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Mike "Pinky" McDonald's 1997 audio cassette features these songs for children he wrote:
  • Warm Sun
  • Big Ol' Hug
  • Summertime
  • One of Those Mornings
  • I'm Going' Fishing
  • I'm a Cat
  • Living in Alaska
  • Spring Break
  • Every Body Take a Hold
  • I Had a Dream/Stu's Nightmare
  • Moose
  • The World is a Rainbow
  • Hey Hey Music
A Big Alaskan Hug

The following Alaskan musicians also contributed:

  • Stu Schulman (co-writer of "I Had a Dream/Stu's Nightmare")
  • Robert Hays
  • Marge Ford
  • Keith Junot
  • Kurt Pasch
  • Dave Arrowsmith
  • Sam & Eddie McDonald
  • Denali School Chorus
  • West High Swing Choir
  • Peter Strandjord

This is available at most Anchorage music stores or from:

Nightwork Records
355 West Potter Drive
Anchorage AK 599518


This 2000 release features Mike's "Sourdough MIke" character he created & portrayed as part of his over 2,400 shows at the Fly-By-Night CLub in Anchorage, Alaska. Those songs are:
Mike's Favourite Songs
  • North to Alaska
  • Sixteen Tons
  • What a Wonderful World
  • I'm Goin' Fishin'
  • Here Comes the Sun
  • Lucky Old Sun
  • They Call the Wind Maria
  • Goodbye Summer
  • Alaska's Flag
  • The Christmas Song
Other Alaskans who contributed their talent with Mike on this CD include:

  • Stu Schulman
  • Kurt Riemann
  • Paul Roseland
  • students & teachers of Whaley School
  • Kristen Kemerling (photography & design of CD cover on location at Crow Creek Mine, Girdwood, Alaska)
  • Surreal Studios, Anchorage, Alaska

This is available at most Anchorage music stores or from:

Nightwork Records
355 West Potter Drive
Anchorage AK 599518


I Like Mike!

Recorded Live at The Alaskan Whaler (Anchorage's Hottest Eastside Blues Club) on June 17. 2001, this CD features the best local professional blues artists who donated their time & talent to produce this fundraising CD origin party for the benefit of Mike McDonald & his family as a result of Mike's diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

The CD (Freedom Writer was there boogeying, also) includes the following songs & performers:

  • Paint My Mailbox Blue (Big Mitch & the Son Henry Band)
  • Talk Too Much (Southside Blues Band)*
  • Rockabilly Greaser (Joey Fender)
  • Papa Come Quick (Arment Hammer Band)
  • Roll With Ya Baby (Mo Betta Blues)
  • Kansas City (Big Robert T & The Son Henry Band)
  • Who is He And What is He To You (Armand D & the Real Deal)
  • Still Got the Blues (Killer Rabbit)
  • Candy Bars & Chicks (Joey Fender)
  • Take It Home (Armand D & The Real Deal)
  • Killin Floor (Son Henry Band)
  • Bolt Out of the Blue (Fishy Pete)
  • Song for Pinky (Ken Sease)
  • Built For Comfort (Southside Blues Band)*

Mike plays drums & sings on astericked (*) songs. Boo Rody organized the event & designed the CD album covers. As Boo wrote on the album cover:

"The treasure you hold in your hands is more than silver or gold; it is the realization of a gift of love, friendship and brotherhood to one man from all his friends. Mike McDonald, besides being a Class A blues musician, has made it his life work to put the spirit of music into the lives of our children, and, in many cases, a smile where there was none."

This is available at most Anchorage music stores or from:

Nightwork Records
355 West Potter Drive
Anchorage AK 599518


Living in RhthymIn the summer & fall of 2001, many more Anchorage musicians climbed on the bandwagon & rode to the Surreal Studios of Anchorage to produce a CD for "A Benefit for the Sammy & Eddie McDonald Educational Trust Fund" entitled "Livin In Rhythm - Alaska Celebrates "Sourdough" Mike McDonald.

