Musketeer Mania


“One for all and all for one.”
Musketeer Motto


As a child I was captivated by the French writer Alexandre Dumas 1844 novel, The Three Musketeers. Dumas was the Stan Lee of his time, creating the first youthful super heroes, Aramis, Porthos, Athos, and their protege D’Artagnan. The only difference is, Musketeers actually did exist and Dumas based his characters on some of the most famous of Musketeers.

Anything I could find to read or watch about the Musketeers was on my radar. Mostly because they were excellent equestrians and fencers, two of my favorite combinations, and all Musketeer entertainment had plenty of those two activities. 

My late great uncle was an Olympic fencer. I never had the honor of meeting him, but I like to imagine his passion and talent for fencing was passed on to me. I was fortunate to attend a high school that offered beginning fencing, and this was my first hands-on introduction to this 14th century sport. It’s amazing how much fencing requires a great deal of  mental and physical stamina, balance and fast reflexes. I took to this sport quickly, learning all the common moves and French words for them such as, Advance Lunge, Assault, Extension, Flick, Touché and the most famous En-garde.

Most are introduced to fencing through Hollywood movies. There have been numerous movies about the Musketeers dating as far back as the 1921 silent film adaptation starring Douglas Fairbanks. The first movie I remember watching about the Musketeers was on TV in the 1960s, and was the 1948 movie with Gene Kelly. It’s still one of my favorites because it not only had fencing and horses, but as an extra bonus it had Gene Kelly performing ballet type moves while fencing.

In the 1970s the studios came out with a Raquel Welch and Michael York Musketeer version, which wasn’t one of my favorites. As a little trivia note, this movie was originally proposed in the 1960s as a vehicle for The Beatles. 

Disney released their Musketeer movie adaptation in 1993 starring Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, Oliver Platt and Chris O’Donnell. This became my favorite version of all time, until now.

A few weeks back, I discovered on Amazon Prime a 2014 BBC Musketeer series. This exceptional rendition of the swashbuckling Musketeers is now one of my top go to TV series. The acting, costumes, romantic locations, storylines and cinematography is awe inspiring. If you’re looking for some great entertainment to fill your evenings, I highly recommend this series. It certainly is fulfilling my Musketeer mania.

Shine On 

Looks Can Be Deceiving

“It’s not what you look at, it’s what you see.”
Henry David Thoreau


On my daily walks along the Esplanade there’s a house that has a fairy garden with tiny figurines. One of the figurines has one of Henry David Thoreau’s famous quotes, “It’s not what you look at, it’s what you see.” This quote points out the difference between the senses and perception.

Our senses give us information and facts but does not always allow us to perceive or experience the item our eyes see. For example, I might see a tree as a plant with stem, and branches and leaves. But, what I might perceive is a natural beauty that represents thousands of years of evolution or the hand of a higher power at work. I might look at a painting and view a canvas with brightly painted colors and brush strokes. But, what I see is a mastery of beauty, passion or a story that touches my mind and my heart.

I think what Thoreau was telling us was to not only view the world around us from a sensory input means, but more importantly to see beyond the shapes, colors, and lighting to the inner meaning and beauty contained in the world around us. Thoreau wants us to understand that it is often the unseen or the perceived that is far more important than the seen or input from our eyes. We should take in the world around us with our mind’s eye rather than just our physical eye.

Our awareness of the objects around us is informed and fine-tuned by any number of factors—our strength and energy levels, our sense of confidence, our fears and desires. Being human means seeing the world through your own constantly shifting lens because as we all know, looks can be deceiving. 

Shine On

Funny at Any Age

“Keeping an active mind
has been vital to my survival,
as has been maintaining
a sense of humor.”
Stephen Hawking

I’ve always been a sucker for anyone with a sense of humor.

I grew up watching the Three Stooges, Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, W. C. Fields, Judy Holiday, Abbott and Costello, Danny Kaye, Red Skelton, I Love Lucy, Looney Tunes, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Burns and Allen, Jack Benny, and Martin and Lewis.

In my teens I was a huge fan of sitcoms, musical comedies, and comedians such as Steve Martin, David Steinberg, Jonathan Winters, Robin Williams, The Smothers Brothers, Carol Burnett, Flip Wilson, Dick Cavett, Don Rickles, Robert Klein, Albert Brooks, Dudley Moore, Soupy Sales, Steve Allen, Rich Little, Johnny Carson, and Woody Allan just to mention a few.

In my 20’s through my 50’s the comedians and the type of humor I’m drawn to are not much different from the one’s I enjoyed in my youth. Some of my favorites are thankfully still alive today.

I still enjoy a good joke, a great sitcom and a romantic comedy. There are a lot of great comedians around today. My taste in humor hasn’t changed much over the years. Funny is funny at any age.

Shine On

Good Writings to Read


“I find television very educating.
Every time somebody turns on the set,
I go into the other room and read a book.”
 Groucho Marx


This year I decided that I spend too much time in front of the television, so I finally cut the cord. Not that I don’t enjoy watching all my favorite shows, but most of these shows I can watch on other noncable outlets. For example, my library has watching apps such as Hoopla, Kanopy and Pluto TV, all free if you have a library card.

Last year I promised myself that I would read a book a week. I came very close to that goal and missed it by only three books. Actually, I would have exceeded my goal if I had not watched so much television.

Most of the books I read last year were from my public library. This library is a beautiful old Spanish style building from the 1920s, situated on exquisite grounds with peacocks wandering throughout the property. I love visiting this library because of its picturesque setting and because it is rarely busy. I’m always able to get whatever books I want to read without having to wait weeks or days, even during a pandemic.

My favorite way to read is using my iPad for its ease of reading. If I want to read a magazine, my library has them for free using the app, Flipster. However, most of the books I read are downloaded to my iPad from the library using the app, OverDrive.

Whichever means of reading magazines and books I choose this coming year, I will have my plate full of good writings to read.

Shine On

Right and Wrong


“All mine!” Yertle cried.
“Oh, the things I now rule!
I’m the king of a cow!
And I’m the king of a mule!
I’m the king of a house!
And, what’s more, beyond that.
I’m the king of a blueberry bush and a cat!
I’m Yertle the Turtle!
Oh, marvelous me!
For I am the ruler of all that I see!”
Yertle the Turtle



If you follow my blog, you know I’m a fan of Dr. Seuss. His stories are not only entertaining but also teach morality.

Recently I read a thesis on Dr. Seuss written by a young woman. She wrote about how Dr. Seuss stories always have a political theme and because of this, his stories are not suitable to read to young children. She believes that young children are not smart enough to understand these political themes.

This young college student obviously does not have children. Unfortunately, because I don’t know how to contact this woman, I am unable to tell her how wrong she is.

When my son was very young I would read to him Yertle the Turtle, his favorite bedtime story. Before he could walk, he would crawl over to his bookcase in his room and drag this large green book to me. With little talking he could do, he would ask me to read this story. Up until he was two or three years of age, I must have read this book to my son well over 100s of times.

Yertle the Turtle made such an impact on my son, that I believe his values, his political beliefs and his compassion for the difference between right and wrong are due to this simple story, Yertle the Turtle.

If you are a young parent, and you wish to teach your child about standing up for their self, about compassion for every living thing, bullying, and yes a little about politics and power, then you should be reading this book to your child.

Yertle the Turtle and all of Dr. Seuss books are not just entertaining to read out loud, but they are a great way to teach our children the difference between right and wrong.

Shine On