Sam the Man!

Sam has a plan to rescue the town of Perdido Beach, California from killer bugs AND baddie Drake.

You GO, Sam! That’s right, never give up!

As he thinks aloud, Toto stands helpfully by his right shoulder, very forthcoming with the ad libs.

Sam: Could Jack do it? If he doesn’t want to, I could do it.

Toto: Yes, Sam would.

Sam: Dekka can fly, that’s her superpower.

Toto: That is true.

Sam: I can find a car with at least a gallon of gas and go tearing for Perdido Beach and maybe beat the bugs.

Toto: Sam believes he can, it’s true.

Everyone ignores Toto, but the kid stands just to the side, saying to himself, “That’s not true” or “That’s true.” Do not ask me HOW this scene works, but it is HILARIOUS.

Stay tuned.

Bushboy’s Last on the Card Challenge, June 2022

Self is participating in bushboy’s Last on the Card Challenge.

Her Last on the Card for June 2022 is a real heartbreaker: Roman Ratushny’s obituary in The Economist of 25 June 2022.

A Ukrainian activist, Roman Ratushny volunteered the first day of the Russian invasion. He was killed near Izyum on 9 June. He was 24.

Marie Colvin: We Are Bellingcat, p. 22

If tabloid manipulation represented the ugliest side of reporting, Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times stood for its nobler motives. In early 2012, she was among the few foreign journalists to risk a trip to Homs, a Syrian city under bombardment from the Assad regime. An experienced war correspondent of fifty-six, she was renowned for courage and her distinctive eye patch, worn because of a wound in another war zone. “It’s a complete and utter lie that they’re going after terrorists,” she told CNN via satellite link-up. “The Syrian Army is simply shelling a city of cold, starving civilians.” The following day, Assad forces attacked a makeshift media centre, killing Colvin herself. Some believe that the live TV linkups hours before allowed them to obtain GPS coordinates of her location.

After Colvin’s death, even fewer Western journalists dared to enter Syria. In their absence, the war grew crueller.

I thank the journalists who are reporting right now from a war-torn Ukraine. If not for them, ‘I Stand With Ukraine’ would not have turned into such a worldwide phenomenon. We would not have SEEN the courage of Ukrainians and Zelensky.

Reconaissance, the Green River, Georgia

A few weeks — or was it months — ago, self waxed lyrical over James D. Hornfischer’s ability to evoke landscape (completely redundant in a book about battles, some might think). Well, here she is at a major engagement of the American Revolutionary War (How does self know it’s a major engagement of the American Revolutionary War? Because it’s taken chapters and chapters to get to this point, ARRRGH!) Patrick K. O’Donnell matches Hornfischer in his description of the Green River in Georgia.

It is just before dawn on January 17, 1781. Sergeant Lawrence Everhart and twelve men have “trotted down the Green River Road into the predawn darkness on a special reconaissance operation, three miles beyond American outposts . . . For more than a mile, the cavalrymen rode silently through frostbitten trees dotting barren fields, when suddenly they collided head-on with” the British army.

Everhart and his men “wheeled their horses and bolted in the opposite direction, with the British advance in hot pursuit.” The British rode the “fleetest race horses which (they) had impressed from their owners . . . and which enabled them to take Sergeant Everhard and one of his men . . . After shooting Everhart’s horse out from under him . . . a Loyalist quartermaster took him prisoner and brought him before” the British commander.

“Do you expect Mr. Washington will fight this day?” asked the officer.

Everhart: “Yes, if they can keep together only two hundred men.”

Washington’s Immortals, p. 285

Fighting words! The British had over 1000 men.

The British attacked, advancing over a frozen field. “Two three-pound grasshoppers fired into the American line. The British infantry broke into a jog, crossing nearly the length of two football fields in three minutes.”

Postscript: As the British were forced to leave the field, they shot their prisoners, one of whom was Everhart. They shot him “in the head at point-blank range . . . Remarkably, the Marylander survived the traumatic wound and remained lucid enough to talk to Washington . . . ” Washington asked “Everhart who had attempted to execute him. Everhart pointed to the man who shot him . . . and just Retaliation was exercised.” The Redcoat was “instantly shot.”

Savage! Washington did not want a single Redcoat to escape. He set out furiously after them. “Despite their casualties, the American foot soldiers set out immediately on a forced march, a feat they repeated several times in the coming months.”

Stay tuned.

