Tuesday, September 20, 2011

If you will click on the book cover to the right on this page, you will get more information on this selection. Thanks.

A Baker’s Dozen

Book Review

By Richard E. Noble

I have been writing and reading short stories since I was a teenager. I have always loved the short story format and it is right up my alley. This book is a sample packet of my efforts over all these years.

Most of my old buddies – or the few that are still hanging out on this planet – have been aware of my reclusive writing habits forever. After publishing this volume, I heard from a few of them. They all complimented me on how much my writing has matured and improved. Interesting enough, when I asked them which stories they enjoyed the most, invariably they chose one of the stories that I had written when in my teens or twenties. That’s funny. There is a lesson there somewhere – but I’ll look for it some other time.

I’m not going to tell any of you which of my tales are from my “early” period or which are from my “mature” period. You will have to guess. But I can tell you one thing, if I thought the story was poor, I discarded it years ago. I have thrown away more stories than I’ve kept in my files. The same goes for my poetry.

I put together this volume with the intention of presenting to the reader a variety of what like I do. As a result, the book has no theme other than all the stories were written by me. Half the stories evolve from life in my hometown. The other half from my life and travels "Hobo-ing America." The "Cain and Bernard's" story, I consider the perfect short story. I laugh everytime I read it. "A Government Job" I feel is one of the funniest true life adventure stories I've written. Unfortunately, it did really happen.

Some of the stories are what is termed “creative non-fiction,” others are totally contrived. Some are funny, others are not funny. Some are third person, others are first person. Some are idealistic, others are realistic. There should be something in this volume for every type reader. My personal opinion is that there isn’t a bad or poorly written story in the bunch.

I’m a traditionalist. I like stories with a beginning, middle and end. I don’t like babbling just to fill the page. I don’t write for the sake of writing, I write with the intention of saying something. Each of these stories says something and each in a different way. I hope you will give this book a try. Your investment will go to a “Noble” cause. That noble cause is to help me publish another of my books. I have many, many stories not yet published. But with a little help from some friends, old and new, I'll get them all out there one day. Thanks for listening.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Life and Ideas of Robert Owen

By A. L. Morton

Book Review

By Richard E. Noble

I stumbled across the name Robert Owen cross-reading for my book, America on Strike. My book is on the American Labor movement and deals with various famous strikes throughout American History.

Mr. Owen was most notable for operating a factory in New Lanark, Scotland that was opened by David Dale and Richard Arkwright in 1785.

Robert Owen took the factory over in 1800. Prior to that time he had been running a successful textile factory in Manchester, England. And thus began one of the most unique experiments in industrial history. With about 2000 poor and destitute – drunks, homeless, poverty stricken, criminal, uneducated rabble – including 500 children from various poor houses, Robert Owen built a successful and quite prosperous Mill town community.

This experiment in social engineering was so successful that people came from around the world to see with their own eyes this, thought to be impossible, miracle. My hometown of Lawrence and its sister city of Lowell were supposedly fashioned via inspiration from Mr. Owen and his ideas and example.

Robert Owen was born May 14, 1771 and died in November of 1858. He is the quintessential model for the self-made man. Born to a large working family he set off at the age of ten to make his fortune. And he did.

He went to London and then to Stamford in Lincolnshire. There he apprenticed himself to a well established draper.

By the time he was a young man of just twenty years of age and now experienced in business and factory work, he made his boss, Mr. Drinkwater, a proposition to take over and manage his factory and run it more profitably than ever before. The boss accepted and Robert fulfilled his boast and was bought into the firm as a partner.
In 1779 he went on a business trip to Glasgow and met Anne Caroline Dale, daughter of mill owner David Dale. He ended up marrying Caroline. And in time, he became manager and partner in the Manchester factory and then talked his partners into purchasing the factory in New Lanark.

His success at New Lanark astounded the world. He became very wealthy and well respected.

He had “discovered” a philosophy. Men were the product of their circumstances. Their characters were not made by them but for them. Provide men, women and children with positive circumstances and they will live positive productive lives. Men are not to be judged or to be praised. They are therefore not responsible and should be treated reasonably and fairly whatever their actions. Clarence Darrow had a similar philosophy.