Produced by Mr. Whitekeys (Of "Fly-By-Night Club ownership & performance fame) & Kurt Riemann of Surreal Studios (who also engineered & mixed the musical artistries into a final CD product), and with CD album photography by Tim McKittrick & Mr. Whitekeys, and with graphic assistance by Cynder Gray & Richard Carnahan, this entertaining CD comes to us from Night Works & We Are Spenard Records.

Songs & performers include:

  • Higher and Higher (Miss Alice Welling, with Chris Alexander, Stu Schulman, Mr. Whitekeys, Pat Ryan, Jimmy Wright, Bruce Cross, Billy Neumeister, Patti Greene, & Ellen Thompson).
  • In A Small Town (Melissa Bledsoe Fischer, with Chris Alexander, Stu Schulman, Joey Fender, Dirk Westfall, Vinnie Palazzotto, Kurt Riemann, & Marge Ford).
  • Let The Rhythm Be Your Guide (The Soulman Sam Band, with Big Mitch, Stu Schulman, Tom Bargelski, Chris Alexander, Dan Osteen, Kerry Maule, Dave Arrowsmith, & Vinnie Palazzotto).
  • Sourdough's Boogie Woogie (Mr. Whitekeys, with Melissa Bledsoe Fischer, Chris Alexander, Jimmy Wright, & Billy Neumeister).
  • Angel From Montgomery (The Backstreet Blues Band, with Patti Greene, Tom Lambert, Mr. Whitekeys, Pat Ryan, Stu Schulman, Bruce Cross, Marge Ford, Linda Kellen, Ellen Thompson, Tim Tucker, Alison King, & Chris Alexander).
  • Change Is Gonna Come (The Soulman Sam Band, with Stu Schulman, Tom Bargelski, Chris Alexander, Kaz Johnson, Dave Arrowsmith, & Vinnie Palazzotto).
  • Don't Even Think About It (Killer Rabbit, with Alison King, Gary Lamar, Tom Lambert, Patti Greene, Eric Baldwin, Chris Alexander, & Monica Lettner).
  • Long As I Can See The Light (The Backstreet Blues Band, with Patti Greene, Chris Alexander, Tom Lambert, Mr. Whitekeys, Pat Ryan, Stu Schulman, Jimmy Wright, & Bruce Cross).
  • Shadrack (Mr. Whitekeys, with Kenny Blackwell, Big Mitch, Chris Alexander, Stu Schulman, Pat Ryan, Justin Somaduroff, Jimmy Wright, Billy Neumeister, Alice Welling, Monica Lettner, Ellen Thompson, Carolina Paredes, Tim Tucker, Alison King, Patti Greene, & Dave Fitzgerald).
  • Prayer Rabbit (Blue Earth, with Billy Neumeister, Alan Schmiedeberg, Kenny Jameson, Johny Jones, & Marge Ford).
  • Ten Times Better (Killer Rabbit, with Alison King, Gary Lamar, Tom Lambert, Patti Greene, Eric Baldwin, Justin Somaduroff, Monica Lettner, Ellen Thompson, & Tim Tucker).
  • The Guns of Navarone/Rocky Top (Nervis Rex, with Scott Emery, Carlos Martinez, John Fox Worthington, Don Cosgrove, Rich Olivera, George Mancini, Chris Alexander, & Joey Fender).
  • Sixteen Tons (Nervis Rex, with Scott Emery, Don Cosgrove, Carlos Martinez, John Fox Worthington, Rich Olivera, George Mancini, Chris Alexander, Kristin Cosgrove, Zuzi Rogers, Catie Morelle, Patti Greene, Kathryn Petros, & Kurt Riemann).
  • Peace (Mike McDonald, with Stu Schulman, Mr. Whitekeys, Dave Arrowsmith, & Vinnei Palazzotto).
  • If I Needed You (The Frozen Pony Band, with Jeanene Walker, Will Triplett, Stu Schulman, Echo Townsend, Dave Arrowsmith, Vinnie Palazzotto, & Bernard Glansbeek).
  • Livin' In Rhythm (Mr. Whitekeys, with Alice Welling, Kenny Blackwell, Soulman Sam, Chris Alexander, Stu Schulman, Pat Ryan, Joey Fender, Kerry Maule, Kaz Johnson, Pat Owens, Jimmy Wright, Billy Neumeister, Patti Greene, Kurt Riemann, & Marge Ford).

