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Showing posts from September 5, 2021


  -          In 1966, a   campaign against the manufacture of N. began in Redwood, California, a harbor town on the San Francisco bay. Standard Oil Company, the enterprise that had built the test Japanese and Germany structures for the War department in 1942 applied to the town council for a permit to sublease their facility to United Technologies, which plans to produce 100 million pounds of N. there. Protestors gather together a number of professionals – engineers, English professors from Stanford – to block the permit. They fail. However, the protests against N. are widely reported. Ramparts magazine, a leftist Catholic periodical, published an article (January, 1967) about N. used in Vietnam by William F. Pepper,   with color photographs of children among the burn victims. -          In January 1967, in the Ladies Home Journal, Martha Gellhorn published a report about her visit to hospitals in Vietnam. There, unlike a number of physicians on the payroll of the military, who had b


3. - 6.25 – the Korean war. Operation Snowball, named with typical Yankee humor. Going back here to Davy Crockett’s autobiography. Referencing chance of said product of cold weather and children’s hands of surviving in Hell. Snowball, as in. ‘During the early days in Korea it was delivered in 100 gallon plastic jugs that cost about 40 dollars each. During the war an average of 250,000 pounds of N. was dropped each day in support of United Nations troops...” N. proved its worth in Dugway, then in Tokyo, Dresden, Osaka, Hamburg, and other cities where there were tatami mats and/or children’s toys. It was to prove itself America’s hope and prime weapon in Korea, where it was thought the Asiatic had a particular fear of the thing, or as director John Ford put it, casting an affectionate eye on the airplanes dropping their loads: “Fry em, burn em out, cook em.” The folksiness of the phrase, its roots in American self-regard, the country’s legendary can do, the Indian fighting. N. had go

N: the fire that clings to everything - part 1

 I've finished the fifth  of my Cold War stories. They are: Crossed Lives; The Curious Case of the Missing Dogs; Double Cross; Almost a True Story; and my latest one, N: the fire that clings to everything.  I haven't found the illustrations yet for N., but I am going to publish it here in bits. This is part One. 1. -          “The people in these villages had been told to go to relocation camps, because this was all a free fire zone, and technically anyone there could be killed.” -          “The materials are excessively simple: 25 percent benzene, 25 percent gasoline, and 50 percent polystyrene, a plastic manufactured by Dow Chemical and others. The point of this mixture is to form a highly incendiary jelly that clings, and so causes deep and persistent burns.” – George Wald -          Everybody seems to have gotten used to the idea that war, if it comes, will be total, and the lamination of Korea has been received by the populace with fatalism. We have to destroy the en

Some bits about Joseph Roth

    Soma Morgenstern was a writer and journalist who knew everybody in the 20s and 30s. He knew both Joseph Roth and Theodore Adorno. He knew Robert Musil. He knew that Roth hated Adorno, and had little time for Benjamin and Bloch. Once Soma gave him Lukacs “Theory of the Novel”. Roth gave it back and wrote in a letter: I’m no thinker.   Soma made me pick up a Novel-Theory by Georg Lukacs to read. I did him the favor of trying to read the book. Two pages in I let myself be tortured. And then I was finished with the book.” Oddly, although Robert Musil was famously envious of other writers, he wanted to meet Roth. Soma hooked them up: they met, they talked in the Vienna Café Museum. Morgenstern reported some of the conversation: “I recall,” said Musil, “that you once wrote a preface to a book – I can’t remember the title of the book. But I remember the preface quite well. ‘Now it is time to report [berichten], not to compose [dichten], said the final sentence.   “Yes,” said Roth,

Why we need a firefly party - from 2018

« Reality stare s at us with a look of intolerable victory: its verdict is that all we have ever loved shall be taken from us forever. » Pasolini’s most famous essay is entitled: “the power vacuum in Italy”, although it is more often referred to as “The disappearance of the fireflies.” Pasolini, with his hybrid of Catholicism and Communism, his deep sense of peasant culture and his sexual alienation from same, was one of the great post-war observers. To observe is to synthesize. He noticed the hardest thing to notice – because the hardest thing to notice is the change that happens all around us, and not at geological speed either, but in human time. For instance, he noticed the death of a culture that went back around 4,000 years. Rural idiocy was replaced, rapidly and completely, by techno-idiocy. And its effects were to move mountains, literally. We no longer have to have faith the size of a mustard seed – mustard seeds are definitely obsolete. We just have to have faith in our ones