Fighting the Cold War

My new novel, Mothers Hurling Bricks, is a series of linked stories describing the sadness, and madness, passion and deceitfulness  of the US Army’s occupation of West Germany in the late 1960s. The Vietnam War sucked all the energy from the US Army, allowing little attention and resources to be spent in Europe, yet the US supposedly kept massive numbers of well trained soldiers and nuclear armed weapons  continuously on alert for a Soviet Block attack. At least thats the story they gave me after they inserted several of us non-traditional soldiers into West Germany and told us we were more or less responsible for assessing the health and strength of those soldiers and weapons.

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Mothers Hurling Bricks

My new novel, Mothers Hurling Bricks, is now available. Set in Heidelberg, Zurich and Prague in 1968 during the Vietnam war, it exposes deception, ineptitude, and stupidity regarding forces on both sides of the Iron Curtain. I was there and can confirm the parts I was privy to.

First, you feed the Dragon.

 

 

The Great American Experiment is now over.

No more polite words or silly threats, blunted swords or whispered horrors. No more reality show. It is time for the consequences of all that pretending to stomp into your living rooms and bedrooms, and settle on your sofas.

Those ignorant seekers of past glory have had their way, they have signed their name.They have thrown their bombs–that big one, sure, but numerous cluster bombs as well.They lie now amidst the pre-rubble, and they are ticking, and we all can hear them, even though our ears are covered, and the background noise is terrible, we can hear them tick.

Tick, tick; the time’s now fixed, we know exactly when we’ll run out of those little red numbers

And then?

Trump’s told us what to expect, and so we should expect what he tells us is going to happen, will indeed happen.

“Believe me!” he often tells us. “It’s true folks! It’s gonna happen, ya’ know what I mean!”

Here is what he means:

First come the walls. Sure there is the promised Mexican one, but he’s promised other walls; walls to enclose the 11,000,000 of us undesirable deport-ables; walls to prevent us undesirables of other races and colors and religions from entering: walls around our universities to keep those undesirable elites in their ivory towers, walls around our inner cities to prevent interaction with the business of being great; walls between those who believe and will obey, and those who don’t and won’t.

First came the Dragon. Then come the sycophants, those who know better but are dazzled by the fire and the smoke, or the threat of the drones, or all those men with the guns.

Then come the tanks, and the stealthy drone bombers, and the doubling of the men with guns needed to build and maintain the integrity of these many walls. He’s told us this!

Then come your neighbors, watching and reporting, building their own walls.

Do you recognize the great irony here: “America” will never be great, ever again after this.

Do you realize you will have to explain this to your grandchildren?

We once most certainly were great. The entire world confirmed us as great. Even yesterday we were great. But we aren’t now–not today!

And I fear, not ever again, at least in my lifetime. I do however have the memory:

America, for all of my lifetime until last night, was indeed: great!

But that’s all over now, good people.

Rain Check

I took this photograph in north central North Dakota last summer. What it shows is global climate change at work.ND pic blog 2

Note the rainclouds entering from stage left.

Note the puddle of open water beneath the cloud being filled by its rain.

Note the swampy areas of drainage swales weaving with some disorder through the wheat fields.

Note the soil’s now too wet to support the wheat.

Over the last decades the annual rainfall this landscape accepts has increased dramatically, such that the water table is now substantially higher. One result of this higher water table is that areas of open water are exposed on the surface in lower lying areas.

One of those new areas of open water, in effect a new lake, can be seen lounging beneath the raincloud as it accepts a new delivery of water. In another decade there will be brush and trees surrounding this lake, then deer and birds and beavers will come, then fishermen and hunters will come, then this new wildlife and recreation area will need protection from farm runoff and from Minnesotan hunters and fishermen.

And, it can be effectively argued, all this change is happening because someone somewhere is burning fossil fuel. Perhaps burning some of the very oil being pumped up from its current home, five miles beneath this rapidly changing North Dakota landscape.

 

Why North Dakota?

Blog 1 NDWhat would prompt a New England author to place his novel in North Dakota?

The answer starts with a game I play with my sister, Mary; I had four states—Hawaii, Washington, Alabama, and North Dakota—remaining to visit, while she had but two—Hawaii and Vermont. North Dakota seemed low fruit, so soon after I moved to Minneapolis I zipped out there, intending to step into Fargo, claim my state, replenish food and fuel, then zip back home. A one-day deal would cut my sister’s lead to one.

But still, I did some meagre preparation. I learned how a previous explorer approached his North Dakota quest, and uncovered an absolutely astounding piece of information: That between the time Lewis and Clark left their winter camp near Bismarck, until many months later when they happened upon Sacajawea’s birthplace in the Utah mountains, no one in the entourage, including scouts and food gatherers poking into many corners of the landscape, encountered a single other human being. They found no evidence of human habitation, though using the area’s only natural highway, the Missouri River!

Such utter barrenness seems astounding! I can’t imagine any explorer having a like experience while traversing other inhospitable landscapes; the Sahara desert, the frozen wastelands of Alaska’s northern shore, even the Tibetan mountains. Explorers periodically intercepted people living in those isolated areas. How could there be no people living, even wandering aimlessly, in North Dakota? Is it a landscape so brutal as to repel potential settlers at this world class level?

Seemed it was a question needing investigation, so I spent a couple years looking, unsuccessfully, for possible answers: what makes a landscape that repulsive? I found North Dakota no longer empty. Brave, independent minded humans do now live there. And it’s time someone told their story.