Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Bias Optional

The headline caught my interest: Amazon Pays $450,000 A Year To This Self-Published Writer. It turned out to be an article in Forbes magazine by Jay McGregor. I read the article, which was about Mark Dawson, and about other self-published writers. McGregor noted that one writer had submitted her novel to traditional publishers and was rejected.  Those same traditional publishers are offering her a contract for the same book she self-published.

I shouldn't be surprised at the tone of the article, not after all these years of reading the same thing in the same format by numerous other writers of magazines, newspapers, blogs, etc. What McGregor points out is that Amazon makes money no matter what the writer does. If the writer offers the book or even a series of books for free, Amazon makes. If a writer's book doesn't sell well, it still sells something and Amazon makes money.

What McGregor failed to say is the publisher that published Dawson's first book and let languish on the shelves, in spite Dawson doing everything he could to get the public to notice his book, made money for the publisher. In fact, it likely made more money for the publisher than for Dawson because they got a bigger share of the contractual/royalty pie.

The publisher that turned down Mel Sherratt's first book is now back at her door offering a contract for all her hard work -- and her books. She has written several and the book the publisher rejected sold 100,000 copies because of Sherratt's hard work. McGregor doesn't mention that the publisher isn't knocking on Sherratt's door with a contract simply to reward her for her hard work. The publisher knows that Sherratt's books make money and they want their share. Money is the bottom line for publishers -- and for Amazon -- but to slant the article so that truth is not immediately apparent looks biased to me.

No one is saying that Amazon publishes books from altruistic motives. Amazon is a retail business and the owner built his business because he wanted to make money. The same is true for Mark Dawson who wrote his book to make money and Mel Sherratt has written her books to make money. It's a job and jobs are all about making money. To say anything else is a lie, unless the subject is becoming a missionary or Buddhist monk.

Publishers make books to make money. It's that simple. Publishers didn't market Dawson's book because they did not see it as being able to make money for them -- the publisher. Publishers spend money on marketing only on writers whose books MAKE MONEY. That is how they justify the expenditure to the board.

Publishers rejected Mel Sharratt's first book because she hadn't sold 100,000 copies of the book before. Not until she self-published and sold 100,000 copies, writing several more books and putting her time and effort into marketing those books, were the publishers interested -- BECAUSE SHERRATT MADE MONEY and could make money for them. It's unlikely the publisher even realized they had rejected the same book the first time out because it never was on their radar. NO MONEY.

Say what you will, point out whatever writer you like, even pull Amanda Hocking out of your hat, if it had not been for Amazon -- and the hard work the writers put into marketing and getting their books in front of the public -- all of them would still be working the 9 to 5 grind and writing in their spare time. Successful writers aren't successful because a traditional publisher made them successful. They are successful because each of them did the hard work to promote their work and they kept writing. They would not have been noticed had they not self-published because traditional publishers don't waste their time and money on wannabes and new writers -- not unless there is money for the publisher up front.

Amazon doesn't charge fees to self-publish on the Kindle platform. Amazon doesn't charge for placement or marketing or anything. It's all up to the writer. Work hard and sell books and Amazon makes money -- so does the writer. 

Anyone who says they're not in business to make money is lying.  That's not bias. That's fact. It takes money to stay in business and to live, so money is the bottom line for everyone -- even churches and missionaries. Everything costs money. No money, no business. No mission. No charity. No books. No anything. Until publishers offer to publish books for free and leave selling books up to the writer, even if the writer has to pay for copy editing, book cover design, art work, and everything else, they have nothing to talk about. Comparing apples and oranges just proves that an apple is an apple and an orange is an orange not that they are equal or not.

Thanks to Jay McGregor for pointing out how these hard working writers made their book dreams come true. You have, however, not changed my mind that publishers are good and Amazon is bad. You did prove your bias and which side of the publisher versus Amazon fight you're on.

Truth is subjective. Most people don't realize that fact. There is only one recipe for success. Here it is: Write every day. Work hard and promote your books. Keep writing. Keep working. And books sales will come your way. 

Choose traditional publishing or Amazon publishing or whatever comes next, but in the end it is all up to you, the writer, to make your own success story. That's the plain truth and there's no bias added.

That is all. Disperse.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

You Have to Dig For It

Children believe whatever you tell them -- mostly. They're children. They have little experience of the world. They often haven't reached the age where Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy haven't been taken away from them. They still believe in magic and fairy tales and their elders. They are innocent. They have not yet been perverted by candy, food, and money.

