"Beneath the Mountain of Birds" is available!

My good friend John W. Perry authorized the release of "Beneath The Mountain Of Birds," a collection of travel articles about Polynesia, Melanesia, and Australia originally published in the 1980's and early 1990's in various American magazines and newspapers.

This collection of 23 articles contains 20 republished articles from those years and three never-before-published articles from the same time period, each with an added introductory paragraph. The articles recount backpacking adventures in Hawai‘i, following in the footsteps of the French artist Paul Gauguin in Tahiti, revisiting a Māori love story in New Zealand, touring a yam garden in the Trobriand Islands in Melanesia, and exploring Australia’s Aboriginal lands in the Northern Territory, among other mini-adventures.


  • “For me, the only real connection with Gauguin in Pape‘ete is the marketplace, still as picturesque and quaint as in Gauguin’s time. Each day is festival day at the market, featuring leis, pigs, ducks, and the fruits of paradise, including bananas, mangoes (a Gauguin phallic symbol in his artwork), and breadfruit.” –From (Tahiti) “The Island of Sensuous Delight.”
  • “The morning I arrived on the island of “two pigtails” a chalked blackboard beside the bar listed the day’s activities, which included putting golf balls on the reef at low tide (I declined) or watching a basket-weaving demonstration near the island’s flagstaff made from a ship’s mast salvaged from a wreck.” –From (Fiji) “The Angels of Heavenly Delight.”
  • “I circumnavigated the heap of yams in imitation of the Victorian child-traveler Alice in Wonderland who tiptoed around a mushroom that served as a seat for a hookah-smoking caterpillar.” –From (Trobriand Islands) “The Moon of Milamala.”
  • “As if in a child’s fairy tale, a pair of herons welcomed me to the island, each parading across the roof of my reef-side bungalow impatiently awaiting low tide to feed on crabs in the nearby tidal pools.” –From (Queensland) “Walking the Gates of Heaven.”
  • “Approaching the park I could almost feel the forest’s coolness surrounding the car. The road narrowed and trees, almost claustrophobic in density, crowded against the edge of the pavement. Yellowish, beam-like shafts of sunlight filtered through the treetops. Eerily, a green silence enveloped the landscape and my rental car. I had entered the Lamington rainforest.” –From (Queensland) “Where the Kookaburra Laughs.”

About John W. Perry

A lifelong researcher and magazine-article writer, John has written more than 300 magazine articles on a diversity of subjects, from European flower history to Caribbean wildlife, from place-name etymology to Micronesian and Hawaiian history. He has written for New York City's Travel & Leisure and Diversions, Santa Barbara's Islands, the travel section of The Los Angeles Times, and numerous airline in-flight magazines.He also wrote 25 percent of the now-defunct Berlitz Traveller's Guide to Hawaii.

Descriptions of Perry are wide-ranging:

The editor of the Berlitz guide was restrained: "Perry, a longtime resident of the Pacific region, is a contributor to several North American and Asia-Pacific magazines. He lives in Honolulu and has traveled the South Seas on magazine assignments."

Continental Micronesia's special airline publication, Pacific Travelogue said: "A confirmed islomane (one who finds islands irresistible), Perry's pastimes include reading 19th century travel books and browsing in antique map stores."

Guam's Islander editors were probably far more exuberant after an evening out with Perry, but in the cold editorial light of the following morning they produced this: "Perry is a mysterious writer who reportedly lives in Honolulu surviving on history and beer."

World Beer Trivia Website Launched

John W. Perry's new World Beer Trivia website, www.worldbeertrivia.com is up and running. The artist is Becky Gallant, and we are really pleased with it.

As with our Alice in Wonderland Trivia website, John is the primary researcher and author on this new site - he insists that Guinness is a bona-fide food group that has given him a happy and long life.

World Beer Trivia is updated regularly. Come visit as much as you like!

Alice in Wonderland Trivia Site Launch!

We just launched John Perry's Alice in Wonderland Trivia website at www.aliceinwonderlandtrivia.com. John has been a longtime friend and colleague who has had a love affair with the Alice for over half a century.

