Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fishy Praise for The Little Book of Big Enlightenment

An Amazon affiliate site has the following to say about:

The Little Book of Big Enlightenment

"For anybody who is searching for a fantastic and trustworthy The Little Book of Big Enlightenment with cheap value, you arrive towards the best destination. We offer you with lowest value The Little Book of Big Enlightenment which you could be seeking. Now we have accomplished the basic research in your case to be certain that you will obtain the most edge from us."

Why can't you "with cheap value . . . arrive towards the best destination?" I'm guessing this means obtain a copy of the "Little Book" today and learn how Big Spirit hopes to stop you from obtaining rapid spiritual enlightenment in the time it takes you to read 67 pages.

Or it could be urging you to buy a frog-shaped cookie jar. Be your own judge.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Author Honors 'Nam Vets

On this Memorial Day, I repost an entry from Jan. 2012 on Nolan. I still intend to write about my 2000/2002 experiences in Cambodia and Vietnam working for the State Department and the Agency for International Development, and how you can see the history of the war written in the cratered earth. But that project will blossom when the moment is right. For now, let this post be my Memorial Day tribute.

 There was a time when I burned through military history books by the gross. I read famous authors like Band of Brothers' Stephen Ambrose and not-so-famous guys like Keith William Nolan. My history book reading has fallen off lately and so I just learned Nolan died three years ago from cancer. His specialty was the Vietnam War and his works relied heavily on interviews with American veterans who fought there.

Ten years ago, I had vague plans of producing a film based on Nolan's book about Operation Buffalo, which centered around the ambush of a Marine company in 1967. As I was returning to Cambodia for a project with State Dept./USAID and Warner Bros.—a story in itself—I made plans to visit the battlefields in neighboring Vietnam.

And so I contacted Keith William Nolan and asked for an option to develop a project based around his 1991 book Operation Buffalo: USMC Fight for the DMZ. I mentioned I was a former Marine who had served during the Vietnam era.

He let me have the option free.

That is simply not done in these parts.

By email, I thanked him for his generosity.

I CORPS
In time, I toured the landscape of Operation Buffalo, a dangerous patch of ground still peppered with Viet Cong mines and booby traps as well as unexploded American and North Vietnamese artillery shells. I walked the narrow, red dirt lanes on which B Company was ambushed in an action that grew into the bloodiest day for the Marines in Vietnam.

I drew a crowd of Vietnamese, hardly any who had lived there back in the day. (Most had been relocated in 1966, the year prior to the fight.) At one point, I was invited into a hut and asked to tell a few elders what I knew of the event. With kids and dogs yelling outside, I spoke in bursts of English which my interpreter translated into Vietnamese, explaining how a battalion of North Vietnamese lured an understrength Marine company into an trap that wiped out two platoons and shot to pieces a second company that came to help. Many of the Marine M-16 rifles malfunctioned, and men were cut down desperately trying to remove jammed rounds from their weapons. Some enemy troops infiltrated Marine positions dressed in captured American uniforms. Their assault was backed with flamethrowers and heavy artillery—based in nearby North Vietnam.

IN LEATHERNECK SQUARE
As the sky grew darker outside, we drank tea and smoked cigarettes. Reciting Nolan's book from memory as best I could, I told how the Marines returned the next day to retrieve the bodies of their dead and that turned into another fight. More reinforcements poured in on both sides, culminating in a massive North Vietnamese attack preceded by an artillery barrage. The Marines mowed down the charging troops, sealed off breaches in their lines and held. The enemy withdraw back to safety in North Vietnam. Marine patrols from the hill base at Con then set out once more to sweep the area, and the pattern of Operation Buffalo would be repeated in minor and major keys for the next several years.

Outside the village kids gathered around as I reemerged from the hut. There was a huge freaking spider the size of a catcher's mitt hanging in a web attached to a nearby pole. I refused to look at the monster. I feared the kids would knock the hulking arachnid down with a stick and chase it toward me to see what the tall foreigner would do.

