Ancient Mysteries Solved

Chekhov’s gun is a dramatic principle that states that every element in a story must be necessary, and irrelevant elements should be removed; elements should not appear to make “false promises” by never coming into play. If a gun is shown in act one, it must eventually be fired.

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Back in the early days of television, one of our family’s favorite TV shows was Perry Mason. The brilliant defense attorney always got his client off as he revealed the real guilty person in the last few minutes of each show. My mother was never surprised. She would always tell us the guilty person, right before Perry revealed it.

“How did you know that?” we would always ask her incredulously.

“I wrote that show,” she would smile and say. Only the absence of royalty checks led us to disbelieve her. Many years later she revealed the truth. The writers of the Perry Mason show were strict adherents to the Chekhov’s gun principle. There was never anything in the story that wasn’t a necessary element. So, any character who appeared that did not seem absolutely necessary to the story, would eventually be found to be the guilty party.

A good mystery should contain enough clues throughout the story that the reader will wonder why they didn’t guess the solution before it was revealed. A bad mystery won’t give the crucial clue until a page or two before the solution is given. Some mysteries are allowed the literary device of “red herrings,” or false clues, to mislead the reader, but otherwise, there should not be elements in the story that are brought up and then just forgotten.

The number one bestselling book of all time has been guilty of violating the Chekhovian gun principle. The Nativity story in the Bible, for instance, tells of the three Magi bringing gifts to baby Jesus. They bring gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The Bible never tells what the Holy Family did with these three gifts. It’s a loose end that is never tied up. There are also many years in Christ’s life that are omitted from the Bible story of His life. What happened after He turned 12 and disappeared for 18 years?

I think I have solved those two mysteries and, in doing so, I may also have solved one other mystery that has puzzled women for years.

First, a recap of the Bible story.

Three Kings of Persia, who were heavily influenced by Astronomy, spotted a new star, which they believed meant that a new King had been born. These kings, known as the Magi, loaded their caravan with supplies and gifts for the new king and headed west following the star. When they arrived at the area directly beneath the star they searched all the finer hotels in the area looking for the new king. When they could not find any new king at any of the swank places, they went to the current King, Herod, to ask him for directions to the new king’s whereabouts. Herod was surprised to even hear that a new king had been born and was secretly determined to kill him before he could assume the throne. He told the Magi that he did not know the whereabouts of this new king, but he would very much like to pay honor to him if the Magi would just return to Herod after they found the new king and let him know where the new king lived.

The Magi continued looking for the king foretold by the star and eventually found him in a stable in Bethlehem. They gave him the three gifts, which were the standard gifts for kings of that time, gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The gold obviously represented precious metal. The frankincense was a perfume, and the myrrh was an anointing oil.


Then they had a dream which showed them Herod’s true plan was to kill the new king. So, they did not return to Herod’s palace. They took a different route home. Then, since Herod didn’t know who the new king was, or where he lived, he decided to take no chances, and he ordered his men to kill every male child in the area under the age of two. This was known in history as the Slaughter of the Innocents. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus escaped by fleeing to the safety of Egypt.

So, therein is the answer to a mystery that has puzzled women for ages. Why won’t men ever stop and ask for directions?  It was because of what happened to all those unfortunate young boys after the Magi had stopped to ask Herod for directions. Ever since then, wise men have never asked for directions again.

Now I’ll tell you what happened to the gifts of the Magi and where Jesus was between the ages of 12 and 30.

Mary and Joseph saved most of the gold. They had to use some of it to pay off their stable bill and also to pay for their trip to Egypt, but when Jesus turned 12 Mary, being a Jewish mother, used all the remaining gold to pay for Jesus to go to a Medical school in the desert. While there, Jesus learned that in addition to being a sweet smelling fragrance, frankincense, sometimes referred to as olibanum, which comes from the Boswellia Serrata tree, is also a common type of essential oil used in aromatherapy that can offer a variety of health benefits, including helping relieve chronic stress and anxiety, reducing pain and inflammation, and boosting immunity. I use it today to relieve my hip pain.

Myrrh, Jesus learned, was not only an anointing oil, but can be applied directly to the mouth for soreness and swelling, inflamed gums (gingivitis), loose teeth, canker sores, bad breath, and chapped lips. It is also used topically for hemorrhoids, bedsores, wounds, abrasions, and boils.

So, after 18 years of medical school, Jesus came out of the desert, hung up his shingle, and became Israel’s most famous herbal healer. He cured folks for miles around. He brought sight to the blind and even had a good bit of success with lepers. Some even claimed that he was so good that he could even cure dead patients.

I hope that clears up some of these mysteries for you.

