Friday, May 31, 2019

Saturday, May 25, 2019


Santa Barbara News-Press
Front Page

From the time he was a little boy, in the 1920s, he collected postage stamps.

And when he grew older and went off to war, along with most others of his generation, he continued to collect stamps wherever in the world he happened to be, and mailed them home to his parents and sister for adding to his collection.

My uncle’s other passion was flying.

On the night of 29 February 1944, at the tender age of 21, my uncle flew a B-24 Liberator on a mission over Burma.

His plane got hit by anti-aircraft fire.

My uncle ordered the crew to bail out, and most of them did, sailing by parachute to the ground. They were captured by Japanese soldiers and held as POWs for the duration of World War II.

Because two of his crewmen were wounded, Flight Lieutenant Edward James Douglas Stanley chose to stay at the controls of his plane, hoping to crash-land them to safety.

But the plane disappeared and was believed to have crashed near Rangoon.

My mother was only eighteen when her brother was reported missing in action.  Every week she wrote letters to The War Office and the Royal Air Force begging for information.      

They never answered her, and she resolved that none of her three sons would ever go to war if she had anything to say about it.

Refusing to give up hope, my grandmother kept my uncle’s possessions—including the skin of a python that he discovered slithering inside his tent when based in India—lest her son return.   

In the mid-1990s, a decade after my grandmother died, someone who had extensively researched my uncle’s doomed flight, contacted me.  He primarily wanted to know what had become of my uncle’s family but also wanted to share his findings, which, while detailed, did not pinpoint the remains of my missing uncle though confirmed that he had most certainly perished.

What this fellow really wanted most, he told me after we became acquainted, was to organize a memorial service at St. Clement Danes, the RAF church. I assisted with both moral and financial support and the result was a poignant Service of Celebration and Thanksgiving attended by my mother (and father), for whom, after more than half-a-century, it was a kind of closure.         

Later that day, my mother gifted me with her brother’s stamp collection.
Three years ago, I visited London as part of a mystical journey I’ve been on and I asked a muse who guided me during part of that trip to take me on an adventure by subway, ideally to some part of the British capital I’d never been before.
At Green Park tube station, our starting point, she led me to an eastbound platform, onto a train, off a train, onto another, and joked about going to the end of the line and getting lost in Epping Forest, which would have been fine by me.

But that’s not what happened.

She chose for us to alight at Chancery Lane—not two hundred yards from St. Clement Danes, the RAF church—and ascend to Lincoln’s Inn, where the law was born six centuries ago.

Two symbols (messages from the universe) immediately caught my attention: A prominent old clock set into bricks and mortar (now’s the time, it said to me) and a prominent weathervane (follow the wind), and soon—at the muse’s invitation—I was inside the round Temple Church, a place of worship built in 1195 by the Knights Templar, a medieval order created to protect Christian pilgrims and which also invented the West’s first banking system.

Prominently engraved upon Temple Church’s marble floor: 

Climbing the spiral stairs to an upper gallery I noticed they were decorated with ornate tiles depicting Pegasus, the mythical winged “horse of muses” that symbolizes the harnessing of magic in the material world.  

And then, outside Temple Church, this mythical horse was everywhere around us:  a bar relief on a wall, a medallion on a gate, a metal sculpture, even a café called Pegasus—the running theme of a neighborhood chosen by the muse.

Pegasus was the “nose-art” nickname of the B-24 Liberator my uncle flew.

My mother also gave me my uncle’s python skin, which I took to a master bookbinder for crafting into journals I’ve been saving for the cross-country road trip I’ve forever intended to take.

Snakes, because they shed and grow a new skin, symbolize renewal.

Renewal is what happens after wars end, the dead are counted, and people try to move forward with their lives, as painful as that may be if a loved one has been lost.

My muse walked me to the Golden Jubilee Bridge.

“I’m leaving you now,” she said.  “Cross the bridge.” 

And I did, leaving me to muse about the symbolism of bridges: progress, unity—and a spiritual “crossing over” to the other side.

And so, on this Memorial Day, I’m thinking of the uncle I never met, and saying a prayer for those who, in the service of their country, crossed over so that others could renew their lives in freedom.

(Adapted from a nonfiction book-in-progess.)

Wednesday, May 15, 2019


Today is the Feast Day of St. Dymphna, patron saint of lunatics.

She was born in Ireland, very early in the seventh century, the daughter of a pagan king named Damon and a mother who converted to Christianity to ensure Dymphna would be educated by a priest named Gerebern.

Dymphna's beautiful mother met a sudden, young death.

Her father, inconsolable in the aftermath, fell into a deep and very dark depression.

Damon's courtiers worried that their king's mental health would further deteriorate unless he found a new bride, and they urged him to do so.

Thus, Damon dispatched envoys throughout Ireland to find a woman as beautiful as the wife he'd lost.

When they returned without a new woman, a deranged notion struck the king.

My daughter, Dymphna, looks almost identical to her mother...

Dymphna was horrified by her fathers proposal. 

Each time she refused his advances, the kings rage grew worse.  

Gerebern, the priest, was also perplexed by this situation, and he plotted an escape.

