Friday, September 6, 2019

No Wonder I'm Screwed UP!!!!

                                                      This is an important one!!

I just ran into a story I never of checking out. It is titled "How to Become a Writer". I don't know why I didn't think of looking for it before.

The article begins (in WikiHow - to do anything by the way !) "The translation of human experience into an artful literary presentation is the art of writing. Writing is a careful craft that follows certain literary techniques and maintains field standards. Most fields in creative writing (from academia and publishing, to grant and technical writing), require a higher degree, including at least a Bachelor's degree, and, often, an MFA in creative writing or an MA in literature, journalism, or a related field. 

Now THAT is my problem! And I didn't know it. Why didn't someone tell me?

How can I expect to be a success, or at least earn a little spending money (I need $100 to buy a new video adapter so I can use two monitors at one time) if I don't meet the minimum requirements?

That explains why I was watching the truck pulls the other night. I was scratching my head (and it is BALD so it hurts) why I was watching monster truck pulls. 

They are LOUD even with just my little USB computer speakers. I can only imagine if I still had my old Logitech with subwoofer still hooked up!

This is what I was watching the truck pulls for

Seriously, the tracks were dark so all I could see flames

                                                    Most of the time all I saw was:

Trucks stopped dead in their tracks with blown engines.  I imagine those engines cost upwards of $10,000 plus the time of building and swapping them out.

Ah well, 15 minutes of viewing was enough for a lifetime. I would rather write book reviews. I will share two with you in a minute - if you promise not to throw something at me.

 More from the Writers - How? - Book

I peeked in the chapter on Nitty-Gritty Rules of Thumb:

1. Start with simple words - heck that's all I know

2. Stick with short sentence - again - that's all I know

3. Let you verbs do the real work - huh?

4. Be careful not to use adjectives - what are they?

5. Be a student of vocabulary

6. Say what you mean - THAT's why I'm always getting in trouble.

I remember writing in the high school paper - what was the name 'The Indian'? I wrote an article about how the cops picked on us seniors for a party after a football game. (I don't remember that we won - but it was a good excuse for a party!) 

Mr. Volecker the journalism teacher, personally escorted me to the principles office for a lecture on good, responsible journalism. That sunk in real well. The next time was that I got caught smoking on the band bus trip to Canada! They stripped me of my Honor Roll status and kicked me out of band.  tsk tsk   

Those crimes led to bigger ones of course - like getting drafted into the AUS (the Army of the United States) I wasn't going to volunteer for RA -regular army.

I did find a really good tool this evening. It's called Trello. You can set up Cards to keep track of the platforms you write for, the topics you are researching, the stats of writing the articles and when they are done.

Shoot! I did all that on an Excel worksheet Sunday night. I could have saved hours! Remember, if I can't write I surely don't know how to type.

Well, that's enough foolishness for tonight. I promised to let you read my to adventures into writing book reviews so hang on.

Craig Martineau, reviewer: 8.11 - 8.13.2019

Book Title: Misreading Judas
SUBTITLE: How Biblical Scholars Missed the Biggest Story of All Time