This is available at most Anchorage music stores or from:

Nightwork Records
355 West Potter Drive
Anchorage AK 599518

Timothy A. Wood AD

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This CD from Sony Music is a collection of songs of Hope, Freedom, & Inspiration to benefit the Twin Towers Fund (aiding the families of Police, Fire, EMS, & other city employees involved in the rescue efforts of September 11, 2001.

Artists include:

  • Celine Dion
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Mariah Carey
  • Tramaine Hawkins
  • Bob Dylan
  • Simon & Garfunkel
  • John Mellenkamp
  • Billy Gilman
  • Frank Sinatra
  • Lee Greenwood
  • Pete Seege
  • Gloria Estefan
  • Mahalia Jackson
  • The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
  • Bill Withers

You can purchase this CD thru this website from for $11.99.

Book Review
by Gordon Thomas

Reviewed by Mark Dankof

TEMPE, AZ . . . On the eve of the first war in the 21st Century, one perplexing question remains: the role of China. The answer comes in what will be seen as one of the most important books of all time. It explains how China will use the crisis to launch itself as a new Super-Power - and become America's new major enemy.

China by 2015 will have deployed tens to several tens of missiles with nuclear warheads targeted against the United States, mostly more-survivable land and sea mobile missiles. It will also have hundreds of shorter-range ballistic and cruise missiles for use in regional conflicts. Some of these shorter-range missiles will have nuclear warheads; most will be armed with conventional warheads.

That prediction is from a CIA briefing paper to the Bush Administration. It is one of almost 100 pages of never-before published official documents in Seeds of Fire: China and the Story Behind the Attack on America, by Gordon Thomas.

Using his unsurpassed contacts in Israel, Washington, London and Europe, Thomas tells a story no one else could tell. As the author of the global best-seller, Gideon's Spies (published in 45 countries), he has written on intelligence matters for a quarter-century.

In Seeds of Fire he has created a masterpiece that reveals and explains much that is still secret. Seeds of Fire explains the headlines of tomorrow - and sets the scene for events that will change our lives forever. Essential reading for all those who want to understand the mind-set of the Bush Administration as it goes to war, Thomas takes you inside the secret briefings that finally led to Bush launching the first war of the 21st century. It reveals the crucial background concerning President Bush and his father in relation to China and explains why China refuses to back the West in its declared war on terrorism. Thomas reveals the story behind the downing of the US spy plane incident earlier this year and exposes the secret dealings between Russia and China - which explain their own roles in their lip-service support for countering terrorism.

Official documents never published before also include many that pertain to the Chinese acquisition of nuclear intelligence information from the Los Alamos National Laboratory on the W-88 Warhead; and proof of the link between newspaper magnate, Robert Maxwell and Los Alamos. Thomas also includes memos and redacted documents about an alleged copyright infringement by the U.S. Department of Justice - referred to by William Hamilton, President of INSLAW, developer of PROMIS (Prosecutors Management Information Systems) software -- as "the largest Global Software Theft in History." These documents show Hamilton's thwarted attempts to obtain the truth from the U.S. Government. They further indicate the continued cover-up that has hampered among others, the RMCP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) investigation in Canada.

.On September 11, 2001, the same day the World Trade Center and Pentagon were hit by terrorists, a Chinese Peoples Liberation Army transport aircraft from Beijing landed in Kabul with the most important delegation the ruling Taliban had ever received. They had come to sign the contract with Afghanistan that Osama bin-Laden had asked for, that would provide the Taliban with missile-tracking, state of the art communications, and air defense systems in exchange for the Taliban's promise to end the attacks by Muslim extremists in China's north-western regions. Hours later, CIA Director George Tenet received a coded "red alert" message from Mossad's Tel Aviv headquarters that presented what he called a "worst case scenario" - that China would use a ruthless surrogate, bin-Laden, to attack the United States.

