Travel and the Car:
Yes, there was a Chrysler Voyager, a Chrysler Caravan, a Chrysler Grand Caravan, and a Chrysler Town and Country. These were the original minivans in the days when Chrysler was the only producer. They eventually cut out the Caravan, the Voyager, and the Town and Country and continued with only the Grand Caravan until just about last year when they came out with the Chrysler Pacifica. We test drove that car last year and just a few weeks ago. It was tempting. I wanted to buy it especially since they had a hybrid plug in model which I thought was impossibly cool. It was supposed to give you 30 miles of electric car and then you went into hybrid mode, making it the largest car in the world that you can plug in.
But it had two fatal flaws. First of all it was way too high up. You had to climb up into with with running boards and that sort of thing. I don’t know why they do this. They have essentially ruined all the remaining minivan models with this sort of design. Also it was very expensive.
It had the cutest commercials and videos with the Muppets, though. If you go to the Chrysler USA website you will see what I mean. They are really promoting the Pacifica and it appears on the front page.
Yes, the Ford Flex which we purchased instead has a third row. That is where the dog should be riding. Behind the third row is the “trunk” with space for either suitcases or grocery bags. Inside the car it is very much like a minivan. The third row can disappear into the floor of the car giving you more space in the back for cargo.
Yes, the Flex is suitable for long distance travel just like a minivan. We bought our first minivan, the Chrysler Grand Caravan, that we owned and which we were to drive 100,000 miles. We bought the first minivan with the idea of driving to Tucson for the first time. (The year before we went on the train, which was the first time we ever saw Tucson). We ended up driving it to Tucson four times including the move there. We ended up driving it to Florida twice, Hilton Head three times, St. Simons Island twice, the Oregon Coast once, Yosemite twice, the Grand Canyon three times, and San Diego once. It took us a lot of places before we leased two Ford Windstars, bought an RV, then bought the former Nissan Quest 2007.
I almost forgot. We also drove the Chrysler Grand Caravan to Yellowstone and the Tetons, the same year that we moved to Tucson. I found a photo of the Grand Caravan parked alongside the Madison River near the West Entrance to the Park in West Yellowstone, Montana. Most of the trees you see are lodge pole pines. If you drive down the road to the end of the picnic ground along the Madison River and turn right you will head into the thermal basins and eventually reach Old Faithful.
Old Faithful is the setting for Old Faithful Plot, coming soon from Cheops Books LLC.
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Did Pliny’s House Look Like The Getty?
Pliny the Elder obviously lived in what we would call a Governor’s House in Roman Trier. What did such a place look like? None of the original Roman villas survives to this day intact, not in Trier, not in Italy, and not in Great Britain. In such places you don’t usually have more than a few standing columns or perhaps a floor full of mosaics to give you a clue of its former grandeur.
Probably the best example of such a villa nowadays exists in a place that Romans never visited and Romans never dreamed about. Such a villa has been painstakingly reconstructed on the California coast, land of dreams and elaborate reconstructions such as Disneyland and Hollywood.
It is no mere fantasy. In fact, it is an elaborate reconstruction of the villa of Calpurnius Piso, the father-in-law of Julius Caesar and father of Caesar’s last wife, Calpurnia, the one with the dreams and nightmares in Shakespeare’s play. It would be very similar to anything that Pliny would have owned. Both men were intellectuals of their day. Calpurnius Piso was a Stoic philosopher. Pliny the Elder was the author of the Natural History, the first of all encyclopedias in the western tradition.
This California villa was reconstructed by John Paul Getty, the billionaire who had a hobby of collecting Greek and Roman antiquities on a large scale. He wanted to build a place to house them. The Getty Villa opened in 1974. The Los Angeles Times interviewed John Paul Getty. Getty said: “It is fortunate that the United States has one ancient private building which is authentic in spirit. One could say go to Pompeii and Herculaneum and see Roman villas the way they are now — then go to Malibu and see the way they were in ancient times.”
Pliny also owned a villa on the seacoast along the Bay of Naples, so this comparision seems appropriate. It is inspirational to think that Pliny strolled through his peristylium and viewed the classical sculptures you find at the Getty.
Pliny the Elder is a character in two upcoming volumes of the Edward Ware Thriller Series: Old Faithful Plot and Pliny: A Novel.
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Has Pliny The Elder Been Re-Discovered?
In the early 1980s the excavation of Herculaneum, sister city to Pompeii, was excavated. A large group of skeletons was found in a boat shed facing the sea as if they were attempting to escape but ran out of time.
Just how they may have been planning to escape is knowledge provided to us by the writings of an ancient Rome author named Pliny the Younger who wrote our only surviving eyewitness account of the Vesuvius eruption. He claimed that his more famous uncle, Pliny the Elder, was going to rescue these unfortunate escapees. How so? Pliny the Elder was the admiral of a Roman fleet stationed at Misenum, north of Naples, on August 24, 79AD, the day Vesuvius erupted. His nephew says he was curious to observe the volcano erupting from close up. He had wide ranging scientific interests and was the author of Pliny’s Natural History, the first encyclopedia in western history. Supposedly he had gotten word from friends that they needed to be resuced and he took off with his fleet to rescue them, leaving his teenage nephew behind to write for the ages.
