Peter Prasad's Blog: Expletives Deleted

July 1, 2015

WAR NO MORE. Review: The Empty Throne by Bernard Cornwell

I do meditate on why we humans still kill. What could be worth taking another person’s life? My 800 cable channels versus your doctrinaire caliphate? Getting into heaven couldn’t be that easy. A blood-soaked ticket doesn’t pass as entry fee, no matter what sergeants, priests and mullahs say. Nor do I want to be in a heaven with the avenging angels of your god. It would be my hell because we wouldn’t have enough to talk about.

So I wonder when will Valhalla morph into heaven on Earth? Every generation spends itself repeating a lesson that nearly wiped out our parents, ad nauseum.

Will my children speak Norse or the emerging language of Englaland? It’s a question author Cornwell asks in his Saxon series, circa 900 AD. Cornwell is the best fiction writer of battle scenes. He’s written about Wellington to Waterloo, the Civil War and the Revolutionary War too. He puts you in the shield wall, slippery with guts and gore. I’d like to believe peace on earth is possible, but for generations it’s been tantalizingly far from grasp. Perhaps Cornwell is reading that men need to revisit in order not to want to repeat history.

Desperate for hope, I see war as evolutionary. Just look what it did to Germany, Japan and Europe as a whole. It took two great wars, two generations wiped out in thirty years. European culture was decapitated and reborn in an American model to struggle between dictator and democracy. But the fabric of the world changed. Down came colonialism and the last vestiges of feudalism, a model for 1500 years.

Now we have democratic capitalism inching toward socialism. Up is rising a long-suffering middle class, dragged into debt to pay for college and medical expenses. But we’re better educated, worked less, entertained more, and we have volunteer enlistment for those that insist on killing. Perhaps it’s their anger outlet while the rest of us are more playful with our testosterone... nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

After a lifetime writing about valor, heroes and war, Cornwell pens the following (page 272): I have tried to explain to my grandchildren what war is. I tell them it is bad, that it leads to sorrow and grief, yet they do not believe me. I tell them to walk into the village and see the crippled men, to stand by the graves and hear the widows weep, but they do not believe me. Instead they hear the poets, they hear the pounding rhythm of the songs that quickens like a heart in battle, they hear the stories of heroes, of men, and of women too, who carried blades against an enemy that kill and enslave us, they hear the glory of war, and in the courtyards they play at war, striking with wooden swords against wicker shields, and they do not believe that war is an abomination.

After 50 novels, this is Cornwell’s realization put into the mouth of Uhtred of Bebbanburg, the savior of the Saxon realm. All Hail Bernard Cornwell. He is master class for feel-it-now histories of men-at-war stories. May peace prevail on Earth and may we all survive to grow kinder to our neighbors. For the day is coming when killing is no longer part of the mix of evolution. The grape sags on the vine and grows sour. By then, a video game may channel uncontrolled aggression if you insist on pulling a trigger. Imagine if we can manage to be the last generation that needs to wipe itself out in order to evolve into a peaceful demeanor toward all. Huzzah, I’d squeeze the grape for that.

The Empty Throne (The Saxon Stories, #8) by Bernard Cornwell
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Published on July 01, 2015 09:32 • 121 views • Tags: cornwell, review, saxon-history

May 5, 2015

Men are masters at translating relationships and war into sports metaphors. It’s fed by a primal memory of organizing for the hunt, rewarded by the warm glow of a full belly and a camp fire. Or cracker jacks and hot dogs on a modern day field of dreams.

Now let me chalk the lines as I review the best new baseball book of the year: MOLINA, the story of the father who raised an unlikely baseball dynasty . Do you know of the Molina family -- Bengie, Jose and Yadier -- all catchers with two World Series rings each? It’s an amazing run ripe for the annals of Cooperstown. Perhaps they are the most accomplished siblings in baseball history.

Says Major Leaguer Ron Darling, “Molina is a must-read for all parents who want to teach their children the skills of the game while making sure they know that their skills away from the diamond are just as important."

