We are now installed in our house in Alberta, Baraga County, which I called Baragastan in one of the Woods Cop Books. having gotten here a week ago Sunday, and only in last day or so been able to establish WiFi. Still no reliable phone coverage, but MTU allegedly building their own tower this summer. We shall see. Beautiful spot in the hills about 8 mile south of L’Anse, an old Henry Ford sawmill, which the Ford Motor Company gifted to Michigan Tech in 1954. The 60th anniversary of that will be celebrated this summer, sheer serendipity that we are here for it. I have signed contracts for the next collection of short stories, Harder Ground, to come out next spring. And contracts for republication of TAXI DANCER, THE BERKUT, and THE DOMINO CONSPIRACY, all of which should show up in the next 18 months or so, and with that, Globe-Pequot/Lyons will be the publisher of all my stuff. This September will see publication of Bapat #2, MOUNTAINS OF THE MISBEGOTTEN. Next Grady Service, #10, to be out fall of 2015. So right now I am busy with the next Woods Cop book, working title of BUCKULAR DYSTROPHY and having great fun with it. Got 30,000 words done before we came up here, and am now in mid-book range of telling the story. Every day we get out to explore. Lonnie walks Shaksper and I amble the hills and the cricks and hollows checking brookie water for when the waters recede. This is absolutely beautiful country. With a brook trout lake and creek on the property and the Sturgeon River a mile or so south of us with trails through the woods or via US 41. It’s occurred to me that most Americans see too much from vehicles, and having a view of something at 55-75 mph is not the same as hiking carefully and slowly up into the hills where you are engulfed by natural smells and sounds. Liesl Schillinger in the NYt on May 11 wrote, “Travel by foot leaves and imprint on the memory, and slows down time for a precious moment to associate with little known creatures,” She may have attributed this to trekker-hiker Helen Thayer; my notes are cloudy on the attribution. Surprise. My handwriting, never good, grows progressively worse. Here we are, with all our stuff put away and now we have to make a run to Noobs to get the rest out of storage. This will happen tomorrow. So far we are quite happy here. Last Saturday we drove over to Marquette for Snowbound Books’s 30th anniversary shindig, only an hour away AND we saw our first moose of summer on the way home. What follows is a gallery of photos from the area for your viewing pleasure, all of these taken over past few days, most of them this afternoon during a two-hour hike. My friend and former lacrosse teammate and linemate David P. Wagner will have his second Rick Montoya Italian Mystery will be out in September. The title is DEATH IN THE DOLOMITES. Lon is reading it now and I get it next. Dave is a terrific writer and his series is a winner with a memorable background. Having lived in Italy as a kid, I’m probably prejudiced. Look for it from Poisoned Pen Press this fall. Promo aside, the gallery follows No particular order. I’ll be posting pictures all summer and soon hope to have some brook trout to display. Over.
The pre-penultimate day, which is to say, the day before the day before we leave and we are in the lugubrious stuff-everywhere stage of semichaos. Six months is a long stay anywhere, like a major move, but we are slowly getting more placed in storage above the bridge, so that, eventually, we can make the drive in relatively empty vehicles and then move gear from storage to wherever we land. A goal to be pursued, but for now we are still in the full load mode, books and research materials, in-process manuscripts, jewelry supplies, art supplies, four-seasons clothes pile, my body armor vest and DNR patrol gear, fly-fishing and spinning equipment, wood carving stuff, mahk-mahk pairs of boots and footwear, laptop computer, iPad, and desktop printer, laptop with four color printer, desk top with B&W high speed, high volume printer, rock hunting hammers and tools, all sorts of tools, and so on. And pillows, of course. Now at the age where we travel with our own pillows and to hell what anybody thinks! Plan to stop in Grayling briefly at Au Sable Lodge to leave off something for a pal and check in with Josh, then up to Iggy for the night, and across to Alberta the next day. Another adventure in the offing. Will post photos over summer and catch up with you. Spring is just arriving here, forsythia out and smiling, buds just showing on trees, and spring not even in sight yet where we are headed. Snowed in the area twice this past week. And why the hell is NPR out of Ann Arbor always talking about the wolf population at Isle Royale? It’s like some sort of Walt Disney fixation. Weird. One of my favorite poets is Bob Hicock, who has a poem in the May edition of POETRY (poem is entitled “The pregnancy of words.” One of my pet peeves in writing life is to go to a poetry reading and hear people pompously talking about POI-tree and POI-ts. Argh and Barf. Some level of superciliousilly posturing and it reminded me of a line from Tom Piazza’s MY COLD WAR, “Evidently Lomax had an unfortunate personality; he was supercilious. Even the people who liked him didn’t like him.” But back to Bob Hicok, whom everybody likes: “it’s our lotto/ in life, to have no clue/what a natural disaster is/when that disaster is us.” A truism in 19 words. Now that is real economy in writing…the ever-moving goal to get it said in as few words as possible. Vaya con dios, amigos. Catch you on the OSOTB. Over.