Now Italian scientists are trying to date and identify the remains of a man found in such a rescue boat and hope they have discovered Pliny the Elder himself. It sounds far fetched but interesting nevertheless. It would be nice to have a reconstructed drawing of Pliny based on his skeleton since no sculpture portraits survive from antiquity.
Pliny the Elder and his family are the subjects of two historical thrillers which Cheops Books LLC is about to publish. The Roman statesman and scientist appears in Old Faithful Plot and Vesuvius Plot. In Old Faithful Plot Pliny is the subject of a time tunnel manhunt on the part of Adolf Hitler. The dictator thinks that the ancient Roman threatens the German people. In Vesuvius Plot as the governor of Germany Pliny must fight off the hordes of German tribes.
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I don’t like poetry either for the most part. That is no doubt why I never wrote it. That is probably why I write novels. It is probably why you write novels, too. I just thought of something neat. You will think it is neat, too. The passage I sent you yesterday has a new meaning based on terrorist attack on London Bridge this year in England. Think of a newspaper reporter talking about the attack on tourists on London Bridge and quoting these lines from T.S. Eliot: “A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many, I had not thought death had undone so many . . . ” T.S. Eliot must have had a premonition about the future.
By the way this same T.S. Eliot also wrote poetry for children a little bit later on. He showed that he had the ability to entertain people by writing Possum’s Book of Practical Cats about pussycats. For instance there is Macavity the Mystery Cat who is called the “hidden paw” and who has the ability to be the “Master criminal who can defy the law”. Apparently this book of verse for children was also the inspiration for Cats: A Musical. It must have been T.S. Eliot’s more pop or American side. After all he was an American who was born in America and moved to Britain to become a British citizen.
Cheops Books LLC publishes only novels, not poetry. This autumn it will publish Dark 3: Special Edition on September 15, Edward Ware Thrillers at War novel Hitler’s Agent on October 15, Dark 1 on November 1, Dark 2 on November 8, Dark: A Trilogy on November 15, and Captive at the Berghof part 1 in the German language on December 15. The publication of Old Faithful Plot, an Edward Ware Thrillers at War novel, will soon be announced. None of the novels contain any poetry.
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Promotions for The Old Faithful Plot:
One thing to consider about The Old Faithful Plot: I think that if the news media wasn’t so obsessed with the North Korean leader he would do a lot less harm. No wonder he does and says such wild things. That is the way to attract attention. But I am tempted to take advantage of the situation as a way to promote one of my books. I have a thriller based on a totally fictional premise that Hitler is threatening Edward and Dora that if they do not hand over the Lawrence maps, key to world domination, he will blow up Yellowstone National Park. He has sent the von Wessels to detonate Old Faithful geyser and blow it sky high hoping to awaken the super volcano that can dump ash across America. I was thinking of relating the two and having a Facebook Party about this end of the world stuff.
I have actually already written and edited the novel The Old Faithful Plot last year and this year. I am about ready to publish it. The Old Faithful Plot named after the Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park of course. The geyser becomes a kind of volcano. A time tunnel is discovered behind it a la Journey to the Center of the Earth style. Helga and Herr von Wessel go back to ancient Rome to assassinate the writer who first badmouthed the Germans, Pliny the Elder. Hitler wants to correct the reputation of Germans throughout history and get unified sooner so that the Germans can win, not lose, WW1. He wants to change history itself. But you see the time tunnel sequence is in a nightmare that Dora has. It is a nightmare sequence and so not real. The main text is about the plot to blow up the park and ignite the supervolcano that will bury America in ash.
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Parlez-vous Francais? Do You Speak French?
Do you know French? When I was in third grade I had a teacher named Maya Monsieur who taught children to speak simple French after school. I took the course. It was the only French I ever had. I still remember how to count to ten in French. I know a few simple phrases such as “Thank you very much” in French which came in handy two years ago when I found myself in French-speaking Belgium in Wallonia. This was in stark contrast to Germany. I am 100% ethnically German but I can’t speak one word in German. I was mute during my travels there while Gary did all the talking. I can sing a complete song about Napoleon in French to this day, but I don’t know what I am saying. So much for third grade French!
It is interesting to hear that Trump is visiting the Jules Verne Restaurant at the Eiffel Tower. I, too, visited the Eiffel Tower. I am sure you did, too. I didn’t go up in it. But I was there. I even have a photo. More recently Jules Verne has been influential on what I write. I really like Journey to the Center of the Earth for instance. Have we ever discussed Jules Verne before? My current novel Old Faithful Plot is actually influenced by that novel. Do you remember the ending? A Scottish scientist leads a team of scientists and one wife of a scientist under the earth. They discover the Lost Continent of Atlantis. Then at the end they get spewed up into the ocean by a volcano. Well, Old Faithful Plot is all about the Yellowstone supervolcano and what it might do someday. I need not say more.
