The Royal Magician of Oz Trilogy is a 3 volume tale of magic and wonder that recalls the cherished values of friendship, loyalty and courage. This timeless tale of Oz reminds us of the value of overcoming our deepest fears and conquering the challenges that might otherwise defeat us.

Volume One; Magician of Oz, Volume Two; Shadow Demon of Oz and Volume Three; Family of Oz are now available for your reading enjoyment, as well as The Ozian Adventure of Pickleless & Blu.

The Emerald Slippers of Oz
, featuring an Introduction by Roger S. Baum; great grandson of L. Frank Baum, as well as Tails of Oz are also
available for your reading enjoyment.

The newest adventure in Oz, entitled: Nomes of Oz is now available and fast becoming a best-seller in the Land of Oz.

All are available in both paperback and Kindle.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blue Moon Howl for Child Safety!

On Thursday, December 31st. at 6pm, the public is invited to participate in the inaugural Blue Moon Howl for Child Safety on behalf of Heavenlee-Angle Johns.

The Blue Moon Howl for Child Safety will take place at 645 Wabash Avenue in downtown Terre Haute at the Crossroads Plaza in front of the parking garage.

The event will last approximately 15 minutes and is intended to bring more public awareness of the dangers of not having a child properly restrained in a certified and properly installed child safety seat.

The full moon of December 31st is known as a Blue Moon since it is the second full moon in a calendar month. Participants will be encouraged to howl at the full moon in honor of those who have perished or been critically injured as a result of improper child safety seat use in automobiles. In addition, the howling honors those who serve as rescue personnel and see first-hand the results of these injuries.

Heavenlee-Angle Johns was critically injured in an automobile accident on December 13th and is currently recuperating at Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis. She was permanently and totally paralyzed as a result of the accident, which was compounded by the fact that, according to Indiana State Police reports, she was not secured in a proper child seat and was restrained only by a factory-installed lap belt.

The Blue Moon Howl for Child Safety is sponsored by C.H.A.N.C.E.S for Indiana Youth and the Safe Kids program, the Terre Haute Children's Museum, Ryves Youth Center at Etling Hall, the Indiana State Police and the family of Heavenlee-Angle Johns.

It is the first of what will be a series of events over the next 12 months designed to promote child safety seat awareness and inform the public of the dangers of not securing children in a properly secured and inspected child safety seat.

The event is free and open to the public. It will take place irregardless of weather conditions. Everyone is encouraged to attend and support the family of Heavenlee-Angle Johns, rescue personnel of the Wabash Valley and anyone who has lost a child to unintentional, yet preventable childhood injuries recieved in an automobile accident.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Justice for Heavenlee (Updated)

On Sunday night, Dec. 13, at about 9:13 p.m, our granddaughter Heavenlee Johns was critically injured in an auto crash. The following story tells it better than we can:

Young child suffers life threatening injuries in Sunday crash

Before this event, she looked like this:

Following the crash, she looked like this:

Update: She will never walk again or move anything again except her mouth and eyes. She has a 50/50 chance of breathing on her own again but most likely infection after infection will set in and eventually end her life. As of now, we await a decision by the mother regarding life support continuance.

This is direct result of negligence on the part of the driver, Cynthia Bullock and her daughter, Eugenia Bullock, mother of Heavenlee, both of whom failed to secure our granddaughter in a child safety seat, as required by law (see link below).

IC 9-19-11-2

If this enrages you anywhere near as much as it does us, please join us in demanding justice for Heavenlee by contacting Terry Modesitt, Vigo Pounty Prosecutor 812-462-3305
We desperately want both Cynthia Bullock and her daughter, Eugenia Bullock, mother of Heavenlee held accountable for their negligence and irresponsibility.

The Mayors' Office is another good place to voice your concern for justice. Mayor Duke may be contacted at:

or by email at:

You may also contact the local Child Protective Services and urge them to insure Heavenlee is given some measure of justice.

Director: Pamela M. Connelly
The DCS Office in Vigo County; Region 8
Fax: 812-234-3182

We recall with horror the debacle of Judge Barbara Brugnaux and her treatment of Courtenay Scott, who spent no time in prison for the reckless homicide death of 2-year-old Alexis Williams. Scott was sentenced to two years probation for the class-C felony she committed May 22, 2002.

We thought with her ouster by means of the public vote, that the local judicial system would return to a more balanced output in its treatment of suspected and/or convicted child abusers.
This situation now provides the citizens of Vigo County the chance to remind those within the law community that we remember well and will not forget those who have suffered at the hands of negligent caregivers.

Please join us in insuring justice is served for even the most innocent of our own.

James & Amanda Wallace

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Death of a Mentor!