Page proofs of MOUNTAINS OF THE MISBEGOTTEN have been returned to the East for September publication. Next up, finish the first draft of BUCKULAR DYSTROPHY which I’ll ship East in the fall and before we return I should be working on page proofs of short stories for HARDER GROUND, which will be published next spring. Harder Ground features female protagonists in each story. Lots of fun (and a challenge) to write.We’ll be settling into new digs in the UP by this time next week. The final stages of packing and loading for six-month stay are under way and never fun. Spring here finally, sort of. Don’t expect it to happen for a while yet when we arrive north. Meanwhile I’m posting the year’s reading list, current as of departure. Lots of good reads in this list The best reads of the year so far? Your list will be different than mine. Give your business to your independent book stores. Over. (1)Carolyn Ells, Michael G. Flaherty, Eds. Investigating Subjectivity: Research on Lived Experience. (1992) [NF] (2)Welker Givson. Tough, Sweet & Stuffy: An Essay on Modern Prose Styles.(1966) [NF] (3) Mary Ann Glendon. Rights Talk: The Impoverishment of Political Discourse. (1991) [NF] (4)Edward H. Crane, Intro. Speaking Freely: The Public Interest in Unfettered Speech: Essays from Conservative Research (1995) [NF] (5) Websters. Picturesque Word Origins. (1993) [NF] (6)James Salter. There & Then; The Travel Writing of James Salter. (2005) [NF] (7) Greg Grandin. Fordlandia.(2009) [NF] (8) Jane Emery. Rose Macaulay: A Writer’s Life (1991) [NF] (9) Tad Tuleja. Foreignisms. (1989) [NF] (10) Marshall McLuhan. The Gutenberg Galaxy. (1962) [NF] (11) Ford Madox Ford. Parade’s End (1924-25-26-28) (12) Richard Davenport-Hines, Ed. Hugh Trevor-Roper: The Wartime Journals.(2012) [NF] ( 13) Hugh Trevor-Roper. The Letters of Mercurius. (1970) [NF] (14) Adam Sisman. An Honourable Englishman: The Life of Hugh Trevor-Roper. (2010) [NF] (15) E.B. White. Essays of e.b. white. (1977) [NF] (16) Phillip Lopate. Portrait Inside My Head (2013) [NF] (17) George Packer. The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America. (2013) [NF] (18) Elizabeth Raum. The Aztec Empire. (2013) [NF][Juvie] (19) Allison Lassieur. The Battle of Bull Run (2009) [NF] (20) Allison Lassieur. The Middle Ages. (2010) [NF] (21) Scott Andrew Selby. A Serial Killer in Nazi Berlin: The Chilling True Story of the S-Bahn Murderer. (2014) [NF] (22)Amir D. Aczel. The Jesuit& the Skull: Teilhard de Chardin, Evolution, and the Search for Peking Man. (2007) [NF] (23) Robert M. Gates. Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War.(2014) [NF] (24) John Dos Passos. Three Soldiers (1921) [NF] (25) Marcel Proust. On Art and Literature. (1954) [NF] (26) Hilton Als. White Girls (2013) [NF] (27) Rimbaud. Illuminations and Other Prose Poems (1946) [NF] (28) Paul D. Staudohar. Baseball’s Best Short Stories (1995) [NF] (29) Michel de Montaigne. The Complete Essays. (1994/1568) [NF] (30) Diane Osen. Ed. The Book That Changed My Life: Interviews with National Book Award Winners and Finalists(2002) [NF] (31) Jincy Willett. Winner of the National Book Award (2003) [NF] (32) Edmund White. Rimbaud: The Double Life of a