The Collie Family

The Collie family (Click here)

I have written some episodic short stories about my Sylvanian miniature figures I have collected. Today I am posting the first episode of the Collie family which I wrote when I got them for the first time. Just click on  “The Collie family”, and it will lead you to the story in PDF format.

I wish my blog geared by WordPress would show the writing with the pictures in its entirety without clicking on the link as above, but it does not seem to have such convenient function unless I change my current free plan to premium with a certain charge fee. (Yes, we all know the power of money in the capitalist society because it is a carte blanche.) Someday in near future I may change it to premium for more options for my blog. (Yes, I cannot help but conform to the norms of the society, as Aristotle says that humans are by nature social animals…)

A License to Heal by Steven Bentley

A License to Heal: Random Memories of an ER DoctorA License to Heal: Random Memories of an ER Doctor by Steven Bentley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Steven Bentley, M.D., an American Board of Emergency Medicine certified ED doctor and also the author of this book with a fabulously fitting title, began his medical vocation in the mid-1970s with a naive but noble cause to heal the wounded and save human lives. His reason for choice of the ER Medicine was that it consisted of Minor Surgery and Emergency Medicine and thus gave him opportunities to practice a wider scope of medical knowledge and administer it to a wider range of patients.

Over 30 years until his retirement in 2000s, Dr. Bentley was a commendable doctor equipped with an arsenal of immense medical knowledge combined with a sea of compassion and kindness to treat all the patients he encountered in the ER of a hospital in North Carolina regardless of their social and economic statuses. Unlike most impersonal, officious doctors, Dr. Betley “listened” to his patients and oftentime went out of his way to help a patient whose medical need was repeatedly and cruelly rejected beyond a reasonable measure.

Welcome an old veteran man whose doctor was out of town, so he had to get his prescription for blood pressure control refilled at a VA hospital. However, it was such a painful ordeal for the old man, for he had encountered frustrating runaround from one hospital to another because they did not want to take a responsibility for refilling his prescription without his primary care doctor’s consent. So when the man finally came to Dr. Bentley, he burst out crying saying, “All I need is to get my usual prescription refilled…” Thereupon, Dr. Bentley wrote him a refill prescription and told him not to come back to the hospital. And off the man went out of the hospital with a relieved mind.

The world of the emergency medicine as experienced by the ER doctor himself was a variety of fragmented views of human frailty, both physically and mentally, but it was also the world of the most human medical practice where compassion, kindness, and charity were witnessed to the hopeful eyes and shared by the staff and the doctors in the name of humanity.

Strange Tales of the Sea by Jack Strange

Strange Tales of the SeaStrange Tales of the Sea by Jack Strange

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The sea is a mystery to wonder; one never knows when the placid sea will turn into a tempest of mad waves with gale force wind. The sea also brings with its spectral vessels manned by phantom crew and its uncanny creatures, all of which still exist in folktales, legends, and even some nautical documents. This book by Jack Strange consists of these tales of the sea he has gleaned from exhaustive research on such wondrous topics that are all the more entertaining and stimulating.

As someone who is very keen on the tales of haunted ships and their phantom crew, I was immediately drawn to the chapters of the haunted ghosts and the ill-fated vessels that had been cursed to sail on until the end of the world. Take the case of the American Joshua Slocum, the first man who sailed around the world by himself on Spray in the 19th century. While he was struggling to fight with all his might against the furious tempest and high waves on Spray, he was helped by a spectral crew who introduced himself as a member of Pinta, one of the ships commanded by Christopher Columbus in expedition to the New World. After Spray got back on the track, then the benevolent ghost vanished into the air with a smile.

Ghost vessels always pique people’s curiosity, such as Griffon & Edmund Fitzgerald haunting the Great Lakes between Canada and the U.S, not to mention the infamous “Flying Dutchman” and “Lady Lovibond ,” born of the death of jilted lovers. One might say that all these phantom ships are result of optical illusion, which is a reasonable speculation. However, the case of U-65, the Imperial German Navy submarine of the First World War is based on official naval documents in which a ghost of German officer on the deck of the submarine standing with his arms folded was frequently recorded both by the British and the U.S. naval forces during the war. I wonder if it was this optical illusion that made all of those soldiers, including the officers of high intellectual capacities and excellent health, spot the ghost German officer.

The book also has a whole chapter devoted to “The Crimp,” a kind of boarding house where unscrupulous masters or mistresses supplied seamen to ships without their pay. Also, there are chapters about mermaids and various sea monsters reported by seamen. Mr. Strange also lets us know that in Scotland, Thursdays were regarded as a lucky day for launching a new ship.

This book by Mr. Strange perks up the reader’s imaginations further to the realm of terra incognita on uncharted seas where mermaids are swimming merrily and the Octavious, the ghost ship with her frozen icy crew is adrift off the Western coast of Greenland. It bestows pleasure of being familiar with the peculiarities of the sea without scaring the reader with mind-boggling horrors or preposterous hyperbole of the absurdities. Hence, a heartfelt kudos to Mr. Strange’s extensive research of the maritime tales made possible by his passion for all things unique and strange -as it is by his name and nature.