Trivia: Michael Blake told me that reading Brown’s, “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” was his inspiration to write “Dances with Wolves.”Brown borrowed his title from a poem, “American Names” by Stephen Vincent Benet.
Watched “Anonymous” last week and while taking umbrage with the plot, I rather enjoyed the period movie. Enjoyed, even though the director made a valid attempt in crafting a Shakespeare the buffoon depicted of Mozart in “Amadeus.”However, a real fright came when the popcorn counter person blindly accepted the premise of the film, that Shakespeare never wrote any of the works attributed to him.Like “Shakespeare In Love,” the film creates a buzz about the Bard, but does this one do more harm?
San Diego (LaJolla), Friday, Dec. 2, Warwick’s Bookstore could hold no more. Packed house listen to Luis Alberto Urrea talk about his newest novel, “Queen of America” (A stand-alone sequel to Hummingbird’s Daughter). I arrived late and had difficulty getting in the door. Much love and hugs all around.
Swabbed in a greenish-glow worthy a “B” horror movie, Allen Ginsberg, far right, traveled to Japan with poet-friend Nanao Sakaki (next to Ginsberg) to tour an atomic energy plant and warn of the dangers of messing with Mother Nature. Plant workers, Tenseki Ildaka and Sogu Fukumura escorted the poets during their excursion. Sakaki walked the earth preaching environmental conservation. He lectured against nuclear power. Having observed the very moment the atomic bomb exploded over Nagasaki, he knew first-hand the destructive power of the atom. Thirty years before the earthquake, tsunami and accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Sakaki said, “Fifteen nuclear plants north of Kyoto … already the [Japanese] government thinks five-million will die if something happens to a power plant like an earthquake.” Two poets made their appeal but then who listens to poets—what could they know?
Another Nanao friend, Kazu Kawamoto, stated in 1981: “… most Japanese still seem to believe that humans can control nature. One tenth of all earthquakes on the Earth occur on and near the Japanese Islands. But 52 nuclear power plants are in operation and 20 more are planned … It is just stupid. I wonder how we can change this situation before the catastrophe. Not much time left.”
“Terror Travels the Devil’s Highway”
–the first Maggie Lopez, Border Patrol Agent novel.
Shorty after moving to Tucson in 2000, I learned firsthand what it was like living near the Mexican border. I heard for the first time, the term, “illegal alien.” I perhaps saw them, or at least, the trails they left behind in the desert. Maybe one made up the beds at the resort where I maintained an office. Maybe my wife and I actually hired one, Maggie, to help us organize our new house when we moved in. She was the sister of a national car rental firm employee. It never crossed our minds to ask for papers.
Then came 9/11.
For me, that changed the border issue from one of slowing or stopping illegal immigration of undocumented workers to one of stopping potential terrorists. I fathomed that most people could not tell an Arab from a Mexican, if the Arab lost the beard, kept the mustache, and arrived at the border speaking fluent Spanish.
Now I wonder, what if hundreds, if not thousands arrived in the U.S. alongside the undocumented workers? I also imagined the potential assistance and protection that could be afforded by the drug cartels.
What terror would we face then?
A cry went out after 9-11 concerning border security but little has changed over the past years. More agents have been added, a few more miles of fence constructed but basically, I believe, the border remains wide open.
Armed with my theory and a good laptop, I began this novel for an audience of one—Senator John McCain. I had been warned by a senator’s aide that I would never get a copy into his hands.
I wrote the book anyway.
This novel concerns a fictional plan to spread terror beyond the east coast at the same moment the Islamic fundamentalists were hitting the WTC twin towers, the Pentagon, and the failed, surmised target of the White House.
Giadello is the first boxer to have a statue placed in Philadelphia (Stallone’s Rocky aside). Giardello is a former middleweight champion and International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee who died in 2008. Giardello and his son, Carman are the subject of Down But Never Out, the true story of their life together. Giardello helped Eunice Shriver start the Special Olympics and raised thousands of dollars for St. John of God School for special needs children located in southern New Jersey.
