Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!


The Bear sat for his portrait for this original artwork by his talented daughter.

Merry Christmas to all the Bear's loyal readers and benefactors. At the end of The Wind and the Lion, the Berber chieftain, Al Raisuli (Sean Connery) is on horseback with one of his lieutenants, who says, "It's been a bad year." Al Raisuli says, "Next year will probably be worse."

Then they laugh. (Speaking of which, do read "The Aqualung Code," to the right, which explains everything in a possibly entertaining way.)

They must have Bears in disguise all along.

While the Bear may put the "anger" in "manger," this time of year, he can't often bring himself to be as serious as he is truthful. The coming year will be full of challenges, and laughs, just like every year. And, salmon, he hopes. The Bear has been remiss in thanking patrons, but in the final stretch of a very different type of Judging Angels, he has been remiss in everything.

God knows what a mess things are, and the Bear is fairly sure He takes that into account. Actually, the Bear meant that for all of us, but hopes it is also true for him.

As for agents of the Franciscan Vatican, they are repeating the line from that masterpiece of schlock, Plan 9 From Outer Space: "As long as they can think - we'll have our problems."

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Pope Grinch

Pope Grinch

“Christmas is approaching: There will be lights, parties, lighted Christmas trees and manger scenes. … It’s all a charade.” - Pope Francis  (Caution, barf alert.) You see, Francis hates Christmas because there's still war and stuff, and LGBT lives matter.

Unlike evil Donald Trump who is in favor of celebrating Christmas.

So, the Bear joins Francis the Merciful in urging all of you to drag those Christmas trees out, colored lights and all, and destroy them in some way that will not increase your carbon footprint. Rip the glittering strings from your eves, and give your kids' presents to refugees. Dump your manger scene in the nearest lake, and mail your Christmas meal to hungry fighters in ISIS controlled territory.

Just Try to Take My Tree Away.
Sit in the dark on Christmas Eve, with ashes on your head and sackcloth on your body and lament. Oh, but don't forget that nice donation to the Church.

Because, for the first time in history, the world is not perfect. Francis has inexplicably failed to bring about peace on earth, no matter how many apologies he issues, or lies he tells.

O woe! How could we have been so blind to celebrate the birth of Our Savior when the earth may or may not be warming, Or cooling. Or something. How fortunate we are to live in the age of Francis.

On the other hand, Francis is an idiot. So forget all of his Seventh Day Adventist railing against Christmas. Instead, follow the example of someone infinitely wiser: the Bear's cat, Xander.

Why Francis is So Dangerous

Mercy vs. Truth
The Bear will deliberately not look up the details to demonstrate how obscure this example from history is.

It is often claimed that there have been plenty of bad popes, so we shouldn't worry too much about Francis. One example of a pope who taught error was a certain (don't remember) who, in (a long time ago) taught the error that - the Bear thinks - the blessed dead do not enjoy the Beatific Vision until after Judgment Day. Or something like that.

The Bear has never worried about that issue. If he makes the cut, then jolly good for him, and he doesn't worry about the details. The moment when, in the unimaginable state of the afterlife, he begins to enjoy something he cannot possibly comprehend, is just something that never enters his 450 gm. ursine brain. As far as he is concerned, it could be once he gets out of Purgatory, or on Judgment Day, or sort of fade in over centuries.

It does not have any practical bearing on him as a Catholic now.

Pope Francis, however, is far, far worse. He does not teach error, so much as he teaches truth, but in the wrong way. Error we can deal with. Mercy, however, cannot be condemned. The Church can shrug off error. It remains to be seen whether it can do the same with the truth. Chesterton wrote:

The modern world is not evil; in some ways the modern world is far too good. It is full of wild and wasted virtues. When a religious scheme is shattered (as Christianity was shattered at the Reformation), it is not merely the vices that are let loose. The vices are, indeed, let loose, and they wander and do damage. But the virtues are let loose also; and the virtues wander more wildly, and the virtues do more terrible damage. The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone.

The modern Church is now full of the old virtues gone mad. Change a few pronouns, and, eerily, it might have been written today, with Francis in mind.

There's an old saying, every heresy is the revenge of a forgotten truth. There might be a bit in this with Francis; the Bear does not know. But Psalm 85:10 says, "Mercy and truth have met each other."

With Francis, Mercy must be separated from Truth.

When one hears the Church spouting off about pop science like global warming; the benefits of unrestricted immigration; how Islam, as one of the Three Great Abrahamic Religions, is practically Catholic and certainly no more terroristic; and how Jews retain a special means of salvation that does not involve Jesus, one must recognize that the Church is suddenly trading in lies. The Bear must ask: can men make a business of trafficking in lies, yet teach the truth in all its purity in one specific area?

