Fields of Friendly Strife

January 30, 2018

Fields of Friendly StrifeAnother book arrived in the mail this month: Fields of Friendly Strife: The Doughboys and Sailors of the WWI Rose Bowls by Timothy P. Brown. It wasn’t a book I had ordered but I was expecting it, but not necessarily in hardback. The author had a copy sent to me in appreciation of the little bit of assistance I gave him:

I also spent an enjoyable afternoon and evening with Tom Benjey, author of Keep A-goin’: The Life of Lone Star Dietz. Tom provided additional perspective on the publishing process and, since Lone Star Ditz coached the 1918 Mare Island Marines, he acted as a sounding board for some of my interpretations of the football world of 100 years ago.

That Dietz also coached the Washington State College teams of 1915-17, including the 1916 Washington State Rose Bowl team, and that many of his WSC players later played on the Mare Island teams perhaps provided me a little different perspective than some others would have. It seems that other writers are more interested in my books these days than are readers. Oh well.

Tim shared with me his preference for ebooks. I shared that my books don’t generally adapt well into ebooks because of the number of photos and illustrations they usually contain. Another, equally important, factor is that ebooks have plateaued at about 25% of the market. That means that three-quarters of books sold are printed on paper. Likely is that more than three-quarters of books of the type Tim and I write are print books because the bulk of ebooks are novels and other books having few illustrations. Books that people keep on their bookshelves for later reference are almost always of the paper variety.

A side effect of the leveling out of ebook sales is the resurgence (probably too strong a word) of independent book stores.

https://www.amazon.com/Fields-Friendly-Strife-Doughboys-Sailors-ebook/dp/B077T2RBL9

 

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Trailer for Glorious times

January 22, 2018

preorder-cover-tinyAt long last, I’ve put together a short trailer for Glorious Times: Adventures of the Craighead Naturalists. I’d appreciate hearing comments about it. The trailer can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ROqbDlxs9g

 

 

The Love Hermit?

January 14, 2018
Lone Star - Oregonian

Photo of Lone Star Dietz that accompanied original 1918 article

The author of the article I referred to in the previous message, Jim Kerschner, forwarded a link to the entire article. The article, when read in full, provided me with more information than my question about his Vaudeville career. Perhaps a little background is needed for those unfamiliar with the multi-talented Mr. Dietz. Prior to arriving in the Pacific Northwest in September 1915, he had worked as an artist illustrating Macalaster College publications, creating a mural out of grains grown at Chilocco Indian School for the Model Government Indian School Exhibit at the St. Louis World’s Fair, played of football teams at Macalaster College, Friends University and Carlisle Indian School, competed on the indigenous people’s team in the Anthropology Days event tacked onto the 1904 Olympic Games held at the St. Louis World’s Fair. He sang solos at Friends University and performed a war dance at the School of Industrial Art of the Philadelphia Museum (today’s University of the Arts), after which he gave a talk in what the Philadelphia Record described as “excellent English style, which might put an ordinary Philadelphian to the blush.”

 

In addition to serving as an assistant coach to Pop Warner and teaching art at Carlisle, he illustrated their literary magazine and ephemera. He and his first wife, the noted Winnebago artist Angel DeCora, also raised prize-winning Russian Wolfhounds in a kennel behind their apartment on Carlisle Barracks.

At Washington State College, in addition to coaching the football team, Dietz arranged songs and sang baritone while touring the state with the college’s chorus. He also gave talks to classes on topics such as architecture. Prior to arriving in Pasadena for the 1916 Rose Bowl, he arranged for his team to portray the football team in Tom Brown at Harvard and for a small role in the picture for himself. When his team returned to Pullman after the victory, he stayed on in Hollywood to arrange more picture work for himself.

The article Mr. Kerschner referred to in his piece listed three films Dietz had been in, one of which I hadn’t heard of before, The Love Hermit. It also credited him with writing the story for Lonestar, but couldn’t appear in the movie because it was filmed during football season.

The article also provides some information about Dietz’s Vaudeville career: “The rapid progress that is being made by your company here in Spokane toward the production of motion pictures has made me willing to change from my previously announced plan to spend the coming year on the vaudeville circuit.” More research is required to uncover exactly which talents he would have employed in his act.

Now to figure out how to search News.Google.com for articles not on-line when I spent numerous hours hunched over microfilm reading machines.

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=0klj8wIChNAC&dat=19180110&printsec=frontpage&hl=en page 6

Was Lone Star Dietz in Vaudeville?

January 10, 2018

I was very interested when Google Alert informed me of an article in The Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Washington this afternoon. It acknowledges the 100th anniversary of Lone Star Dietz pursuing an acting career in that city: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2018/jan/10/100-years-ago-today-in-spokane-washington-states-f/ It is well known and covered in my biography of Dietz that he bought shares in the Washington Motion Picture Company, acted in Fool’s Gold and went broke when the studio folded. The film actually made a little money but not nearly enough to cover the operating costs of the fledgling production company.

