Category Archives: INSIDE THE BOOK

Inside the book, Vermeer: Portraits of A Lifetime. Analysis of all the paintings of Johannes Vermeer. The book reveals for the first time that the women featured in the paintings of Johannes Vermeer were members of his own family, his daughters, his wife and mother-in-law, Maria Thins.


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(Excerpt from the book 1,001 THINGS TO DO WHILE YOU’RE DEAD: A Dead Person’s Guide To Living )


If you finally change your  mind and decide to go back to being a baby again, your best chances of getting a new baby body are at a maternity ward. Find a hospital building. Locate the newborn baby section. You may have to wait for a body that is not already occupied, or one that isn’t quite ready to hatch yet. This could take a while.

Or, you may be able to get one sooner by fighting off all the other disembodies beings who are hanging around the hospital trying to get a body for themselves. Why do you think babies cry and sleep so some much when they’re born? They had to kick a lot of disembodied asses to get a body. That’s why they are usually tired and cranky and have bruises, messy hair and blotchy skin!



Theoretically, you can go back to Earth and inhabit the body of a human being. And, just as theoretically, you can go back to Earth an inhabit the body of a different kind of life form. This could be an interesting interlude.

Many small animals don’t live a long time, like rats and small birds. So, you might enjoy a short excursion as a creature of some kind. There are millions of species to choose from on land, in the air and in the oceans.

For convenience, here is a list of the Top 10 longest lived animals: rabbits – 28 years, bird-eating spiders – 28 years, dog – 29 years, cats – 38 years, goldfish – 43 years, horses – 62 years, birds – 60 to 118 years, elephants – 86 years, Koi fish – 226 years, Tortoise – 255 years!

If you decide to inhabit the body of a different life form you might want to consider their life style and eating habits before you choose.

For example, cats eat rats and mice. That could take some getting used to…. Some birds eat seeds, raw fish, frogs, bugs, garbage and road kill.

Silverback gorillas eat vegetation and they are strong enough to tear a man’s arms and legs off easily. Whales eat plankton, krill, squid, octopus and jellyfish. Dolphins are a fun species. They eat whole, raw fish – guts and all.

Anyway, there are a lot of options. Of course, human beings have been known to eat just about everything under the sun – including ALL of the items AND the animals listed above.”

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1001 Things to Do While You're Dead | [Lawrence Spencer]
AUDIOBOOK —  (UNABRIDGED) by Lawrence Spencer,  Narrated by Kendra Hoffman


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“An early description of the way contemporary culture is now full of re-creations and themed environments was provided by Umberto Eco.  In a brilliant essay, Eco saw that we create these realistic fabrications in an effort to come up with something that is better than real — a description that is true of virtually all fiction and culture, which gives us things that are more exciting, more beautiful, more inspiring, more terrifying, and generally more interesting than what we encounter in everyday life. In his description of Disney, Eco also saw that behind the facades lurks a sales pitch. Put these ideas together and you have a succinct characterization of the age, which is forever offering us something that seems better than real in order to sell us something.”  — Umberto Eco (born 5 January 1932 — ) is an Italian semiotician, essayist, philosopher, literary critic, and novelist.


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“I have observed that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside”, gentlemen.

“I do not see what you are getting at, Holmes”, said Watson. Mr. Dodgson looked up with equal, but silent, agreement.

“On the contrary, Watson, you can see everything. You fail, however, to reason from what you see. You are too timid in drawing your inferences”, I said, taking a seat in my armchair, and inviting our guest to take a cigar from the box I offered.

“However, before we digress, let me allude to the discussion that Mr. Dodgson and I had when I visited him in is quarters.  He himself mentioned several methods of investigation which he has studied in the alchemical works of Sir Isaac Newton, and in his own mathematical application of portmanteau poetry to the development of mathematical thinking.

“Circumstantial evidence is a very tricky thing.  It may seem to point very straight to one thing, but if you shift your own point of view a little, you may find it pointing in an equally uncompromising manner to something entirely different”, I said while crossing over to the sideboard.

I picked up the manuscript that Mr. Dodgson had given me when I visited him entitled, Alice’s Golden Hour. While flipping through the pages to find a particular passage, I asked Mr. Dodgson a question about his work.

“Might I inquire as to the origin of one of the fictional characters whom Alice meets in Wonderland — The Cheshire Cat?”

