Gary by campfire

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New Ether Book from Stonehaven

There’s a “new” book from Stonehaven Press: ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Einstein and Ether by Gary Matthews. (That is, by yours truly.)

Please note the quotation marks. This volume isn’t technically new, but it’s a vastly expanded second edition with so much new material, and so much formatting improvement, that it might as well be new.

Read my introductory article here, at GaryMatthews.com. Or find ordering-and-purchasing information here, at StonehavenPress.com.

If you’re interested in the connections between science and religion, reason and revelation, then this book may well appeal to you. Designed for the general reader, it’s a popular, non-technical overview of quantum [...]

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New Websites

Several long-term projects coming to fruition:

Please take a look at the all-new Stonehaven Press website at stonehavenpress.com.

This site, the storefront for the publishing company Cheri and I own, has been in the works for a long time. Way overdue, but we haven’t had the time needed to bring it into being.

Also its companion site, GaryMatthews.com. My personal author site, where I’ll talk about my writing, my books, publishing, book design, web design, and other topics. That site does not replace this one — The Astonished Tamale! — which is more for general-interest topics.

For me, the most [...]

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Where We Left Off

“What’s going on with the Tamale?”

Thus inquired my friend Patricia, just last night. As a subscriber to this blog, she no doubt was puzzled at not having gotten any updates for the past four-and-and-half months. Okay, fasten your seat belts:

It was May 8-9 when Zabine Van Ness and I returned to Seattle from Hanoi, via Seoul, Korea. (See the previous article, Seoul Pancake.) I spent most of the next two weeks in Seattle as a guest of Zabine and her husband, Peter Van Ness, pictured at left.

A highlight of this visit was Seattle’s celebration of the [...]

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Seoul Pancake

Seoul004

Apologies to Rainn Wilson for the pun on his wacky, wonderful website. But facing a 13-hour layover in Seoul, Korea, I was ready to disclaim any further responsibility for anything.

Then Zabine and I got a clue: We remembered our Vietnamese home-stay host telling us of a terrific five-hour tour of Seoul we could take from the airport. Even if this tour hadn’t been a once-in-a-lifetime prize (and it was), we’d have seized it just to pass the time. (Do the math: Our 13-hour wait was sandwiched between a five-hour Hanoi-to-Seoul flight and a 10-hour Seoul-to-Seattle flight. Sleep, sorta-kinda included, [...]

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Vietnam Exit

May 9, 2012 (Tuesday) – Most of the past week – another blur. Our official reason for being in Vietnam ended with last weekend’s celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Hanoi Baha’i community. Normally we would have headed for home immediately. Did I explain that the earliest return flight turned out to be more than a week later?

Highlights of the past week include taking out our host families to dinner at a wonderful Hanoi lakeside restaurant, La Tre Place (aka The Bamboo Restaurant); dinners at the homes of various Vietnamese friends; a water puppet show; and a breakfast [...]

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Ridvan – and a Hanoi Tamale(?)

May 2, 2012 (Wednesday) – Still Wednesday: After our visit to the Ho Chi Minh Memorial, Zabine and I were taken to the home of a Vietnamese National Spiritual Assembly member (Duyen). Other Baha’is were gathering, and only after some time did we realize that the purpose was to pray in celebration of a Baha’i Holy Day: the 12th Day of Ridvan.

Following prayers, delicious tea and desserts were served. Among them was what appeared, at first glance to be – a Vietnamese tamale! Remembering the name of this web journal, I had to know more.

The [...]

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Vietnam Villages, Hanoi Hospitality

April 30, 2012 (Monday) — Today we traveled to two neighboring villages in the Vietnamese countryside, conducting home visits with the believers who live there. Lunch, served at the home of a Baha’i friend, consisted of delicacies I didn’t even try to identify. All I know is that it was lavish and delicious.

As we were leaving the village, our driver, Binh (Hanoi’s Auxiliary Board member), had to dismount his car to move a motorcycle someone had left in the middle of the street. Speculation was that it had run out of gas — but why leave it there? Anyone [...]

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Blending in in Vietnam

One faithful reader complains of difficulty in picking out my friend Zabine from the group photos posted here. The reason is that Zabine and I, as seasoned world travelers, have learned to blend into a crowd of Vietnamese.

Here’s a picture of the two of us blending in. Zabine, you’ll notice, does it better than I do. It takes special skill to fly under the radar when you tower over the folks with whom you’re blending. Still, don’t you agree I could do worse?

Be that as it may, Zabine blends very well, height-wise. So long as she’s surrounded [...]

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Hanoi: Baha”i 20th Anniversary Images

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Hanoi: Baha’i 20th Anniversary

For Zabine Maryam (Linkins) Van Ness, this has been a journey of 20 years. For me, it only felt like one.

We arrived Sunday morning at the hotel in Hanoi where the Baha’i community was gathering to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its founding. Stunning floral arrangements were everywhere. Many of these, I hear, were sent by the government, which recognized the Baha’i Faith here four years ago and with which the friends now have very good relations. Wishing to offer support, government officials were taken aback to discover that the Baha’is could not accept funding from outside sources. They [...]

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