What was news to me was the subhead “Gives Up Vaudeville.” I had no idea Dietz was in Vaudeville. I was aware of him acting in pictures in Hollywood and Spokane, but not of him being on the Vaudeville circuit. Unfortunately, the portion of the article that may have covered that issue wasn’t reproduced in today’s paper. Maybe Jim Kershner, the reporter who wrote today’s piece can send me a copy of the entire original.

Vaudeville was not always used in the way we think of it today. Sometimes it was used as a catch all for people performing in front of live audiences, including the lecture circuit. For example, Pop Warner referred to Frank Cayou as being in Vaudeville when he was giving talks on something akin to the Chautauqua Circuit.

19180110 Dietz Vaudeville Movies

 

 

 

 

Does Barnes & Noble Stock My Book?

November 4, 2017

Yesterday, I learned something by accident, the way I learn most things. Another writer on a forum I follow asked if there was a way to see if Barnes & Noble stocked her books in their stores. Out of curiosity, I tried to find out if they stocked my most recent book, Glorious Times: Adventures of the Craighead Naturalists, in any of their stores. So, I searched on BN.com Glorious Times and, near the top of the list, was a link to my book’s page on BN.com. Clicking on that brought up this page:

Barnes and Noble

Several lines below the price, just above Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought, in small print, is a link titled Check Store Availability. Clicking on that brings up a window into which you type the ZIP Code for a specific area. I found no way to search nationwide or even statewide with a single ZIP. I typed in 17011 for Camp Hill, PA, where the nearest Barnes & Noble store is located. Up popped a photo of the store and (drum roll here) IN STOCK. Below it was a photo of the Lancaster store and NOT IN STOCK.

It appears that the search is done for what looks like a 50-mile radius. Typing in 20001 for Washington, DC confirmed that guess because it listed 18 stores with some as far away as Baltimore and Frederick in Maryland and Fredericksburg in Virginia.

A bonus for authors wanting to set up book talks in an area is that the mailing address and phone number for each store, whether it stocks your book or not, is listed.

 

 

 

Renewed Interest in the Oorang Indians

September 23, 2017

Oorang Indians Willis.jpg

Yesterday’s mail brought an unexpected pleasure. I opened a package that obviously contained a book. But I had no memory of ordering a book from anyone. The label said it was from Rowman & Littlefield in Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania. I knew some book publishers made their home in that town as the late John Kallmann had once worked for a publisher located there. I still had no idea what book it might be.

Opening the package, I found a copy of Walter Lingo, Jim Thorpe, and the Oorang Indians: How a Dog Kennel Owner Created the NFL’s Most Famous Traveling Team by Chris Willis. It was a book I knew was coming out because Chris and I had conversed about the topic and a question he had about Eagle Feather led to some serious investigation and a series of blog posts about this mysterious player.

Wanting to thank him for the book, I tried to send Chris an email, but couldn’t find his address. An inopportune computer crash in early August had wreaked havoc had lost numerous email messages and addresses. (Perhaps I should write about the fallacies of making backups using Microsoft’s utility.) I would appreciate it if someone would send me his email address.

The book had a feel different from others I’d felt. That it had no jacket because the jacket information was printed directly on the hard cover wasn’t new. What was new was the feel of it. Rather than having a hard, glossy finish, the cover had a matt finish that is soft to the touch.

Inside this beautiful book, I found an acknowledgement to me. An entire paragraph. WOW! Thank you, Chris.

Over the last couple of years, I had received questions from multiple persons about the Oorang Indians. Apparently, this most unusual NFL team had gathered renewed interest. Maybe the NFL needs to rejuvenate the team to attract fans. It needs to do something after tickets for Thursday’s Rams-49ers game went for $15!

 

Book Reviews Are Pouring In

August 21, 2017

preorder-cover-tinyReviews are coming in for Glorious Times: Adventures of the Craighead Naturalists. Hooray! The pleasant surprise is that they are positive. Here are links to several of them:

https://www.forewordreviews.com/reviews/glorious-times/

https://livelytimes.com/2017/08/tom-benjey-glorious-times-adventures-craighead-naturalists/

http://bigskyjournal.com/books/books-reading-west-2

http://www.theusreview.com/first-reviews/Glorious-Times-by-Tom-Benjey.html#.WZsHpeRK2Uk

http://www.outsidebozeman.com/lifestyle/inside-bozeman/books-music/kick-your-feet

https://issuu.com/um_crown_gye/docs/crown_of_the_continent_and_greater__3e306117692e88

http://www.midwestbookreview.com/lbw/jun_17.htm

 

Good News for the Redskins

July 1, 2017

This was a great week for the Washington Redskins. According to an Associated Press article, the U. S. Department of Justice decided to drop the attempt by the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the Redskins’ trademarks. In 2014, the government canceled the Redskins’ trademarks, because they considered it disparaging. The team appealed that decision. That appeal had been on hold pending the outcome of another case, Matal v. Tam, which was decided on June 19 by the Supreme Court.