He became a philanthropist and a Utopian. He attempted colonies or communes in the New World. One was called New Harmony and was attempted in Indiana.
He was a man of unlimited self confidence. He loved children and dreamed of creating a perfect world. He made written plans for this New World and even named it. It would be called New Jerusalem. Talk about being a man with a plan.

He supposedly coined the word Socialism. It was designed to be contrasted with the word Individualism. Individualism to Owen had grown to represent selfishness and indifference to one’s neighbors and the community. Socialism would be the opposite of individualism and it would represent the spirit of social responsibility – man’s love and sense of obligation to one another.

This book is a patchwork of writings and ideas of Robert Owen. It is bits and pieces and slices from the writings of Mr. Owen. It provides a good overview of Mr. Owen and his ideas and philosophy but I find it somewhat disjointed and bumpy. Owen wrote an autobiography in his later days. Unfortunately he went over the deep end as an old man and fell off into the world of spiritualism and talking with “spirits.” He was not a fan of organized religion and spoke openly and publicly about the perils of religious thinking. I will be checking it out but in any case, I am sure someone has written a good biography.

Robert Owen was a giant in the advancement of Labor and fair play for the poor in Britain. He was a talker and a doer. He put his money where his mouth was. I’m not a fan of communal life but Owen and his ideas on cooperative businesses and social structures may be having a comeback. I will be looking into his thoughts. He was quite a character too. From what I’ve read so far he was a man worth knowing and I want to learn more about him.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Hobo Philosopher

Will You Walk me to my Car

By Richard E. Noble

"Will you walk me to my car?" the young lady asked me.
"I don't even know where your car is parked," I answered.
"I know you don't, silly, but it is 2 o'clock in the morning and it is dark in the parking lot."

I was the new manager of a successful restaurant on Sunrise Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. This was the first time that any young waitress had made such a request of me. I thought that she was flirting with me. The waitress was in her mid-twenties; she couldn't still be afraid of the dark, I thought.
As it turned out she wasn't flirting with me. She was just doing what most girls learn to do very early on in their working careers – she was protecting herself against a needless but very possible attack.

This was memorable for me and I never forgot that experience. It left me with a very strange mix of emotions.

Of course, I felt very manly and protective to be walking this young waitress to her car. On the other hand I felt a profound sadness understanding that I was asked to perform this task in order to protect this girl from a possible attacker of my own kind. She was asking this one particular male to be her protector against other possible less honorable males.

On the one hand I felt pride and on the other hand I felt shamed.
After that experience I noticed that the girl and lady waitresses invariably traveled in packs. They waited for one another each evening and went to their autos as a group or at minimum as a pair.

As a male, I never had to think in such a way – or at least I never did.
When I got to be an even bigger boy and I married, I often wondered if my wife ever harbored fearful thoughts about me. In talking with her cohorts and girlfriends had she ever said; Well, if he ever lays a hand on me I'm out of here.

There was a time when even suspecting that she may have said such a thing would have hurt my feelings terribly. But today, in this state of newfound "maturity," I say to myself why shouldn't she have said such a thing? Who am I to any woman but a "male." I'm the "opposite sex"; I'm one of the "other" kind.

It is very strange to come to this realization. But as we all know there are many males who are untrustworthy, mean, nasty and even brutal. There are males who abuse their mates and even their offspring. And why should any male find that fact so shocking. Males have been murdering and slaughtering one another for centuries – via one excuse or another. And women have for centuries lived in fear of the male and under his domination.

In many foreign countries we see that their women are forced to dress protectively. They don't have to wear armor or bullet proof vests but they must disguise themselves and not appear attractive in any sexual way. It is even against the law for them to do so.

It all sounds like such a terrible situation – to be a female that is.
We think of ourselves as so sophisticated here in the United States but it was just a few years back, 1920, that we allowed women to vote. For the longest time women here in this country were discouraged from reading books; working at many jobs and occupations; there was a time not too long ago when women were not even allowed to participate in sports because it was not feminine or might damage their reproductive capacity.

They weren't allowed to dress seductively either. Sexually enhancing dress was for fallen women and women of the night. Such women were often called "trollops" and much worse by many morally upright males.

