Archive for May, 2016

Stating The Obvious

May 28, 2016

rjdent !A country’s government is an elected body of administrators, voted into place for a pre-agreed term of office. The function of a government is to oversee the improvement of that country by the provision of necessary services to every member of that particular country.

An elected government of a country has one specific duty: to provide a range of necessary, life-enhancing, life-improving services to each and every person of that country’s population, without exclusion.

These services include the protection, the safety, and the well-being of the entire population. These ends are brought about by fair, efficient and effective systems of: economy (investment and taxation), education, health and care, housing, energy, employment, justice and law, rights and representation, arts endowments, transportation, defence and protection, emergency services, urban regeneration and rural conservation.

These services are to be administered and run efficiently by appointed ministers who are either experienced or trained subject-specific experts, so as to benefit the entire population of that country.

The elected government’s job is to implement those services, and to build upon and/or improve on, any pre-existing services.

The temporarily-elected chief executive of the government is the coordinator of all of those service departments of that country. He or she is the person who appoints the experienced or trained subject-specific experts as ministers. The title of this temporarily-elected chief executive of services is Prime Minister, President, Premier, Minister, or another publicly-agreed title.

 

Copyright © R J Dent (2016)

www.rjdent.com

 

 

Advertisements

Thunder Island by James Howard Kunstler

May 19, 2016

 

1617484__UY475_SS475_

Andy Newmark is having the time of his life on Thunder Island, but the 1967 Summer of Love also brings with it some important lessons about growing up.

In this coming-of-age novel, set in the summer of 1967, 17-year-old Andy Newmark graduates from high school and lands a job at a run down beach club on the famous barrier island east of New York City. It’s the legendary summer of love in the USA with the Vietnam War ramping up in the background and on Thunder Island it’s all about sex, drugs, and rock and roll. It is Andy’s first time living away from home with no one to answer to but the hard-drinking board members of the rattletrap club. The threat of the military draft hangs over Andy as makes his way into the adult world.

The reader is carried along by Andy’s sense of exploration as he works, makes friends, surfs, and experiments with drugs, alcohol and sex. All the while, the fear of not being accepted by a college and therefore being drafted to fight in Vietnam hovers over him. Gradually overcoming personal conflicts, his parents divorce, his fear of failure and the social ills he encounters, the war, the prejudice he experiences as a Jew, the decadence of Thunder Island, by summer’s end, Andy feels comfortable with himself and the dimensions of the adult world he is entering.

Andy and his friends are likable, even if they seem as deeply characterized as the people in the rock songs that play everywhere on Thunder Island. And, like many novels of initiation, this is a simple story of innocence and discovery. Thunder Island has charm.

Steeped in the news and social events of the time as they appeared to young adults then, Thunder Island offers a sentimental, nostalgic version of adolescence in the late 60s.

 

James Howard Kunstler says: ‘The story takes place at a Hamptons-like beach resort town in 1967.  It’s about what happens to a New York City kid the summer after he graduates from high school, with the Vietnam War looming in the background.  Surfing, drugs, young love.’

This was one of James Howard Kunstler’s early novels, published some time before he became better known as a social critic and author of the acclaimed non-fiction books The Geography of Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic.

41QpgEvuchL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

James Howard Kunstler is the author of many novels including World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Thunder Island, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, An Embarrassment of Riches, and many others.

He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

His non-fiction includes The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation.

 

 

My Father’s Garden: Incinerator by R J Dent

May 7, 2016

467216_my-fathers-garden-incinerator_230x230

 

One evening, about a week after the plum tree/creosote/bomb incident, my father rolled a very large empty oil drum down to the bottom of the garden. He rolled it noisily down the path, right to the end of the garden, rolled it in a sharp left turn, then stopped and stood it up so that it was screened by the lilac bushes.

I got up and wandered down the garden, followed by my brother. As I got nearer, I could see that my father was putting some bricks on the ground, arranging them in a roughly square symmetrical pattern. Intrigued, I stood back and watched, not sure what was going on. I didn’t really know what I was seeing – was it some obscure pagan ritual; a valiant attempt to contact alien life forms; my dad’s workaday version of Stonehenge, or something so obscure that it hadn’t been heard of by anyone other than my father? As my dad stood up – all of the bricks now obviously in their rightful positions – I had a feeling that I was about to find out.

– What’s he doing? my brother whispered.

– I don’t know yet, I answered. Let’s wait and see.

– Okay, my brother said, cheerfully enough.

And so we waited, watching carefully and quietly as our dad stood the empty oil drum on the bricks. Then he knelt down on the ground, picked up a hammer and a metal chisel and proceeded to knock holes in the side of the oil drum, about four inches up from the bottom. He made a hole, then moved the chisel a few inches to the left and made another hole, then repeated the process and made another hole, working his way around the oil drum until there were several holes all the way around its base.

– He’s making air-holes.

– What for?

– So an animal can breathe in there.

– What animal?

– Whatever animals like oil.

– Penguins.

– Petrels.

– Sardines.

– Oil lamps.

– Oil lamps aren’t animals.

– No, but they like oil and they need air-holes.

– You’re an air-hole.

We would have started trading insults at that point, but our father stood up abruptly, looked over at us, and asked what we were doing. Read more…

 

 

My Father’s Garden: Incinerator

Copyright © R J Dent 2014

 

Follow R J Dent’s writing on:

www.rjdent.com

https://www.facebook.com/rjdentwriter

https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/RJDent

http://www.amazon.co.uk/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_2

http://www.youtube.com/user/rjdent69?feature=mhee

 

 

My Father’s Garden: Wasp Nest by R J Dent

May 6, 2016

466899_my-fathers-garden-wasp-nest_230x230

1: Location

There was considerable excitement in our family when my father cautiously mentioned that there might be a wasp nest in the garden.

          – Where?

          – I just said: in the garden.

          – Any chance you could be a tiny bit more specific, father? my brother asked. The garden’s ninety feet long and thirty feet wide. There are twenty trees, several unidentifiable objet d’art, three buildings, two tall hedges and a partially cut down pear tree. It’s not going to be possible to pinpoint a carefully disguised wasp nest without a clue as to its location.

          – I’m not telling you where it is, my father said. Wasp nests are dangerous.

          – I thought wasp nests were just harmless wood pulp structures and that it was the wasps themselves that were dangerous, my brother said.

          – There’s no need to try and be clever, my father said. Wasps will attack and sting humans, particularly if they or their nests are threatened, so care should be taken around wasps and their nests.

          – I’ll take the risk, my brother said. I want to see what a wasp nest looks like at close quarters.

          – Well, don’t come crying to me if you get stung, my father said, as my brother dashed out into the garden.

          I followed my brother outside. He was dashing around the garden, peering in every corner, diligently searching for any sign of the new garden interlopers.

          – Where do wasps like to nest? I asked. Read more…

More stories from My Father’s Garden by R J Dent are available at:

https://rjdent.wordpress.com/category/my-fathers-garden/

Information on R J Dent’s books, stories, poems, essays, talks, videos, and latest news is at:

http://www.rjdent.com

https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/RJDent

https://www.facebook.com/rjdentwriter

http://www.youtube.com/user/rjdent69?feature=mhee

http://www.amazon.co.uk/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_2