Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Praise from a Future Generation: the E-book

Well over two years ago I wrote on this blog that an e-book version of Praise from a Future Generation, my account of the "first generation" critics of the Warren Report, would be published by the end of the year.

It never happened. I'm not sure why. The publisher wasn't all that responsive to my queries. I had signed a revised contract and spent a good chunk of the summer revising the original manuscript. And then ... nada.

But that's all water under the bridge. Now, in mid-2013, the year of the fiftieth anniversary of the event that set this stuff in motion, it appears that Praise from really will have an e-book edition.

I signed off on the e-version in June. As of now, the official publication date is October 1. The publisher, Wings Press, says it "may put it up with an Amazon price special."

For all intents and purposes, it is the same book. A few little fixes are in place, and I tweaked a couple of other things. Several pictures from the photo section have been deleted because I didn't want to pay the AP again (and couldn't, even if I wanted to). They have been replaced with new photos – some in color, some by me.

The original book (Wings Press, 2007) had but one rather small print run, yet hard copies are still available. Amazon has them. I have a few boxes left in the basement.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Roadside Attractions: 7-22-13

Way north from where my bike rides usually begin, up in an unincorporated part of this fair county, is Nelson Road. I don't get up there too often. Gotta be in peak condition to ride that far.

There's a buffalo herd up there, close to where my daughter takes riding lessons (Triple Creek Ranch). I've written about this herd once before. I've tried to get decent photos of them for a long time, but they're usually too far away.

There are two fences separating these bison from the road: an imposing fence of thick cable attached to posts, and beyond that a flimsy wire fence. So when the herd moseyed on up near the road recently, I crawled through the outer fence of thick cables so I could get nice and close.

I didn't have the nerve to do that before.

These buffalo are about as domesticated as buffalo ever get. Which is to say penned in, but not as docile as cows. Like their bovine cousins they are almost certainly destined for the slaughterhouse and the meat grinder.

Anyway the buffalo seen here definitely took notice of my presence. One of them re-positioned himself and watched me closely. I don't think he would have attacked if he felt provoked – I don't think he felt provoked – but you never know. There was just that flimsy wire fence between us now. After getting enough pictures, I got the hell out of there.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Guns 'n Bullshit! ...an anniversary

It has been one year since the mass murder at a midnight premiere of a new Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado. The alleged gunman awaits trial.

Since that crime we have seen a number of senseless, gun-related killings. Most conspicuous is the slaughter of innocents last December in Connecticut.

Americans, as a group, refuse to learn any lessons from this. Many are up in arms, of course, and sickened by all of the needless death.

Too many more just give lip service to the problem. Nothing of substance gets done. We remain armed to the teeth, willing to bathe in the blood of children.

In Colorado, a few state lawmakers have shown a willingness to enact laws that might have at least some impact on reducing the bloodshed. They have been targeted for recall by the unconscionable zealots of the National Rifle Association.

Look closely at the sign above. It stands in a field in rural Colorado. A single phone call for concealed carry classes and manure removal!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Brad Livingston

When I was in second and third grade my best friend was Brad Livingston. He lived a few blocks from our house, and was in Miss Tieken and Mrs. Staley's classes with me at Columbia Elementary School. We were inseparable.

That's him at right, in our second grade class picture. This is more years ago than I care to acknowledge.

Just before the start of fourth grade my family moved to a distant city. At first Brad and I exchanged letters, but that didn't last long. Inevitably, we lost contact with each other.

But ah, this cursed memory of mine! I remember everybody. And I retain a sentimental spot for the kids I grew up with, even though I have long since learned that growing apart is part of growing up; is bound to happen, if not from geography then from divergent personalities.

All of which brings me to 2013, and the power of the Internet.

Yesterday, as this is written, something reminded me of my old childhood chum. I don't remember what. But I turned to Google, and entered his name and the city where we used to live.

It was just curiosity: I had no intention of contacting him, if I found him. In fact, I expected to get page after page of meaningless hits, or maybe a Facebook link to the wrong Brad.

Instead, I found an obituary.


I followed a link to a mortuary's web site. It had no details, other than place and year of birth. Both fit with the Brad I once knew.

The site had a Guest Book. A few dozen people had left entries. No one mentioned a cause of death, but there were enough clues for me to conclude it is almost certainly the same guy. Someone wrote, "I remember Brad from grade school at Columbia." (I didn't recognize her name.) Someone else wrote, "I lived across the street from him on Hudson."

Next I Googled for a map of the city he must never have left, and where I used to live. I can't remember my address from back then. But I remembered the street name, and found it. Hudson was right nearby. So were a few other streets whose names I recalled. It all adds up.

He died three years ago.

You never know: it could be a different Brad. More than once I've searched names far less common and found matches to the wrong person. So if I've got the wrong guy, and if by some beyond-remote chance you see this, Brad: oops.

But I think it's you.

So long, old friend.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

At the Zoo

We spent an afternoon at the Detroit Zoo recently, during a trip back to Motown, from whence I came.

Saw a lot of interesting stuff, as one does at the zoo. I always feel an ethical tug, though. Animals that by rights should be in the wild and in their natural habitat, now captured and put on display for the benefit of we, the planet's dominant species.

Okay. Objection and moral superiority duly noted. My kid loves animals and she wanted to go to the zoo, so we went.

This polar bear was pretty cool, I have to admit that. No pun intended. The Arctic Zone, or whatever the display is called, is a big aquatic thing whose inhabitants can be seen from the outside, or from the inside. Inside there are big picture windows. You can observe the polar bears and penguins and sea lions swimming around.

There is also a sort of tube or tunnel, from where these photos were taken. Visitors walk through it and the various sea creatures swim right overhead. Very thrilling. The kids love it! My kid loved it. And to be honest, so did I.

We probably spent more time here than in any other part of the zoo. One reason for that is that it was a very hot day, and the cool temps here were very refreshing. But it was also really interesting, even if these creatures are being held against their will.

All told, we were only at the zoo for a couple of hours. They close surprisingly early, considering it was summer, near the solstice, and daylight lingers until after 9pm.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fourth of July, 2013

No fireworks. No firecrackers. No red-white-and-blue bunting, or flag waving, or displays of false patriotism.

None of that. This Fourth of July was an ordinary day spent doing ordinary things.

I went for a long bike ride in the late morning, as I always do on the Fourth. I passed the place seen in the photo at right. It sits alongside railroad tracks you can't see in this picture, back behind all those trees.

I've been meaning to take this picture, this little purple building with its homemade sign about stone posts, for a long time. Today I finally did it.

Stone posts for sale. It woulda been a much better photo with a decent zoom lens.

We were invited to a barbecue later in the day, so I guess there is some typical Fourth of July stuff.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Navin Field Grounds Crew

I took the above photograph on June 23, 2013, on the grounds of what used to be Tiger Stadium, which are on the grounds of what used to be Navin Field, in Detroit. These guys are members of the Navin Field Grounds Crew. Read more.