Sunday, December 01, 2013

Sunday morning round-up

Beautiful morning. Sun, light winds, no snow.

So what am I doing inside?

Collecting random thoughts on a Sunday morning.

Received a fund-raising e-mail this week from Markos Moulitsas at Daily Kos. Ads and other funding mechanisms not paying the freight these days. So I contributed $10. Not much but it's something to help this feisty 11-year-old blog:
Can you chip in $5 so that Daily Kos can keep fighting?

If every one of our readers this month chipped in two cents, we’d be all set. If every reader chipped in a dollar, we’d be able to finance operations for two years.

Not everyone is in a position to give. So, if you’re fortunate enough to make it through Black Friday with a few bucks in your pocket, please chip in to help Daily Kos keep fighting for the issues that matter to us.
I blog infrequently under Cheyenne Mike at Kos. My average readership is a lot higher there, but it takes time to do blogging well. To do it well, you have to pay attention to your platform. You have to read the posts of others and respond. While Kos is the blog is read most regularly, I seldom have time to do it justice. Go check it out. Engage!

Article in Wyofile (reprinted in today's Wyoming Tribune-Eagle) about a new book by writer Porter Fox with Jackson roots. Deep: The Story of Skiing and the Future of Snow is the story of the rise of the ski industry and how global warming may spell its demise. Interesting to note that three Jacksonites hatched the idea for the book while surfing in Nicaragua. Skiing may be doomed, but the surf will be bitchin' in L.A. and NYC! We'll be surfing, surfing in the streets....

I spent the past year as a literary slacker.  I wasn't reading books -- my heart just wasn't in it. I've been trying to catch up. Nosferatu by Jim Shepard has been sitting on my bookshelf for years. Finally picked it up and dove head-first into a fine story based on the life of silent film director W.F. Murnau. While a World War I German Air Force pilot, he imagined a movie camera that moved with the freedom of an aircraft. Cameras in those days were bulky monsters. Murnau went on to direct ground-breaking films such as Nosferatu, based on a term in Bram Stoker's Dracula -- Stoker's estate sued Murnau for purloining the vampire concept. He kick-started the German film industry after the war (and before Hitler) and made his way to Hollywood where he directed Sunrise, a film included in many top 100 lists.If you don't know Shepard's work, he's a fantastic short story writer. This novel was based on one of the stories included in his first collection, Batting Against Castro.

Most of my reading of Nosferatu took place seated in 21st century airplanes surrounded by young guys playing war games on laptops, I kept thinking that the anniversary of the start of World War I is next year. Some great books written about The Great War. That's another post entirely. What are your favorites?

I'm catching up on old copies of The Missouri Review. One of the best of the literary mags, TMR takes risks and also features some of the best writers. In the winter 2012 issue, "The Unnatural World," I read an essay entitled "Under the Cloud" by pathologist Susan E. Detweiler. It was well-written personal essay about her Cold War experiences. It also contained some fascinating history. While the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ushered in the nuclear age, many of the stories surrounding the decision to go atomic have been neglected or maybe misunderstood. You would think it was a no-brainer for Japan to surrender after the death of so many of its citizens. It had already lost hundreds of thousands in combat and in the terror bombings of Tokyo and other cities. Surrender, however, was not a part of its warrior code. The U.S. and its allies knew that millions on both sides might die in an invasion of the home islands.

The Japanese may have seen the atomic blasts as supernatural forces outside the realm of modern war-making. So Japan surrendered in the face of another kind of "divine wind."


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