I learned today that last week, David Cassady, former Director of Education for The Children's Museum of Indianapolis was found murdered in his home, apparently the victim of a murder-suicide involving his wife Ruth.

Rather than go into details, which at this point is extremely difficult for me to do, I post the link to this most awful story.

"Police investigate apparent murder-suicide"

This thing bothers me horribly as I worked with David Cassady for nearly 4 years while I served as Planetarium Educator for SpaceQuest Planetarium at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis. For me, David was a mentor and someone for whom I greatly admired and struggled to emulate.

In my early days as Planetarium Educator, it was David Cassady who took me under his wing, so to speak, and guided my learning process, taking me from a scientist/astronomer to one of educator. This was a difficult process which was made much easier thanks exclusively to David Cassady.

When I wanted to build a 1/3 scale replica of Stonehenge for teaching simple machines and Physics; when I wanted to host a public event about astronomy called Celestial Celebration; when I wanted to do outreach for Riley Children's Hospital; when I wanted to create a costumed character named Dr. What? for interacting with kids; when I wanted to change the planetarium logo; when I wanted to expand the museum's web presence with Cosmic Quest, Build-A-Space Station, NASA TV, Liberty Bell 7 Memorial; when I wanted to write & produce any planetarium program about anything; when I wanted to bring in Moon Rocks; when I wanted to do an adaptation of War of the Worlds using only MAP(Museum Apprentice Program) youth; it was David Cassady who said... How much? How long? How can we make it happen?

Never once did he deny me my ideas, no matter how unusual. He embraced my vision and permitted me to not only succeed in many cases, but to even fail once or twice.
He never criticized my efforts but would instruct me gently when things went awry and taught me how to succeed.

From him I learned how to inspire children. From him I learned how to mentor youth. From him I learned how to see past the brick walls of defeatism and reach for the lofty goals. From him I learned that we learn as much from failure as we do from success. From him I learned the value of a childs perspective.

Nearly everyone who worked with David Cassady felt as I do about this amazing individual. I would have gladly set myself on fire and crawled through a mile of broken glass while listening to an endless loop of "Elvira" had he only requested it. Such was my admiration and devotion to someone for whom I consider a critical mentor in my life.

I would not be the educator I am today were it not for David Cassady.

I won't pretend or claim to understand what happened that night; what drove Ruth to do what she did; how they came to be so desperate that this seemed their only option.

I only know that someone I cared about, someone I admired, someone I respected is no longer a member of this mortal coil.

I will miss his laugh...

James C. Wallace II

Saturday, December 5, 2009

55,937 Words plus 505 Books Equals a Stunning November!

During the course of the month of November, Magician of Oz was involved in a project/competition known as Nanowrimo. An odd anachronism to say the least. To be precise, Nanowrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month. To quote the Nanowrimo website:

"National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30."

I decided to participate in this unique endeavor and sought to complete volume three; Family of Oz as my writing project. After a rough start the first week, it was apparent that Princess Ozma would have nothing of it. Seems she will not allow the muse to be forced. As such, I must work by her schedule, not mine.

After some serious thinking and such, I wound up going off in an odd direction and wound up writing a story about a green-handled rolling pin and its life in a Hoosier kitchen. It soon found itself adrift in an auction barn awaiting its fate after its owner passes on. Each ensuing chapter tells the story of a different person or couple and how he/she/they end up at the auction. By story's end, the final chapter tells of the furious bidding and the winning bidder, who takes the green-handled rolling pin to its new life.

It's strange where these stories come from...

I'm pleased to say that with some dedication to the goal, I was able to reach a final word count of 55,937 words. I'm told that's impressive by most standards, but for me, that's pretty standard. I tend to write at a very furious pace when the muse strikes and generally write by chapters instead of just by word count. It's my way...

In addition, I just completed one of my final book signings for the year and found that combining both sales, sales, book signing sales and Kindle sales, I achieved the 505 total book sales mark.
I am humbled by the support of Oz fans across the country and offer my sincere gratitude to all who have purchased Magician of Oz.
During my trip to Book Expo America 2009 in New York City last May, I kept hearing the number 500 as the benchmark against which all self-publishers measured their success. It seems that only 1% of all self-publishers reach that goal. Having done so, I now deem my work a success and consider my goal of fulfilling Princess Ozma's Royal Command well on its way to completion.

As Shadow Demon of Oz awaits its publication date of the Vernal Equinox of 2010, Princess Ozma willing of course, I look forward to the upcoming holidays and offer my sincere gratitude to Her Royal Highness, Princess Ozma for her continued faith in her most humble servant.

Par Ardua Ad Alta!!! ~ The Wizard of Oz

James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Another Auction Victory for The Wizard of Oz!

