Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Evanston: fallen women and a rat; article added; a quote; homeless

         I finished ANNA KARENINA for the third and I expect last time and enjoyed it almost thoroughly.  The ‘almost’ is the last thirty-seven pages in which one of the characters undergoes a spiritual revival.  Tolstoy was given to religious mysticism.  I am not.  He makes a good case against reason, but not a good case for any substitute.
        To me the novel would be perfect if it ended at Part 8, Chapter 5 with the volunteers on the train to join the Serbs.
        One fallen woman leads to another, or so many young men hope.  I note in passing that the very expression ‘fallen woman’ is a prudish, hypocritical conceit.  Men who engage in sex outside of marriage have seldom been been called ‘fallen.’  Still, Anna led me to the other most famous fallen woman of Nineteenth Century literature, Madame Bovary, which I also have read twice in the distant past and am just starting again.  
        Several movie versions of the novel have been made.   
        This past weekend we watched on Netflix the 2014 film directed by Sophie Barthes with Mia Wasikowska in the title role.  The movie didn’t get good reviews, but I thought it well done and we enjoyed it.

        The rat is actually a rat, a mole, a badger, a toad, an otter and several field mice, plus assorted weasels and stoats, all of whom populate Kenneth Grahame’s THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS, an almost miraculous book in that through it may have been written for children, an old man can read it with pleasure and this one just did.  As a writer I found myself considering sentences and vocabulary in an attempt to understand how Grahame could appeal to those seven decades apart.  Other than that he did not condescend to children, I did not come up with an answer.  Of the book, I was charmed.
        My Kindle edition came with illustrations.  
        The one above is of Rat and Mole.  This of Toad in prison, an episode that I did not remember.


         I also added a quote to the Wit page.  On Michael’s site I noticed it attributed to me.  While I agree with the sentiment I didn’t remember writing it.  That is not unusual.  I’ve been writing for a long time and I’m old.  There must now be more than a million words in this journal alone.  I wrote to Michael who replied that I wrote this in an email to him.  
        This is the fourth addition to the wit page this year, another of which was brought to my attention by a reader.
        Add to those four my acceptance speech and ‘A Slice of Life’, whose title came from Steve Earley—I’m starting to collaborate—and this has been a good literary year.  I really may not yet be used up.
        The quote:
        It is good to try to do something that you are not certain you can accomplish.  That you even try is rare.
        When I wrote that the 'you' was singular and Michael, but it can be plural and general.

        I did not read ‘Déjà Vu All Over Again’ all the way through before I uploaded it, but I did notice the ending:

        I looked ashore at our condo behind oak trees and Spanish moss.
        GANNET was home.  She has never really had a home port.  Now she does.

        Well, perhaps not.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Evanston: iron; order; tranquility

        My friend Michael has an iron butt.  Actually I think he has three.  Use some imagination.
        There exists something called the Iron Butt Association—I am not making this up—with something like 40,000 members.  Members get certificates or something for completing various rides such as 1000 miles in 24 hours or 1500 miles in 36 hours on two wheels.  Michael has done both of these and recently did another 1500 mile run, this time on a 200 cc Burgman scooter, roughly the equivalent of making an ocean passage on a Drascombe Lugger.
        You can read about his ride from the Florida Keys to Niagara Falls at his Key West Diary.  I who do not like motorized vehicles and no longer even drive find his passage interesting.  
        But don’t stop reading there.  Continue to scroll to the excellent poem, ‘The Idea of Order in Key West’ by Wallace Stevens, accompanied by some of Michael’s apposite photographs.  I know Stevens, but did not know that poem, which I have now read three times.


        The lovely photo was taken by Barry of Steve Earley on SPARTINA a few evenings ago and is titled, ‘Anchoring Out After Dinner.’


        I am counting down.  We fly to Savannah this Friday.
        The YellowBrick is charged.  I have reserved a gallon of bottom paint at the Hilton Head West Marine in case I have time in the Chesapeake to haul and antifoul.  I am transferring a few photos and videos to a flash drive to use in my speech, which may be speeches.  I am out of Laphroaig.
        It is time to go.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Evanston: signs of the times; less American football

        A friend has just sent his son to college.
        His son has gone on a full e-sports scholarship.
        My friend’s son is going to be on the school’s video gaming team.
        His father tells me his son is really good at video games.  I expect that he is and feel the generations gap.  Not singular.  I am halfway between being this young man’s grandfather and his great-grandfather.  I had no idea that e-sports scholarships exist.  No reason why they shouldn’t.  I am glad the young man is getting a free college education and that my friend is not having to pay four year’s tuition.  He is a sailor and as I observed you can buy a fine boat for that. 
        Game on.

