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MOMENT BY MOMENT

BLOG #12, SERIES #9

WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE

MOMENT BY MOMENT

March 21, 2018

 

My thoughts are rambling tonight. Yesterday—finally—, snow began to fall. Just when Coloradans were beginning to panic: what if this turns out to be another terrible summer . . . with one fire after another . . . what if our well runs dry—the water table is already low. . . . Every day the news gets bleaker—even terrifying. ., . . The opioid epidemic is now killing more Americans every day than all the auto accidents put together. . . . Marijuana is altering our culture—and not for the better. . . . Civility in Washington is almost nonexistent. . . . The center is disappearing from American life. . . .

And then it hits me: Why should I fear? God is still out there. God is still in control. He is by me every step of the way—in my sleeping and in my waking, in my work and in my leisure. Even when I take my last breath: my soul goes back to the God who entrusted it to me. Even in death, I can trust Him for whatever is in escrow for me in His tomorrow.

Thank you, Lord.

 

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SHOULD WE BE AFRAID OF INFLATION?

BLOG #11, SERIES #9

WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE

SHOULD WE BE AFRAID OF INFLATION?

March 14, 2018

As I have been sifting through tens of thousands of magazine pages in search of strong nonfiction integrity stories, I stumbled on Philip H. Ward’s article titled “The German Inflation Stamps” in the October 1936 issue of St. Nicholas magazine. And it reminded me of one of the most horrific stories of the Twentieth century. Horrific, not because of financial reasons, but rather because of what followed in its wake.

Because post-World War I inflation was so out of control, at its worst, it would take a wheelbarrow heaped full of German money to purchase a loaf of bread. It got so bad that the desperate Germans would have elected the Devil himself if he’d promise to save them from mass starvation. Well, they didn’t elect the Devil, but they did elect the human Devil-incarnate, Adolf Hitler!

Read on to see how bad conditions were at the height of Germanic inflation.

One of the most interesting issues of stamps ever to appear were the well-known inflation stamps of Germany issued in 1922-23. The German mark worth originally around 25c, at the height of inflation took about fifty billion marks to mail a letter to the United States. Get out your pencil and paper and you will find that on the pre-inflation basis this would represent $12,500,000,000.

In accordance with the Universal Postal Union regulations the stamp for international mail should be blue. This enables the foreign mail clerk to see if proper postage has been paid irrespective of whether he knows the currency of the foreign country or not.

For many years the 20 pf. Blue paid the international postage and had a face value of 5c or 25c to the mark. By 1920 it took 30 pf. An increase of 50% so that the mark was worth about 17c. In 1921 the 1.20 mark was used, hence, the mark had depreciated to 4c. By 1922 it took 2,000 marks for a foreign letter and by the next year the mark changed so rapidly that one had to call at the Post Office to find out how many marks were required to post a letter. As a result, many stamps were surcharged with new values for the changes were so rapid that it was impossible to make new plates in time. It will, therefore, be understood why Germany had stamps in denominations of 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 20, 30, 50, 100, 200, 500 million marks and 1, 2,m 5, 10, 20, 50 billion marks. In other words, a set of German stamps of the 1923 period based on the original value of the mark would pay the world war debt in full with interest. Would it not seem odd if our own United States had to put a $12,500,000,000 stamp on a letter to mail it to Germany? Unchecked inflation could do it.

We illustrate eight of the German inflation stamps with a face value of 39,700,800,000 marks, worth just a few cents at the time of issue.

 

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Rafael Sabatini’s “The Romantic Prince”

BLOG #10, SERIES #9

WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE

DR. JOE’S BOOK OF THE MONTH CLUB #75

RAFAEL SABATINI’S THE ROMANTIC PRINCE

March 7, 2018

It’s now time for our 75th book selection, and a good time to revisit another his book penned by one of my favorite historical romance writers. We first introduced him four years ago, on February 26 of 2014: Sabatini’s famed historical romance set during the French Revolution—Scaramouche. For some time now, as I weigh in on books that fight for inclusion in this series, Sabatini keeps surfacing in my mind. Perhaps because he wrote far more than romantic swashbucklers. He was, at heart, a moralist who tried to make sense of the historical past against the moralistic background of Christianity.

His novels were the result of prodigious research into the archival accounts housed in European nations of his time. A complete list of his 36 novels can be found in that 2014 blog. Of them all, I have found Scaramouche and The Romantic Prince to be his two most unforgettable novels (never sinking below the surface of my mind).

