnanimous and courageous he stands even by contemporary standards unsurpassed for his greatness. His beginning by all accounts was auspicious. In 356 BC Philip of Macedon just as he won a hard-won battle, he received from three messengers the news his general had won a decisive victory over the Illyrians;that one of his horses entered at the Olympic games had won the race, and that his wife Olympias had given birth to Alexander. His astrologer had predicted that the boy would be invincible in battle.
The youthful heir to the throne, tutored by Aristotle, had in him every sign of greatness, which was first apparent to his father who seems to have said to him on one occasion,”Look thee out a kingdom worthy of thyself, for Macedonia is too small for thee.” Within twenty years the youth had conquered Persia and an immense empire in the East.
Inspired by a grand vision of world-empire, hectare the banner of Greek civilization, into every province that fell before his military genius. Thus, during his reign of barely thirteen years a trade route was opened to India as well as the boundaries of man’s knowledge were widened and great advances were made in the realms of science.
He won his spurs in battle when he was sixteen. When his father was assassinated, Alexander succeeded him on the Macedonian throne in 336 BC. He was barely twenty and his father’s vassals perhaps sensing his inexperience took opportunity to rebel. “The impression which a ruler makes at the beginning of his reign remains throughout his life.” To put this principle into practice he leveled Thebes and put six thousand of her inhabitants to death,and the women and children were sold into slavery. His prompt and decisive action had its desired effect. He made his position secure and the Congress of the Confederacy at Corinth appointed him as the supreme general of the Greeks for the invasion of Asia. He crossed the Hellespont in 334 BC with an infantry of 30,000 and 5000 cavalry. In one of the engagements with the Persians he was saved by his friend Cleitus whom he later slew in a drunken rage. At Gordium, he cut the Gordin knot, wasting no time over its intricacies. This was typical of the man whose swiftness of action and genius was more than a match for Darius the Persian king. At the plain of Issus he won a decisive victory. Darius escaped and the victor was courteous and generous towards th king’s mother, wife and children. Before pursuing Darius he turned his attention to the conquest of Syria. After the fall of Tyre it was the turn of Palestine and Egypt; he founded Alexandria and his choice of the port is a proof of his genius. In the spring of 331 the new master of Syria and Egypt finally overthrew the Persians at the battle of Arabella. By 328 BC Alexander was the lord of all Persian empire. His attention turned now towards India and he crossed Indus for fresh conquests. But the battle weary soldiers who trudged some 12000 miles refused to march any further as they neared Beas. It says much of his magnanimity that he discharged those past active service and sent them back laden with rich rewards. Giving back his plans for further conquests he returned to Babylon where after days of carousal, drinking wine intemperately he fell sick and died. The empire divided among four of his generals was short lived.
In the final analysis as a conqueror, colonizer, explorer and civilizer he reached the acme of glory unparalleled in the annals of man.

compiler: benny

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