Oh, and the 40 days He later spent in the desert.  That was to get his herbal prescriptions filled.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,


Dream On


“When I want you in my arms, when I want you with all your charms, whenever I want you all I have to do is dream.”

-The Everly Brothers

Dream, dreamy, dreamboat, dream job, girl of my dreams. All of these things make dreams sound really great, but usually my dreams suck. I’m not talking about nightmares, those scary dreams where you’re chased by fire-breathing dragons, ax-wielding murderers, horrible one-eyed monsters, or Jehovah’s Witnesses. I’m talking about my run of the mill dreams. They usually suck.

Every night I go to bed with high hopes and expectations. I figure that dreams are supposed to be way better than reality. I hope for big wonderful dreams. I like to write screenplays, so I hope that I will find myself at the Academy Awards and they will call out my name for best screenplay. Or a Hollywood studio will ask me to help cast the role of the beautiful Alice in my screenplay Two Ships Passing…One Failing. I’ll be in a room with a couple dozen beautiful women, and they will all be flirting with me (even if they are just acting).

I like Harness Racing, and the Hambletonian is one of their biggest races. So, I close my eyes at night and I hope that I will dream that I am driving the winner of the Hambletonian. He is a beautiful horse and since it is my dream, he is not wearing standard horseshoes. He is wearing special rubber sneakers that I designed.

Sometimes I’ll go to bed hoping to have an exotic dream. I’ll be in Tahiti or Hawaii with the photographer who shoots the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition. I have been invited along to help pose the models.

I have a few mildly quirky health regimens. I take Melatonin every night, not as a sleeping aid, but for its anti-aging properties. I take Saw Palmetto daily for good prostate health. Recently, I started taking Boswellia Serrata Extract for its anti-arthritis benefits. I threw away my sunglasses after reading the book “Health & Light” by John Ott. I have special full spectrum lightbulbs throughout my apartment. So, occasionally, I hope to dream that I am in Sweden accepting the Nobel Prize for discovering some unusual medical breakthrough that leads to an extremely long healthy life.

Those are the kinds of dreams I hope to have. Those are not the kind of dream I have. My dreams suck. I don’t understand it. I am retired, and I live by myself, so I do whatever I want to do, whenever I want to do it. I eat and drink whatever I want. I go to the park, the ballfield, roller derby games, and sports bars whenever I want. I don’t have to get up in the morning, so I stay up late at night watching harness races and my favorite DVD movies. I am “living the dream.” No, I am doing much better than that, because my dreams suck.

So recently I heard about something called Lucid Dreaming. It is the ability to manipulate your dreams. Naturally, since that sounds a little oddball, I was very interested in it. The first thing you have to do is recognize when you are dreaming. Often, as crazy as they might be, our dreams seem real to us and we don’t realize that we are only dreaming until we wake up. So, you keep a log book of your dreams and look for things that will help you know when you are indeed dreaming. I don’t need a log book. I know what my typical dreams are like. I’m lost. I’m late, and I’m frantically, but unsuccessfully, trying to get somewhere. Quite often I am running, since I can never find public transportation. Sometimes I am at work, or else I am trying to get to work or an appointment.

Those are all great indicators that I am dreaming. In the real world, I usually go to the same places, so I am never lost. I’m retired, so I don’t usually have to be anywhere at any specific time. So, I’m rarely late for an appointment, and I’m never late for any job, because I don’t have one. Also, in the real world, I never ever run.

So, I know what signs to look for to know when I am dreaming. Once you recognize that you are dreaming, you are supposed to nonchalantly tell yourself that you are dreaming. This is not easy. For weeks I would wake up every single time I told myself I was dreaming. I still do most of the time, but, every once in a great while, I am able to remain asleep and in the dream. Then you just try to make subtle improvements. If I’m lost I might try flying upward to see where I am. If I am late I might try stopping the clock. It’s a dream. I can do things that are impossible in the real world. Subtle changes keep me in the dream. Trying to make big changes often wakes me up.

The other night I was having my usual dream. I was lost. I was late for work, and I was running around getting nowhere. I knew I was dreaming, but I didn’t awaken. Then a very young girl appeared in the dream and said she would help me find my way. I thanked her, but I wished she was older. Suddenly she morphed into a beautiful woman. Now, we’re getting somewhere, I thought. I’m getting the hang of this. I smiled at my successful modification of a dream but, unfortunately, I woke up.

It wasn’t much, but it was a start and a big improvement over my usual sucky dreams. I just need more practice in Lucid Dreaming, and that beach in Tahiti with all the swimsuit models, the Academy Award, the Hambletonian trophy, and the Nobel prize might someday become dreams come true.

Sweet dreams, everyone.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,