Author Name: Robert Wahler
Publication Date: 2016
Publisher: Authorhouse

The National Geographic Society gained the rights of the Gospel of Judas in 2006.
A panel of nine biblical scholars and Coptic experts (he does not identify how many Coptic experts) and “mostly Christian (again he does not identify how many) nor does he name names (I would expect no less in a scholarly work, especially since Christian Bibles, identify the study commissions (at least in the full study format)?
Even a less strenuous edition lists the goals and reasoning given for the publication of a new gospel edition. The New International Version (NIV) lists the foundational facts back to the inception of the NIV in 1965.
While this book may have been intended for a smaller audience his later remarks seem hopeful that he will score a much larger audience due to the success of the DaVinci Code and other works that have grabbed the publicity.
He appears to be derisive that “still no one” has requested additional information on his book or the Gospel of Judas.
He continues his dissertation on the Gospel of Judas with the report that Judas and not Jesus is the “sacrifice” in the man “ who bears my name.”
He further states that the evidence is now “ours” and lists: the Gospel of Judas, the Gospel of Thomas, the Apocrypha of James, the first and second Apocalypse of James, “that all have to come to light in the last generation”. “All you need are these long-lost texts and the New Testament Gospel” to appreciate the mystic teaching of Gnosticism.
He disabuses the earlier dates of the New Testament writings and states that the “essential essence” of Gnosticism is “self-sacrificing and uses the example of Judas being the “sacrifice” to explain the Gnostic example.
I read the three preceding reviews from Kirkus, the BlueInk Review, and The Forwarded Reviews. I believe they ‘took a knee’ in their faint praise of this book.
I am not a biblical scholar by any means so I took time to research validating the Gospel of Judas. Some disquieting information turned up in Google Searches but when I got into more in-depth uses Wikipedia, I took a hard examine of what Mr. Wahler wrote to see if I had misread some language. I have included the Wikipedia document at this link for your reference. https: The Gospel_of_Judas
I began to question the author’s authenticity shortly after I started reading the second book review.
After my review and follow on research I decided that Wahler believes everything he writes is believable even to strong evidence to the contrary.
The first strong indication is when he states that “still - no one” has inquired about his book or the Gospel of Judas. He easily blames the panelists of experts as not possessed of sufficient knowledge to decide the fate of his book correctly and his prized gospel.
That the Gospel of Judas was submitted to the International Conference Proceedings on the Gospel of Judas forty-nine times doesn’t pressure Wahler in the least. He continues to plow ahead like a good salesperson should. Location 112
I was vexed when he depicted the “handing over” of Judas, the new Messiah, just as Jesus was dismissed to return to the heavenly realms to rejoin his human form. He glosses over this significant fact by easily interjecting it at the point just after Judas receives his money and is spirited away to the Jewish leaders. I did not find what Judas did with his 30 pieces of silver.
This copy of the Gospel of Judas was thought to have been found in the 1970s. There is no recorded information exists because the manuscript was later stolen by a trader and brought to Switerzland.
The 1970s date agrees with the author of this book Robert Wahler. The original manuscript was carbon-dated to A.D. 280 plus or minus 60 years. This manuscript was found in a cave near Beni Masar Egypt. The codex was named Codex Tchacos named after “Frieda Nussburger-Tchacos an antiquities dealer who became concerned over the condition of the manuscript.”
This manuscript is believed to be based on an earlier Greek manuscript dated to A.D. 130-170.
The manuscript was leather-bound and the original self-titled papyrus was labeled Euagelion Ioudas (Gospel of Judas).
Today the manuscript is in tatters and scattered over 1,000 pieces. Some pieces contain several words of text some several lines.
According to Coptic scholar Rodolphe Kasser of the University at Geneva the original text contained 31 pages with writing on both sides. When the manuscript surfaced for sale it contained 13 pages. “The theory is that pages had been removed and sold.”
Iraneous of Lyon A.D.130-202 (today southern France) was known for his role as the Bishop who helped guide the new Christian church. He was known for his defense of the Church against heresies and defining what constituted orthodoxy. One of his fiercest battles was waged over the Gospel of Judas.
The manuscript was translated in the 2000s. It comprises 16 chapters and documents Jesus teachings on spirituality and cosmology. Fully one-third of the text is currently unreadable.
 It may be interesting to note Judas is the only disciple that understands Jesus’ teaching.
This gospel contains ideas which contradicted those circulating in the early Christian church. An example is God is referred to as “a luminous cloud of light.”Adamas (Adam?) is seen as the father of all humanity who dwells in the cloud with God and Jesus in his humanity.
So enough of my notations and now I give the professionals time.
Amy-Jill Levine, professor of New Testament Studies at Vanderbilt University Divinity School and was on the team that evaluated the gospel and insists that no new historical information was to be found regarding Jesus or Judas.
Two historians Elaine Pagels and Karen Leigh King argue that a “more nuanced and contextualized understanding should frame the discussions of Gnostic tradition.
Ms. Pagels also notes that Biblical translators have used “hand-over” instead of “betrayal”.
The National Geographic Society aired a National Geographic Special on April 9, 2006.
Terry Garcia, the executive vice president for Mission Programs of the National Geographic Society asserted that “the codex is considered by scholars and scientists to be the most significant ancient non-biblical texts found since the 1940s.”
James M. Robinson general editor of the Nag Hammadi Library presents that no new information is revealed since the 2nd-century manuscript seems to derive from an older document.
April D. DeConick a professor of Biblical Studies at Rice University “opines in an op-ed in The New York Times, that the National Geographic translation was “ critically faulty in many substantial respects and, based on a corrected translation portrays Judas as a demon.”
She republished her text as “The Thirteenth Apostle: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says.” She stipulates that Judas was not a daimon in the Greek sense of the word. In Gnostic literature daimon always means demon.
“Andre Gagne, professor at Concordia University in Montreal, also questioned how the experts of the National Geographic Society understood the role of Judas Iscariot in the Gospel of Judas.”
“His argument rests on the translation of the Greco-Coptic term apophasis as “denial”. According to Gagne, the opening lines of the Judas Gospel should not be translated as “the secret word of declaration by which Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot” but rather as “the secret word of denial by which Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot”. (Judas 33:1). “Gagne’s conclusion is that this gospel is the story of the denial of the true salvation for Judas.”
The National Geographic Society stands by their opinion in a statement issued on Dec 1, 2007.
I have reread the reviews published with the book to ensure my bias was not creeping in.
The first review ends “A tightly argued presentation of an explosive, Judas-centered counter-narrative.”
Another begins “ Please everyone, read the Gospel of Judas as the Gnostic text that it is. Stop imparting New Testament bias into it.”
Another ends with: “ Misreading Judas may prove too busily written and thematically arcane for the uninitiated reader. On the other hand, those interested in history, theology, and philosophy will find more to keep reading.” 