Once again, I found myself at our local auction barn purchasing odd stuff and nonsense, and once again, The Wizard of Oz pops up when I least expect it.

For those of you who are too young to remember, there was a time when music was played on albums. Large black (usually) discs of vinyl which were place on a turntable, rotated at 33 1/3rpms and a diamond needle placed on the rotating disc which would vibrate as the needle traveled through small grooves etched in the disc. This is how we listened to music back in the days of old, when I was young... You kids get off of my lawn!!!!

Archaic, ain't it?

And yet, there are some albums which I own that I would not trade for a cd at any cost.
I happen to own every Beatles album my parents ever bought and although the sound quality is nowhere near as good as a compact disc recording, they still have a feel to them that no cd could ever capture. The pops, scratches are hisses are all part of the listening experience and I still listen to them on a weekly basis.

Anyway, while sitting at our local auction barn, I happened across a box of albums, including some by Queen, KISS and others. After a couple of bids, I found myself the proud owner of this box of history and carried it out to the car for the trip home. Browsing through it briefly before returning to the sale, I found Princess Ozma's odd sense of humor at work once again.

The album is "Eldorado" and it was produced by ELO; a.k.a., Electric Light Orchestra. It contains some incredible songs and wonderful memories. One particular song, which received little radio play but which I happened to like a lot was Laredo Tornado.

I had the pleasure of seeing this band in 1977 and was blown away by the music and stage show. It was the first time I ever saw lasers in a concert. They played this song and it was amazing. Oddly enough though, this is the only reference to The Wizard of Oz whatsoever. I never have figured out why they chose the cover image shown above. Magician of Oz is perplexed!

Nonetheless, Princess Ozma has had her laugh and surprised me with a wonderful gift from the past of my youth.

James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Magician of Oz and the Cybil Awards!

Recently, I received notice from the Cybil Awards that my new children's book, Magician of Oz was nominated for a Cybil Award in the category of Fantasy/Science Fiction for Middle School Children.

For those who are unaware or unknowing, the Cybil Awards are devoted to authors who write exclusively for children and young adults. There are 9 categories ranging from picture-books to young adult fiction and everything in between. This is a very prestigious award, especially given that nearly all the books nominated were done so by the very children reading them.

To say I am excited would be a major understatement. It never even occurred to me that Magician of Oz would be nominated for a literary award. I was happy just to get it out there for children to enjoy.

It seems they enjoy it very much, despite what some nitpicky Oz folks (and that is only a very select few... say 2-3) have to say.

Par Ardua Ad Alta!

James C. Wallace II

Saturday, November 7, 2009

LCROSS and Magician of Oz... A Lunatic Prize!

For those who do not know me, I am many things. A father, husband, grandfather, scientist, educator, magician, author and Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma of Oz!

In addition, I am an astronomer. I have been for over 40 years. Mind you, not the backyard, once-a-year, only when its warm and only early in the evening type.


I've paid my dues with over 2700 hours of eyepiece time, numerous published articles and observations, as well as a dedicated and proven track record in public astronomy and astrophotography.

I've ran observatories, planetariums, day-camps, single-day events, conferences and the like. Over the years, I've garnered a number of awards, honors, recognitions and other such trivia.

Now comes a unique honor that please me greatly.

The Lunar and Planetary Institute is an educational institution sponsored by NASA that promotes space education through outreach.
Their latest venture is a website dedicated to lunar stuff and such and is called MyMoon. It is a very impressive site.

The most recent project MyMoon decided to promote NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) program, which was intended to impact the Moon with both a significant mass object and a follow-up sensing satellite that would also impact the Moon, creating twin impacts sites on the Moon’s surface at the south pole. This was done in an attempt to detect traces of water vapor liberated from the impact.

Despite media disappointment at no visible plume from impacts, which came as no surprise to anyone who understands vector physics and lunar soil composition, much data was obtained and now undergoes detailed analysis.

Now my part comes into view...

MyMoon sponsored a contest to name the last words of LCROSS and my submission was voted number one (The Winner!) by public poll.

... and the winning phrase was: "I went to the Moon and all I got was this lousy crater!"

... and the crowd goes wild!!!!!

I was awarded a Moon Mini-globe for my efforts, which always pleases the lunatic in me.

Carpe Luna!!!!

James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What is Ozzy? Is it the Banana Man?

My son did something very nice for me today. He downloaded onto my cel phone the theme music for the Captain Kangaroo show, which now plays every time I get a call. This makes me extremely happy as anyone who has read my interview in the Wizards Wireless forum of The Daily Ozmapolitan will know.

