Prev | List | Random | Next
The line began to form a sharper, single-file form - they were within steps of passing through the outer blast wall, a series of grey concrete monoliths standing sentry side by side and stretching as far as the eye could see. He glanced upward, half expecting to see the words Arbeit macht frei somewhere above, but saw only a security camera mounted above the gate. Shifting his gaze downward he noted a high resolution display of the video feed from that very camera on a flat-panel screen mounted on the wall. "Smile!" Read the single, large-font word painted in the concrete above it, but few on screen were. He saw himself in the crowd, and behind him a vision he'd have been spared in a less secure world - the retired schoolteacher shivering with excitement - perhaps ecstasy would be the better term.
"Young Tom tells me you live not far from here" she gushed, "so perhaps this is nothing special for you. But for me this is a moment I've dreamt of for years. I've done the virtual tours, of course, but now I know how the Muslims must feel on the culmination of the Hajj!"
He was spared the construction of some mechanical and inoffensive response to this emotional outpouring by a third party - a somewhat younger woman immediately behind the first. "I was just thinking the same thing!" She cried, as though thinking was an act unique among a rare few mortals and cause for an instant bond when two similarly gifted individuals should cross paths.
He successfully blocked out the ensuing chatter amidst the noise of the crowd. The line had temporarily halted for reasons he could not determine, even when he checked the feed on the video screen. Some minor commotion was ongoing just a few feet ahead at the gate, though the noise of the crowd was growing.
Two security guards moved quickly from somewhere behind him towards the gate. As they passed the crowd quieted, which enabled him to hear the too-loud whisper from the retired teacher behind him intended only for the ears of her new found confidant. "I said he's a veteran..."
The novel [To Kill a Mockingbird] is semi-autobiographical, and Scout is based on the author herself, Harper Lee.. the character of Dill is purportedly based on the author's childhood friend and neighbor Truman Capote....who, when he grew up and became a famous writer himself, once quipped (regarding the works of Jack Kerouac):
"[That] isn't writing at all -- it's typing"
More entertainment news:
Carolyn Cassady knows "On the Road's" back-story more intimately than any living person can claim.He was a veteran...
At the time Jack Kerouac wrote his landmark novel, Cassady was married to Neal Cassady, the model for "On the Road's" fictional hero, Dean Moriarty.
That, and she had a romance with Kerouac himself.
"Neal encouraged the affair," recalled Cassady, now 84 and living in England.
His ex-wife is pleased that producer Francis Ford Coppola and Brazilian director Walter Salles are finally bringing "On the Road" to the screen.
"I'm thrilled Walter Salles isn't an American and that he wants a totally unknown cast, so I don't have to worry about Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt," she said. "Everyone just wants Jack's wild side, his hedonistic side. He was so much more than that. His last five years he was miserable."
Kerouac joined the United States Merchant Marine in 1942 and in 1943 joined the United States Navy, but was discharged during World War II on psychiatric grounds (he was of "indifferent disposition")....his life was fiction, and now he is dead:
He died on October 21, 1969 at St. Anthony's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, one day after being rushed with severe abdominal pain from his St. Petersburg home by ambulance. His death, at the age of 47, resulted from an internal hemorrhage (bleeding esophageal varices) caused by cirrhosis of the liver, the result of a lifetime of heavy drinking.That won't make the movie.
Neither will this.
On Saturday, February 3, 1968 Cassady attended a wedding party in San Miguel de Allende. After the party he went walking by railroad track to reach the next town, but passed out in the cold and rainy night wearing nothing but a T-shirt and jeans. In the morning he was found in a coma by the track and brought to the closest hospital, where he died a few hours later of exposure, compounded by years of drug and alcohol abuse. He was five days short of his forty-second birthday.And even if it doesn't make a penny,it will be "critically acclaimed".
GI Joe is a real American hero -- and that might be a bit of problem for both Paramount Pictures and Hasbro. <...> But Mr. Goldner said Hasbro is sensitive to the current world climate. "We'll weigh our options. Clearly we do a lot of work on consumer insight."
Flashback, November, 2005:
Outraged by the anti-war bias of the U.S. media, Hollywood star Bruce Willis is planning to produce a new film that tells the story of the bravery of U.S. combat troops in Iraq and their success in liberating the Iraqi people."Bruce Willis comes out fighting for Iraq’s forgotten GI heroes" the Times' headline read. But somehow that plan was, uhhhh, forgotten.
