Category Archives: Historical


A Rock & Roll Pioneer Dies

I am interrupting Speed Week Plus because I just found out that Chuck Berry died Saturday.

Elvis is still called the king of rock & roll but aside from vocal talent, Chuck had him beat in almost every way. He was a virtuoso with the guitar, wrote clever lyrics and was quite the crazy-legged entertainer on stage for both males and females. He also was the first to cross over the color line in music. Prior to Chuck Berry, white kids would only listen to “race records” on the down low.

ChuckBerry2Ironically, this is not necessarily an interruption of Speed Week, because Chuck Berry was not only a pioneer of rock & roll, but put his love of horsepower into some famous songs that still rock the house to this day. “You Can’t Catch Me” is a musical version of a fantasy many gearheads have probably entertained while wishing they could just rip down the open road at Ludicrous Speed without worrying about going to jail or having mandatory Insurance rates shoot up into the stratosphere. “Maybelline” has been a personal inspiration in many ways. For one, I named my favorite Street Machine after that song title. There is also a subplot in Fast Cars and Rock & Roll that is based on the lyrical Adventure in his invincible V-8 Ford.

The selection below is chosen because it plays on a red pill/neomasculine view of Sexual Market Value (SMV), but in a tongue-in-cheek fashion. His humorous lyrics are catchy and the guitar solo is understated but deft.

I read his autobiography and the man definitely had his flaws. But for a few golden years there in the mid-to-late 1950s, his musical genius really shined. Rest in peace, Chuck.

McCarthyism, “Witch Hunts,” and Coincidence Theory

A lot of people in 2017 are aware of the deceitfulness of the mainstream media, academia, and Hollywood, and the duplicity of those in government. But it would no doubt surprise them to learn this is nothing new. It’s been going on for generations–but with no alternative media to blow the whistle on them.

Before “triggering,” “microagressions,” and “safe spaces” came out of the SJW vocabulary to infect our everyday language, one of the old-school terms left-wingers liked to throw around was “McCarthyism.” Ironically, the term is used to describe what they (leftists/SJWs/feminists, etc.) do to people who challenge their Narrative. Use your own money to support a cause they don’t like:  admit in private that you believe in creationism; wear a T-shirt that they determine “sexist; or even just make a “dongle joke” to a friend; and they will launch a witch hunt of their own that won’t stop until you are fired from your job, or worse.

“McCarthyism” got it’s name from Senator Joseph McCarthy, who noticed our government being hijacked after WWII (actually, it started well before that). It turns out, with declassified documents and a non-hysterical examination of the facts in retrospect, that he was absolutely right in his whistle-blowing. (Not that truth matters to those who craft The Narrative.)

What McCarthy began to uncover was an orchestrated effort to usurp our Constitutional republic. But hell hath no fury like a conspiracy exposed, and it is the Deep State’s M.O. to assassinate the character of anybody who might be taken seriously, who would shine a light on the pattern and connect the dots.

Coincidence theorists, of course, will find some excuse to reject what stares us in the face. And the speaker in this video, himself, might be one, despite all the dots he highlights, just begging to be connected.

Stefan Molyneux has really done a good job assembling a lot of pertinent information. He gives an in-depth background so we have a context to put it in and compiling it into a pretty thorough presentation. Then he breaks down what McCarthy and his contemporaries actually did. If you’ve got the attention span, this is well worth the time it takes to listen.


The Magnificent Seven 3.1

The grandfather of this latest Magnificent Seven movie was Akira Kurosawa’s classic The Seven Samurai.

Set toward the end of the feudal period in Japan, the plot blossoms out of a small village ravaged by “brigands.” The villagers’ livelihoods are being progressively wiped out by succeeding raids, and their very existence will soon be threatened. A wise villager proposes a plan to pool what remaining resources they have, and use it to hire samurai to protect the village. Seven alienatied warriors, for various reasons, answer the call. What follows is, in effect, a suicide mission, in which the samurai face overwhelming odds with inferior weapons and equipment (the brigands have horses, armor, and even firearms while the samurai have nothing but their swords and the clothes on their back.