This got me to thinkin' (always a scary thought) about how I came to accept Oz as a real place.
Of course, my parents were a crucial part of this as they read to me often during my childhood and Oz was a central them in our readings. Captain Kangaroo was another influence... but, it was the Banana Man ( a character on the Captain Kangaroo show) that did the trick for me. How? Check out this video from Youtube and ponder...

Now, it's nearly 8 minutes long and as you watch it, no doubt you'll be asking yourself how can this nonsense be Ozzy when there is no mention of Oz. I submit to you that it is indeed Ozzy for the following reason.

It legitimizes the absurd... and Oz is, above all else, absurd!

Heresy! you say... and yet, the world of Oz is replete with absurdities upon absurdities. In fact, it is based entirely upon the premise of absurdity. After all, where in the Great Outside will you find living scarecrows, talking hens, a mechanical army of Oz, and so forth?

Watching the Banana Man and many other odd characters on this one show gave me the courage to accept the absurd as both real and attainable. Many years have I spent seeking out the absurd, only to find it standing tall before me at the Gates of the Emerald City.

And so I ask each of you the following question...

What absurdity in your life, not involving Oz, had the most impact on your choice to embrace the world of Oz?

And the one question I ask myself is... How did he get those watermelons in there?

James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Inspiration for Oz and it's Newest Dog!

My wife's dog!!!

As you can see, he loves me dearly...

Even so, it does give Magician of Oz inspiration to consider Evil and it's resolution in the Land of Oz.

I'll call him.... Cobbler!

James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cloudy Night for a Meteor Shower....

Went out for look up and saw water vapor in liquid form....

Ghostly visions of Halley's Comet exceeding the speed limit!

James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Hoosier, the Magician & Wizard of Oz and the Covered Bridge Festival

It's that time of year again when the leaves turn color and the smell of fall fills the air. Magician of Oz loves the smell of burning leaves and pumpkins seeds.
It's also that time of the year for the annual Parke County Covered Bridge Festival, which is now in full bloom.
For those who are unaware, this is a yearly festival celebrating the numerous covered bridges which dot the landscape of rural Indiana and Illinois. It is a 2 week festival that brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to the region and yard sales pop up where there aren't even any yards!
One particular bridge, which is a featured element of my new children's book, Magician of Oz is the old Bridgeton bridge that dominates the rural Indiana town of Bridgeton.

Sadly, the old bridge was burned down by a moron with as much brains as a toad!

In the true Indiana spirit of never giving up, or giving in to defeat, the citizens of Bridgeton rebuilt their bridge!

It now stands as testimony to the can-do attitude that makes us Hoosiers!

It was this very bridge and the spirit of its rebirth that, in part, inspired me to write Magician of Oz.
Another old bridge that inspires me is this particular one, located somewhere deep in the heart of rural Indiana.

Where it is, I will not say as hardly anyone visits it and I like to think of it as my own personal bridge to somewhere!

Although I originally hail from West Virginia and still think very fondly of that place, I have grown to love Indiana, which is especially good since I married a Hoosier farm girl and have raised 5 Hoosier kids, all of whom (with one exception) have produced lovely Hoosier grandkids!

Hoosier life is good... and so is Oz!!!

James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Oztoberfest, The Wizard of Oz and a Rainbow Connection!

With the Oztoberfest in its final day, I felt an odd need to hear and share a fine performance...

Magician of Oz is pleased!

James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Wizard of Oz and Magician of Oz meet at the Dunes!

Magician of Oz found himself attending the annual Wizard of Oz Festival in Chesterton, Indiana this past weekend. For those not in the know, Chesterton, Indiana is located adjacent to Dunes State Park at the bottom end of Lake Michigan, hence the Meeting at the Dunes...

It was, by all accounts, a splendid and very successful event. Magician of Oz had a wonderful time as well and intends on attending every year from now on. Book sales exceeded expectations and many new friends were made.

As I understand it, this festival celebrates its 28th year of celebrating all things Oz. There was a gaggle of Glindas and a ton of Tin Mans!

A den of Dorothys and a warren of Witches! I love the Ruby Sandals!

A smattering of Winged Monkeys...

One lone Witches Guard...

... and the Wonderful Wizard of Oz himself!

Magician of Oz was very fortunate indeed to have been placed next to Dennis Anfuso and his wonderful wife, Linda.

She was most talented and created the winning Best Dressed Dog costume on Saturday morning right before my very eyes.

In case you're curious, the dog's name is Vito!

As for Dennis Anfuso, I was greatly impressed with his talent and humor. I felt as though I have made two new friends this weekend and look forward to seeing them at any opportunity. They done learnt' me some stuff over the two days we were there.

I was especially pleased and honored to have met Robert & Clare Baum and presented him a copy of Magician of Oz as both a personal and professional courtesy. The two of them were very kind and generous to me...