With assistance from the court jester, Dymphna and Gerebern crossed the English Channel by boat and sailed up the River Schelde to Antwerp in what is now Belgium.

Feeling unsafe near a waterway, they made their way inland to Zammel, a small settlement of about fifteen houses, six miles from what would later become Gheel.

When King Damon realized his daughter and the pesky priest had duped him and fled, he went nuts.  (Also, he no longer had a court jester to help him see the humor in this.)

With a small army of warriors in three boats, Damon set sail in search of Dymphna.  

How did he know where to go?  

For two months Damon followed the money.  

Dymphna and Gerebern recklessly left a trail of their native coins as payment for services rendered en route to a new life abroad.  

The final tip came from a woman at an inn called The Kettle, in a village called Westerlo.  She pointed out the direction Dymphna had taken. (Legend suggests arthritis cut in immediately; the woman’s arm remained rigidly outstretched the rest of her life.)

When Dymphna and Gerebern learned the king and his warriors were near, they fled Zammel.  

But not fast enough.  

The king caught up with them six miles away.

Blaming the couples misadventure on Gerebern, Damon slew the priest without further ado (no trial necessary).  

Then he asked his daughter one last time:  “Will you marry me?”

Dymphna declined.                                                     

Damon commanded his warriors to execute his daughter.  

Not one stepped forward. 

So the crazed king raised his mighty sword and severed Dymphnas head with one blow. 

(No one knows what happened to the court jester.)  

Adding insult to murder and mayhem, Damon and his warriors left the scene without bothering to bury their victims.

Zammels citizens were greatly distressed by the carnage they found at the scene.  

They interred Dymphna and Gerebern at the very spot they were slain.

Word of what happened that tragic day in 621 A.D. traveled around Europe.  

Within a few hundred years (word traveled slow back then), the burial site became a shrine for mentally disordered pilgrims.  

They discovered that if they prayed at Dymphna’s burial site, to her relics (bones), their mental illnesses gave way to sanity. 

(It sure beat an Abilify/Zoloft cocktail.)  

After notching up a few such miracles, Dymphna qualified for sainthood

A whole town grew up around it.  

The town of Gheel.

Gheel evolved into a thriving, open-air loony bin.

Belgium's mentally-disordered and sanity-challenged citizens are fostered into local families as part of a program called Family Care System of Mental Patients, and is considered to be the world's most humane way of looking after the insane.

Dymphna Church, Gheel
Thomas Van Stein

Saturday, May 11, 2019


Reiner Edmund Schmegner

This was Reiner Schmegner's admission during a recent copyright infringement case (which he lost): 

"TC Reiner" did not file any tax returns during the years 2004-2015.

Public Record

Of course, "TC Reiner" did not file tax returns.

"TC Reiner" cannot file tax returns because he's not a real person!

What really went down in that court case is this: 

Schmegner willfully deceived the court and concealed his true identity to evade the Discovery process!

Consequently, this question begs to be asked: 

Has "TC Reiner" filed tax returns under his real name, Reiner Edmund Schmegner?

And, if so, has Schmegner reported income paid to "TC Reiner"?

If not, it may partly explain why Schmegner has attempted, for a couple decades, to hide behind a fictitious name.

We do know that Schmegner had serious issues with the IRS during the period before he began using the fictitious name "TC Reiner."

Liens & Judgments
Filing Number: 9165261
Filing Type: Federal Tax Releases
Date: 11 October 1991
Release Date: 8 May 1996
Court: 1033000
Filing Office: Massachusetts Central Filing
Filing Address: US District Court, Boston, MA 02210 (Suffolk)

Debtor Name: Reiner E. Schmegner
Debtor Type: Consumer
Debtor Amount: $24,289
Debtor Address: 556 S. Main Street, Centerville, MA 02632

Perhaps the IRS (and California State tax authorities) will become interested in Schmegner and/or his earnings as "TC Reiner."

Tax issues aside, any lawsuit that "TC Reiner" initiates against anyone over an alleged business arrangement can and should be challenged on these grounds:

a) It is improper t0 file a lawsuit under an unregistered fictitious name.

Schmegner has done this habitually as "TC Reiner," defrauding courts and defendants around the country.

Pop "TC Reiner lawsuits" into a search engine and see for yourself.

b) It is improper to conduct business under an unregistered fictitious name.

Schmegner does this habitually.

And if a Schmegner-initiated lawsuit concerns an alleged copyright infringement...

c) It is improper to claim copyright under a pseudonym unless it is registered as such.

Public Record
Improper copyright registration
(The pseudonym box is not ticked)

Hopefully, our posts will prevent this serial suer and proven deceiver from perpetuating his proclivity for shakedowns and litigation, fraud and deceit.

More important, now that this information is in the public domain it may deter innocents from wandering into this Schmeg's schticky web of chicanery.

Click these links for further info...  

(Or just click the Scoundrel label below.)

Friday, May 10, 2019



What my old stomping grounds (La Cienega & Beverly) in toddler-hood have become.

Beverly Park, otherwise known as Kiddieland and Ponyland, was replaced by Beverly Center, which could easily win grand prize for ugliest shopping center ever built.