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Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Splendid Little War

One of many 'Splendid' war novels by Derek Robinson

Ever finish a book and think  “This bastard should write faster.”  Derek Robinson is one of those authors.  Every book he’s written grabs you, dazzles you, leaves you in a trail of gut-busting laughter, tarnished tears, and famished for more.

What makes Derek Robinson special?  He has a niche and an unnatural gift as a raconteur.  War.  Flying.  The Royal Air Corps/Force.  His series, set in World War I, the most famous of which is Goshawk Squadron, set the mark for all that would follow.  Don’t think for a moment that ‘famous’ means the best of the lot.  All of them are connected, clever, dark with humor, gore, and the certainty of your own destruction.  Robinson’s Second Would War series also has every bit of all of the above.  Unbelievably engaging. (Piece of Cake)

Now comes ‘A Splendid Little War.’  A war fought in Russia in 1919-1920 mean anything to you?  Probably not.  No RAF history of it exists.  Yet, it was fought.  And men died in Britain’s frantic effort to keep the Bolsheviks from consolidating their power after the Russian Revolution.  A Splendid Little War tells the tale of the men who leapt into the breech, or at least into the cockpits of well-worn aircraft, like them, cast offs from the First World War.

What do men do that lived through the daring-do of aerial combat,  grinding the fear out of their minds, as they twisted their eager craft through the bullet strewn air?  They volunteer for the next war, fully expecting it would be a continuation.  It wasn’t.

But, fighter pilots are fighter pilots.  They must have whiskey, women, and danger to feel alive.  The raw smell of petrol and engine oil in their nostrils.  Death at every turn.

Scoundrels all, their dark humor and aptitude for rollicking fun, in the most unlikely of places, carry them along.  Mere skill doesn’t cut it when ineptitudes of the powers-that-be, and the vicissitudes of battle conspire against them.

Derek Robinson is king of the genre.  Careful character sketches, a plot that whistles along, and a masterfully told story bring ‘the war that wasn’t a war’ to life in glowing Technicolor.  Haven’t heard of the Splendid Little War?  After this fabulous novel it’ll be etched in memory.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Storming the Castle: just another summer's day

Be sure to scroll down for more photos and enlightenment

Burg Lichtenberg is a cozy little castle, high on a hill overlooking the city of Kusel.  Don’t worry if you haven’t seen it yet.  It’ been standing guard over the valley since 1200 and is not likely to disappear soon.

The neat thing about Lichtenberg is that it’s useful, which is more than you can say for most things built in 1200.  From spring through fall there are festivals.  Also a restaurant.  Also a youth hostel.  No end to the possibilities.

Last weekend was an herb fest, complete with garden ornaments, plants for sale, the obligatory beer and wurst, plus guided herb tours around the castle walls and an explanatory visit to the castle’s own herb garden.

I forget to mention the three-piece band, with middle aged musicians playing and singing John Denver favorites in German and English. Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. ( his real name) translates well, or at least the emotions do.  Everyone can understand the yearning to go home to West by-god Virginia, or Rocky Mountain High…speaking of herbs.

I learned a few things during the semi-walk around the castle walls.  Camille tea comes from little, white, daisy-like flowers, which I would have known had I paid more attention to the picture on the packaging.  Supposedly, you can also brew a strong batch and use it to heal skin ailments.  I recommend letting it cool first, but hey, you’re your own boss.

The lady who led us around was the college professor who knew too much for our own good.  Apparently, leaving any tidbit out would have been a sin against all of academia.  My mind started to drift when two herbs took the first thirty minutes.  I started to chew weeds and paw the ground. We’d traveled ten meters and it was a loooooog way around the castle walls.  I regretted my lackey hadn’t brought a tent and provisions.  Plus, the soliloquy was in German, so I could only catch every other word:  good, tea, good again, etc.  I yearned for the Cliff Notes.  Time to break ranks and sprint for beer.  Got to the beer stand and put the golden-coldie to my lips just in time.

Next weekend is a much bigger, Medieval Festival, with even more food booths, knights in armor, complete with squires and horses, sword fights, and winsome ladies in flowing gowns.  Beer.  Wurst.  Sunshine.

If you miss that one (and why on earth should you?), I’m sure there are others coming up.  But, if they offer a tour around the castle walls, drag a keg with you.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Daunting Drama of Japanese Porn

Nothing to see here, however...

WARNING:  Contains thought provoking images.  Comparative phrasing.  Stilted views.  Objects, both direct and indirect.  Scenes that will make you ashamed of yourself.  Similes and metaphors.  Scenes that will cause your wife to thrash you witless.  Acronyms. Denigration of women who make loads of cash.  Likewise men.