"The light of thy body is thy eye. If thy eye be single, thy whole body will be lightsome: but if it be evil, thy body also will be darksome." Luke 11:34. And, Matthew 6:24. "No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
Francis, for the good of his own soul, must decide which master he serves. And so must the Church. You are either running with the wolves, or you are feeding the sheep. You can't do both.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Judging Angels Finally Finished Again, But for Real

The Bear knows what you're thinking. We've heard that one before.

Well, this time is different, and I'll tell you why. I like writing better than thinking. I like to write carefully, in language that can be savored. But figuring out exactly what to write about is a different matter.

Each time the Bear thought he was finished before, he admired his style, but wasn't satisfied with the content. It is very easy to fool yourself into thinking you can get by without hard commitments to characters, their motivations, and where that naturally leads them.

This time, the Bear sat back and created a world. If you just stick supernatural beings into this world counting on the reader's vague notions about them, they aren't interesting, and won't have believable motivation. This isn't a treatise on angelology (or demonology). You have to take artistic license. The nature and methods of these beings, however, can be sharply illustrated even with a comical approach, such as The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.

But that's already been written. The challenge is to make supernatural beings into real personalities in an original way. Not vaguely romantic. Not tragically noble. Not slavering caricatures of evil.  Not gothic. If you're already writing about supernatural beings, why not go for broke and commit to a complex otherplace that runs by its own rules, and forms the inner world of fears, desires, ambitions and motivations of its denizens, who are interesting because they're a lot like us.

So the Bear started from scratch in world-building, 90% of which doesn't even appear. It is still the same story, with the same characters, doing mostly the same stuff. The body count is still impressive. The fun parts are the specific ways an otherplace interacts with our world. Getting a peek into a world you never imagined.

Now everyone has a history. Everyone has clear motivations. And the flawed characters have a trajectory that takes them to the very end. It was fun to sit back and just watch where they landed. It all comes back to commitment. You won't be left wondering anything at the end. The Bear isn't fudging, isn't playing three card monte with the fundamentals of even supernatural beings, anymore. No forced happy ending; no "open ending." Instead, a real ending that takes a risk. But if the Bear didn't think it would pay off, he wouldn't be writing this.

Is it done, now? The story is done. Each chapter is done. However, the change in philosophy has caused ripples throughout. There needs to be some backfill and smoothing out the seams where the two approaches meet. Everything has to fit, to make sense, at least between the covers. But the Bear does not anticipate it to be difficult or extraordinarily time-consuming. In fact, he's looking forward to something fun and easy.

The Bear knows you want to eat the cake, not listen to the baker go on about how he's baking it. But for whoever has been following this project, the end is near. It has almost killed poor old Bear, but aren't you supposed to suffer for your art, or something?

Thanks again to the beta readers who kept a Bear honest when he didn't feel like being honest, and good when he felt like being mean. You will all recognize your contributions, the Bear hopes.

Merkel Makes Weird Statement About Terrorist

WHAT DOES MERKEL MEAN BY THIS WEIRD STATEMENT? It was a Pakistani Muslim who entered Germany as a refugee. Merkel had been warned of Christmas-associated attacks weeks ago by State Department.

"German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday she believed the incident at a Christmas market in Berlin which killed 12 people on Monday was a terrorist attack, adding it would be hard to bear if it turned out that a migrant had been the perpetrator."

It would be easy to bear if it was a second generation jihadi? It would come as a complete shock if one of the mass of Muslims imported into Germany committed a terrorist act, because THAT'S never happened in Europe before, right? It would just be sad if someone they had been nice to wasn't grateful? I mean, seriously. WTH?

Intercepted Classified Message - Partial

I'm not sure what this is, or who sent it. Pretty weird, huh? 

TOP SECRET//HCS/SAP/DANTE/NIGHTFLYER/NOFORN

PRIORITY: FLASH
STATUS: NF-GAVEL-R23 OBJECTIVE ACHIEVED WITH COMPLICATIONS

TO: DANTE-VIRGIL
FROM: NF-GAVEL CONTROLLER
VIA: NIGHTFLYER-OWL

SUBJ: INITIAL AFTER ACTION REPORT OPERATION NF-GAVEL-R23

1. NF-GAVEL-BIRDIE (3) arrived at exfiltration site on schedule, and executed standard reconnaissance circle. NF-GAVEL-BIRDIE (3) identified three actives instead of expected two. The visual anomaly automatically triggered a contingency telemetry snapshot.

