Aug 102011

Nazi war criminals

[In response to the June 22 Beth Connors Manke article “On war criminials and resistance fighers.”]

I met an 80+ year old man in Colorado in the mid 70s that was a ranking officer in the SS. He was gotten out by the Catholic church’s ratlines.

I discovered a shrine to the grandfather of a group of Italians that lived in Pennsylvania in the late 1980s. I was looking for a bathroom and walked into a room with a uniform, a Hitler mural, and a picture of the grandfather in a SS uniform.

When I was in New Zealand, I met a Dutchman with a real loose story. He stayed in the same hostel as I, turned up on the same flight to Australia and we split the cost of an air-conditioned hotel room in Sydney. After over 15 hours of continual questioning he finally admitted that he had joined the SS and served as a concentration camp guard before Germany invaded Holland. He was still, after 40 years, wanted for war crimes in Holland and Poland.

Turn them in?

I witnessed three separate massacres of unarmed Vietnamese in my 11.5 months in the hell we created there. I never reported them to anyone. I never even went to the newspapers in New York City when I was stationed there afterward.

41 years later, I still feel worse than any of the war criminals that I met.

friendly, Smirking Chimp blog Continue reading »

Jul 272011

The phantom map, part 2

By Gortimer T. Spotts

I awoke to the deep whir of a far-off tractor, Northrupp and the General still on the edge of sleep, and wrote in my journal “But a very small window is the dawn.”

We breakfasted, collected our brachiopods, crinoids, and other shoal-haul, stow-hoed, tarped up, and pushed off from the shallows at noon, the General once again leaving only his thin-sliced wake, Northrupp and I girding our boat-loins for the deadfall limbo just ahead.  I’d completely forgotten about squeezing my vessel into this tight jam the night before, snagging and nearly losing the bucktail I’d been trolling on the off-chance of muskellunge.  To our relief, the water—that we thought had risen and had indeed risen—had eerily not really risen, and we passed under with minimal grunting. Continue reading »

Jul 132011

West Irvine to Drowning Creek

By Gortimer T. Spotts

We’d agreed to rally at dawn and attack the river before the unseasonably scalding June sun had a chance to fully preheat the western hemisphere. But a very small window is the dawn. I awoke at noon and hustled to Mayer Manor on the north side of Lex, well, just north of center, to rendezvous with the General and Northrupp, who were both convalescing with the Mayer family on a kind of sympathetic and extended maternity leave. General Dallas, bare-chested and unshaven, greeted me at the kitchen door holding baby Josie just like a nursing mother, a delicate white towel draped over the shoulder, a corncob pipe clenched in the jaw, unlit. “Good morning, young Gortimer. We’re just wrapping up the morning feed.” And just then Northrupp appeared at the foot of the stairs with two loaded dry bags and two collapsible coolers slung over his arm. “Ah, Gorty, you’re early. Think we’re all ready.” With quiet goodbyes to the semi-roused parents, we made our break, the General plugging baby Josie back into her vintage General Electric Slumbersling and turning the dial to eleven, heavy drool mode. Continue reading »

Jul 132011

Dear Gortimer,

Returned is your wonderful manuscript, “The phantom map,” with some minor GUM revisions in thick red ink. You may be interested in the story behind the demise of the great South East Coal Company that you mention us passing nearby Cubbard’s Rock.

The company was incorporated in 1915, when Henry LaViers, an immigrant from Wales, secured the mineral rights needed to organize five coal camps. The most well known of these, apparently still generally intact, is located at Seco (renamed “South East Coal Company Operation 1” upon its purchase in 1915), on the banks of Boone Fork, a tributary of the Kentucky River’s North Fork and not far from Whitesburg in Letcher County. Continue reading »

Sep 292010

But a lost evening at Winchell’s

By Northrupp Center

The stoner walk comes early at River Hill, a dense patch of second-growth honeysuckle that huddles up to Man O War on the approach to hole two. After an opening bogey on hole one and an errant first throw, a high-sailer that was knocked down 100 feet into its flight toward basket number two, I was relieved to find a reprieve. And so I sat, passing a small hollowed out piece of wood back and forth for a few moments with a good friend, letting a couple other groups pass us by, and enjoying the clearing, finally cool skies. Continue reading »

Jun 232010

Up in Smoke? No shit? Really?

It’s nice to see that the Kentucky DEA and State Patrol (SP) are developing a sense of humor about naming their marijuana eradication efforts with a nod to the pot-culture classic from Cheech and Chong. Kudos, coppers! Finally, you serious dudes in, uh, camouflage, are seeing your “supplementary” employment for the joke that it really is (or at least for the billion dollar pun that it really is now). But I write this more as good-citizen dialogue than diatribe: DEA/KSP, please be careful! Some may see your nod to pot-culture as a not-so-subtle attack on popular Latino pastimes. Or maybe even racial profiling. You might consider a name-change, in which case you’ll also want to avoid “Operation Friday.” All young African Americans do not live in East L.A. and spend their waking hours baking. Continue reading »