History/Current Affairs/Non-Fiction; Dandelion Books - ISBN 1893302547; $25.95

Dandelion Enterprises, Inc.
5250 South Hardy Drive - Ste. 3067
Tempe, Arizona 85283
Tel. 480-897-4452 . Fax 480-897-4453

"The Copper Plate"
by Mark Dankof

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."
--St. Paul in his letter to the Philippians, chapter 4: 8-9

Biblical anthropology assures us that the condition of sin is one which is pervasive in all of humanity (Romans 5: 12f). There are assuredly many manifestations of sin in this cosmos and in our individual lives, but two which especially come to mind in the midst of the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001 are first, the egregious tendency to focus upon that which is ignoble, evil, impure, hateful, and even clinically demonic. The second manifestation is related to the first--that as the focus of our thoughts becomes despairingly dark, those things that are tangible evidence of Christ's love in our midst are simultaneously ignored or missed altogether.

My nights are often filled as of late with sleeplessness and concern over the future. One night after leaving work at midnight, I treated myself to a mile's walk with my long-haired Dachshund, operating under the assumption that this night trek in the colder air of Philadelphia's pervasive autumn would create an aura conducive to fitful rest. The assumption proved erroneous. After the walk came almost three hours in bed, fully awake, alternating the obligatory tossing and turning with prolonged stares at the characterless ceiling of my basement apartment. In this condition, my mind repristinated the images seen the previous day in the national and international media, snapshots of death, suffering, mass murder, economic dislocation, crumbling infrastructure, and promises of future atrocities yet to come against innocents both here in America and abroad. I could not turn it off.

About 3: 15 a.m. I decided to watch a foreign film purchased recently at Barnes and Noble, a 1998 Iranian film with English subtitles, entitled "Children of Heaven." It is simply a marvelous film, the story of a poor Iranian working class family, with special focus on a young boy, Ali, and his sister, Zahir, and what transpires after the former accidentally loses his sister's shoes subsequent to a trip to the cobbler on her behalf. I will elaborate no further on the plot, in case you wish to see it, but will emphasize that at the end of two hours, my mind was no longer occupied with thoughts of terror, suffering, and national disaster. I was, finally, attuned to St. Paul's admonition in Philippians 4, thinking about that which is "true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy." For this I thanked God and two Iranian children, neither of whom I have ever met.

I was still unable to sleep. The reason this time was the incessant mental image of a copper plate ensconced in the storage locker of my apartment. I had procured it a over a quarter of a century ago as a young man in Iran, from an Iranian Jewish entrepreneur who ran a copper and brass shop on Saltanatabad Avenue in north Tehran. The scenes from "Children of Heaven" continued to remind me of my self-imposed promises to polish and clean the plate for display in my study, as a reminder of better times in my life and in the world at large. I decided spontaneously, at 5:30 a.m., to retrieve the plate and to resurrect its condition.

I felt dyspeptic when the plate retrieval proved to be a brutal reminder of my own failure to provide adequate care for something special that was connected to a past life in a place I'd not be likely to ever see again. The dilapidated, oxidized condition of the plate seemed to be irreversible, the past beauty of the copper past redemption and resurrection. What it had been, and what I had allowed it to become, pierced me. I knew that the sole responsibility for discarding its beauty, and the memories attached to it, was mine. The Law of Paul and Luther had convicted me once more of the sin of irresponsibility, ungratefulness, the failure to love and to care. Duly pronounced guilty under the Law, I decided to begin the potentially fruitless attempt at a new beginning--with two bottles of Brasso, a pile of cleaning rags, and as much physical application and mental concentration as could be mustered in a desperate attempt to recover the beauty of my plate. And the memories attached to its past--and to mine.