Rebel. (2008) [NF] (33) Logan Pearsall Smith. Unforgotten Years (1939) [NF] (34) Stillman Drake, Trans. Discoveries and Opinions of Gallileo (1957/1610-13-15-23) [NF] (35) Ann Roiphe. Art and Madness: A Memoir of Lust Without Reason (2011) [NF] (36) Grace Tiffany. Paint. (2013) [NF] (37) James McBride. The Good Lord Bird. (2013) [NF] (38) Jim Harrison. Brown Dog. (2013) [NF] ( 39) John H. Ritter. The Boy Who Saved Baseball. (2005) [NF] (40) Liza Picard. Elizabeth’s London (2003) [NF] (41) Neil MacGregor. Shakespeare’s Restless World: A Portrait of An Era in Twenty Objects (2012) [NF] (42) Gail Kern Paster, Intro. Shakespeare: The Essential Guide to the Life and Workds of the Bard (2007) [NF] (43) Neil MacGregor. Shakespeare’s Restless World: An Unexpected History in Twenty Objects (2013) [NF] (44) Emile Zola. The Ladies’ Paradise (2008) [NF] (45) Maxine Hong Kingston. Tripmaster Monkey: His Face Book (1987) (46) Ian Mortimer. The Time Traveler’s Guide: Elizabethan England (2012) [NF] (47) Paul Dickson. Words from the White House (2013) [NF] (48) John Smolens. My One and Only Bomb Shelter (2000) [NF] (49) Albert Camus.The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays (1955) [NF] (50) Jim Nye. After Shock: Poems and Prose from the Vietnam War (1991) [NF] (51) Norman F. Cantor. In the Wake of the Plague: The Black Death & the World It Made (2001) [NF] (52) Leo Damrosch. Jonathon Swift: His Life and His World. (2013) [NF] (53) George Simenon. Maigret in Holland. (1940) (54) William Benzon. Beethoven’s Anvil. (2001) [NF] (55) Robert Mason Lee. Death and Deliverance: The True Story of an Airplane Crash at the North Pole. (1993) [NF] (56) Jim Wallis. God’s Politics: A New Vision for Faith and Politics in America. (2005) [NF] (57) Neal Stephenson. Snow Crash. (1992) (58) Willa Cather. One of Ours (2008) (59) Jamesd Dale Davidson & Lord William Rees-Moog. The Sovereign Individual: How To Survive and Thrive During the Collapse of the Welfare State.(1997) [NF] (60) Rory Muir. Wellington: The Path To Victory, 1789-1814. (2013)[NF] (61) Joseph Heywood. Harder Ground: Stories From the Distaff Planet. (2014) [SS/draft] (62) John Sugden. Nelson: The Sword of Albion. (2012) [NF] (63) Neal Stephenson. Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writing. (2012) [NF] (64) Neal Stephenson. In The Beginning Was the Command Line. (1999) [NF] ( 65) Neal Stephenson. Reamde. (2011) (66) Joseph Heywood. Man in Sky Judging Sin (2008) [Draft] (67) Phil Klay. Redeployment. (2014) [NF] (68) Peter Geye. The Lighthouse Road. (69) Joseph Heywood. Harder Ground. [MS] [SS] (70) S. Andrew Swann. Zimmerman’s Algorithm (2000) (71) Lydia Davies. The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis. (2009) [SS] (72) Joseph Heywood. Brown Ball. [MS] ( 73) Leo Tolstoy. The Death of Ivan Illyich,(1886) (1981) (74) Dorothy Gardiner, Kathrine Sorely Walker, Eds. Raymond Chandler Speaking.