We were working on the new Red Dragon the other day, and I happened to come across a series of videos on the 1979 War between Vietnam and China. That war forms part of the historical basis for the series.
These are from the Vietnamese side, and celebrate David vs. Goliath nature of the conflict. Some of the images are intense.
The second installment in the Red Dragon Rising series will be out this November. The cover image is a bit of a different look for Tor/Forge, which I like. (Not that they asked before releasing it to the world, of course . . .)
In the series, rapid climate change has created a desperate situation for the Chinese, who attempt to solve some of their problems by invading Vietnam. The U.S. president realizes that if they're not stopped, Chinese aggression will lead to a new world war. But the congress and the rest of the country are adamantly opposed to any U.S. involvement....
You can pre-order the book here or here or here. (The last link is to my local bookstore, Merritt Bookstore in Millbrook.)
From the acknowledgements to My Three Years with Eisenhower, by Harry Butcher:
Possibly not a single entry was made in the diary without the aid of one or more cigars. These came from a variety of courses including friends at home, such as . . . .
Of course, Butcher goes on to say that he smoked Burns Panatelas, but maybe they were better back then.
“We picked up Baradar and the others because they were trying to make a deal without us,” said a Pakistani security official, who, like numerous people interviewed about the operation, spoke anonymously because of the delicacy of relations between Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States. “We protect the Taliban. They are dependent on us. We are not going to allow them to make a deal with Karzai and the Indians.”
A friend of mine is on deadline:
Me: How's it going?
Him: I spent this morning reading the blog of an anti-government post-smoking reformed Democrat racist with a serious rape complex who's raising his three-year-old adopted daughter with the help of two girlfriends, one of whom is a closet lesbian.
Me: Productive day.
Him: One of the best.
Story in tomorrow's New York Times:
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration, citing evidence of continued troubles inside Iran's nuclear program, has persuaded Israel that it would take roughly a year — and perhaps longer — for Iran to complete what one senior official called a “dash” for a nuclear weapon, according to American officials.
Uh, and after that?
The Times' take is that this makes it less likely the Israelis will attack. I'm not quite connecting the dots here. The idea is to attack before, not after. No?*
* Yeah, yeah, I know - "outside agencies" have been messing with the program, doing everything from assassinating scientists to delivering crap equipment. But sooner or later . . .
. . . er, At bats -
They've instituted something new at Yankee Stadium this homestand - little signs for the security guards asking people not to go down the aisle during an at-bat. Grace was in her glory up on level 200. I thought I was at a play.
It's just another part of the Tourist-if-i-cation of the Stadium, which at least during the summer hosts a significant number of tourists who come - well, I don't know why they come, exactly. Last night a couple with a seven or eight month old sat in front of us and didn't look at the field the whole time. People got up in the middle of one of the few Yankee rallies (well, semi-rallies) of the night. I'd say a good twenty to forty percent of the people around us were completely oblivious to the game. (One of the diehards did manage to shout down the wave. Points for that.)
Seems like it's a lot of money to waste if you're not a baseball fan, but what do I know? Given the outcome of the game, maybe I shouldn't have watched either...
Bocage? I don't give a @#$#$ for your bocage . . .
(A month after the Normandy landings, Bradley's armies were slowed by the German defenses in the bocage or hedgerow area away from the beaches. The popular myth is that they were saved by the invention (and others like it) on the front of the tank seen here, which gave the tanks a way to get through the mounded dirt and foliage. Actually, the reality was considerably more complicated. But it's still a heck of a story.)
An idle (I guess) question: Why do you think the official Army history of the Hurtgen battles lists more causalities than the entire First Army experienced at that point in the war?
(The battles were a small part of the action in the First Army sector, and even if they had a disproportionate share of the casualties, they didn't account for them all. Right? Right? And the killer is I'm looking at the source referenced in the history.)
First person: I'm so disgusted.
Second person: Why's that?
First person: Just people - they think because they're media savvy that they're intelligent.
Second person: Huh?
First person: You know what I mean. It's like thinking, Hey, I can use a cell phone. That means I can build one.
Second person: Oh, uh-huh.
First person: That reminds me -- you should get a new phone.
You know you've been spending too much time on WWII when everything reminds you of Hurtgen Forest* . . .
Cool game, though . . .
* Hurtgen Forest = Hürtgenwald, scene of bloody battles during WWII. Nothing like the Xbox Live game Limbo, except in every important way.
On Monday, on the tarmac at John F. Kennedy Airport, a JetBlue attendant named Steven Slater decided he had had enough, the authorities said.
After a dispute with a passenger who stood to fetch luggage too soon on a full flight just in from Pittsburgh, Mr. Slater, 38 and a career flight attendant, got on the public-address intercom and let loose a string of invective.
Then, the authorities said, he pulled the lever that activates the emergency-evacuation chute and slid down, making a dramatic exit not only from the plane but, one imagines, also from his airline career.
On his way out the door, he paused to grab a beer from the beverage cart. Then he ran to the employee parking lot and drove off, the authorities said.
I know how he feels.
Story here. The idiot passenger who sent him over the edge will no doubt be sitting next to me next time I fly.
Another random Bradley story:
One night in 1945, a British journalist visiting Bradley told of having had dinner with Madame Cure during the first war. The journalist -- Henry Wales, if the name means anything to you -- had been hired by MGM later to write a treatment based on the incident.
He never did, he told Bradley's staff. Radiation didn't have a pay off for the story. "Now with Pasteur, there was rabies and pasteurized milk," he said. "You see, there's a payoff. But with radium: You can see your watch at night. So what?"
Bradley, who knew the atomic bomb was on the way, said nothing.
The cell phone company included a circular in the latest bill claiming they're number one in customer service.
Isn't that like an executioner claiming to have the sharpest guillotine?
Or maybe the Titanic claiming to be the luxury liner with the most lifeboats.
I took Donald Burgett's Seven Roads to Hell out from the library the other day. (It's an excellent first-person account from the Battle of the Bulge; highly recommended.) I took it home and started to read. After a few pages I noticed someone had written in the book.
How could they do that, I thought, write in a library book? That's pretty terrible.
Then as I looked at the notes I realized that they were adding to the account - that some reader had put his own experiences in the margins and between the lines. (From what he saw and what he commented on, I'm guessing he served in CCB of the 10th Armored, probably as part of a scout unit.)
And instantly my feelings changed.
I do kind of wonder how I'd cite the notes, though.
. . . er, writing:
You could also substitute “drink” for “write” in these well-known examples of writerly wisdom. “An author ought to write for the youth of his generation” (Fitzgerald). “Write, damn you! What else are you good for?” (Joyce). “Writing is finally a series of permissions you give yourself to be expressive in certain ways. To leap. To fly. To fail” (Sontag).
Great essay in the NY Times book section by Geoff Nicholson. Read it here.