        On sale at the National Football League Arizona Cardinal’s stadium is a $75 burger weighing 7 pounds/3.17 kilos.  It includes five beef patties, five beef hot dogs, five bratwursts, twenty slices of American cheese, eight slices of bacon, eight chicken tenders, twelve ounces of french fries, and a guaranteed heart attack.
        This is reported by NEWSWEEK.  Not reported is if one has ever been bought.


        American football season began tonight with a college game televised on ESPN.  I did not watch and I will watch less football this year than in the past, and not just because in the next few months I won’t have access to television.
        When I can I probably will watch college football, but little NFL football.
        There are three reasons for this.
        I dislike the showboating.  After almost every play in the NFL someone struts or demonstrates for the television audience after usually routine plays as if they had made a tackle or run or catch for the ages.
        Too many football players are thugs.
        Competitiveness and aggression are part of every sport, but American football rewards extreme aggression on the field which often naturally continues off the field.  
        Many professional football players are not thugs.  But in my observation more are than in any other sport, other perhaps than ice hockey which I do not watch at all.
        And most of all the movie, CONCUSSION.
        I am not against football because it can cause concussions and result in brain damage.
        I believe that it is a quite reasonable choice to choose a short life of fame and possible wealth rather than a long mediocre one, but until Dr. Bennet Omalu, the Nigerian pathologist, established the link between playing football and brain damage, football players were innocent victims, as prior to about 1960 cigarette smokers were innocent victims.  Now football players are, as are cigarette smokers, aware victims and not entitled to sympathy.
        CONCUSSION turned me against the NFL because of the way the league reacted to Dr. Omalu’s findings.  The league acted just as big tobacco companies did to the first findings that their product causes cancer.  The NFL denied, promoted alternative fake ‘experts’ and sought to discredit Dr. Omalu personally.
        In other words, the NFL, which is a very big business, acted like a big business and used all their wealth and power to try to protect profits rather than accept the truth.
        Despicable.  And as I have written this I have realized that it is time that I leave the thugs, both players and owners, behind.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Evanston: Hilary Lister

        I thank Michael for a link to an article about Hillary Lister, an English quadriplegic who managed to solo sail.   Life is indeed harder for some than others.
        She looks really happy.
        I am glad she was.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Evanston: sea rat; unbourboned; rekindled; alligator's mistake

        Kent, of Kent and Audrey, boat restorers and builders par excellence, recently posted an excerpt from THE WIND AND THE WILLOWS that caused me immediately to buy a Kindle edition of the book that I haven’t read in more than sixty years and may well appreciate more now than when I was a child.
        As I write,’Sea Rat from The Wind in the Willows’ is the top entry.  If not, scroll down.


        I am giving up bourbon.  I really only like Buffalo Trace which is perpetually in short to nonexistent supply.  Every other bourbon I have bought when I couldn’t find Buffalo Trace is too sweet for my taste, most recently Breckenridge which claims awards as the best bourbon in the world.  Recommendations are not solicited.  Even Buffalo Trace does not to me compare with my favorite liquid, although it has the virtue of costing half as much.


        For the past year or so, my iPhone 7 Plus has been my e-reader.  Before that I used various Kindles.  I’ve owned three, but none for several generations, so last week, largely influenced by battery life versus the iPhone, I bought a new Kindle Paperwhite. 
        This one is smaller, lighter, has more RAM, a much better display than my last one, and a new font, Amazon Ember, specifically designed for e-reading.  I like it.  
        So now I have one more device to carry with me to and from GANNET.  Not a problem.  They all will still fit in my messenger bag and/or travel vest.