In 1960 the story was transposed into the Old West, in a film directed by John Sturges, starring Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn and Eli Wallach. The samurai are replaced by gunfighters, of course. The remake is not without its flaws, but certainly has some memorable lines.

In 2016 the latest update hit the screen. I was not even aware of it, due to how hectic personal life has been lately…until a few days ago.

Some character types have survived the evolution of the story, and the core of the plot remains the same. But the SJWs in Hollywood just could not help but conform it to The Narrative.


The Japanese original suffered no obligation to ethnic diversity; but the new Seven is composed of mostly minorities (one each: black; Asian; Mexican; native American), and none of the white ones survive. (OMG! Is this a metaphor of WHITE GENOCIDE?!?!?!?!?) Denzel Washington is a great actor, who has been believable in every role I’ve seen him play. Furthermore, there were some black cowboys and soldiers on the frontier. But the Chisolm character is the de facto leader of the Seven and nobody (even among the bad guys) so much as mutters under their breath about it. Granted, 19th Century America was not the racist holocaust SJWs tell us it was (when they’re not trying to convince us that the USA was founded as the secular welfare state it is now, where illegal aliens are treated better than our veterans/citizens; it’s “legal” and even mandatory in some cases to discriminate against straight white males; and the only people with inalienable rights are sexual deviants). But there certainly were bigots who weren’t afraid to speak and act on their prejudices.

As if the suspension of disbelief weren’t strained enough, the film makers just had to insert a Brave Womyn Warrior into the message film. She is the de facto leader of the townsfolk during the war against the cutthroat army (led by an Evil White Male, of course).

Yeah, okay…

Despite all the social engineering, Magnificent Seven 2016 is an entertaining 133 minutes. There are plenty of dramatic scenes and fun action sequences to keep your attention. Technically the acting and direction is Grade A.

If you have the time and inclination for a movie marathon, you could do worse than watching this one back-to-back with the 1960 film and the original (and best, IMHO) Seven Samurai.

Boomtown by Gilbert Morris – A Review

I originally read this as a mass-market paperback titled Vigilante. I was just beginning to appreciate westerns at the time. I’m so glad to have found this. I subsequently bought and read the entire Reno series. Most were pretty good but I’m confident this is Morris’ pinnacle in fiction.

Jim Reno is a Confederate veteran, a reformed alcoholic and some-time “gunslick.” He’s also, like so many of us, spiritually lost…unsure how to fill the God-shaped hole in his soul. This is Christian fiction, but not preachy (or wimpy). There is one sermon in the yarn, which lasts for a paragraph of roughly three sentences. Christian characters surround Reno but, while it is no secret what the author believes, he doesn’t sermonize. At his core, Jim Reno is a “good person” who has fallen short of exemplary behavior in his life, and who wants to get right with God, but spends a good portion of this series alternating between running from his Creator and surrendering to Him. Something I can relate to. I haven’t read tons of Christian fiction, but I’ve read enough to be sick of the formulaic conversion of the main character at the end…reciting the sinner’s confession, standing ovation, blah blah blah.

One “bad person” does get saved in this novel, but Morris pulls it off deftly. I was so engrossed in the story I didn’t see it coming.

Morris likes to pepper his tales with romance, too. I do fault him for the way he shuffles love interests in and out of Reno’s life. Between the first and second books in the series, for instance, his happily-ever-after soulmate disappears with no explanation whatsoever, never to be mentioned again. In this one, the love interest Morris spent the entire previous novel priming for Reno is unceremoniously kicked to the curb in lieu of a brand new one.

The plot should be familiar to those who’ve read in the genre, or even watched western movies. A frontier town is at the mercy of lawless, greedy cattle barons and their hired guns. Decent folk band together in an attempt to protect themselves and the innocent, and turn to Jim Reno who has that rare (in reality) combination of a heart of gold and talent for violence. Reno, of course, doesn’t want to get involved, for all the I’m-trying-to-escape-my-violent-past reasons.

Whatever faults I could list here (and believe me: I could nit-pick ANYTHING if I put my mind to it), Boomtown is a great read. It is hard to put down. The bad guys will curl your lip, you will grieve for the victims, cheer for the good guys, and close the back cover with a satisfaction only the great books can give you.