As humans, we want the world to make sense and to give us a batting order we can ascend to grasp at the brass ring. We want to believe that when players come together and prize team over individual glory, we have the best chance to win. It’s the ancient adage to value tribe over self, to subsume personal needs to village and community. Done properly, it adds secret sauce to a life worth living. If you’ve watched any of the NBA playoff games, you get my drift. I marvel that human beings can rise so high, effortlessly, ah la Steph Curry. Swoosh!

The Molina brothers were coached by their dad, lovingly called Pai, a semi-pro player who looked after the ball yard across the street in their Puerto Rican barrio. He was an anchor for his family, the coach for his community. Thousands turned out to say Thank You when he passed away. The Molina brothers benefitted and aspired to be just like him. In the eyes of the fans for the Angels, Rangers, Giants and Cardinals, they succeeded.

The real story in Molina is how a son comes to terms with his father’s legacy. It makes me wonder how many sons are living their father’s dreams. I also like books that simplify life to a few cardinal values. The virtues here are loyalty, humility and courage. And thus, we pass wisdom to our children. I invite you to do so by gifting this book to those young ball players you love. I expect it might add some dash in their quest on the base paths of life.

Publication date: May 12th.

At Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Molina-Father-U...
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Published on May 05, 2015 13:01 • 126 views • Tags: baseball, molina, review

March 24, 2015

We're losing one of our most cherished American traditions -- the right to write beer-barrel poetry that skewers our elected leaders.

Doggerel has been with us since the Middle Ages. Says Wikipedia:

Doggerel is poetry that is irregular in rhythm and in rhyme, often deliberately for burlesque or comic effect. The word is derived from the Middle English dogerel, probably a diminutive of dog. In English it has been used as an adjective since the fourteenth century and a noun since at least 1630. Appearing since ancient times in the literatures of many cultures, it is characteristic of nursery rhymes and children's song.


In my family, we have a history of criticizing the King. John Appleton did it in 1730 and was promptly jailed in Colonial Boston. Now, with the 2016 election & silly season upon us, I offer this:

Ted Cruz Burns An Ounce To Announce

Vote Ted Cruz and the country we love is going to lose
He’s a busted Texan teapot who burns a very short fuse
So what’s all the fuss? His campaign leaks tons of puss.
He’s funded by the venture capital community
His wife writes the checks, ain’t that a lunacy
Anti-homo, he has his hate speech down pat
Anti-healthcare, voters stand in bread lines
While the Cruz and fat cats are doing just fine.
Anti-Obama, in the White House he’ll go all war
Thinking Herr Leader must have the loudest roar.
What do they put in the water down Texas way?
Arsenic and lead when a drop of tequila will do
He’s another moralizing murderer of democracy
A born-again pundit of the theocracy
When you draw the curtain and put your ballot in the box
Imagine candidate Cruz severe with the Republican pox.
Ted Cruz for the White House – oh boo-hoo
See you at the Alamo – oh ho-ho


For more campaign doggerel, please read Campaign Zen: http://www.amazon.com/Campaign-Zen-Pe...

Campaign Zen 500bc - 2012  Colonial March Thru Election History Told in Tavern Doggerel by Peter Prasad
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Published on March 24, 2015 14:29 • 318 views • Tags: campaign-zen, doggerel, poetry, politics
John Dolan is a wonderful crime fiction writer. This is his opinion, which I love:

Jake Knight, medically retired from the armed forces, returns home to Sonoma to save his family farm and encounters a puzzling mystery. Tightly written, with fully-fleshed characters, and not a little Prasad quirkiness, 'Goat-Ripper' is a pleasurable page-turner, full of invention. Toss in a little romance with the wine and cheese - et voila! - you have a winner. I shall be reading more of this series...

Highly recommended for lovers of a good old-fashioned romping tale.


I had no idea that's what I was writing back in the summer of 2012. With two more published in the series, I do now. I've written a few manuscripts since then -- ugly misbegotten freaks that have yet to see the light of day.