        Several of you sent me links to stories about the alligator killing that poor woman walking her dog on Hilton Head Island yesterday.  Naturally it was sensational enough that it made what poses as the evening news on television.
        That attack took place at the other end of the island from our infamous condo, but ponds and lagoons are all over Hilton Head and we have seen alligators at our end, too.
        When I wrote last evening that this year has been too easy for me, I misspoke.  The year has been easy in the sense that I have not pushed or even approached my limits.  That is a mistake because as a consequence I have had too few redeeming moments of joy.  
        This has, in fact, been a difficult year because of the never ending condo debacle.  I expected that  our buying that condo would mean I would spend more time on GANNET or at least within sight of her.  Instead it has resulted in my spending far less time with her and on the water.  At least that will change soon.
        The alligator ate the wrong person.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Evanston: storm front


         A storm front is passing.  Lightning and thunder.  Not cataclysmic.  I wish it were more severe.  I wish I were in it in GANNET far offshore.  This year has been too easy for me.  I need greater challenges.
        I just watched Clint Eastwood’s THE UNFORGIVEN, which I first saw in Littleton, New Hampshire in 1992, not long after I sank RESURGAM.
        I saw it then with people I thought were friends who proved only to be acquaintances.  A too frequent occurrence in my life, as perhaps it has been in yours,
        As I have written I was formed by legends of the American West and ancient Greece.  The most fundamental fact of my life is that I wanted to live a life equal to those legends.  Unabashedly I wanted to live an epic life.  Whether I have is a matter of opinion.  If you have been here a while you may remember the story of Abraham Lincoln at his cabinet meeting and know the only opinion that actually matters to me.
        The storm is outside.  I am inside, listening to Erik Satie’s TROIS GYMNOPEDIES on headphones.  A glass of bourbon is to my left.
        Life is hard.  I have always sought to make it as easy as possible.  But though seriously old, I still have strength that longs to be challenged.  I wish I were at sea.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Evanston: chance

        In the early hours of August 9,1945, a B-29 named Bock’s Car, took off from the island of Tinian in the western Pacific Ocean carrying one bomb, nicknamed Fat Boy because it weighed five tons.  As I learned from the final episode of the Smithsonian Channel’s The Pacific War in Color, Bock’s Car was not headed for Nagasaki.  
        Seven hours later, Bock’s Car was over its primary target, the arsenal city of Kokura.  Radar locked in on the target, but the orders were to drop the bomb only with certain visual identification.  Clouds and smoke from fires still burning from the bombing the previous day of the nearby city of Yawata prevented the men in the bomber from seeing the arms factory over which the bomb was to be dropped, so after forty-five minutes during which they made three bombing runs without releasing the world’s first plutonium bomb, about a third more powerful than the uranium bomb dropped on Hiroshima three days earlier, they turned away for their secondary target.  Less than an hour later about 50,000 people were vaporized in Nagasaki rather than in Kokura.
        I am aware that there are those who believe that nothing happens by chance, that everything has meaning and has been planned.  I am not one of them.
        I am also not one of those who ever thought that the bombs should not have been dropped
        At various times and places I have met four men, one Englishman, two Americans, and an Australian, who told me that they would not likely have been alive had the nuclear weapons not been used.  In August 1945 all were being redeployed for the invasion of Japan in which more than one million Allied casualties were expected, as were many more than that Japanese dead.  After Iwo Jima and Okinawa there could be no doubt that the Japanese would fight to annihilation and it was expected that the war would continue until at least 1947.
        It is also forgotten that the most destructive bombing raid ever was neither Hiroshima or Nagasaki, but the fire bombing of Tokyo in March 1945, which took more than one bomb, but resulted in over 100,000 deaths and destroyed about half the city.  Nuclear weapons have a more efficient kill ratio, but we can kill one another quite well with less efficient bombs.  For that matter we may destroy the species, and a good many more innocent others, just by continuing to burn coal and oil.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Evanston: a woman, a man, plastic and storms

        I am rereading ANNA KARININA for the third time, though the first in several decades.  William Faulkner reportedly called it the greatest novel ever written.  While I am skeptical about ‘greatests’—except where it is indisputable, such as the greatest small boat sailor who ever lived—but I digress—ANNA KARININA is an exceptionally fine novel and I prefer it to WAR AND PEACE.
        This reading was caused by our watching the 2012 movie version last weekend.  That movie is very well done, stylized, partly taking place inside a theater with scenes transitioning to the outside.  One sequence vividly expresses unbridled sexual passion without ever revealing any significant body parts.  Quite a feat.
        Above is the cover of the translation I am currently reading First published in the UK in 2000, it is the best I have come across, and I am enjoying the novel even more than before.
        The cover notes that it was a choice of The Oprah Book Club.  If she got some of her audience to read the book, she did something worthwhile.  I can only aspire to do the same.