Don’t tell me you’re not intrigued.  Don’t try to hide those quivering legs when a slim, dark haired beauty crosses your path.  Well, you ‘re not alone.

Japanese porn fans are just like you.  Maybe not as much guilt, but they have their own problems.  Being traditional, they’re slaves to repetition. Japanese porn makers oblige, but it takes a lot of imagination. Stock scenarios are as regular as the steeds on a merry-go-round.  There's the molested housewife, the molested girl on the bus, the molested detective, infidelity in the hot tub, and many others.  Hey, I know what I’m talking about.  In the interest of sociological knowledge, I’ve done exhaustive research. 

Scenario I – The Detective: I Am With the Gun to Find You
"I Am With the Gun to Find You," has all the earmarks of a classic bare-ass detective movie.  Just like a James Bond flick, the action starts with intense drama and a chase, followed by another chase.  

A pretty woman, in slacks and stiletto heels, prowls a dark warehouse, carrying a howitzer-sized pistol.  First she stops and speaks into her talking watch.  Then, she darts around, climbing up stairs, climbing back down, darting and darting, her heels beating out a machine gun's staccato.  You’re already glued to your seat, chewing your nails and screaming to your wife to bring more popcorn.

 Just when you begin to wonder why you’re the only one who can hear the detective’s hoof-like heels, she enters a large, dark room.  In the corner are several shady characters, pooled in light, sitting around a table.  She runs to them, swinging her gun like she’s at a tryout for the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders.  She stops and takes a deep breath.  Talk about profound suspense!  Choosing her words carefully, she yells out, “Bad guys I see that you are.  Hands in the air you will put!”

Suddenly, other men jump out of the black shadows, catching the woman completely by surprise.  They take her gun and grab her arms.  She looks very, very shame-faced.  “Ah-ha,” they say, “The woman detective coming to pursue us you are!  Stopping we will put to that!”  She’s stunned, but still arrogant.  She must have slept through karate class.  All she can do is give 'em the show ‘em who’s boss glare.  This well thought out ruse doesn’t cut it.  They laugh.  They scoff.  They rip away her clothes, and flitch her secret talking watch and stiletto heels.  She’s tied to a chair and given an onsite intelligence test.  “Why coming here you are?  Why detective you are?  What is the plot of this movie?”

The last question stumps her.  She refuses to answer the first two.  This intensely annoys the shady characters.  They stand around, posture and mumble.  Several of them snarl and throw their cigarettes to the ground. Others stomp around in disgust.   These honor grads of the famous Over-Acting-Studio have a short discussion: Her clothes are now just a memory.  What do we do next? 

What a conundrum in this tightly wound plot.  Soon solved.

The next scene:  She’s tied with elaborate tangles of rope and suspended by her chest and arms, one leg in the air and the other reaching down on tippy toes to the concrete floor.  “Tell us why you have a detective becoming…or….or….we will make you to do the happy sex climax!” 

Suddenly, another woman appears, a woman the detective had thought was her friend and to whom she had told her elaborate plan of clicking down the stairs and waving her 9 mm crowd-pleaser.  The detective is stunned to see her former friend grinning, laughing, and grinning some more.  All arrogance vanishes.  The detective squeaks out a plea for mercy.  Fat chance.

“I know the secrets of her,” the former friend announces.  “She a hussy is and deserves the filthy, filthy, rough-the-body demonstration!”  The men find that plan well conceived and irresistible.

Dildo vibrators twice the size of Japanese personal equipment, which is to say almost thumb sized, plumb the depths.  Soon the detective is willing to tell them not only “why a detective she is becoming” but also the secret to climaxing while dangling from the ceiling and dancing on one tippy toe.  “I go, I go,” she screams the Japanese version of I come, which is to be expected since their magazine pages are also backwards.

The men are good sports about it and take turns making her “do the happy sex climax.”  She warms to the situation, as any woman would.   Of her own volition she gives them all oral attention with verve and gusto, then accommodates them one by one in her well thatched grand canyon of love.  The viewer is left with the impression that detecting is no longer her thing, but that she’d happily audition for tippy toe dancing at least once a week.

              Scenario II –Becoming the Experienced Teacher that of Her Class
The high school teacher, in mini-skirt and stretched-bodice blouse, much the same as you remember from your high school days, is new to the teaching game and her students are an unruly lot.  They pass notes.  They stamp their feet.  They don’t pay attention.  Most look to be about 35 years old and more than mildly resentful at still being in high school, while their former classmates have become doctors, CEOs, and Hip-Hop millionaires.  No matter, something must be done to control this aroused group and the teacher, much to her credit, takes the more delicate “look shamefaced and cry” approach.  No use going to the heavy-handed stuff right off the bat.