So I return to Sonoma and begin to craft another Jake Knight Wine & Cheese thriller. My challenge is to determine how he can romp more tale. That's a typo? Right?

On'Ya dear readers. If you haven't met Jake Knight, here's how: http://www.amazon.com/Goat-Ripper-Cas...
The Goat-Ripper Case (Sonoma Knight PI, #1) by Peter Prasad
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Published on March 24, 2015 14:07 • 330 views • Tags: mystery, private-investigator, review, thriller

March 20, 2015

FREE TODAY: The Goat-Ripper Case

http://www.amazon.com/Goat-Ripper-Cas...

Reviews: "The bad guys are bad. The different in their badness and the interplay as they weave their mischief is magic." "WOW!! I loved this book! Prasad is an exceptional story teller!" "Characters are captivating and well developed. You will however want to whack a couple of them." "The writing style is easy to follow, flows and the characterization is phenomenal." ~ author DP Whitehead.

"Nash Bridges' daring, Steinbeck's eye and Vonnegut's heart."

A 5-Star Wine & Cheese Thriller. Who's dumping dead goats in Sonoma? Afghan vet Jake Knight comes home to heal, fall in love and convert his dairy to artisan cheese. Not yet a licensed PI, Jake races to confront a perverted wine maker with a taste for murder. He assembles a witty crew and uses genius to stop an assassination. This modern-day romantic thriller is set in California wine country.

The Goat-Ripper Case (Sonoma Knight PI, #1) by Peter Prasad
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Published on March 20, 2015 09:55 • 426 views • Tags: crime-thriller, free-today, sonoma

March 14, 2015

My crime thrillers are set in Sonoma. Here's why I love Sonoma so:

A SONOMA DAIRY DAY
(cribbed from by R. Kipling)

Atop Sonoma mountain, looking westward to the bay
A milk-maid sat sighing because I came upon her one day
Wind rushes in madrone and oak, cowbells chime to say
Come home, dairy boy, come back Sonoma way.

In redwoods she pines for me, where her milk sheep lay.
Can ya hear kayaks paddle on Russian River runs at play?
Sunsets sink serene beyond Captain Drake’s old Bodega Bay.

Her petticoat was yellow and her little cap was green,
Her name, Anya-Dakini, same as a Santa Rosa queen.
She sat in a cloud of smoke from a hardy hemp cheroot
Wasting her kisses on my bumpkin boy’s big snoot
An idle cowboy of mud, sipping whiskey in his suds
Plucky lot she cared who watched her kissing on her stud.

Mists upon the vineyards, sunlight splashing low and slow
She thumbed her banjo song ‘Come back Sonoma don’t ya know’
Once her arms were on my shoulder, her lips upon my cheek
Eloped in love we saw sunlight tumble on Sonoma’s highest peak

We lingered a week as otters splat in a sludgy, squdgy creek,
In silence hung heavy, the geek in me was all afraid to speak
But that's all shoved behind me, long ago and far away,
‘Twas wrong to merge Redwood Credit and Bank of Mandalay;
Now I yearn to leave Oregon as a ten-year soldier cries.

If you've heard Sonoma calling, you need nothing else.
Chew spicy garlic food as sunlight kisses clanking dairy-bells;
On the road to Oregon, you pass Sonoma, here may I dwell.

Tho' I walk other maidens around busy Waterfront Square
They talk a lot about love but none say exactly where.
So I’m sick of wasting leather pacing gritty paving stones,
And the blasted Oregon drizzle wakes fever in my bones;
Dog-faced local folks, Lord, what do they understand?
Once I knew a neater, sweeter maid in a cleaner, greener land.

Ship me east of Alcatraz, where the best is like the worst,
Where no Ten Commandments stop a man with a wino's thirst;
For the dairy-bells are calling and it's there that I would be
To trace sunlight falling on redwoods, looking lazy at the sea.
Where dawn comes up a thunder across a Mayacamas bay
Bring back my sweet milkmaid, turn me Sonoma-bound all the way.
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Published on March 14, 2015 18:07 • 533 views • Tags: kipling, poem, sonoma

March 7, 2015

Years ago I was running a meditation class for drop-in students. I remember this young woman sitting in the class for the first time. I was leading the group through a visualization of addressing people that had hurt you in the past, and forgiving them.

