Undersea searchers discovered the wreck of the Japanese submarine I-400 in 2,300 feet of water off the coast of Hawaii. A “mega submarine” that was 400 feet long and could launch three bombers, it was secretly scuttled by the US Navy in 1946 to prevent the Soviets getting a look at it under the terms of a WWII treaty–an act that in retrospect might have done more harm than good since I doubt such a submarine was of strategic significance and such willful non-compliance with a treaty obligation hardly engenders trust or keeps ownership of the moral high ground.
(Thanks to aquatic badass Shawn Alladio of K-38 Water Safety and Liquid Militia for bringing this to my attention.)
Here’s the Reuters story about the I-400, by Suzanne Roig
Here’s a 3-minute video about the discovery by a Honolulu news station.
As a huge fan of the Oakland Athletics, let me pay a bit of tribute to the passing of WWII combat veteran and Philadelphia Athletic’s great Lou Brissie, who passed away last week.
On December 7, 1944, a German artillery shell broke both of Brissie’s ankles and shattered the bones of his lower left leg into 30 pieces. 23 surgeries and one long, painful rehab later, Brissie took the mound in Yankee stadium for the first time as a starting pitcher for Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics on September 28, 1947. Before he retired in 1953, he would also pitch for the Cleveland Indians.
Here’s his full obituary in The Augusta Chronicle, which contains a few classic baseball anecdotes.
Here’s my review of Vanished, by Wil S. Hylton in today’s Wall Street Journal.
(To get you to the review, click the image below, which will link you to a google search, and then click the top link so you can read the review’s full text. If I link you directly, you’ll catch the WSJ’s paywall.)
And here’s my WSJ review of The Mountain, by Ed Visteurs and David Roberts, which appeared on October 4, 2013
I’ve had a bit of a thing for Katy Perry ever since she played at my high school.
Here’s a heartwarming Comedy Central clip of Katy Perry performing her song “Firework” as a duet with Jodi DiPiazza, an 11-year old girl who deals with autism. Well done, Katy.
The Atlantic’s website has posted twenty World War II photo essays that are well worth perusing.
(Thanks to Tom Houlton for bringing them to my attention.)
The Supermouse lives — in direct literary reference!
Enduring Patagonia and the Supermouse are cited and quoted in this article in the Colorado Post Independent, written by Alison Osius. (It’s a funny story.) Her family’s solution to their “ratapocalypse” was much more humane than the one devised by David Fasel and I when we were stuck in a icebox hut on the edge of the Southern Patagonian Icecap 14 years ago… although, in our defense, we had no access to the accoutrements of civilization.
Enduring Patagonia has been loose in the world for a dozen years now, and the Supermouse scene sure does seem to stick with people. Here are some pictures of Ryan hitting the Supermouse climax when he read read EP last year–scroll down to the pics of him in the car.
Seabiscuit, by Laura Hillenbrand, which was a tremendous inspiration for China’s Wings.
Here’s old footage of Seabiscuit’s match race with War Admiral, which took place 75 years ago today, on 1 November, 1938, with 40 million Americans glued to their radios…
A few weeks ago at Seattle’s Museum of Flight, I was honored to shake hands with Ben Barrett, one of Harold M. Bixby’s 19 grandchildren.
He showed me his scrapbook documenting the Bixby family’s adventures in China, 1933-1938, and my eyes popped out over these classics of William Langhorne Bond’s 1935 wedding with Katharine Dunlop, none of which I’d seen before. Ben was kind enough to share them with me, and with Bond family permission, I’m sharing them here. (I wish I’d had the bride and groom photo to use in China’s Wings.)
William and Kitsi Bond at their wedding, Peking, May 1935
Here’s the Groom and his best man, Harold M. Bixby
The groom and his best man: Harold M. Bixby and William Bond at Bond’s wedding, 1935
William Langhorne Bond is the main character in my book China’s Wings. Read more about his background here.
I often say that writing is the worst way to make a living ever invented, except when it’s the best, and I got a note recently that lands squarely in the “best” category. Out of the blue, an Army captain wrote to tell me that Enduring Patagonia “got him through West Point,” that he re-reads his copy of the book regularly, has all of his favorite “quotes and passages dog-earned and highlighted,” and that it’ll “probably always be” his favorite book.
I called bullshit, but he sent the proof.
If there are other equally well loved copies out there, I’d love to add their photos to this post. ;-)
A few links that pinged my radar screen recently:
“50 Books to Inspire Artists of All Kinds,” by Emily Temple at Flavorwire. With thanks to artist Tina Rath for bringing the list to my attention.
I’ve always loved abandon and decay–mud brick hovels slowing crumbling back into the desert from which they were raised; collapsed, weed-filled homesteads on the high plains; old piers rotting into the waves… This photostream of “The 33 Most Beautiful Abandoned Places in the World,”on Imgur, brought to my attention by Valerie Martin, shows a lot of beauty in that vein. (And should you have photos or links of related material, please add them to the comment thread–the world is full of such spectacle.)
Which brings to mind my favorite poem, Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Ozymandias,” one of the few I’ve got memorized. (Click on that link to read the poem, listen to it read aloud (I’m not wild about the voice work–if I can summon the courage, I’ll take a pass at it myself), and read some commentary by David Mikics.)