Saturday, January 19, 2019



(This article was published July 23, 2010. I republish this as a tribute to my friend D.K. Valdez.) 

   It had all the makings of a fairy tale.  Once upon a time, not many months ago, two Filipino boys wandered into the town of Pattaya looking for work as a singing duo.  They sang in a few small beer bars and taverns around town but soon were given a contract to sing at Café Royale, one of Thailand’s leading piano bars.  Their job was to develop a regular clientele of nighttime customers, which was not an easy task for the entertainers.  Many tourists come to Pattaya to be entertained but not necessarily by two young boys in a piano bar.

   Soon the news spread about these two handsome, young singers, and the name El Duo became a popular name around town.  They performed well and the audience grew.  The management of Café Royale was pleased with the singing sensation, and soon El Duo was offered an extended contract.

   The two young singers brought with them a level of talent and professionalism that is rarely found in a city the size of Pattaya.  Their singing ability was exceptional, but it was the way they used their talents that put them in a class above other entertainers.  They had developed perfect harmonies and had acquired a timing that, as a singing duo, was faultless.

    The secret to their success was a combination of talent and stage presence.  Their on-stage performance was a delight to see and a pleasure to hear.  They not only had the talent to sing well, they also had the unique ability to make each person in the audience feel important.  Both young and old could relate to their music.  However, they specialized in familiar classic songs that appealed to an adult audience.

   They were gracious performers and were always willing to share the spot light.  Not only could they sing “The Green Grass of Home” and “Unchained Melody,” but they could perform contemporary music for the delight of a younger group.   As an example, minus the glitz and glitter, they could perform Lady GAGA’s “Better Man,” as well as the lady herself.

   Then one day a stranger came to town.  He was riding in a big, black, limousine, wearing an expensive pinstripe suit, and smoking a big cigar.  He causally wandered into Café Royale for a night cap and was impressed by the performance of El Duo.  He happened to be the right man, and El Duo happened to be in the right place at the right time.  Soon all of Pattaya knew that the singing sensation of El Duo had been offered a big contract for a European Tour.

   The management of Café Royale rightfully decided to promote a going-away party to celebrate El Duo’s upcoming tour.  The boys performed to a sold out, standing room only crowd.  There were other entertainers, but the night belonged to El Duo. 

   During a break between sets, many of the regulars took the opportunity to speak personally to Richard and DK. They offered congratulations and best wishes for the tour and hoped that Pattaya had been as good for El Duo as El Duo has been for Pattaya.

   It was no surprise that their last set was a five-star performance.   With maturity and intelligence, they used the occasion to speak to their audience with musical lyrics.  It was no accident that DK and Richard chose the songs whose messages said, “When you walk through a storm hold your head up high” and “If birds can fly over a rainbow, then why can’t I,” both as a tribute to an audience that had supported them well.

    Even though they were excited about their tour, there was a bit of sadness in their voices as they sang the last two songs.  They chose “I Can’t Live If Living Is Without You.” Then, for the last song of the evening, they sang the blockbuster hit from the 1997 movie Titanic, Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” Richard and DK will go on, and soon the world will come to recognize the talents of these two outstanding young men.

   Make no mistake about it, El Duo will return to Pattaya.  Their families are in the Philippines, but their hearts are in are Pattaya.

   (EL DUO did return and performed to the delight of their many fans. It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of my friend D.K. Valdez.  Make no mistake about it, DK, your heart will go on.)     


Thursday, January 17, 2019



The Mueller Report is coming and it is the biggest hurricane, the biggest tornado, and the biggest tsunami, that any government has ever witnessed. No time in history has the world-wide communication system been more geared to expose the truth about governmental corruption than now?   The Mueller Report will be so devastating that Mueller may refuse to expose it fully however, sooner or later the full report will be exposed.  The lies, deceit, and corruption, must be exposed if American democracy has any future.

The Mueller Report will shake America’s political system to its core. This report will show that the corruption of the Donald Trump administration is much greater than anyone thought. It will prove that   his corruption has reached into all sections of American society. It will be a disturbing report that will show that lies and corruption have reached into the inner circles of the US Congress and Senate. It will be a damaging report that will show the amount of corruption that surrounds all the members of Donald Trump’s cabinet.

The Mueller Report, if fully exposed, will show that corruption has reached into America’s judicial system all the way to the US Supreme Court.

If the report is fully released it will be earth shattering concerning the depth of deception of the man named Donald J. Trump. It will prove once and for all that Donald Trump is one of, if not the greatest, con artist the world has ever known.  This report will show what the power of money has done to corrupt America’s capitalistic system and no part of America’s society will be exempt from full exposure. It will show how corruption has reached into the financial and the religious sectors of American society.

Of course, the Donald Trump supporters will deny the report, and that is to be expected. To the followers of a cult, the cult leader can do no wrong no matter what he does. The major problem in all of this goes much deeper than just the exposure of the corruption, but the failure of his followers to recognize the corruption is a psychological impairment, that if not corrected, will affect America’s future.  

Friday, January 11, 2019



     It is difficult to change a mindset that is deeply rooted in tradition. It is challenging to change a mental tradition in the belief that skin color produces superiority.  It is hard to change a religious tradition to prove that there is more to religious freedom that freedom to be a Christian. It is tough to change a social tradition in which heterosexuals think they are better than homosexuals.

