Bataan Peninsula, April 1942

April 8, 1942, on the eve of the American surrender:

  • . . . the vast volcanic jungle clinked and snapped and exploded with the sounds of an army deliberately destroying itself. With surrender imminent, the men had been given the order to ruin their weapons and sabotage any hardware that might prove valuable to the enemy . . .  For a time that evening, the southern tip of Bataan took on the sheen of day, and one could limn the complex outline of the peninsula, with its deep ravines and extinct volcanoes, its innumerable points and promontories fingering out into the sea.

pp. 39 – 40, Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II’s Greatest Rescue Mission

In the middle of all this, while an army medic named Dr. Ralph Emerson Hibbs shakes with malarial fever, the ground starts to rumble and heave. “You’d think it was an earthquake,” he grumbles. And a Filipino standing nearby tells him, “It is an earthquake.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

H2O: Self’s

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is H20:

  • . . . share a photo that features . . . the element of water. Water comes in many different states and guises. From a foggy morning to your favorite watercolor painting, how will you show H2O in a photograph?

— Lingnum Draco, The Daily Post

For this post, self will focus exclusively on fountains:

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Music Concourse, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

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Closer View of the Golden Gate Park’s Music Concourse

Different Fountain: Russell Square, London

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Russell Square, London, June 2016

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: Hampton Sides

What a name for an author: Hampton Sides.

With a name like that, you’ve got to become a writer. If only because it fits the profession like a hand in a glove.

Yesterday, self finished reading The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine and began reading Hampton Sides’ Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II’s Greatest Rescue Mission.

Sides’ sources — a handful of them, anyway — have a familiar ring. Then she realizes: she’s read their diaries and witness accounts long ago: in the Hoover Archives on the Stanford campus. She was doing a lot of research for a World War II novel she was contemplating.

Sides’ writing is so engaging. It feels ridiculous — even, pointless — to write fiction about World War II because nothing can equal the excitement of reading a factual account. She has a 300-page manuscript of Bacolod under Occupation. She’ll just put it aside.

And here’s that quote, finally. It’s about the fall of Bataan in April 1942 and the fate of the  31st Ranger Battalion who were crowded onto the tip of the Bataan peninsula with the rest of the U.S. Army. By this time, the retreat had become chaotic:

Hibbs never forgot the sight of the blood-smeared boy dangling over the shoulders of the medics like a sodden rag doll as they retreated into the jungle. They would set the kid down on the ground and resume the fight, then pick him up and withdraw again, then set him down and fight some more. This went on all day, with the boy becoming like a terrible mascot of the retreat.

Captain Robert Prince, leader of the assault division of the 31st, was from Stanford. Lieutenant Henry Lee, “who would dash off lines of poetry from his foxhole” had studied at Pomona. About Lee: “Whenever he wasn’t holding a gun, he could usually be found with a pen in his hand.”

Here’s one of Lee’s poems:

Drained of faith
I kneel and hail thee as my Lord
I ask not life
Thou need not swerve the bullet
I ask but strength to ride the wave
and one thing more —
teach me to hate.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

American Horror Story: Evan Peters

When self was in London, this past summer, she walked all the way from Russell Square to the Odeon on Shaftesbury just to see X-Men: Apocalypse. And about halfway through, Quicksilver appeared. And then self remembered his scene in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

A week later, she was in Oxford. And her hotel was right across the street from a movie theatre. She had time to see the Bodleian but not the Ashmolean. And she even got to see X-Men: Apocalypse again. And all because of Evan Peters.

By now self knows he’s a regular on American Horror Story. But she is such a fraidy cat, she never risked watching a single episode. Until today.

What else to do on a beautiful Saturday afternoon? She decided to watch American Horror Story. She scanned, episode by episode, until she got to one called “Coven,” which she thinks was either in Season 2 or Season 3.

The opening credits were a compendium of scary sights. But self was able to endure.

TRIGGER WARNING: Some Not-So-Nice Things, i.e. Horror, Depravity, Sexual Deviation and — need self say more?

Jessica Lange appeared, all floozy and wrecked. Then Emma Roberts appeared, in trashy faux-fur and miniskirt, side-eyeing a shirtless next-door neighbor. Then Evan Peters appeared, blonde. In flannel shirt. On a bed. Next to a blonde who looked significantly older.

Then it appeared that his head had at one time been separated from his torso. Not only his head, but also his arms. Everything was still healing, but there were a lot of sutures.

Then, a younger blonde appeared, rescued Evan Peters, and returned him to his mama, an awfully decrepit-looking Mare Winningham (She had a stud on her chin. Way to go, Big Mare Mama!). Then Evan’s Mama began to kiss him on the mouth. It took some time before self realized that the writers of this show were indeed going to go there — Holy Cow! This is one crazy show! So depraved (by American TV standards, that is)! She loved it, just loved it!

Apparently, every single oddball character actress in America is in this show. Aside from the aforementioned Jessica Lange, Mare Winningham, and Emma Roberts, Kathy Bates is in it.

Characters are all kinds of deviants. Huh!

It was getting dark and self was getting major creepy vibes, so she stopped watching after just two episodes. But, kudos to the writers and producers for putting such wickedly anarchic stuff on American television. And for keeping it up for six seasons.

Stay tuned.

Interpretations, H20: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 7 October 2016

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge — H20 — is interesting. Self actually spent a good part of the day snapping pictures that she thought fit the theme, but in the end none of the pictures she took were particularly noteworthy.

Luckily, there are so many gorgeous posts from other WordPress bloggers. Here are a few:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cath's Camera

life through my lens

The life of B

Mainly through the lens of a Nikon

myguiltypleasures

welcome to my past, present and future mixed with whatever pops up right now

Iain Kelly

Fiction Writing

John's Space .....

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through style and inspiration.

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery

transcribingmemory

Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.

InMyDirection

fiction, short story, writing, creative content

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog

lita doolan productions

Any old world uncovered by new writing

unbolt me

the literary asylum

CSP Archives

Archive of the CSP