It is a whirlwind in here



On World Book Day Franz Kafka Excites The Ladies On TikTok

It is difficult to say whether Kafka would want this type of attention.

He really liked the ladies (and many ladies really liked him). He was rarely without such companionship; he enjoyed a notable age range (mind you, he died at forty-one); he was engaged to his long-suffering Felice twice (though he never married); and his last lover (twenty years younger) attempted to leap into his open grave.

But Kafka was a private person, off and on the page (it is estimated he destroyed 70% of all his written work). It appears he never gave more than a dozen readings in his life (though he left his audiences rolling in the aisles with laughter). He found much of his own work very funny.

And, he was a good looking man – perpetually young. This is quite a theme on Tic-Tok, where teenage girls metaphorically (and probably physically) sigh. Kafka would like that – but not in public.

But, what is there NOT to like about a handsome and dead author? They offer so much, and do not disappoint.

Here is an article about the Kafka phenomena on TikTok:

And here is some TikTok Kafka exposure:


Buddy’s Ghost Was At The Theater And I Almost Said Hello

I once related the story of seeing my long-dead uncle driving past in a car. A learned, and much older gentleman, told others that I had had the common experience of seeing dead people. Up to that point, I didn’t know it was common. I’m not sure it is, as no one else has mentioned it to me.

But, at any rate, I saw Buddy’s ghost at the theater last night. It still takes me by surprise, though it no longer startles me. And I didn’t say “Hello”, because I thought it would startle the person, dead or not.

And a theater was the right place, for Buddy was an actor. A professional actor in his younger days, with a country-wide reputation. When I knew him, he had settled into being a theater/acting/directing teacher, affiliated with a university. He still did some turns on the stage. His advice was sought. His company was enjoyed. His personality was appreciated. Never boring. Never a bore.

And he was a damn good chef.  And a great story-teller over his meals.

And, at the theater, when I saw his ghost, there was his hat. Buddy could be a snazzy dresser. This guy was a snazzy dresser – stood out in the crowd – though I only saw him but the once. Not unusual that. I didn’t expect to see him again. I never saw my uncle again, either.

And – when all is said and done – I didn’t really have anything to say.

“How’s it going?”

“Well – you know.”

“How’s it going?”

“Well – you know. Much as you expect.”

“How’s it going?”

“You’ll know soon enough.”

I didn’t really expect to be told of Elysian Fields or Thrones of Gold or What is in Shakespeare’s tomb.

So, I didn’t approach him, and say “Hello”. And make him turn around.

And – in truth – a day later, I’m not so sure about the hat.


Shirley Eikhard Kept Far From the Madding Crowd – And Rightfully So

Years ago – perhaps a couple of decades – I asked Shirley Eikhard if she would consider being a collaborator with me, on setting some of my short stories to music and song.
I was that vague, both because I had no detailed plan, and because of the venue where I met her. We were on stage in a theatre, and I was a member of one of her song-writing workshops.
I knew how elusive Ms. Eikhard was (and remained), because I could find no way to contact her except through professional entities, wish is almost the kiss-of-death from the start. So, I took advantage of an opportunity offered.
I had my published book of short stories, “The Elephant Talks To God”, plus an additional series of short stories, formed around theme and not plot. They are stories of ‘evocation’, and I felt Shirley Eikhard would be the perfect person to give them a look. I was then, and am now, in thrall and admiration of what she was able to do with words and music.
She was startled though, I think, not suspicious of my request. I had honed my proposal (not exactly a ‘pitch’) to about 90 seconds. I assumed not many would have approached with such a proposal (though I might be totally wrong). She did say something along the lines that she did not really do such things. I did apologize for approaching her in such a manner, and thanked her for her time. I also gave her a copy of the Elephant stories. She smiled and we shook hands.
Nothing further ever came of this, but I hope I wrote an evocative book inscription.

This is one of my favourite Shirley Eikhard songs:

Halifax Explosion Anniversary 9:04:35 AM

I just stood out on the steps in front of my home, waiting for the ship horns in the harbour to sound in memory of the explosion. A beautiful, clear, crisp morning. The explosion happened 06 December 1917.

I live a fifteen minute walk from the exact spot where the ship the Mont-Blanc exploded, causing the biggest man-made explosion ever created, other than the Atomic bombs dropped during the Second World War

1782 people were killed, a few of them at the bottom of my street. 9000 were injured. A large portion of the city of Halifax was destroyed.

At 9:04, as I stood in the sun, the ships in the harbour sounded their horns. There was a cascade of sound,. Most were deep and booming, some more abrupt, a few – by comparison – made me think of piping voices. I was most startled by the ship directly across the water at the bottom of my street. There are rarely any ships berthed this far along the harbour, but it was delivering fuel to a Power plant. It does not do this often in a year. So I was startled. A modest touch of fear.

And then I came in and wrote this.


The Ghost Ship Under Full Sail And Flaming On Halloween

As the Lighthouse Keeper

On Partridge Island

I see a lot,

Whether I want to or not.

And I’ve seen her before,

The Flaming Ghost ship,

On the dread of All Hallows.