Monday, December 19, 2016

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas - Jihad Edition

The Bear helps you get into the holiday spirit with these new lyrics to a beloved classic.

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you go
Take a look in the five and ten,
At all the knife-waving men
With suicide vests all armed and ready to blow.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas,
Attacks in every store.
But the scariest sight you'll see,
Are mujahedeen who will be
At your own front door.

A turban and beard and a pistol that shoots
Is the wish of little Ah'-med.
To raise up a son who will kill with a gun
Is the hope of his mother (she said).
Policemen will say once it is done
They don't have a motive - he's dead.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas,
Everywhere you go,
Allahu akbar is how you say
Merry Christmas the ISIS way,
And the signal to keep your head down low.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas,
Soon, the sirens start.
But there isn't really a clash,
Above all no backlash,
Just the fear that's in your heart.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Bear Bullets II: Blood of St. Januarius Fails to Liquify etc.

  • 12/19/16 - Vatican Radio on full communion  with other "Churches." "Since Pope John Paul II published his encyclical on Christian unity, ‘Ut Unum Sint’, he notes how many partners in dialogue have been trying to re-evaluate how the Petrine ministry can serve the whole Church, while not renouncing the uniqueness of that role." And a few Bears lately. Some clappy happy goofball priest in the sort interview that manages to be both bland and offensive at the same time. 
  • 12/18/16 - As you probably know, the blood of St. Januarius did not liquefy. The Bear does not want to be superstitious about it, but the timing is interesting given the widening breach in the Church caused by Francis trying to create a Church of the world, and for the world. The Bear could not be more pessimistic, but that is a natural reaction when a Bear is faced with a problem out of the reach of his crushing jaws and rending claws.
  • 12/18/16 - Judging Angels is in its last three hours of story time. A lot can happen in three hours.
  • 12/18/16 - The Bear noticed the silly TV show Lucifer got cancelled. Chance on Hulu starring Hugh Laurie has proved better than the Bear's initial skepticism. On the other hand, the wheels have come off of Amazon's The Man in the High Castle. Cool imagery of a Nazified America can only take you so far. The writing is simply incoherent. Timeless on NBC is a smart, funny and entertaining time travel series that does a pretty good job with history. Fortunately, all the events they have to protect are well-known to the audience. They are not going to have to intercept the Zimmerman Telegraph, for instance.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Today's Choice Quote From Judging Angels

Just finished the last chapter save one, maybe two. The flavor of final preparations are revealed in this bit of dialogue between husband and wife as he gives her a present. As always, everything subject to publisher.


"You would be amazed at what a bat can do to a human head.”

“What’s it feel like, knowing what everything can do to a human head?”

“Right, now, pretty damn useful.”

Bear's Weird Cat and Dog

Yes, a funny cat video of unnatural behavior between an affectionate cat and a puzzled dog. Might want to view in YouTube especially if you have a high res display. This had already gone on for some time before the Bear found his phone. The cat enjoys weaving in and out of the dog's legs.



Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Bear Bullets

Until the Bear gets the ephemeris back up and running full time - i.e. Judging Angels is done - this page will be frequently updated with short takes. Some of them will probably be expanded later. Feel free to comment.


  • 12/16/16 - Saw an ad with Martin Sheen and some other actors begging 21 electors not to vote for Trump. Can we give the montage of different people looking into the camera and sincerely saying the same thing, one after the other, a rest, at long last? The Pope Videos use a similar formula. It's stale, Marty, Frank.
  • 12/16/16 - My VA doc should be a veterinarian. Listening to patients describe their symptoms would not be expected. The Bear has been sick for a month, with earaches, sore throat, runny nose, and other neck-up symptoms of the sort he is not used to dealing with. Anyway, it's good to learn there's nothing wrong with him, although he still feels awful. Perhaps he will write himself a prescription for imaginary antibiotics to deal with his imaginary infection. "What do you do all day, Bear?" / "I write." / "Why?" / "I'm a writer." / "Really? What are you writing?" / "A novel." / "Is that right? Who is the publisher?" / [Thinking - fine, he's just humoring me now.] "Hope and Life Press." / What kind of novel is it?" / "About a Bear who eats his incompetent doctors." / "Oh, well... "
  • 12/16/16 - Susan will be happy to learn that Father Rainbow got rehabilitated in JA. Every bit of feedback was considered and most was adopted. It is a very different book now, with Catholicism in its DNA. Screwtape Letters by Raymond Chandler. Should be a lot more fun, although still serious in themes, character and plot. I wanted a tagline "Even Funnier Than The Brothers Karamazov" but that got nixed. Last 24 hours of story time! Sorry about the lapsus linguae yesterday. But it's easy to forget I'm really a Bear.

