Nitty gritty, radio waves

Barring unforeseen circumstances, such as me being seized in the night and taken to a FEMA camp with other dissidents, I am scheduled for a podcast interview with The Star Chamber on Wednesday, March 10th, at 2100 US Eastern Time. Because of who I am and how I tend to say things no-one cares to hear, that is, the truth, I wrote an outline and sent it to the host, reducing the likelihood that either of us will have our doors kicked in by the FBI for this interview.

I said reducing. I’m not ruling it out.

Continue reading “Nitty gritty, radio waves”

“We stand on the shoulders of giants”


Tuesday morning, the 20th, my father-in-law, Leslie Hanusz, died at home, in his bed, with his wife, daughters, and granddaughters, about the house.  A peaceful ending to what was otherwise an amazing life.

Born in Budapest, Hungary, June 17th, 1926, to a wealthy, industrialist family, his primary schooling was with the Piarist Fathers.  His secondary schooling was at a military academy in Marosvásárhely.  He graduated 2nd in his class and was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant of cavalry in December 1944.  Assigned a platoon, he was sent to central Poland, and spent the remaining months of WWII trying not to be shot by the Red Army; his stories from this time are harrowing.

Rotated off the front lines two weeks before the German surrender, he and his men found themselves on a Danish island, POWs of the British Army.  Some months later, responding to a telegram from his father (the communists had taken all they had), Les resolved to return home.

He was arrested by the AVO (secret police) at the border and tortured for about three months.  Surprising his jailers by not dying, he was used as slave labor first in the fields by the River Tisza, then later as an excavator for the new metro lines under the Danube; decompression sickness and aneurisms killed many… his mother would use a hot iron on the nitrogen bubbles in his skin on his back when he came off shift.  ‘Paroled,’ but watched, he worked in the black, gray, and white market to help his family & friends.  When the Counter-revolution of late-1956 began, rather than immediately fleeing, he used his (rare) commercial driver’s license to shuttle hundreds to the Austrian border and freedom.  Only when the Russians came did he know it was time to go.  Sick with a high fever, he lied and bribed his way across the frontier.

Weeks later, he and some other Hungarian refugees were allowed – sponsored by Ed Sullivan – to immigrate to the US.  Working two jobs as a laborer, he began teaching himself English.  Through a mutual friend in the refugee community, he met Susanna Kerekes, whom he soon married.  Now working three jobs, one being a engineering draftsman for Dow Chemical, he came to the attention of the head of that department.  Given increasing difficult assignments – and constantly learning more engineering and receiving more professional certifications – in ten years Les was one of only a handful of men in the US that could design and certify very high-pressure vessels and pipelines, leading to his travelling constantly about the country, but always making time for his wife and two growing daughters, who, so taken with the marvel of a man they had for a father, became chemical engineers.

I first met him in the Spring of 1989, while dating one of those daughters.  He was pleasantly surprised to find someone who could keep up with his free-wheeling discussions of history and politics… even if I couldn’t keep up with him at drinking; try though I did.  Whether it was a Manhattan in the winter or a Martini in the summer, these conversations went on for over a quarter century.  His keen insights would surprise me every time.

After a couple of heart attacks and some joint replacement, he finally started slowing down around the age of 86.  He still kept in constant correspondence with friends now all over the world, but fewer every year.  He’d a hard first half of his life, but was certainly blessed for the second.  He was my father-in-law, but more importantly, my good friend.


Only fourteen days left until NaNoWriMo begins.  About a week ago I finally dug out the script I’d written for what would have  been the webcomic, Poisoned Hearts, thinking I recalled it well enough to serve as a first chapter.


While I did recall most of it, the characters were already reforming in my mind for the new story; so, personalities are different, huge timing changes . . . at least the locations….    Nope:  I’d reimagined what the lab at Neuroi looks like, based upon my horror short.

So as it is, what was a first chapter of material is now a stack of notes for Cursed Hearts.  That still puts me miles ahead of where I started two years ago with The Fourth Law:  one mental image and a 20-second sound bite.  Barring any unforeseen RealLife consequences – as such happened last November – I’m feeling very good about this project.  Of course it’s tempting to actively make notes now, but I think that violates the spirit of the month-long challenge.  Dreaming, okay; notes, not so much.

My other October project:  converting my father-in-law’s oral history into written history, has also not gone as well as I’d hoped.  Once I sat down to write all that I recalled as a framework for him to add onto, I realized just how much I’ve forgotten over the past ten years.  Sure, I can ‘see’ the images:  him and his cavalry detachment caught in the second floor of a Polish cheese factory when a Red Army platoon motors up.  Him in a AVO prison, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs to his right and a 2-star general to his left.  I think I shall reallocate this to January, when it’s dark and cold and we’re all inside (December will be given over to editing then publishing Cursed Hearts by Christmas).

Not much meat in this post, but that’s what happens when a writer is between project.  Expect things to get very interesting quite soon.  Cheers!



I know what I’m doing for NaNoWriMo this year.  So, what do I do with October?

Ah.  From a tangential mention from my beloved wife, I’m going to spend October writing down the facts my father-in-law has told me over the past quarter century… WWII, the Hungarian Gulag, his escape in 1956.  It lends itself to a story, but I want the facts down before he dies, so he can check it.  Should take no more than two weeks.

You’ll be hard pressed to believe it when you see the raw data.