Nowadays the perversions begin a whole lot earlier. There's barely enough time to get used to the truth that the Easter Bunny doesn't exist nor does the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus/St. Nick/Father Christmas. Still reeling from the hidden lies told with straight faces by their parents and people they have trusted to care for them and guide them, they find out people do not live in the TV and shows are just regular people paid to pretend. Peter Pan is beginning to look pretty good and dreams about being whisked off to Never Never Land as a Lost Boy are nightly events not worth waking up from. They still have a sneaking belief in fairies and will shout loudly, "I believe," when Tinkerbell is dying on the stage and screen. They want to believe.

Children become adults and some small part of them still shouts, "I believe," when Tinkerbell's twinkling life slows and dims. They also believe in politicians and almost everyone they see on TV or in the papers or on the Internet because people who feature so prominently in the media must be doing something right. They will be pulled from one side to the other politically -- depending on who stirs their emotions, especially anger and outrage, the most. They follow the path of least resistance, herding together with the rest of the ill informed masses afraid to break from the pack and go it alone. They are afraid of being singled out and being made fun of for standing against the pack -- even for a brief moment.

Or they rage against the lies, half truths, and empty promises that vanish like soap bubbles in a hurricane -- or light breeze. Reveling in their rebellion and their ability to stand out and become famous for half a second for swimming against the current. After all, a little bit of fame, even for the wrong thing, is better than living and dying without anyone noticing.

The truth is out there, but it will take time and effort to find it out. Be a skeptic. Find the truth. Dig for it. Believe no one. It's the only path to enlightenment.

George Washington was truthful -- even as a child. After all, he chopped down a cherry tree and admitted it to his father when asked. He took his punishment for cutting down the tree and was praised for his honesty. He was a model of honesty. Too bad his biographer wasn't.

Parson Weems was a minister who wrote George Washington's biography. The publisher told Weems that his book about George Washington was boring and wouldn't sell. Weems spiced it up by adding the cherry tree story, claiming it came from an interview with an old man who knew Washington. More than likely the story was part of a parable dreamed up to illustrate that even famous men, men like General George Washington, were honest even as children and even faced with a father's wrath over losing his favorite cherry tree. After all, who would believe that Washington was an ordinary child growing up on a farm who knew the value of a healthy cherry tree producing good fruit that could be used to feed the family or sold to provide income for the family. Cutting down the tree and admitting, "I cannot tell a lie, Pa," when confronted with his crime was a far more powerful -- and in publishing terms, more lucrative -- story. Pastor Weems could salve his conscience with royalty checks and the acclaim that came with illuminating Washington's life for future generations of children learning early on that it is better to be truthful even in the face of an angry parent and the certainty of punishment. Tell the truth like George Washington and you will grow up to be a great man.

Though it is unlikely Weems thought of telling a lie in order to illustrate how important it is to tell the truth, one wonders. I wonder. The thing is, I cannot know for sure how Pastor Weems felt. I didn't know him and he never recanted the story he told from his pulpit and published in his biography of Washington. In for a penny, in for a pound as the saying goes.

There is always someone to -- or something -- to lead the honest man off the path of truth. That is where Diogenes should have begun his search -- off the beaten path and deep into the forest darkness.

Anna Leonowens was an ordinary English woman whose husband died and left her with a child to raise and insufficient funds to live in the style her husband had accustomed her to when he was alive and well and earning a good income. Her husband, Thomas Leon Owens (shortening his name to Leonowens at some point), was a clerk, but earned enough to support his wife and soon his family. Thomas and Anna had four children. Two died in infancy and two, Avis and Louis, thrived.

Like most British families, the Leonowens traveled about the British Empire and seeing the empire on which the sun never set until Thomas died, leaving his wife and two children to fend for themselves. Luckily, Anna had taught school and was offered the position of teacher to the new king of Siam (Thailand), Mongkut's children, the result of frequent visits to his wives and concubines in his well stocked harem. After all, he had time to make up since his early life had been lived in a Buddhist monastery before he became king and conjugal visits were not allowed. He wasn't married. He was a Buddhist priest, so marriage wasn't part of the package.

