The doppelgänger, Book 2: Whisper Catcher Series

book two - the whisper catcher

Definition of doppelgänger by Merriam

  1. a ghostly counterpart of a living person

  2.  alter ego: a person who has the same name as another

So, what’s in a name, what’s in a name

According to age-old German folklore, all living creatures have a spirit double who is invisible but identical to the living individual. These second selves are perceived as being distinct from ghosts (which appear only after death), and sometimes they are described as the spiritual opposite or negative of their human counterparts. In 1796, German writer Johann Paul Richter, who wrote under the pseudonym Jean Paul, coined the word Doppelgänger (from doppel-, meaning “double,” and -gänger, meaning “goer”) to refer to such specters.

Sea ice collapsing and arctic ice cap disappearing, our world is changing fast

“We are living in the climate of the past but already we have determined the climates future…” Elizabeth Kolbert

global sea ice is still decreasing
global sea ice 2013, rapidly decreasing every day

Sea ice increases in Antarctica do not make up for the accelerated Arctic sea ice loss of the last decades, a new NASA study finds. As a whole, the planet has been shedding sea ice at an average annual rate of 13,500 square miles (35,000 square kilometers) since 1979, the equivalent of losing an area of sea ice larger than the state of Maryland every year.

“Even though Antarctic sea ice reached a new record maximum this past September, global sea ice is still decreasing,” said Claire Parkinson, author of the study and climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “That’s because the decreases in Arctic sea ice far exceed the increases in Antarctic sea ice.”


Elizabeth Kolbert: We have locked in centuries of climate change, The Ezra Klein show

Tomb Sweeping Day, Qingming Jie 清明节

Qingming Jie 清明节
Tomb Sweeping Day, Qingming Jie 清明节

Qingming is an opportunity to remember and honor ancestors at grave sites. Young and old pray before the ancestors, sweep the tombs and offer food, tea, wine, chopsticks, joss paper, and/or libations to the ancestors. The rites have a long tradition in Asia, especially among farmers. Some people carry willow branches with them on Qingming or put willow branches on their gates and/or front doors. They believe that willow branches help ward off the evil spirit that wanders on Qingming.

On Qingming, people go on family outings, start the spring plowing, sing, and dance. Qingming is also a time when young couples traditionally start courting. Another popular thing to do is to fly kites in the shapes of animals or characters from Chinese Opera.

Tomb-Sweeping Day is a traditional Chinese festival on the first day of the fifth solar term of the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar. This makes it the 15th day after the Spring Equinox, either 4 or 5 April in a given year

The present importance of the holiday is credited to the Emperor Xuanzong. Wealthy citizens in China were reportedly holding too many extravagant and ostentatiously expensive ceremonies in honor of their ancestors. In ad 732, Emperor Xuanzong sought to curb this practice by declaring that such respects could be formally paid only once a year, on Qingming.

The Qingming festival holiday has a significance in the Chinese tea culture since this specific day divides the fresh green teas by their picking dates. Green teas made from leaves picked before this date are given the prestigious ‘pre-qingming’ 清明前 designation which commands a much higher price tag. These teas are prized for having much lighter and more subtle aromas than those picked after the festival.

Source: wiki + Whisper Catcher, new release USA

First review @whispercatcher, The Whisper Catcher,

“This is a stunning story. Fast paced, exotic, fulfilling. From the streets of San Francisco to Sydney harbor, what a read! Can’t wait to see the film adaptation, Game of Thrones? Harry Potter? When is the next in the series available”

The Whisper Catcher is on sale in the USA

Movie star poise: Whisper Catcher author, Andy Rice

Author, Andy Rice and Dashiell, The Hungarian Puli

Last week, our real life hero, author, Andy Rice joined family and friends for an intimate book signing at Grand Days in Woolloomooloo, Sydney. The book? The first in a series of five signed by publisher, New Australian Writers, titled The Whisper Catcher.

To kick off proceedings, Andy was introduced by his wife; the gorgeous Kate Blakk, “I’m so proud of him. This project has taken years and a lot of heart.” And then with pride Kate added, “I really liked reading the book… because Andy is such a visual thinker, the story comes alive with pictures in your minds eye, just as if in a movie.”

Then it was Andy’s turn to speak.

