Let’s start with an appropriate news flash relating to the coronavirus. Remember, you heard it here first.
Due to Covid-19, until further notice, SWEET CAROLINE IS BANNED. There will be no
A sad state of affairs indeed. I thought you should know.
Just a bit of writing news to report on. I’ve got a bit more work done on the draft manuscript for a (hopefully) forthcoming book very tentatively titled Glory in the Shadows: America’s Forgotten Military Leaders. The pandemic has actually been conducive to staying at home planted in front of a writing desk and computer. A rough draft of the chapter on Grenada (1983) is complete and some beginning pencil strokes have been put on paper covering the operation in Panama (1989). I had to order books to research both of those areas – the pickings were sparse in local city and university libraries. It still strikes me as rather remarkable that I can order books on line and see them on my door step in a day or two. In my family’s background there was a grandfather who delivered mail by horse and buggy on a Star Route in northeastern Nebraska. He would have been fascinated by all this.
I mentioned last time a fiction short story that I was playing with that uses current events – pandemic, upheaval in the streets, political strife, and the upcoming election – as a backdrop for the story. As I have explored possible sources that might wish to consider it, it has been interesting to see how many print magazines have temporarily or permanently ceased doing business. That is, I suppose, a combined effect of both the pandemic and the increasing shift toward on-line publications. Also, many magazines have designated reading periods during the year –- segments of time, usually a few months long, during which the publication will only consider certain types of manuscripts. Some of the more noted publications will not begin opening their doors to fiction short stories until September or later. I’ve sent it to a few that are in the midst of their reading cycle, and will offer it to others as they come on line. Given the political sensitivities in the country at the moment, some may be reluctant to take on a story of that nature. So, we’ll see…
A few days ago, I had an interesting surprise moment related to some writing that I had done several years ago. Those “of a certain age” may remember a terrorist episode in which U.S. Army General James L. Dozier was abducted by the Red Brigades terrorist group in Italy (December 1981). General Dozier’s name came up in a conversation recently, which prompted me to “google him up” and get the latest news regarding him. When I searched for “Major General James L. Dozier” one of the articles that popped up was “The Dozier Kidnapping: Confronting the Red Brigades.” Turns out, much to my surprise, that is an article I wrote for Aerospace Power Chronicles, a small military magazine. The article was in many ways an after action report describing events that occurred and actions taken following the kidnapping. A version of the article and an added section, more personal in nature, describing my family’s circumstance during that time (I was commander of a small Air Force detachment at Vicenza, Italy) was later published in A Pilgrim in Unholy Places: Stories of a Mustang Colonel.
Well, now for a moment on something of cosmic importance: baseball. I happened to be watching when the new rule regarding extra-inning games was used for the first time (i.e., play in all extra innings begins with a runner on second base). Guess I will reserve judgment on it. John Smoltz, a Hall of Fame pitcher and now a baseball analyst, mentioned that he was in favor of the rule. In the pre-pandemic era, he said that particularly when a game went deep into extra innings, it burned up a pitching staff and influenced availability for days to come. At times, non-pitchers had to take the mound. I’m not sure the runner on second rule will necessarily solve all that but it does have the possibility of shortening some of the extra-inning games. No doubt, the major league hierarchy will gauge fan reaction before making a decision on whether or not to keep the rule on a permanent basis. I feel strongly both ways.
Now, for the usual TRULY AWFUL PUNS. These are courtesy of my daughter. They are totally bad.
To the guy who invented zero, thanks for nothing.
I would tell you an unemployment joke, but none of them work.
Did you hear the joke about German sausage? It was the wurst.
See, really bad. We are now using an unlisted number, so please don’t bother with the bomb threats.
I would like to close this month’s newsletter on a more serious note. August marks the 30th anniversary of the search for Heidi Seeman, the beautiful young daughter of an Air Force sergeant stationed at Randolph AFB, on the outskirts of San Antonio. The search remains, I believe, the largest in Texas history.
Over the years, my thoughts have returned so often to the Seeman family, their neighbors, the Air Force community, and to the literally thousands of people from the Greater San Antonio area who helped in the search and shared our work, our hopes, and our tears. Bless them all. It was incredible to see a major American city come together in such a remarkable way. It was – and will always remain – an honor to have been part of it and to have known and met so many truly good people.
Best wishes to all. Stay safe.