Finding a stable footing in Misreading Judas is challenging at best.
Craig Martineau

Wasn't that erudite?

Craig Martineau, reviewer: 8.29.19
Book Title:  The Expansion
Author: Christoph Martin (Zollinger)
Publication Date: 2017
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publish Date: 2017
Editor:  Libby O’Loghlin

Main Characters:
Husband: Ed Burns
Wife: Helen Burns
Son: Alan
Son: Max
Max’s School Buddy: Godfredo
Max’s Fiancee Sarah Beauvois
Paco (Fransisco) Roco
Godfredo Roco
Prologue I
Location: Surrey England 1993
The Events of one evening which include a nighttime escape - by a helicopter flown by Ed Burns.
Their son Alan is brought up in conversation and there are indications that he may be handicapped.
Prologue II
Location: Zouz Swiss Alps
We are introduced to Max and his friend Godfredo while they are on the slope skiing near their boarding school.
How would you react?
This book draws you in quickly with a nighttime helicopter escape.
Leaving their large group of dinner guests behind in what must be an enormous estate Ed and Helen Burns have a disjointed conversation while Ed pilots the helicopter.
The helicopter and the dialog relating to Helen’s diamond necklace indicate they must be wealthy.
The author does not dwell on events that are not central to the storyline. He does not waste our time.
The editing is superb. Tight dialog, tight scenes, short chapters to keep the steady drumbeat of the plot.
Chapter Two is a scene at Professor Moyle’s apartment.
Here we meet Alex (Alexandra Wong) and Gian Tarocco, both engineers that graduate from college with Dr. Max Burns. All three have worked on projects together throughout their college years.
The crux of the tension is presented in the conversations. The Panama Canal is being expanded. Professor Moyle would like his star pupils to attend to this grand once-in-a-lifetime project. He is pushing them to accept the challenge and submit a proposal for the project within the six-month time frame.
Max is a geomatics engineer.
This engineer is involved in everything involving spatial considerations such as utilities, land, communications. Almost everything an engineer would find in building an expansion to the Panama Canal. Max is a Doctor of Science and just finishes his last lecture as the book opens.
In Chapter One we are introduced to Sarah, Max’s fiancee and the daughter of Max’s soon to be employer. They have spent eight years together preparing for marriage and for Max to work for her father.

The gathering at Professor Moyle’s displays the quandary Max is in. He has promised to marry Sarah and to work for her father, the head of Beauvoir Construction at the end of the month.
How is that going to work if he follows his classmates and flies to Panama for the six months to research and present a proposal to expand the Miraflores Locks and Miraflores Lake.

An expansion of the locks did begin in 2007 and was completed in 2016. While this is not a tale of the actual expansion it serves as the backdrop to our story.

The story shifts to Paco and Godfredo. Paco heads CISCO Construction company that has built many of the major bridges in Europe.

Paco is a bully and treats his son as a lackey. He may project a smooth sophisticated demeanor to outsiders but we know, from incidents at a boarding school that Paco is a brutal overlord with his son.

Paco entices Godfredo to hire his old school mate as the chief engineer and Alex and Gian as two of Max’s assistants.
 There is a six-month period when all the research has to be completed and the proposals submitted to the Panama Canal Authority.

The author spent a decade working in Panama so he expertly develops the layout of Panama for us. From the old town of Casco Viejo to the harbor where the massive super ships transport containers all over the world, he gives us the ‘real’ Panama. When he describes the heat and humidity you also start sweating thru your shirt.

With a project as immense as the expansion of the Miraflores locks you would expect plots and plots within plots. You will not be disappointed. While these side-trips add to the interest of the main plot they do not overshadow or slow the pace.

The editor keeps the plot and character development moving along at a good pace. Not galloping but fast enough that boredom does not have a chance to rest on the shoulders of the reader.

You would expect the United States to be involved in the expansion and so they are.  The U.S. took over the construction of the Panama Canal from France. In 1977 President Jimmy Carter signed the custodianship of the locks over to the government of Panama with the proviso that the U.S. would still control the defense of the canal.

In the book, you would also expect the Germans and Chinese to be involved in the expansion. The Chinese start the work of building a competing canal throughout Nicaragua.

Oh yes, you would expect CIA involvement also, right? Well, you are correct again!

I am afraid to say more or I will give away plot lines and the more interesting of character traits.
I hope you find this book and spend a few hours to read thru it.

It has all the makings of a good suspense novel written by an expert hand and guided by an excellent editor.

One of the best novels I have read. I will be re-reading it again in a few years.
Word count 935
Read Time 3 min 40 sec

 I must admit: The first book drove me insane and the second is really worth a few hours to read it.

Any way I can post this one to facebook and I hope you like it. You are welcome to check out my other blogs also.

Craig Martineau

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