Over time and with excruciating effort, I managed to restore enough of the luster of the plate to restore a reflective image of myself. Being sufficiently encouraged, my polishing efforts were redoubled. As I worked incessantly, in the context of an ongoing encounter with my own visual image reflected in the improving bronze hue of the engraved Persian copper, my mind began to travel in a linear reversal, to an idyllic summer 27 years ago. I was suddenly 19 years old again, visiting my American parents in Iran. It was a time before the storm of revolution and hostage-taking, a time to learn about an ancient and Biblical land, and to spend weekends in quiet time with God.

The first night vision pertained to a place called Lar Valley. At night, one sees not individual constellations, but entire galaxies with the naked eye. It is entirely still, except for the constant flow of the river which runs through it. I do not know if the 14th century Persian poet had this hauntingly beautiful, surreal place in mind when he wrote:

"Lie down beside the flowing stream
And see life passing by and know
That of the world's transient nature
This one sign is enough for us."

The second night vision, as I polished the plate, returned me to old Armenia, now Azerbaijan Iran. I was again a pilgrim to the Armenian Festival of St. Thaddeus and to the Church of St. Stephanos. A man I had not known, and would never see again, encountered me on a narrow pathway through the mountains as I walked alone toward a higher plateau for a better view of the encampment and the festival below. He evidenced no understanding of my greeting and address in American English, but smiled, raised his right hand in greeting, and then used the same right hand to retrieve something from his pocket. He offered it to me and clasped my right hand with both of his own. I felt a metal object pressed into my right palm. Later that night at the camp, I would be told that the man had given me a "Cross of the Persian Christians."

The third night vision brought me to Pasargadae and to the tomb of Cyrus the Great, who inaugurated the era of the Achaemenid kings of ancient Persia, the zenith of the glory of Persia past. In this vision of the night I am standing on the Dasht-e Morghab, the plain of Pasargadae. The tomb stands alone in the midst of a starkly barren plain; the steps up to it are about five feet wide with the tomb chamber itself rising from six distinctive tiers. There is a single, narrow doorway on the northwest side. In my hands are the Old Testament book of Ezra where I am now heard reading the opening verses of this text, against the backdrop of the sounds of a moderate, steady desert wind and the accompanying displacement of particles of dust and dirt moving across the landscape, some of which strike the tomb edifice and me as I stand before it. My voice echoes the text which says:

"In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing:

"This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you--may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem. And the people of any place where survivors may now be living are to provide him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.'"

This scene quickly fades from view. I am now transported to the fourth and final night vision of twenty seven years ago in the mysterious, linear reversal of time. I am once again in the Conversational English language school in downtown Tehran. My job is an easy one--to repeat sentences and phrases in American English for two hours. The students range in age from about thirteen to thirty. Many of the names and the faces in this classroom are now flooding back. Out of all of these, I see the young woman who always sits in the front row, directly in front of my podium and chalkboard. She wears the chador to the class each evening, and does not remove it once inside the room. Her face, however, is unveiled and fully visible. Her eyes are vast, all encompassing, and all knowing. Her smile is radiant. I now remember her intelligence, which seems to border on a penetrating omniscience. But the most striking facet is this--that the outward appearance of pristine beauty and purity is also internally real. This is the mystery and the attraction. The outside and the inside of the "cup and dish" are both clean (Matthew 23: 25-26). This I shall remember always.

The night vision continues. The principal of the school, Mr. [name withheld by author] , has consented to something controversial. The last hour of the last class for the week will be a time when the students may ask me questions in English about myself, my family, my history, and my belief system. He confesses that he is nervous about this exercise, just as he recognizes its value and its inevitability in the context of the Western classroom. After all, his students are striving to get a university education in America or Britain. Using the classroom this way is a new, vital, but potentially dangerous thing. He trusts me to handle political and theological questions with the greatest of care. I now recognize that this man does, in fact, trust me. His future as principal is now in my hands. The hour is a delightful one and Mr. [ ] knows at the conclusion that all has gone well. His students conclude their week in great joy. Mr. [ ] concludes his week in both joy and palpable relief. Our mutual trust is reaffirmed.

