I am in the midst of reading a book that has a theme that has reminded me of some other books. It is the story of a storm that happened one September day 120 years ago, and of a city that to this day has never quite recovered from it. It is a story of the deadliest hurricane in history and how people in Galveston, TX reacted to it.
Galveston and Houston were in a rivalry as to who would become the primary seaport of Texas.
A hurricane determined the winner.
I have mentioned here quite frequently that I love history, and that the best teachers bring it alive. It is far more than “names and dates”, with which the mediocre teachers adhere.
And there’s plenty of those…
Posted by lex, on September 8, 2005
If you’ve never seen the movie, “The Great Santini,” you ought to give it a look – it’s a fascinating look inside the mind and world of a Marine Corps fighter pilot who’s convinced that he’s God’s gift to naval aviation and is intent on dragging his family along for his triumphant ride around the pond. The lead role is played by Robert Duval, who typically, nails it home – I’ve known guys like his Bull Meecham (and in fact, I knew some of the Marine Corps fighter jocks who play roles as extras in the movie). It’s also an interesting, if tangential retrospective on the state of civil rights in the late ’60s south. It’s also interesting how perspective changes – in my youth, I looked at Duval’s Bull Meecham as a kind of example – the hard-living, occasionally profane avatar of heroic fighter aviation. Now, seeing it from a far different perspective, I see the imperfect father struggling with his own demons while trying to hold a family together in the face of enormous (and ubiquitous) centrifugal forces.
Lake Louise in an October Afternoon
A few days ago at Lake Louise, Banff National Park, we rented a canoe to explore the placid (and cold) waters. The mornings would be cold – usually 22 degrees F, and you could see the water starting to crystallize into ice. By afternoon the outside temp was around freezing.
The water is turquoise from the glacier-fed waters – with the pulverized rock – as the glacier slowly made its way to the water.
Having been there over the decades twice – but in the summer – I believe October is the best time to visit.
The summer hordes are gone, the air is crisp, and the hotels start their off season rates. By winter temps can drop to -40F.
An Expensive Lesson
In the latter part of the 1980s, I received a rather expensive lesson. Perhaps it could be said that we all pay in one way or another to get our education. And it was a lesson in how companies, both large and small, can thrive or become swallowed by technological waves.
Because of some pressure by our then-competition, I felt I should design and offer to garages and oil companies a superior PC-Based program that would generate work orders for customers and track inventory.
I set to work for about 5 years.
I just finished reading the memoirs of Col. Clarence E. “Bud” Anderson, and have to say it was an enjoyable read. It was akin to sitting in a room with him talking about his life.
From putting you into a P-51 cockpit and fighting for your life with a German Me-109 pilot, to being in an F-105 over Vietnam…to a Pentagon desk (and he tells you why some of the military procurements are so expensive…to flight testing at Edwards AFB, you are there with him.
He tells you what it was like to be shipped overseas and on your first combat mission (do five and stay alive!).
It was a great read, and a book I will keep.
It is available on Amazon .
There have been some books that I have had to slog through, sticking with them because they were bogged with minutia but overall interesting; others I have flown through. This book is one of those that is hard to put down.
Since writing about her yesterday, curiosity had gotten the best of me, and I read a bit more on her. What an amazing woman.
As to David Holahan’s statement that ” James Bond had nothing on her”, Bond of course was some fantasy of Ian Fleming. To think that some spy would arrive with a self-confident (arrogant?) attitude in an Aston Martin and tux, well, of course real spies are the opposite. Most times a person who one would least suspect. When the best have disappeared the world is left wondering who they were, or at least what they looked like.
When the Manhattan Project was started, “an informant in the British civil service notified the Soviets. As the top-secret plan to build the bomb, called the Manhattan Project, took shape in the United States, the Soviet spy ring got wind of it before the FBI knew of the secret program’s existence.” It was 4 years after the war before the identity of one, Klaus Fuchs, was discovered.
There is only 1 book that I’ve had that I can say I’ve bought 3 times. The first time, I found it so interesting that after reading it, gave it to a friend.
Then bought another.
Then gave that to a relative who at the time, was an Army Ranger.
I just bought it again.