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October 28, 2013



It does seem that the US is constantly at war. What does that do to the psyches of the citizens, look at all the guns, for one?

Nice shot, Marianna. I like the glasses too, quite fashionable amonst the young around here.

Rain Trueax

We loved the Oliver Stone series on Showtime and advocate it anybody who is not afraid to look at what might've really happened while people were being told something totally different. Lots of good footage.

As I've researched Custer and his time with the politics involved then and how he was the fall guy for a lot of those who had plenty to hide, I feel like nothing ever changes. Do we ever learn? Not saying Custer didn't make a mistake but was it really that bad a one or did someone else not want him to survive? That's the issue with a lot of our 'history' give or take a lie or two.


Rain: Your project sounds fascinating. I have another friend who does a lot of historical research and is organizing the archives of a small local museum in Long Beach,Washington.
Marja-Leena: In some ways it's good to be in the belly of the beast,so to speak.Keeps us on our guard.As to the glasses:I needed big ones and that is why I chose a men's frame.

Rain Trueax

I like your glasses too. Good photo. My granddaughter has narrow frames and quite dark. Very pretty on her.


It's nice that glasses are no longer thought of as damaging to one's looks!


"When I read in the Guardian that Eleanor Catton had won the Man Booker prize for her novel, The Luminaries,I understood the mechanism, the log-rolling, the workshop industry, the whole publishing game exposed as a racket."

It reminds me of when you mentioned Rivka Galchen.


Is it that they're hyped and don't justify the praise in the end?

Hank Chapin

World War II may also have driven author J. D. Salinger nuts. The first part of "Salinger" portrays his war experience and it was very bad. He was one of the first to enter a concentraion camp and see al the emaciated bodies and survivors who soon died. One of the authors thinks he suffered from PTSD.


Brandon:It has become an industry,like the art racket.
Hank. Yes.War is the worst.


Oh,and I just saw in Stone's Untold Story that the Soviet soldiers were the first to see the death camps.


Your book reviews are great -- you not only peel back the layers within the book you peel back the culture in which it was wrote giving readers the right to cast about and really see the taint on the pages. -- barbara

Hank Chapin

Right, the Russians sacrificed hugely to help win WW II. I said Salinger was one of the first. Anyway, the concentration camp he stumbled on, according to the book, was lesser-known Kaufering IV. Salinger was not a regular soldier but in a roving intelligence capacity charged with being keenly aware of the surrounding communities. The implication in the book was that he had PTSD for his entire life. He made a lot of people miserable with his very peculiar, rigid I-vant-to-be-alone personality.


Barbara: Call me the clean-up woman! (: But seriously, there is something amiss with the writing world, and it is related to what has gone wrong with education in general. Why, for instance, is it unusual for Americans to speak languages other than English? That is a skill everyone should have a chance to acquire.


Hank: Did he see combat at all? I had heard that he did.

Hank Chapin

Oh yes, Salinger had the full-on combat experience, absolutely. He was NOT a phony. :-) He was in the thick of battle for sure and saw too much. I was merely suggesting that maybe he was probing ahead in his assignment and came upon Kaufering IV in that capacity ahead of the troops. First, second or last, it would have been a horrible sight.

I am competent in reading or speaking Spanish and French. To be honest, I would have to be in a country for a week before it all came back to me. But the environment helps. Nobody scorned me in Paris when I spoke French. I think they just appreciated the effort.

Every time you say you can read German I remember that I was no good in that language class in college. Honestly, I had a world-class Romance languages teacher at good old Dobbs Ferry High School: Miss Costello (which by the way was an Irish name despite its appearance). The detail that makes more sense now is that she was taking care of her mother. It also comes to me at this late date that we had quite few Irish teachers, Mrs. MacManus, for instance. This does not include Walter A. Mikulsky who was affectionately known as WAM because of his intials. Our principal, William Z. Lindsay, was known as ZEKE. To me, those nicknames don't suggest any malice at all.

When I look at education reform, I try to see if it is basically a BLAME THE TEACHERS program. If it is, then it's no go with me.


I really like this portrait of yours. Good job. Love your glasses too. I just got a new pair from Costco.


Hank:Frl. Seidel,a redheaded young woman from Berlin,instructed us in German grammar and vocabulary,and we did Diktats,or dictation. We read in the old German script and learned to write our names in the old fashioned handwriting.Our textbooks were about the"good" Germany of mostly the Romantic period, and history ended in 1932.
I'm glad that my introduction to German language and culture was so benign. I also must admit that I preferred Germany to Switzerland as a place to live,even though by then I knew the bad stuff.
Kay: From what I have heard Costco does a good job. We may get a Costco on this side of the island,in which case I would shop there in preference to Wal-Mart.


Great picture. Love the composition.

About those wars -- I had an uncle who was a child solder in Serbia in WWI. And then an uncle who presided over the war crimes trial of German officers who ran the Dachau concentration camp.

In general, the Russians overran the Nazi death camps, the killing factories, and the western armies the concentration camps where some survived. Timothy Snyder and Tony Judt are scary good at getting to the difference in war experiences, east and west. What horrors!


Nice look, I do like the glasses. I agree with you on The Luminaries, far too long and involving a huge commitment of time and weight-lifting (ha!).

I had long suspected something amiss with the publishing industry when I was told to join a certain group to push what I wanted published. Sad state of affairs.



janinsanfran: The fog of the Cold War has obscured our view of the Soviet Union's sacrifices in WW II. Oliver Stone's Untold History does an amazing job of explaining and illustrating their contribution to the war effort, largely forgotten in this country. I knew nothing, for instance, about the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, a horrid bloodbath that killed hundreds of thousands. The industrial scale of the killing in WW II is impossible to believe, and yet it all happened.
Interesting, your family connections to WW I and WW II.
Wisewebwoman: The workshop has taken over. Resistance is futile. It is through workshops that writers make the connections to publishers. The oldest, and premier, workshop is the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Here is their modest and humble web page.


That's a really nice picture , especially with the frame and orchid. Aunt Louise and I are in Honolulu and leaving for the airport in two hours. it has been a great trip and I can hardly wait to download my photos and start blogging on it.
it was great fun to meet and spend time with you. I feel like we are old friends already. See you in Tucson...Toni


Toni: Bon voyage!

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