James Ellroy’s latest novel, This Storm, drops at the end of the month. Just in time, too. I’m in the mood for one of Ellory’s dark, jagged, Benzedrine‐fueled rides through the neon‐lit landscape of the American Century. I consider Ellroy one of the great ones — put him on a par with Cormac McCarthy. His ambitions are […]
I had promised a different piece this week, but had a friend and his wife stop in for the weekend and that threw me off my game. They were up from Paso Robles, California, where they raise wine grapes – Syrah, Petite Syrah — on a magnificent chunk of the central coast, and also to pick up some elk meat I’d been holding for them in our freezer since our hunt last fall. And, as things go, the weekend vanished in an insalubrious 72‐hour fete that left me feeling like I’d spent the weekend with Robert Plant and the boys in a chapter from Hammer of the Gods.
I was reflecting the other night that, other than chase cows on the desert, play shortstop for the Yankees, and do some decent shooting, I’ve only ever wanted to write. I published my first piece when I was five. That’s a grandiose vision, and meant to be funny, but it is also true although it wasn’t really writing. It was a picture I drew — an alligator sliding into a swamp — which even after all these years isn’t really that bad for a first effort. I’m still drawing alligators sliding into swamps, it seems, and we are fortunate these days to be able to share our thoughts and visions broadly.
Busy days here on the Figure 8. The first order of business has been to compile an accurate BDA (Battle Damage Assessment) following a series of snowstorms that camped over Central Oregon in late February and early March. So far the damage has been significant. Both the turkey and chicken pens collapsed under the weight of snow. The birds are fine because when there is 3 feet of snow on the ground they don’t come out of the henhouse. They are uppity that way.
By David Wrolson, aka “Breaker Morant” The Lighthorsemen is a movie about the Australian Light Horse regiments and their famous charge on Beersheba in Palestine in World War I. The taking of Beersheeba turned the Ottoman Turks out of their defensive line in Palestine and marked a turning point in the campaign in the Middle East. For […]
This year has been a particularly good one for those of us who are interested in old Rome, as new discoveries of letters, and even boxing gloves, at Hadrian’s Wall – a strange wall, indeed, for a host of reasons – and in fresh diggings at Herculaneum, Pompeii, and Oplontis, all destroyed by Vesuvius back in ’79 – have given us valuable new information about Roman life, culture, and reach, and indeed have overturned some apple carts.
Readers of this site generally accept the proposition that our American experiment in self‐government is taking on water. I would argue that, all things considered, the ship is actually beginning to list heavily under the combined weight of a wholly unaccountable administrative state, a surreal burden of debt we will leave to our grandchildren as a kind of cynical stocking stuffer, third‐world education standards, tribal strife stoked by retail journalism, a new and prevailing cultural adulation of the victim mentality, meme‐think politics, and a Congress that is more or less directed by the parasitic whims of a guild economy.
“By midafternoon MacKenzie’s troops had taken torches to all the teepees and burned them down. Thousands of rounds of bullets, hoarded by the Indians and abandoned during the raid, exploded. In the wreckage of the Indian camp soldiers found a pillowcase made from a Seventh Cavalry guidon flag, command memo books and guard rosters; scalps of a white girl and a Shoshone girl, a necklace made of human fingers, personal clothing and military hardware…”
My brain tends to behave like a .22 bullet: Thoughts ricochet around and wind up in weird places where they shouldn’t be. You’ve heard the stories: Guy gets shot in the right ankle and that little 40‐grain pill bounces around and pops out his left eyeball; that’s how it works. This is NOT a systematic or […]
The meeting between the Blackfoot party and Lewis’ own did not end well. The following morning several of the Blackfoot – according to Lewis – crowded around the campfire and stole a number of rifles, including those belonging to Drewyer and Lewis. A chase ensued in which there was a fight, and R. Fields stabbed a Blackfoot through the heart with his knife. The fight then was then general – as other Blackfoot were attempting to steal horses — and ended when Lewis shot a Blackfoot in the belly. It was a close run thing, as Lewis wrote upon the return fire he “felt the wind of the ball very distinctly.”
My wife Marilyn has a thing about Anthony Bourdain. It’s not a celebrity crush, exactly. She says she wants to be him when she grows up. And who can blame her? The guy has a pretty extraordinary gig, wandering the world, exploring cultures and conflicts, with food and as a focal point and an extended cultural metaphor. The May […]
My wife Marilyn and I have spent evenings of late in the weird and wild metropolis that was Berlin in 1929. After being besieged by rave reviews from people I respect, we fired up the Netfix and dived into Babylon Berlin, the international hit German TV series. It’s supposedly the most expensive production in German history, and […]