I came home and the option expired and my movie idea eventually migrated into a rather large folder of unfinished products. Nolan wrote ten books on the Vietnam War, but never made a pile of money. His publisher wanted him to write about "popular wars" because Vietnam didn't sell. But Nolan felt he had an obligation to veterans who were often treated quite shabbily, called "baby killers," and depicted in the media as drug addicts, psychos and losers. He felt someone had to tell their story.

He stayed true to that calling.

A non-smoker, 44-year-old Keith William Nolan died of lung cancer. He left behind a little girl.

Nolan's books are more than just the story of battles, interesting to history buffs like myself. They are our heritage, our nation's story, told by those present, their deeds preserved for kids like Anna Britt Nolan.

One hot August night, I was at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Little gifts, flowers and tokens are often left at its base by families, friends, and old comrades come to visit the names of the dead. Apparently a grade school class had passed through earlier and left various letters on lined paper in huge kid scrawl. One in part read: "Dear Grandpa, We saw the Vietnam Wall. I'm sorry you could not tell your stories."

Keith William Nolan could.

(Below is information on a trust fund set up for Nolan's daughter. If you can, please donate.)

Anna Britt Nolan Trust
c/o First Bank
6211 Midriver Mall Drive
St. Charles, MO 63304


Images: Two-Seven Tooter

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Review: 'Nam Generals

In honor of Memorial Day, I'll be posting a pair of book reviews. Both are by author Lewis Sorley and deal with soldiers in command during the Vietnam War.

Honorable Warrior (PB)Honorable Warrior by Lewis Sorley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A forgotten man in the history of the Vietnam War, General Harold K. Johnson served as U.S. Army Chief of Staff during the run-up to the war and fought against the ill-conceived policies behind it.

A highly-decorated officer who had survived three brutal years as a Japanese prisoner, and served as a highly-decorated field commander in Korea, General Johnson saw the error in attempting to fight a war of attrition in Vietnam using draftees. He warned LBJ and Secretary of Defense McNamara that a failure to call up the reserves would result in cannibalizing the American Army in three years. As General Johnson predicted, men and equipment were stripped from Europe and other commands to feed the Vietnam beast. The American Army was transformed into a hollow shell.

Told in a linear fashion, Lewis Sorley's narrative follows Johnson's life from rural North Dakota to West Point, through two wars and a grueling peace, to four-star rank. A worthwhile read.

Westmoreland: The General Who Lost VietnamWestmoreland: The General Who Lost Vietnam by Lewis Sorley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


It's been said that a commander is judged by his actions and his actions by their result.

If so, then history must take a stern view of General William Westmoreland. Famous for his command of American forces in Vietnam from 1964 to 1968, Westmoreland stands accused of being a careerist, promoted above his competence level, who fought Vietnam with the wrong tactics and allowed the Johnson Administration to use him politically as casualties rose and battlefield success grew more elusive.

A complex man, Westmoreland was a good officer, respected by his men at lower levels of command. Sorely chronicles his life and career as Westmoreland rapidly ascends through the ranks under the patronage of General Maxwell Taylor.

Given command in Vietnam, Westmoreland relied on body count as a metric of success. But by "cooking the books" to hide the rising number of enemy troops he faced, then returning to America to announce enemy capabilities were being degraded Westmoreland eroded his credibility and that of the Johnson Administration. When the NVA/VC Tet Offensive erupted in 1968, it made the general appear ill-informed or hapless.

A controversial commander in a controversial war, Westmoreland is worth a look.



View all my reviews

Saturday, May 24, 2014

E.T. Panzer Ace Returns

(Visitors keep visiting this post from Sept. 2012. So back it comes with only a minor tweak or so.)

In any given year roughly 250,000 speculative screenplays circulate around Hollywood, written for free by someone with a dream and a keyboard. Perhaps 50 will be purchased. That means 249,950 untold stories will silently wither, never to stimulate our imagination. But that Darwinian process changes today. Every Friday Write Enough! resurrects moribund scripts from the Hollywood Slush Pile, drawing on a veritable Marianas Trench of passed over pictures for a peek at might have been.