  • 12/15/16 - THE CHURCH'S NEW MISSION: as Fr. Lombardi put it, "rebranding." Keep the institutional lights on by projecting a new image engaged with issues the West cares about. Sexual sins, Last Things, the exclusive nature of the real Church founded by Christ?  No. Instead, tolerance,  - interfaith and ecumenism, global warming, "a pastoral approach" to sexual sins, and a need to portray itself as accepting, nay, welcoming, nay, enthusiastic! The Church does not, in it's leftward slide, show evidence of being exempt from O'Sullivan's Law. The Pope Videos may not be successful, but their Catholic-content-free messages represent the new face of the Relevant Church. 
  • 12/15/16 - IF WE MUST BE PROTESTANTS , why must we be the worst sort of Protestant? Let me be a stern Puritan with only a Bible and Pilgrim's Progress in his house, or a Jumbotron Evangelical sipping a latte and eating a doughnut in my car before heading in to sway to the praise band and hear a sermon about Jesus instead of freaking global warming. Instead, we seem to have found the handful of sects even more sissified than the Franciscan church, so that Archbishop Cupich can feel like an Alpha Male.
  • 12/15/16 - THE FRENCH HAVE A WORD FOR a certain kind of book meant to be read "avec d'une main." After a visit to Audible this morning, I learned that apparently a surprising number of women are reading that sort of book with no hands at all.
  • 12/15/16 - THE DEPICTION OF HELL AND DEMONS usually falls between two equally unimpressive stools. The lurid Medieval imagination which led Fyodor Karamazov to get bogged down in wondering where devils got their iron to make pitchforks, and Screwtape-like didactic parodies. I suspect devils are pleased with both, because if some must still believe in them, let them at least not imagine a terrifying, organized, efficient state dedicated to the idea of conquering the world and taking their rightful place as its rulers. Why should we imagine Hell, which is, after all, peopled with our superiors, as a Bosch farce? The only thing Martin Luther ever did right was to throw his inkpot at the Devil. Until you've thrown your iPad at the Devil, you're not taking him seriously.


12/14/16 JUDGING ANGELS TEASE.! Everyone is dealing with moral questions in their own way as the novel approaches its climax. Some have less trouble with them than others. One issue is an appalling demand from kidnappers. Every decision has consequences. You really probably shouldn't make yourself the scapegoat when dealing with...


"If you’re really afraid it’s a sin, those are all on me, okay? Until we get Sandy. And I mean everything. You’re forgiven in advance.”

“You don’t know what you’re saying, Alice,” George said, horrified. “You’re making yourself the scapegoat. It was a goat who bore the Hebrews’ sins, and was driven into the desert. There dwelt the demon Azazel. Take it back. My sins are my own, and yours are yours.”

“Nope. I’m not taking anything back. Let them be on my head.”

There was a silence, which was finally broken by George. He spoke so softly, he could barely be heard. “’His blood be on us-‘“

“’-and on our children,’” Andy finished. “The mob who demanded Jesus be crucified. Now we’re probably cursed so hard, even my iyanifa grandmother and seven babalawos couldn’t get it off of us.”

“You’re all crazy religious fanatics,” Alice said. “I was right all along.”