[NF] (75) Burton Bernstein. Thurber: A Biography. (1975) [NF] (76) Jim Fisher, Ed. The Writer’s Quote Book: Authors on Creativity, Craft, and the Writing Life. (2006) [NF] (77) Arthur King Peters, Pref. Jean Cocteau and the French Scene. (1984) [NF] ( 78) Paul Horgan. Things As They Are. (1951) [NF] (79) Joseph Heywood. Brown Ball. (2014) [MS] (80) Paul Horgan.A Certain Climate: Essays In History, Arts, And Letters. (1988) [NF] (81) Paul Horgan. Great River: The Rio Grande in North American History. (1984) [NF] (82) Robert L. Willett. Russian Sideshow: America’s Undeclared War, 1918-1920. (2003) [NF] (83) Christopher Clark. The Sleepwalkers. (84) Dennis Gordon. Quartered in Hell, ANREF 1918-1919. (1982) [NF] (85) Hilary Hemingwaqy & Jeffry P. Lindsay. Hunting With Hemingway. (2000) [NF] (86) Denis Brian. The True Gen: An Intimate Portrait of Heminway By Those Who Knew Him. (1988) [NF] (87) Tarashea Nesbit. The Wives of Los Alamos. (88) Edvard Raqdzinsky. The Last Tsar: The Life and Death of Nicholas II. (1992) [NF] (89) David Abrams. Fobbit. (2012) (90) Stephen Greenblatt. The Swerve: How The World Became Modern.(2011) [NF] (91) Lorrie Moore. Bark. (2014) [SS] (92) C.J.Box. Stone Cold. (2014) (93) Robert Mason Lee.Death and Deliverance: The True Story of An Airplane Crash at the North Pole. (1992)[NF] (94) James Thurber. The Last Flower: A Parable in Pictures. (1939) (2007) (95) Joseph Heywood. Mountains of the Misbegotten. (MS) (96) Christopher Fowler. The Invisible Code. (2013) (97) Pete Hamill. A Drinking Life: A Memoir. (1994) [NF] (98) Hannah Arendt. The Last Interview, And Other Conversations. (1965) [NF] (99) Tom Piazza. My Cold War: A Novel. (2003)
The Bach Society of Kalamazoo has been in operation since 1946 and is committed to practicing, promoting, and preserving the art of choral music and the legacy of Johann Sebastian Bach (which rhymes with bock, a heavy German lager, and what could be more alluring than music and beer, eh?).
I don’t often promote operations, but this organizations and its presentations are of the utmost quality and a treasure not just for out community, but for the state of Michigan and wider. The Bach
Society is heavily involved with helping other art organizations and kids at the college, high school, and middle school levels.
Every May there is the heavily attended Bach Festival, wtih other events at other times of the year.
Money is an issue. It is for all arts organizations in these fiscally challenged times. The primary fund-raiser for the Bachians (Bachites) in an on-line auction to which I have contributed two original Bach cartoons is splendid color and my own unique squiggly pen work. Both are on the theme of Bach Gets the Bug. The on-line auction runs May 12 -May 21. You can’t make bids until that first day, but take a gander at their offerings on www.buddingowl.com/kazoobachfestival.
The money is for a fine cause whose efforts and art make all or our lives richer., Take a look and if something tickles your fancy, go for it! (Bach of course, will not apprecaite it because he passed through worm-food stage long, long ago, but his living fans will greatly appreciate your generosity.)
Bid generously for my stuff if you’re a fly-guy or fly-gal. Guaranteed you’ll be the only one in your fishing group with anything connecting bach to our beloved method of teasing and providing aerobic exercise to trout. Bid high and don’t leave me looking like a cheap date (though I probably am).
The Bach Fly-Toons follow.