Today's offering is the 1983 sci fi/historical thriller: E.T. Panzer Ace.

Eager to piggyback on the success of Steven Spielberg's 1982 mega-hit, screenwriters typed out their top friendly alien offerings. But one canny scribe counter-punched. Aspiring wordsmith Moss Karling, a military history buff and bartender at Bob's Frolic Room in Hollywood, poured his dark passions onto the page. Eventually he convinced character actor (and regular customer) Gill Hong to show the script to his agent.

Karling's story followed the Spielberg path of a lost alien. But Moss elected to have the creature  marooned in 1943 Germany. The frightened being is discovered hiding under a Panther tank by lonely gunner Manfred Knobble. Knobble lures it into the barracks by leaving a trail of schnapps and cigarettes. Through an improbable series of events, E.T. eventually becomes a top panzer commander on the Eastern Front, personally decorated by Hitler who is told the odd-looking soldier hails from Tibet.

In a rare production still, E.T. (Gill Hong) is awarded an Iron Cross by Hitler (Loaf Masters).

But a suspicious Gestapo want the chain-smoking alien brought in for questioning. Knobble helps his friend construct a device to call for rescue, using an old concertina, barbed wire and a Volkswagen battery. The contraption works and a spacecraft arrives. Soldier and alien toast farewell with mugs of schnapps. As the groggy extraterrestrial staggers onto the ship, Manfred presents a parting gift—an antitank rocket. Thick with drink, the befuddled E.T. accidentally triggers the weapon inside the craft, setting off a thermonuclear explosion that vaporizes ship, alien, Knobble, and twenty-nine acres of the Black Forest.

"I'm just not seeing this," said Gill Hong's agent. "And the ending's a little dark, yes?"

A determined Karling set out to film the picture himself. He raised enough money to shoot fourteen minutes of footage, using borrowed equipment and actors like Cleveland Bevel who went out to become a featured extra in Air Wolf.

In time, Karling's interest in the project waned and he began a successful career writing historical fiction. His copy may be found on many official U.S. government websites. Hong worked steadily, later becoming a fixture in Tucson dinner theater. His former agent was arrested for lewd conduct with office furniture.

But now a lost tale has finally been told.
Image: alienresearchalliance.com   

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ruegger Remembers

For your nostalgic viewing, Tom Ruegger over at Cartoonatics has been posting photos of people who helped make the above-mentioned animated TV shows, but whose names usually shot by on the credits at light speed. Another entry here.
L.to R.: Tom Ruegger, Richard Stone, Julie and Steve Bernstein being happy.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Last Day for Discount on Molten Hot New Age Satire

All things end: nations, droughts, the Cub's absence in a World Series—though I'm not 100% certain about that one. Nonetheless, the same applies to discount code SQ34V. After today, it may no longer be applied to The Little Book of Big Enlightenment. You may no longer purchase a fun, fast read spoofing New Age practices for 50% off.

This most excellent discount only applies to eBooks purchased at Smashwords. Kindle owners will find this site accommodating their Mobi needs. Everyone else, from Nook folk to PDF fans, can select the format most pleasing to their eBook enjoyment.

After today, SQ34V will be disbanded as a discount code. Ultimate fate? Who is to say what happens to discount codes upon expiration? But I am certain you will no longer be able to apply SQ34V to my eBook explaining why "condensed enlightenment" is possible to all by uttering three simple words.

Learn about the dangers of hyper-enlightenment. What is Tarot Face? What happens when you contract the Cry of Atlantis?

The Little Book of Big Enlightenment is also available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, and a host of other fine venues, both foreign and domestic.

Don't let SQ34V dissipate in vain. Apply it now to your very own eBook copy of The Little Book of Big Enlightenment. Maybe that decent act will provide the universal karma necessary to help the Cubs, or the sporting team of your choice, achieve their destiny.