He first thanked the traditional owners in ‘Welcome to Country’ talking about his motivation for writing historical fiction; to highlight Australia’s indigenous dreamtime storytellers and their stories. Andy said, “so often in Australia, we talk about the plight of our contemporary indigenous people.” Andy went on to explain,”It seems to me we forget to talk about the dreamtime: I see it in Technicolor VR wonder.”

He then read the first chapter of The Whisper Catcher which concluded in a warm applause. (And a bark of agreement from the Rice’s Hungarian Puli, Dashiell Hendricks.)

Later, over drinks, Andy owned up to some nerves, “I was genuinely nervous, being in front of the people I care so much about. They are like one big family to me. Now the first book in the series is printed, it feels a bit like I’ve invited other people into our family. Naturally, I want my real life daughter and wife to like The Whisper Catcher characters as much as I do.”

Rice laughed, “after all, amongst other things, they have to put up with me tripping around early in the morning to get to my keyboard.”

Andy concluded ambitiously, “Following, tonights signing at Grand Days, it (the book) suddenly felt very real… almost as if Alicia McCann, The Whisper Catcher and The Thief have come to life. I can almost see them walking with me as if I was in a Hollywood movie…”

Words by Francis

Dates for the Melbourne and Adelaide launch of The Whisper Catcher are still to be announced.
Pre-launch sales are available direct from the publisher at New Australian Writers.

On behalf of Andy and his family, thanks to our very good friends at Grand Days. You really are the best.
Also, thanks to Five O'Clock Somewhere for getting your wonderful McLaren Vale wine to us.

Dashiell, the Hungarian Puli, posts on instagram @Dashiell_Hendricks


Japanese teacher uses his blackboard as canvas for amazing art

The Whisper Catcher makes it to Goodreads

A storyteller with an adventurer’s yearning, Andy has travelled through 40 countries, scuba dived with sharks in the Pacific, braved the funicular in Santiago and once freed the soul of an American POW from a makeshift grave in the Solomon Islands.


Recommended for a film
Here at last at Goodreads, sex stop the film

How do I psychologically destroy enemies?

a curious question and a curious answer… How do I psychologically destroy enemies? by Jessica Simorangkir

Answer by Jessica Simorangkir:

Bishop Nikolai lived from 1881 to 1956 and served as a bishop in the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Bishop Nikolai’s story is that he was arrested for speaking out against the Nazi’s in World War II and they kept him in the Dachau concentration camp, where he became very sick and frail and was near death when the U.S. forces finally overcame the Nazi’s and liberated Dachau in 1945.

While he was being tortured he prayed, “Bless my enemies, O Lord”

Bless My Enemies, O Lord (Bishop Nikolai’s Prayer)

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them
Enemies have driven me into Your embrace more than friends have
Friends have bound me to earth, enemies have loosed me from earth
and have demolished all my aspirations in the world
Enemies have made me a stranger in worldly realms
and an extraneous inhabitant of the world
Just as a hunted animal finds safer shelter than an unhunted animal does
so have I, persecuted by enemies, found the safest sanctuary
having hidden myself beneath Your tabernacle
where neither friends nor enemies can slay my soul

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them
They, rather than I, have confessed my sins before the world
They have scolded me, whenever I have flattered myself

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them
Whenever I have wanted to lead people, they have shoved me into the background
Whenever I have rushed to enrich myself, they have prevented me with an iron hand
Whenever I have tried to build a home for a long and tranquil life
they have demolished it and driven me out
Truly, enemies have cut me loose from the world
and have stretched out my hands to the hem of Your garment

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them
So that my fleeing to You may have no return
So that all my hope in people may be scattered like cobwebs
So that absolute serenity may begin to reign in my soul
So that my heart may become the grave of my two evil twins: arrogance and anger
So that I might amass all my treasure in heaven
Ah, so that I may for once be freed from self-deception, which has entangled me
in the dreadful web of illusory life
Enemies have taught me to know what hardly anyone knows
that we have no enemies in the world except ourselves

It is truly difficult for me to say who has done me more good
and who has done me more evil in the world: friends or enemies
Therefore bless, O Lord, both my friends and my enemies
Slaves curse their enemies, for they do not understand
But sons and daughters bless them, for they understand
For they know that their enemies cannot touch their life
Therefore they freely step among their enemies, and pray to God for them

How do I psychologically destroy enemies?

The Little Prince – the story of life

The Little Prince
The Little Prince


The Little Prince

The Little Prince (French: Le Petit Prince; French pronunciation: [lə pəti pʁɛ̃s]), first published in 1943, is a novel, the most famous work of the French aristocrat, writer, poet, and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900–1944).