"I was over there," Willis recently told MSNBC's Rita Cosby. "I am baffled to understand why the things that I saw happening in Iraq, really good things happening in Iraq, are not being reported on."
Willis' film will be based on the exploits of the highly decorated members of the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry, known as the "Deuce Four," according to the London Times.
Perhaps in favor of Lethal Rush Hour 4, Rise of the Silver Die Hard or whatever the hell that thing was...
But perhaps this will share theaters with Kerouac in 2009:
The Last Full MeasureOr perhaps not.
Thirty-three years after his death, during one of the bloodiest days of the Vietnam War, Air Force Para-rescue Jumper William H. Pitsenbarger is awarded the Medal of Honor after a young Washington bureaucrat and fellow veterans of Operation Abilene get Congress to reconsider the legacy of his sacrifice. From a true story.
[A1C] Pitsenbarger was 21 years old. He had been in Vietnam for eight months.Read the rest here.
He had not yet completed his first enlistment in the Air Force. As a PJ, he was both a medic and a survival specialist. He had been through Army jump school at Ft. Benning, Ga., and qualified by the Navy as a scuba diver. He had also been to Air Force "tree jump" school, training that included three parachute jumps into a forest, wearing tree jumping suits.
He planned to leave the Air Force when his hitch was up. He had applied to Arizona State, where he hoped to study to become a nurse.
Search-and-rescue missions did not happen every day, but when they did, the choppers often flew multiple sorties, searching the jungles or shuttling between battle zones, bases, and field hospitals. Pitsenbarger had five oak leaf clusters to his Air Medal, each representing 25 flights over hostile territory, and more clusters were pending.
The pilot of Pedro 73 was Capt. Hal Salem. The detachment commander, Maj. Maurice Kessler, was flying as copilot. Capt. Dale Potter, regularly the other pilot on the crew, had gone to Saigon to pick up some litters. Beside Pitsenbarger in the rear seats was A1C Gerald Hammond, the crew chief.
It took the two helicopters about half an hour to reach the battle. Charlie Company had marked its location with colored smoke.
All around them was triple-canopy jungle, the tallest trees reaching up 150 feet. However, there was a place where the trees topped out at 100 feet. Beneath that, thick brush grew from the ground to about 30 feet up, but there was a hole in the canopy just large enough for a Stokes litter-essentially a wire basket-to get through.
Bachman maneuvered the first helicopter, Pedro 97, into place. He hovered below treetop level. The opening was so tight that the whirling helicopter blades passed within five feet of the trees.
Pedro 97 lowered its litter, picked up the first casualty, then pulled back to transfer him from the Stokes litter to a folding litter. Pedro 73 moved into the hole and made the next pickup, but it did not go smoothly. The wounded soldier was in a makeshift stretcher, crafted from tree limbs and a poncho, and the ground party had put him, stretcher and all, into the litter. The extraction was precarious because the soldiers had not strapped the wounded man in.
The litter snagged repeatedly on the way up, and the stretcher could not be brought all the way into the helicopter. It was a struggle to get the soldier aboard. The pickup took far too long to complete, with the helicopter hovering there as a provocative target for ground fire.
"We had no direct communications with the people below, except through hand signals," Salem said. "We really couldn't advise them on how to speed up the process or to help them evaluate the extent of the injuries. Hopefully, some of the wounded could be sent up on the forest penetrator, which was much faster but certainly couldn't be used for hoisting the critically wounded."
Bachman's crew took another soldier aboard, and the two helicopters took the wounded to an Army hospital at Binh Ba, eight miles to the south.
When the choppers returned to the jungle site, Pitsenbarger asked the pilot to put him on the ground.
"Once I'm down there I can really help out," he told Salem. "I can show those guys how to rig the Stokes litter and load it right. It will be much faster, and you can put more people in the bird."
Salem thought about it, discussed it with the crew, and decided that Pitsenbarger was right.
"We wished Pits good luck," Salem said. "I maneuvered the helicopter into the pickup hole as Hammond strapped Pits onto the penetrator and disconnected his mike cord. I took my last glimpse of Pits as Hammond swung him out of the cabin.