Behold! The Little Book of Big Enlightenment on iBooks.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Running, Beer Rule in Pikermis Blog


Post-race Mo enjoying a short beer.
Once I blogged about running, marathons and 10ks and such.  Now I run vicariously through the indefatigable Emil Cheng who, over the years, has posted innumerable photos of himself at different races, eating various foods and drinking a wide selection of beers.

But Maureen Smith may soon rival that. Blogging over at I Heart Pikermis (a term for half-marathons), this Chicago-based runner offers a growing catalog of beers sampled as well as her training log, and interesting observations on odious items spotted along a forest preserve trail.

This Sunday, Mo Smith will attempt to crack four hours at the Cleveland Marathon. That's about a 9:09 pace for 26.2 miles. But judging from her log, the pace will not be a problem. If there's any wild card, it's always race day conditions. You can train like a beast and then have Mother Nature throw a wrench in your carefully laid plans.

But running is all about overcoming. So all the best to Maureen this weekend and may her sub-four hour, beer-drinking dreams come true.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Links to The Little Book of Big Enlightenment

There's nothing like fresh links on a Saturday morning.

Over at Twi See.com thanks to @Jasmin5817 for tweeting out an Amazon link to the "Little Book."

And a friendly rattle of Tibetan prayer beads to author Sarah Hoyt at Instapundit for referring to The Little Book of Big Enlightenment as "something to cheer you up."

Just a reminder, Kindle users, you can purchase "Little Book" over at Smashwords. Select 'Mobi' (or Kindle Speak as it's often known) and enjoy rapid spiritual enlightenment on the reader of your choice.

In addition, you can take advantage of the discount code SQ34V for 50% off.

For those sans e-readers of any kind, this fine eBook may be downloaded at Smashwords as a PDF file and read on your computer.

More soon as more happens.


Friday, May 09, 2014

Joe Leahy Favors Little Book



Valued Freakazoid! announcer, and voice over king, Joe Leahy has graciously saluted The Little Book of Big Enlightenment now up at Smashwords and Amazon.

Joe has seen, and said, it all so his compliment carries weight, especially since I'm no longer in a position to offer him work.

But I would if I could because he rocks a sound studio.

Blue Whales Endorse Little Book


 It's now official. Marine biologists have deciphered the speech of a Northeast Pacific Blue Whale and the creature was absolutely stoked that The Little Book of Big Enlightenment is live at Amazon. Follow the transcript below:

BLUE WHALE: My brothers, stop eating krill and listen: The Little Book of Big Enlightenment is now available for under two dry land dollars. For that amount, you receive three words that can lead you instantly to a new consciousness. Plus there is fighting and name-calling among the air breathing authors. This book is more fun that stuffing sea weed into a brother's air hole. Calving females, you will find mirth in this eBook as well. I'm breaching now for a copy.

Frankly, nothing says 'New Age' more than whales and so I can't think of a higher endorsement for a book that promises you that new consciousness you've always talked about in only a few short hours, thanks to "condensed enlightenment." Learn more fantastic spiritual shortcuts conceived by Master Lompoc Tollhaus today.

Naturally, Amazon has so much freaking cash they've developed a salt water Kindle for aquatic mammals. That's the way it goes. So if you aren't a narwhal or manatee, or a regular human with a Kindle, don't fret. The "Little Book" is also available at Smashwords. Download this awesome eBook in a variety of formats, including PDF that will allow you to read the "Little Book" online. For the next week, add discount code SQ34V for 50% off. (Only good on Smashwords and not available for  aquatic mammals.)

This is lava hot. Whales are picky about what they endorse. So if you want fun, fast, fast enlightenment tips, and a peek behind the rainbow curtain of New Age publishing, then act now and grab a copy of The Little Book of Big Enlightenment. Remember: whales like it.
Video: MoMarr

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Half Off Little Book

At least through next Thu. May 15 using the code SQ34V (if purchased at Smashwords).