In addition, I also had the honor and pleasure of meeting Roger and Charlene Baum and likewise, presented him a copy of Magician of Oz. Like his brother, Roger and his wife were equally kind and generous to me and I am most grateful for the kind words of support offered by Roger and Charlene, Robert and Clare.

Although I missed the Saturday morning parade as it did not pass by our booths, I was lucky enough to catch the Oz look-alike contests and the winners were......

A fine looking group from Oz if ever I saw one!

Overall, Magician of Oz felt right at home and only now begins to understand the wisdom of Princess Ozma when she chose me as her Royal Liaison and charged me with spreading the word of Oz throughout the Great Outside.

I'll bet this one would make a great beehive!!!!

Porro Ago Oz!!!

James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Snagglepuss & the Wizard Of Oz ???

Once more, I find the oddest things on the Internet machine while promoting Magician of Oz. This time, it was an ebay listing for a 33 1/3 LP vinyl record album entitled: Snagglepuss Tells The Story Of Wizard Of Oz

As you can see by the cover, it features one of my favorite cartoon characters, Snagglepuss escorting Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and Toto down the Yellow Brick Road towards Emerald City.

Ahh yes... Where to begin???

As we can see, Dorothy has black hair, contrary to conventional wisdom, which suggests Dorothy's hair is light brown in color. She's got a green turtle-neck sweater and Capri pants for an outfit. Not quite how it is in the book, or even the movie. No Silver Slippers either, just dark loafers. Maybe they were thinking of a Laura Petrie sequel? I can just see Dick Van Dyke as The Wizard!
She is accompanied by the Scarecrow, who seems to have vision problems and is wearing a suit and tie. Hmmm... A corporate Scarecrow... What a thought.
Now the Tin Woodman appears to be made out of an engine block of sorts, with brake pads for shoes, a piston head and some sort of weird spark plug for a nose.
As for the Cowardly Lion, that's where Snagglepuss comes into the story. He was kinda cowardly in nature. Oddly enough, all large cartoon cat characters from the 60's, such as Snagglepuss and Pete Puma (I loved that guy!!!) have a cowardly nature to them. Perhaps this is a direct influence from the Wizard of Oz stories? Or the movie...
Finally, Toto now comes in white and rides a skateboard. What a hoot!
If that wasn't enough, the Emerald City looks like something out of the Jetsons.

Now, in defense of Hanna-Barbera, one of the leading animators of the 60's, this type of cross-promotional schtick was fairly common, as shown by the back cover of the album.

As you can see, the Flintstones, Yogi Bear, Magilla Gorilla, and even Top Cat got into the act. The one apparent reason behind this was probably due to the fact that there was only voice talent to deal with, without regards to the immense amount of time involved in frame-by-frame animation, unlike today's computer animation techniques. Take a popular story (Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, ect..) and combine it with a popular cartoon character and voila!!!

Hey, whatever it takes to make a buck I suppose...

Anyway, I found it amusing and only wish I had the 40 bucks to purchase it and add it to my Oz collection.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Moody Blues... in Oz?

Now there's a odd title....

The Royal Liaison of Oz found himself attending a Moody Blues concert in Indianapolis last night and had an amazing time. This is the 10th time I have seen this fine group and is my 150th concert overall.

While sitting in the lawn waiting for the show, I found myself discussing stuff with several fine folks sitting next to me. Like myself, they had attended the Moody Blues show in Noblesville, Indiana back in '95 and recalled vividly the vicious storm that blew through halfway through the show, resulting in a tornado nearby and an amazing show following the storm 20 minutes later. The gentleman mentioned that they were lucky not to have ended up in Oz after that experience. That of course led to an extended conversation regarding Magician of Oz and my experiences writing about the Land of Oz.

No sooner had that conversation concluded when the show began. The band performed at White River State Park, which is an outdoor venue. With a beautiful waxing moon overhead, the Moody Blues played a wonderful 2 hour set, including a fabulous (as always) rendition of "Nights in White Satin", including the lovely poem at the end.

"Breathe deep the gathering gloom..." is a classic line from that ending but what really was amazing was when Graham Edge (the drummer) spoke the following line while pointing up at the moon; "Cold-hearted orb that rules the night. Removes the colors from our sight. Red is gray and yellow white, but we decide which is right... and which is an illusion."

Prophetic words from a fine artist. How true were his words about our decisions regarding visions of truth and illusion and the choices we make.

