Change That Is Needed

A smart, brave, articulate Millennial calling out his generation to go out and vote.🙂

Xavier's Blog

Hello everyone today, I honestly have no idea how many people actually look at this blog, and I hope that it does reach as many people as it possibly can. I am currently stated as a political science major in college and the reason that I chose to be a political science major is because my senior year in high school, I fell in love with the idea of politics and the way that the world works politically.

With that background in mind, I hope to reach out to my generation at hand, the millennials. We have been labeled the kids and young people how “does not know what they have” and have come to the world with “silver spoons” and apparently have never known what it felt like to earn something in this world. I want to talk to you guys about politics, and I know that we all…

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Remote Control


“Dude, they’re not real.”

“Obviously. How could anyone be fooled?”

“They got a lot of stuff right, though. The DNA research is really helping with the accuracy.”

“True. I wonder at peoples’ fascination, though.”

“Disney did pretty good back in the day, and with a better sense of humor.”

“I wasn’t around yet, Lamont.”

“I keep forgetting. You must have been somewhere.”

“One of those less than memorable iterations, I guess.”


Lamont and Dude are characters I came up with a couple of years ago. They remember many of their past incarnations which gives them a unique, and sometimes useful, perspective on life, the universe and everything.

Not Raising My Hand

"Which way do you want to go?"

My teaching career began in a volunteer literacy program in Denver, the Adult Education Tutorial Program, started by a nun whose name I should not have forgotten. My first student was Ramon Hurtado who couldn’t read. He was in his thirties, the son of migrant farm workers. He’d had the chance to go to school but he hadn’t liked it. His dad saw no reason to force him. But, Ramon grew up and had two daughters. When the oldest reached second grade she realized her dad was not really READING the bedtime stories. He had come to school out of shame. It was a great experience for me, the biggest “high” I’d ever had and so I walked into my vocation.

I continued to teach there for the next few years, even after I returned from China and had a teaching job, I taught classes in beginning English. It’s great being a volunteer teacher. Your students are grateful. Your boss is grateful and you only get the good stuff from teaching (seeing people learn) with none of the bad. But you don’t get paid and that’s a major downside because of things like rent and food.

About six months after I got back from China, I went to work as a volunteer at the Asian Pacific Development Center in Denver, a (at the time new) mental health facility focused on helping Asian refugees adapt to a new life. They had also — the year before — begun the Festival of Asian Arts and Culture which I’d attended. I volunteered to help fund-raising and ended up coordinating the second of these two-week long city-wide festivals. It was a great experience, one of the best of my life.

I volunteered later in my life when I was teaching full time for money. I volunteered at an urban wilderness park in San Diego, Mission Trails Regional Park. I had already been hiking there for years. A serendipitous meeting between me and the president of the Foundation that had done the work to get these 7000 acres set aside for a park put me in the spot to be the first volunteer coordinator, the founder of a photography contest that’s still going on, grant-writer for an interpretive trail that can be used by disabled people — and more. It was wonderful.

Volunteering balanced my life in times past; it was something that worked when, often, other things didn’t work — marriage or work, for instance. And now? I’m at the “volunteer” age of life. I see it all around me — white haired baby-boomers out there volunteering and I’m not having anything to do with it. I’ve wondered why since my volunteer experiences were fantastic. I think it might be because 35 years of teaching pretty much sucked out my fervor and I’m just “over it” or maybe my life is balanced or I have changed. Who knows? Or maybe it’s because writing is kind of a “volunteer” job?😉

Good Gnus!

The Blue Wildebeest is a large and Common Herbivore in Africa

Not writing the Daily Post has left me pursuing my “job” which is marketing novels. Probably for the good (for now).

Today I had good news. First, I noticed that Mastof Bookstore has sold two of the three books and I contacted them to see if they wanted more. I learned from that that one of the copies has been sold to a university library in Canada, the Milton Good Library of the Conrad Grebel College, a Mennonite college named for the early Anabaptist leader, Conrad Grebel, and the college is part of the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

I also have it arranged to sell my books in another brick and mortar store, Poor Richards Bookstore in Colorado Springs. Since making a phone call is one of the most difficult things for me (and I wasn’t, honestly, very cool) I feel I achieved something. Plus, Colorado Springs has a population.

I have three more stores to call — Taos, Salida and, if I get the guts up, an independent bookseller in Denver.


Journey to ZĂźrich: The Brothers Path (Book Review)

Lovely review by Lisl Zlitni of The Brothers Path. It’s unique in that Lisl has also read and reviewed Savior and is sensitive to the relationship between the two stories. Thank you, Lisl!

before the second sleep

Today we set off on a new series and bit of a journey to sixteenth-century Zßrich, by way of author Martha Kennedy and her magnificently-told tales. Her second novel, Savior, previously reviewed in these pages, brings us next to The Brothers Path and the six Schneebeli brothers, descendants of characters in its predecessor. Stay tuned for more from this wonderful author and what she has to say about it all.

The Brothers Path by Martha Kennedy

the-bros-path-cover-fb-headerIn The Brothers Path, set in 1520s Reformation Switzerland, author Martha Kennedy brings us to an era that often seems to get the short end of the stick in history classes. These are the days of Zwingli and Manz, when infant baptism was rejected, then, by Zwingli, supported. Barely concealing the selling out of his beliefs in exchange for the influential support of the Zürich council, Zwingli rose in prominence and power. Using corruption…

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A Painting


The Princess and the Hens

The whole Impressionist thing which means no black paint and various other rules was once my “thing.” Since 2008, when I tried my first oil painting since high school (graduated 1970). I quit painting with these rules. For that painting, I painted a canvas with black primer and brought the colors out of it. I loved it and found it very liberating.

