Tuesday, April 17, 2018

"The Ice Mine" by Steven Adkins


I'm pleased to announce that my novella, The Ice Mine, is now available for pre-order from the Whisk(e)y Tit website.

I'm really grateful to my editor Miette for all her hard work and for her faith in my writing.  It took me until the age of 47, but it's a great feeling and worth the wait!  Please consider ordering a copy or even two; books are great gifts and supporting independent publishers is important, self-interest aside!


Description


Ric Bream was a happily married college professor with two adoring children. But wounds from the past left him restless, weakening his will against the lure of the poppy. As Ric’s addiction gained momentum, his career and marriage collapsed.  Alone and restless, Rick attempts detox at home. After weeks of hallucinations and nightmares, he comes out clean. Now he must struggle to stay that way, in a futurist society whose priorities conflict with his values. Wrestling with boredom and lacking a sense of purpose, Rick sifts through his belongings, stumbling upon an old collection of books: the relations of crackpot explorers and madmen who have searched in vain for a mysterious society dubbed, “The Ice Mine.”


The books reawaken Ric’s interest in searching for the Ice Mine, a place of questionable existence, accessible only along a treacherous path fraught with deadly enemies—a trail blazed by alleged lunatics and liars. Follow Ric on his journey of mind, body, and soul as he encounters exquisitely detailed mythical landscapes inhabited by never-before-seen creatures, deadly forces of nature, and lurking sinister presences. Will facing his inner demons as he struggles to survive his journey lead Ric to the fabled Shangri-La or something else entirely?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

3 feet high and rising

We have probably written all there is to write regarding the facts surrounding the be-sneaker'd feet that have been washing up on the shores of Vancouver Island and environs for several years now, so we won't spill any ink on this latest, except to point out that yes, another foot has made an appearance:

https://us.blastingnews.com/news/2018/02/a-detached-foot-belonging-to-a-washington-man-has-washed-ashore-in-canada-002386071.html

Something we didn't know:
Vancouver Island is also well known for its Sasquatch sightings.
For well over a decade, residents on or near Vancouver Island have reported hearing strange howls during the day and night. Some have even claimed to have seen one of the creatures.
The Sasquatch, we should point out, is also known as....Bigfoot.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Ah-choo

To quarantine or not to quarantine....
100 years ago, in January, 1918, the first cases of the H1N1 influenza virus, or "Spanish Flu" were observed.  It may have started in France, or maybe Kansas, scientists aren't sure, but by the time it simmered down it had killed between 50 and 100 million people, or 3 to 5 % of the world's population, making it one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history.  And it struck almost everywhere, even the Arctic.

Why the "Spanish" Flu?  Apparently censorship in many countries involved in the Great War, e.g. Great Britain, the U.S., Germany, and France minimized early reports in order to protect morale, whereas in neutral Spain, the media reported on the pandemic more freely.  People thus assumed Spain was harder hit and hence the name.

In Spain they called it the "Naples Soldier" which was taken from a musical operetta titled La canción del olvido (The Song of Forgetting).

Such a tragedy, the Great War ended in November, 1918, but one could argue that the conditions (destroyed infrastructure, overcrowded camps, general mayhem) it created helped propagate the virus that kept on killing for another 2 years.  There were two waves of the pandemic, the second even deadlier than the first, but by December 1920, it was over.

Happy 2018.

See 1918 flu pandemic for more details

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

“I am the bread of life...."


The dubious sculpture
You have to wonder what the sculptor of the statue pictured above was thinking.  Was it really just a case of not thinking things through, a tremendous case of oversight -- or was it a jab at the Catholic Church's pedophilia cover-ups?  Or merely a childish joke?

 

Covered up, eh?  As for reality being the metaphor, you can't get much better.  When the statue was installed, students at the school immediately  saw the humor in it, taking pics and posting them on Instagram.  The school wrote a note of apology explaining the situation (above) and then covered it up until a solution can be found.  I'm sure the Blackfriars Priory School is loving all the attention.
The cover up.
It's kind of a shame, really, because the Saint depicted, St. Martin de Porres (1579-1639), seems like a pretty decent fellow, known for a genuine commitment to the poor, having established both an orphanage and a children's hospital.

Born in Lima, Peru, he was the illegitimate child of a nobleman and a freed slave.  Though an unusually devout child, his mixed race prevented him from fully joining a religious order.  But when the Prior ignored the law due to Martin's unflagging dedication to healing the sick and caring for the poor, he was allowed to take vows as a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic.  Unfortunately, not all the monks were as open-minded as the prior, and he suffered insults and harassment from his new "brothers".

There are several anecdotes that attest to his humanity: bringing an old man covered with ulcers to his own bed, saying that "Compassion, my dear Brother, is preferable to cleanliness" when he was criticized by a dubious brother.  Another time he was reprimanded by the Prior for bringing a dying Indian to his room and he responded "Forgive my error, and please instruct me, for I did not know that the precept of obedience took precedence over that of charity."  Zing!  St. Martin had certainly learned the true meaning behind Jesus rebuking the Pharisees when they criticized him for healing on the Sabbath.  He was thereafter given liberty to do as as wanted when it came to merciful acts.

There are reports he cured the sick merely by giving someone a glass of water, and that during an epidemic he worked tirelessly, even walking through locked doors into quarantined areas.  His alms could feed up to 160 people a day.  Other miracles have him levitating in ecstasy, light filling rooms as he prayed, a remarkable rapport with animals (he was a vegetarian), miraculous knowledge, instantaneous cures, and my favorite, bilocation.

Because of the miracles that occurred when he was invoked in prayer, his body was exhumed 25 years after his death.  His body was said to be incorrupt and to have given off a sweet fragrance.  Numerous pleas were sent to Rome for his beatification, and though his works were eventually recognized as heroic, he wasn't beatified until 1837.  He was made a saint in 1962.  He's often shown carrying a broom to symbolize his belief that all work was holy and he is also sometimes pictured with a dog, cat and mouse drinking from the same bowl, symbolizing peace.

He is the patron saint of mixed-race people, barbers, innkeepers, public health workers, and those seeking racial harmony.  His feast Day is November 3.  In Santeria he is venerated as Papa Candelo.

The Adelaide Blackfriars probably wanted to unveil something nice for Saint Martin's saint day, but unfortunately they, erm, blew it.