  • So, as I understand the New York Times, which is comparing the supposed Russian selection of Trump to "another famous break-in 44 years ago," the Russians hacked into Democrat computers, and did nothing more than leak what they actually found there. So, worst case scenario, they merely exposed the slimy underbelly of Hillary and her party, correct? So if you get stopped and your girlfriend yells, "He got weed!" it's her fault for diming you out, not yours for actually having the weed.
  • 12/13/16 - HAPPY ST. LUCY'S DAY. Virgin and martyr. Patroness of Siracusa (Sicily) and Malta, and (for some reason) writers. St. Lucy pray for us who struggle to be edifying, as well as entertaining, and are trying hard every day to bring our projects to conclusion.
  • 12/13/16 - GOOD LATINIST NEEDED to translate a few simple words, sing. & plural. Tempter. (Surprisingly tough; "tentatore?") (f. One who is) Red, as in "a Red." or "Red," a class or a person. But not a nickname. "Rubricata/ae?" UPDATE: Looks like Rubricata and Tempator. "I'm not some lowly Temptator with a grubby list of porn sites and too many helpings of casserole. I'm a Rubricata - the best there is."
  • 12/13/16 - A TRUE MIRACLE. On the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, eight years ago, the Bear returned to the Church from Orthodoxy. The miracle is he's still here. Stipulating Orthodoxy's own problems, what it came down to was recognizing that he is a Bear of the West. The Catholic Church is his patrimony. Ironically. I decided I could not go wrong finding where Peter is. Well... The Bear doesn't have much to say about Pope Francis' bona fides. Bear logic is pretty rough and ready, as befits a 450 gram brain. Clearly, we have problems, and I doubt we are going to be able to trust the Church anytime soon.
  • 12/13/16 - BOOK ABOUT MICHAEL VORIS AND HIS SELF-OUTING: Bear is not plugging it, and, in fact, won't even mention the title or author. It's a short book about the behind-the-scenes drama surrounding Michael Voris' self-outing. The only reason the Bear was even curious was because he was a member of the not-so-exclusive club of bloggers groomed by one-time Church Militant TV "fixer," Terry Carroll. The author does seem to have a lot of information, like emails and such. I have no reason to doubt any of it, but a true behind-the-scenes project like this would have to rely on people happy to hand over emails, and provide information: i.e. to dish. In other words, perhaps people who now want to distance themselves from Voris. It is extremely unflattering to the point of TMI, but, hey, it's a story, and it raises some interesting points. The author disapproves of Voris criticizing bishops, and maintains that homosexuals are psychologically wounded people who are not necessarily ready to start an "apostolate" just because they stop practicing, without treatment first. The Bear was one of the few bloggers who wrote about it at the time without swooning over Voris' "heroism" for acknowledging his hand was in the cookie jar when he was caught. (He didn't throw Voris under the bus, either.) Bears just aren't all that excited by such things. Why have so many media priests and prominent media laymen imploded in the past few years? Occupational hazard? Or do people who crave the limelight tend to have egos that get them into trouble?


Thursday, December 8, 2016

We Are Driving the Pope Crazy

Sorry for the drive-by nature of this post, but the Bear would rather have the appearance that he is still alive as the benevolent dictator of the woodlands.

All Catholic ephemerists should take a month off. Here's why.

As the Francis pontificate seems to be coming apart like a cheap K-Mart suitcase, the Bear has realized that nobody cares about the Pope. The Bear repeats himself: NOBODY CARES. Except ephemerists, and their readers, who are obsessed. We get our heads into our ephemera, and read, what, ten a day?

I'm not saying what the Pope does is not important to the Church. But we magnify him and his impact, the Bear believes. There is a resistance gelling.

The interesting thing is that recent comments by Pope "Coprophagia" Francis and Spadaro revelations (see Mahound's Paradise in the links) is that the Vatican is afraid of us. That's right, the only people who really care about all of this are we ephemerists and our readers, and the Vatican. It is clear that we are landing body shots. The Pope of Rome is so worried about some Bear who sits in his room all day without any clothes on* pounding out dubious prose for a living, he allows himself to sound unhinged.

Meanwhile, he has his henchmen, like Spadaro, out with sock puppet Twitter accounts, which is really deceptive, and just tacky.

And the Bear himself has been checked out by someone from the Vatican City State. Something tells me that he's not a fan.

So, there is life beyond Francis, something the Bear had forgotten. And the cumulative effect of American ephemera, made possible by your generous donations of salmon, is getting to them. I know a few might miss their regular Bear, but folks, he just has to get this novel finished. He's close. He'll tease more choice bits for those who care.

So, when we resume normal programming, the Bear is going to have a new perspective and renewed energy.

*Easy there. He's a Bear. Clothing is optional for us.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

MINI Coopers and Doing Research

Red Death with the old MINI fleet. Hers is the yellow one.
She still has it. It was a surprise birthday present. Back in the day,
when the Bear was practicing law, and salmon was, um, plenitifuller.


"Stalking me again, Bear?"
A Flea bit me. Now I'm watching Ocean's 13. Not as good as 11.

What ever happened to the remake of one of Bear's favorites, The Italian Job, but in Brazil? (Original is good, too.) We are MINI enthusiasts. Well, that means the Bear in the past tense on that one.

Driving a MINI (standard transmission, of course) is a lot like driving a go-kart. Low, twitchy, fast and fun. And, As a Bear, must say surprisingly roomy.

Oddly, the Bear prefers indoors. Not much good Wi Fi in the forest. And the Bear traded his red convertible MINI (and do NOT say "midlife crisis;" we're immune to those) for a Kia Soul to eliminate a car payment.










"Coprophagia?"