The sly ploy works.  The students, who by now are salivating, promise to behave if the teacher will show them her tits.  I know, you’re thinking, “Nice counter proposal.” Of course, the teacher is reluctant because, although she is new on the job, she knows once you take that first step and relax the rules about the tits, well, there’s no going back.  Next thing you know, they’ll want to chew gum.

Soon, however, six or eight of the guys, most of whom have been shaving and holding convenience store jobs for years, cluster around the hapless woman and much to everyone’s utter surprise, she agrees to unbutton her blouse, pull up her bra and show these guys the meaning of life.  But, no foolish negotiator she.  They must promise to really, really behave.  They have a short discussion among themselves and decide to rip off her clothes instead.  The audience is caught totally by surprise, or at least I was.  Shocked.

Almost immediately, she is lashed to a table and half a dozen, plug-in, baseball bat sized vibrators make her quiver like a fat man at a barbeque.  She tries to speak through rattling teeth, but the words don’t come, although she does several times.

“Say the liking of it!” one of them demands.  More rattling of teeth.  She’d like to tell them, but you can only do so much while undulating at 60 cycles per second. All the kids get a big charge out of her inability to speak and agree to teach her a lesson by making her sex climax until the top of her head flies off, or they run out of film, or the city goes dark from a lack of electricity. 

The teacher signals her assent by bellowing and thrashing with the renewed energy of a tasered epileptic.  Much kissing and touching ensues.  Legs are spread wide enough to fill an IMAX screen and everyone gets a good, gynecological review.  The leg bone connected to the thigh bone, etc.  One guy steps forward to try out this new discovery. "Deep it you like!  Wideness, too!"

Shame once again floods the teacher’s face.  “ THAT I don't know you do!”  Not to be left out, other kids grab her tits and not too gently, I might add.  Apparently, this teacher ranks tit abuse right up there with candy, flowers, and her first kiss.  She goes completely insane and her eyes roll back in her head.  Until the first guy is finished.

Shame returns.  You can read her mind.  “THAT you all do, I don't know!”  Hope for the best, plan for the worst.

The new guy doesn’t think the teacher screamed loud enough the first time, and he encourages her with a battering not seen since the storming of the Bastille.  Industrial vibrators, always waiting in the wings, reappear.  This classroom is better equipped than the Los Alamos Nuclear Lab.

Oh, she really likes this constant attention!  “Giving me sexing in all the places that you admire of me,” she screams.  Just what she hoped for when she woke up this morning.   These guys did their homework.

Now for something completely different.  These students’ may be dull blades when it comes to readin’, writin’, and remembering not to pass notes, but they hold a razor’s edge when it comes to obtuse torments.  “Her bare body in clear goo let’s bathe and the rubbing of seven sets of hot hands all over her let's do.  Change her attitude about this whole thing making her.”  Worked like a four leaf clover on St Paddy’s Day.

I’m going to have to remember some of this stuff when I next take a course.  My last instructor was a man, but he should work the same way, right?

Back to the action.  “Let’s make her wear a see-through one piece and crawl around in circles.”  Oh, the shame of it.  Tears well up.  Does this signal a new negotiation?

"Sexing of the beautiful lips on my proud maleness?” one of the post teenage students hopefully proposes.  This is followed by hearty cheers, high fives, and the tinkle of undone belt buckles.  Oddly enough, the teacher thinks this is more than reasonable, enjoyable in fact.    By this time, she’s learned the value of cooperation. Her students celebrate by taking turns plundering her now willing body.  School days, school days, happy golden rule days.

Fast forward to the next day, or several days, or who knows when?  Anyway, the teacher is back in front of the same class.  Not only have bygones been forgotten, but the teacher is now wearing a portable vibrator in her panties.  Ah, technology! This is convenience itself, as the students can now remotely control her in subtle ways, such as making her bend over and moan whenever they want.  And, they want a lot.

This time she decides not to fight it and takes off her clothes.  A lot of women could learn from this experience.

Scenario III, Infidelity:  My Wife She My Pink Sausage Does Not Love
“My Wife She My Pink Sausage Does Not Love,” is a sociological thriller wrapped in the causes of infidelity, and the personal relationships that develop when plumbers and delivery men enter a home in search of a girl who can’t say no.

Scene one:  The selfish husband, pestered for love by a demanding wife (Hey, we all know what that’s like), decides to roll over and go to sleep.  She won’t let him sleep.  She puts a lip lock on the snake and the husband screams with joy for about ten seconds before succumbing once again to slumber.   The unsatisfied wife squeezes her mams and rubs her dark crater of love until, with jaws clinched, she moans out her release.  But, once is never enough.  She slinks to the kitchen to play hide the cucumber, then to the den to hump an arm of the sofa.  If only a fat plumber and his assistant would arrive!