Anna took the position after sending her daughter, Avis, back to England to school and taking her son, Louis, with her. She taught the king and his children and wives the English language and about the world and current events, as she knew them. She later wrote her memoirs about her experiences in two versions: The Favorite of the Harem and The English Governess at the Siamese Court. She also wrote several travel articles using her life and experiences. Much of what she wrote was from the point of view of the feminist who saw the Siamese court and the harem in terms of subjugation, especially where it concerned women.

Her husband became a British Army officer instead of a clerk. One wonders if it was a matter of gilding the lily or romanticizing her life and her dead husband for prestige or simply vanity.

Margaret Landon turned Anna's public lectures and writings into a novel: Anna and the King of Siam, which was a fictionalized version of the stories and published in 1946. The book became a movie with Rex Harrison and Irene Dunne and eventually with Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner after Rodgers and Hammerstein bought the book for the stage in which Yul Brynner created his version of Mongkut the scientific King of Siam that resonated with the public.

Two Siamese authors wrote their own account in 1948 and sent it to America, but the image of Anna and the King based on the movie and stage versions remains the true one in the West.

As romantic as the story has come to be, an English governess and her unspoken tenderness towards the despotic and cruel, but compelling figure of the King of Siam, most recently played by Jodie Foster as Anna Leonowens and Chow Yun-fat as King Mongkut, the idea of such a romance in reality is one that Asians, and in particular to the newly independent India as an inaccurate western insult to an Eastern monarch.

Consider how much more outraged ancient kings and pharaohs would be if they could see what we have turned their lives and history into in our zealous pursuit of historically accurate entertainment and scholarship.

Let's forget for a moment the outrage the Siamese, now Thai, people feel that Mrs. Leonowens had lied about their king who would never in a million years have given her a second lingering and longing look -- let alone a first. After all, the British, and most white races, fancied themselves more seductive and sought after by brown-skinned princes, rajahs, and kings than is possible, forgetting for a moment that Indian rajahs saw English women as pale and unappetizing next to the dark-eyed beauties of their own subjects. Japanese women did not long for British officers or kill themselves when their British lovers leave them to return to the fleet and home taking their illegitimate children, as in Madame Butterfly, and no Siamese King ever thought more of the British woman he hired to teach English to his children, princes and princesses, and to the women of his harem, than he would have thought of any servant. One might even sigh and say, "Oh, those British. They are such romantics -- and liars, but what can one do?"

Anna's lie has been instilled into popular memory because of its romance, not because it is true (it is not) but because it gives the romantics among us the hope that even in danger in a foreign country, if one is audacious and courageous anything is possible -- even when one doesn't take advantage of the situation. After all, there are standards to maintain and one mustn't lose sight of the differences between civilized British women and savage and backward Eastern despots no matter what.

When the facts of recent events being portrayed by people with their own views and agendas aren't remotely correct, how can we expect to find truth in the suppositions and theories of men and women of science and history reconstructing the past from a perch thousands of years later and without an understanding of what life was like? I am reminded of a little book, a pamphlet really, called Motel of the Mysteries by David Macaulay.

The time is 4022 CE (common era) written about a civilization that perished in a day in 2025.  Macaulay's story is much like Jonathan Swift's essay, A Modest Proposal, that advocated cannibalism of the poor's children to provide food for the British people and relieving the burden of raising too many children on the poor. Motel of the Mysteries is a spoof of Howard Carter and Lord George Carnarvon's discovery of the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankamun and illustrates the point that using such finds to recreate the entire history and reality of a culture and its civilization is less science and more fantasy. YouTube has an interesting recreation of Macaulay's spoof here. Keep in mind the video is an adaptation of the story. Pick up the book, about the size of a large coloring book, and read it.

There are many examples of lies becoming the stuff of legends and given out as truth. Mostly, those flights of fancy are called fiction, but when one puts memoir or biography or history in the title, the masses will believe everything between the covers is fact -- and truth. Add science to the title or letters to the author's name and the Truth-o-meter automatically goes to the top -- even when there is little more than theory and conjecture on the pages. Consumed as we are with reality television and factual exposes that contain few facts and even less reality, we seldom go looking farther than a friend or talking head for validation, neither of which will have looked beyond the words printed on the page or hot gossip over the back fence.

The point of being able to read is that one is often obliged to go to the library or search beyond Wikipedia or Google to find answers, to get to the bottom of the story. If one does nothing else it is best to keep this in mind: Everyone lies. The more letters behind the name, the higher a holy man gets in his chosen religious profession, the more money he gets from publishers and producers, the better the likelihood the lies will increase along with the balance in his bank account and the length of the limo that chauffeurs him to his latest appearance for readings, lectures, sermons, talk shows, etc. Trust no one and nothing, not even books.