Seriously? Again? Inappropriate language in public is not an indicator of sound mental health in a man of his age. This is disgusting.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Pope Video & Red Death Missing

A rare photo of Red Death in the wild.
It has been a while since Red Death wrote on her blog. The Bear hasn't seen her in Bear Manor, or in any of her usual woodlands haunts. It's not like her to disappear. Especially with Holly apparently about to deliver, although she is the most mysterious of goats.

The Perfect Jailbreak Plan

Oh, now Bear remembers. He filed a false domestic battery charge against her after he stepped on a rake. He's going to bust her out of jail as proof of concept for chapter 37, "Jailbreak." The Bear had to develop a foolproof plan to spring anyone from any jail or prison in the United States for purposes of Judging Angels, coming early next year. (Bear hangs head in shame.)

Or you can send him $20,000 worth of choice salmon and he will send you the secret.

Act now, before everybody gets wise to it. And they will. And after Judging Angels comes out, everyone will know the trick, and they'll find a way to neutralize it.

For amusement purposes only ;-)

The Bear once again apologizes for letting the woodlands get overgrown. One day, Judging Angels will be finished. And then, on to the next project, working title A Bear's Lent. After that the sequel to JA, which he sees as Brian-centric, as he expands the JA universe. A coming of age story, with the urban fantasy elements of JA, a big conspiracy theory, and the Outfit, which is what the cognoscenti call the Chicago mob. Mario Puzo meets Dean Koontz. The Bear is pretty sure you can't go wrong with that formula.

Could a 16-year-old kid really take down one of the biggest criminal organizations in the U.S.? The Bear is pretty sure he could. We'll just have to see. Brian, though damaged by his parent's pending divorce, and general selfish idiocy, proves quite the asset in Judging Angels.

So, like, is Francis still Pope? Who won the election? The Bear confesses to being a little behind on the news.

Pope Video: White Kid Surrenders?

Let's see... December's video is about child soldiers. The Pope is against that. He's right, you know. The video is the same formula we've been stuck with since the sorry project began. Menace, hope 'n' Pope, and montage.

Child soldiers is not a First World Problem, so there's only one white kid. He's running, waving a white flag of surrender. The Bear does not know quite what to make of that. He's surrendering, but to whom? Is there a running-with-a-white-flag children's game of which the Bear is not aware?

Perhaps the beloved Capture the Flag. Children should be playing at war, not fighting them. If so, it is a far more elaborate flag than the Bear ever had. But the Bear and his friends usually used people, instead of flags. It was quite exhilarating for them, judging by their screams of delight. We always afterwards treated them to some fresh salmon and let them go, though.

Monday, December 5, 2016

New Judging Angels Teaser


TEASER TUESDAY! (A day early.) Red discovers pancakes, and Brian ambushes his parents, who are getting divorced. This is the reality behind Amorous [sic] Laetitia's breezy theology of "whatever." The ravages of divorce is a major moral theme in this Catholic psychological thriller, a genre so unpopulated, everyone will notice, "Look. there's a Bear!" Lightly redacted to avoid spoilers. As always, subject to change at the trusted experience of Bear's publisher.

Most teasers won't be this long, and not really once a week. Bear will probably be in trouble as it is.

From Chapter 37 "The Ringer," in which (later) George's vaunted trial experience runs into an unexpected challenge, forcing him once again to realize he's not the Ubermensch he thinks he is,

Ah, pride. How many souls go to Hell on account of pride? All of them. Pride is the ur sin. They all begin by setting oneself up as a challenger to God, whether it be lust or lies or murder. The Bear read once that "I Did It My Way" is one of the most popular songs for funerals. Does that make you cringe?

The novel is done, but still requires a little work. Your Bear is working far more diligently than a mere human can, at times 72 hours straight. (Why do you think we hibernate for months?). He has literally "gone to the mattresses." This is Operation BOtD, or Book Out the Door. The Bear must confess it is not always "book."

Ecclesiastes 12:12 - "Of making many books there is no end." Enjoy, friends!

#

Andy awakened George at four a.m. Alice and Red were already up, and Esther was cooking a big breakfast. The darkness outside and quiet bustle inside lent an atmosphere of purpose, even urgency that appealed to George, despite how little sleep he had gotten. (“What do you call these? Pancakes? They’re delicious!”)


Andy drove, with Brian in back, stuck in the psychologically uncomfortable zone between his mom, and Red. It was over three hours to Pontiac County in what felt to George like an emotional dynamite truck. At least three of them had matches.


“George,” Red announced, “I want a gun.”


“You are a convicted felon. You can’t have a gun. We’ve been over this. Besides, there’s a 72-hour waiting period.”