As they say we have come a long way but really not all that far. Girls are still attacked here in America and by the thousands – and they are attacked by men and boys.

Women still have to be careful at night; they have to get people to walk them to their cars or they must travel in packs or study the martial arts. It is still dangerous for a woman to be living alone in an apartment in a big city. They must be careful and take precautions that their male counterparts never even have to consider.

Many men, even in America, are still beasts; they still act bestial; they still can't be trusted. You have got to keep your eye on everything they do, even the nice ones.

I was educated here in the U.S. by women who dressed like the women I see on the TV in foreign countries. Very few nuns dress in that style anymore, but that wasn't all that long ago. I'm not that old.

This is a pretty sad state of affairs don't you think? I mean, this girls fearing boys thing? Girls have to guard themselves in our colleges, on our streets, in our parking lots, even in our military. Girls are being sexually attacked regularly in our military … and not by the enemy. This is happening to girls on active duty and in our military Academies. This is rather ridiculous, don't you think?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Speech

By Bernie Sanders

Book Review

By Richard E. Noble

This is the historic written account of the filibuster given by Senator Bernie Sanders on December 10, 2010 on the senate floor. It exposes the bill that resulted via a backroom deal between the president of the United States and the Republican Party. This filibuster was Bernie’s attempt to explain the negatives of this bill to the American people, gain support from the people and defeat the bill. That did not happen. Bernie made this gallant attempt but failed. The bill passed with all of its unfortunate consequences for the American people – particularly the middle class and the poor.

I listened to most of the speech and tried my best to take notes. Unfortunately I could never become a secretary. My note taking was a failure. So I bought the book to get the information.

Bernie repeated his major points over and over in the text which is fine with me. I am a big supporter of repetition. That is how I learned my ABC.

The main point of the book is why are we giving tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires and international conglomerates while running huge deficits and a substantial growing National Debt. The Republicans agree with the urgency of fiscal responsibility but choose to target the middle class and the poor for the cut backs while exempting their rich supporters from paying their legitimate share.

Bernie is very outspoken in defining who has been responsible for our current economic woes. He pulls no punches. His fearlessness to call a spade a spade is reminiscent of Harry Truman. I’ve heard no other present day politician tell it as Senator Bernie Sanders tells it. And in my opinion he is right on the mark. I find nothing in this book or Bernie’s presentation that I disagree with.

The book is filled with Democratic talking points. He explains why a payroll tax holiday is no holiday but a Right Wing rip-off designed by Republicans to suit the Republican historic goal to kill Social Security. He explains the “death tax” and tells us why it was instituted and why it should be continued. He deals with the off-shoring of jobs, the U.S.’s foundering industrial base, the Chamber of Commerce and its anti-American attitudes, corporate tax avoidance in offshore banks and federal loopholes, lobbyists and their overpowering impact on legislation and the legislators, our detrimental “free trade” policies, the perils of the global economy for the American worker and America, the enormous greed of the over-wealthy, the anti-American attitude of many large corporations, the corruption going on in Washington and in the corporate and business community, and Republican hypocrisy and chicanery on all fronts.

The book is written in the simplest of language. The rich and the powerful have declared war against the middle class and the poor, says Bernie. This fact should be more than obvious to any objective observer.

The points that Bernie makes are explained in detail and over and over again. Bernie makes everything very clear. This is an excellent book and an enlightening learning experience. I only wish more people would read it.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Bill O'Reilly

Bill O’Reilly

“Culture Warrior”

Book Review

By Richard E. Noble

A friend of mine sent me “Culture Warrior” by Bill O’Reilly. He said his son gave the book to him after he had read about twenty pages. His son who is in his thirties or forties said; “Dad, maybe I’m too young for this guy; I don’t know what he is talking about. See if you can figure it out.”

My friend, the father, said that he read about fifty pages and he gave up. He said why don’t you give it a try. So I started reading.

I’ve reached page 98 but I have decided to quit. I feel rather lazy minded to just quit – after all I am the same person who has written nearly 800 pages, a page by page analysis of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. If I could finish that certainly I should be able to complete a little 200 page rant by a modern day right-winger with an ax to grind or a bat to swing. Adolf had a big ax to grind but Bill seems even angrier than Adolf – if that’s possible.