"Pits had a big grin on his face. He was holding his medical kit, his M-16 rifle, and an armful of splints. I said a silent prayer for him. I have a feeling the rest of the crew said a prayer for him, too. We just never talked about it.
One last bit of entertainment news:
Encouraged by widespread opposition to the conflict in Iraq, Hollywood filmmakers are preparing to unleash an unprecedented wave of war films on moviegoers. In a notable break with the past — when antiwar films were released several years after the conflict in question — a whole new genre has been created even while American troops remain on the front lines of the war on terror.Like Jake Barnes, and The Boo Radleys...
Several upcoming films will follow the plight of Iraq war veterans.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. Shame on the man of cultivated taste who permits refinement to develop into fastidiousness that unfits him for doing the rough work of a workaday world. Among the free peoples who govern themselves there is but a small field of usefulness open for the men of cloistered life who shrink from contact with their fellows. Still less room is there for those who deride of slight what is done by those who actually bear the brunt of the day; nor yet for those others who always profess that they would like to take action, if only the conditions of life were not exactly what they actually are. The man who does nothing cuts the same sordid figure in the pages of history, whether he be a cynic, or fop, or voluptuary. There is little use for the being whose tepid soul knows nothing of great and generous emotion, of the high pride, the stern belief, the lofty enthusiasm, of the men who quell the storm and ride the thunder. Well for these men if they succeed; well also, though not so well, if they fail, given only that they have nobly ventured, and have put forth all their heart and strength. It is war-worn Hotspur, spent with hard fighting, he of the many errors and valiant end, over whose memory we love to linger, not over the memory of the young lord who "but for the vile guns would have been a valiant soldier."
-- Roosevelt, The Sorbonne
"...you would most certainly believe this must have happened by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime – Pol Pot or others – that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans..."
"And there is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children..."
John Murtha, an influential Pennsylvania lawmaker and outspoken critic of the war in Iraq, said today Marines had “killed innocent civilians in cold blood”...
..."so we’ve got to get the job done there, and that requires us to have enough troops that we are not just air raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there [Afghanistan]," Obama said.
"No. I think they’re a bunch of idiots. I also think they’re morally retarded. Because they sign a contract that says they will kill whoever you tell me to kill. And that is morally retarded."
"The list of serial killers and mass murderers borne from the military is astounding."
He glanced backwards. Of course they were talking about him. And now both were looking at him, the older with a hint of embarrassment while the younger face betrayed a rapidfire change of emotions, from fear to disgust and back again.
"Young Tom told me." The older explained. He was vaguely aware of a bit of yelling from the front of the line, and used it as an excuse to return his gaze forward. The line began moving again. He held fast to a belief that once through the gates the two behind him would go on about their merry way, and he'd never see them again.
The crowd remained reverently quiet approaching the gate, so he heard their continued conversation even though held in hushed tones.
"You know, it's likely he signed the New Oath of Allegiance."
"Well of course..."
"There's a copy of the original document inside."
"Did you get his name? Maybe we could get a picture of him contemplating the oath."
"You could do a story documenting his entire visit. I think it would be a marvelous focus."
"Do you think he'd mind? I mean, I could still get some great quotes from you - but this could be a real human interest angle..."
"Did you know he's brought the children as part of his obligatory community service."
"That's wonderful - I could write a feature on what he learns by seeing things through their tear-filled eyes!"
While this was going on he'd reached the gate, taken care to document his admission, and passed through the turnstiles. Taking one child by each hand, he moved quickly into the now expanding crowd.
Next: Wearing the Black Flag
Does the justaposition of the Pitsenbarger story and the Roosevelt speech with the quotes in the box below make anyone else feel like their head's going to explode?Posted by MaryAnn at August 23, 2007 10:35 PM
No, it makes me feel like bursting into tears as my head explodes. I think of my son and what he and the men with him are doing and then think of the sheltered, hedonistic lives of those who would write and make such drivel in Hollywood and those who would support such mindless rot and I want to scream. And then I remember, my son fights not only for his family and his ideals but for all who enjoy the freedom of this nation, even those who make drivel.Posted by Soldier's Mom at August 24, 2007 12:50 AM
Thank you, yes, that's exactly right. Like I'm going insane and my heart is breaking at the same time.Posted by MaryAnn at August 24, 2007 12:40 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(3) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)