        While ANNA KARININA is a good movie, we watched one even better over the weekend, LITTLE BIG MAN, in which Dustin Hoffman portrays Jack Crabb, who at age 121 recounts his life during what those of us who came from Europe call ‘the opening of the West’ and native Americans call a disaster, including being the only white survivor of the Battle of Little Big Horn.
        The film is both humorous and tragic.  I was surprised to see that it was first released in 1970.  I saw it then.  That was a long, long time ago.  So long ago that Dustin Hoffman and I were both young.
        BookBub offered the novel on which the film is based a while ago.  I bought it, but have not yet read it.  Maybe after I finished ANNA.
        We watched ANNA KARININA on Netflix and LITTLE BIG MAN on Amazon Prime Video.


        An article in NEWSWEEK, which is one of the magazines I skim via the Texture app, states that five countries are responsible for 60% of all the plastic waste dumped in the oceans according to a study released by the Ocean Conservancy and that over half the plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch consists of fishing nets. 
        The five countries are China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.  I am not aware that any of them plan to change their ways soon.


        I fly to GANNET two weeks from tomorrow.
        The wind forecast is still good to sail to the Chesapeake.
        According to the Living Earth app, there are presently six active tropical storms, Ernesto, Bebinca, Thirty—still only an unnamed depression, Lane, Soulik, and Rumbia.  Only Ernesto is in the Atlantic and it is out in the middle and far north.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Evanston: drinks on the beach; rosé


        As I have noted here before I am always writing in my mind and I do not always remember what I have actually shared with others,  So if this is repetition forgive me:  No one has ever lived in Chicago for the climate, and if they did they were delusional.  However this summer has been pleasant on the 600’ flatlands and yesterday Carol suggested that we take our folding seats and martinis down to our local South Beach in the early evening.  Drinking there is illegal, so we didn’t include olives and drank from plastic cups. 


        Carol bought roses to celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary this coming week.  Included was this small bud that became a glass of rosé.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Evanston: defaults; dogs

        Carol is on the west coast on business and I have been ill today.
        I am not looking for sympathy here.  The illness is not serious.  I have become allergic to something.  I do not know what.  But every couple of weeks my nose runs like a faucet and I sneeze and cough and have trouble breathing and go through boxes of Kleenex.  I take an over the counter pill which helps.  I do not recall this happening on GANNET, so it may be something in this condo or location.  But the default for Webb Chiles is that at age 76 he feels strong and healthy.  So I now have increased empathy for those whom genetics and time and chance have not treated so kindly.
        This might be the time to say that I believe that inexplicably I was given several rare gifts genetically and all I have done is ride them the distance without screwing them up too much.
        Along those lines I must admit that I most respect those who who have body as well as artistic ability.  My friend, Tim, who did the double of running a marathon in the morning and playing the violin in an orchestra the same evening, is the perfect example. Tim didn’t do that to impress anyone.  He did it because that is what he is, just as I do what I do because that is what I am.

        Another default for me is Baroque music.
        I have five radio stations as favorites on an Apple TV app.  Radio New Zealand Concert.  BBC Radio 3.  Audiophile Baroque.  All Classical Portland KQAC.  Australian Broadcasting Classic FM.  
        Radio New Zealand is my first choice, but sometimes does not suit.  Nor do any of the others always, except for Audiophile Baroque, which I think comes from Switzerland.  It never fails me and is now playing Giovanni Battista Somis’s Sonata No. 12, which I had never heard before but like,

        When Carol is away I watch movies that I think might not interest her.  Last night I watched the movie GOLD which stars Mathew McConaughey and is better than I expected.  The story, based loosely on real events, is about a faked discovery of a gold mine and it reaffirmed my believe that true wealth is not in having more but in needing less.
        If you have been here a while you will be aware of my claim that of all of you I have had the smallest life time earnings.  Only one reader, a self-employed boat builder of great skill, suggested he might be able to compete with me as an American failure.
        At the CCA presentation dinner a woman sitting next to me asked about Carol, who was sitting on the opposite side of the table.  Knowing the crowd I was in, I told her Carol is a Harvard educated architect, and she said, “Oh, so that is how you have done this.”  I did not point out that on December 12, 1975 when I was off Cape Horn in Force 12, Carol was in high school in Charlotte, North Carolina.  And when I sailed CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE, she was in college.
        Carol is a great success story.  She comes from a family that saw that all four children, two girls, two boys, got college educations, but beyond her bachelor's degrees she was on her own and she got into and paid for Harvard on her own and became a success in a male dominated profession.  
        I benefit by Carol’s earnings.  It is possible that she makes more in a year than I have in a lifetime.  It is certain that she does in two years.  But money was not of the least interest when I married her.  I in fact had at that time more than she.  I married her for the standard reasons of inextricably intertwined love and lust, and even now her income supports the way of life she wants to live, much of which I do not need or even want, except to want to be with her.

