Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Famous Freemason Trivia: Famous Freemasons And Guns

Here's another one oldie from the archives: I originally posted this back in 2008.  I was researching Audie Murphy for Famous American Freemasons: Volume II and realized there were a lot of stories that involved Freemasons and guns.  Here are a few: 

WWII Hero Audie Murphy
The Hero
Audie Murphy grew up in poverty, and even when he was a very young boy he often helped put food on the family table by hunting rabbits—with a slingshot. He rarely missed with the makeshift weapon. One day , a young man home from college, knowing the Murphy family was very poor, loaned Audie a .22 rifle to hunt rabbits with, and gave him eight rounds to use. Audie returned the rifle some hours later, but he only had four rabbits. Before the college boy could tease him about his accuracy, Audie handed him four unused rounds. When Audie grew older, it was said he could hit a darting rabbit from the window of a moving car with a .22. 
"God created man but Samuel Colt
made them equal."
The Equalizer
Samuel Colt got the idea for invention that made him famous while working as a young man on the sailing ship Corlo—he was watching the wheel of the ship when the idea of the rotating chamber came to him. “Regardless of which way the wheel was spun, each spoke always came in direct line with a clutch that could be set to hold it . . . the revolver was conceived!” Colt’s single-action six-chamber revolver revolutionized firearms. Colt’s style of manufacture was different as well—he wanted all the parts of his guns machined to precise tolerances so the parts were interchangeable instead of requiring each gun to be hand tooled by a gunsmith. That meant parts could be ordered by customers when they needed to be replaced, and the guns could be assembled in a very efficient method invented by Samuel Colt—the assembly line.

Sousa at the range
The Shotgun Maestro
Known as The March King John Philips Sousa is one of the most famous composers in American history—but he had a hobby. He was one of the best trapshooters in the United States. He won trophies and medals in many national competitions, and it wasn’t unusual for him to shoot more than 15,000 targets in a single season—with an average accuracy rate of between 75 and 98 percent during competitions. He was elected president of the American Amateur Trapshooters’ Association in 1916, and in 1917, became chairman of the National Association of Shotgun Owners.

1835 Jackson assasination attempt
Divine Intervention?
In 1835, Andrew Jackson became the first President that was subjected to an assassination attempt. As he was leaving a memorial service in the United States Capitol, and as he walked through the Rotunda surrounded by friends, a man stepped out the crowd, pulled a pistol, and shot him in the chest. Before anybody could react, the man pulled and fired a second pistol. Surprised, but uninjured, Andrew Jackson went after the assailant with his cane. The shooter was apprehended by a group that included United States Representative Davey Crockett. The priming caps on both pistols had fired, but failed to ignite the charge in the pistols. They were later re-primed with fresh caps, and both guns fired flawlessly. Nobody knows why they failed to go off—they were properly loaded. A few believed that Jackson was extraordinarily lucky—most believed it was Divine Intervention that saved Andrew Jackson’s life that day. A statue of Jackson still stands to this day in the Capitol Rotunda where that attempt occurred.


Todd E. Creason is an author and novelist whose work includes the award-winning non-fiction historical series Famous American Freemasons and the novels One Last Shot (2011) and A Shot After Midnight (2012). He's currently working on the third novel Shot to Hell which will be released in Spring 2014

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Farewell To Lauren Bacall: Bogie Must've Whistled

"You know how to whistle, don't you Steve?  
You just put your lips together and blow."

~Lauren Bacall
To Have and Have Not (1944)

Lauren Bacall, the last of the great movie actresses from Hollywood's Golden Age passed away this week at the age of 89.  A remarkable actress and forever linked with Hollywood Legend Humphrey Bogart since the day they met on the set of To Have and Have Not in 1944.  She would later become his fourth and last wife.

Most of my friends know I'm an old movie fanatic, and I just watched one of Bogie and Bacall's best a couple weeks ago--To Have and Have Not.  If you haven't seen it you should.  It's on TCM frequently, and it's one of those movies that just couldn't be much better.  I mean even the guy that played the band leader in the club was none other than Hoagy Carmichael.

The famous line in To Have and Have Not was Lauren's-- "If you need anything just whistle."  Bogart gave her a whistle after the filming of that movie with that line inscribed on it.  What a lot of people don't know is that when Humphrey Bogart died in 1957, Lauren Bacall had that whistle interred with his remains.  Perhaps Bogie got tired of waiting for her and finally used it.
Lauren Bacall (1924 - 2014)
And now they are together again.  Here's looking at you, kid.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Writing Inspiration Behind "Old Blue"

This 1960 Ford F-100 is very close to what Old Blue would look like--except
I always pictured Old Blue as a step side.
Now that my new novel Shot To Hell has been released, it's hard to believe I've finally finished the Twin Rivers series.  It's seems like Levi and Tori Garvey have been with me forever, but in truth, they didn't exist before 2009--the story has been with me for a long time, but the characters I finally created to tell that story haven't.

People often ask me where I got the ideas for the small town of Twin Rivers and the characters.  In truth they come from everywhere.  Old Blue for instance--Levi's 1960 F-100 pick-up.  I don't own one, and I never have.  The idea came from a gift my eldest daughter gave me for my 40th birthday.  She asked me what I wanted and I told her, "a new truck!"  I got one, but it wasn't what I expected.  She bought a little wooden model truck, put it together, and painted it blue.