Voting 8-0 (Justice Gorsuch was not seated when the case was heard and took no part in the decision), the Supreme Court decided that the name “Slants” used by an Asian-American rock group was protected speech under the First Amendment ruling the part of the Lanham Act which prevented registration of trademarks that employ disparaging name unconstitutional. Thus the U. S. Patent and Trademarks Office cannot block the registration of a name on the grounds that it is considered disparaging.

This Supreme Court decision essentially voided the cancelation of the Redskins trademark rendering the appeal unnecessary. The Redskins have won and can continue using the name they have had since 1933. What isn’t known is how the eastern media, The Washington Post and Boston Globe in particular, will react. Will they continue their campaign Captain Ahab-like in their war against the Redskins or will they accept the ruling of the Court and polls of Native Americans? Based on the phony claims made by the Boston Globe in the not distant past, it seems unlikely.

http://pro32.ap.org/article/justice-department-gives-washington-redskins-name-fight

Unknown Photos of Lone Star Dietz

May 14, 2017

One of the benefits of having done all that research necessary to write Lone Star Dietz’s biography is that people who come across artifacts related to him contact me. The most common things people ask about are paintings attributed to Dietz. Based on the number I’ve seen and know about, plus those people own and ask about, Lone Star must have been fairly prolific. The most unusual thing someone has inquired about was a button/pin for the 1923 Thanksgiving football game between the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs and Centenary College Gentlemen. The image of Lone Star Dietz, Louisiana Tech’s head football coach at the time, adorned the button.

This week, I was sent images of three undated photos of Lone Star Dietz. They appear to be early photos of him, probably the earliest in Indian regalia. I can’t identify the origin of this regalia because I don’t know how to discern the differences between the designs employed by the various tribes and nations. And what he wore was very different than the elaborate Sioux outfit that he was often photographed wearing. The earliest known photo of Dietz was as a member of the 1903 Macalester College football team. Whether these photos predate that one is an open question.

The earliest dated photo of Dietz in his Sioux headdress, war shirt and leggings was published in the January 26, 1908 St. Louis Globe-Democrat Sunday magazine. That photo was likely taken in late 1907 in Carlisle, PA or in St. Louis, when the Carlisle football team made train connections in St. Louis. Dietz had probably established a relationship with someone on the paper when he worked at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. The photos I was shown this week were very different from anything I had seen before. He was wearing a breechcloth, pipebag, simple leather headband with two feathers, and above-the-calf bells.

My guess was that, since one of the three poses in these photos, appeared to be one of a dancer, complete with bells, these photos were taken in or before late fall of 1907. Shortly after arriving at the Academy of Industrial Design in Philadelphia on his outing period, Lone Star put on a demonstration that included a dance. But the newspaper coverage of his dance described him as wearing a war bonnet, probably the headdress he commonly wore in photos. So, I have little to go on with regard to dating these photographs.

The photos are not shown here, nor is the name and location of the owner. That person wishes to remain anonymous due to the acrimonious treatment so often meted out by those people who oppose the use of Redskins for the name of the Washington NFL team.

Glorious Times Selected as Award Finalist

March 27, 2017

Foreword Reviews just informed me that Glorious Times: Adventures of the Craighead Naturalists has been selected as a Finalist in its 2016 Book of the Year Awards: https://awards.forewordreviews.com/books/glorious-times-adventures-of-the-craighead-naturalists/

The books considered for awards are books from smaller publishers, including university presses. Foreword explains their purpose this way:

In the publishing industry, we talk a lot about independent publishers. What exactly does that mean? Well, it’s hard to define. In the strictest sense, we mean anyone other than the powerful Big Five: Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster. Though they publish some important, thought-provoking titles, they hardly need help bringing them to market.

On Saturday, April 1st, at 2:00 p.m., I will be giving my first book talk ever at Midtown Scholars Bookstore in Harrisburg, PA. This talk will be about a small portion of my new book—it contains too much information for a single talk to cover, so I’m focusing on how teenagers can impact the country.

https://calendar.google.com/calendar/render?eid=aTNvY3NnZjIzZ2wybHU1MnJxODI2dG9qMW8gdnNtbmlwMXU1OWlrMTVxNmZlN243NTZic29AZw&ctz=America/New_York&t=AKUaPmbwX1qXEeBRi2rvNZsyW3ndmn2KWcWhtdZY2czdMCqDwWZXBoPnC53ykF7BCAsVUoTwVZKRDJalHwQcZ_nsrRMQGaW38A%3D%3D&sf=true&output=xml#eventpage_6