So often I am criticized for my belief in Oz and our role in that magical land. Kids today look to the world around us and confront reality in all its cruelty. Yet, when it comes to Oz and all it represents, they more often than not choose to suspend the reality of now and here in favor of Oz. Like kids of old, in the days of Baum, they seek out hope and promise in the pages and reality of a world not quite normal. They seek out the truths, the friendships, the values inherent in Glinda's Red Brick Palace, or Nick Chopper's Place, in the Council of Trees or the vision of Polychrome and her new friend, Oz the Magnificent.

Since the release of Magician of Oz on the Summer Solstice, I have come to understand the wisdom of our youth and their desire to dream of other lands and better times. They know not the elements of grammar and context. They care not for nitpicking and harping over trivial matters from books of old. For them, Potato Soup is more than just a meal. It is a way of seeing that which is familiar and warm in their hearts. They don't care if the Wizard is around or not. For them, truth, honesty, loyalty and friendship are values that they long for and accept willingly, irregardless of who teaches the lesson or who learns said lesson.

Today's child is far more wise the we are and the future seems to be in fine hands.

The wisdom of Princess Ozma exceeds that which we can fathom and I am humbled by her choice of gifts and Royal Liaisons.

Vita est Bonus!

James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma

Monday, August 24, 2009

The 70th Anniversary of MGM's The Wizard of Oz

It was a mere 70 years ago today, August 25, 1939 when MGM released its newest and most sensational movie; The Wizard of Oz.

Much hype and hoopla surrounded the premier and from the moment the MGM lion roared, audiences were captivated by the magical land of Oz written about only 39 years before by the celebrated children's author, Lyman Frank Baum.

Since that time, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has taken on many forms and incantations.

Rather than expand on Baum's contributions to children's literature or various facts and lore surrounding the movie, I would choose to focus on how MGM's The Wizard of Oz affected my life and eventually lead to my becoming the Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma and writing Magician of Oz; the first of a three volume story about a young magician named Jamie Diggs and his adventures at home in Indiana and abroad in the Land of Oz.

It should be noted that although MGM's The Wizard of Oz was released in theaters on this date in 1939, it didn't hit the television machine until 1956, then began its incredible yearly showing in 1959, the year before I was born. Therefore, there has never been a year where I did not know of The Wizard of Oz in movie form. While I'm certain that I watched the movie as an infant, my earliest memories of Oz are of my parents reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; by L. Frank Baum (1900) to me as a young child.
I recall my father acting out the scenes while my mother would do the sound effects. One particular scene that often frightened me was when the Tin Woodman took up his sharp axe against the Fighting Trees of the Great Forest of the Quadling Country. Of course he defeated them easily, but my parents made it into quite the horrific scene of carnage and much spilling of sap. In MGM's The Wizard of Oz, I would always get a bit scared when Dorothy and the Scarecrow encountered the animated Apple Trees of the Great Forest. Even to this very day, I sometimes wonder when I walk about in the woods near our home if the trees are watching me, waiting for the right moment to attack and conquer.

Of course now, as a father of five children and grandfather of ten, it is now my job to entertain the kids. With my own children, I would emulate my parents to such a degree that my mom once came in on one of my reading performances and was momentarily stunned at the resemblance between our readings. And much like myself, the battle of the fighting trees was one of the highlights of the show and I made it nearly as violent as my parents did. I also liked doing odd voices for some of the characters and my grandkids find my Yoda voice to be the perfect choice for the voice of the Nome King.

As I have grown older and somewhat wiser (and that is a bit subjective), I have found the the Land of Oz has begun to play a growing role in my life. Every semester, I finish up my lab course in Weather & Climate by doing the Dark Side of Oz thing for my students. We examine the weather in Kansas, including the tornado and the weather in Oz. They get a big kick out of it and I find its a nice way to end what I hope has been a fun class for them.

Over the last 2 years, I have found that Oz has taken over in a number of ways, including my work on fulfilling Princess Ozma's command to spread the word of Oz and tell the story of Jamie Diggs through the story of Magician of Oz. As a result, I have immersed myself in the world of publishing and marketing of the printed word.

Early on in the process, I made a choice to go with the option of self-publishing my work as opposed to the traditional publishing process. This choice was made easier by the cowardice of traditional publishing firms and literary agents who are quite afraid to take an occasional chance on new authors. In addition, today's economic climate has driven the traditional publishing process into near bankruptcy as new methods and processes take over. New authors are finding new avenues for their work and the Internet machine has supplanted the role of news media in the print and broadcast format in promoting their work.

Now, as I look forward to volumes two and three; Shadow Demon of Oz and Family of Oz and their eventual release into the Great Outside, I wonder what will become of MGM's The Wizard of Oz over the next 70 years. How will it evolve into our culture beyond what it has already done? What will my great grandchildren think of the Wizard, Glinda and the Wicked Witch of the West, Dorothy, Toto, the Scarecrow, Tinman and the Cowardly Lion?