It's the honest truth--this is Old Blue.  This was the original idea for Levi Garvey's iconic blue Ford pickup. 
The original Old Blue--a gag birthday gift from my daughter Jaclyn.
Everything else I know about those trucks came from a guy I met at a car show back in 2010.  He had a 1960 Ford F-100, and told me everything I ever needed to know about that particular model.  More than enough details to last me all three novels, including quite a bit I never used--like for instance, that Lee Iococca was in charge of the truck division at Ford when this particular truck was designed.  I never worked that piece of trivia in.
Oddly enough, that truck collector that spent so much time with me and educated me about old antique trucks was wearing a Panama hat--just in case you're wondering where Levi Garvey's hat came from.
So as you're reading the new novel, now you'll know where at least two of my ideas came from.  And be sure to read the first two--One Last Shot and A Shot After Midnight (in that order).  Both of those are available in paperback, and in both Nook and Kindle formats. 


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Plagiarism: A Clarification Of Facts

Last October, I learned that some of my articles were being posted on another blog with somebody else's name on them.  I've been doing this for a long time, and that doesn't happen very often.  I get reposted a lot--that's not a bad thing.  When you're a writer you want to be read.  Usually, when I've had problems in the past, the problem is my name isn't on the piece at all.  Usually I contact the site administrator and he'll fix it--it's usually just an oversight, or the administrator didn't know where the piece had come from originally.  That's never been a problem for me--I've always had a very lenient sharing policy.  Still do.  You want to use something you find on here, please do--just let me know.  Not one single problem in all the years I've been doing this, and not one time have I rejected a request to repost or reprint one of my pieces--you'll find my stuff all over the internet, in Masonic publications, even in small publications like Scottish Rite Valley and Blue Lodge newsletters. 

This deal in October was a little different however, because he didn't just leave my name off the pieces--he put his name on the by-line!  We tried to reach him, but this guy completely ignored us.  Robert Johnson, the Managing Editor of the Midnight Freemasons tried to contact him several times through several different means.  He simply did not respond to any of his inquiries.  So I fired off a hot one--a very strongly worded email.  That got his attention--he responded to that immediately.  Some individuals can't seem to hear you unless you're yelling.  My request was simple--either attribute the pieces you're posting on your website correctly, or take them down.  In the end, and several nasty emails later, he took them down.  He's now taken to disparaging me at every opportunity, and dishonestly--like I've done something wrong.  So I feel it's time for a clarification--I'm tired of people asking me about it.  Here's his most recent comment when asked why my content wasn't featured on his website:

"Unfortunately, Bro. Todd Creason's outrageous demands forced us to remove his site from our news feeds and related articles.  We followed the Copyright Use Policy stated on his website, but apparently that wasn't good enough.  He has since changed his rules, I mean Copyright Use Policy."

My "Outrageous Demands"
My outrageous demands were to either give me credit for the pieces I'd written and his name were on, or take them down.  I don't think that's outrageous.  Do you?

We Followed His Use Policy
It should be clear from the examples below he most certainly did not.  My use policy was very open at the time.  It said, in part, "feel free to use anything you find here, but be sure you give credit where credit is due, and provide links back to the original article."  I don't think you have to be a genius to see that in the photo below, that I'm not listed as the author--he is.  Does that seem like "credit where credit is due?"  We did change our Use Policy and it should be obvious why--blatant misuse and abuse on the part of this website. 

I blurred it, but that's not my name in the by-line, it's his.  There are 1018 people
out there that think he's one hell of a writer.  This is only one article.

On a few of the pieces he claimed authorship on (that were actually mine) he did list me as a "source" at the bottom--but very few.  He kept arguing this point as if that was good enough.  First of all, it wasn't on all of them, and secondly, most people know what a source is--a source is material you reference for your facts when you write a book or an article.  I've been researching and writing for a long, long time, so believe me, that's the universal definition of "source" when it comes to writing.  As you can see there's no links back to me, or my website, or the Midnight Freemasons--both of those links lead back to different forums on his website.  And his name again appears at the bottom. 

On a couple of the "borrowed pieces" I was listed as a "source" at the bottom.

He was unwilling to attribute the pieces properly, so I insisted that my pieces be taken down. It was not his choice as he suggested--he wasn't given a choice.  It was my work, and I'm not going to allow somebody else to put their name on it.  I made that decision, and my friends at the Midnight Freemasons (all twelve of them) on their own, made the group decision they didn't want their material posted there either for the exact same reason--we work too hard on that material to have somebody else take credit for it. 

I also decided to keep my disagreement with this individual private--and I have.  I've never named him or the website out of respect for the people that enjoy that website, and those that contribute to it.  After all, we are all Masons, and even though we won't always agree, I had hoped we could remain respectful. 

At least that's the way I decided to handle it.  Perhaps he'll come to understand that there is a better way of dealing with disagreements than airing dirty laundry and trying to embarrass others in public.  I know he'll see this.  He's a big fan of mine.  Although I didn't know it, I was once a major contributor to his website.  :-)

I didn't write this to embarrass anyone--if that had been my intention I would have named names.  I do it to illustrate a point.  We live in a very copy/paste world, and for some reason many believe that anything you find on the internet can be used.  But writers like me (and the Midnight Freemasons) spend countless hours creating these articles and pieces.  I spent a couple weeks working on the article I used in this example alone--just so somebody else could lift it and claim it as their own.  Plagiarism is theft.  It's very frustrating for creative people to have their little "brain children" swiped by less-than-scrupulous individuals.

So remember that when you're reposting material.  Always give the author credit.  It's never cool to write your name on somebody else's paper.

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