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New Book Trailer for Old Faithful Plot:
Old Faithful Plot, an Edward Ware Thrillers at War novel, has a new book trailer on the Cheops Books LLC website: http://www.edwardwarethrillers.org. Go to the home page, click on Old Faithful Plot, and the book trailer will be staring you in the face with Helga von Wessel, the villainess, simpering at you. Click on the video and enjoy the preview of coming attractions once the novel is published.
The book trailer evokes the feeling of fear and catastrophe that was so emblematic of that year, 1933, when Hitler came to power, FDR made his inaugural speech about the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, and the movie King Kong was raging through the movie theaters. Here a world catastrophe is evoked which we have tried to capture in the music and photos featured in the trailer.
While they are hiding out from Dora’s husband at the Old Faithful Lodge in 1933, Dora and Edward are also hiding Lawrence maps that Churchill has given them and which Hitler would do anything to get his hands on. Enter Helga and Herr von Wessel, Hitler’s top spies. They warn Colonel Sir Edward Ware and Dora that either they hand over the top secret maps, key to world domination, or they will blow up Yellowstone National Park. They will turn the famous geyser basin into volcanic rubble – and the rest of America, too, which would be buried in volcanic ash just like Pompeii. And if that doesn’t work they have an even darker plot up their sleeves, one that would change history itself.
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Old Faithful Plot Book Trailer Links To Pompeii:
The eruption of Vesuvius on August 24, 79AD was one of the most famous natural disasters of all time. It buried ancient Pompeii and Herculaneum under clouds of ash and mud flows from the still active volcano in southern Italy south of Rome along the Bay of Naples. It was so famous that even Adolf Hitler got the idea that he wanted to create a modern day Pompeii in America of all places. He picked not only a volcano but a super volcano with the power to destroy not only a town but half a continent. He wanted to get America out of his way permanently so that they could not interfere in any future war. Read about how he did this in the upcoming Edward Ware Thrillers at War novel Old Faithful Plot. Pictures of the Pompeii eruption will be featured in the book trailer soon to be posted on the website: http://www.edwardwarethrillers.org.
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Bubbling Mud Pots And More —- Book Trailer for Old Faithful Plot:
Have you ever seen a mud puddle boil? Yes, that’s right, boil and bubble and make a plopping noise? If you say no and think we are insane to ask, you have obviously never visited Yellowstone National Park. Dora Benley, at this point Mrs. Byrne, has never been to Yellowstone either. She is astounded to peer out the window of their car and see boiling mud. When she reaches for her map she finds out that this sort of thing is common in the volcanic caldera that is Yellowstone National Park.
Cheops Books LLC could not resist including a segment with boiling mud pots in the book trailer for this upcoming Edward Ware Thrillers at War novel, Old Faithful Plot. You will be able to hear real Yellowstone mud pots bubble and burst in a perverse, even spooky sort of way. But what else would you expect when the volcanic part of Yellowstone is central to the plot of this thriller novel? You are supposed to think how Yellowstone is a giant volcano that is not extinct and could explode with devastating consequences at any time. That is certainly what Adolf Hitler is thinking throughout the book. And you, the reader, will find out why.
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Dark Dream Sequence In Old Faithful Plot Features Pompeii:
What on earth do Yellowstone National Park and Pompeii have in common? One is out West in America at 8000 feet above sea level surrounded by the Rocky Mountains and the other is in Italy along the coast on the Bay of Naples at sea level. One is there nowadays. One used to be there 2000 years ago in ancient Roman times. One is sparsely populated except by summer crowds of tourists. It is in a rural area far away from civilization. The other used to be an urban center of some size.
Both are dominated by volcanoes. That is the big similarity. Vesuvius was an active volcano in ancient times and is still an active volcano nowadays. It erupted during World War 2. There have been tremors and earthquakes since then. Yellowstone is dominated by all sorts of minor earthquakes that can barely be felt by the tourists. However, even more so than Vesuvius it is a supervolcano of enormous proportions and almost unimaginable destructive potential.
In the upcoming Edward Ware Thrillers at War novel Old Faithful Plot these similarities between Yellowstone and Pompeii have captured Adolf Hitler’s attention. He is chasing his enemy operative Colonel Sir Edward Ware and his fiancee Dora Benley all the way to the Rocky Mountains to capture the elusive Lawrence maps, key to winning the next war. He threatens the couple that if they don’t hand over the maps they are hiding from him he will attempt to blow up one of the geysers and Yellowstone itself to start a giant volcanic eruption that will remove America from the map and make sure she can’t interfere in any war.
But in a dark nightmare sequence Dora sees the ash flying about as it did in Pompeii two thousands years ago. She relives that horrible eruption and wonders what mankind is destined to suffer at the hands of the tyrannical Fuhrer.
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