Will they feel as we do today about this wonderful classic? Will they experience it in ways we can not yet predict or even imagine? Will the timeless words of Lyman Frank Baum still resonate with the children of the future?

So many questions and no answers... at least not yet!

Long Live Oz!!!

James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma

Friday, August 21, 2009

Gauisus Natalis Princess Ozma!!!

Today, August 21, 2009 is Princess Ozma's birthday and is one of only five holidays celebrated in Oz. The other four are the Vernal and Autumnal Equinox, Summer and Winter Solstice. Magician of Oz loves the Summer Solstice best of all!

According to some, Princess Ozma is well over one hundred years old while others claim she is only one hundred years old. This is due to the Royal Historian's acknowledgment of her birthday in Road to Oz (1909) such that there are some who say that since she was in Oz prior to Road to Oz, she must be more than one hundred years old while others claim that she is only one hundred years old due to it only being mentioned in 1909.

Hmmm. What a quandary!

I tried asking her once and... well, let's just say that you should never ask a lady her age!

Anyway, the first appearance of the crescent Moon following New Moon coincides with sunset on the eve of Her Majesty's birthday.
As such, being the astronomer I am, I have tried to establish a new record for the earliest sighting of the very thin crescent Moon following the New Moon in honor of Princess Ozma's day of celebration and as my gift to her!
Lunar orbital geometry allows for the possibility of approaching the 15.5 hour record mark for the earliest sighting this particular lunar cycle.
I have tried this 14 times before over the last 25 years but have yet to break the record.

It's harder than you think....

Tonight was no different but I did get within 8 minutes of the record. That is the closest I have ever got, by well over 15 minutes!!!

Life is good and so is Oz
Why do you ask?
Why not?
... Because!

Gauisus Natalis Princess Ozma!!!

James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Newest Citizen of Oz!

The Mrs. and Magician of Oz are extremely proud to announce the arrival of our newest grandchild (#12), Ivy Jade. One more and we'll have a bakers' dozen!
At 3.3735 kilos (7 pounds, 7 ounces), 55.88 centimeters (22 inches) long, she is cute as a button (of course!) and ready for Love!!! BTW, the lovely woman holding the amazing bundle of Joy is the Mrs. (Amanda), creator of the legendary Potato Soup as read about in Magician of Oz.

We have but one question for all of you reading this. As this is our first grandchild since my return from Oz, we are trying to determine if she is a Munchkin, a Quadling, a Winkie or a Gillikin. Or perhaps she is a citizen of Emerald City...?
Is there a sign or some sort of mark we could look for to help us decide which country of Oz she comes from?

James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma
magicianofoz (Twitter id)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Diggs Family Car

I was browsing the Internet Machine today and ran across an old film about the Chevy Corvair. This happens to be the family car of the Diggs family featured in Magician of Oz.

I was very pleased and now I share it with you. It's about 6 1/3 minutes long and well worth the watch. Its amazing how different we thought back then. I love the music! Just click on The Old Family Corvair!

The Old Family Corvair!

James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma
magicianofoz (Twitter id)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Celestial Magician!

The following article was culled from I found it interesting that they used a magical metaphor. I have had the pleasure of seeing this sight twice before!

Saturn's Rings to Disappear Tuesday
By Robert Roy Britt
Editorial Director
posted: 10 August 2009
09:01 am ET

In a celestial feat any magician would appreciate, Saturn will make its wide but thin ring system disappear from our view Aug. 11.

Saturn's rings, loaded with ice and mud, boulders and tiny moons, is 170,000 miles wide. But the shimmering setup is only about 30 feet thick. The rings harbor 35 trillion-trillion tons of ice, dust and rock, scientists estimate.
The rings shine because they reflect sunlight. But every 15 years, the rings turn edge-on to the sun and reflect almost no sunlight.

"The light reflecting off this extremely narrow band is so small that for all intents and purposes the rings simply vanish," explained Linda Spilker, deputy project scientist for the Cassini Saturn mission at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Mysterious rings

The rings remain a bit of a mystery. Scientists are not sure when or how they formed, though likely a collision of other objects was involved.

Saturn's equator is tilted relative to its orbit around the sun by 27 degrees – similar to the 23-degree tilt of the Earth. As Saturn circles the sun, first one hemisphere and then the other is tilted sunward. This causes seasons on Saturn, just as Earth's tilt causes seasons on our planet.

While Earth goes around the sun once every 365 days or so, Saturn's annual orbit takes 29.7 years. So every 15 years, the attitude shift puts the gas giant planet's equator, and its ring plane, directly in line with sunlight. Scientists call it an equinox, and this one marks the arrival of spring to the giant planet's northern hemisphere. (On Earth, equinoxes occur in March and September.)