Guess what this week is? 50th anniversary of the 1964 World’s Fair in NY. Spectacular time and event and probably many of you were there. I was a junior at MSU at the time and the news was filled with early VN, LBJ, MLK, Disney, civil rights and all sorts of important things. New book called Tomorrow-Land, by Joseph Tirella hits the book stores tomorrow. My editor Keith Wallman is the editor. Getting great reviews. Worth your time and dime.
Note from my Pal Ed Haerter this morning, re the TIME story and other militaria. Most people today, even the adults are totally clueless about what went on during the cold war and most kids don’t even know what the term means. But here’s one anecdote of the kinds of things that happened.
I read your posting about the bailout flight. OMG, what a goatrope. You guys were really fortunate, not only to survive, but to not get hurt.Never had to use a chute. Got hit a lot in Vietnam, but always felt I’d stay with it until it got untenable in then cockpit or the aircraft was out of control. Had to deadstick an F-100 into Gila Bend when I was a student. Engine flamed out at 42,000′ in a fight. The IP was a cool guy, and he only made one remark. “If I see anything I don’t like, I’ll tell you to bailout. If you see anything you don’t like, you bailout.” It went well until I got back to Luke and the Wing CO chewed my ass for saving an obsolete aircraft and risking what he called a 2 million dollar pilot. He chewed out the IP too, but we both decided that we’d do it again under similar circumstances.
One very unusual thing happened on alert one day at O’Hare. We had two “E” models with the airline engines-real hotrods-on alert, and one day I was pulling an alert shift and we had a practice start. We’d almost finished, with the engines still running, and we got another message. The Nav, who was the chief of the Plans shop, went white. When I asked him what was wrong he said “I think it’s an actual go message. He was shaking so hard he couldn’t get the scissors out to cut open the classified package, so I had the copilot guard the brakes, and I got out of the seat and opened it. It was a real message. So, I got back into the seat and called for taxi with the proper priority words. We started to taxi, and I was kind of puzzled why there wasn’t any more message traffic, so I had the Nav contact Wurtsmith, our controlling agency, and have them say again the message. When he called them they freaked out, and said to stand down. I, of course, after sitting on Nukes for years, knew there was no “stand down” after a launch unless there were specific authenticated recall messages, etc, so I told the Nav to have them say again the message. This time a very authoritative voice came on the radio and said to return to the ramp. So, I got on the radio, and told him no fucking way, that we were going until we received a proper message we could authenticate. At that point he requested that we at least stop and give him a minute, and they came across with another recall message. I had the Nav make them authenticate it three different times, and then we returned to the ramp.
What had happened was that after the practice alert they had forgotten to turn off their transmitters and they were running a Command Post Exercise that we weren’t supposed to hear. It resulted in every agency in the world that had a classified packet having to be changed to a new one.
When we got back into the alert shack, I got a call from Wurtsmith from a very pissed off Colonel, the AD Commander, who had just been called by the Chief of his Command Post that this ANG crew had tried to start WWIII. He started screaming at me about what happened, and I cut him off by saying “Colonel, just who in the fuck do you think you’re talking to?” This is BG Haerter, 126th ARW CO. and you are totally out of line, and as soon as this conversation is over I’m calling Gen Johnson, the SAC DO and inform him about this morning’s cluster fuck, totally caused by your troops, and how totally unprofessional every one of you has been” He got really quiet, and literally begged me to not do that. However, I informed him we had to, because SAC HQ would be wondering pretty quickly just why everyone worldwide had to change out their classified package, and I didn’t want the wrong story to get there first, where they’d figure out some way for us to get the blame.
Not much happened except for some retraining for the CP troops. However, when he calmed down, my Nav was telling everyone what a steely eyed killer his boss was, and how I jumped out of the seat and ripped open the classified package with my teeth (not true), etc. I listened for awhile, and then told him, “John, the only thing I was thinking about was my pink little body. If that message was real, this place was about to become a large smoking hole in about 15 minutes, and I didn’t want to be here if and when that happened.”