“Exigent circumstances,” Red replied confidently. “We can break the rules. I think I could probably talk somebody into letting me have a gun. Let’s find a gun store, Andy.”


Alice leaned over and looked at George in a way that said: This is your loopy girlfriend, then resumed staring out the window.


“I don’t think your probation officer would approve,” George said. Red’s probation officer was the last thing he was worried about. Especially since he was a man. Andy had seen to that. ‘Exigent circumstances.’ Legalese for an emergency search warrant exception. Where did she get this stuff? He was certain he had never used the phrase in front of her.


“I have a concealed carry permit,” said Andy. “I’m carrying a .45 if it makes anyone feel better.”


“Can I have it?” Red asked.


“No.”


“Please?”


“No.”


“’We can break the rules,’” repeated Brian. “That’s the truth. Red’s a felon, dad’s a criminal, I *****, and mom practically had Ben move in. And worst of all, you’re getting divorced. You’re terrible parents. No wonder I’m a juvenile delinquent. I want a selfie with Red, and I want to keep it.”


Nobody spoke. George heard the flutter of chickens coming home to roost. Finally, he said, “You’ve earned it, if that’s what you want.”


“So, dad, do you know about Ben’s Nazi watch?”


“No. Why would Ben have a Nazi watch?”


“Brian,” said Alice, “you’re just being mean now. I know your dad is the exciting one. But I don’t understand what you are trying to accomplish. You don’t look very good in this story.”


“Some other time, then,” Brian said, not sounding chastened at all. “But while we’re talking about Ben, no one asked me or Sandy about him. Or Red. If you’re going to drag me along on another crime spree, I’m not some kid. You've got to listen to me. You guys should get back together, and we should be ***** as a family. And Red? Sorry, I like her – of course – but as a stepmom? Seriously? And why is she practically sitting on my lap? I’m almost 16 years old. She’s only, like, five years older than me, and, well, she's Red. Do you even think?"

Friday, December 2, 2016

Bear's Ephemeris Turns 4 Today

Today, St. Corbinian's Bear ephemeris turns four years old. What an excellent reason to leave a comment, or some nourishing salmon as he tries to bring his Hindenburg of a novel to a safe landing, despite gusty winds of excessive creativity. ("Harder to land than the Isle de France" - who will get that one?) Just days away, now. Then, he will once more be prowling the woodlands, providing what passes for wisdom and entertainment on these dubious pages.

The archives only go back to February 2014. The Bear went mad and burned the woodlands down while working on his Masters in Theology. But today is still the birthday.

What an interesting time to have an ephemeris. You can read The Bear Who Woke Up - the first piece after the Great Fire - here, if you want. It has all the elements you've come expect, except for third-person writing. The Bear has continued to diligently maintain this flea-bitten circus ever since. The little eclectic Catholic blog written by a Bear is closing on one million views.

Judging Angels is on short final (three metaphors now). Crosswind right at spec limits, gusty and variable. We were heavy, so had to burn off some fuel. Have tried to land several times, but had to declare missed approach at the last second every time. And made up a new excuse for the passengers every time. ("Badgers on the runway;" "Maintenance repainting the centerline," etc.)  Completely lost sight of the airport at one point. But Captain Bear knows his passengers expect a silky smooth kiss of rubber on runway that will make them break into spontaneous applause.

He will deliver nothing less, and you know it.

This is the one. Here is the landing. Crab right, coming in at an impossible-looking 30-degree angle, but inerrantly, straight in. Last-second rudder kick to point the nose of the beast at the centerline, perfect flare, and sweet touchdown right on the numbers just to show off. Handoff to Ground, which is so impressed, all other traffic is stopped while we taxi to the gate. There, fire trucks are spraying an arch of glistening rainbows for us to pass through, while within, TSA employees are linked in a line, high-kicking, while singing "Happy Birthday."

Style is important to Bears.

Bear Air from the ursine imagination of the country's next , well, only, greatest Bear novelist, arriving at Gate 22. A Catholic psychological novel (totally NOT urban fantasy) that will confound every expectation, and subvert all your most beloved tropes. The Bear will playfully slap you around a bit, and you will suffer from repeated psychological whiplash, but it's exhilarating to safely play with the magnificent ursus arctos. Just don't get too invested in anything you read, because it's probably not what you think.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Bear Case Files: The Man Who Flung Poo

You'd be surprised...
Still buried in final edit of Judging Angels. Chapter 42/49! Hit a rough patch, but nothing the Bear can't handle. The Bear likes it! You will, too, he promises. In the meantime, enjoy an edifying tale from the files of the Bear's storied legal career. Not all of his cases were glamorous...