Scene Two:  Careful what you wish for.  Fat plumber, with table tennis eyeballs, grasps the situation immediately and grabs Mrs. Humper.  She resists only enough to let him know he’s on the right track, if only he’d put his heart and everything else into it.

“You are wanting the sex machine,” he chortles.  Industrial sized vibrators suddenly appear like sailors on payday.   The plumber and his assistant wink at each other.

“I no want sex machine!” she manages to squeeze out between earthquake like orgasms.  Still she soldiers on.  What a trooper.  Strangely, her spigot of love is still wide open and flowing tsunami-like to the sea.

“Ah!” one of the men says, showing off his fingers, which are dripping like the monkey who fell in the swamp.

To say she is embarrassed is to say that Campbell is fond of beans.  This woman is the soul of shame and remorse, having already forgotten she was the one doing the one-handed leg shaker and praying for company when this whole thing started.

The men take turns letting their little brown and serve sausages sizzle in her oven, but if anyone is keeping score, she’s got the game, set, and match when it comes to internal earthquakes.  Little did these plumbers know their pipes would rust before this job was over.

At last they leave, congratulating themselves on their courage and stamina. “She will the next time beg for mercies!”   Hahahahahaa.  The wife secretly smiles and bounds into the bedroom, only to find her worthless husband still asleep.  This is a bitter pill, especially since she was just getting started.

Ah, at least the fingers know their business.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Baroness' Garden Center

Be sure to scroll down for more photos and conversation...

It’s a bright, spring day and not too warm.  You’ve got money in your pocket, time on your hands, and hope in your heart.  Doesn’t include the blond in the convertible that stops to offer you a ride…and so much more.  I said ‘hope’ not outrageous expectations.

Wanna sit in a garden, sip some honeyed tea, nosh on scrumptious cake, laced with ripe berries, and slathered in cream, gaze over rows of brightly dancing flowers, and take some well-chosen greenery home with you? 

Oh, the cakes and pastries....

Even better than it looks!

I just covered, drinking, eating, gardens, sunshine, shopping, and dreaming.  How much more Springtime planning can a mere mortal do?

You’re in luck.  Got just the place for you.  Only problem is, it’s about an hour and a half from the beaten track.  Matter of fact, if you mention the beaten track to locals, you get blank stares.  Nevertheless, it’s worth the drive through a brilliant array of fields and flowers, dots of towering green trees, and the country allure of narrow, heart-pounding two lane blacktops.  Make that one and a half lanes.

Of course, I’m speaking of the Staudengärtnerei Gräfin von Zeppelin (Garden and Nursery).  A Countess?  Yes, Helena (1879-1967), the daughter of the famous Ferdinand Adolf August Heinrich Graf von Zeppelin (1838 –1917), inventor of the airships that carried his name.

The question arising is: how did von Zeppelin’s daughter get connected to the garden and nursery.  Sorry, no answer from this guy.  However, Helena was quite active in German gardening during the early to mid 20th Century.  She’s given credit for cultivating lambs’ ears, those loveable little plants with fuzzy, silvered leaves.  Some varieties even sport red flowers.  Quite easy to propagate, by the way.  My own garden’s overflowing.  Can’t clear out the little devils to save my life.

But, back to the Baroness’ garden center.  The first thing you notice, after you notice the joy and wonder of finally seeing other humans, is the great expanse of flowers and plants.  You can walk right into the rows, or you can go through the garden shop, which is arrayed with everything every gardener needs, or doesn’t.  Attached to the shop is a small, glassed-in, airy café offering a limited menu, which thankfully includes a host of teas and coffees, beer, wine, cakes, and pastries that would make an anorexic Vogue model drool.  I chose the porch, overlooking a scenic village and church’s bell tower.

Not being a gardener, unless you count wishing and hoping, I needed stern botanic counseling.  Fortunately, garden gnomes roam the area, friendly, smiling, able to translate Latin and make suggestions from spoken scraps of disorganized information. A gnome is a necessity for someone stuck with pantomiming words like:  tallish, bluish-aqua-purple, sounds like whiffer-dill, rhymes with tendonitis.  The gnomes did well.  Translated the entire Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic Wars, then took my money faster than an online blackjack dealer.

Well, ok, I devoured cakes, sipped tea, and spent money, but how did it turn out?  All I can say is the plants went in the ground easy enough.  Too early to proclaim anything more definite.  However, my lambs’ ears are still doing splendidly.

Gräfin von Zeppelin
Garden Center
Weinstr. 2
79295 Sulzburg
07634 69716

What's a garden without lilies? 

Flowers without number...