Gary by campfire

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Heart to Heart: Year in Review

A bit more than a year ago, I created a website called Heart to Heart HD:

During the ensuing year, I’ve paid no attention to hits, visits, or other web-traffic statistics. But shortly after the site’s first birthday, I peeked — and was stunned to learn that it has evolved into one of the most-used, most-visited Baha’i sites on the Internet.

You can read all about it here:

And then, please leave your comments in the form provided. I’d love to hear from you.


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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 Or find ordering-and-purchasing information here, at

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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Happy Valentine’s Day

Dear friends and readers,

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all. You are one and all loved by at least one very Astonished Tamale! Here’s hoping every one of you also is loved deeply and intensely by someone you love just as much.

Speaking of astonishment:

We’re pleased to note that for the second year in a row, Knoxville Tennessee — home of The Astonished Tamale! — is America’s Most Romantic City. We know this because, the universally acknowledged authority on such things, says so in this press release.

Amazon figures this out by tracking “sales data of romance novels [...]

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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

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, 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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The Windows 8 Great Debate

To my stark amazement, I love Windows 8. Let me count the ways.

But first — why am I weighing in?

Because various tech experts, including two I know, are recommending we skip this latest version of Microsoft’s operating system. At least (the advice goes) we should hold off till we’re forced into it by the purchase of a new PC.

I couldn’t disagree more. My advice: If you’re buying a PC, and you have a choice between Windows 7 or 8 — go with 8.

Here’s why: (a) Windows 8 is easy to master. (b) It’s substantially faster. (c) [...]

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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


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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