But, even though I’d read the book before, I re-read it before concluding it had to be included in our series. It features a theme Sabatini touched upon in Scaramouche: mankind’s tendency to play God—rather than waiting for God to punish evil-doers for their sins, in His own time—, they bull-headedly usurp God’s justice by stepping in ahead of God.

The Bible includes plenty of examples of passion and its results, perhaps most famously having to do with King David’s murdering Uriah the Hittite (the husband of the beautiful Bathsheba) in order to gain possession of her.

In this particular novel, Sabatini digs deep into human nature as he creates a marvelous cast of characters (some known to history and others created in the author’s fertile imagination).

The typical writer of historical fiction tends to glamorize and romanticize the past, especially royalty and nobility, but not so Sabatini. He writes relatively unvarnished history, confirming that, down through history, men and women married—or were forced to marry—for dynastic reasons. If they wanted romantic love, they got that illicitly, outside of marriage. As late as Prince Charles’ ill-fated marriage to Diana, we can see that template still being played out in our time.

In the book, County Anthony d’Egmont, heir to the dukedom of Guelph, ruefully discovers that there is no way for him to marry the love of his life, the beautiful Johanna, daughter of a Flemish merchant. Not if he wanted to inherit the ducal throne of Guelph. It is one whale of a book, intersticed with many quotable lines and insights into life.

Rafael Sabatini’s life (1875-1950) was almost as eventful as his action-packed novels. He was born in the then small town of Jesi, near the Italian seaport of Ancoma. His parents were well-known opera singers who traveled the world. His mother was English, hence his dual heritage.

This is yet another book I strongly feel you’ll find unforgettable and thought-provoking. You can secure copies on the web both in hardback (Houghton Mifflin, and Grosset & Dunlap) and in trade paper.

 

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Stop Whatever You Are Doing—And Remember

BLOG #9, SERIES #9

WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE

STOP WHATEVER YOU ARE DOING—AND REMEMBER

February 28, 2018

BLESSED AMONG AMERICAN WOMEN IS THE YOUNG MOTHER * WHO IN A ROUGH CABIN ON THE KENTUCKY FRONTIER BORE A SON WHOM SHE CALLED ABRAHAM * * GROWN TO MANHOOD THAT SON BECAME THE LEADER OF HIS PEOPLE IN THE CRISIS OF THEIR FATE * AND JUSTIFIED DEMOCRACY IN THE FACE OF A DOUBTING WORLD

Never in a lifetime of studying Lincoln, and researching my two books about Lincoln, have I stumbled on a magazine cover that moved me as much as this one. Discovered it in the June 1923 issue of one of the greatest family magazines ever published in our nation, The Youth’s Companion.

Nancy Hanks Lincoln, what a tragically short life she had! Yet, given that half of what we learn in life is learned by the age of six, she it was who set the boy’s sails in life. And, as famed artist William Eaton portrays her in this powerfully emotive painting, one can’t help but wonder what her thoughts might have been when she looked down at the tiny face of her baby.

I’d guess she never imagined what he’d become: what he’d become is what I experienced just one week ago when I met with third-graders in six public elementary schools here in the Colorado Rockies. At each school, I asked them this question: “There is one President who is loved more than all our other Presidents put together—who is it?” Without exception, they all shouted out, “Abraham Lincoln!”

Now, 209 years after his birth—that’s immortality.

 

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GREETINGS FROM THE CRUCIBLE

BLOG #8, SERIES #9

WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE

GREETINGS FROM THE CRUCIBLE

February 21, 2018

Connie and I often say about our ministry of stories and books:

“We work hard, and we play hard.”

Currently, we are working hard: the manuscript for Christmas in My Heart 27 is in its final stages: illustrations and copyright permissions; and the manuscript for My Favorite Integrity Stories is midway, as it’s due April 1. Our 100th and 101st books—a continuing miracle from the Lord.

When Contemporary Authors editors wrote about me some years ago, they dubbed me a “story archeologist,” someone who is struggling to save priceless story artifacts before they crumble out of existence forever.

As we work on these, our 84th and 85th story anthologies, we often feel as if we are somehow outside of contemporary time. I certainly feel that way now, surrounded as I am by century-old magazines (both loose and bound) that are full of names the average person would pass over without even a flicker of recognition. But not so for us: As I turn a page in an old bound-volume of Youth’s Companion stories I stop with a smile of recognition: “Aha! Here’s a story by _____ I’ve never heard of before.” It might be penned by any number of authors those who love our books would fondly recognize because by now they’ve come to love them, too.