“After all, you are still here. You have survived. It’s no longer necessary to keep carrying forward all the memory and pain of how you were treated. Just visualize them, forgive them, and let it go,” I said.

Well, this young woman leaped to her feet and blurted out, “No way!” She then stormed out of class. Obviously I had hit a red-hot nerve. The rest of us shared an awkward moment and continued to sit in silence working on the meditation.

As a visualization, the practice is like watching a piece of movie film burn up under the heat of the projector lamp. At first the scene is bright and vivid. Then it goes brown at the edges and suddenly just melts away. A slower process is to watch the scene dissolve from bright colors to black and white to faded brown and then disappear into space. Both work.

What we are trying to do here is release the energy stored in the memory by no longer holding on to it. Emotionally, one is no longer invested in this event or waiting for justification, resolution or satisfaction. One has simply forgiven its happening, the people involved and just letting the energy go.

We practice this approach a lot in Buddhism -- dissolving our past so we are no longer invested in it. It helps us more fully be in the here and now. This method can be applied to a variety of events, people, or memories.

A few weeks later, on a Saturday morning, this same young woman returned to class. I looked at her and nodded in recognition. She said: “I had no idea I had so much energy stored in that memory. It was hard but I went home and did what you suggested. It has taken a few weeks, but now I do not even remember that guy’s name.”

She smiled, bright and beautiful. I smiled too.

(Excerpted from Prasad's Zen series, as yet unpublished).
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Published on March 07, 2015 09:36 • 673 views • Tags: change, meditation, transformation

February 20, 2015

Scotland Bound. Knitters Alert, September 9-19, 2015
For Details & Reservations: http://reformationtours.com/home/pack...

Join us on a small group, custom travel experience of the best fiber farms, knitters and wool makers in Scotland. We’ll see Edinburgh and Glasgow and the mills, museums, farms and distilleries of the Highlands. Talk about changing your perspective – you may come home wearing a kilt.

Day 2: Edinburgh – luxury bus tour and welcome dinner

Day 3: Kathy’s Knits Yarn from small, independent farms plus Lochcarron Mill tour

Day 4: Sheep farm tour; Robert Burns Museum, 2 nights in N. Ayrshire

Day 5: Glasgow Weaver’s Cottage; tea with Glasgow Knit ‘n’ Stitch Club

Day 6: Inverness Stirling castle (Outlander location)

Day 7: Inverness felt-making & natural dyeing

Day 8: Donan Castle and Isle of Skye, museum tour

Day 9: Skye Shilasdair Shop for naturally dyed yarns, Dunvegan castle, Portee.

Day 10: Edinburgh: Ben Nevis Distillery, Kilmahog Woolen Mill

Day 11: Last minute shopping & transfer to Edinburgh airport.

Tour host Jane Park-O’Donnell is an expert guide, enthusiastic knitter, spinner, soap maker and mosaic artist with 30 years’ experience in the tour and travel industry. Her knit2 travel2 is a dream come true: sheep, wool, meeting knitters, sourcing local yarns, trading patterns and techniques, plus wine, cheese, a whisky sampling and expanding horizons with like-minded people.

Reformation Tours manages accommodations, transportation, meals and logistics. Tour cost with airfare from San Francisco: $3685 per person.
Land only: $2399 per person, double occupancy. Deposit of $350 to Reformation Tours.

For more information:
http://reformationtours.com/home/pack...

Please like our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jane.parkodo...
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Published on February 20, 2015 11:36 • 1,666 views • Tags: knitting, scotland, tour, travel

February 5, 2015

E-book review copies gifted thru Amazon. Contact: OdonnellSF@gmail.com. Thanks readers!