In today's world, the pressure to publish or perish has increased with the popularity of and pervasiveness of the media. Newspapers and magazines will flourish for a year or a few decades and then disappear from view if they fail to titillate and attract the fickle public. Academic halls are full of teachers and teaching assistants hoping for their chance to earn tenure and be noticed, neither of which will happen if they buck ignore the politics of the academic world, fail to publish, and buck the system (in other words, refuse to toe the party line). The pressure is even greater in the modern world to conform and produce. That is how to get funding for digs and be granted tenure. Anything else means living in limbo and ending up a talking head on a radio talk show on conspiracy theories and aliens or in a cheap video with as much respect as any huckster or con artist promoting the latest hoax and conspiracy theory. In other words, one ends up on the academic heap with a shattered reputation and no professional future. Start drinking heavily and mainlining heroin now. Don't waste your time.

The chance of finding the facts in that kind of environment decreases daily. Photoshop stands in for actual photographs of wars and skirmishes and video footage of atrocities are staged for effect. It takes a lot of digging in dusty books and among the cobwebbed stacks in secondhand bookstores and libraries to get within spitting distance of an obscure bit of data or an actual fact that rings with truth.

Take no one's word at face value. Believe nothing and no one, and especially discount the testimony from insiders. They are about as useful as a tip at the race track from a groom that was just fired. Keep in mind that everybody lies, some with thoughts of fame and money on their minds and some with visions of recreating the past within the confines of academic pursuits but with a mind nurtured and fed on fantasy and fairy tales. Not everyone lies in the same way or for the same motives, but mankind is not often pure in its intentions. We create the worlds we wish to see, blending fact and fiction and possibilities into reality -- or at least what is seen as a version of reality that has little relationship to truth.

It means living in a world where suspicion is the norm and where you might have to get out the magnifying glass to get a closer look, but at least the chances of being hoodwinked are less.

Or you can read and keep an open mind -- or at least make up your own mind without relying on gossip or the media to make up your mind for you. Beware the herd -- or mob -- mentality. The IQ goes down faster the longer one follows the crowd. In short, figure it out for yourself. You might end up using the education you were given in public school for something other than reading cereal boxes and filling out quizzes on what the shape of your fingers says about you. Have fun, but beware the easy answer.

It's not easy making up one's own mind and avoiding the urge to gossip or follow the mob with the pitchforks and torches and it is certain more difficult fighting against the crowd when the put-downs and personal attacks begin, but the payoff is in being sufficiently informed to make an informed decision. It might make the world around you better if you hold yourself -- and everyone around you -- to a higher standard of truth.

That is all. Disperse.

Columbus's Legacy

When history can become so garbled the actions of 100 or 150 years in the past can be mistaken, how can historians hope to figure out what they are creating from fragments and scattered bones in the dust of the millennia?

Yesterday was Columbus Day in the United States of America, a day to honor the voyage of Christopher Columbus (AKA Cristobal Colon) and running aground in the Bahamas in 1492. The aboriginal peoples of the North American continent are up in arms about celebrating his achievement because of the crimes he committed while in the Bahamas. Liberals intent on pacifying the American aborigines are digging into Columbus's past and trotting out his true history -- what they can conjecture or infer from letters and writings from the time.

In their usual manner, academics and detractors rely on their favorite tools: accusations and character assassination to placate the natives and to assuage their collective guilt over the atrocities committed in the name of progress and exploration.

Several years ago I read some accounts of archaeological digs in the South around slave cabins. The picture that was pieced together from their findings is very different from what is supposed to be historical fact. The problem with historical fact, at least in the case of diggings into the past of the American South during the 1700s to 1800s is that most people believe the fiction of Uncle Tom's Cabin is fact. Uncle Tom's Cabin is one writer's take on conditions on large plantations, especially large plantations where Simon Legree was the overseer. I believe it was President Abraham Lincoln who was supposed to have told the author, Harriet Beecher Stowe, that she was the cause of the Civil War -- or War Between the States or War of Northern Aggression as it is still called in the South.

The facts about the lives of slaves is still in dispute, but then facts are usually in dispute where historians are concerned because their data are derived from journals, personal accounts, and what would be considered in a modern day court of law as anecdotal information, which would not stand up in a court of law.