But you never really know.

But this time,

Paw, my cat/kitten

Black as Satan

With one white mitten,

Saw her too.

And didn’t like what he saw.

But he’s a brave soul,

And didn’t leave my side.

So we stayed in the Tower,

And watched from the windows,

The light circling behind us.

The flames coming from the dark,

Full sails, all unfurled,

And all ravaged by flames

That never burned out.

And the deck,

And the gunwales

From prow to stern,

And the sailors.

Those poor lads,

Never consumed

As the full-of-flame ship

Passed the mouth of the harbour.

And what could I do,

But touch the life that was Paw,

Feel his fur, and his breath,

With one hand,

While I made a shaky

Sign of the Cross,

On my chest.

With the other.

I’m The Lighthouse Poet Laureate of Partridge Island /1821 – 2022 / A lot of stuff have I seen / A lot of stuff to report

The Dead At Sea Are Not Happy Ghosts For Halloween (It’s just around the corner)

I can see my hand

In the fog,


The building,

Across the street.

That is about all.

So, I know

The ghosts,

Are not

As close

As they sound.

The Ghosts sound like Fog Horns

And that’s what folk


And down

The coast


That they are.

Fog Horns.

But – they aren’t.

They are ghosts that moan,

And wail,

And cough,

And even


On the wind,

In the fog,

Where they can hide

Out in the open.

It is true that they do moan

For ships.

That they do give warnings

In the fog,

Where they can not

Be seen,

Because they look

Like fog.

They give warnings


They have all come

From ships,

Where once they lived.

But now they don’t.

They went down with ships

At sea


Along the coast

To their

Cold and wet


Days ago

Years ago

Centuries ago.

To be buried at sea

Is not

To be buried

At all.

~ D.E. BA U.E.

Putin and Stalin Walk Into A Bar

~ Vlad, you murderous whore.

~ Josef, you cold, cruel killer.

~ Greetings and conquest be upon you.

~  My people are letting me down.

~ Oh – and a Happy Birthday!

~  You remembered.

~  Well, the way you’re going . . .

~  Yes?

~ It will be your last.

~ You think Ukraine can defeat me?

~ If it walks like a duck . . .

~  They are an army of pissants.

~  And quacks like a duck . . .

~  They survive on American guns.

~  And swims like a duck . . .

~  They were lucky to sink ships.

~  Vlad, listen to Uncle Joe.

~ Yes?

~  You are going to have to duck.

~ The Russian people will defend me.

~  Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

~ Yes?

~ Tzar Pretender!

~ Yes?

~ I know the Russian people.

~  Yes.

~ I slaughtered them by the millions.

~ Yes.

~ Enjoy your birthday – while you can.


Putin And Hitler Walk Into A Bar

~ Vlad . . . Vlad . . . You have learned nothing.

~ Adolf – the times are different.

~  Oh, Mein Gott – the times I said that.

~ I’ve learned from you, Adolf.

~ Vlad – you can’t even take the fucking Ukraine.

~ They will fold.

~ They’re kicking your Kremlin ass.

~ I will regroup and . . .

~ You’re losing men. You’re losing guns You’re losing tanks.

~ I have imposed conscription and  . . .

~Tanks!  When you’re losing tanks – you’re losing.

~ I’ve got missiles that are carving them to pieces.

~ You slaughter civilians but you are losing troops.

~ I am getting more.

~ Vlad! I ended up putting children in the trenches.

~ They are valiant fighters and . . .

~  Vlad! Even I didn’t believe my own bullshit.

~  I am the new Tzar! I will prevail!

~ Vlad. Winter is coming.

~ Cold and snow isn’t going to  . . .

~ Vlad. I know about winter.

~ You did not have my power.

~ Holy Vladivostok. You are going to lose your whole country.


“For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground, And tell sad stories of the death of . . . queens”

I alter but one word from Shakespeare’s poem. I feel I’m allowed.

I concentrate upon the word “sad”. I feel sad about the death of Queen Elizabeth II. I note, that in newscasts, and on the internet, and from personal conversations, many folk feel “sad”. An unexpected sadness. A sadness that is greater than the loss of people close to them. They are surprised.

And so am I.

Today’s funeral took place on my birthday (by the Grace of God – I do not know) . So I’ll always be able to answer the question “Where were you when . . .”

I watched seven hours of the day from London and Windsor. I did not get tired. I could have watched more. But I am content – I won’t be delving very far into replays. The Queen’s removal from the earth was fully documented.

It is true that Queen Elizabeth has been with me all my life. I was greatly interested in her, and the history of her family. She took her part in two of my novels. I saw her five times in my life. I found her an exemplary leader and a fine human being. I am not alone in this. She was thought so the world over. Perhaps that is part of her commonality – everyone knew of her, everyone had an opinion. The majority of those opinions were positive.

I felt pain when she went up the steps to St George’s Chapel for the last time. She can hardly be thought of as a friend, but, perhaps . . .

Perhaps, on this occasion, friendship can be a one way street.

Blessed Be, Elizabeth Regina! Those Choirs of Angels are singing loud and clear.

~ Dale Estey

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