"This was the glamorous defense practice in which your humble correspondent found himself: defending poo-flingers in a socks-optional courtroom."




HISTORIC CAIRO, ILLINOIS

Cairo was considered for our nation's capitol. At the tip of Illinois; at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio; a rail center; and where north and south; east and west meet. Why, all you had to do was look at a map to see its bright future. Charles Dickens invested in it. It was Grant's HQ for a time during the civil war. But somewhere along the way, it became a decaying mockery of grand dreams. Dickens lost a fortune.

However, it is remembered by the Bear as the site of  the funniest moments in trials. It had more than its share. Regular floods by the ancient rivers left a Flannery O'Connor miasma that hangs low behind the levies to this day.

THE WORST PRISON IN THE COUNTRY

Tamms prison was in the same county as Cairo. The Department of Corrections looked at the map, too, but now, Cairo was as far away from network affiliates as you could get. So that's where they built Tamms. Illinois' last execution took place there in 1999. Ripper Crew member Andrew Kokoraleis. No doubt, a bad guy, but worse in the Crew were spared. The warden told the Bear all about it, but another time, perhaps.

If you were bad, you went to prison. If you were bad enough in prison, you went to Tamms. You spent 23/7 in a tiny concrete box, with a narrow concrete bed, all alone. It was a national disgrace. It was also the source of many cases for the Bear, as part-time Alexander County PD. Need he add that defendants from the prisons' prison were often difficult?

YOU CAN TAKE EVERYTHING, BUT YOU CAN'T TAKE MY POO

However, about the only way prisoners in such a totally controlled environment could get into trouble was to fling poo at guards. This is a popular diversion for all prisoners. Especially those with hot plates, but no one at Tamms had those. (One day the Bear will tell you about the Great Escape case, though.)


LAWYER WITHOUT SOCKS AND JOLLY RANCHERS

The judge hated poo-flinging cases. He hated Tamms. For once, the defense counsel was justice's favorite son. But it had its limits.

They brought the Bear's latest poo-flinger in for trial, dressed in a white shirt and black pants, so he would not be stigmatized by an orange jumpsuit. But he was unshaven and looked awful. When the Bear complained. the judge recalled a lawyer who was often in his courtroom, who looked far worse, and did not wear socks, besides.

This was the glamorous defense practice in which your humble correspondent found himself: defending poo-flingers in a socks-optional courtroom.

The next legal question was whether the Bear could give Jolly Ranchers to his client. It was a little trick he had, and more important than it sounds when managing poo-flingers. (File that away; you never know.)  DOC was horrified because... well, just because. The Bear won that great legal issue.

STANDBY COUNSEL: THE CURSE OF THE POTTED PLANT

The Bear's client wanted to represent himself, which was his right. But the Bear was relegated to standby counsel. This is a nightmarish demimonde where you're never quite sure if you're the lawyer or a potted plant.

And so it came to pass that the poo-flinger addressed the jury in opening statement.

THE HORSE THAT BROKE ALL FOUR LEGS OUT OF THE CHUTE

Most  people think closing is the most important part of trial, but for a good defense lawyer, it's opening. The jury is going to doze through the rest of the trial, waking up only to pay attention to the most damning evidence. Opening is the one time you have their attention, and can tell a plausible story before everything gets ruined.

More cases are decided during opening than closing. Jurors have already made up their minds by closing. You're just giving your jurors (if you have any) arguments to use in the only one that counts: the one in the jury room.

Your Bear's poo-flinger delivered his opening. He rambled, and eventually admitted to every last element of the charge of Flinging Poo in the 1st Degree. Finally, he returned to counsel table shaking his head.

He leaned toward the Bear and said, in these exact words: "Man I [messed] that up. I don't want to represent myself anymore. Take over Bear. You gotta save me."

"A rum bit of luck, that iceberg. Take command, Bear."

"Sorry, but I wasn't trained to land the Hindenberg when it's on fire, so you take over Bear."

Needless to say, he was convicted of this heinous offense, although when you're already in Tamms, there's really nothing they can do to you except tack a on few more years to a sentence already so long it doesn't matter. The judge recognized the futility, and figured getting poo flung at you was an occupational hazard for corrections officers and zoo-keepers at primate houses everywhere.


ANTIDOTE TO PRIDE.

Whenever the Bear is tempted to feel proud of his sexy career as ace murder defense counsel, he always remembers his historic number of cases defending men accused of throwing their own feces at other men, in a court where just showing up wearing socks, and not wearing what you had for lunch, was already a win.

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