See, Amazon.com/books Check it out. Most exciting issue ever. Hear the words of Jack Kerouac, Gary Snyder. Gary Lawless and David Amram who gave us a poem to celebrate Neal Cassady's birthday. Joy Harjo favors us with "Eagle Poem," Oh yeah, our editor made me include,"The Night BP Drove Old Dixie Down."
Q: How can an author rate a film of his book? My employer, mentor and friend, Robert H. Adleman answered that question soon after the release of the 1968 movie, The Devil’s Brigade starring William Holden based on his nonfiction book of the same name. A: He can’t! Bob explained in a newspaper article: I hear that “The Devil’s Brigade” is one of the most exciting war pictures to come along in quite a while. And everyone who knows that I wrote the book on which it is based has asked me if I’ve seen it and how do I like it. I tell them I think it’s great. What am I going to say? If I tell them that for two hours my wife and I sat in a private screening room and alternately squirmed and held our breath as the scenes we knew so very well flashed by, but at the end of it we couldn’t say whether it was better than the latest Oscar winner or as interminable as an Andy Warhol movie, they would put us down as a brace of filberts. It’s the truth. I really don’t know how to grade it. ---Robert H. Adleman Philadelphia Sunday BulletinMay 12, 1968
Privately, like any author, he was more than pleased that his first book had made it to film. He felt like he’d hit a grand slam: Hardback, movie, and paperback. He stated that each creative effort should stand on its own merits and he could not offer an objective opinion.
On a personal note, I loved the author, the book and the movie. Of course, I am as biased as any family member or friend might be. The book was co-written with Col. George Walton who, as an attachment, was a member of the World War II unit referred to as the Devil’s Brigade. Walton did most of the required interviews and research. Adleman took four months to bang out the manuscript with his two-fingered typing technique.
My wife and I had a lazy philanthropic regiment—annual hundred dollar checks to universities, animal welfare organizations, and Down syndrome societies. We bought Girl Scout cookies and added a dollar to our grocery bill for breast cancer research, and tucked a dollar into the Salvation Army kettles at Christmastime. That was about it. One day my wife undertook making brown-bag lunches for Primavera, an organization that provided assistance to the jobless, homeless, and down trodden of our Tucson, Arizona community. The lunches were for workers who would be sent out to perform day labor assignments. Instructions for preparing the lunches were very specific: two sandwiches, each fitted into a sandwich baggies (no easy task), single wrapped cookies, a piece of fruit, all stuffed into a luncheon bag. Primavera supplied mustard and mayonnaise in takeout restaurant packets. They also supplied a small bottle of water which we began donating by the case. Now, time as well as, money was required to perform this monthly task of preparing forty sandwiches. It cost under fifty dollars but took about five hours by the time we went to the supermarket, prepared the lunches and drove them to Primavera which was a good fifteen miles from our home. My wife and I alternated the months that we preformed the tasks. It felt good to give of our time and not just money for a change. Then one day the benefits of our charity connected with our lives in a direct way. After twelve wonderful, loving years our first pet Shih Tzu passed away and we decided to inter him at the local pet seminary. When we arrived for a brief ceremony, I ascertained that a day worker from Primavera had dug the little grave. Alongside him I saw a brown-bag lunch, one that I most likely had prepared. As sad a moment for us, with the act of our charity clearly visible, it brought a touch of joy to our heavy hearts. Note: Primavera, has already, or will be receiving a donation from RedRoom for the last feature I wrote that has been published in AOL Travel.
Dang! Has anyone seen my lost decade? I’ve misplaced it. It’s gotta be around here somewhere. Let me retrace my steps. Hmmmm. Moved to Tucson in ’00. Started and finished a novel. Began writing Down But Never Out, flew back and forth to Philly a lot. Bought a place in Durango, stayed there each summer. What happened next? Ah yes, bought a Tucson house for my in-laws and they refused to move from New Jersey. Sold the house back to the seller. In ’05 moved in-laws to a second house in Tucson. In ‘06 couldn’t leave in-laws alone in summer, so sold Durango, both houses in Tucson, moved all to Laguna Woods, California in ’07. Finished Down But Never Out… began publishing The Hummingbird Review. Birthdays…recall a few but not ten. TEN, no way! Maybe I left the decade in the closet. Going to look for it now. If you find it first…please write me.