(From the Two-Fisted Blog Archives)


The Admiral – A Review

Pre-Napoleonic era wars are veiled in obscurity for all but historians and fans of history. So it seems incredible to most people that the Dutch were once a formidable power in Europe, and even developed some important military innovations (it was they who first fielded platoon-sized units, for instance).

This is a well-crafted film that seems to have drawn more from actual history than from convention, cliche` and ubiquitous Hollywood tropes. It highlights a period in the life of Michiel de Ruyter, a 17th Century naval tactician who led the Dutch Navy to impressive victories over the British and French.

Similar to Napoleon Bonaparte over a century later, de Ruyter was a commoner who rose through the ranks to a field-grade commission on his own ability and execution, among a typical European hierarchy built upon caste and dominated by the nobility. During the tenure of De Witt as prime minister of the Dutch Republic, de Ruyter is promoted to admiral, and leads the Dutch Fleet to glory.


CGI was used to depict a top-down view of the naval battles, which looked like something you might see in a PC strategy game. I consider this a clever idea…but it was fumbled in the execution. It does provide an idea of the opposing forces, but usually does little to depict how the battles played out. As an erstwhile armchair historian, using the CGI strategic view to better effect would have rendered this film a tour de force of audio-visual military history.

I’m far from an afficionado on Netherlands politics in any century, but the political subplot rang true. It also provides an historic lesson relevant to the situation citizens of the USA find themselves in right now (not that anybody from either major side has any interest in learning from history). The Dutch abandoned self-rule by representative government and volunteered for the chains of an oligarchy (a monarchy, on the surface). The film also provides a tiny glimpse of the sort of consequences you will suffer by trading away your freedom for promises of unity, security, ethnic pride, or whatever magic beans strike you as a good trade during a fever-peak of emotion.

The prince of the Netherlands, who would be elevated to king, seems entirely familiar to anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of European royalty (maybe any royalty anywhere). The film makers made it clear enough for adults in the audience what sort of indulgences the prince harbored, but I appreciated that his faggotry wasn’t smeared in our faces to the point that it distracts from the main plot.

It’s a Dutch film, and so most of the dialog is Dutch, with English subtitles.

Phantom Leader

In the third book in the Wings of War series,  Mark Berent has not lost any steam. In fact, some readers think he picks up the pace as the series goes on. In any event, I still maintain that you will not find a more authentic big picture of the US involvement in Vietnam (the air war in particular) in any single non-fiction work. Certainly not in movies (though Go Tell the Spartans is a suprisingly credible depiction of the early days on the ground) or in other fiction ( though Jim Morris’ Above & Beyond is certainly an accurate depiction at the tactical level, from a Sneaky Pete who was there).

Court Bannister was tantalyzingly close to getting his fifth confirmed MiG and making ace, but was yanked from MiG CAP (Combat Air Patrol) over Hanoi and reassigned to strike missions in the Steel Tiger. Now he’s in charge of a “fast FAC” mission, for which he builds a unit out of volunteers for aerial search-and-destroy of trucks and guns along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

Special Forces officer Wolf Lochert is back, and as primary a character as ever. Toby Parker is back, too, sobered up and straightened up, but the more responsible he gets, the more he slips to the background. And one of the previously minor characters, Flak Apple, becomes major in this novel, as he becomes a guest at the Hanoi Hilton.

Unfortunately, like too many US citizens, I am so squeamish (and infuriated) at the torture our POWs had to go through in North Vietnam that my instinct was to avoid being informed at all, and I was tempted to skim over the chapters focusing on Flak Apple. But I didn’t. Whoever was responsible for leaving our men over there to suffer and die deserves to burn.

The “fast FAC” was a Forward Air Controller mission flown in fast movers, rather than propellor-driven observation planes–namely, in this case, F-4 Phantoms.

Before reading Berent I didn’t appreciate just how huge a fighter jet the F-4 is. Evidently it weighed more than a WWII B-17 bomber. There’s a whole lot more you will learn from this book, and the series, despite yourself. You’ll be too caught up in a hell of a good story to realize you’re being educated.