"Whenever equinox occurs on Saturn, sunlight will hit Saturn's thin rings, the ring plane, edge-on," Spilker said.

Galileo puzzled

Galileo Galilei was the first to notice the rings and their then-mysterious transformation in the 17th century. Through one of the first telescopes, which he built himself, Galileo discovered Saturn's rings. He didn't know what they were, though, since all he could see were two lobes attached to the planet like ears. He entered the newfound setup in his notebook as a tiny drawing, mid-sentence, to serve as a noun.

By December 1612, Galileo had studied the phenomenon for more than two years, and the lobes (he thought they might be moons) were getting thinner. Then they disappeared.

"I do not know what to say in a case so surprising, so unlooked for and so novel," he wrote in a letter.

Dutch mathematician Christiaan Huygens, using a better telescope, figured out what the rings were in 1655.

"Galileo had every right to be mystified by the rings," Spilker said. "While we know how Saturn pulls off its ring-plane crossing illusion, we are still fascinated and mystified by Saturn's rings, and equinox is a great time for us to learn more."

Up-close view

The edge-on setup casts shadows across the rings in a unique way that can reveal moonlets and other structures otherwise not visible.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has a front-row seat to the event.

Cassini is watching for topographic features – perhaps some tiny moons or warps in the rings, and it has already spotted some mystery features in the days leading up to the equinox. In one new image, an object seems to have punched through one of the rings, dragging material with it to leave a visible scar. The craft's near-infrared and ultraviolet instruments will be on the hunt for signs of seasonal change on the planet.

"We are not sure what we will find," Spilker said. "Like any great magician, Saturn never fails to impress."

Magician of Oz and Princess Ozma are pleased.

Carpe Noctum!!!

James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma
magicianofoz (Twitter id)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Magician of Oz at the Crossroads of America

On Friday, August 7th, 2009, Magician of Oz had his first book signing at Book Nation Bookstore in downtown Terre Haute, Indiana. Book Nation Bookstore is located just west of the intersection of Wabash Avenue (US 40) and 7th Street (Old US 41). This location is historically known as the Crossroads of America

Overall, Magician of Oz considers his first ever book signing event to be a qualified success. The event lasted 2 hours and just over a dozen books were sold and signed.

Next month, Magician of Oz heads off to the Vigo County Public Library in Terre Haute, Indiana for his next book signing event as part of the monthly "Author Accolades" program.
In addition, there will be another event hosted by The Children's Museum of Indianapolis sometime in September or October, depending on stuff.

As the 70th anniversary of MGM's The Wizard of Oz approaches on August 24th, Magician of Oz looks cautiously towards the future as book sales and visibility increase.

Par Ardua Ad Alta!

James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma
magicianofoz (Twitter id)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Life's a beach... but not in Oz!

It was recently asked within the Oz community the following question:

What IS the difference between The Deadly Desert, The Impassable Desert, The Great Sandy Waste and The Shifting Sands?

As I understand it, the large expanse of sand surrounding the Land of Oz is comprised mostly of Silica, a common component of nearly every sandy region on Earth and in Oz. The obvious difference being the magical properties inherent in the sands surrounding Oz.

This was done primarily to isolate and protect the Land of Oz from the Great Outside, which of course means US!

The only other perceptible difference is the very slight tinge, if you will, of the color of sand in each region.

For example, The Great Sandy Waste, the only sandy region I have personally witnessed has a very slight reddish tinge to it.

It was explained to me by Glinda that the sands are tinged red due to the presence of naturally occurring Rubies, which are found in great abundance in the South; Quadling Country and are ground down by the natural erosion process found in Oz. These processes are identical to those in the Great Outside.

She went on to mention that in the East; Munchkin Country, where the Shifting Sands lie, the region is tinted a very light blue due to the presence of Celestine, a pale blue sulfate mineral found in scattered occurrences with gypsum or rock salt.

Salt is another mineral found in great abundance in the sands surrounding the Land of Oz and are the primary mineral responsible, due largely to the magical transformation by Queen Lurline (possibly as I neglected to ask Glinda) for the almost instantaneous dessication and destruction of any living creature which touches the sands.

Glinda went on to point out that in the West; Winkie Country, where the Deadly Desert lies, the sands take on a distinctive yellow tint, owing to the abundance of eroded Sulfur.

In the North; Gillikin Country where lies the Impassable Desert, the sands have a slight, yet distinct purplish tint owing to the presence of Amethyst.

Overall, the effectiveness of the sands surrounding the Land of Oz cannot be overstated, irregardless of their respective names.

Carpe Sandalium!!!

James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma
magicianofoz (Twitter id)