Reporter called me yesterday, put story up today. Here’s how to get to it. Over.
My pal Johnny-Boy O’Neil of Toledo hit the Au Sable Holy Waters recently and had pretty sweet luck. The last fish has the largest spots on a brown I have ever seen on the Au Sable. I usually associated such markings with browns coming up from one of the Great Lakes. In any event a nice teaser for all who are awaiting the theoretical trout opener, the last Saturday in April. Drool,one and all. Nice job , John. Thanks for sharing. We are green with envy. Over.
Got a call today from an enterprising TIME magazine writer, asking about bailing out of KC-135 tankers. Last month DOD issued a report on a KC-135 in Kyrgyzstan from last year, No survivors. Turned out the aircraft was heavy and got into some severe gyrations and the tail section came off and the plane then plunged. Reporter, one Mark Thompson asked if I knew that parachutes had been taken out of the aircraft quite a while ago. No, I wasn’t aware of it. DOD had told him noone had ever bailed out of a KC-135, but then he discovered the 46ARS website about the night myself and three crew mates jumped from one and he wanted to talk not so much about that night, but what did I think of the decision to remove parachutes for financial reasons. Told him successful use of a parachute in a tanker is a very rare thing, but it’s nice to have the option and it reminds me of sending various ground vehicles into combat without being armored. Funny.
Meanwhile I am now wondering about the so-called Berkut special police in Ukraine. They were disbanded sometime back and there were rumors that the Russians were giving former Berkut members passports into Russia. I’ve learned (one source only) that the Berkut in Ukraine were “descended from an elite force in Soviet times.” Can’t find anything along those lines yet. The Berkut never was legally published in the USSR (Russia was a member of the Soviet federation at the time of publication in the U.S.)
Further, I’ve learned there was a Berkut aircraft: The Airplane: The Sukhoi S-37 Berkut, Golden Eagle, is an experimental concept model that first flew on 25 September 1997. The aircraft was developed by Sukhoi to explore the concept of forward swept wings. The advantages of forward swept wings have been known since World War II and include improved performance in the transonic region as well as reduced overall drag, improved maneuverability and better landing and take-off performance. The problem was the structural characteristics of the wings. Normal structures would flex under loading which would increase the angle of attack of the wing tip, causing eventual wing structural failure. This is called structural divergence. To counteract this characteristic, initial forward swept wing designs utilized extreme wing stiffness, which tended to counteract some of the advantages of the feature. Modern advanced composite materials offer the engineer the possibility to tailor wing structure to eliminate the structural divergence. The Grumman X-29 was developed in 1984 in response to a Department of Defense proposal. The X-29 proved the feasibility of the concept and provided information to be used in future manned and unmanned combat aircraft.
In an ongoing effort to develop new state of the combat aircraft, the Sukhoi design bureau developed the S-37. The X-29 was a smallish airplane, being based on fuselage components from the F-5. The S-37 is a much larger aircraft, utilizing as many of the components of the Su-22 and Su-27 as possible. While the “S” designation indicates the experimental purpose of the prototype, Sukhoi have recently given the Berkut the designation of Su-47 in an effort to generate some production sales. To date, no sales have resulted and in the current world situation, probably none will. In any case, it is a very interesting airplane and may represent the shape of things to come.
Why am I thinking about berkut stuff? Because my novel The Berkut is coming back into print. Will provide the exact date when I know. First published in 1987.
First tick yesterday, first mosquito this morning. Aha. Flies all weekend. My gal Zeta in Deer Park can’t wait for MOUNTAINS OF THE MISBEGOTTEN. Wish a good week for all. I’d affix a cover for the new book, but I can’t figure out how to copy an Adobe document onto this. The usual half-ass computer shit. Meanwhile, I’m working of MOTB maps, expect typeset pages any day now. And I’ll be visiting environmental educatation classes at Kalamazoo Loy Norrix H.S. next week to talk about COs, law enforcement and the environment. Over.