        I haven’t sneezed or had to blow my nose while writing this.  Too many variables.  Is it the concentration while writing?  Or the two martinis I drank?  Are martinis medicinal?  How great that would be.

        To deliberately change the subject, one reader asked if I had thought of sailing from Panama to Hilo, Hawaii, and completing the circumnavigation there and then shipping the little boat back to the mainland.  
        I have thought of sailing to Hilo, but it never occurred to me to ship GANNET back to California.  If I went to Hilo, I would sail from there to Seattle and then work my way down the coast to San Diego.
        However, if I do not sail from Panama to San Diego I am much more tempted to sail for the Marquesas and through the South Pacific to New Zealand, completing the circumnavigation at Neiafu, Tonga,
        Beyond those possibilities, though, there is a pleasing symmetry in completing what is probably my last circumnavigation in San Diego where I began my first.  The last thousand miles to San Diego is against wind and current and not easy.  ‘Easy’ is not my highest value. 
        I have understood my life while I have been living it better than most do theirs.  So far I have divided it in two parts:  ‘longing’ and ‘being’, the division precisely the morning of November 2, 1974, when I pushed the enginless EGREGIOUS away from her slip at Harbor Island Marina for what turned out to be my first of three attempts at Cape Horn.  There would be a pleasing symmetry if the second part of my life, ‘being’, ends where it began when I reach San Diego next year.  
        I don’t expect that many will understand or like what I call the third part of my life, but you will have to work on that if you want to continue to journey with me.  I call a spade a spade.

        Another reader asked how long it will take me to sail from Hilton Head to the Chesapeake.
        The distance from Hilton Head to Cape Henry, the southern entrance to Chesapeake Bay,  measures about 450 miles.  So without calms or headwinds, it would probably be four days. With good conditions GANNET could do it in three.  Without calms or headwinds, five would be slow.  With them it could take even longer.  
        Carol and I arrive at Hilton Head on Friday, August 31.  I'll be ready to sail by the following Monday or Tuesday.  It will all depend on the weather.
        And even if I can’t get up to the Chesapeake, unless GANNET is destroyed by a hurricane at dock, I will sometime in September go to sea, if only to sail away from the land for a few days and then sail back.
        I need to be at sea.


        The photo was taken by my friend, Michael, who visited when I was last in Hilton Head. I thank him for permission to use it.  A sea dog and a land dog, Michael's admirable Rusty, walking down the dock,

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Evanston: an impressive row; WILD, WILD COUNTRY; good wind; a First World Problem

        Bryce Carlson, a 37 year old school teacher, has just rowed alone across the Atlantic in 38 days, 6 hours and 49 minutes, breaking the former record by slightly more than 15 days, an impressive improvement and achievement.
        An article in the NY TIMES states that the row cost $130,000.  I wonder about that.  I have no idea what his custom built boat cost, but other than shipping or trucking it to the starting point, I don’t see any other substantial expenses, although he did eat a lot more freeze dry food than I do, but hardly a hundred thousand dollars worth.
        Well done.


        A friend told me about a Netflix documentary, WILD, WILD COUNTRY which as this review from THE ATLANTIC accurately points out is “ostensibly the story of how a group led by the dynamic Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh purchased 64,000 acres of land in central Oregon in a bid to build its own utopian city. But, as the series immediately reveals, the narrative becomes darker and stranger than you might ever imagine.”  Certainly more than I ever imagined.
        Carol and I have only watched four of the six episodes.  We’ll watch the last two tonight.  The series is riveting, original, and about important matters as timely today as when these events took place more than thirty years ago. 
        Highly recommended.


        I have started checking the wind forecasts for the mid-Atlantic coast.  This is an excellent week to sail from Hilton Head to the Chesapeake.  South wind all the way all the time, except for perhaps a day or so of calms.  Unfortunately I’m not on GANNET this week.  
        I'm running the photo to remind myself what she looks like.