Right now, The Little Book of Big Enlightenment awaits vetting by the Amazon folks for uploading to their busy site sometime tomorrow. All who pre-ordered will receive their copies on Friday through Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Apple.

There may be an upcoming plug from an influential media fellow, as well as an actual review of "Little Book." Naturally, I will sound off should such things occur.

Learn more informative book purchasing information here and here.

What else is to be done?

Go work on the next book.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Wisdom from The Little Book of Big Enlightenment


Krishnayapa after eating Twizzlers.

Master Krishnayapa lived a long time ago and said things that many accounted as wise. His sayings were collected by a disciple, Lompoc Tollhaus, who used them to pick up hippie chicks. But then Tollhaus experienced the wonder and astonishment of spiritual enlightenment and his life changed. He sought to raise the consciousness of humanity. In a breakthrough discovery, Lompoc Tollhaus uncovered a secret that would allow the common person to rapidly achieve spiritual enlightenment in the time it would take to read a little book.

But his dreams were dogged by the shadowy menace of Big Spirit, and a co-author who used to sell male enhancement devices.

Learn more tomorrow as The Little Book of Big Enlightenment prepares to launch Friday, May 9 at Amazon and Smashwords. If you are the proud owner of an Apple app, a Barnes and Noble Nook or a Kobo player, then know that you may pre-order a copy of the book this very instant. If you are ashamed of owning these items, you may pre-order anyway.

Without an e-reading device of any sort? You need not feel weak and out-of-sorts. On Friday, you may download from Smashwords—but only Smashwords—a PDF version allowing you to read on screen at your leisure, or print out a copy as in the days of Krishnayapa.

Today was spent formatting the book for Amazon where it now strains forward in draft mode, awaiting the green flag on Thursday evening. (Takes awhile for Amazon to approve everything, but the book should be visible and ready by Friday.)
 And remember that Thursday May 8, or tomorrow as many say, the code that—for one week—grants you half-price off any Little Book of Big Enlightenment purchased at Smashwords—and only Smashwords—will be displayed. Here, Facebook, Twitter, everywhere.

Soon the secrets of rapid enlightenment will be yours. Oh, fortunate one. Hurry, Friday!
(Images:  Hub Pages and True North.)

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

JP Mac Interview Plus Special Sale on "Little Book"

With The Little Book of Big Enlightenment going live this Friday, May 9, at Amazon and Smashwords, I thought I'd sound my own horn, thump my own tub, and otherwise make a big social media noise. Smashwords has this interesting facet where they allow you to interview yourself. One on one with one. So I answered my own questions as best I could. See how I did at Smashwords Interview with JP Mac.


In the next day or so, I'll be posting my red hot promotional code. Beginning Friday, May 9, should you, from the kindness of your hearts, purchase "Little Book" at Smashwords, you may use said code for 50% off. That's half off a fictional work promising fast, fast, fast spiritual enlightenment in "about the time it takes you to read the book."

No Kindle or Nook? No problem. You can choose to download "Little Book" as a PDF file and read it on your computer, or print it out old school style.

Don't try and use the code on Amazon. They will tersely rebuff you. Of that I have been assured.

And don't wait to act. Like all good promotions—and a fair number of bad ones—this 50% off business only lasts up to Thu. May 15. Then you must pay an additional buck and that's the way it goes.

So check back, nab the code, and stand by for The Little Book of Big Enlightenment this Friday, May 9. And, should time permit, read my interview and glean any number of writerly things.
(Images:  True North.)

Back From Nippy Chicago


A blustery 41 degrees when I left. Ninety-nine degrees in Phoenix where I changed planes. Home in seventy-degree LA after a long sad weekend attending my cousin's wake-funeral-burial. More should be said about Mary Ann Smith's courageous ten-year fight with cancer, but it's all still too depressing right now. Nevertheless, I found time for friends and family, Chicago-style pizza,  Italian beef sandwiches and stories about who knows who and what kind of favors that translates into.
(Image: Got Weather?)