Even though Wings of War is a five-book series, I had intended to only read the first three. For some reason I assumed the characters and story would be spent after that, I guess. But they’re still all going strong. I’m in for the whole shebang, reading Eagle Station now, and couldn’t stop if I wanted to.


Steel Tiger

Number Two in the Wings of War series, this novel gets its name from an air interdiction operation against a segment of the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

Author Mark Berent was a fighter pilot in Vietnam who also took the initiative to find out what the war on the ground was like. That means his characters/stories have, as a backdrop, a fairly cohesive strategic and tactical overview (such as a strategic concept was, in Vietnam).

SteelTigerpatchJet jock Court Bannister has finished his first combat tour and has managed to earn a slot in Test Pilot School for the second time. That’s a step toward becoming an astronaut, which is his ambition.

Meanwhile, Toby Parker is also stateside, officially earning his wings. His hoity-toity family is pleased with the enhanced status he lends them by having become a hero, but not so pleased with his intentions of remaining in the Air Force. Given his alcoholism and increasingly rebellious behavior, not everone in the Air Force thinks he should stay in, either.

Wolf Lochert, fighting a whole different sort of campaign on the ground, is an unconventional warrior in an unconventional war who is just too unconventional for the typical snooty brass who are overseeing the lose/lose experimental quagmire in Vietnam.

Both pilots are privileged offspring of wealthy parents, but also way too cowboy for their chains-of-command. By saving another test pilot’s life, along with an expensive aircraft, Bannister is judged unfit for the astronaut program. Parker is an outstanding flier, but his reckless antics get him barred from flying fighters. Both of them wind up returning to Vietnam.

The author, back in the day.

A fatal barroom brawl lands Wolf Lochert in military prison, and his fate appears grim.

From available information, it would seem that Berent was a good pilot. While I wasn’t there, hence can’t confirm or deny, I can confirm that he is a great storyteller. Tom Clancy said Berent spun yarns of “good men in a bad war” and that sums up Wings of War quite well. His three primary characters work within the idiotic constraints they are saddled with, and pursue a victory that is forbidden by Washington.

The author interprets the jargon and explains some technical details which might otherwise confuse some readers; but doesn’t interrupt the story flow long enough to be a nuisance. He’s also got some “character sketches” that will probably resonate with anybody who has served some time in the military.

With all this you get a Soviet MiG pilot, a wartime sting operation, plus glimpses inside the Hanoi Hilton and the Johnson State Department.

Steel Tiger is credible, informative, and great fun to read.


Rolling Thunder

Rolling Thunder is the first novel in Mark Berent’s Wings of War series. The title comes from a strategic bombing campaign during US involvement in Vietnam.

Here’s a little about the author:

Lt Col Berent began his Air Force career as an enlisted man, then progressed through the aviation cadet program. He attended pilot training at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi and then Laredo Air Force Base, Texas flying the T-6, T-28 and T-33 aircraft and then moved on to F-86s at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. He served on active duty for 23 years until retirement in 1974. He began his operational flying career in the F-86 and F-100 flying at various posts throughout the United States and Europe. He later served three combat tours, completing 452 combat sorties, first in the F-100 at Bien Hoa Air Base, South Vietnam, the F-4 at Ubon Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, and then in Cambodia for two years to fly things with propellers on them and through a fluke in communications timing, to personally run the air war for a few weeks.

He has also served two tours at the United States Space and Missile System Organization (SAMSO) at Los Angeles, California working first in the Satellites Control Facility and later as a staff developmental engineer for the space shuttle. In his expansive career he has seen service as an Air Attaché to the United States Embassy, Phnom Penh, Cambodia and also as Chief of Test Control Branch at the Air Development and Test Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. He also served as an instructor at the Air Force’s Squadron Officer School.

His decorations include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with one oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star, Air Medal with twenty four oak leaf clusters, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, Cambodian Divisional Medal, and numerous Vietnam Campaign ribbons...

Quite a guy. And Berent tells a rip-snorting story of the air war over Vietnam.