But I hate to spend as much time as I have reading Bill and not getting something out of the experience to write about. So here is my review of the first 98 pages of Bill O’Reilly’s million seller book “Culture Warrior.”

The cover of the book is red, white and blue on a black background. Bill is sitting in the foreground with an American flag waving behind him – he is wearing an American-flag-blue windbreaker. He has a very familiar Irish looking face. He has those “twinkling” Irish blue eyes and a warm friendly altar boy smile. He could easily have been walking a beat in my old neighborhood. He has the well-known Irish temper – as he admits himself throughout the book – or the first 98 pages.

Bill has discovered a conspiracy. Now I’m a true believer in conspiracies so I can’t knock him on that one. It seems that there are a group of people, living right here within the borders of the United States who are presently involved in the overthrow of “our” government. They are not doing this by means of a revolution or violent overthrow. They are too cleaver to come right out and fight like men. They are doing it by guile and persuasion and trying to sway voters and by real sneaky, underhanded, dirty methods like using their money to twist the media and the “truth.” Bill has a lot of terrible names for these people but overall he benignly refers to them as Secular Progressives or S-Ps.

These S-Ps are a very cleaver group of evil and vile people and they have a horrible anti-American agenda; wait until I tell you about it, you won’t believe it. It is truly beyond your widest dreams.

In the beginning of this book he has a fictitious spokesperson mouth the future as seen according to these S-Ps. This spokesperson is an imaginary future American President. She is a female and her name is Gloria Hernandez.

Gloria and her friends it seems have some horrible ideas – like right out of George Orwell’s 1984.

First and foremost these S-Ps do not believe in God; they are very anti-Judeo/Christian. They want to take all the money from the rich people and use it to make their version of a “better world.” For example they want everybody to have their own home – with no mortgage; they want all children to have an education – for free! And that includes college if they are that cleaver; they think that everybody should make a living wage – whether they deserve to be alive or not! (my God! these people are horrible); they want businesses and corporations to act and conduct themselves in the world market place with a moral conscience (what a pernicious method for undermining capitalism and the American way); they want prisons to be reformed and drug crimes to be looked upon as an addiction to be treated as a sickness and not simply incarceration; they want any and all sick and even healthy people to have access to health care – even if they don’t have a penny!; they actually want the United States to be attacked before the United States attacks anybody else; and one can only conclude from all of the above that these S-Ps would probably try to outlaw war if they could get away with it.

In contrast or in opposition to this group of S-Ps there are the Traditionalists.
Traditionalist love Christmas, and Santa, and lots of presents and Christmas trees and Christmas shopping. They particularly like the word “Christmas.” They love their country and support their country in whatever it chooses to do – especially war.
Charles Dickens and Tiny Tim were both traditionalists who would have liked Bill O’Reilly, Bill claims. Charles Dickens was a traditionalist says Bill. You remember, he wrote that great book about celebrating Christmas, “A Christmas Carol.” As you will remember in that wonderful tale a man named Scrooge (an S-P no doubt) was poo-pooing Christmas and all the other characters, including some ghosts, tried to educate Scrooge to the wonders of Christmas (Traditionalist’s Holiday). And as you will recall in that story, Tiny Tim and his mom and dad and Scrooge’s nephew and all the Ghosts and everybody but Scrooge were strongly in favor of patriotism and war, and capitalism. They were adamant on the rich being able to do as they damn well pleased with their money and that the poor should be damned and get up off their lazy butts and get a job. After all, didn’t Scrooge pay his taxes and support the prison system? What more could anyone ask of him and his rich friends? And that dirty old Scrooge wanted to open orphanages and feed the poor and do all sorts of kind things with his money. But Tiny Tim and his mom and dad and all the other characters and all the ghosts of Christmases past, future and present would have none of it. They all said; So what if we are poor, sickly and crippled. We are in this condition because that is the way we choose to be. And we want to be free. You take all your damn money, Mr. Scrooge, and shove it! If God wanted us to be rich also he would have had us born in a welfare state – not in a country like this one where we can all be poor, crippled, and homeless if we choose to be. That’s freedom, man!