General Daniel Morgan of Washington’s Flying Army

The mission of the Flying Army was to conduct raids all across the south. Pursued by the British in South Carolina, General Morgan decided to make a stand in Georgia, near present-day Spartanburg. Patrick K. O’Donnell describes the man he calls “Washington’s greatest general.”

His personal battle history was etched deeply across his body. On his left cheek, he bore an angry scar from a ball that entered his neck, passed through his mouth, took out most of his rear teeth, and exited his upper lip. It was at that moment, the night of January 16, 1780, according to legend, one of Morgan’s aides lifted the general’s shirt, exposing the leather-like scars on his back.

Washington’s Immortals, p. 279

Morgan’s strategy in Spartanburg: “defense in depth.”

The general’s first line consisted of skirmishers, handpicked from men who were crack shots. They would position themselves about 150 yards in front of the militia. He told the riflemen to aim for the officers to soften up the British as they came forward: “Aim for the men with the epaulets.”

Washington’s Immortals, p. 284

General Morgan told his militia men, the second line of defense, 150 yards behind the skirmishers, that he needed them to fire just three shots and then withdraw behind the Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia Continentals, the third and final line of defense.

This plan, as it turned out, worked beautifully. It led the British to think the Colonials were being routed, and they gave chase, straight into the waiting arms of the Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia Continentals.

Really an incredible experience to be reading about the American Revolution while Ukraine gets crushed.

Stay tuned.

Washington’s Immortals, p. 241

Washington’s Army in the South spent the winter and spring barefoot, starving, and . . . the men were attacked by “tens of thousands of ticks and fleas.”

That is all.

Washington’s Immortals, Chapter 26: The March South (to Charleston)

They left Morristown on April 16, 1780, becoming part of a campaign that kept them in the South for several years. Hundreds of the men did not leave to return home. Captain Bob Kirkwood kept a daily journal of their odyssey and every day they recorded the miles the Immortals marched. The majority within the Maryland and Delaware regiments traversed a breathtaking 4,656 miles — often barefoot — between the spring of 1780 and the spring of 1782. The state did not compensate them until 1783 — and then paid only if they were lucky enough to have survived and to have jumped through the right administrative and judicial loops. Wages ceased for most men in 1780. Officers advanced some of the men money, but after the war men had to swear under oath and convince a Maryland judge that they were owed back pay.

The Audacity, Oh the Audacity!

Donald Heath calls his wife and son back to Berlin (they’d taken refuge in Oslo after Germany invaded Poland) and then breaks it to his wife: their eleven-year-old son will be the courier for messages between Donald and Mildred Harnack. It takes Louise Heath several days to agree.

This is what happens: the Heaths and the Harnacks meet for a picnic in the Spreewald, “a heavily-wooded area sixty miles southeast of Berlin.” Don Jr. is “dressed for the part: black short pants, tan knee socks, tan shirt, and a black cap — the uniform of the Deutsches Jungvolk in der Hitlerjugend — a division of Hitler Youth for boys between ten and fourteen.”

Don Jr. “runs up ahead . . . he is always the lookout.” When he spots “Germans in uniform,” he remembers his father’s instructions and bursts into song:

Die Fahne hoch! Die Reihen fest geschlossen!
SA marschiert mit ruhig festern Schritt!

(Imagine teaching your 11-year-old to sing Hitler Youth songs! That is why self chose the title that she did for this post)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

This Wicked Game 2

She misses Arvid, who is in Washington, DC, on official business for the Ministry of Economics. Every American official Arvid meets in the State Department believes he’s a devout Nazi. The man he pretends to be is a horrible, horrible lie.

Lies spill out of Mildred too.

All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days, p. 258

Sentence of the Day, 2nd Wednesday of 2022

“I have put my revenge in cold storage.”

— Harro Schulze-Boysen, after his release from a concentration camp

All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days, p. 217

Ernst von Salomon “ran into him on a crowded sidewalk in Berlin. Harro’s face was so disfigured that Ernst didn’t recognize his friend at first. “His features were very different,” Ernst reflected years later in a memoir. “He had lost half an ear and his face was covered with inflamed wounds that had scarcely healed.”

His crime? “Preparations for high treason.” He “published an anti-Nazi underground newspaper called Gegner (Opponent). “SS officers raided the office and smashed the printing press.” At the time of his first arrest, in 1935, he was 26.

Self finds out from Wikipedia that he was executed in 1942. He was 33.

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