Three great magazines hold central stage in our archives: St. Nicholas, Youth’s Companion, and Youth’s Instructor. St. Nicholas was born in 1872 and died in 1939; Youth’s Companion, born in 1827, lasted over a hundred years; Youth’s Instructor was born in 1852, and also lasted over a hundred years. St. Nicholas was a monthly, the other two came out once every week. Of course, these three magazines are merely the highest peaks of our archives; many, many other great magazines also grace our archives.

All three were windows to the world for children and teenagers who lived in a world ruled over by print (books and magazines) rather than omnipresent, intrusive in-your-face electronics such as is true today. A complete run of St. Nicholas adds up to over 72,000 pages; a complete run of Youth’s Companion appears almost impossible to ever put together; same for Youth’s Instructor.

We mine these Golden Age (1850’s through 1950’s) magazines because they celebrated the values so many families are desperately searching for today. Mostly in vain. Reason being: Today, Judeo-Christian families, more and more, feel abandoned by a society that devalues them as it continues to distance itself from the values that once made America great.

So here we are. I’ve been putting in 12 to 14-hour days, searching for stories that could change the life-course of a child, a teen, an adult, years from now–even, perhaps centuries from now, if time should last that long.

For we too, Connie and I, are racing against the clock–determined to wear out rather than rust out, as long as God grants us time, strength, health and awareness.

Pray for us.

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NEW RELEASE – “MY FAVORITE COURAGE STORIES”

BLOG #7, SERIES #9

WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE

NEW RELEASE

MY FAVORITE COURAGE STORIES

February 14, 2018

Yes, it is now out: our 99th book and 83rd story anthology. During the last five years, this series has been gathered to the heart by both the regular buyers of our books and those who are searching for true stories to use for church, Sunday schools, schools, and home ministries—stories for all age groups.

Our new collection follows on the heels of Angel, Miracle, Prayer, and Life-Changing Stories. Courage will be followed by Integrity Stories.

Many parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, are gifting family members with these books.

All five sport cover art by Marcus Mashburn. You will discover that each cover illustration can be traced back to an incident in one of the stories in the collection. This particular cover painting depicts the hero of the Academy Award-winning movie, Hacksaw Ridge, Medal of Honor winner Desmond Doss.

Many of these stories are biographical shorts preserved for us by famed editor Lora E. Clement.

Here are the stories you will find in the collection:

“On His Own Two Feet” – Grace Perkins Oursler“Hearts Unafraid” – Hildegarde Thorup

“Rustler Tess” – Aline Havard

“We Had Lost Everything” – Lora E. Clement

“Philip and the Cows” – Mrs. R. B. Sheffer

“Anna of the Wilderness” – Richard Morenus

“Scraps” –Marjorie Baker

“Courage Rather Than Hatred” – Lora E. Clement

“The Madness of Anthony Wayne” – Rupert Sargent Holland

“Five Days With Dolly Madison” – Elinor E. Pollard

“Thomas Nast and the Tammany Tiger” –Lora E. Clement

“Fo’c’sle and Wigwam” – Henry Morton Robinson

“War on Yellow Fiver” – Ruth Fox

“158 Spruce Street” – Lora E. Clement

“A Sheet of White Paper” – Author Unknown

“Beautiful Upon the Mountains” –Arthur A. Milward

“Take Me, Take Me” – Lora E. Clement

“Silhouettes of Courage” – Agnes Kendrick Gray

“A Question of Courage” – Ethel Comstock Bridgman

“God Keep Him Alive!” – Carr P. Collins

“Greater Love Hath No Woman” – Louisa Stinetorf and Lora E. Clement

“Jane Amsden’s Hospital” – Author Unknown

“Did—I—Do—My—Best?” – Lora E. Clement

“Hero of Pleasant Hill” – F. A. Boygess

“An Incredible Act of Courage” – Author Unknown

“The Hero of Hacksaw Ridge” – Joseph Leininger Wheeler with Booton Herndon

 

* * * * *

Retail $15.99; our price is $12.00. Personally inscribed if so requested.

Set of all five in the series (Angel, Miracle, Prayer, Life-Changing, Courage).

Retail: $79.95; sale for the set: $60.00 – plus shipping.

Order from our web page: www.JoeWheelerBooks.com