John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy were both traditionalists, says Bill. They loved their county and thought that rich people should have everything that they wanted – remember Fiddle and Faddle and Marilyn Monroe. Teddy Kennedy is kind of like the diseased afterbirth of the Kennedy family – he is an S-P and Bill cannot figure out how that happened. Teddy may be the only Kennedy who is not really Irish. Bill didn’t say this but I have heard the rumor that Rose Kennedy may have actually had an affair with Eugene Debs or possibly Norman Thomas that resulted in Teddy “the social dwarf.”

Bill is fearless in exposing this underground of S-Ps in the U.S. population – he names names and shows their pictures. You will not believe who some of these people are. I will list a few but you should buy the book to get them all and see for yourself.

Many S-Ps are or have been in the media – Walter Cronkite has just recently come out of the closet. He was probably an S-P since day one but he fooled all of America for about 80 years. Tom Brokaw, Bill Moyers, Jim Lehrer, Meredith Vieira, Matt Lauer, Katie Couric are all definite S-Ps. Dan Rather and Peter Jennings are wannabes but tried their best to keep their S-P nature secret.

But some of the worst S-Ps who have ever been born are celebrities and appear on TV regularly. Wait until you hear this! Two of the biggest are Jay Leno and David Letterman – Jon Stewart ... of course, is another. S-P people are all over Hollywood – just tip over any rock or slime covered growth and you will probably find one of them.

And Bill, who looks to be over six feet tall and a couple of hundred pounds, keeps getting tricked and beat up by these little, ethnic, anti-American, intellectual types with glasses and speech defects. These people have been harassing Bill to no end. He has even had to go so far as to buy himself a multi-million dollar mansion and hibernate and take respite. He has been forced to hire bodyguards because these S-Ps are the type of people who will resort to anything.

There is one among these riffraff who is a billionaire. He was born a Jew in Germany but to escape being baked in an over he went so far as to change his name and maybe even pretend to be a Protestant. The cowardly S-P then escaped to Hungry or some place where the Russians discovered his S-P tendencies and he had to escape to America. When he got to America – just like all the rest of his kind – he somehow tricked everybody and became a billionaire. But now that he is a billionaire he has finally come out of the closet and is attempting to get all the money from all the other rich people in the world and give it to the poor. Isn’t that just like a rich billionaire – I should have known it.

So that’s how it has been going up to page 98. There are a lot more of these pictures of angelic looking people who are really S-Ps and are out to steal from the rich and give it all to the poor and ... and heal the sick ... and ... and clothe the naked and feed the poor and put a chicken in everybody’s pot and a car in everybody’s garage. You will not believe it! You must read this book for yourself. And don’t worry because Bill has these peoples’ number and each week on the Fox News Network (of which he is an executive producer) you can see him expose all these vermin. The only thing is that now most of these people are afraid of Bill and they keep refusing to go on the air with him and have an intelligent conversation. You may have seen Bill and Geraldo having an intelligent conversation just the other day on the news.

I agree with Bill. I can not understand why any person would not want to come on to his show and discuss their political perspectives. These S-Ps are like roaches. They just want to stay hidden in the dark and sneak around at night eating all our crackers and hors d’oevures. I don’t know about you but I think these roaches need to be exterminated. OOPS ... wrong book. That was Adolf. I’ve read Adolf’s book four times now but I don’t remember if he liked Christmas or not. He was a Catholic but I don’t think that he was a good Catholic. He wasn’t Irish; I know that for sure.
Keep up the good work Bill. Keep that light shinning! And don’t you worry, I’ve got your back, buddy. You are a true American and don’t let any of them commie, Jew, atheist, fascist, pussy, cowardly, treasonous, manipulative, tricky, lying, drug-addicted, parasitic (I don’t think he used that one – Adolf really liked that one), scum sucking pigs get you down. I know how depressing it can get for sensitive, kind, generous, fair-minded types like you and me. Gosh, oh golly gee, sometimes I just want to go over into a corner or lock myself in my room and cry. But whatever you do Bill – Don’t let them see you cry.