In the final sequence of this fourth night vision, I am arriving at the classroom early. It is the first session since the students' elicitation of my biography under Mr. [ ] watchful supervision. There is a plain, but unmarked box on the podium, accompanied by a plain envelope with the uncertain printing of my full name on the front. My instinct tells me to place them in a hidden compartment underneath the podium surface, where I will retrieve them and take them home at the conclusion of the evening class. More students have now arrived. The rote recitations and guided memorizations begin. The young woman in the chador is in her usual location. The source of the box and the envelope now dawns on me.

The fourth night vision concludes with a reading. I am alone in my bedroom in my parents' apartment in north Tehran. There is a letter inside the envelope, which is now unfolded and read. It says:

July 10, 1974

Dear Mr. Mark Dankhof [sic]:

I am glad that you come to us as teacher. I am glad that the IIAF [Imperial Iranian Air Force] sends you here for this summer. Mr. [ ] says you will come back each summer now and teach here. He likes you. My friends like you. I like you. I pray you will not tell Mr. [ ] about my writing.

I am glad Mr. [ ] lets me ask you about your God. It is a hard understanding about how your God is both one and three. And His Son is a Son and is also God. This is a hard understanding. I never hear of the Martin Luther from Germany. If I find his understanding, I find your understanding My father is IIAF officer. He says your father helps Iran's people, makes us the strong.

You have your writings. I have Koran, Hadith, and Ejma. I am Shiite. I have twelve Imam. The way from Mohammed is though [sic] daughter Fatima and son in law Ali. Ali is First Imam. I believe in Twelfth Imam, too. He is gone a long time. He will come. He will bring the Justice. All the leaders wait for Him.

You know Hoseyn? He is Third Imam, Son of Ali, Grandson of Prophet Mohammed. He does the suffer and death of your Jesus at Karbala. It is in Iraq. British teacher teaches it as Moharram, 680 your date, the ten day after.

Your Jesus--has He the First Imam, the Third Imam, the Twelfth Imam? I find your understanding.

My box has book of Hafez, Rumi, Ferdowski [sic], Sadi, Jami.

Your [sic] learn please about Sufis. We are pure, clean, and love the people and God. We join with Him.

There is no God but Allah, Mohammed is His Prophet, Ali is his Assistant. British teacher shows me to write this.

I am your Student. Signed, [name withheld by author].

The mystery of 27 years duration is simply this. How does the woman in the chador know the date of my birthday? Is my student employment file with IIAF this wide open? She is indeed Pure, in Union with God, Omniscient, and, as Erasmus would have said, Knows the Sources. I shall not forget her.

The pungent odor of Brasso finally ends the labor of love and the night visions. It is now early dawn. The rags are piled virtually to knee level. My reflected image in the hue of burnished bronze is definitive. The storage room door bursts open. My wife is in the doorway. She asks, "What on earth are you doing in here? It's seven a.m. How long have you been in here?" My reply is an honest and simple one. "I finished cleaning my copper plate. I reclaimed it as mine." She then asked, "Is it time for me to turn on your Internet news sites or the news on television?"

"Neither," I replied with inner satisfaction. "Today, I'm going to think about that which is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. And the God of peace will be with us."

(Pastor Mark Dankof is a member of the clergy roster of the Lutheran Ministerium and Synod–USA. He was the Constitution Party’s candidate for the U. S. Senate in Delaware last fall and currently pursues post-graduate work in theology and German at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. His coming interview on the Middle East with Dr. Mitri Raheb, pastor of Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem and Executive Director of the International Center of Bethlehem, will appear in a future edition of Christian News, the nation’s orthodox Lutheran weekly newspaper since 1962. Pastor Dankof can be reached by e-mail through his web page at American and international readers interested in reaching Christian News for subscription information or Letters to the Editor may contact Herman Otten, Editor at Copyright © 2001. All Rights Reserved

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