The characters are great–Hollywood prodigal Court Bannister, soul sick rich boy Toby Parker, and devout killer Wolf Lochert. Much like W.E.B. Griffin, Berent seems to like privileged, wealthy characters who don’t have to serve, but do anyway and prove to be natural, superb warriors. Not easy for me to relate, but the author did a fine job winning my sympathy.

mapRollingThunderBannister is a jet jock who flies the F-100 Super Saber during his first combat tour. While males all over the USA were finding ways to escape serving in Vietnam, Bannister turned down his dream of Test Pilot and Astronaut training to serve there.

Toby Parker wasn’t even a pilot, but circumstances threw him into a situation where his exceptional skill and bravery earned him recognition as a hero. Unfortunately, a drinking problem might just ruin his career and reputation.

Wolf Lochert is a Special Forces officer and the consummate warrior. He’s no dummy, but one of his most trusted indigenous soldiers is determined to frag him when the opportunity presents itself.


You will probably learn more relevant information about Vietnam in this one novel than you can from any and every history book that covers US involvement in the conflict. I’ve read plenty of fiction and non-fiction about Vietnam, and this has become my favorite so far–just from one reading.

I’ve also read Steel Tiger, the second in the series, and have started Phantom Leader. Reviews are forthcoming. It’s a fantastic series and well worth your time.

Selling Books is Like Alchemy

…Which is to say, I may never figure it out.

But, sometimes advertising in the right way can give you a bump. For months Shadow Hand Blues has been buried on about page # umpteen zillion or so at Amazon. Nobody bought it, because nobody knew it existed.

Virtual Pulp took advantage of an advertising special on Kindle Nation Daily. (It’s unlikely we’ll ever use Book Bub unless their prices get a whole lot less ridiculous.)

Then on May 29 SHB reached #60 in Mysteries>Private Investigators; #76 in Suspense>Political; # 68 in Historical/Suspense; and # 8,755 paid in the Kindle Store. (The rankings were actually a little better than that before I thought to take a screenshot.) Not bestseller status, of course, but it at least moved the book up out of the enormous slush pile for a hot second where browsing readers might actually find it.

And a few did. Sales spiked for one day. What’s nice is, since the promotion ended, it hasn’t slipped completely back into obscurity. Some E-Book sales are still trickling in, and it’s accumulating some KENP (Kindle Edition Normalized Pages) read, along with its prequel, Fast Cars and Rock & Roll, which is targeted at a much narrower niche audience. Maybe one or both will pick up some reviews, as well.


INDEPENDENCE DAY (Up Yours, New World Order.)

It’s pretty sad what has happened to our holidays. Thanksgiving has become Turkey Day; Christmas is now Santa Clause Day, and the Fourth of July has become Fireworks Day. This loss of our American (Judeo-Christian)  heritage was well underway by the time I was born, but I at least had the opportunity to educate myself.

For the record, the American Revolution did not begin with the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Nor did it start at the Boston Tea Party. The war began at Concord Bridge on April 19, 1775, when “right-wing extremists” opposed the forces of offshore interests who came to enforce “gun control” and disarm the militia.

This project was conceived as a book trailer for Henry Brown’s apocalyptic novel False Flag. The plan was to use the KISS principle (keep it simple, stupid). Just a quick 30 seconds and out.

Trouble was, after 30 seconds, Wagner’s Death of Siegfried just refused to be faded down. The music causes shivers and goose bumps, and demands to be played through to the end. Whatever Wagner’s personal ideology was, the man was one helluva composer.

Then the pendulum swung in the opposite direction on the project–enormous sequences based on the Bill of Rights, and montages contrasting Norman Rockwell’s America with what we have now…it was a lot of work, and after spending most of a weekend editing, it was only becoming more ambitious.

The Voice of Reason spoke up, and most of those set-piece montages were scrapped. A couple rough spots remained but further revisions were forbidden and we got it uploaded.

Below is another ambitious sequence driven by a Wagner soundtrack…but with a slightly (cough!) bigger budget to work with:

As you’re watching the fireworks tonight, remember that the pretty rockets and aesthetic explosions were meant to remind us that our nation was forged in war. Our freedom was not handed to our forefathers on a platter, as it was to us. It was not cheap. The liberty we have taken for granted was purchased with human blood.

Because we have taken it for granted, it is being stripped from us as I write this. At this late hour, it will not be inexpensive to contest the matter.