"I remember the day more than 60 years ago when I first met Alice," said John. "It was a rainy summer's afternoon and she sat quietly on the bookshelf of a two-room public library inside a tiny Texas town's red-bricked volunteer fire station. I opened the book and there were drawings of weird animals and deck-of-cards people. "And what is the use of a book without pictures or conversations?" asked Alice. What a curious girl, I thought. Yessiree, this is the book for me.

"The idea of creating a website devoted to trivia related to all-things-Alice occurred to me while researching (and drinking) my favorite draft beer, Guinness, an Irish, not an English, dark brew. In the 1930s and 1950s, advertising wizards hired by the Guinness brewery in Dublin used images of Alice and her non-beer-drinking acquaintances in their marketing literature.

"Like drinking beer, a website devoted to trivia about Alice and her worlds, both historical and modern, seemed to be a noble calling."

We hope you like the site!

Kathleen Valentine - Author

Every so often I come across prose that is...mature. I was reading Kathleen Valentine's "Each Angel Burns" and found myself immediately drawn into a story of ethereal grace and sensuality, tinged with humor. Valentine is one of those rare individuals who has intimate knowledge of human frailities and the best and worst of humanity. She directs scenes by giving power to nuances, and she does it with an emotional and lyrical cadence that I rarely see. 

Valentine deserves your time. This is her blog:


" Each Angel Burns is the story of three people at crossroads in their lives. It is a story of enduring friendship, of faith, of great evil and greater love --- and of how they culminate in a miracle."

This book can be bought on Amazon.

Read the full article...

New Guidebook: How to Permanently Settle IRS Back Taxes

Gary W. Lundgren is an IRS Enrolled Agent and co-author of the new 2012 edition of "Slash IRS Back Taxes," a guide to the IRS Offer in Compromise process.  This is the second edition of the book, and is for taxpayers who are unable to pay IRS back taxes, penalties and interest and who want to apply for permanent relief through the IRS Offer in Compromise Program.

According to Lundgren, the the IRS Offer in Compromise process can be a remarkable opportunity to permanently settle back taxes, but that it may be considered only after other tax payment options have been exhausted.

"The IRS wants to settle these back tax debts once and for all because in the long run it's easier and cheaper for them to deal with taxpayers who are in compliance," says Lundgren.

Read the full article...

Another New Guidebook: How to Find Competent Physicians and Hospitals

"Good Doc, Bad Doc" is for patients and health advocates who need a fast reference to find the best doctor, surgeon or hospital for a particular illness or condition.

Tips include:

A practical, easy-to-read guide. Tips include:

  • How to find the most qualified doctors, surgeons and hospitals.
  • How to do background checks on medical providers.
  • What you should you ask a doctor before you choose them.
  • Learn when teaching hospitals make the most mistakes.
  • How to obtain second and third opinions, and why choosing colleagues of your primary care doctor for those opinions may be inappropriate.
  • When and how to fire a doctor.

"Good Doc, Bad Doc" draws heavily from sections about choosing doctors and hospitals within the book "Right Care, Right Now," the popular guide for patient advocates written by the author. If the reader needs a more comprehensive guide to navigating the U.S. health care system as a patient advocate, "Right Care, Right Now" (ISBN 978-1-938148-02-6, 236 pages) is recommended instead.

Read the full article...

Step by Step Guide for Patient Advocates

"Right Care, Right Now" is one of the best practical, no-nonsense guides about representing a patient in today's health care system that we have ever seen on the market.

We're biased, of course.

But people who find themselves suddenly thrust into the world of health and patient advocacy don't have a lot of time to read massive books that often hijack themselves with story upon story of health care gone awry.

This book was written for people short on time who need information fast.

It contains twenty chapters of powerful patient advocate strategies and techniques, and it is heavily linked with websites references to major research,  physician, hospital, drug, government insurance (Medicare, Medicaid), and health insurance portals.

Read the full article...