I remember asking my fresco teacher (about fresco) “Do we paint light to dark or dark to light?” It was a practical question about a medium I hadn’t used before. He — as a professionally trained artist — didn’t give me a very useful answer. He said, “Yes, that is always the question…”

Turns out, fresco paint is opaque, like gouache or acrylic, and a person can paint dark to light. He did. I’d imagined it was more like watercolor, transparent and… Anyway doesn’t matter. Oil paint, however, I’ve found can be both transparent and opaque depending on the pigment and how it’s used. I think it’s still my favorite (of things I have at my disposal to use), but the great thing of acrylic is that it dries in one’s lifetime…


Cows in the Rain, 2008, first oil in 39 years!


Is democracy the way forward?

Featured Image -- 20094

Thoughtful essay on the future of the democratic process — in the UK but points apply to us as well.


Plato, one of the world’s most influential philosophers, wrote thousands of years ago in his classic ‘The Republic’ that democracy was an inherently flawed government system. Arguing that it would never work purely efficiently, Plato describes it as a government that offers everything, but stands for nothing, where politicians tell voters anything they want to get in power, and do not rule impartially.

And Plato’s not the only one. Socrates, another Greek philosopher (and OKAY OKAY; Plato’s mentor) argued:

“such is democracy; – a pleasing, lawless, various sort of government”.

Our very own Winston Churchill, who worked his way to the top of this system stated that:

“the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter”

(I’m trying not to take that personally).

It has become very evident in the last decade that there is growing dissatisfaction between the public and government in many democratic countries…

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Taking a Short Break


I’m taking a little break from daily posting and daily reading. The past few months have been a crazy circus of writing hundreds of pages of interviews and articles related to the virtual book tour The Brothers Path has been on (semi-autonomously, but not quite on its own). I’m tired of self-expression and there will probably be another blog tour in late November and it will be some of the same again.

Self-promotion is difficult because when you’re doing it, you’re not really dealing with ideas or imagination; you’re dealing with your products and yourself. BUT through all this, which has definitely been “On the Job Training,” I’ve had a lot of help, support, friendship and kindness from people I don’t even know, friends I’ve met here and, I’d say, the world at large. I just need a mental break for a little while, maybe to do some artwork and who knows, some fiction writing. I promise to get back to writing and reading soon. And Lamont and Dude can show up at any time.


Thank you, Marilyn, for the chance to answer questions people have asked about The Brothers Path. That’s how these interview questions came into being!


Me in Obfelden Martha Kennedy

Why do you have a typo in the title of your novel? Shouldn’t there be an apostrophe?

There’s no typo. There is a path through the forest that is very important to the story, and its name is The Brothers. The novel takes its name from the path. The Brothers Path.

Switzerland is far away. Why don’t you write about your own country?

The events in The Brothers Path were the opening shots that led to many Swiss leaving Switzerland 200 years later. The Reformation was the beginning.

Several hundred thousand Swiss have emigrated to America over the centuries. Some of the earliest settlers were Amish and Mennonite Swiss who came here so they could freely practice their religion. That’s where The Brothers Path might touch home for many Americans and stimulate curiosity about their own ancestry.

The family that populates The Brothers Path is based on my…

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Unlike Any Other

bear hiding her eyes

I value originality very highly, but even my hero, Goethe, says there is no such thing, that whatever we do we — at the very least — build on what has gone before, reuse it, refresh it, or in Etsy-speak, “re-purpose” it. This from a man who wrote a play that is VERY original, so original that even though it is performed, I’m not sure it’s ever fully understood. I sure as hell do not understand it — fully. But it has given critics, over a several-hundred year period, something to write about and dispute. That would be Faust, Part Two.

In my opinion, an original mind is one that sees potential in extant things.

So what? Well, Bear. I don’t know what (or who) her ingredients are but in no way is she like any dog I’ve ever owned. She’s a livestock guardian breed — an Akbash — who’s lived her whole life as a companion dog in a small home with two other dogs and me. I have worked hard to socialize her, and she loves everyone and everything. She’s a very affectionate dog who especially loves small children. Out in the “wild” she is vigilant and observant as her breed is supposed to be, but I doubt she would take on a bear or a wolf. Because of her basic nature, her early life as an abandoned stray, and her training, her mind is unique and her behavior original.

She’s learned to get a cookie in the evening by asking to go out when she doesn’t need out. When I realized what she was up to, I began saying, “OK, but I think you’re lying.” She now understands the word “lying,” and has stopped completely the pretense of taking a turn in the dog run before coming back to me. We just walk to the gate and turn around. It seems she thinks that going to the gate of the dog run is worth a cookie (to me). She’s also figured out that I love it when she lies down. So, she will lie down in front of the cabinet with the cookies in it and then say, softly, “Woof!” to get my attention. She thinks I like throwing things for her to chase and it’s clear she’s doing me a favor in the morning by bringing me something to throw. When she wants my attention, she brings me something.

This creature has built a bunch of “if” statements and has me programed. I love her to pieces and think she’s hilarious. And original.