The Goat-Ripper Case launches the Sonoma Knight PI series. It's a post-modern, wine and cheese thriller with kinky twists.

Who's dumping dead goats in Sonoma? Jake Knight, an Afghan vet, comes home to heal, fall in love and convert his dairy to artisan cheese. Not yet a licensed PI, Jake races to stop a perverted wine maker with a taste for murder.

He assembles a witty crew and uses genius to stop an assassination. This modern-day romantic thriller is set in California wine country. Adult theme: Age 18+

Reviews: "The bad guys are bad. The different in their badness and the interplay as they weave their mischief is magic."

"WOW!! I loved this book! Prasad is an exceptional story teller!"

"Characters are captivating and well developed. You will however want to whack a couple of them."

"The writing style is easy to follow, flows and the characterization is phenomenal." ~author DP Whitehead.

"Nash Bridges' daring, Steinbeck's eye and Vonnegut's heart."

The Goat-Ripper Case: http://www.amazon.com/Goat-Ripper-Cas...

The Goat-Ripper Case (Sonoma Knight PI, #1) by Peter Prasad
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Published on February 05, 2015 10:12 • 700 views • Tags: assassination, cheese, pulp, thriller, wine

January 30, 2015

What a rape counselor says.
Review: To The Survivors by Robert Uttaro


http://www.amazon.com/Survivors-Rober...

Rape is a crime that affects both men and women. “People say that it’s a woman’s issue, but one could argue that it’s a man’s issue because the majority of perpetrators are men. I would simply argue it’s a human problem, but I do believe men have a huge role in reducing sexual violence.” So listen up, guys and gals.

Uttaro is a first time author who tells a very personal story of becoming a rape counselor. I read the book because I wanted the insights. Rape is something I hate. My personal mantra: “Don’t take what is not freely offered.” Rape demeans people and steals the bliss and joy of sexual union. It shattered the sharing and caring between two people. It breaks my heart. And I think rape sensitivity training is the next generational hurdle we face as a society and a culture. Once we learn to honor and respect the weaker sex, be it man or woman, we contribute to cultivating a true sense of civilization.

This book helps the reader plumb the depths of his or her own fear, anger, shock and sense of betrayal about uninvited sexual advances. It also documents the kindness, caring and compassion that comes forth to heal oneself and others. Uttaro emphasizes the healing process and several survivors tell their stories. No matter how you’ve been harmed, the standout chapter on forgiveness is a totem for the new millennium.

Rape scars you psychically and the healing begins with thawing out from numb. It’s a lifetime process and is its own kind of hell. The strongest survivors turn the experience into material for growth. This book will help you be a better listener. Rape is one of the hottest behavioral triggers we have – from war booty to debasing women to victimizing weaker people. The fact is, the sex act got us here; it would be nice to keep it sacred. Potential rapists need to ask: Why bother? What for fifteen minutes of glory do I endure a lifetime of shame?

As one survivor says: “The current of sexual violence and rape culture runs much deeper through the texture of our lives than we have yet to discuss. And we need to discuss it in order to fight it. Our voices are incredibly important; our stories are incredibly important.”

Education, awareness and sensitivity are the keys to our evolution. Read this book and you’ll learn how to listen to, believe and validate a survivor. I’d like to see Uttaro’s book as required reading in a college freshman orientation. Then, perhaps, the shame and suffering of rape might never again scar the halls of higher education. I’d like the NFL to give free copies away at football games, to celebrate the Super Bowl, which is the number one day for reports of spousal abuse.

So guys, remember, life is a game best played with your whole heart not just the back of your hand. Five stars to Robert Uttaro; a universe of stars to all the survivors. All the best to you, dear readers!

Gurl-Posse Kidnap (Sonoma Knight PI, #2) by Peter Prasad
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Published on January 30, 2015 10:24 • 1,226 views • Tags: book-review, rape, sexual-abuse

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Peter Prasad
We like to write and read and muse awhile and smile. My pal Prasad comes to mutter too. Together we turn words into the arc of a rainbow. Insight Lite, you see?
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