     In Southeast Asia children are taught to respect age because they know that with age comes wisdom. “I know a thing or two because I have seen a thing or two,” a quotation from a TV advertisement. This is not to say that I think I am some kind of a genius or that that I have some prophetic knowledge of the future.  But I can spot a con artist when I see one, and I can recognize a liar when I hear one. I know that Donald Trump is both a con artist and a liar.

      I also know that Donald Trump and his followers are capable of destroying America’s democratic process of government. I know that Donald Trump’s heroes are authoritative rulers because I have heard from his own lips that he admires and desires to be one.  I know that Donald Trump becomes angry when his opinions and actions are questioned, and I know that these are not the traits of a good leader.

     Donald Trump controls about one third of Americans and that is a   solid base that probably will not change.  Regardless of what happens to Trump, the world will exist, and historians will continue to write. History will not be kind to Trump; neither will it be kind to Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and all of the Donald Trump enablers.

     It disturbs me when I know that some of my friends and relatives are making a big mistake. And when that mistake is so big that it could destroy a complete democratic government, I should become outspoken and greatly concerned.

    However, in attempting to change mindsets I have learned some valuable lessons. I have learned that the use of anger has absolutely no affect in changing an attitude or an opinion. I have learned that condemnation of a conviction will never change a way of thinking. To condemn a person for his or her beliefs merely secures the mental attitude within that individual. The attempt to try and shame a person for a certain belief is a worthless attempt in changing any philosophy. I have also learned that using intellectual superiority accomplishes nothing. To belittle a person by telling them they are dumb or stupid or uneducated, only strengthens the psyche of a mindset.

     Yet, on the other hand, I have learned that supporters of a certain belief or who support a certain political individual will ignore facts in order to continue support. The political division that separates American families is now so great that it may never be unified.
    The tragedy that surrounds all this is the children. It is a terrible mistake to teach a child to be prejudice.  Prejudice places a burden that will affect a child for an entire life.  It will affect happiness and prevent   children from reaching their full potential. The best thing any parent can do for a child is to teach acceptance and tolerance. Accept diversity and be a part of the global society and happiness and success will follow the child throughout all the days of his life.
    America’s democratic process is being tested greater now than any time since the Civil War.  However, there are signs that are pointing towards a victory for democracy. The 2019 House of Representatives is   more diverse than anytime in US history. It is important that voters make sure the Members of the House do what they were elected to do, and that is to serve the American people. If that happens, America will shine like it has never shone before. That shining will reach into the Senate of 2020 and on into the Executive Branch. It is important that the American lighthouse of democracy continues to bring hope to the millions of people around the globe who strive for a better form of government.      

Sunday, January 6, 2019



Even the best baseball player will have to play in the minor leagues before he gets into the majors. Then he may strike out several times before he hits a home run.

The same is true for a writer. I have been writing for several years and have written numerous articles for English language newspapers and magazines. I have written and published over 100 op.ed’s; numerous short stories and several novels.

I have struck out several times and been thrown out at first many times. However, I have hit a few singles and maybe a couple of doubles, but I have never hit a home run.  In the WRITER’S GAME OF LIFE, for me it is the bottom of the ninth, and my team is one run behind. There are two outs and there is a runner on second.  I am at bat, and the count is three balls and two strikes.


Wednesday, January 2, 2019



There are many forms of slavery and all of them are bad. But one of the worse is a mental slave trapped inside the walls of a society pinned with regressive, cultural traits. As much as I loved grandma, I do not want to return to the days were the only form of communication was the battery operated, big, brown, box, and if we were lucky, and if the weather conditions were just right, we might be able to tune in to the Grand Ole Opry from Nashville, Tennessee.

There were only two books in the entire house and they were the Bible and the Sears and Roebuck catalogue.  Sears was the retail giant, but the retail giant learned, if you don’t play ball in the game of progress, you will be left out in the cold.

It must have been misery with a capital M to be a bedridden, senior citizen in an environment where there were no cooling devises, or to be confined to a sickbed without any form of entertainment. Every time I sit back in my easy chair and pick up the remote and enjoy a hundred channels on my smart TV; I say, hooray for progress. Growing old may not be the best thing in the world, but progress has made it better.

You can build all the walls you want until America is completely behind a wall of confinement, and all you will have done is destroy America.  You will never stop the progressive, universal, globalization of the planet earth. Modernization has made the earth a global society and modernization is progress.

America is faced with a much greater turbulent than just the weather. A once divided house was put back together by a man named Abraham Lincoln. But today, that house is divided again, as much as, or even more than, the days of the Civil War.

It is depressing to see an America where husband stands against wife, or father against son, or brother against brother. A worse scenario is when a child has to turn against parents. A parent should be very careful of the example set before children. Children are the first to recognize dishonesty in adults. However, in most cases, children will join with parents in acts of dishonesty rather than challenging them. There is no worse situation in parenting than teaching a child to be dishonest.
 Nevertheless, for sanity sake, I have arrived at a conclusion. I might be able to understand some adults being brainwashed by a genius, but I will never be able to understand any adult being brainwashed by a low-level fool.