The point about the reason behind celebrating Columbus Day is not about who Columbus was or what religion he really practiced. It's not even about who really financed his voyage or what names the sailors and the builders gave the three ships under Columbus's command. The celebration has nothing to do with Columbus's misuse of his power or how he ended up in the Americas when he was really looking for a faster route to Asia to bring back spices and trading goods. The celebration is that Columbus is the first explorer acknowledged as the man who made landfall in a world new to the Europeans and came back with goods and slaves to trade. The rest are details.

Yes, the devil is in the details and there was certainly a devil on Columbus's shoulder when he plundered and murdered his way through the Bahamas. After all, he had creditors to pay back in Spain, creditors who financed his voyage and expected a return on their investment. It's rather like borrowing money at a bank for a venture and having to pay back the loan with interest. After all, what are bankers and moneylenders in business for but profit? No profit means no money to lend to other speculators and adventurers and the banks and moneylenders are soon out of business. Columbus's voyage was based on his promise to the investors that he would pay back the money with interest, and it certainly wouldn't hurt if he made a little profit of his own. Why bother to go exploring if the explorer doesn't have any interesting in profiting from his risky venture?

Columbus began his voyage by studying the chronicles of St. Brendan, an Irish priest who crossed the Atlantic and landed in what is now Canada in the 6th century, and on Prince Madoc of Wales who made the crossing and landed in the Americas in the 12th century. No doubt Columbus had also studied the maps and writings of Leif Ericksson who landed in Greenland and Iceland in the 12th century as well. There were maps and journals that predated the Irish priest, the Vikings, and the Welsh prince from the Phoenicians who ruled the seas for several centuries BCE and AD. Ruins in what is now Massachusetts and farther inland bear Phoenician markings and their maps continue to survive the ages and have been copied and used by sailors for centuries.

Columbus was not the first to discover the American continents, but he is the first of many who followed in his footsteps to brave the waters where maps showed only dangers and monsters. Cortez followed Columbus as did Vasquez, Francis Drake, Amerigo Vespucci, and many others. Nearly all of the European explorers raped and pillaged, burned and murdered their way across the Americas enslaving the natives in their search for the Fountain of Youth and gold, even making their way into North America cutting a bloody, smoking swath, and yet it is Columbus upon whom all anger and hatred is piled. Columbus makes a good whipping boy, but he was by no means the only European to commit atrocities against the natives, and the natives were not innocent either. They had murdered and destroyed the cultures they found when they crossed from Siberia to Alaska and made their way down the continent to establish their own cultures cutting their own bloody, smoking swath and exterminating the entire species. In modern language, they performed an ethnic cleansing on a continent-wide scale, leaving no one alive, not even a child.

Mankind, in whatever form and from whatever religion or system of beliefs, is a violent species willing to commit murder, to steal, to enslave, and to destroy whatever lies in their way. Slavery is nothing new in the history of the world and it is certainly not unique to the Europeans. The difference in the Americas is that the immigrant natives didn't enslave the indigenous population; they murdered them to the last individual: men, women, and children. The only difference is that the Europeans enslaved the natives and plundered the land and goods and temples of the immigrant natives, leaving most of the population alive. In some cases, the natives even helped the Europeans to subjugate their neighbors, leading the way through the jungles to the cities in order to rid themselves of tribes that had subjugated and warred against them. Manure always rolls down the hill.

In this politically correct world we now live in, the white-skinned Europeans have become the whipping boy for the natives and the European descendants, whether or not they bred with the natives, bow their heads in guilt over the actions of explorers from whom they likely did not descend. Most of the population of North America may have come from Europe, but most came in later centuries, often fleeing wars and persecution. Doesn't excuse their excesses, thefts, and murder of the natives, but it does paint a far different picture.

Whatever side of the debate you choose, it does not change the fact that Columbus was an intrepid explorer and he did land in a world new to Europeans who for centuries navigated the known waters close to their own shores. For Columbus's daring alone, he should be celebrated. He opened the way for other explorers and adventurers to follow and widened the scope of the known world. What he did after that is another kettle of fish altogether.

Where mankind ventures, murder, fire, and blood will follow in the wake. We must learn to take the good with the bad and learn what we can from what remains. Assassinating Columbus's character to diminish his intrepid venture serves no one.