The novel is the fourth most-translated book in the world and was voted the best book of the 20th century in France. Translated into more than 250 languages and dialects (as well as Braille), selling nearly two million copies annually with sales totaling over 140 million copies worldwide,it has become one of the best-selling books ever published.

After the outbreak of the Second World War Saint-Exupéry was exiled to North America. In the midst of personal upheavals and failing health, he produced almost half of the writings for which he would be remembered, including a tender tale of loneliness, friendship, love, and loss, in the form of a young prince fallen to Earth. An earlier memoir by the author had recounted his aviation experiences in the Sahara Desert, and he is thought to have drawn on those same experiences in The Little Prince.

The Panama Canal – life and corruption at the time of construction

Construction of the canal began on January 1, 1881, though digging at Culebra did not begin until January 22, 1881.[1] A huge labor force was assembled; in 1888, this numbered about 40,000 men, nine-tenths of these being afro-Caribbean workers from the West Indies. French engineers were well paid and the prestige of the project attracted the best of France’s engineering schools, but the huge death toll from disease made it difficult to retain them – they either left after short service, or died. The total death toll between 1881 and 1889 was estimated at over 22,000, of which as many of 5000 were French citizens.[2]

Even as early as 1885, it had become clear to many that a sea-level canal was impractical, and that an elevated canal with locks was the best answer; however, de Lesseps was stubborn, and it was not until October 1887 that the lock canal plan was adopted.

By this time, however, the mounting financial, engineering and mortality problems, coupled with frequent floods and mudslides, were making it clear that the project was in serious trouble. Work was pushed forward under the new plan until May 15, 1889, when the company became bankrupt and work was finally suspended. After eight years, the work was about two-fifths completed, and some $234,795,000 had been spent.

The collapse of the company was a major scandal in France, and the role of two Jewish speculators in the affair enabled Edouard Drumont, an anti-semite, to exploit the matter. 104 legislators were found to have been involved in the corruption and Jean Jaurès was commissioned by the French parliament to conduct an inquiry into the matter, completed in 1893.

New French Canal Company
It soon became clear that the only way to salvage anything for the stockholders was to continue the project. A new concession was obtained from Colombia, and in 1894 the Compagnie Nouvelle du Canal de Panama was created to finish the construction. To comply with the terms of the concession, work started immediately on the Culebra excavation—required under any possible plans—while a team of engineers began a comprehensive study of the project. They eventually settled on a plan for a two-level, lock-based canal.

The new effort never really gathered momentum, mainly because of U.S. speculation that a canal through Nicaragua would render a Panama canal useless. The largest number of men employed on the new project was 3,600, in 1896; this minimal workforce was employed primarily to comply with the terms of the concession and to maintain the existing excavation and equipment in saleable condition – the company had already started looking for a buyer, with a price tag of $109,000,000.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Isthmian Canal Commission was established in 1899 to examine the possibilities of a Central American canal and to recommend a route. In November 1901, the commission reported that a U.S. canal should be built through Nicaragua unless the French were willing to sell out at $40,000,000. This recommendation became a law on June 28, 1902, and the New Panama Canal Company was practically forced to sell for that amount or get nothing.[3]

The French achievement
Although the French effort was to a large extent doomed to failure from the beginning – due to the unsolved disease issue, and insufficient appreciation of the engineering difficulties – its work was, nevertheless, not entirely wasted. Between the old and new companies, the French in total excavated 59,747,638 m3 (78,146,960 cu yd) of material, of which 14,255,890 m3 (18,646,000 cu yd) was taken from the Culebra Cut. The old company dredged a channel from Panama Bay to the port at Balboa; and the channel dredged on the Atlantic side, known as the French canal, was found to be useful for bringing in sand and stone for the locks and spillway concrete at Gatún.

The detailed surveys and studies, particularly those carried out by the new canal company, were of great help to the later American effort; and considerable machinery, including railroad equipment and vehicles, were of great help in the early years of the American project.

The French effort lowered the summit of the Culebra Cut along the canal route 5 meters (17 ft), from 64 meters (210 ft) above sea level to 59 metres (193 ft), over a relatively narrow width. In all, it was estimated that 22,713,396 m3 (29,708,000 cu yd) of excavation were of direct use to the Americans, valued at $25,389,240, along with equipment and surveys valued at $17,410,586.