        My iPhone links to my hearing aids via bluetooth and automatically transmits telephone calls to them which is very useful.  I can hear telephone voices really well—except…
        I usually take off my eyeglasses and hearing aids when I work out.
        I usually work out in our second bedroom which is my day room and is located toward the back of our Evanston condo.
        I had just completed my workout when I heard my iPhone ring.  I had left it in the living room which is in the front of the condo.  Almost no one has that number, so I assumed it was Carol and dashed to the living room, picked up the phone, said “Hello” and heard nothing.  I said “Hello” several more times and the line went dead.  I saw that it was in fact from Carol and called her back.  Again I heard nothing.  Just before I  started to try a third time, I realized that of course I heard nothing because the sound was being routed to my hearing aids in the back bedroom.  I fetched them, put them one, called Carol and we conversed.
        A very First World problem.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Evanston: Eva Cassidy

        I have written about Eva Cassidy here before and recently chanced across a moving video about her a few days ago.
        I have no musical talent but I believe I have good instincts.  Bach.  Beethoven’s late string quartets.  Some of Mark Knopfler.  Others.  And Eva Cassidy.
        Her rendition of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ made her posthumously famous, but I believe her cover of Sting’s “Fields of Gold” is more beautiful.  As is her “Songbird.”  And many others.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Evanston: losing Earth; studying war; another CANNERY ROW quote; team

        I was sailing almost continuously in the 1980s and out of the country and away from news. A very good way to live.  I learned a great deal from the article about what a few foresaw and what might have happened. 
        The article is only the first of two parts and is so long that in this age of nanosecond attention spans when National Geographic must be reduced to Nat Geo and atrial fibrillation to A Fib I doubt it will be much read, which probably doesn’t matter because it is already too late.


        I have been studying war.  I have always read about war.  I had to check to see if I had included one of my own conclusions about war on the wit/wisdom page.  I have.
        My recent reading and viewing was the result of unrelated sources.  BookBub offered D DAY SEEN THROUGH GERMAN EYES.  Tim saw and recommended an inflight movie, JOURNEY’S END.  I have been watching a series, The Pacific War in Color, on the Smithsonian Channel. And one thing led to another, including my watching online documentaries about D Day and the Battle of Kursk.  
        D DAY THROUGH GERMAN EYES is a series of interviews conducted in 1954 on the tenth anniversary of the landing by Dieter Eckhertz, a journalist and grandfather of the man who finally got them published.
        The interviews are human and interesting in many ways, among them the universal amazement of the German troops at the colossal force sent against them.  A literal wall of ships appeared that dawn off the beaches of Normandy.  Thousands of airplanes overhead.  Tanks and vehicles beyond belief.  Many of the Germans were surprised there were no horses.  Even in 1944 horses were used by them for supply transport.  The Allies were completely mechanized.  I don’t know that I have ever before fully appreciated the logistics behind the D Day landing.
        I read D DAY THROUGH GERMAN EYES in one day and then, because it was a commercial success that resulted in D DAY THROUGH GERMAN EYES BOOK TWO, I bought it and read it the next day.
        One of the former soldiers interviewed in the second book was a weapons expert who was involved in developing an explosive vapor based on kerosene, coal dust and aluminum particles.  The vapor was sent in several shells to an area and then when it had coalesced ignited by another shell.
        It was used against the Russians in the Crimea and against the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto and might have been used against the Allies in Normandy.
        In the interview the weapons expert notes that a prototype version of the weapon was used in a controlled test on the Eastern front and “that any Russians who were either in the target area or in a radius of several hundred meters were killed outright.”
        “Do you mean prisoners were there, under the blast.”
        “I said it was a controlled test.  Let’s move on.”

        JOURNEY’S END is based on a play and suffers as most such movies do by too much dialogue.  A British unit on the front line in France in 1918 is about to be obliterated by the last gasp, and almost successful, German offensive of the war.
        It is a good movie with some very well shot battle scenes.  I rented it from iTunes.

        To return to D Day, Americans tend to think it was the decisive battle in defeating Nazi Germany, but in fact the Soviet Union had already done that at Stalingrad and Kursk, the latter, which took place in July and August 1943, was the greatest tank battle ever and one from which Germany never recovered.    
        After Kursk, German forces in the east only retreated.  D Day was about a redistribution of casualties and the United States and Great Britain not wanting the Soviet Union to occupy all of Europe.  There was no reason for their armies to stop at Berlin unless we had troops on the ground facing them.


        From CANNERY ROW, published in 1945, a year before Donald Trump was even born.
        “It has always seemed strange to me,” said Doc.  “The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system.  And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. “


        I recently saw a piece about a deservedly famous French sailor, no doubt produced by his PR person(s) that repeatedly referred to what ‘“Blank and his team’ are doing or going to do.
        I thought I would try it on for size.
        “Webb Chiles and his team.”
        Nah.  It doesn’t ring true.