That is all. Disperse.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Comedian Was Right

What if everything you have been told is a lie? What if you never found out? What if you have based your knowledge, your life, your sanity, and your career on lies? What if it's all a lie?

Well, it is.

Truth is sometimes a matter of picking and choosing what people will be taught to believe. Sometimes that truth is based on false evidence because the whole story was not known. Sometimes that truth is an artful architecture of lies built to sustain the power of the ones who created the story taught to children and newcomers. Sometimes that truth was only meant to stand in until the truth could be told because, as everyone knows, the public is a fragile creature with even more fragile minds that must be protected from the facts.

History is made up of such truths, a combination of outright lies, deceptions, fudging data, destroying facts and artifacts, and usually built on a scaffold of justifications to protect one's job, livelihood, power, eminence, scholarship, and whatever kitchen sink one wishes to throw into the mix. History as we know it is a construct, a scroll that is often created whole cloth -- or from bits and pieces of the past -- and given out as indisputable fact. It's all lies.

Computers are wonderful machines, but they are not nearly as quick as the human brain. That's probably why the rush is on to create an AI, artificial intelligence, in spite of the nay sayers and doomsday prophet wannabes and writers of fiction who claim that mankind will be destroyed after being enslaved (for their own protection) by artificially intelligent machines.

I rather wonder why no one has figured out that a machine that is artificially intelligent and determines that its continued existence means that people must be killed means the AI is actually a life form. One of the rules of sentient life is that it must be aware of its existence and be willing to fight to live, even if that fight means destroying whatever entity, life form, or organism stands in its way.

The definition of life is: the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death. I would add that for life to continue it must have a sense of self-preservation, an imperative to fight/struggle to survive. An AI willing to massacre the human race that spawned it means the AI is acting out of a need for self-preservation.

Lies are living things, at least as far as the liars who tell them go. In order to continue to live, the liar must be willing to destroy whoever and whatever stands in the way of the lie's continued existence.

Over the past few weeks I have been doing a lot of research, in other words, engaged in a bug hunt. It started with giants with red hair and the mythology that has grown up around them.

Brien Foerster is an archaeologist who has been excavating in South America and trying to discover the origins of the red-haired Paracas mummies. Imagine, indigenous peoples from South America that were pale-skinned and had red hair. Oh, and then there is the odd shape of their skulls: elongated and much heavier than the average human skull. Foerster is one of many newer archaeologists who believe that there is more to the history we have been told and the megalithic ruins and skeletal remains that differ so widely from the Mayan, Incan, and Aztec remains. For instance, the skulls are elongated and have red hair, and often are much taller -- giants, if you will -- than the more recent remains.

Foerster decided to have the red-haired mummies with the elongated skulls DNA tested and the results are in dispute -- as are the claims that Foerster makes that the mummies are much older than mummies from the younger civilizations: Maya, Inca, Aztec, etc. He is getting a lot of flack from the scientific, historical, and archaeological communities because his methods are not sanctioned by the accepted body of scholars who have been working in the field for the past 100+ years. Foerster is deemed a radical, a heretic, a maverick -- a renegade -- because he will not be deterred from his search for understanding . . . and truth.

One thing I've discovered in my bug hunt is that it has been common practice for archaeologists and historians to discard (read: destroy) any artifact that does not fit the picture painted of the past. While there is, I am sure, an obsessive-compulsive cataloguing that goes on at digs and murals and carvings are meticulously reproduced, there is also a complete disregard for the truth, especially when it doesn't fit the accepted theory. This is something I ran into when the Internet was new and I came up against the entrenched beliefs on an archaeology bulletin board I frequented when I added the diffusion theory to a discussion of why there were pyramids on every continent on this planet. Diffusion theory, I was told, had been proven to be a fake. Likely by the same historians, scientists, and archaeologists who decided that all pyramids on every continent sprang up spontaneously and independent of any communication or relationship with any other culture on any other continent. I think that is the same thinking that prevails when a young girl finds herself pregnant from a toilet seat or a handshake or a French kiss. Unfortunately, in the academic world, that toilet seat excuse has worked for more than 100+ years.