“Frankly, I believe the idea came to me from an old expression I learned as a child”, replied Mr. Dodgson after momentarily pondering the question. “I believe it to be derived from a cheese which was sold in Cheshire, near my home. The cheese was molded in the shape of a cat.  The cheese was cut from the tail end first, so that the last part eaten was the head of the smiling cat”.

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“Very well”, I said. “Let us then observe that you have extracted something from the reality of your childhood, and with a liberal application of your creative imagination have used it to conjure an illusion…an alternative to reality, as it were. Is this not so, Mr. Dodgson?”

“Well, yes, I suppose. However, I fail to see what relevance my fictional tales have to our current situation. Certainly you do not suppose that I am to believe that reality can be conjured from a work of fiction?  The notion is absurd!”, he replied.

“I do not ask you, or anyone, to believe anything whatsoever. Belief is a matter of personal opinion or conviction which cannot be shared by anyone else, accept to the degree that they share a similar opinion.  Some  men believe that the world was created by an omnipotent, invisible being in seven days. People in some aboriginal tribes believe that the world is supported on the back of an enormous elephant which stands upon the shell of a colossal tortoise”, I said, finally arriving at the pages I was looking for in the manuscript.

“As for myself, I believe that what is true for you is true for you, although no other person may agree upon your belief. Regardless, a truth for you, may not be true for others. Is that not a fundamentally sound assumption?”, I asked.

“I suppose you are right Mr. Holmes. It is difficult, if not impossible, to stay apace of your ability to remain logical in the face of a situation which is so absurdly enigmatic. You are proposing that the philosophical paradigm of reality should be considered of equal importance with fiction. How can you ever solve a criminal case, your occupation, if every piece of hard evidence could be a contrivance of imagination on the part of the investigator or of the criminal?”, said Mr. Dodgson.

“Quite the contrary”, I said. “But rather than keeping to my methods alone, let me ask you what meaning you attribute to the following passage in your book”, I said, turning to the page which described in the encounter between Alice and the Cheshire Cat.

“Let me read your own words to you.”

“…she was a little startled by seeing the Cheshire Cat sitting on a bough of a tree a few yards off.

The Cat only grinned when it saw Alice. It looked good-natured, she

thought: still it had VERY long claws and a great many teeth, so she

felt that it ought to be treated with respect.

‘Cheshire Puss,’ she began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know

whether it would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider.

‘Come, it’s pleased so far,’ thought Alice, and she went on. ‘Would you

tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’

‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.

‘I don’t much care where–‘ said Alice.

‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.

‘–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,’ Alice added as an explanation.

‘Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, ‘if you only walk long


Alice felt that this could not be denied, so she tried another question.

‘What sort of people live about here?’

‘In THAT direction,’ the Cat said, waving its right paw round, ‘lives

a Hatter: and in THAT direction,’ waving the other paw, ‘lives a March

Hare. Visit either you like: they’re both mad.’

‘But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ Alice remarked.

‘Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the Cat: ‘we’re all mad here. I’m mad.

You’re mad.’

‘How do you know I’m mad?’ said Alice.

‘You must be,’ said the Cat, ‘or you wouldn’t have come here.’

Alice didn’t think that proved it at all; however, she went on ‘And how

do you know that you’re mad?'”

“So, Mr. Dodgson, let me pose the same question to you that young Alice asked of the chimerical cat in your own story: how do you know whether you are mad or not mad? How would you satisfy yourself that I am not mad? How do we know that everyone is mad or not mad?”, I said, rising from my chair to place the manuscript upon the sideboard. “


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shantaramI am reading an extraordinarily novel based on life experiences living in the slums of Mumbai (Bombay) the largest city in India, by the author Gregory David Roberts.  In his novel Shantaram, the author reveals and relives his escape from prison in Australia and into anonymity of the ubiquitous slums of the largest city in India. As a work of art and literature the book is a masterpiece. Certainly one of the very best of thousands of books I’ve read.

This book changed my  perspective on the selfless spirit and essential goodness of human beings. By contrast, the book exposes the rotting flesh of possession and wealth for it’s own sake — maniacally enforced on Earth by soul-crushing materialists.

I don’t know how to solve the disparity between wealth and poverty, good and evil, wisdom and stupidity. But, I am very sure that my Empathy has been magnified and focused by contrasting the squalid reality of daily life of sub-human slums in the shadow of the skyscrapers that house the wealthiest people in India. Empathy costs nothing except knowing that all sentient beings feel love and suffer the same pain we ourselves.   — Lawrence R. Spencer, 2015