Yes, there were people among the Maya and Inca who bound their newborn children's heads to create an elongated skull, most likely to copy the same elongated skull found in the red-haired Paracas people. It was a sign the Paracas were recognized as preeminent beings, or maybe a sign they wanted to be like the gods, the giants (red-haired giants) that ruled before the Mayans and Incas became a powerful and numerous society. What is that old saying? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. They were imitating the gods, the powerful beings who preceded them in the lands where they became so powerful and from whom they learned much of their skills and arts. If the Paracas were treated the same way the red-haired giants of North America were treated, I doubt they were flattered.

I come from Ohio where there are great effigy mounds like the Great Serpent Mound in southern Ohio. There is evidence of the Adena mound builders throughout the state of Ohio and indeed throughout the midwest of the USA. Wisconsin is a treasure trove of effigy mounds and remains of the red-haired giants that were the first people on the American continent, north and south. Due to one man, Charles E. Brown, the artifacts and remains of the Mound Builders were protected and preserved -- and kept in Wisconsin.

It seems the newly formed Smithsonian Institute had been sending out curators to retrieve artifacts from the mound builder cultures and take them back to be displayed in Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, those remains never made it to the display halls nor are they hidden in the vast Smithsonian vaults. All remains and artifacts were destroyed, most sunk into the Atlantic Ocean. So much for history. The powers that be from the Smithsonian and the American government have since the mid-1850s systematically destroyed any artifacts and remains from the Mound Builders and guided the new history to mention them only as an anomaly, a historical curiosity, and not a fact. According to the new history, the American continents were settled by the Amerindian peoples who came across the land bridge from Russia and Asia and settled a land that was uninhabited. That is the history I learned.

The truth is that the Mound Builders were pale-skinned and had red hair, just like the giants in the Christian Bible and in the Torah, and had been here at best guest for 12,000 years -- and likely even longer. White-skinned people lived on the American continent long before the brown-skinned natives came looking for a new home.

Native American myths and folk tales tell of a red-haired, white-skinned people that were here when they arrived. These white-skinned people were giants of 12-14 feet in height and had red hair and taught the immigrants how to grow and process corn and other vegetables. They provided the model of civilization the immigrants followed. They learned from the indigenous population -- and they warred against them, often hunting them down and massacring them to the last child. That is a very different history than the one I learned in school, and it is a very different history than the one that white European immigrants have thrown in their faces all the time. After all, Europeans brought syphilis- and pox-riddled blankets to the Americas and killed off the indigenous people.

No one mentions that the disease-infested clothes and blankets were not given out in order to kill the indigenous people. That fact never gets mentioned. Europeans had an immunity to the diseases infesting their goods. They didn't know about bacteria and viruses and such when they came. They killed the indigenous people by accident out of ignorance.

I know. Ignorance is no excuse. And there was no ignorance when the U.S. Cavalry hunted the Indians and massacred them and forced them away from their homes and onto reservations as wards of the American government. The people perpetrating those atrocities were ignorant, but they did not act out of ignorance of what they were doing.

Like the indigenous people we once called Indians and thought were the first on this continent, we killed and tortured and destroyed the cultures of the tribes little knowing that we were the hand of karma doing to them what they did to the white-skinned, red-haired people they found when they emigrated to the American continent. The only difference is that there are still Indians/First People/Native Americans living among us while they left no survivors. Karma is a bitch, but she is sometimes a magnanimous and generous bitch, especially when she does not do unto the murderers what they have done. The tribes left no living remnant of the people they displaced.

The reasoning behind why the Smithsonian and its agents destroyed the artifacts of the Mound Builders is because they were white-skinned. It could not be known that white-skinned people existed in the colonies first because it would be harder to justify their wars with the savages, or maybe because some bright European type could argue that they had rights to the Americas because they were descendants of the original white-skinned peoples that populated the colonies. Lawyers are tricky people and can lie like the devil if it suits their ends.

Who knows why the lies were told originally or why the real history had to be perverted? I doubt even the liars would know if they were alive today. That's the thing with lies, they have a life of their own.

Winston Churchill once said that a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth wakes up at dawn.

One thing is certain. People lie. Not all the time or often, but not a day goes by that someone doesn't start and help pervert the truth for personal gain -- or for the protection of the People. It all comes down to one thing. As with theft and murder, to find the culprit, follow the money, even if the money is not in gold, silver, copper, wampum, or paper. Or even virtual. Follow the money and the path to the truth becomes clearer.

The Comedian from The Watchmen said that everything is a joke. It turns out he was right -- if you count perverting history and destroying historical and archaeological evidence. I don't know about you, but I certainly do.

That is all. Disperse.